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Some thoughts on food preparation - North Gower Farmers' Market

Market Sketches

The pressure's on. You know the feeling: "What am I going to do with these apples, fresh herbs, and tomatoes?"

Here on the 45th parallel, our frost-free season is relatively short, but the summer days are long. So when the plants start to produce, they do a lot in a short time. You may be blessed by some extra harvest from a home garden or fresh bounty from a visit to the local farmers' market.

"Market Sketches" is here to help. Today we're featuring a selection of some favourite recipes from the North Gower Farmers' Market.

Our first challenge is tomatoes. We wait for that fresh taste of local tomatoes from winter to early summer. Now it's time to enjoy them. Tomatoes are great in bruschetta and sliced for salads or sandwiches. But if you have extra, here's a recipe courtesy of market vendor Gerry Egan that preserves the tomato flavour in a very popular garden salsa. You're going to love the great taste in January.

Stoney Meadow Salsa

20 tomatoes, cut in half
4 hot peppers
6 chopped onions
4 1/2 cups white sugar
3 cups white vinegar
3 tbsp. coarse salt
Simmer until about half original volume (about 4 hours).
Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/3 cup cornstarch.
Add to mixture, simmer another 20 minutes.
Bottle in sterile jars.

You can also preserve the taste of fresh herbs. This pesto recipe is a favourite at home and for Market visitors as a sauce for fresh pasta.

Sunflower Garden Pesto

1 cup basil leaves
1/4 cup oregano leaves
1 cup parsley leaves
3 peeled garlic cloves
1/3 cup whole blanched almonds
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. olive oil

Blend in a food processor until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Use it now as a fresh sauce on pasta (combine in saucepan with 1 cup heated milk), or freeze it for later.

Our final happy challenge is apples. Here is a great recipe for applesauce muffins, courtesy of Jean Wilson, one of the North Gower Farmers' Market's fine bakers.

Farmers' Market Applesauce Muffins

1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
Mix well. Add:
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups applesauce
1 cup raisins
1 cup bran
Mix well.
Sift together:
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. nutmeg or cinnamon (optional)
Combine with other ingredients until just mixed.
Bake at 350 F. for 12-15 minutes.

If you don't have your own apple tree, come to the Market on Apple Day, September 27 to stock up for the fall season.

There are those that cook, and those that don't. Therefore, it's about at this point that we could lose half the audience. If you don't like to cook, let someone else do it for you: visit the market for a wide selection of delicious baking, salsa, pizza, calzone and very tasty preserves. If you do like to cook, think about entering a sample of your cooking in the North Gower Farmers' Market baking competition. It's being held along with the gardening competition on September 6. Good luck to all contestants.

The sketch part of today's Market Sketches is a drawing in pen and ink by Jo-Anne McDonald.

North Gower Farmers' Market home page