Come to the market this week for a canning demonstration by Katie Strong, our local Virginia Cooperative Extension Agent. Learn how to preserve local fruits safely and efficiently in your home kitchen. We’ll set up our outdoor canning kitchen at the beginning of the market and will probably start the actual canning process around 5 p.m. Katie will be assisted by our market manager, Diane Blust, who recently completed a canning certification class at Virginia Tech. You can always drop by the market tent to talk to Diane about canning!
Also this week, Luanne O’Loughlin from Olio2Go will be with us to sample some of her wonderful selection of Italian olive oils and vinegars. I now order all of the Italian basics for my kitchen from her, and I am in the process of trying a new extra-virgin oil each time I need one to help me settle on the ones I like best for various uses. She will have some products to sell and will be accepting credit cards if you decide to splurge on the one thing worth splurging on for either your high summer or cold winter pantry.
This week Celtic Pasties will have Beef & Guinness, Cottage Pie Style, Mango Chicken, Vegetarian Cottage Pie, Cheese & Onion, and Chicken & Pineapple.
It seems as if we have waited forever for this great weather. The vendors at all of the markets in this area have worked through uncomfortable weather conditions this summer, and we at Smart Markets appreciate their commitment to the markets and to you the shoppers. We know you expect us to show up every week, and we do our best. We have been out in force in 4-degree temperatures in January and 104-degree temps in July, and the most amazing thing is that you have been there, too.
We could not continue through these weather conditions without the support we receive from shoppers. You have been great this summer, and we look forward to seeing you all at the markets through to the end of each market’s calendar. Only one of our markets will close in October this year; all of the others will operate at least through December, and we have three that will operate all year long. This enables our farmers who are planting now for late fall picking and those other vendors who can produce all year long to make a much better living off the land and from their kitchens and help them to maintain that cash flow through the lean months.
At Smart Markets we help our farmers access resources, grant money, and low-interest loans to help them add more value to their crops by canning and preserving fruits and veggies while they are at their peak. We also encourage our farmers to obtain hoop houses and green houses to help them extend their growing seasons. But the best thing we can do for them -- and you can help with this -- is to offer them a year-round market for those products. We are here to create and nurture the demand. That’s where you come in.
I have always loved the fall market, probably because I love the comfort foods that use the fruits and vegetables of fall but also because the fall market is so full of color and ever-changing produce. The greens are so green and nutrient-dense, and I have always thought that the broccoli and cauliflower taste better in the fall. The fall root veggies are also richer in flavor -- the carrots, turnips, beets and potatoes just seem more relevant in the fall. They shine in those comfort-food recipes -- even the meats seem more versatile in the fall. The soups and stews, chilis and pasta dishes with meat sauces can reflect so many different cuisines.
So please don’t forget about us this fall: Smart Markets has scheduled numerous events for all of our markets; check out the event calendar on our website and also our Facebook page for additional information about the demos we have planned for you. Keep a folding chair in your car along with those shopping bags and come sit for a while to enjoy the music, to learn a new recipe that you can easily make at home, or to make a new friend while you enjoy the show.
See you at the market!