By Doug Walton
Fresh at the Market
When eating with the seasons, one comes to truly appreciate the arrival and the departure of different produce throughout the course of the year. The fleeting nature of this dynamic arrangement seems to add special pleasure when preparing and eating those foods.
And so one great thing about shopping for fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables is the nearly continuous spiraling increase of new items each month of the spring and summer.
When it comes to the seasonal flow of locally grown fruit available in Green Country, you just can’t beat the excitement and joy of following and tasting all that our local farms, forests and fields have to offer.
Starting with strawberries, then mulberries, blueberries, blackberries and now peaches, it’s hard not to find something for everyone. And recently at the Muskogee Farmers’ Market, we’ve also seen a few local cantaloupes and watermelons, with many more to come, over the next month or two.
With the Porter Peach Festival this week, it’s a good time to remember those juicy sweet stone fruits and to be thankful we still have some local orchards whose production may not peak this season for another few weeks.
Farmers market growers will also have a variety of fresh locally grown produce such as green, red and pink tomatoes, sweet corn, okra, cantaloupe, green and colored bell peppers, cayenne and other hot peppers, yellow squash and zucchini, cucumbers, cabbage, eggplant, red, yellow and white onions, new potatoes, green beans, Brussels sprouts, basil, cilantro and other fresh-cut herbs, radishes, beets, turnips, kohlrabi, garlic, lettuce, carrots, asian spinach, collards, swiss chard, kale, micro greens and more.
Farmers also will have potted herbs, bedding plants, fresh cut-flower bouquets and a few vegetable transplants.
Other food items expected at the market include various ready to eat lunch and breakfast items such as sub sandwiches, tamales, burritos, hot dogs, polish sausages and chicken dogs with grilled veggies, lemonade and other tasty items.
Vendors will also have hand-made candles, soaps, natural body care products, pet treats, jewelry, aprons, handbags and more. Not all produce or other products listed are available on Wednesdays.
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. Demonstrations at today’s market will feature fresh local peaches.
SNAP benefits (food stamps) are accepted at the farmers’ market. To purchase eligible foods with an Oklahoma Access card, visit the farmers’ market tent, swipe the card in exchange for tokens, and shop with vendors offering eligible items.
On most Saturdays, B.J. Charbonneau of the Muskogee Swim and Fitness Center teaches free Tai Chi classes next to the market at about 10 a.m.
Also on most Saturdays, Muskogee County Master Gardeners from OSU Extension offer demonstrations and tackle yard and garden questions. This Saturday’s session will focus on the importance of deadheading flowers, as well as helpful tips about turfgrass and lawn management.
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, under the covered parking pavilions downtown in front of the Civic Center.
For more information, reach Doug Walton at (918) 360-2012 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
6 fresh peaches, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspons cinnamon
3/4 cup granola, low-fat
Add olive oil to a non-stick or seasoned cast iron pan. Heat over medium high heat. Add sliced peaches, brown sugar, cinnamon, and granola to pan. Toss ingredients together and heat until all is hot, about 5 min. Remove from heat and serve warm.
Makes six 3/4 cup servings.