, Muskogee, OK

October 1, 2013

Fresh green beans deserve a spot on table

Jill Cataldo
CTW Features

— Sometimes the food we end up eating is not always what we’d most prefer to eat. When time is short, and schedules are full, the easiest meal options often include swinging by the drive thru, grabbing something packaged or frozen from the store, or maybe just snacking on whatever is on hand.

So, when time and energy allow for a good home-cooked meal with fresh ingredients, one item that deserves a place at the table is fresh-picked green beans, like those currently available at the Muskogee Farmers’ Market.

Crisp and full of snap, green beans just off the bush or vine and still firm, provide a texture and sweet flavor that’s hard to beat, compared to those from a can or the freezer.

Green beans also contain decent amounts of several nutrients, including vitamins K, C, A, folate and manganese.

In addition to an assortment of green beans, a wide variety of other locally-grown produce continues to be available at the market including sweet potatoes, okra, green, red and pink tomatoes, yellow squash and zucchini, cucumbers, peaches, green and colored bell peppers, cantaloupes, watermelon, cayenne and other hot peppers, eggplant, red, yellow and white onions, new potatoes, green beans, basil, lettuce, radishes, garlic, asian spinach, mustard greens, kale, micro greens and more.

Growers will also have potted aloe vera and fresh cut-flowers available for sale.

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 hand-made candles, incense, soaps, natural body care products, pet treats 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.

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 Wednesdays and 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. until noon, rain or shine, under the covered parking pavilions downtown in front of the Civic Center.

Chinese-style green beans

Makes 8 servings

1 pound fresh green beans

1 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon peeled, minced ginger root

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

1. Trim beans; place in vegetable steamer over boiling water; cover and steam 5 minutes. Or just place directly into boiling water for 4 – 5 minutes, Drain and plunge into cold water to stall the heating; drain.

2. Add vegetable oil to large skillet and place over medium-high heat until warm. Add ginger, garlic and sauté for a minute.

3. Add beans; stir 5 minutes until heated through.

4. Meanwhile, whisk together water, soy sauce, cornstarch, brown sugar, sesame oil and red pepper. Add to beans. Cook 30 seconds, stirring, until heated through.

For more information, reach Doug Walton at (918) 360-2012, or