Farmers' Market update

Support your local growers at area farmers’ markets
By: Billie Jean Salle special to The News Messenger
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Opening day for the Downtown Lincoln Farmers' Market was last week and a huge success. Thank you, Lincoln! The weather was amazing, the event was a sell out and everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy the entertainment. The farmers came packed and proud to share the fruits of their labor. It was so nice to see all the familiar faces from past years and catch up on "family" news. After years of participation, one feels welcomed. Every year, we grow and are constantly adding more variety to our venue. I'd like to introduce Allison from Melon Jolly Organics, a fresh new generation farmer from Auburn. Currently, she is selling vegetable starts, herbs and fresh eggs. But as her farm name suggests, she will be melon crazy by summer, bringing not only traditional but unusual varieties as well. Can't wait for a sweet juicy cantaloupe. Like most farmers, Allison picks the morning of the market so it just doesn't get any fresher than that. Stop on in and say "hi". In the coming weeks, we will be introducing other local farmers and sharing some of their farm stories. We will also be telling you what you can expect to find at the market and the specials of the week. We will remind you to check in at the Lincoln Area Chamber of Commerce booth and pick up a free ticket that could win a basketful of produce provided by the market vendors. There will be two drawings every Thursday (no purchase necessary to win). It is our way of giving back and saying thanks. What happened to our spring? It seems to have bypassed us all together and jumped right into summer. These sudden hot days are definitely taking its toll on me; I feel hot and wilted (which equates to feeling lazy). We need the temperatures to gradually warm up to acclimate ourselves. Well, the same is true for our plants and animals. So we are off to a slow start but will catch up quickly. Meanwhile, the hail storms damaged and scarred many of our fruits and vegetables. It may look like things are just not growing … but don't give up on your garden just yet. You might not notice much growth on top but the roots are growing deeper and getting more established. Now that the heat has finally arrived, they will take off and make you proud. This year will certainly be one to remember. Just when we remove the extra blankets, the weather changes and we need them again. The plants are just as confused and behind schedule, in spite of the calendar date. We are experiencing all types of abnormalities in our gardens and orchards. Production is slow and struggling. Fruits and vegetables are misshaped and small in size. We have to go back through the orchards and re-thin our crops to force the remaining fruit to become larger and more appealing. Needless to say, the late rains and hail didn't help either. Those of you growing cherries understand the struggle. Additionally, tomato growers are fighting blight due to the cool and wet weather so expect tomatoes to be late. Normally, we should be squashed out by now. Instead, I can hardly wait to get those baby squashes and steam them whole for the perfect side dish. Apricots, peaches and sweet nectarines are plumping up with lots of sugar and we still have a few cherries so get your fill while you can. Strawberries have been outstanding this year. Beans and eggplant finally arrived. Summer is almost here. All we need are tomatoes and sweet corn! Then it is officially summer. But wait, there is a good side to all of this craziness. Since it has been a cooler spring, our cool weather crops have extended and blessed us with the most beautiful and luscious lettuce, chard and greens of all types. We still have fresh garlic, spring onions and sweet peas. I know you’re tempted to grab that squash but remember to get your fill of the healthy greens while you can. Have you tried fava beans lately? They are a personal favorite of our family. Fava Beans are a great source of protein, calcium and fiber. You don't have to be a gourmet cook to prepare them and the benefits are amazing. Billie Jean Salle is Sierra Fresh Certified Farmers’ Market manager. Fava Beans 1 pound shelled fresh fava beans 1 whole head green garlic, sliced (can substitute dry if not available, but use less) 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 tablespoon soy margarine sea salt to taste water for steaming balsamic vinegar (optional) Melt the oil and butter in a pan and gently saute the garlic until tender. Add the fava beans with a small amount of water and let simmer until the flavors blend and the beans are tender and the water is absorbed. Add salt and vinegar to taste. The aroma will bring the family to the table in a hurry. If you have any leftovers add them to pasta, rice or salads. This vegetable is so versatile and nutritious. Be creative and have fun with a new food. All the Sierra Fresh Certified Farmers Markets’ are now open Tuesday: Downtown Roseville; Vernon St. 5 p.m. - 9 p.m. Wednesday: Lincoln Hills Market, 965 Orchard Creek Lane 8 a.m. - noon Thursday: Downtown Lincoln F Street between 5th and 6th streets 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. Friday: Kaiser Permanente 2025 Morse Av, Sacramento 9:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Friday: New - Roseville Farmers' Bazaar Roseville Civic Center 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.