Last Summer Farmers Market Before fall Season This Labor Day Wkend

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This Saturday is the last farmers market of the summer -- but not the last farmers market of the season, thank goodness! (That won't happen until November.) Make sure you stop by to stock up on lots of goodness for back-to-school lunches! 

Christine von der Linn will be reprising her starring role at our market as the Vegging Out Lady. This weekend, she'll be focusing on cruciferous vegetables and leafy greens. 

Everybody knows that veggies like spinach, kale, brussels sprouts, broccoli and cabbage are nutritional powerhouses.... but they're not always everybody's favorite foods. Especially the lunchbox set. Never fear, though, Christine will help you out! She has more recipe suggestions and secret tips than all the rest us combined. She'll have everybody in your family clamoring for another serving of GREENS!

And in our Making the Market section below, learn more about popular MFM vendor Pickles, Olives, Etc., in an informative interview with owner Simon Karaben.

See you soon!                  

 

WHAT'S IN SEASON
 

Tomatoes and peppers are at their best right now and we noticed more heirloom varieties of both being offered last weekend. Beets, squash, and okra are still readily available, too. Crops starting to wind down now include corn, cucumbers, eggplant, For fruit, the stone fruits are dwindling as are those scrumptious blackberries we had this year, but the fall crops of raspberries will be coming out soon-can't wait! Apples & pears have just begun to appear, too.

And since September marks the coming of the cooler weather again, we will soon be treated to a second round of leafy greens and crucifers & brassicas; these are the veggies in the broccoli & cabbage family and tend to be slightly heartier and bitter tasting. Throughout September, we will explore some of those vegetables and offer you delicious ways to enjoy them. 

Here are a few botanical facts to get us started:
These vegetables are widely cultivated and include broccoli (including broccoli rabe), bok choy, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, collards, horseradish, kohlrabi, turnips, radishes (Daikon especially), rutabaga, mustard seeds, wasabi, and many bitter greens including kale, cress, arugula, mustard greens, and Tatsoi.
 
The traditional Latin name of the plant family is Cruciferae (thus crucifers), meaning "cross-bearing," from the shape of their flowers, whose four petals resemble a cross-like or crucifix shape. However, crucifers are all part of the Brassicaceae family and the term brassica is now more widely used by scientists; in Latin, brassica translates to cabbage which is the most common member of this vegetable group. Farmers often refer to them as Cole Crops (as in Cole Slaw--the famous cabbage dish) or Mustard Crops (for all the mustardy, bitter tasting plants).  
 




Next week: nutrition and cooking tips for crucifers.

RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Spiralized Kohlrabi, Broccoli, and Zucchini in Zesty Sauce

This recipe comes from fellow MFM volunteer Montana Horowitz, a smart, creative lady and a terrific mom (who just celebrated her adorable son's first birthday last week!). She shared this delicious recipe which highlights crucifers beautifully and allows you to use whatever seasonal veggies you want to add to it. It calls for a spiralizer tool to make those nifty, long curls, but you can also substitute with the slicer or shredder attachment of your food processor or, with a little more time and patience, your own good knife skills to cut them into thick matchsticks.

Ingredients:
  • 1 kohlrabi
  • 1 small head broccoli
  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 Tbsps olive oil
  • ¼ cup chicken stock
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice or rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Sriracha or other pepper sauce (visit the Defcon booth!). Optional if you don't like heat
  • Garnishes of your choice: try black sesame seeds, scallion, sprouts, or other cooked veggies (her golden beets look perfect, I think)
  • Optional: any cooked protein of your choice

Directions:
  1. Peel one kohlrabi and spiralize using your favorite method. Peel the outer layer of a broccoli stem. Trim both ends and spiralize; cut some florets into small pieces. Trim ends of zucchini and spiralize.
  2. Heat oil over medium high and sautée veggies with a pinch of salt for about 3 to 5 minutes. While the veggies cook, mix together the soy sauce, chicken stock, sriracha, peanut butter, and the lemon juice or vinegar.
  3. Add the sauce to the pan and cook for another 2-3 minutes until integrated and vegetables are just tender.
  4. Garnish and serve.
Makes 3-4 servings
MAKING THE MARKET
This week we spoke to Sinan ("Simon") Karaben, the owner of Pickles, Olives, Etc.. Their weekly booth is a favorite among shoppers and children, who can always be found accompanying their parents, pickle in hand, gleefully devouring their wax paper-wrapped treat. Get to know our friends from Lyndhurst, NJ!

 

MFM: By way of introduction, when people visit your booth at the Metuchen Farmers Market, who are the friendly guys we see and what are their roles in the company?

 

SK: We are a family business. I am the owner and am there on Saturdays at Metuchen. My brother-in-law, Al Sozer, also joins me most Saturdays and we have additional experienced helpers who fill in.

 

MFM: When and where was Pickles, Olives, Etc. founded?

 

SK: It was founded in 2002 by Al and my sister, Yonca Sozer. In 2003 we won the Small Business Award of the Year by New York City. We started with a small retail store in the Upper East Side of Manhattan and continued to grow from there.

 

MFM: How did you then expand the company?

 

SK: After we opened our store in the city, we started to set up at the various street fairs and eventually opened another retail store in New Jersey. At one of the street fairs, a customer told us about her grandmother's horseradish pickle recipe that she could not find anywhere. At the time, no store carried them. So we developed the recipe and added them to our line of products, much to her and the public's pleasure as they became one of our bestsellers. This is how we grow our business; with passion, hard work, and input from our customers.

 

MFM:  When did you start selling at Farmers Markets and why?

 

SK: We expanded to Farmers' Markets in 2009. At that point, Al & Yonca continued to develop wholesale and I wanted to focus on the retail side. We currently appear at about 20 Farmers Markets a week throughout the tri-state area.

 

MFM: What are your bestsellers?

 

SK: Our most popular product is the half-sour pickles, which are the crunchy, less salty ones. Next would be mixed olives and our handmade appetizers.

 

MFM: Do you each have a favorite product?

 

SK: My favorite is the full-sour pickles; these are the traditional garlic pickles. Al likes the sweet and horseradish pickles and Yonca loves the half-sours.

 

MFM: How and when do you decide to add a new product to your lineup?

 

SK: At the end of every season, we review our customers' requests and we work on new recipes and varieties from them. The feedback from the farmers markets is a huge help in determining the next season's add-ons. For example, this year we added Tabouli salad and babaganoush to our existing appetizer line which were big hits.

 

MFM: Generally, what products are imported and which are made in NY/NJ?

 

SK: All of our olives are imported from Mediterranean countries since they do not grow in NJ. Our pickles and appetizers are all made in NJ.

 

MFM: Are there political and economic factors that determine the pricing and availability?

 

SK: We have been contracting with our overseas producers and manufacturers for many years now, so if there are any price fluctuations, we step up to absorb the price differences rather than pass them along to our customers.

 

MFM: Do you have any funny stories to share?

 

SK: We once had an A-list Hollywood actor visiting one of our NY markets. He could not resist our half-sours but discovered that he did not have any cash with him after we'd already packed them up. We told him not to worry, that it was on us. To our surprise, he came back with cash from a nearby ATM and we topped our encounter with a selfie!

 

MFM: Tell us something (or a few things!) surprising about yourself and/or something about a product that people might not know.

 

SK: We are big olive lovers and we have 64 different varieties in our line, though we only bring 12 to Metuchen Farmers Market. We custom-make our own mixed olives and they are unmatched in the U.S. market. Olives are extremely good for a healthy diet as they are all-natural and fermented.

Something new about me? I'm getting married this winter!!

 

MFM: Is it true that pitted olives are less flavorful than those with pits?

 

SK: Here is the secret behind olives with pits and without: there really isn't one!. They both have their unique textures. It would be unfair to rank one above the other. If you like the convenience (especially when including them in salads or other recipes, go with the pre-pitted olives. But if you enjoy chewing around the pit or if you have the time to pit your own, choose those. It's a personal choice rather than a taste matter.

 

MFM: Which pickles age the longest in brine?

 

SK: Full-sour pickles sit the longest in the brine. It takes months to achieve a good full-sour pickle.

 

MFM:  Do you have any favorite dishes or recipes using your products?

 

SK: Everyone loves a good pasta dish. Our olive tapenade is a great ingredient that makes it easier. Heat some olive oil and sizzle some chopped garlic until barely colored, add in some capers and the tapenade. Toss it with your favorite pasta. You'll never go wrong with this one! Enjoy!  

WEEKLY VENDORS

  • 2 Chicks with Chocolate
  • Country Stand Farm 
  • Farmer Al's Market
  • The Farmer & the Chickpea
  • Gourmet Nuts & Dried Fruits
  • Hoboken Farm Stand
  • Pickles and Olives Etc.
  • Stonybrook Meadows Farm
  • Sugar Maple Jerseys
  • Von Thun's Country Farm Market
  • Whistling Wolf Farm
  • Wood Stack Pizza Kitchen

NON-WEEKLY VENDORS

  • Bang Cookies
  • Marafiki

 

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