Customer Spotlight: Gina and Mark

In celebration of Customer Appreciation Day (coming up on May 27), we thought it would be fun to “shine the light” on a few long-time friends of Farmers’. This is part of a week-long series. So stay tuned!

First up!

Meet Gina and Mark

 

Gina and Mark are familiar faces at Farmers’.

 

Q: How long have you been a Farmers’ Market customer?

A: We’ve been customers since before Patrick owned the place! We were customers at the market from it’s inception—over 30 years ago

Q: Why do you enjoy shopping here?

A: We enjoy shopping here because we love the atmosphere and we can get everything we need to eat well. We shop here almost exclusively for our dinners. Why would we go anywhere else? We also love the young people at the checkout and the old people who run the place 😉

Q: Which three Farmers’ Market items would you bring with you to a deserted island?

A: If we could only choose three items to take with us to a deserted island…. well, this is a very tough question—I don’t think we’ve EVER left the market with only three items in our basket. But, if we HAD to choose: First, of course, would be a bottle of wine. The second two items would have to be something that goes well with the wine. So, I guess that would be a great piece of cheese and a loaf of bread. Can we have four? We’d have to have a fresh apple or a pear. See what I mean, you can’t limit yourself!

Thank you, Gina and Mark, for taking the time to take part in this fun little project!

See everyone at Customer Appreciation Day on Monday, May 27 (all items in the store will be 20% off). 

 

Introducing Our “New” Apple Pie with Champlain Orchards Apples

 

Our apple pies may look the same, but we think they taste a little different.

The bakery team is excited to announce that we’re now baking with Champlain Apples, fresh from Shoreham, Vermont.

Not only do we think they make better apple pies, we’re also proud to support this family-owned, ecologically-managed orchard. Their apples are eco-certified by the Integrated Pest Management Institute of North America, which means they’re committed to using natural and eco-sensitive methods to ward off pests and disease.

Champlain Orchards is one of the oldest, continually operating orchards in Vermont. Bill and Andrea Scott have owned the orchard since 1998. Their ecological farming practices include using wood chips from pruned branches as a natural mulch around the base of their trees to in increase plant health. Rather than pesticides, they use natural predators, mating disruption, and trapping to keep pests away. To learn more, visit their website or plan a summer road trip. The orchard, with an astounding 110 varieties of apples, overlooks Lake Champlain with views of the Adirondack Mountains. It’s a pretty spectacular location.

If you’re an apple pie lover, we think you’re going to love these apples!

Let Us Cater Your Spring Celebration

 

Thinking of hosting a Memorial Day weekend barbecue? Or a graduation party?

We can help get you out of the kitchen, so you can enjoy time with your guests. Place your catering order today!

Along with any other item on our catering menu, here are a few of our summertime favorites:

 

STARTERS

Tomato and mozzarella skewers

Mini crab cakes

 

SALADS & SIDES

Our New Grilled Vegetable Platter

Not-Your-Mom’s Pasta Salad

Retro Potato Salad

Tomato Mozzarella Salad

 

ENTREES

(just heat them up on the grill or in the oven)

Barbecue Chicken

Barbecue Ribs

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Southern-Style Crab Cakes

Chicken Salad Sliders

 

DESSERTS

Farmers’ Apple Pie (made with Champlain Orchards Apples)

Farmers’ Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Strawberry Shortcake

Call us to place an order: 802-457-3658, ext. 224.

Market Moms Describe Their Perfect Mother’s Day

Our Market Moms. From left to right: Stacy, Jacquie, Amanda, Courtney, Jen, Mollie, Holly, Mandy, and Julie (not pictured: Mel, Nina, Brooke, Robin, Emily, Stacy, and Michelle).

 

We’re celebrating Moms this week at the Farmers’ Market. Because Moms really do make the world go ’round.

That’s why we treat them extra special on Mother’s Day.

Along with chocolates and flowers (and maybe even a special meal they don’t have to prepare or clean up), what do Moms wish for? To find out, we went straight to the source. We asked our Market Moms to describe their perfect Mother’s Day. This is what they said:

Nina: Spending it with my beautiful 10-year-old daughter, my husband, and my cat.

Jen: A really good breakfast and something outdoorsy with my family, followed by some me-time. And then I’d top it off with cauliflower crusted pizza with all of my favorite toppings!

Stacy: I don’t have to work and can stay in my room and watch movies all day long.

Jacquie: Being with my daughter who lives far away.

Stacy: To me, Mother’s Day is every day.

Amanda: Getting everyone out of the house, away from all the distractions, for a hike and picnic.

Holly: Spending time with my children when we try to make the day a “together day.”

Julia: Spending some outdoor time with my wife and son! But also enjoying some Farmers’ desserts after my son goes to bed…

So there you have it! A little bit of family time, a little bit of me-time—the perfect combo.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend celebrating the Mom in your life (especially if it’s you!).

Ramps and Fiddleheads: the First Foragables of the Season

 

Around here we get super excited when the first green things of the season—ramps and fiddleheads—come through the door. These wildly foraged vegetables have become quite the rage in the culinary world, so they go quickly once they hit the produce shelves. But not everyone (and don’t be embarrassed if you’re in this group) knows what these annual delicacies are and what to do with them.

So here’s a quick primer:

Ramps

If you didn’t see the sign, you might think they’re scallions. But ramps are wild leeks that smell a little like garlic and taste a little like onion. They grow in shady, wooded areas, and are in season in Vermont for a few weeks beginning in late April/early May. As with any other wildly foraged vegetable, harvesting should be done with sustainability and conservation in mind. The ramps in the store right now were foraged by Casey, our produce leader.

These tasty veggies are super versatile. They can be sautéed, roasted or grilled whole, thrown on a pizza, pickled, or used as a topping or ingredient in a sauce. Here’s a great article in Saveur with 10 different recipes.

Fiddleheads

The first fiddleheads are just making it onto the Vermont local produce scene. We’re expecting to get in more from our local foragers before the weekend. But they go fast. So if you see them, grab them and run! (but please pay first :))

So what are fiddleheads, exactly? They’re the bright green coils (fronds) of the fern plant before it opens up. They’re harvested in Vermont in early spring, just as the grass in your front lawn is starting to green up. The window of opportunity is short and sweet (usually from early May to around the third week in the month). Once the fern leaf starts to unfurl, they’re no longer edible.

Like ramps, you can do almost anything with these spring treats—often described as sweet like asparagus and crispy like a green bean. Our advice is: keep it simple. They don’t need much. Anything you’d do with asparagus, you can do with fiddleheads. They can be steamed, roasted, picked, or sautéed. Here’s a delicious-sounding recipe, Roasted Fiddlehead Ferns with Meyer Lemon and Capers, by the Tasting Table.

What the Heck Is Hominy, and How Do You Prepare It?

In our Farmers’ Fiesta display at the front of the store, bags of dried hominy are mixed in with the dried beans.

This got us talking.

We all have memories of hominy … maybe our mother served it when we were growing up or we had it once in a restaurant out West. But most of us don’t cook it regularly. Why? Because we don’t know what to do with it.

Dried hominy by Rancho Gordo (ranchogordo.com).

If you’re reading this and thinking, “what the heck is hominy, anyway?” don’t worry, you’re not alone. Hominy is dried corn that’s been soaked in limewater (the mineral, not the fruit) to remove the hull and germ. This causes the germ to swell, a process called nixtamalization. The treatment makes the corn product easier to digest and adds to its flavor. Here’s an interesting article that breaks down the process, if you’re curious.

Hominy is used to make corn tortillas and is a key ingredient in many of our favorite Mexican recipes. Pozole Verde is probably the most popular dish that features hominy. (If you haven’t made dinner plans for Cinco de Mayo, you could try this recipe by Food & Wine). But you can also prepare hominy with just butter, salt, and pepper.

Interestingly, there’s evidence that hominy was eaten in Mesoamerica as early as 1500 BC. So it’s been around for a long, long time.

What does it taste like? Plump and chewy with a unique nutty-sweet flavor. You can buy it dry or canned (we carry both).

Holidays are great incentive to dig out an old favorite … or try something new.

If you’re feeling inspired, here are a few recipes you might want to try this weekend:

Warm Hominy Salad

Chilaquiles Casserole

Pork and Hominy Stew

Mexican Chicken Pozole Verde

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

What to Bring to Your Cinco de Mayo Gathering

Going to a Cinco de Mayo party but don’t have time to prepare a dish? We’ve been stocking up on prepared foods and appetizers for your spring Fiesta.

Here are a few ideas:

Cotija and crackers

This Hispanic-style cheese is named after the Mexican town of Cotija.  It has a strong, salty flavor and firm texture, which makes it perfect for slicing or cubing. Pick up a box of your favorite crackers to go with, and you’ve got the perfect app. This week we’re offering 15% off wedges of our Solé Cotija cheese.

Rosé Sangria

You’ll be the hit of the party if you show up with this festive concoction. Guaranteed. There are lots of variations of this trendy drink, depending on how extravagant you want to get. But here’s a simple recipe for people who …. well, just want to keep it simple.

South of the Border inspired desserts

Fresh from our bakery just in time for Cinco de Mayo! Introducing two decadent desserts that celebrate the flavors of Latin America:

Tres Leches Cake: a dense, super-moist cake made with three different milks (hence the name) topped with vanilla whipped cream.

Aztec Molten Chocolate Cake: pure chocolate decadence with a Latin American twist. Each cake will serve several people.

Avocados front and center (dips, salads, and entrees)

A little bit of history: Avocados has been cultivated in Mexico for the past 10,000 years. When the Aztecs came into contact with the Spanish in the 1500s (and their basalt mortar and pestle), they began smashing and blending the avocado into what we now call “guacamole.” If you haven’t tried our house-made guacamole (made with fresh market ingredients), now’s the time. Or you can make your own. You’ll find everything you need (and it’s not much: avocados, tomatoes, cilantro, jalapeno pepper, onions, and lime) in the Farmers’ Fiesta display in the front of the store. Here’s an easy recipe from Bon Appetit.

There are lots of ways to incorporate avocado into the main dish. For some inspiration, check out Food & Wine’s 9 Ways to Eat as Much Avocado as Possible on Cinco de Mayo (great headline, don’t you think?).

Chips and salsa

This is the time of year to splurge on specialty salsa. Tom of Toms Knows Salsa will be here on Friday (from 2 to 6 p.m.) to offer samples of his salsa verde. Or have fun perusing the shelves. We’ve stocked up on several varieties of specialty salsas, including Raiche’s Vermont-made Salsa and Tex’s Best Salsa (made right down the road in White River Junction, Vt).

Felicidad!

 

Three Reasons to Eat Your Beans

Rancho Gordo beans are 10% off through Cinqo de Mayo.

We love beans at Farmers’. For breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Why? Because they’re good for us  …  and super versatile. Here’s why we think you should love them, too:

A great source of protein

Combine your favorite bean with rice or couscous and you’ll have a complete protein! This makes beans a great choice for vegetarians and vegans looking for an easy way to add more protein to their diet.

Nutrient rich

Beans contain a number of important nutrients, including folate, zinc, iron, magnesium, and fiber, that will help boost your immune system and energy levels.

Antioxidants

Beans are loaded with polyphenals, a type of antioxidant that protects your cells against the effects of free radicals. Polyphenals have been shown to play an important role in improving your heart health and reducing inflammation.

Come, get your beans!

What better time of year to celebrate the almighty bean than during Farmers’ Fiesta?!

In celebration of Cinco de Mayo, we’re taking 10% off our Rancho Gordo beans. And these aren’t just any beans. They’re heirloom beans native to the New World.

Company founder Steve Sando is passionate about his beans. “All of my agricultural pursuits have been based on being someone who likes to cook but gets frustrated by the lack of ingredients, especially those that are native to the New World,” Steve writes on Rancho Gordo’s website.

“One of the things that originally drew me to beans was the fact that they are indigenous to the Americas. … New World food is exciting, tasty, healthy, romantic, and possibly, easier on the earth.”

Some of the best bean dishes are super simple. All you need is garlic, onion, carrots, celery, a few herbs, and your favorite beans, of course, for a nutritious and delicious meal. Check out this how-to video on Rancho Gordo’s website. 

Passover and Easter

This weekend we’ve got you covered with Passover and Easter foods for the holiday season! We’ll have a ton of great flowers and plants, Passover foods in the hot case and Easter Brunch. It’s not too late to place your Easter brunch order! Or stop by and see what’s up in our cases over the weekend. We have a ton of great desserts and pies ready for your Easter and Passover sweet tooth.  WE ARE OPEN ON GOOD FRIDAY/PASSOVER  as well as EASTER SUNDAY.  Easter Sunday we are closing early and are open 7:30-4 pm. 

Exciting News From Farmers’!

We’re pleased to announce the purchase of a second site at the former Pete’s Greens Farm Market in Waterbury Center, VT. Don’t worry! Our flagship store in Woodstock will continue to be the store you know and love.

The Waterbury retail location has been an extension of Pete’s Greens Farm in Craftsbury, VT since 2014 and has become an important and successful part of the Waterbury-Stowe food community. Pete Johnson, owner of Pete’s Greens, reached out to us a few years ago for some retail advice and when Pete started thinking about focusing more on his farming, he gave us a call. Over the past year, Pete’s Greens realized they are farmers first. Farming is what they loved most, what they’re best at, and where they wanted to be putting their time and resources. So that’s where we come in! Retailing is our passion and we’re excited to take this opportunity.

While the Waterbury location’s intent is not to duplicate the 5,000 sq ft Woodstock location, it will keep the focus on our three bottom lines: awesome food, great service, and responsible finance. We want to keep the same vibe and service of our flagship store in Woodstock, but tailor the Waterbury store to the needs and desires of the community. We’re starting renovations and are aiming to be up and running by mid-May. We’ll be sure to keep all of you in the loop with what’s happening, so stay tuned for more information and updates!
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