This week United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack proclaimed August 7-13, 2011, as National Farmers Market Week. Saturday at the downtown 3rd & Curry Streets Farmers Market, Mayor Bob Crowell will proclaim Saturday Farmers Market Day in Carson City.
In the height of the season, when the eye is captivated by the countless colors and varieties of fresh produce, farmers markets seem natural, as if they were always there. Behind the scenes, however, small armies are hard at work making this weekly miracle come to life.
As demand grows for fresh, local food, and shoppers seek relationships with the farms that make such food possible, farmers market are bolstering local economics in communities large and small. Research shows that farmers markets spur spending at neighboring businesses.
But the proof is in the pudding as they say and I want to share with you what others in our community are saying about the 3rd & Curry Street Farmers Market. For the past two years we ask our customers, "If you think the Saturday morning 3rd & Curry St. FM is a great place to buy produce and organic and locally grown foods as well as an asset to the community then please vote for us in America's Favorite Farmers Market Contest."
You can go to www.carsoncityfarmersmarket.com and click on vote.
Then, type in 3rd & Curry St. 89703, vote - scroll down and hit complete vote.
Here are some of the comments people have posted:
• The wonderful atmosphere. It feels like going out into the neighborhood where I grew up. I see friends and neighbors every Saturday and the items for sale are fabulous. I plan each weekend's menu around the farmers market.
• Saturday morning markets are a ritual for my daughter and me. Not only do we buy local fresh produce, but it is a place where we interact with the community and feel connected to our farmers and neighbors.
• The produce and other vendors are great, everyone is friendly.
• I think it's the best market. They have the best selection of vendors, wonderful music, great fruits and vegetables and a delicious variety of food to purchase. I've been to all the markets in the area and none can top the 3rd & Curry St. Market.
• It's such a pleasant experience to buy local produce and the vendors become your friends, share their gardening tips and recipes. The market is so clean and well organized and it's fun to sit at the tables and meet new people, share a breakfast burrito and relax in the warm sunshine of the morning. It's my favorite activity on Saturday morning after my jog in the hills; I hot foot it over to the market for my weekly supplies, a cup of coffee and a bite to eat.
• Because the food and products sold there are wonderful and delicious, always fresh.
• Very friendly, lots of products from local farms, great variety of offerings from fruits and veggies, gelato and jewelry to pony rides and bee keepers. It's a really fun way to spend your Saturday and a great way to get wonderful fresh produce for your family table.
This week at the market: every vendor will be offering a "Farmers Market Week Special." We have six more weeks left so take advantage of everything the Saturday morning market has to offer. It's your market; it's our community gathering place. Enjoy it while you still can.
Nothing says summer like a fresh peach from the market. Fay Alberta's are in right now and O'Henry's are coming. Eat them, can them, make jam, salsa, cobblers, cakes, pies and muffins. I'm going to share an easy recipe for peach ice cream that can be made with out an ice cream maker and a great one to have your kids help you with.
PEACH ICE CREAM
3 fully ripe peaches, peeled, stoned and chopped (about 11⁄2 cups)
1⁄4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups half & half or 11⁄2 cups whole milk and 1⁄2 cup half & half
In a bowl using a masher, break up the peaches with the sugar and vanilla until coarsely mashed. Stir in the half & half or milk mixture. Taste and add more sugar if needed.
Place the prepared mixture in a shallow metal pan. Place in the freezer and freeze until firm around the edges but still slushy in the middle 30 to 60 minutes. Remove the pan from the freezer and beat with a mixer in another bowl and return to the freezer until mixture is again firm around the edges. Repeat one or two more times, freezing the mixture until it is uniformly frozen. Let the dessert soften briefly before serving. Ice cream made this way won't be quite as smooth as those that are churned continually but you'll be able to enjoy the refreshing homemade desserts, with the full flavor of ingredients you choose yourself.
• Linda Marrone is a longtime Carson resident, manages the 3rd & Curry St. Farmers Market and is director of Nevada Certified Farmers Market Assoc.