By Doug Walton
Fresh at the Market
Sunshine and more seasonal temperatures this week should help quicken the arrival of locally-grown mainstay summer crops such as tomatoes, sweet corn and watermelon, all expected to be available at the Muskogee Farmers Market in the coming weeks.
By choosing to be recognized as an Oklahoma Grown farmers market, shoppers at the Muskogee market will find only produce, meat, eggs, cheese and other whole agricultural products that are grown in Oklahoma. And that is why we must patiently wait each year for the seasonal availability of these fresh locally produced items.
In the meantime, other staples of the summer kitchen continue to be offered in abundance, including such favorites as fresh-picked green beans and new potatoes. As it turns out, green beans are especially high in vitamins C, K, A and folate, and are also a good source of dietary fiber.
Other fresh produce now available at the Muskogee Farmers Market includes arugula, asparagus, beets, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, collard greens, cucumbers (picklers and slicers), garlic, grape tomatoes, green beans, green onions, green tomatoes, greenhouse tomatoes, honey, jalepeno peppers, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, microgreens, mustard greens, new potatoes, peaches, radishes, rhubarb, shelled peas, spinach, snow peas, sugar snap peas, sweet potatoes, swiss chard, turnips, yellow squash, yellow wax beans and zucchini (green and gold, eight-ball and regular shaped).
Growers also will be selling fresh-cut herbs such as cilantro, dill and basil; cut-flower bouquets and a few bedding plants, water plants and other items.
Other food items available at the market include farm-fresh free-range eggs; Lovera's hand-formed cheese; Italian sausage; pasta sauce and pickled products; jellies; honey; dried herbs and spices; hand-made tortillas; tamales and burrito; plus hot dogs, polish sausages and chicken dogs with grilled veggies, all the fixings; and lemonade with fresh mint.
Vendors also will be there with jewelry and other hand-crafted items including chunks of hickory, pecan and fruitwood for smoking, candles, soaps, incense, natural body care products, pet treats and more.
GREEN BEANS WITH NEW POTATOES
1 pound green beans (approximately 1/2 to 2/3 of quart-size container), washed and snapped
1 pound new potatoes (approximately 7 to 9 medium small tubers), washed
4 slices of bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup onion, thickly sliced and lightly chopped
4 cups water
4 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste
Begin cooking bacon in large sauce pan over medium heat. Add onion after two to three minutes of cooking and stir together with bacon. Then add green beans, potatoes, water and half the salt, stir to mix and cover. Bring to boil, then simmer lightly for 20-30 minutes, until beans are tender. Add butter, remaining salt and pepper, stir to evenly coat and serve warm, using a slotted spoon.
Reach Doug Walton at (918) 360-2012 or email@example.com.
If you go
WHAT: Muskogee Farmers Market.
WHERE: Under covered pavilions in front of the Muskogee Civic Center, 425 Boston.
WHEN: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday. 8 a.m. to noon Saturday.
ETC.: Not all products listed are available on Wednesdays. ... SNAP benefits (food stamps) are accepted. Customers wishing to purchase eligible foods with their Oklahoma Access card can visit the farmers market tent, swipe their card in exchange for tokens, and shop with vendors offering qualified items, which also include food-bearing plants. ... The Muskogee County Master Gardeners will be on hand with fact sheets and tips on how to grow healthy plants and gardens. ... On most Saturdays, B.J. Charbonneau will teach free Tai Chi classes near the band-shell and lawn area next to the market at about 10 a.m., weather permitting.