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Amidst howling winds, plunging temperatures and gray mountains of snow, Somerville’s Winter Farmers' Market stands as a reminder of the warmer, gentler days of summer and fall. The days when you can find fresh fruit and vegetables in every grocery store. The days of apple picking and fresh corn on the cob.
The Winter Farmers' Market is held every Saturday inside the Somerville Armory. Radio Boston’s Meghna Chakrabarti met noted chef Andy Husbands, of Tremont 647, for our first installment of a new segment we’re doing with Husbands called Farm To Fork.
Husbands is used to shopping for fresh ingredients at farmers' markets, and is a big fan of the Winter Market.
“This one is pretty vibrant,” Husbands said. “It’s like hand to hand combat, you can just see the excitement of people trying to get local and fresh ingredients.”
Farmers, too, love the Winter Market because it gives them a venue to sell root cellar vegetables — like turnips, beats and parsnips — so they can keep their farm working throughout the year.
Steve Hancock from NorthStar Farm in Westport, Mass. recently discovered the benefits of all-season farming. NorthStar used to specialize in groundcovers and perennials, but now he makes the journey to Somerville each Saturday to sell vegetables.
“You’re staring at weeds growing in the winter and I thought, ‘Wow. If a weed can grow in the winter why can’t we do something more functional?’” Hancock said. “We’re doing salad greens, spinach, winter carrots, radishes — all without heat.”
Farmers aren’t the only ones who see the benefit of a Winter Market. Chefs, professional and amateurs alike flock to the market.
“When you can start growing plants that like cold weather, it intensifies the natural sugars -– the flavors are totally different,” Hancock said. “Even the textures are different. You get the benefit of having a really sweet carrot or a much sweeter Brussels sprout than if it were grown in hot weather.”
On Saturday, Husbands left the market with a bag full of carrots and turnips. He turned the vegetables into a delicious winter salad, straight from the Winter Market.
[sidebar title="Somerville Winter Market Salad, NorthStar Farms" width="575" align="left"]
By Andy Husbands/Tremont 647
Makes 1 big salad, serves about 4
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch baby white turnips, peeled & blanched, greens removed and washed
¼ bunch baby carrots, peeled & blanched, greens removed and washed
½ Fuji (or local) apple, small dice
2 tbs sherry vinegar
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
Place a heavy-bottom pan (cast iron) over medium-high heat; add the oil and garlic. Cook and stir frequently for about one minute until the garlic is perfumy but not brown. Add the turnips and continue to cook and stir for two minutes. Add the carrots and continue to cook and stir for three minutes until the vegetable are light brown.
Add all of the greens and apples, lightly toss and then add the vinegar. You want the greens to be slightly wilted. Mix well, remove from heat and season with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
This segment aired on March 3, 2011.
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