Posts tagged with Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market

Farmers Markets Are the Key Ingredient

With fresh ingredients from your local farmers market it is easy to make even the simplest of meals special.

With fresh ingredients from your local farmers market it is easy to make even the simplest of meals special. by Linda Cottin

On Friday, May 10, Micahel Pollan spoke about his new book “Cooked” at the Unity Temple in Kansas City. Several folks from Lawrence were lucky enough to be in attendance. The book is, for all practical purposes, the third in a series of writings on one of our nation’s favorite subjects – food. Pollan swept the country with his diary like travel log “The Omnivores Dilemma” where he sets off in search of the perfect meal, testing the waters of four specific genres of food – Industrial, Organic, Gatherer and Hunter. His booked “Cooked” travels along a similar path, exploring the realm of cooking in his own kitchen and in other kitchens across the continent.

In Kansas City Pollan read an excerpt from his book detailing a special family dinner where he and his son ventured off to the grocery store to select individual microwavable meals for each family member to feast on. As the story unfolds, Pollan discovers that microwaving meals for a family of three makes it impossible for everyone to sit down and eat together. The meal took a total of 37 minutes to prepare and cost a total of $27. He points out this same amount of money could have been spent at any farmers market purchasing enough locally grown meat and fresh seasonal vegetables to feed twice as many people. The locally purchased meal could have easily been cooked in less time and most likely would have been a whole lot tastier to devour.

Even the most inexperienced cooks can make wonderful meals with fresh ingredients from your local farmers market.

Even the most inexperienced cooks can make wonderful meals with fresh ingredients from your local farmers market. by Linda Cottin

Pollan understands the importance of local food and the benefits communities and families receive when there is a strong, sustainable food system in place. In more than one of his books Pollan points to the local farmer as the potential savior of our health, our economy and our overall well being. In his talk on Friday, Pollan drove home the need for year round farmers markets. He explained that the only way to achieve year round local food production was through the support of our farmers and area farmers markets. It is only through strong spring and summer sales and positive interactions with market patrons that farmers will be in a position to take on the somewhat uncharted territory of year round food production.

Lawrence and Kansas City are both blessed with a strong and growing local food culture. Farmers struggling from season to season are filled with hope as patrons turn out in droves during the summer farmers markets. After his speech, but before the night was over, Pollan was surprised and delighted to hear that both Kansas City and Lawrence, KS already have year round farmers markets. The Bad Seed in Kansas City and Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market in Lawrence both offer year round venues for farmers to share their bounty with community members. Ideally, as patronage at the markets increases, farmers will gain the confidence and the resources to grow more and to grow longer.

Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market indoor season has come to an end and their outdoor season is ramping up into full swing. The cool rainy weather has delayed the majority of crops this season, but talented farmers are boasting a variety of fresh seasonal greens, radishes, onions, turnips, lettuces, mushrooms and asparagus. Morel mushrooms have been bountiful this year and though the asparagus has not yet hit its full stride, many tasty stems have been trickling into the farmers market.

Kroeger Country Market sells their locally produced sausages, jerky and other meats at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market.

Kroeger Country Market sells their locally produced sausages, jerky and other meats at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market. by Linda Cottin

While patrons wait for late spring and summer crops, including the much anticipated strawberries, followed by that much heralded first tomato of the season, they can feast on a wide variety of humanely raised, local meats as well as fresh produce. From freshly harvested chickens to aged and cured sausages, Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market has a wide selection to choose from.

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If cooking is not your strong point, the farmers market is a great place to learn about some of the easiest, full proof methods for preparing any product the farmers have to offer. The beauty of purchasing produce directly from the farmer, aside from its guaranteed freshness, is the fact that farmers eat what they grow and they typically do not have a lot of time to spare in the kitchen. Most farmers are great cooks, possessing a wide variety of quick and easy recipes to turn even the simplest of ingredients into a delectable and satisfying entrée. Talk to your farmer and ask them about their favorite way to prepare what they are selling. You will be surprised at how simple it is to make a delectable dish from produce purchased at your local farmers market.

Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market is held every Thursday in the back parking lot of Cottin’s Hardware & Rental at 1832 Massachusetts Street in Lawrence. The market runs from 4:00 pm – 6:30 pm and hosts 20 – 24 vendors. Through the month of May Mr. Bacon BBQ will be serving up his delicious pulled pork sandwiches, as well as his highly popular Pig Pie and Chick Pie. Free State Brewing Company will be on hand pouring several varieties of their locally brewed spirits. Thursday, May 16, roving troubadour L.A. Fahy will provide entertainment and music for market patrons and vendors alike.

Support your local farmers; shop your local farmers market – now and throughout the year.

Avery's Produce can be found year round at several area markets including Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market.

Avery's Produce can be found year round at several area markets including Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market. by Linda Cottin

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Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market to Host a “You Name the Price” Benefit Sale!

Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market offers something for everyone!

Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market offers something for everyone! by Linda Cottin

It’s Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market time!!!! Of course Cottin’s Hardware & Rental hosts an indoor market through the winter, but there is just something to be said about an open air farmers market bustling with neighbors, farmers, musicians and, in the case of Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market , Free State Beer!

Radishes are in season once again at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market!

Radishes are in season once again at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market! by Linda Cottin

Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 4:00 pm the Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market outdoor season will officially begin. As in the past there will be a host of local producers accompanied by a hot food vendor (Mr, Bacon BBQ), Free State Brewing Company and incredible local musicians. The Thursday May 9th market will be filled with music by the fun and exciting sounds of 40 Watt Dreams -featuring Katie West of Truck Stop Honeymoon. There is no better place to relax and enjoy the slowly escalating pace of spring than at Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market.

This week’s market will host 20 local vendors, several of who are new to the farmers market scene. The long lasting cold weather and wonderfully welcomed rain has delayed the sprouting of fresh produce in the area, but the latest rash of sunny days has all but guaranteed the farmers selections will not disappoint. Spinach, Kale, lettuces, greens, radishes, mushrooms and onions are all ready for harvest as well as some asparagus and possibly a few early strawberries.

Lettuce and Greens Abound at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market!

Lettuce and Greens Abound at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market! by Linda Cottin

For those of you who regularly shop at Cottin’s Hardware & Rental you are all but too aware that the store has recently completed a major renovation, inside and out. The process of re-arranging and re-merchandising every inch of the store, though daunting, was well worth it. All the rearranging and expanding of core department selections has left Cottin’s with a plethora of merchandise that they simply could not fit into their new floor plan. In an effort to put the construction phase behind them and as a service to the local community, Cottin’s Hardware & Rental has decided to host a “You Name the Price” Benefit sale. During the month of May the center of the Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market will be lined with tables filled with old and new merchandise. Take anything and everything you want, name your own price and then donate that money to Central Garden! Central Garden is a student and faculty run garden project located at Liberty Memorial Central Middle School on the corner of 14th and Massachusetts Street. The money raised from the sale of Cottin’s merchandise will support the garden’s summer program. Excess proceeds will be shared with other school garden projects.

The Central program is open to all Liberty Memorial Central Middle School students – including new 2013 -14 students as well. The Central Garden program is structured to teach students the pleasures and benefits of healthy food choices through the practice and knowledge of sustainable gardening practices. Students are exposed to all facets of the growing process, from garden prep, to seed starting, weeding, harvesting and best of all – eating. Garden produce is offered to the students through the school’s cafeteria during the school year. Produce harvested throughout the summer is sold by the students at Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market, allowing students to learn important lessons in marketing, business and finance. Community members are also encouraged to participate in Central Garden activities throughout the year – no helping hand will ever be turned away! Students meet in the garden after school every Monday and Thursday through the end of the school year. Once school is out, the summer work schedule begins. Check with the students at Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market for more information on their activities and scheduled work days.

Meanwhile, come join the fun Thursday, May 9, 2013 at Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market. This week’s vendors will include:

Central Garden – No produce yet, but they will be there selling pickets and answering questions….

Avery's Produce - Seasonal vegetables including – Spinach, red Russian kale, Pac Choy, greens, radishes, turnips, onions and more

Mellowfields Urban Farm – Lettuce, greens, radishes and more – sustainably grown less than 100’ from their market space!

Stony Ridge Farm – Farm fresh eggs, jams, jellies, gluten free bake goods, sweet breads, local honey, 100% grass fed beef and more

Kroeger Country Meats - A variety of homemade pork sausages and homemade beef jerky.

Upward Spiral – Pizza crusts, breads and more

Lamborn Farm – Grass fed beef and pasture raised pork

Valley View Farm – Farm fresh eggs and free range roasting chickens

Nut Nation – Locally roasted pistachios and seasoning rubs

Mr. Bacon BBQ – Pull pork, Pig Pie, Chick Pie and more

Free State Brewing – Locally brewed hand crafted beers

Wakarusa Valley Farm – Mushrooms, salad mix and other seasonal produce

Cook's BBQ – Pork skins, canned peppers, peanut brittle and more

Pinwheel Farm – Lamb, wool products and seasonal produce

Johannes Family Farm – Organic grains, seasonal produce and more

Cole Creek Farm - Pasture raised pork, vanilla extracts, veggies and more.

The Yeast We Can Do - Fresh baked goods including scones, sweet breads, caramel corn, pies, gluten free bake goods, jams, local produce and more

Jennifer's Maude & Mary Cookies - Artisan cookies using local ingredients, sprouted grains, and offers gluten free and vegan varieties

Vinland Valley Nursery - Locally grown live plants including herbs, flowers, vegetable starts and ornamental items. Vinland Valley’s plants will be available daily at Cottin’s Hardware & Rental throughout the month of May!

Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market - Thursdays, 4:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market - Thursdays, 4:00 pm - 6:30 pm by Linda Cottin

Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market is located in the back parking lot of Cottin’s Hardware & Rental, 1832 Massachusetts Street, Lawrence, KS. The market runs Thursdays, through October from 4:00 pm – 6:30 pm. Authorized market vendors accept SFMNP coupons and WIC vouchers. Vision cards and credit cards are also accepted. Shoppers can swipe their cards inside Cottin’s Hardware & Rental during regular business hours in exchange for wooden Market Tokens. These tokens may then be used to purchase items from any market vendor. Credit card purchases are subject to a $1 service fee and must be made in $5 increments.

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Savor the Season – Arugula Pesto and Basil Pesto Tasting Event!

Arugula flowers, leaves and seeds are all edible and delightfully flavorful.

Arugula flowers, leaves and seeds are all edible and delightfully flavorful. by Linda Cottin

Arugula , roquette, rocket, rugula or rucola, is an aromatic, peppery salad green. It is very popular in Italian cuisine often added as a raw topping to cooked pizza. Romans used arugula seed for flavoring oils and in Egypt, arugula is often served with seafood dishes or for breakfast with ful medames (mashed fava beans). Arugula grows wild in Asia and all over the entire Mediterranean area and has been cultivated worldwide for its leaves, edible flowers and seeds.

Fresh arugula is just one of the many cool season greens available at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market.

Fresh arugula is just one of the many cool season greens available at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market. by Linda Cottin

Arugula is a great complement to any salad and can be served cooked or raw as a standalone side dish. Arugula works well in place of spinach in most recipes and adds a little spice to any entrée.

This week at Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market you can sample a taste of arugula at the Savor the Season’s Arugula Pesto and Basil Pesto tasting event. Sample a bit of both pestos on a slice of local bread and enjoy the nuances of the different flavors. Both pestos will be hand crafted by Mr. Bacon BBQ using local ingredients, including local garlic and local walnuts.

Lots of great produce is still available at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market final market of the season - Thursday, October 25, 2012.

Lots of great produce is still available at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market final market of the season - Thursday, October 25, 2012. by Linda Cottin

Join us for the final outdoor Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market of the season, this Thursday, October 25, 2012 from 4:00 pm – 6:30 pm. Sample some free pestos, enjoy some Mr. Bacon BBQ fare and relax to the incredible tunes of Rag x 2 –the infamous accordion and tuba duo!

Rag x 2 accordion tuba duo will play at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market, Thursday, October 25, 2012.

Rag x 2 accordion tuba duo will play at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market, Thursday, October 25, 2012. by Linda Cottin

Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market is held in the back parking lot of Cottin’s Hardware & Rental, 1832 Massachusetts Street, Lawrence. Starting in November, Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market will move indoors for the Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market – Indoors! Featuring several local farmers, including Stony Ridge Farm, Avery’s Produce, Two Sisters Farm, Upward Spirals Bake Goods and more! Thursdays, from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm.

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Farmers Markets – the New Social Network

Farmers Markets are as much a social destination as they are a consumer driven market place.

Farmers Markets are as much a social destination as they are a consumer driven market place. by Linda Cottin

Gathering spaces, all cultures have them; a place to join with others in the community, a place to share news, listen to stories, trade goods and seek out services. City halls, round houses, parks, churches, taverns and town squares have served as gathering places over time. Since the beginning of civilization, the most common and most universally recognized gathering space has been the open air market.

Originally, the corner stone of all shopping experiences, open air markets have served as a meet and greet, see and be seen, news and goods exchange mechanism. Eventually, modernization and cultural shifts turned the open air market into the corner store and further consumer development transformed the corner store into the super market, the mall and the big box store. The advent of the internet and social media affected a shift from brick and mortar shopping to online shopping, further removing consumers from the social mechanisms of gathering and placing them into cyberspace, where communication is limited by texting, blogging and online chat forums.

Almost as though society has gone full circle, communities are emerging from the fluorescent lit confines of consumerism to witness and effect a resurgence of open air markets. The most popular of these new age gathering spaces is the weekly farmers market. In the past four years the number of farmers markets in the United State has almost doubled, from 4,300 markets in 2008 to nearly 8,000 markets by the end of 2012.

Upon further speculation, the upsurge in farmers markets and their increased patronage can be rendered as closely paralleling the increase of corporate influences over national food sources. Maybe not surprising to many, the rising number of markets across the country is remarkably reflective of the introduction and proliferation of highly processed foods and genetically modified crops. Whether the increased popularity of local produce and food transparency is a response to big Ag or a social outcome from the general disconnect brought on by sprawling urban development and increased electronic communication, the fact of the matter remains, farmers markets are becoming an increasingly popular economic phenomenon.

According to Michael Pollan, in his October 10, 2012 New York Times magazine article “Vote for the Dinner Party:

Money-for-food is not the only transaction going on at the farmers’ markets; indeed, it may be the least of it. Neighbors are talking to neighbors. Consumers meet producers. (Confirming the obvious, one social scientist found that people have 10 times as many conversations at the farmers’ market as they do at the supermarket.) City meets country. Kids discover what food is. Activists circulate petitions. The farmers’ market has become the country’s liveliest new public square, an outlet for our communitarian impulses and a means of escaping, or at least complicating, the narrow role that capitalism usually assigns to us as “consumers.” At the farmers’ market, we are consumers, yes, but at the same time also citizens, neighbors, parents and cooks. In voting with our food dollars, we enlarge our sense of our “interests” from the usual concern with a good value to, well, a concern with values.

Come join the community this week and show our local farmers that you value the fruits of their labor at Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market.

This Thursday, October 18, 2012, Pickett, Paul and Jeans will play their upbeat eclectic mix of old time jazz and acoustical rhythms from 4:00 pm – 6:30 pm. The Ross Family will fire up their grill and serve up the season’s last taste of Thomasine’s handmade fry bread and Indian tacos. Seventeen of our area’s finest producers will be on hand to share their produce with market patrons and Free State Brewing will be pouring their award winning ales for the 21 and over crowd.

Taste the difference, meet your farmers and share in the community experience at Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market.

Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market is held in the back parking lot of Cottin’s Hardware & Rental, 1832 Massachusetts Street, Lawrence, Thursdays through October from 4:00 pm – 6:30 pm.

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Three More Weeks of Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market

Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market runs through the end of October in the back parking lot of Cottin's Hardware & Rental

Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market runs through the end of October in the back parking lot of Cottin's Hardware & Rental by Linda Cottin

If you haven’t made it to Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market yet this year – or if you are a regular weekly goer – you have three more weeks to partake in the food and fun of Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market. With three Thursdays left in October, the market is drawing near its end, but is definitely not winding down. The last market of the season will be Thursday, October 25, 2012. Plans for an arugula pesto and basil pesto tasting are in the works for the last market of the season and talk of piles of pumpkins is floating around for the remaining markets too. Meanwhile, there are three more weeks to stock up on fall storage crops from the market vendors. Three more weeks to purchase fresh, local, chemical free produce in the back parking lot of the hardware store. Three more weeks to stock up on grass fed beef and pasture raised pork. Three more weeks to enjoy Upward Spiral bake goods, Martin Farm pies, The Yeast We Can Do Scones and Stony Ridge Bake Goods. Of course there will be the small and efficient Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market – Indoors! starting up the first week of November, but the outdoor market – the one with live music, Free State Beer and a hot food vendor, is in its final days for the season.

Fieldstone Orchard has an amazing selection of locally grown organic apples and Asian pears available at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market, Thursdays, through October.

Fieldstone Orchard has an amazing selection of locally grown organic apples and Asian pears available at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market, Thursdays, through October. by Linda Cottin

It seems that every growing season in Kansas is rote with challenges. Last year Spring brought with it an early warming followed by a disastrous late frost – leaving most fruit farmers with empty branches and little to bring to market. This spring saw an end to one of the mildest and driest winters on record, only to be followed by an excessively hot and invariably dry summer. The fruit farmers had a successful year; peaches, followed by pears, followed by apples, but yields were diminished from the heat and drought. An early cooling in August gave vegetable farmers hope for a bountiful fall, but dips below freezing this past week have dashed the hopes for an unusually bountiful extended growing season.

Decorate your kitchen with Two Sister's hydroponic lettuce!  It keeps fresh for days if stored in small bowls of water on your counter top... or make a beautiful edible lettuce arrangement at the center of your table!

Decorate your kitchen with Two Sister's hydroponic lettuce! It keeps fresh for days if stored in small bowls of water on your counter top... or make a beautiful edible lettuce arrangement at the center of your table! by Linda Cottin

Luckily for market patrons and farmers alike, the frost only spread intermittently across the county and with the help of hoop houses and row cover many crops are still available for the picking. This week at Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market you will find the usual assortment of fall crops, winter squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, peppers, radishes and turnips. There will be a large assortment of greens, including chard, kale, mustards and arugula. Backyard produce will have a great selection of micro greens, a perfect addition to any salad or main entrée. Two Sisters Farm will be on hand with their luscious, hydroponic lettuce and assorted other greens. For those looking to warm up a bit on these cool autumn days, Abundant Life Naturals will be on hand with a wide selection of fair trade, mostly organic loose leaf teas.

I spot the hills
With yellow balls in autumn.
I light the prairie cornfields
Orange and tawny gold clusters
And I am called pumpkins.
-	Carl Sandburg

I spot the hills With yellow balls in autumn. I light the prairie cornfields Orange and tawny gold clusters And I am called pumpkins. - Carl Sandburg by Linda Cottin

An added bonus this week at Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market will be a nice selection of locally grown pumpkins, perfect for the jack-o-lantern or pumpkin pie of your dreams.

Fresh Picked will play a free concert at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market, Thursday, October 11, 2012!

Fresh Picked will play a free concert at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market, Thursday, October 11, 2012! by Linda Cottin

Global Café will be the hot food vendor for the week and Fresh Picked will keep patrons and vendors entertained with their eclectic mix of old timey, traditional and playfully fun music.

KT Walsh helps build a "skinny princess" scarecrow during her scarecrow building demonstration at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market.

KT Walsh helps build a "skinny princess" scarecrow during her scarecrow building demonstration at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market. by Linda Cottin

Cottin’s Hardware & Rental is accepting applications for the October 26, 2012 Scarecrow Contest & Auction. The event will be held at 832 Pennsylvania from 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm in conjunction with the October Final Friday’s art extravaganza. Participants are asked to build a scarecrow and pay $10 to enter it into the contest. Winners will be chosen at the event on October 26. Scarecrows will then be auctioned off to raise funds for both the Four Winds Native Center Community Garden and Central Garden at Liberty Memorial Central Middle School. Individuals, classrooms, clubs, groups and businesses are encouraged to participate – both in making scarecrows and in purchasing scarecrows from the auction.

For more information, check out the scarecrow page at cottinshardware.com or stop in at the hardware store, 1832 Massachusetts Street, Lawrence.

Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market is held in the back parking lot of Cottin’s Hardware & Rental, 1832 Massachusetts Street, Lawrence, KS, Thursdays from 4:00 pm – 6:30 pm.

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Please Pass the Mustard…

Mustard Greens and other cool season crops are in abundance at local farmers markets this month.

Mustard Greens and other cool season crops are in abundance at local farmers markets this month. by Linda Cottin

It’s officially fall and with fall comes the true bounty of the harvest. Storage crops and fresh winter greens are in abundance at your local farmers market. Chestnuts are not quite ready for roasting, but peppers are ripe and ready to be roasted. You will find Avery Lominska roasting peppers at both the Saturday morning Lawrence Downtown Farmers Market and at the Thursday Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market.

Avery Lominska roasting peppers at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market.

Avery Lominska roasting peppers at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market. by Linda Cottin

Even though a fair share of the country is still experiencing drought conditions, the past few rainfalls coupled with cooler temperatures have put area summer crops to rest and enticed leafy greens to practically pop out of the ground overnight. Chard, Kale, Arugula, and Mustard Greens are overflowing the farmer’s tables. Looking around at various market booths you will see a wide variety of mustard greens. Though common in Southern cuisine, mustard greens have yet to become a staple in the average American diet. For those liking pungent, peppery flavors the versatility of these seasonal greens is delightful.

Fresh, crisp mustard greens can be found in abundance at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market.

Fresh, crisp mustard greens can be found in abundance at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market. by Linda Cottin

Mustard greens are best – nutrient and flavor wise – when lightly sautéed in a small amount (5 or 6 tablespoons full) of vegetable or chicken broth. For a quick dish, separate the leaves from the stems. Chop the stems into bite size pieces and sauté them for a two minutes before adding the torn mustard leaves. Cover the pan and allow the greens to cook in the broth for 5 minutes. Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and a dash of vinegar.

Great recipes for mustard greens can be found on various internet sites, including this one for garlicky mustard greens from Simply Recipes.

Great recipes for mustard greens can be found on various internet sites, including this one for garlicky mustard greens from Simply Recipes. by Linda Cottin

Add sautéed mustard greens to any pasta dish or add fresh greens to your tossed salad. If you are not a regular mustard green eater, you may want to start with smaller quantities, as the taste is robust and spicy. For a quick meal, make a mustard green frittata with this Food & Wine recipe from Gabe Thompson:

Mustard Green Frittata

1 large onion, diced

1-1/2 pounds mustard greens

16 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Separate stems from mustard leaves. Dice stems and set aside. Tear leaves into bite size pieces. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in an ovenproof skillet. Add onions and mustard stems. Sauté until onions are translucent. Add mustard greens and sauté until wilted. Stir egg mixture in with the sautéed greens. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for about three minutes, lifting edges of the frittata to allow uncooked eggs to run beneath the cooked eggs. When the bottom is set, but the top is still runny, sprinkle with cheese and place skillet into pre-heated oven. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, until frittata is set. Serve warm for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Scott Tichenor and Bill Crahan play regularly at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market.

Scott Tichenor and Bill Crahan play regularly at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market. by Linda Cottin

This week at Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market you will find lots of mustard greens, along with potatoes, squash, mushrooms, peppers, radishes, turnips and more. Mr. Bacon BBQ will be the hot food vendor, serving up pulled pork sandwiches, pig or chick pie and more. Scott Tichenor and Bill Crahan will provide the entertainment with their talented and enjoyable acoustic strumming on mandolin and guitar. There will also be a lemonade/bake sale booth to raise funds for juvenile diabetes.

Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market runs through the end of October in the back parking lot of Cottin's Hardware & Rental.

Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market runs through the end of October in the back parking lot of Cottin's Hardware & Rental. by Linda Cottin

Plan your day and join the fun at Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market this Thursday, October 4, 2012 from 4:00 pm – 6:30 pm. Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market is located in the back parking lot of Cottin’s Hardware & Rental, 1832 Massachusetts Street, Lawrence.

Winter squash, potatoes and peppers overflow Avery's Produce tables at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market.

Winter squash, potatoes and peppers overflow Avery's Produce tables at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market. by Linda Cottin

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Scarecrow Contest & Auction Benefits Local Gardens

Scarecrows have long been a staple in gardens and fields around the world. Traditionally designed to resemble the human figure, scarecrows are intended to keep birds and other pests away from fresh garden produce. Although scarecrows are still used regularly in many European countries, over the years they have become more of a folk art installation, rather than a functional feature in gardens across the United States.

A small group of Lawrence residents would like to foster a resurgence of scarecrows in the area. With that in mind; they have orchestrated Lawrence’s first annual Scarecrow Contest & Auction. Area residents and groups are encouraged to build a scarecrow and enter it into the competition. Throughout the month of October, scarecrows will be on display at Central Garden @ Liberty Memorial Central Middle School, the Four Winds Native Center Community Garden and at Cottin's Hardware & Rental. On Friday, October 26, 2012 the scarecrows will be moved to 832 Pennsylvania Street and a panel of five Lawrence judges will choose the winning entries. All of the scarecrows entered into the contest will then be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Proceeds from the contest and auction will be donated to Central Garden and to The Four Winds Native Center Garden.

Scarecrow events include a demonstration and two scarecrow making workshops. The first workshop will be held at Central Garden, 1500 Massachusetts Street, Saturday, September 29, 2012 from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm. The Scarecrow Making Workshop includes materials for one scarecrow with a paid contest entry fee of $10 or bring your own supplies and the workshop is free!

The second Scarecrow Making Workshop is scheduled for Thursday, October 4, 2012 from 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm at the Four Winds Native Center, 1500 Haskell Avenue, Lawrence. Again, the workshop is free, but a paid contest entry fee of $10 will get you materials to build one scarecrow.

To kick off the whole event, a Scarecrow Making Demonstration will be held at Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market this Thursday, September 27, 2012. KT Walsh will demonstrate proper scarecrow building techniques and share tips and tricks useful in creating a functional and weather resistant scarecrow. KT will be building two scarecrows throughout the course of the market, using clothes donated by the Social Service League and other materials donated by Cottin's Hardware & Rental.

Brad Hoopes, pianist, will provide delightful background music for the event with the help of several of his friends. Rumor has it that Ardys Ramberg may stop by for a quick song or two also.

The Ross Family will fry up some of Thomasine’s delicious fry bread and serve their Indian tacos to hungry market patrons.

Somehow, despite the absence of traditional scarecrows in their fields, many area farmers have been able to stave off pests and produce a delightful bounty of fruits and vegetables for Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market patrons.

This week’s participating vendors include:

Avery's Produce

Backyard Produce

Cook's BBQ (not actually selling BBQ)

Drum Creek Farm

Fieldstone Orchard

Free State Brewing

Iwig Dairy

Martin Farm

My Neighbor Steve

New Boston Coop

Pinwheel Farm

Ross Family Indian Tacos

Stony Ridge Farms

Upward Spirals Bake Goods

Valley View Farm

Vinland Valley Nursery

Wakarusa Valley Farm

The Yeast We Can Do

More information on the Scarecrow Contest & Auction can be found on the Cottin’s Hardware & Rental website or on the Scarecrow Contest & Auction facebook page. Details and entry forms are also available at Cottin’s Hardware & Rental.

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Storage Crop Season Has Arrived!

It is time to stock up on storage crops from your local farmers market!

It is time to stock up on storage crops from your local farmers market! by Linda Cottin

With cool weather upon us, the traditional growing season is creeping to a halt and most farmers markets are preparing to roll up the sidewalks and hibernate until spring. Savvy shoppers know that this is the time to take an extra bag or two to market and stock up on hardy winter storage crops. Winter storage crops can help see you through the winter months by providing nutritious, local produce for months after the ground has frozen. Cool storage crops can be stored in dark, mildly moist areas where the temperature ranges from 45 – 60 degrees Fahrenheit for several months. Cold storage crops do better in temperatures ranging from 32 – 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Basements, closets, areas beneath the stairs and back porches serve well as winter storage areas, depending on the crop and the area’s ambient temperature.

Sweet potatoes can be stored for up to a year when kept in a well ventilated location with 85% humidity and a temperature range between 55 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sweet potatoes can be stored for up to a year when kept in a well ventilated location with 85% humidity and a temperature range between 55 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. by Linda Cottin

Cool storage crops include garlic, onion, potatoes and winter squash. Store these crops in mesh bags or boxes in a cool, dark, moderately humid area, such as a basement. Store potatoes, unwashed, in cloth covered baskets, or place them in a sturdy container and cover with dirt. Many farmers and food enthusiasts with limited storage space find winter squash store quite well in boxes under a bed.

Pears and apples can be store for several months when individually wrapped and stored at a temperature between 32 - 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pears and apples can be store for several months when individually wrapped and stored at a temperature between 32 - 45 degrees Fahrenheit. by Linda Cottin

Cold storage crops include apples, beets, cabbage, carrot, parsnip, pear, radishes, rutabaga and turnips. All of these crops can be kept refrigerated for up to two months. Wrapping fruits individually in paper will absorb access moisture and protect the good fruits from ones that may go bad. Create a natural refrigerator by packing produce into a sealed container filled with damp sand. This works especially well with root crops such as carrots or turnips.

A wide variety of local produce is available at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market on Thursdays - through October.

A wide variety of local produce is available at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market on Thursdays - through October. by Linda Cottin

This week at Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market you will find a wide selection of winter storage crops. There will be winter squash, pumpkins, apples, pears, onions, garlic and beets. Several farmers will have winter greens, including kale, chard, collards and arugula. Bakers will have a sweet supply of breads, pizza crusts, muffins, coffee cakes, pies, and more. Wakarusa Valley Farm will have local mushrooms and Nut Nation will be on hand with samples of their delicious pistachios. Backyard Produce will be there with fresh micro greens and Nut Nation will be there with samples of their locally flavored pistachios. Avery’s Produce will be roasting peppers again. Roasted peppers and cut up unroasted peppers can easily be frozen for future use.

Pepper roasting is a great method to store this year's bounty of peppers.  Roasted peppers can be added to almost any dish for added flavor and increased deliciousness!

Pepper roasting is a great method to store this year's bounty of peppers. Roasted peppers can be added to almost any dish for added flavor and increased deliciousness! by Linda Cottin

This week’s hot food vendor will be the Eudora High School Culinary Team. The team, lead by former Free State Brewing Company Head Chef, Rick Martin, will make their first foray into the retail side of the food business. The students will be grilling up fresh local beef or bison burgers and serving them on fresh baked bread, made with local Kansas flour. Condiments will include, Alma cheese, Eudora High Culinary Art Student’s pickles, house made ketchup and mustard. The students are also hoping to make homemade potato chips!

Pickett, Paul and Jeans entertain patrons and vendors at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market, Thursdays, from 4:00 pm - 6:30 pm.

Pickett, Paul and Jeans entertain patrons and vendors at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market, Thursdays, from 4:00 pm - 6:30 pm. by Linda Cottin

Pickett, Paul and Jeans, Lawrence’s hottest new acoustical trio, will set the market mood with their traditional and eclectic mix of blues, jazz and old timey songs.

Come join the fun at Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market, this Thursday, September 21, 2012 from 4:00 pm – 6:30 pm. Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market is located in the back parking lot of Cottin’s Hardware & Rental, 183 Massachusetts Street, Lawrence, KS.

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Pear Affair at Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market!

Pears and apples from Stony Ridge Farm, available at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market.

Pears and apples from Stony Ridge Farm, available at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market. by Linda Cottin

Pears are one of the world’s oldest cultivated fruits, dating back to 5,000 B.C. when a Chinese diplomat forsook his public responsibilities and began grafting pears, persimmons, almonds and other members of the Rosaceae (Rose) family. Although exact origins are not known, it is suspected that two strains of pears developed simultaneously, the Asian or apple pear, in China and the other, more common soft flesh pear, in Europe and Northern Africa. Pears grew quickly in popularity and where eventually brought to North American by colonial settlers in the mid sixteenth century. Today pears remain a popular crop in the United States, with over 600,000 tons of pears being harvested nationally and 75,000 metric tons of pears being imported from China, Chile, New Zealand and Argentina for US consumption.

Bernie Antes harvests pears for the Pear Affair at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market, Thursday, September 13, 2012 from 4:00 pm - 6:30 pm.

Bernie Antes harvests pears for the Pear Affair at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market, Thursday, September 13, 2012 from 4:00 pm - 6:30 pm. by Linda Cottin

There are over 3,000 varieties of pears and about a dozen popular types in the US. The most common pear is the Bartlett, also known as the Stairs or Williams pear. The term “pear shaped” takes it lead from the Bartlett pear’s wide base and tapered neckline. Bartlett’s speckled green skin turns yellow as it ripens. They are delicious fresh, baked or canned. Other common pear varieties include the Anjou, Asian, Bosc, Comice, Concorde, Forelle, Seckel, and Stark. Asian pears are round and crisp. Unlike other pears that will yield to pressure when ripe, Asian pears remain firm and can only be judged for ripeness by their aromatic smell.

Asian pears from Fieldstone Orchard are available at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market.

Asian pears from Fieldstone Orchard are available at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market. by Linda Cottin

With the help of Stony Ridge Farm, Fieldstone Orchard and The Orchard, Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market will host Lawrence’s inaugural Pear Affair! Sample nearly a dozen different varieties of pears, gather some recipes for pear dishes and shop for pears from several area farmers. Stop by Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market this Thursday, September 13, 2012 and taste some of the season’s finest fruits. Oliver Good from the band Vegetable will provide back ground music for the event and Mr. Bacon BBQ will be on hand serving up his delicious pig pie, chick pie, pulled pork and maybe even some of his infamous Mr. Bacon Burritos!

Mr. Bacon BBQ cooks up some hot, fresh BBQ at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market.

Mr. Bacon BBQ cooks up some hot, fresh BBQ at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market. by Linda Cottin

Avery Lominska will have his pepper roaster fired up and rolling, so you can smell the deliciousness of fall in the air and purchase a bag or two of roasted peppers to take home with you.

Avery's Produce peppers await roasting at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market.

Avery's Produce peppers await roasting at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market. by Linda Cottin

The farmers and the bakers will be there too, with fresh picked fall produce including an amazing late crop of tomatoes, kale, chard, arugula, winter squash, root vegetables, and freshly baked breads and sundries.

A young farmer-in-training helps keep produce fresh for The Yeast We Can Do patrons at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market.

A young farmer-in-training helps keep produce fresh for The Yeast We Can Do patrons at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market. by Linda Cottin

Free State Brewing Company and Iwig Dairy will sell their wares at market, affording market goers a chance to make some special pairings of beer and pears or ice cream and pears…

As an added bonus Just Food will be at the market promoting their upcoming food drive. Just Food is one of those great non-profits where you know that everything you donate goes right into the tummies of those who need it most!

Come join the fun this week at Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market, located behind Cottin’s Hardware & Rental, 1832 Massachusetts Street, in Lawrence. The market runs Thursdays, through October, from 4:00 pm – 6:30 pm.

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Farmers Markets Continue Through October!

Unique varieties of produce can often be found at local farmers markets, like these watermelon radishes.

Unique varieties of produce can often be found at local farmers markets, like these watermelon radishes. by Linda Cottin

September and October have always been interesting months for Midwestern farmers markets. As August wanes, the end of summer crops signals the coming of fall and the harvest of bountiful storage crops marks the impending end of the outdoor shopping season. The school year starts, people get busy, schedules change and little time is left for leisurely shopping in open air markets. During normal years, there is a drop in market attendance that typically coincides with an onslaught of local produce as cooler weather brings everything to fruition. This year, the drought and high heat has taken its toll on crops and many of the traditional end of summer staples are in short supply, while the fall crops and cool weather plantings are still a few weeks away from harvest. While most people are busy with fall activities, the oppressive heat of summer still weighs heavy on their minds, and they are making time to enjoy these last few months of outdoor activities, including local farmers markets.

Locally grown fresh produce is is still available at Farmers Markets across the state.

Locally grown fresh produce is is still available at Farmers Markets across the state. by Linda Cottin

As the growing season creeps to a close, vegetable growers are accepting the reality that it was a far from wonderful growing season. Although most were able to bring a fair amount of produce to market, the overall yield on most every crop was below normal expectations. By now, some farmers have thrown in the towel for the year and set their sights on next year, as the perpetually optimistic farmer is obligated to do. Other farmers have rushed to try their hand one more time at coaxing sustenance from the soils of the earth, sowing rows of cool weather greens and late season root vegetables. It has been a year of mixed blessings for many fruit growers. Peaches and pears have fruited with determination, lading branches with an acceptable and beneficial crop of sweetness. While the apple harvest is far from abundant, it is substantial and much appreciated by growers and eaters alike.

With ever changing weather patterns looming over their lands, some growers have chosen to remove themselves from the uncertainties of Mother Nature, while accepting the financial burden of increased infrastructure and other added expenses. Using temperature controlled green houses and alternative growing methods, farmers are able to grow year round, providing a continuous supply of certain crops regardless of seasonal changes and climate inconsistencies.

Fresh micro greens are available from Backyard Produce at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market.

Fresh micro greens are available from Backyard Produce at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market. by Linda Cottin

Backyard Produce has been growing micro greens indoors for many years. Micro greens are tiny, edible seedlings of various vegetables and herbs. Harvested when they are between one and two inches tall, micro greens a great source of Vitamins A and C, calcium, fiber and beta-carotene, among other things. These mini versions of grown up plants have uniquely intense flavors that work well in salads and smoothies or as a topping for soups, sandwiches, meats and almost any other dish. Micro greens became popular in the United States in the mid 1990’s and have grown in popularity as chefs and foodies alike have noted their versatility and unique flavors, coupled with their nutrient rich properties. Not to be confused with sprouts, micro greens are grown in soil or soil like mediums and require sunlight, space and good ventilation. Sprouts are germinated in an enclosed water system, typically a large canning jar or other air tight container. Micro greens are harvested by cutting the plant at the base of the stem, unlike sprouts, which are consumed in their entirety. Backyard Produce grows all of their micro greens without pesticides or chemicals to further enhance the health benefits and tastiness of their products. Servicing local restaurants and grocery stores year round from their home based green house, Backyard Produce is able to guarantee a continuous supply of fresh, nutrient rich produce for local consumers.

Fresh greens and lettuces are available from Two Sisters Farm at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market.

Fresh greens and lettuces are available from Two Sisters Farm at Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market. by Linda Cottin

Two Sisters Farm, located minutes from Lawrence in Lecompton, Kansas recently turned to greenhouse hydroponics to provide the Lawrence area with a year round supply of fresh, locally grown greens and lettuces. Hydroponic systems have many environmental advantages over soil based or large-scale, industrialized agricultural methods. The Two Sisters Farm system uses up to 60 percent less water and the solution that nourishes their plants is recycled and reused. Hydroponic systems can grow four times as much as conventional soil systems and they typically do not deplete soil nutrients or contribute to soil erosion, as many industrial systems do. Two Sisters farm uses no chemical based pesticides on their products. Instead, like many sustainable farmers, they use pest management programs based on biological controls, exclusion, and prevention. For example, rather than spray a chemical to eliminate a “problem” insect, they would employ “good bugs” like ladybugs to manage the “bad bugs” naturally.

Two Sisters Farm, like most local producers, harvest produce within twenty four hours of sale. The difference is, with hydroponic lettuce, the roots are left intact, so if the roots are kept moist, consumers can store the produce in their refrigerator for several weeks and still enjoy the nutritional and culinary benefits of fresh, crisp greens.

This week at Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market you will find the usual array of wonderful local farmers, including Backyard Produce and Two Sisters Farm. Fruit growers will be on hand with an ample supply of peaches, pears and apples, along with the season’s last harvest of watermelon and cantaloupe. Patrons will still find an ample supply of peppers, egg plant, winter squash, okra, garlic, and potatoes, with a good mix of greens, including chard, kale, mustard and collards. A few lone cucumbers, summer squash and tomatoes will likely be available for those looking to savor one last taste of summer deliciousness.

Mr. Bacon BBQ will fire up his smoker and deliver piping hot, fresh pull pork sandwiches, pig pie, chick pie and more. Grab a Free State beer, a bag full of produce and sit down and listen to the enjoyable strumming of roving troubadour LA Fahy at Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market, this Thursday, August 30, 2012 from 4:00 pm – 6:30 pm.

Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market is held every Thursday through October in the back parking lot of Cottin's Hardware & Rental.

Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market is held every Thursday through October in the back parking lot of Cottin's Hardware & Rental. by Linda Cottin

Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market is located in the back parking lot of Cottin’s Hardware & Rental, 183 Massachusetts Street, Lawrence, KS. Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market accepts EBT payments from Vision card holders, using the wooden token system. Market tokens can be purchased inside Cottin’s Hardware & Rental during regular business hours. Qualified vendors also accept Senior Farmers Market Nutritional Program vouchers and WIC Fruit and Vegetable vouchers. The market will run through the end of October and then move inside Cottin’s Hardware & Rental for Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market – Indoors!

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