Of the Earth: Winter Fare beckons with community flavor
The Recorder, January 31, 2018, by Wesley Blixt
What makes the Greenfield Winter Fare stand out as something special in this year’s bounteous schedule of winter farmers markets?
Well, for one thing, this is the Winter Fare’s 10th anniversary, not to be confused with last year’s 10th annual event, which, when you think about it, is a different thing altogether, as in the 9th anniversary. This is 11th annual event (and the 10th anniversary), which is not too shabby, no matter how you account for such things.
One person, of course, who would see the sheer foolishness in such accounting, would be the person who, by all accounts, is responsible not only for Winter Fare, but for making the Greenfield Winter Farmers Market the model for the bounteous array of winter farmers markets that we enjoy in this area, and for bringing the Community Harvest Supper into existence, and for generally infusing everything she did with her own special variety of joy, justice, energy, equity and genuine stewardship of the land.
And that was, of course, Juanita Nelson.
Juanita died on March 9, 2015, but for anyone seeking a refresher, I can point to no better source than Mary McClintock’s “Juanita’s Winter Fare legacy lives on,” which was first published here on March 1, 2016, and which begins “Juanita Nelson forever changed my experience of Groundhog Day …” Revisit this entire article here.
Then, of course, there is the fact that Winter Fare remains at the heart of Greenfield’s Winter Carnival — three days of community activities and celebration from Feb. 2 to 4. To see the full schedule of events, visit: bit.ly/1QcdRg4.
This is a bit of what you can expect to find at this year’s Winter Fare, which kicks off at 10 a.m. on Feb. 3 at the Four Corners School at 21 Ferrante Ave. in Greenfield:
*organized by Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA)
All Day: Upcycle Your T-Shirts! with Jess Rigollaud
10 a.m.: Cultivating Mushrooms at Home with Paul Lagreze of New England Wild Edibles
11a.m.: Seed Saving and Heirloom Vegetables with Danny Botkin of Laughing Dog Farm
Noon: Make Your Own Ghee with Hannah Jacobson-Hardy of Full Moon Ghee
- Clarkdale Fruit Farm: Apples, pears, cider
- Sunrise Farm: Organic maple syrup, maple cream, maple candies, ground beef
- Sweet Morning Farm: Eggs, leeks, spinach, kale, microgreens, carrots, daikon, mesclun, chard, pork, chicken and more
- M & G Kettle Korn: Fresh popped kettle corn
- Bostrom Farm: Beef and pork
- Balky Farm: Lamb and goat, rovings, wool blankets, yarn, sheepskins, fleeces, quilted and felted items.
- Barberic Farm: Lamb, meat pies, jams, jellies, sauces, pickles, popcorn, hops, frozen yogurt, eggs, sheepskins, wool, yarn, hats, leather work and squash
- Coyote Hill Farm: Arugula, mesclun, sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots, turnips, squash and cabbage
- Rainbow Harvest Farm: Seasoning salts, rubs, popcorn seasoning, greens, root vegetables
- Eden Pond Farm: Eggs, frozen chicken (whole and pieces)
- Red Fire Farm: Wide variety of greens, root vegetables, squash and more
- All Souls Church: Homemade apple cranberry butter
- MycoTerra Farm: Fresh mushrooms, mushroom growing kits, lotion and toner
- Dr. Cookie: Homemade baked goods including cookies, coffee cake, and other treats
- Hart Farm: Salad mix, kale, collards, broccoli, turnips, carrots, radish, squash and more
- Botanica: Small batch, handcrafted, apothecary bitters, elixirs and aromatherapy blends
- White Buffalo Herbals: Organic, handmade herbals and aromatherapy items.
- Beaumont’s Berries: Low sugar and honey jams
- Johnson Farm: Winter squash and vegetables
- Rag Hill Farm: Hand spun yarn, quilted potholders, wool hats, needle felting kits
- Sweet Roots Gardens: Herbal body products, lotion, bath bombs, lip balm, sugar/salt scrub and sewing kits
- Windsor Jambs Farm: Microgreens, honey, garlic
- Lyonsville Farm: Ginger, winter squash, bunched greens, salad greens, onions, garlic, root vegetables
- Hearthstone Artisan Bakery: Fresh baked Sourdough breads
- Pollinators Welcome: Ecological farming pollinator habitat related products including nest boxes and native seed balls, pollinator habitat services, design and consulting.
Recipes to warm the soul
It’s my great pleasure to re-introduce readers to my friend, Trouble Mandeson, who has some terrific Winter Fare (and, OK, Super Bowl) recipes for us. This is comfort food with attitude, presented with attitude, as any good recipe should be. Both dishes are perfect for entertaining, whether kick-off or just kicking back is on your agenda. So, put on an apron, or another log on the fire, pull up a seat and enjoy some serious Trouble.
Stylianos’ Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie): By Trouble Mandeson
“At 12, I was preparing dinner in rotation for our family of 6, and while my siblings’ sole task was to move mom-prepared tuna noodle casseroles and meatloaves from freezer to oven, I enjoyed creating more complex dishes.
“Ethnic dishes were my specialty, and I can still recall the several hour preparation and presentation of spanakopita — a spinach and feta cheese pie layered in delicate sheets of paper thin filo dough, gleaned from a library cookbook for kids.
“Fast forward a dozen years in pre-party preparation, where a dashing, 6-foot-tall Greek, with the impressive name of Stylianos Papadopoulos, is leading the charge in the preparation of spanakopita for a large crowd. I am tasked with scrubbing both sides of the porcelain sink to spotlessness as Stylianos pours in an avalanche of freshly washed spinach leaves, handfuls of crumbled feta cheese, bunches of torn fresh dill, raw eggs and lots of fresh ground black pepper.
“Digging his bare hands into the mix, he enthusiastically tosses the ingredients and, lining up 6 baking sheets with a pile of filo under damp towels and a bowl of melted butter, we began to assemble the pies (see recipe below). Baked to savory perfection and sliced into triangles, the first bite of the mild greens mixed with tart feta and sharp dill, encased in a golden crispy crust, is hard to resist and is the perfect finger food, hot or cold, for a crowd,” said Trouble Mandeson.
2 bunches of cleaned, stemmed spinach leaves (and/or kale, Swiss chard, mustard/turnip greens)
1 bunch of fresh dill, stemmed and chopped
8 oz. crumbled feta cheese
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 box frozen phyllo dough (defrosted overnight in fridge; unroll on surface, cover with plastic and damp towel while using, do not allow to dry out)
1 stick of melted butter (may mix 50/50 with olive oil)
Clean spinach and mix with crumbled feta, chopped dill, eggs, salt and pepper. Oil bottom of baking sheet, or pie plate, and lay one sheet of filo down. You may either cut to shape or lay out edges and tuck in at end. Brush sheet with butter and layer 12 sheets, buttering each one with a kitchen brush. Add in half of the spinach mix, spread evenly atop the filo. Repeat with another 12 layers of filo, add in second half of filling, and a final 12 sheets of filo on top. Fold edges over top of pie and cover with remaining butter.
Bake at 350° degrees for 30 minutes until the filo is brown and crunchy, cool slightly and cut in squares or triangles to serve.
Vegan Chili: From vegan chef Isa Chandra Moskowitz:
“I am an avid meat eater. I’m so serious about it that my old truck bore the bumper sticker “My parents used to be vegan … until I ate them,” which I felt sufficiently advertised my position as a carnivore extraordinaire. And yet, I do so love my vegetables, and this recipe is one of my absolute favorites. The meatiness of eggplant, and the earthiness of lentils, makes this a very satisfying meal on a cold winter day. Even avowed eggplant doubters will ask for seconds,” said Isa Chandra Moskowitz.
2 T. olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 jalapenos, seeded and sliced thin
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 lbs. eggplant, cut into ½-inch cubes
3 T. chili powder
2 t. ground cumin
2 t. dried oregano
1/8 t. ground cloves
¾ t. salt
1 c. dried green lentils, washed
4 c. vegetable broth
1 15 oz. can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
2 c. cooked kidney beans
2 t. maple syrup
Preheat oil in 4-quart pot over medium-high heat. Saute onions and jalapeno in 1 T. olive oil with a pinch of salt until translucent for 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic, saute 1 minute. Add eggplant and remaining oil and cook 5 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally, until eggplant has released moisture and softened. Add chili powder, cumin, oregano, cloves and remaining salt and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add lentils, broth and tomatoes, cover, bring to boil, lower heat and simmer about 40 minutes until lentils are tender. Add in beans and maple syrup, salt to taste. Serve with chopped cilantro or scallion and sour cream and/or grated cheese.
Jansson’s Temptation: by David Ferth
Like scalloped potatoes, which my mother made, but with a ‘secret’ ingredient — anchovies!
In this case, these super-salty little herring melt in the mixture, spreading the saltiness and cannot otherwise be distinguished, making for a delectable side dish or main course. Possible origins: Named after Swedish opera singer Per Adolf (Pelle) Janzon (1844-1899); or named for 1928 Swedish film of 1928 — “Jansson’s Frestelse,” as the dish is known in Sweden.
However, I much prefer this version of its origin story: A man decided to give up all earthly pleasures and live the life of an ascetic. He wandered the woods alone for years, surviving on roots, berries, small animals, etc. One day, he caught an exquisite scent coming from a house and investigated. The smell was so wonderful he couldn’t help but knock on the door. An old couple invited him in and they fed Jansson the most delicious food he’d ever tasted. This led him to leave the forest and resume a life among people.
9 to 10 medium potatoes
1 medium onion
5 oz. each of milk and cream
2 tsp. butter
Bread crumbs, optional
Salt and pepper
Chop potatoes into sticks, thinner than French fries. Cook onion slices in butter, add potatoes and cook a few minutes to soften. Layer half the mixture and ⅔ of the milk/cream in an oven-proof dish. Top with 10 sprats. Repeat this layering, add bread crumbs on top, if desired. Bake at 200 degrees for 45 minutes, or until the potatoes are fully cooked.
Wesley Blixt lives in Greenfield. He is a longtime reporter and is the author of “SKATERS: A Novel.” Send him recipes, stories and suggestions at: firstname.lastname@example.org