By Doug Walton
Fresh at the Market
Some foods just have a way of leaving a lasting impression on people, and for some reason, new potatoes and green beans seem to fit in that category.
Perhaps it’s a generational thing, and these foods impart fond memories of early summer meals of fixins just dug or picked straight from the garden. Or maybe it’s the distinguishing flavors and textures these and other similar foods have when eaten fresh off the vine.
In any case, newly dug potatoes and green beans are now available at the Muskogee Farmers Market, located in front of the Muskogee Civic Center from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Wednesdays, and 8 a.m. until noon on Saturdays.
As most people know, potatoes whether new or full-size contain a fair dose of carbohydrates. But red-skin varieties are also high in many other important nutrients including Vitamin C, B6, niacin and folate, as well potassium, copper, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium and fiber.
Besides new potatoes and green beans, market growers will have an assortment of local produce such as yellow squash and zucchini, cucumbers, sugar snap and snow peas, green tomatoes, radishes, beets, turnips, kohlrabi, cabbage, green onions, baby bulb onions, garlic, lettuce, baby carrots, broccoli, cilantro, spinach, collards, swiss chard, kale, mustards, micro greens, fresh-cut herbs and more.
Producers will also have farm-fresh eggs, bedding plants, hanging baskets, fresh cut-flower bouquets, potted herbs and vegetable transplants including tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash and more.
Other food items expected at the market include a wide variety of ready to eat lunch and breakfast items for enjoying on location or taking on the fly. A few items include yogurt parfaits, tamales, burritos, hot dogs and links with grilled veggies, salads, hot and cold sandwiches and more.
Vendors will also have handmade crafts, candles, soaps, natural body care products, pet treats and more. Not all produce or other products listed are available on Wednesdays.
Today at the market, EODD, the Muskogee Area Aging Agency will be there signing up eligible participants for the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. This food assistance program funded by the USDA and OK-DHS provides a $30 debit card to low-income seniors for purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables at the market. EODD staff will be on hand to accept applications from 9am, until all openings are filled.
On most Wednesdays, from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., OSU Nutrition Educator Michelle Carter-Brown will be at the market fixing simple, affordable and healthy meal and snack ideas with free samples and recipes, featuring items fresh from the market. Demonstrations at today’s market will feature recipes using new potatoes and green beans.
SNAP benefits (food stamps) are accepted at the farmers’ market. 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 eligible items, which also include food-bearing plants.
And on most Saturdays, B.J. Charbonneau of the Muskogee Swim and Fitness Center will teach free Tai Chi classes near the band-shell and lawn area next to the market at about 10 a.m., weather permitting.
For more information reach Doug Walton at (918) 360-2012, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Red Potato and Green Bean Sauté
1 pound baby red potatoes, halved
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
1 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
to taste fresh ground black pepper
3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add potatoes, cook about 15-20 minutes or until almost tender. Add beans; cook about 3 minutes, or until just tender. Drain well. In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic, cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Add potatoes, beans and salt and pepper to taste. Cook about 2-3 minutes, or until heated through, tossing to coat. Add basil and toss once more before serving.