Hippocrates, a Classical Greek physician known as one of the most outstanding figures in the history of medicine, may have been speaking specifically of brassicas when he said, "Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food." Brassicas, including, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, arugula, mustard and even kohlrabi and bok choy, make up a mighty family of nutritious and tasty greens. "Ounce per ounce,” writes food writer and recipe developer, Laura Russell, “brassicas contain more health properties than any other branch of food. We're not just talking your basic building blocks of vitamins and minerals—though brassicas are full of these—but foods also rich in phytochemicals that act as anticarcinogenics (anticancer), anti-inflammitories, and promote liver detoxification.”
Brassicas have nourished humans for generation after generation. Decedents from wild mustard and cabbage, brassicas are native, wild plans in Western Europe, the Mediterranean and Asia. Many wild species grow as weeds in North and South America as well as in Australia. Kale, which we will celebrate this weekend at the Port Townsend Farmers Market, was introduced to Europe around 600 BC by Celtic wanderers. Food for the masses, curly kale nourished peasants in Roman times and the Middle Ages. A dear to European immigrants and sailors alike, kale made the voyage from England to the United States in the 17th century.
This Saturday at the Port Townsend Farmers Market, Jefferson Healthcare’s Executive Chef, Arran Stark, will help us celebrate kale with a chef demonstration. Visit the market for a taste of this mighty vegetable, loved by gardeners, cooks and foodies alike. Arran will prepare something special with local kale starting at 9:30am on Tyler Street. Grab a sample, get inspired and buy some kale from our local farmers for your own home creations.
Our local farms also have an abundance and variety of other brassicas available at market. Brussels sprouts are new to market as of the last few weeks. Finnriver and Red Dog Farms will have beautiful stalks of Brussels sprouts available this weekend (the stalks are so cool looking, like dinosaur bones). Also look for white, purple and orange cauliflower as well as Romanesco, broccoli, and arugula at market this weekend.
Here is a kale pesto receipt from Brassicas, by Laura Russell, published by 10 Speed Press in 2014.
- ½ cup slivered blanched almonds or pine nuts, toasted
- 1 clove garlic, smashed
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 cups loosely packed chopped kale leaves (1 small bunch)
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
“Put the almonds, garlic, and salt in a food processor. Pulse until the nuts are finely chopped. Add the kale—in batches, if necessary—and pulse until chopped. With the machine running, add the oil through the feed tube in a steady stream; process to a course puree. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if needed. Use the pesto immediately, or store in a tight sealed container in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.” (Page 24)
Closing day of the Chimacum Farmers Market season is right around the corner. Mark your calendar for the Halloween and Closing Day Market at Chimacum Corner Farmstand from 10am to 2pm on October 30th. Red Dog Farm is donating pumpkins for us to paint. Come in costume and trick or treat for a fresh carrot from our local farms or hot chocolate from Java Gypsy. Stay tuned for more details about the Halloween Market in next week’s newsletter.
See you at the market! ~ Amanda
Green Gables Gardens
A Northwest native, Carmen Tracer is a flower fanatic with a passion for sharing beautiful blooms with our community. Carmen, owner of Green Gables Garden, didn’t intend to become a florist. It was a calling inspired by her devotion to plants and gardening. “I am obsessed with plants,” says Carmen. “If I haven’t planted 1,000 bulbs I feel like I haven’t experienced spring. I can’t keep all of these flowers to myself. I enjoy sharing them with my community.”
Originally from Port Angeles, Carmen graduated from Edmonds Community College with a horticulture degree. After graduation, Carmen worked as a garden and landscape designer for large estates. This work marked the beginning of Carmen’s extensive plant collection. Carmen became friends with many of the people for whom she gardened. With each design and maintenance project, Carmen collected bits and pieces of plants. These plants, now at home in her garden on Marrowstone Island, are like friends themselves. Each remind her of the dear folks who gifted them to her.
Carmen graduated Western Washington University with a degree in Human Services in 2004. She then worked from 2004 to 2008 for Child Protective Services in Port Townsend. Needing a change from her emotionally challenging human services work, Carmen went back to her “plant roots” in 2008. She started harvesting flowers from her extensive home garden and arranging bouquets for sale at the Port Townsend Saturday Farmers Market.
Carmen’s love for this community keeps her coming back to the Port Townsend Farmers Market year after year. “Community, community, community,” says Carmen. “I love bringing my children to market. I love being in this environment.”
With the first frosts and heavy rain last week, Carmen has said her goodbyes to fresh flowers for the season. Visit Green Gables Garden this Saturday at the Port Townsend Farmers Market for a holiday wreath. Each is unique and built to last. While at the Green Gables booth, introduce yourself to Carmen. You may also have the opportunity to meet her husband, Richard, and children, Tristan, Fiona and Troy. They all help Carmen at market.
From Our Vendors
This weekend Serendipity Farm will have salad greens, pea shoots, Jack-O- Lanterns, assorted winter squash, carrots and onions. Stop by for tastes of all varieties of our vegan and regular pesto. We will also serve squash soup and pumpkin bars again at the request of our customers.
Red Dog Farm is bringing lots of new fall veggies this weekend, including: Brussels sprouts, Jerusalem artichokes, Scarlet Queen turnips, and parsnips! We are most excited about the Brussels sprouts. Early season, we sell them on the “tree.” They are super fresh and very sweet. Our harvest looks good this year and insect pressure has been low. So we are hopeful to stretch them out all the way through Thanksgiving! No need to wait that long to start enjoying the simple sprouts. Cook them up with bacon and apples, shred them raw and toss with pomegranates or get as creative or simple as you like.
Arugula is Nash's veggie of the week. This zippy green is great for pesto, wilted on a pizza or pasta or tossed in a salad. Its spicy flavor adds a kick to whatever you’re making. The health benefits of arugula will also put extra zip in your step. Arugula has few calories and tons of flavor. It’s one of the best vegetable sources of Vitamin K (good for bone and brain health), a rich source of certain photochemicals, folic acid and had high levels of Iron and Copper, which make it a great alternative for spinach. Add some arugula to your fall menu this weekend. Also, if you didn’t happen to notice last market, we have a lovely array of green and orange pumpkins ready for your carving pleasure. In addition to the fall favorites, we’ve got kale, carrots and corn aplenty. Come see us this weekend!
Millbrook Clayworks will have special kale cups at market this Saturday in honor of Kale Day. Come check them out.