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Summer's Gateway

Fitting that I am writing this today on National Asparagus Day. I have been admiring and devouring the market asparagus, one of our first spring vegetables. Asparagus was brought to North America by European settlers as early as 1655. A Dutch immigrant to New Netherland (what is now the East Coast of the United States), refers to asparagus in his description of Dutch farming practices in the New World. British immigrants also found it a crop that grew well in the American climate.

Asparagus can take three years to go from seed to harvest, but the plants then produce spears for decades, making it a great crop. However, it is quite labor-intensive, as farmworkers handpick each spear. We’re aware it’s rich in fiber and nutrients, but did you also know the minerals and amino acids it contains protect the liver from toxins, and the enzymes help break down alcohol and alleviate hangovers? Another FYI, thickness and thinness are not an indication of tenderness or toughness. The stalks are thick or thin from the moment they sprout from the ground. Store as you would cut flowers: trim the bottoms and stand the spears up in a glass or jar with about an inch of water. Cover with a plastic bag then refrigerate for up to four days, changing the water as it gets cloudy. Another option is to wrap the asparagus in wet paper towels and cover with a plastic bag before refrigerating.

Arlotta Food Studio olive oils are the perfect asparagus accompaniment, whether you’re steaming, roasting, baking or thinly shaving it into a salad. Arlotta also has some new sweet and savory spreads (think tapenade, roasted red pepper and fig & almond jam) you're going to want to check out.

Back to that asparagus recipe and the eggs. Congratulations to SOVA Farm whose eggs are among the top rated in the country by the Cornucopia Institute, a national, non-profit food and farm policy watchdog group working to uphold the integrity of organic, local and other forms of alternative agriculture. Sova Farm also tells us they should be bringing fresh chicken back to the market in June.

We’ve already had an interlude of summer weather, but the upcoming Memorial Day weekend is traditionally our gateway to summer and it’s array of activity. Keep that in mind as you do your shopping.

Our sole music sponsor, Sari Shaw of the Westchester Living Team/Compass Realty, is also sponsoring a face-painting event at the market this Saturday. Mariana from Making Faces Parties will be at the market from 9:30 to 11:30 ready to bedazzle your children. Many thanks to Sari for her generous support of the market over the last few years.

We decided we couldn't leave you without cold-pressed juice two weeks a month so when Freckles Juice Bar is not here, the folks from Fairy Juice Bar will be. Please give them a warm Chappaqua welcome this Saturday! And remember your textile recycling! Green Tree recycles unwanted textiles including clothing, shoes, accessories and household linens that would otherwise end up in our already overburdened landfills. Some of the clothing is donated to charity partners, others sourced to fiber and rag manufacturers. Nothing enters the waste stream. Their recycling services support people who are disadvantaged and those in transition. Bring your unwanted clothes, even single socks, all packed in a bag, and deposit at the bin in the front of the market weekly.

See you at the market on Saturday!

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