Before we move on, though, I’d like to say a big thank you to all who stopped by the Melrose-Wakefield Winter Farmers Market this year and in the previous two seasons. Cindy Chabot, the currently outgoing Melrose (Sally Frank) Farmers Market Manager was great to work with, as were all the Melrose staff and volunteers, and I met some great vendors, as well, some of whom you will see at our summer market this year.
While we are proud of creating a pleasant market venue for our farmers, vendors, and customers these past three winter seasons, we have decided to do only the Thanksgiving Harvest market next year and not continue the monthly winter market for the foreseeable future. However, I will be sure to let everyone know where you can find your favorite farmers and vendors next winter. And, who knows, maybe we’ll do an indoor pop-up market or two here in Wakefield to tide us over to the next summer season.
WHAT’S COOKING? Back to the last winter market day: In searching for cooking demo recipe ideas that would highlight vegetables available on our April market day, I found a lovely recipe for Celeriac and Spinach Soup on the United Kingdom Allrecipes site that totally fit the bill. The measurements were all in metric, which led me to make an error when figuring out the amount of water needed, which, happily, led to my discovering that cooked cannellini beans are great for thickening and are also the perfect flavor match for this soup.
I also neglected to think through my saucepan choice when grabbing a size up from the market pan from my own supply of cookware. Note to self: make sure all cookware for demos works on an induction burner. Disaster was averted because Memorial Hall, where the market was located, has a kitchen with a stove.
Because I used way too much water, albeit was able to save the day and create a soup that was rather splendid, if I do say so myself, I made it again at home so I could be sure of the proportions of the veggies to water, etc. before sharing the recipe. The following recipe makes 4 cups of soup, less than the original recipe but easy to halve, double, and adapt to your liking.
Cook’s Note: While you can use a regular vegetable peeler and box grater to prep the celeriac, I (with my arthritic thumb joints) recommend using a ceramic Y type peeler or use a knife to slice off the peel and use the grate option on a food processor if that is an option. Also, although the original recipe calls for “young leaf spinach,” the regular fresh spinach I used, including an inch or two of the stems, cooked down and puréed just fine.
For the soup, I used celeriac and spinach from Farmer Dave’s, an onion from Oakdale Farm, beans from Baer’s Beans, Greek yogurt from The Roasted Granola Co., and Ras el Hanou (an African spice mix that contains nutmeg, among many other ingredients) from Soluna Garden Farm, who will, someday I hope, join our market. They are located in Winchester and also have an online store. I highly recommend you check them via solunagardenfarm.com.
I also sprinkled a bit of tamari over some light red kidney beans from Baer’s Beans that I had cooked earlier, spread them in one layer on a foil-lined tray, and popped them into the market toaster oven preheated to 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes. It made for a fun and tasty part crunchy, part chewy, and very nutritious snack. Seconds on samples were requested by many.
Okay – Here is the recipe!
Celeriac and Spinach Soup
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, 5 oz or so, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 celeriac, about 10 oz, peeled and grated to make three cups lightly packed
3 1/2 cups water*
1/2 pound spinach to make 7 cups lightly packed
½ cup cooked cooked cannellini beans* (optional)
½ tsp Ras el Hanou* (or grated nutmeg to taste, see directions, below)
salt (start with ½ tsp) and pepper to taste
1-2 tbsp Greek-style yogurt* per cup, stirred in (optional)
NOTES: *I used plain water, but the veggie stock called for in the original recipe would be a nice addition. I used the beans at the demo and I think they add a wow factor, but my batch at home was also great without them. I highly recommend investing in a jar of Ras el Hanou, but I am sure just the nutmeg that the original recipe calls for would add a lovely touch, as well. As to the yogurt, if you don’t do dairy, leave it out and use the beans if you want a thicker soup.
Directions: Cook the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes or until getting soft. Add the celeriac. Pour in the water of stock. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover the pan, and simmer for 10 minutes or until the celeriac is tender. Stir the spinach into the soup, bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Let the soup cool slightly before puréeing it with an immersion blender or in batches with a standard blender or food processor. Add cooked beans if using, adding water if too thick. Reheat the soup, if necessary, then stir in the Ras el Hanou or a little grated nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste. Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt. Or not; it is tasty either way.
This recipe was adapted from http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/2711/celeriac-and-spinach-soup.aspx. I encourage you to check it out as it includes lots of tips for further adaptation.
And, before we go on, don’t forget:
Volunteers ALWAYS welcome and needed!
NOTE: Potential volunteers are always welcome to “shadow” a volunteer doing a task you are interested in learning how to do before you sign up for a market day volunteer spot next year.
Thanks to all who took the time to vote via the American Farmland Trust Annual Farmers Market Celebration last season!!! Our farmers market came in 1st in Massachusetts and #22 nationally in the “People’s Choice” and “Pillar of the Community” categories!! For more information, see :markets.farmland.org
As always, along with accepting credit and debit cards, we also proudly welcome SNAP/EBT transactions in exchange for “Market Bucks.” Our market continues to match SNAP/EBT purchases up to $10 per visit so all of our neighbors can afford to eat healthy local foods. Just stop by the Market Manager Tent to get your Market Bucks. Check back for updates on the new HIP program, brought to you by the USDA and being implemented this summer in Massachusetts.
The Wakefield Farmers Market runs RAIN OR SHINE (except in dangerous weather, e.g. lightening or hurricane conditions). Our next summer season will run from June 17 through October 14, 2017.Please visit www.wakefieldfarmersmarket.org for a complete listing of vendors and upcoming events and to sign up for the email newsletter. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumbler! See you at the Market!Wendy Dennis