By Sue Davis, Extension Master Gardener Volunteer
SALISBURY — Unfortunately, the extreme heat is taking its toll on our favorite vegetables. Last Saturday I heard from several vendors that beans, cucumbers and corn were already showing signs stress from the heat. Because our growing season makes it possible to replant corn and beans several times during the season, we may find temporary shortages, but we know our market vendors will cope with the heat to keep us well supplied with the vegetables and fruits we love.
Corn, tomatoes, peppers, green beans, eggplant, squash and cucumbers were abundant last Saturday. There should be more of the same Saturday at the market despite the heat. Cantaloupes and some watermelons are available from many vendors. There are several varieties of cantaloupes available. Be sure and ask the vendor about them.
Several vendors have blackberries but they are unsure how long the crop will last in the heat. Peaches are available from several vendors, including the bakers who offer peach pies and peach breads.
One of the most enjoyable parts of a visit to the Salisbury Farmers Market is to listen to conversations about how to prepare or preserve a favorite. The topic at Miller Farm’s corn trailer was about cooking corn. “Pull the husk back, remove the silk, pull the husk up, twist at the top,” one shopper said to another, “then cook it in the microwave for four minutes. Delicious!” Near Country Gardens’ table, I heard a discussion about refrigerator pickles as a large box of cucumbers was being carried to a car. The atmosphere at the market encourages this type of conversation.
Holton Hollow Farm has farmstead cheese available. There are always samples to try. Many market-goers have never experienced this small batch cheese. Because farmstead cheeses are made in a specific place, they tend to develop unique flavor profiles based on the feed the animals receive, the climate in which they’re made, and the natural microbes in the air where they are aged. To be labeled Farmstead, a cheese must be made on a farm from milk produced by grass fed cows, grazed on that farm. There are many steps involved in making the cheese, all done by hand.
You can use Food Stamps, WIC and Senior Vouchers and to make a credit card or debit card purchases at the market. Ask any vendor to help you find the market manager, Harry Agner, for more information. The Farmers Market website, www.salisburyfarmersmarket.com, gives you a chance to learn more about the vendors, create a shopping list of items available at the market and to review what is available each week.
The Farmers Market is located in downtown Salisbury at the corner of South Main and Bank streets. Visit the Farmers Market Saturdays and Wednesdays from 7 a.m. until noon.
Sue Davis is an Extension Master Gardener Volunteer with Cooperative Extension in Rowan County.