MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

October 15, 2013

Weather brings leafy greens to Farmers' Market

Doug Walton
Fresh at the Market

— The Muskogee Farmers Market will remain open on Wednesdays and Saturdays through the month of October, and plans to stay open on Saturdays during November.

Cool, moist conditions should allow a continued supply of summer and fall crops, with a fresh crop of leafy greens beginning to show up at market. Lettuce, spinach, Bok choy, mustard greens and a variety of other tasty and nutritious leaf crops are available from some of the local growers at market.

A wide mix of other locally grown fruits and vegetables continues to be available at the market including pears, apples, winter squash, green beans, sweet potatoes, okra, green, red and pink tomatoes, yellow summer squash, green and gold zucchini, white patty pan squash, cucumbers, green, red and other colored bell peppers, watermelon, cayenne and other hot peppers, eggplant, red, yellow and white onions, potatoes, basil, radishes, turnips, garlic, micro greens, a few pumpkins and more.

Growers will also have dried herbs, potted aloe vera and fresh cut-flowers.

Other food items expected at the market include ready-to-eat lunch and breakfast items such as breakfast burritos, tamales, beef and bean burritos, hot dogs, polish sausages and chicken dogs with grilled veggies, lemonade and other tasty items.

Vendors will also have painted pumpkins and decorative gourds, primitive signs, candles, incense, soaps, natural body care products, pet treats and more. Not all produce or other products listed are available on Wednesdays.

The Muskogee Parks and Recreation Department will be giving away potted trees to good homes, with a limit of two per household. Oaks, redbuds, sycamores, hollies and crape myrtles will be available during market hours, 8 a.m. to noon, while supplies last.

On most Wednesdays, from 10:30 a.m. until 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.

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.

Also on most Saturdays, Muskogee County Master Gardeners from OSU Extension will be on hand with handy demonstrations and ready to tackle yard and garden questions from anyone needing their help.

The Muskogee Farmers Market is open every Wednesday from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon, rain or shine, through the month of October. The market will be open on Saturdays only, during the month of November. Find it under the covered parking pavilions downtown in front of the Civic Center.



Savory Mustard Greens

Makes 6 servings

3 pounds mustard greens

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup chopped onions

3 cloves garlic

1 large red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth

1 tablespoon cider or red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons sugar

Wash greens thoroughly. Drain. Cut leaves from stems, then into 1/2 inch strips.

Cut stems crosswise into 1/2 inch pieces.

Heat oil in large, heavy pan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, cook and stir for about 3 minutes, then add mustard stems and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes.

Stir in greens, pepper and broth and mix to coat everything.

Cook, lightly covered, 10-15 minutes, until greens are tender.

Stir vinegar and sugar until dissolved. Sprinkle over cooked greens.

Serve immediately as side dish.

For more information, reach Doug Walton at (918) 360-2012, or email him at doug.ewalton@gmail.com.