On the Way In and Out
This is the last week for peaches, but we will have Bartlett pears for the first time, and brown and yellow Asian pears are still available. Fujis have also been added to the mix of Galas and Honeycrisp apples. Cherry and grape tomatoes are still available at Jose Montoya’s stand and at Holly Brook Farm’s tent. Jose also has fresh basil and sweet corn, so you can still make the Green Grocer Potato Salad for a while longer.
Oli Denegri at Delicias del Sur is bringing two new empanadas: Peston (cheese and tomato) and a Chicken Parmesan along with the traditional Peruvian varieties.
Max Tyson is also bringing the first of his heirloom tomatoes and should have them through the month of September; they made a great tomato sauce last night at our house. Just a little chopped onion and fennel and four tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped, and voila! I added about a tablespoon of tomato paste to thicken it a little and some chopped fresh herbs and then ladled it over Cavanna pasta for a wonderful meal in minutes.
Special Events This Week
For the first time at this market, we are hosting a demo with Patty Repko, our nutrition counselor who provides tips about healthy snacks for healthy families. Patty is a great presenter and welcomes questions from her audience, so feel free to speak up and ask her what you want to know.
This Week at the Market
Just a reminder to think outside the lunchbox this year. If you have been buying local all summer, there is no need to back off that commitment now. You can fill a lunchbox with great choices from the market.
And how about a plan to think soup for fall and winter? We have cold soup recipes at our table now and will add some hot soups that can be packed for lunch. Some can even be drunk from a thermos. With a small sandwich, veggies and hummus, or another dip you make yourself, you can create a healthy lunch that only needs an apple or applesauce to round it out.
From the Market Master
I have recently read a book by journalist Barry Estabrook titled Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit. The book expands on a 2009 story in Gourmet by Estabrook that revealed that tomatoes being grown in this country by corporate farms were essentially being picked by slave labor.
The book, published last year, details numerous offenses by the tomato industry, including how they have genetically altered tomatoes to accommodate shipping needs. Estabrook also discusses how tomatoes are grown and picked for shipping and what happens to them on the way to their destinations. It is more than anyone who buys tomatoes outside of a farmers’ market would want to know. And it made me angry, and pessimistic about whether the situation will improve. The details are appalling. Estabrook makes it clear that enforcement of existing laws and regulations to prevent the abuses is not working and probably never will.
The publication of the book brought additional attention to the situation in Florida, and more levels of enforcement were mobilized. But it seems now that the effort that really produced results was a grass-roots partnership between the workers themselves and their outraged supporters in Florida and elsewhere. Just this past Sunday, an op-ed in The Washington Post cited some hope of seeing an end to these horrible living and working conditions. It will be interesting to see what happens next.
I am not going to quote from the articles or the book -- you can read as much as you want by clicking on the links above. And within the Gourmet article, you will find other links that may inspire you, but will also give you pause when you shop next at the grocery store. If big-time growers can get away with this kind of operation in the U.S., just imagine how easy it is for them to undermine laws in other countries.
This story also gives us one more reason to ponder the dynamic of organic versus local. Can you trust that a tomato or a peach or a cantaloupe picked on an “organic” farm in Mexico is even really grown organically? Who is watching those farm operations? And what kind of power do the workers have to enforce the laws of their land or the requirements of an American distributor?
Please read these two pieces and pick up the book if you want to know more -- it will make you cringe. It will also make it hard for you to buy a winter tomato in the grocery store this December.
See you at the market!