Every year when the end of summer rolls around and the 3rd & Curry St. Farmers Market is ending, it seems everyone wants the market to continue for just a little bit longer. But the reality is, with the early spring market and this market, we have been going for 20 weeks. That’s almost half a year, and for Northern Nevada, that’s a pretty good run. There was already a small freeze in Dayton a couple of weeks ago that affected a couple of our farmers. I know we’ll be missed, and that’s a good thing, not just for the fresh fruits and veggies, but as a gathering place for a lot of people and as a happening on Saturday mornings to see your friends and neighbors, all the while listening to some great local musicians. You can have a chat with the farmers, grab a bite to eat, a cup of coffee and just soak up what a great community we live in. I know the mayor and I are really going to miss the beignets and the strawberries most of all.
So when you come to this last market of the year from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and fill up on tomatoes, squash, cantaloupe, greens, berries, potatoes, corn, flowers, bison and honey, chat up our farmers and see if their product is available year round and where.
Butler Meats sells farm fresh eggs all year once the market ends, and you can buy local Sand Hill Dairy Milk and cheese at El Centro Market on Highway 50. We also have a new vendor selling fish.
Now is the time to pay a visit to the rest of our vendors and stock up on olive oil, vinegars and splurge on those homemade cupcakes. Not too soon to be thinking about Christmas, either. Sierra Pak has many different items for the hunter on your list. Carol Brown lists an assortment of Farm to Market prints, cards and original art. Casa Bonita’s yard art is hard to pass up, and Art Glass Creations and Jewelry Designs by Jill have one-of-a-kind creations at a great price. If you’re looking for homemade items, you can’t go wrong with Autumn Zemke’s kids clothing and other hand crafted items. Vicki from Workman Farms is now selling her homemade jams and jellies under the Cottage Food Bill, and she buys all her fruit at the market. You can even get an early Nevada Day button at LBJ pottery.
Be sure and stop by all our nonprofits and see what they are up to. Get a walking or biking trail map from Muscle Powered and thank it for manning the Bike Valet at the farmers market for its eighth year. Empty Bowls will be at the last market. Stop by its booth and make a bowl for the Empty Bowls fundraiser the night of the Christmas Tree lighting. This is a great event that takes place in Telegraph Square. Make a donation if you can’t make a bowl.
The Greenhouse Project will be there, see what it will have planned for the coming year. The market will be ending, but there will be so many worthwhile organizations in town who will always use volunteers and help year round.
I can’t end this article without thanking the city for all its support. Thank your supervisors and the mayor when you have a chance and let them know you appreciate our local farmers market. It takes a lot of different departments in the community working together, from the Office of Business Development, Parks and Recreation, Streets, and the Sheriff’s Office. The volunteer deputies show up every Saturday morning bright and early, so a big thank you to Rick Rather and Bill Schillings.
And last but not least, all of you who come down to the market on Saturday mornings and support our farmers and vendors. This whole endeavor would not be possible without all of you. We have the most generous group of shoppers in all of Carson City. We raised more than $1,200 for the family of Deputy Carl Howell and also helped with donations and food for Advocates to End Domestic Violence after that tragic weekend. Just weeks prior we donated more than 1,400 pounds of produce to FISH and Ron Wood Family Resource Center while collecting cash donations of $980 from our vendors and the public to help purchase that food.
We also want to thank Partnership Carson City for helping us accept SNAP at the market. This year with our added value grant we put almost $4,000 of produce in the homes of families that might not be able to afford to shop at the market and in turn that same amount of money in the hands of our farmers. That’s what I call a win-win.
Each year you generously donate to Muscle Powered to help it with its projects around town. With Do Drop In, Empty Bowls, SPCA, the Jazz Festival and Friends of the Library, you are contributing to causes that make our community a better place for everyone, so a big thank you.
If I had to pick my favorite fall and winter vegetable, it would be a butternut squash. I have been sandbagging them for a couple of weeks now. They will keep almost all winter long stored in a cool dry place. Several of our farmers are selling them at the market. You can prepare them so many ways; bake or steam them, make a wonderful soup, add them to a pasta dish or put them in ravioli. My favorite way to prepare them is simply bake them.
Wash your squash, cut it in half, scoop out the seeds and put it in a pan cut side down with about a cup of water, and bake for 60 minutes at 350 degrees, depending on the size of your squash. Then turn them over when they are done, and add any of the following: butter, salt and pepper, brown sugar, cinnamon, dried fruits, a little apple juice or applesauce. The choice is yours and to your liking.
I like the small ones, and they are just right for two people, or get a bigger one and use it for soup or scoop it out and beat it like you would a mashed potato. Better get to the market early because I assure you I’ll be trying to get my hands on all I can!
Linda Marrone, a longtime Carson resident, manages the 3rd & Curry Street Farmers Market and is the director of Nevada Certified Farmers Market Association.