Today was my last chance to take advantage of the local bounty at the Lawrence Farmers Market—at least until the holiday market—and take advantage I did. I bought all I could carry the half-mile or so home and spent $28.50. And what a haul!
The take included 2 good-sized butternut squash, three carnival squash, 10 pounds of “field run” sweet potatoes (“field run” meaning out of the field and into the bag without washing or curing), a bunch of pretty purple mustard greens and seven pounds of apples, about a third each York, Golden Delicious and Honeycrisp.
I’m quite pleased with my purchases, as I hadn’t gotten any butternut squash through the Rolling Prairie Farmers Alliance this year for assorted reasons. Now, I’ll be able to make Butternut Vegetable Soup, one of my favorites.
Sweet potato cure
Before storing cure the sweet potatoes to promote healing of wounds and improve flavor. Place the sweet potatoes in an area with a temperature of 80 to 85 F and high relative humidity for approximately 10 days.
The Pendletons use their greenhouses for curing, but it hasn’t been sunny enough. I guess I may try the set-them-next-to-the-furnace method. My basement is plenty humid, but I don’t think it’s all that warm next to the furnace. Still, I’ll give it a try, as curing allows you to store the potatoes for considerably longer than uncured potatoes.
By the way, don’t store sweet potatoes in the refrigerator. They don’t like to be cold.
So that’s it for the 2008 Lawrence Farmers Market’s regular sales. (Holiday market to come.) From my point of view, it’s been a great year because fruit returned after last year’s terrible crop loss, but it’s hard to say goodbye, especially since this year, I’m also saying thanks and farewell to coordinator Mercedes Taylor-Puckett (right). She has done a great job promoting the market but is moving on to the Kansas Rural Center where she’ll be boosting farmers markets statewide (if I’ve got that right…). She promises we’ll see her at the market next year, but as a shopper.
Meanwhile, there are still opportunities to buy local produce direct from the producers. I’ll tell you about them tomorrow.