MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

April 23, 2013

Spring crops abundant at market

By Doug Walton
Fresh at the Market

— Another week of cooler than average temps will help ensure a long season of fresh salad fixins and other springtime crops at the Muskogee Farmers’ Market, now open every Saturday from 8 a.m. until noon.

The farmers’ market, located downtown directly in front of the Muskogee Civic Center, features local growers with a wide variety of springtime produce including asparagus, green onions, leeks, radishes, turnips, lettuce, spinach, arugula, collards, swiss chard, mustards, micro greens and other springtime leafy veggies.

Stilwell strawberries will also be plentiful, thanks to the wonders of modern agricultural technology such as black plastic mulch and fabric row cover, both used to warm the soil and add frost protection for plants.

Other food items expected at the market this Saturday are farm-fresh eggs, honey, sorghum molasses, hand-made tortillas, tamales, burritos; plus hot dogs, polish sausage and hot links with grilled veggies.

And new at the market this year will be fresh-brewed coffee, yogurt parfaits, homemade granola and a variety of dips and spreads from The Bite.

Nursery growers will be on hand with a variety of tomato, pepper and other vegetable and herb transplants for the garden or patio, as well as lots of bedding plants and hanging baskets.

Vendors will also be there with hand-made crafts, candles, soaps, natural body care products, pet treats and more.

As always, 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.

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.

The Muskogee Farmers’ Market is under the covered parking pavilions in front of the Muskogee Civic Center and will run from 8 a.m. until noon every Saturday, rain or shine, and will open on Wednesdays beginning May 8.

Reach Doug Walton at (918) 360-2012, or doug.ewalton@gmail.com.



Spinach salad with strawberries and pecans.

5 cups fresh spinach (about 1 pound), washed and torn into 2” pieces

2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

1/2 cup of thinly sliced red onion

2 ounces Gouda, Asiago or other semi-hard cheese, grated or cut into thin strips

1/3 cup toasted pecans (to toast, place pecan halves in skillet over med. heat until very lightly browned, approx. 5 min.)

Dressing:

2 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon lime juice (fresh or bottled)

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon water

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Toss together spinach, strawberries, onion, cheese, and toasted pecans. Mix and whisk dressing ingredients; pour over spinach mixture and toss just before serving. Serves 4-6.