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Fresh vegetables still available at farmers’ markets

August 9, 2011

By GWEN SISSON
sdnlife@bellsouth.net

Squash, okra, peas, beans, cucumbers and a few tomatoes are still on the tables at the Starkville and Maben Farmers’ Markets this month.
Dylan Karges of the Starkville Community Market said crops are beginning to slow down and what is available this month at the market may be the last of the summer crops.
“The rain hadn’t come in time to save a lot of the crops, so (what we have had) may have been too little too late,” Karges said. “We see squash, okra, cucumbers peas and beans and perhaps some late corn coming in, and people are preparing for their fall gardens.”
Karges said the Starkville Community Market will be open through Labor Day weekend, despite hopes of stretching for a fall market season. He said with the lack of rain, there doesn’t appear to be enough vendors to justify Fall Market activities.
The Starkville Community Market is open from 7- 11 a.m. Saturdays.
Preparations on the Starkville Market site have continued to evolve this summer. Karges said the market site has seen the completion of the Jackson Street entrance and the Market Mural.
“We are working to finish renovating the site by adding new signage for Boardtown Trading Post including a large antique truck silhouette,” Karges said. “It should be fun, new and tie back into the Market truck and logo.”
The Maben Farmers’ Market is new this year, beginning July 1. Organizers said they anticipate the Market meeting each Friday through the month of August.
“We hope to have beans, peas, corn, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers as well as canned and baked goods and some crafts,” said Jane Collins of the Maben Farmers’ Market.
Lancaster Farms has been a primary farm vendor for the Maben Farmers’ Market, providing a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Collins said Libby McMullen of Maben won the August 5 cash drawing held at 9:30 a.m. during the Maben Farmers’ Market. Because she was present for the drawing she not only received the $30 prize, but also received a bonus of $20.
McMullen said she comes to the Market every week to purchase fresh vegetables, and this week, gave her business to Lancaster Farms. She said has been very well pleased with the nice assortment of fresh tomatoes, squash, eggplant, lima beans, peppers and purple hulls peas that she finds at the market each week.
There will be a drawing for cash each week the Maben Farmers’ Market remains open. For every $5 spent with a vendor at the market the shopper receives a chance to win $30. Shoppers do not have to be present to win, but will receive bonus money if present.
Collins said the “Hummus Lady,” Starkville resident Lisa Dakhlalla, was in Maben for the first time last week. Dakhlalla and son, Abdullah, sold hummus, along with two varieties of pita bread, Basboosa (coconut cake), spice cake and chocolate mint cake.
“Her baklava is to die for,” Collins said. “Her loyal followers can find her at a Farmers’ Market somewhere and stock up for the week.”
And for the next few weeks, Collins hopes she will be in Maben on Friday mornings for the Maben Farmers’ Market from 7 to 10 a.m.
For more information about the Maben Farmers’ Market, call (662) 263-8458.
Local nutritionist, Ellen Easley Wallace is a big fan of using fresh vegetables in menu planning, and Farmers’ Markets provide an excellent resource for fresh food.
Several of her favorite recipes include vegetables available at both local Farmers’ Markets this week.
“(The Cucumber Salad recipe) is absolutely delicious, packed with nutrients, and just about the only fat is heart healthy olives and olive oil,” Wallace said. “This recipe would be delicious made with ingredients straight from your summer garden.”

Cucumber Salad
6 medium-sized cucumbers, cut into 1” chunks
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, rinsed and drained (or 3-4 whole tomatoes, diced)
1/3 cup sliced black olives
4 ounces fat-free feta cheese
4 artichoke hearts, finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon each oregano, basil, thyme, garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon each salt and black pepper
* In a bowl, mix together cucumbers, tomatoes, black olives, feta, and artichoke hearts. Separately, mix together olive oil and seasonings. Toss vegetables with oil mixture. Serve cold.

Grilled Squash and Onions
2 medium squash, sliced
1 small onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
* In a small bowl, mix together olive oil, garlic, lemon pepper, and seasoned salt. Place squash and onions on a grill over medium heat (use grill basket or George Forman). Brush with olive oil mixture. Grill 5-10 minutes or until done. Serve hot.
 
Grilled Tomatoes
3 medium tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon parmesan cheese
Dash of salt
Dash of pepper
* Mix together olive oil, oregano, rosemary, garlic, salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese. Brush over tomatoes. Grill (in George Forman or grill basket) over medium heat until hot through. Can also make using a toaster oven or broiler.

Squash Casserole
* Layer several fresh squash (yellow crookneck, butternut, etc) in the bottom of a casserole dish. Slice an onion over the top. Season with pepper, salt, Mrs. Dash, or whatever seasoning you enjoy. Top with grated reduced-fat cheddar cheese. Crush whole wheat crackers over the top and top with a little light tub margarine or light butter. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes, depending on how much squash you use. 

Squash and Zucchini
* Put a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet and add squash, zucchini, and onion. Add lemon pepper and saute on medium heat until slightly tender. Serve immediately.
* Also works great if you want to add other vegetables such as green beans, asparagus, beets, etc.
 
Other Ideas to Use Squash
* Slice and add to lasagna, spaghetti, or other casseroles.
* Saute chicken strips, onions, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, bell peppers, etc and serve with cheese over baked potatoes.

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