About the Market

Open Fridays and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.
from April through October
at Town Hall Park in Historic Downtown Smithfield

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fall has arrived in North Carolina!

First, I want to apologize for our absence from the blog -- it's been a busy month around here, and the blog has taken a back seat, but we're back today and hope to make up for the absence with an extended post! Oh, and I can give you all the exclusive news that the Farmers Market will reopen for the 2012 season on April 13!

Officially, my favorite season is Spring, but each year I find myself more appreciative of Fall, and the distance between the two seasons gets shorter. After hot and sticky North Carolina summers, those first cool and crisp days of Fall are a delight! I don't know about you all, but I've been sleeping with my windows open for the past month and actually using my down comforter, and it's heavenly! Other than the change in climate, for me Fall is a time for college football, baseball, the State Fair, and changing leaves. Speaking of changing leaves, I read yesterday that this year's colors are "among the most beautiful in recent years."

But you can't talk about Fall without talking about the food -- my favorites are pumpkins and apples, especially of the Honeycrisp variety! So today, I'm going to share two recipes with you. The first is a Pumpkin Torte, which has replaced our traditional Pumpkin Pies at Thanksgiving. It is delicious and impressive -- your guests will think that you were in the kitchen for hours! The second recipe is for Baked Apples, cooked in a crock pot, which is certain to become a staple in your household's menu.

Pumpkin Torte

1 package (18-1/4 ounces) yellow cake mix
2 cups pureed pumpkin (or canned), divided
1/2 cup milk
4 eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, divided
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
16 ounces frozen whipped topping, thawed
1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted

In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, 1 cup pumpkin, milk, eggs, oil and 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice; beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium for 2 minutes. Pour into two greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans.

Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the confectioners' sugar, and remaining pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice; beat until smooth. Fold in whipped topping.

Cut each cake horizontally into two layers. Place bottom layer on a serving plate; spread with a fourth of the filling. Repeat layers three times. Drizzle with caramel topping; sprinkle with pecans.

Baked Apples

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
2 tablespoons trans-fat free margarine
1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 Gala or Macintosh apples, cored
1/2 cup apple juice or apple cider
2 tablespoons orange liqeur (optional)

Preheat a large crock-pot on high heat and preset it for 3 hours. In a large bowl, mix brown sugar, walnuts, margarine, and cinnamon. Fill the apples with the filling and place them in the crock-pot. Pour in the apple juice or cider and the liquor, if using. Cover and cook 2 1/2 to 3 hours on high heat until the apples are soft and begin to collapse.

Enjoy! As always, please send recipes you would like to share to smithfieldfarmersmarketrecipes@gmail.com.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Spinach Salad with Peaches and Pecans

It doesn't get much more Southern than peaches and pecans! Make a meal of it by adding grilled chicken. Whatever you do, make sure to add this to your menu while locally grown peaches are still available!

3/4 cup pecans
2 ripe peaches
4 cups baby spinach, rinsed and dried
1/4 cup poppyseed salad dressing

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange pecans on a single layer on a baking sheet and roast in preheated oven for 7-10 minutes, until they just begin to darken. Remove from oven and set aside.

Peel peaches (if desired) and slice into bite-sized segments. Combine peaches, spinach and pecans in a large bowl. Toss with dressing until evenly coated, adding a little additional dressing, if necessary.

Enjoy! As always, please send recipes you would like to share to smithfieldfarmersmarketrecipes@gmail.com.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Closed Saturday, August 27

The Smithfield Farmers Market will unfortunately be closed on Saturday, August 27 due to Hurricane Irene. The market will be open on Friday, August 26. We appreciate all of your support and hope that everyone stays safe this weekend!

Monday, August 22, 2011

You Don't Have to Eat Like a Rabbit to Get Your Vegetables!

For many home cooks, it can seem difficult to incorporate the recommended daily servings of vegetables into meals without preparing the same old, boring foods. And you don't have to eat like a rabbit either!

Here are some simple ways to freshen up the food you already eat by adding vegetables to every meal of the day:

  • In a bit of olive oil, sauté onions, peppers, zucchini and garlic for a few minutes and then add your eggs or tofu and spinach leaves for a healthier scramble.
  • Add cubed pumpkin or butternut squash to your morning hot cereal. Pureed pumpkin is fine as well. Sprinkle with nuts, seeds and cinnamon.
  • Add a handful of leafy greens to your morning smoothie.
  • Cooked chopped kale, peppers and onions in some water in a saucepan and after it's softened, crack an egg in the center. Cover to poach the egg until it is done to your liking.
  • Add shredded zucchini to your next muffin recipe.
  • Add pureed pumpkin or other winter squash to your pancake batter in lieu of some of the fat. Less fat, more veggies!

  • On your next sandwich or wrap, add some grated carrots and zucchini, sprouts and lettuce. All of them, not just one of them.
  • Add pureed peas to your next guacamole recipe.
  • Steam the stems of the broccoli, puree and add to hummus to guacamole. Brocomoli!
  • Add grated carrots and slices of cooked butternut squash to your next grilled-cheese sandwich.
  • Add minced red peppers, celery, red onion and shredded carrots to your next tuna salad recipe.
  • A big green salad for lunch is an easy way to add more veggies to your life. Go light on the high-fat salad dressing.
  • Add some spinach leaves to your homemade hummus or place store-bought hummus in your blender and add spinach leaves yourself.

  • For a snack try sliced jicama with salsa. Also good is jicama rubbed with lime juice and sprinkled with chili powder.
  • On Sundays and Wednesdays, you and your kids, if you have them, slice/chop carrots, celery, cauliflower, broccoli and any and all other seasonal vegetables. If they're easy to grab, you'll eat them!

  • Start your meal with veggie slices as an appetizer. Try cutting the carrot sticks into little rounds instead of slices, red peppers into squares, etc. It's a fun little change that kids especially like. Serve with your favorite dip if you like.
  • Try to have half of your dinner plate as veggies; some cooked, some raw.
  • Marinara sauce used for pasta or pizza is an easy way to add more veggies -- shredded zucchini, finely chopped broccoli, chopped spinach leaves, red peppers, onions and garlic. Yum!
  • Add peas, chopped broccoli, and grated carrots to your next macaroni and cheese recipe.
  • A meat loaf is an easy way to add more veggies to your life. Finely chop and add red pepper, onions, celery, carrots and any other favorite veggie.
  • Next time you make a pot roast or stew think: Veggies and Pot Roast, not Pot Roast and veggies. Ditto for stews-heavy on the veggies, light on the meat.
As always, please send recipes you would like to share to smithfieldfarmersmarketrecipes@gmail.com.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Smithfield Farmers Market Celebrates National Farmers Market Week

Every day this summer, communities are converging to celebrate a simple miracle: farmers, as stewards of rural America, coming together to share a harvest that’s feeding local families. The result? More viable regional economies; increased access to fresh, nutritious food; and stronger social networks that help keep communities strong.

United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has proclaimed August 7-13, 2011 as National Farmers Market Week. This year marks the 12th annual National Farmers Market Week. Since 2000, the number of farmers markets has grown 150%, from 2,863 markets to 7,175 in 2011. These numbers continue to rise as farmers markets become fresh food mainstays for shoppers across all socio-economic, political, and ethnic ranges. Farmers markets bolster local economies, improve community health, and bring diverse groups of people together through a shared social space. North Carolina is home to 217 farmers markets.

In its first year of operation, the Smithfield Farmers Market currently has 20 farmers selling a wide variety of products, including sweet potatoes, melons, peaches, corn, eggs, beans and value added products such as soaps, jams and jellies. In the past four months, the Smithfield Farmers Market has generated $20,000 for these local producers, a valuable economic boost for the region.

“The farmers market has had a great first season,” states Laura Crumpler, Market Manager. “The committee is pleased with the market’s success and discussions about what can be improved for next year have already begun.”

“Farmers markets grow healthy farms, healthy people, and healthy communities” says Stacy Miller, Executive Director of the Farmers Market Coalition. “During a slow economic recovery, farmers markets are stand-out successes in delivering triple bottom line benefits while making entrepreneurship work in communities large and small. During Farmers Market Week, we invite everyone to celebrate their local farmers markets and enjoy fresh local food from America’s most innovative farmers.”

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Top 10 Ways to Get Kids Involved in Healthy Cooking & Shopping

Involving your kids in the kitchen enhances their appreciation and basic knowledge of different foods and good nutrition. You can teach them safe ways to handle food as well as simple cooking techniques. Plus, the time spent together is invaluable family time and encourages a lifetime of healthy eating.

How Can Kids Help?

10. Mean Green Cleaning Machine. Let them wash fruits and vegetables when preparing for cooking or eating.

9. Pick A Peck! When shopping, let them select a new fruit or vegetable to try … or several!

8. Make It Snappy! Let them snap the green beans, snap peas, or break the florets from the broccoli or cauliflower.

7. I Spy. Play “I Spy” when shopping for produce.

6. Tear It Up! Let them tear the lettuce for salads and sandwiches.

5. Measure Up! Let them measure the frozen vegetables before cooking them.

4. Peel & Slice. Older children can peel and slice carrots, cucumbers, potatoes … the list goes on!

3. Stir & Spice. Make applesauce from fresh apples. Let them help stir and add the cinnamon.

2. A Sprinkle A Day… Let them sprinkle herbs or other seasonings onto vegetables.

1. Monster Mash! Pull out the potato masher!

As always, please send recipes you would like to share to smithfieldfarmersmarketrecipes@gmail.com.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

August 3 is National Watermelon Day!

If you need a reason to enjoy a slice of watermelon, today is National Watermelon Day!

Did you know:
  • At over 90 percent water, watermelon is a wise snack choice on hot days?
  • Watermelon is a nutritional powerhouse? It's an excellent source of Vitamin C, which
    is a major antioxidant. It has a high beta carotene concentration, thus offering a fair amount of vitamin A. Both beta carotene with vitamin A help support good eyesight and prevent glaucoma.
  • Why the meat or pulp of watermelon is usually pink or red? Those colors indicate lycopene content, which is an antioxidant that may minimize cancer risks. Plus, watermelon offers abundant amounts of the minerals potassium and magnesium. Potassium is important for cardiovascular health and brain health and helps the kidneys eliminate kidney stone forming calcium as well as assists with the body's fluid retention.
A fun fact about watermelon is about a half century ago, watermelons were round. This shape made them very hard to stack and they rolled around during the rough ride from farm to market. They were also soft. All the bumping and rolling made them crack and bruise. During this time, a plant bree
A fun fact about watermelon is about half a century ago,
der named C. Fred Andrus set out to develop a better watermelon. He came up with the first sweet melon that could be stacked due to its oblong shape. This new breed of watermelon also resisted the most serious watermelon diseases of the day. According to the National Watermelon Promotion Board, there are more than 1,200 varieties of watermelon grown worldwide.

Try a new twist on an old favorite with these ideas:
  • Caramelize watermelon slices on the grill, then drizzle with honey, lime and a pinch of salt.
  • Pair with shrimp on a kabob.
  • Carve out a watermelon to use as a bowl. Fill with fruit salad.
  • Use watermelon in place of tomatoes in a citrus salsa.
  • Use its juice as a glaze on shrimp or pork.
Of course, watermelon is also a crowd pleaser “as is.” Slice it up and you have an instant appetizer, side dish or dessert.

Enjoy! As always, please send recipes you would like to share to smithfieldfarmersmarketrecipes@gmail.com.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Grilled Jalapeño-Lime Corn on the Cob

Looking for a way to spice up your corn? This Southern Living recipe is likely to hit the spot!

  • 8 ears fresh corn, husks removed

  • Vegetable cooking spray

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened

  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced

  • 1 small garlic clove, pressed

  • 1 tablespoon lime zest

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro

  • Lime zest, to garnish

Preheat grill to 350° to 400° (medium-high) heat. Coat corn lightly with cooking spray. Sprinkle with desired amount of salt and pepper. Grill corn, covered with grill lid, 15 minutes or until golden brown, turning occasionally.

Meanwhile, stir together butter, jalapeño, garlic, lime zest, lime juice, and cilantro. Remove corn from grill, and cut into thirds. Serve corn with butter mixture. Garnish, if desired.

Enjoy! As always, please send recipes you would like to share to smithfieldfarmersmarketrecipes@gmail.com.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Tomato, Watermelon, and Basil Skewers

These Tomato, Watermelon, and Basil Skewers from Giada De Laurentiis are sure to go fast at any dinner or party, as people will return for seconds. While most people wouldn't think of putting tomatoes and watermelon together, this combination is definitely a hit!  I have found it best to make the balsamic syrup in advance to allow time for it to thicken and to save some time during assembly.
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 (4 to 5 pound) watermelon, cut into 32 cubes (1-1/2")
  • 32 small basil leaves (or torn larger leaves)
  • 16 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 16 (6-inch) skewers

Combine the balsamic vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool.

Starting with the watermelon squares, push the watermelon to the very tip of the skewer. Then skewer a basil leaf, then a tomato half. Continue with another watermelon, basil leaf, and tomato half. Place the skewer on a serving platter so it stands upright, using the lowest watermelon square as a base. Continue with the remaining skewers.

Drizzle the skewers with the reserved balsamic syrup and the olive oil. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Serve.

Enjoy! As always, please send recipes you would like to share to smithfieldfarmersmarketrecipes@gmail.com.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Okra-and-Corn Maque Choux

On a hot day like today, this maque choux makes for an excellent dinner. This recipe from Southern Living is sure to be a hit at your dinner table. I think I'll serve this with some ice cold watermelon and some sweet North Carolina peaches. I can't think of a better way to beat the heat!
  • 1/4 pound spicy smoked sausage, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups fresh corn kernels
  • 1 cup sliced fresh okra
  • 1 cup peeled, seeded, and diced tomato (1/2 lb.)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Sauté sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat 3 minutes or until browned.

Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic, and sauté 5 minutes or until tender.

Add corn, okra, and tomato; cook, stirring often, 10 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy! As always, please send recipes you would like to share to smithfieldfarmersmarketrecipes@gmail.com.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Blueberry Pops -- the perfect treat for 4th of July Weekend!

Making Martha Stewart's recipe for Blueberry Pops is the perfect way to beat the heat and have a nice treat on 4th of July weekend. They're quick, easy, tasty, and the perfect thing to take to a cookout.
  • 5 cups blueberries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Molds (we use small cups)
In a blender, puree blueberries with water, sugar, and fresh lemon juice. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing with a rubber spatula to release as much liquid as possible; discard solids. Add water if needed to yield 3 cups.

Divide among molds; insert popsicle sticks, and freeze until solid, about 3 hours. To remove, dip bottom of molds in warm water for 2 to 3 seconds.

Enjoy! As always, please send recipes you would like to share to smithfieldfarmersmarketrecipes@gmail.com.

If you'll be staying in the area for the weekend, we hope to see you at Smithfield's Friends of the 4th Celebration!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Baked Cherry Tomatoes

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons garlic salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut cherry tomatoes in half, and arrange tomatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and garlic salt.

Bake tomatoes about 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until slightly shriveled. Serve warm.

After I take them out the oven, I will sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top and toast some bread!

Enjoy! If you have recipes that you would like to share, please email them to smithfieldfarmersmarketrecipes@gmail.com.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Calico Squash Casserole

This recipe, featured in Taste of Home in 1997, is a great way to use all of the yellow squash and zucchini available this time of year.
  • 2 cups sliced yellow summer squash (1/4 inch thick)
  • 1 cup sliced zucchini (1/4 inch thick)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 2 cups crushed butter-flavored crackers
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
  • 1 can (8 ounces) sliced water chestnuts, drained
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 jar (2 ounces) diced pimientos, drained
  • 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese

In a large saucepan, combine the squash, zucchini, onion, green onions and water; add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook until squash is tender, about 6 minutes. Drain well; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the soup, chestnuts, carrot, mayonnaise, pimientos, sage, pepper and remaining salt; fold into squash mixture. Spoon into a greased shallow 1-1/2-qt. baking dish.

Combine cracker crumbs and butter. Sprinkle the squash mixture with cheese and the crumb mixture. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.

Enjoy! If you have recipes that you would like to share, please email them to smithfieldfarmersmarketrecipes@gmail.com.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Skirt Steak BLT with Basil Mayonnaise

My grandmother first made this sandwich after seeing this Tyler Florence video online. It's quick and easy to make, tasty, and uses ingredients that are available locally.

  • 2 pounds skirt steak
  • 1 head Bibb lettuce, separated leaves
  • 3 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, thick-cut slices
  • 8 strips of bacon, fried until crispy
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 loaf of country style bread, thick cut slices toasted on a sheet tray

Begin by making the basil mayonnaise so the flavors have time to come together. Combine the mayonnaise, basil, chives, and lemon juice in a blender and pulse until combined. Cover and refrigerate while you prepare the sandwich.

Heat a cast iron griddle pan/skillet or outdoor grill until smoking hot. Season the skirt steak with plenty of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil then grill both sides for 3 to 4 minutes until medium rare. Set aside loosely tented with aluminum foil while you prepare the other fillings.

To assemble, take one slice of the toasted bread and rub a garlic clove all over 1 side. Put a big slather of basil mayonnaise across the bread. Layer the lettuce over the top and then the thick-cut slices of tomato. Top with the crispy bacon slices and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Take the skirt steak and using a sharp knife cut across the grain into thick slices. Lay the pieces of the sliced skirt steak on the top of the open sandwich and serve with more basil mayonnaise on the side.

Enjoy! If you have recipes that you would like to share, please email smithfieldfarmersmarketrecipes@gmail.com.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Introducing...the Smithfield Farmers Market Blog!

The Advisory Committee decided that the farmers market should have a blog, and here it is.  The hope is that this blog will be just one more way the Smithfield Farmers Market can interact with vendors and customers.  Who knows what you will see here in the coming months, but we plan to include market news, pictures, and recipes to help you use the locally-grown and produced items that you purchase!  If you have recipes to share, please email them to smithfieldfarmersmarketrecipes@gmail.com.  I hope that you will check back often, comment regularly, and tell your friends!