Apr 27, 2020
I am amazed at how we are all adapting to this new landscape around us. At the farmers’ markets we have had to widen the aisles, drop non-essential activities such as music and seating, allow the vendors to pick our items for us and so much more in order to help flatten the curve. Some markets have initiated curbside service to allow customers to still shop for what they need without coming into the aisles. Those in the service of offering food for people to cook at home have gone above and beyond to serve. It shows how lucky we are here in Sonoma County!
May is CalFresh Awareness month. With COVID-19 we find so many people are in need and may be seeing more individuals on CalFresh. CalFresh is a government food access program allowing low-income individuals access to food while providing an essential hunger safety net.
A little known fact is that a lot of farmers’ markets across the U.S. offer incentives for customers using the program. You can see if your local market offers Market Match by checking www.marketmatchfinder.org. Market Match is a program where CalFresh customers can use their food cards at the farmers’ market and get a dollar for dollar match for fruits and vegetables. Some markets match up to $10 and others may match up to $20. Ask how to utilize your card and what kind of incentives farmers offer.
Since we’re all feeling the pinch of less income or no income, I thought I could focus on some ways you can shop at the farmers’ market that will help you stretch your dollars. If you are a meat eater consider buying flank steak, it’s usually more affordable and might offer multiple meals depending on the size. Check with your local rancher at the market to see what specials they may have or if there is something they recommend as a replacement.
As new crops come in you will find the price might be high but if you wait a week or two into the season the price may drop. Buy in bulk to can or freeze your favorite produce. Berries are in season now. You can buy a flat for a lot less than single baskets, to freeze to use in smoothies or in baked goods. It’s always good to ask your farmers and vendors if they have bulk prices. I’m seeing a lot of families buy together using curbside pick up to save by buying bulk.
We are hopeful this time will pass quickly but if it doesn’t we can learn a lot in supporting one another. It is also important to maintain our healthy eating habits to support our immune system. The farmers’ market remains a great resource to the community for all to enjoy.
1 1/2 lbs Red and/or Golden Beets, cooked, peeled and diced
1/3 cup Red Onion, very finely chopped
1 Garlic Clove, finely minced, use a garlic press
4 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar or Apple Cider
1 Orange (2 Tbsp zest and 4 Tbsp juice)
1/2– 1 cup Raisins (optional)
1/2 teaspoon Salt, more to taste
1/2 teaspoon Pepper
1 cup Cilantro, chopped
1/2 –1 cup Walnuts
1 cup Feta, cut into cubes
Arugula and or Cilantro
Boil or steam beets until fork tender. Trim and rub under cool running water to remove skin. Dice into small, 1/2 inch cubes. Place in a large bowl. Add diced onion, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, orange zest and orange juice, raisins, salt and pepper and mix to combine well. Add walnutd and feta. Gently toss. Taste, add more walnutd, raisins or feta to taste. Adjust salt and pepper. Sometimes I’ll add another squeeze of orange juice. Serve in a bowl and garnish with cilantro or arugula.
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