Wednesday, May 14, 2014

First Farmers' Market of the 2014 Season

            Saturday, May 3, marks the beginning of the 2014 season of the Zanesville Farmers Market, held from nine to Noon at the Muskingum County Fairgrounds.
            This is a great occasion for the community to come out and celebrate the fact that spring is finally upon us after a winter that seemed to drag on forever.  In spite of the long winter, May really has arrived.  Once again, there is an event to look forward to every Saturday morning from now until October.
            Fulfilling both social and practical needs, a trip to the Farmers Market gives customers an opportunity to come out and say hello to old friends as well as to purchase goods from local vendors.  Meat, cheese, baked goodies, vegetable and flower plants, crafts—all of your favorite items—will once again be available.
            Stop at the Master Gardener booth and one of their knowledgeable volunteers will answer questions and provide some advice as you make garden and landscape plans for the summer.   
           Early season produce may be a bit slow to appear on farmers’ tables this spring, but the soil is warming up, so there are a few things already popping out of the ground.  Look for asparagus, radishes, lettuce, spinach, and other such cool weather crops as the weeks progress.  Spring is also an abundant laying time for hens so look for farm fresh eggs.

            Growing up, mushroom hunting with my dad was one of the highlights of spring, and still is.  The season has just begun, so the hunt is on.  In our family, as in most, the elusive morel, once acquired, is sliced in half, soaked in saltwater (to purge any critters that may be hiding in the crevices), then dredged in flour and pan fried in butter.  This traditional method of preparation is delicious, but my creative-cook friend, Amy Kesting, suggested that I think outside the box and try slow roasting them in the oven.  The following recipe, therefore, was inspired by her idea.

Roasted Morels and Asparagus with Rice
·         1 lb Asparagus
·         ¼-1/2 lb Morel Mushrooms (substitute portabellas or white button mushrooms if you are not having any luck finding morels)
·         1 clove garlic, minced
·         1 small bunch green onions or shallot, chopped
·         2 T. Olive Oil
·         Salt and Pepper to taste
·         Cooked Rice
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Wash and cut asparagus into 1” pieces.  Slice morels lengthwise, soak in saltwater, then lay on a paper towel to dry.  Coat a baking pan with olive oil.  Lay morels, cut side down, on sheet and intersperse the asparagus pieces, garlic, and onions.  Drizzle with more olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Roast in the oven for 10 minutes or so, until mushrooms and asparagus are browned.  Serve over a bed of your favorite kind of rice. 

First Farmers' Market of the Season!  Cute new banner from my sister.

Honey from my friends at Honeyrun Farm.  Check out the link to their blog on the right.

Good friend Lindsay with little Penelope.  Baby's first mushroom hunt was a success!

Mushroom hunting is always fun whether you fine one or one hundred!

Some of this year's finds!

Black morels found right in our own backyard!

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