A sweet topping for a hearty winter salad!

This time of year, the market is plentiful with meat, eggs, cheese, winter greens and  root vegetables. It's a limited palate compared to summer, but equally abundant. Here's a salad that is both attractive and delicious. I would eat this everyday for flavor and composition. It made me very happy and left me satisfied. Serves 1-2 people. Ingredients: winter greens, Canadian bacon and dates image1(1) 1 bag hardy baby greens **the one with kale, chard, etc 2 slices Canadian bacon 2 pitted dates chopped small 1/2 avocado diced Drizzle of olive oil 1 tsp pear balsamic vinegar (or vinegar of choice) Dash of salt and pepper. (Optional additions: nuts, cheese, or onions) Clean, stem and chop the greens. ,fry and chop bacon, chop dates and avocado. Toss in a bowl with vinegar, oil and a dash of salt and pepper. This is a clean, quick delight and guaranteed to revive memories of summer.  Add grated Parmesan, or any of the amazing cheeses available at market, for another layer of flavor. No dates, use raisins or currents. You're the artist. Play and enjoy. Additional suggestions: 1 make cornbread as a side. It warms up the house and fills out the menus. 2. Fry and egg or two and serve with fresh sourdough toast or the warm cornbread. Whatever you do, make this salad. It's Delish!!

A salad to combat the winter blues

Here's a great way to use those lovely greens and roots that you picked up fresh at winter farmers market! Remember, market is every Saturday from 11-2 pm at the Space at Greenstar!
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Grate roughly a lb of rainbow carrots
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Juice of 1/2 a lime
Juice 1 lemon
1 T honey
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/4 c chopped cilantro
Mix the lemon zest, salt, pepper, lemon and lime juice, olive oil, honey, fresh ginger and cilantro. Adjust sweetness as desired.
Toss carrots in the dressing and nestle in the middle of the greens. Served topped with fresh sliced avocado and lime slices.
A beautifully zesty salad to combat the winter blues. Serve often.
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Braised Beef Heart (aka how to prepare a beef heart)

Heart is an excellent muscle to eat.  It’s lean and full of beef flavor.  It's meaty but not organy—it’s a hard working muscle, it’s got a good bite, and it’s inexpensive.  Also, it puts to use a cut that is often thrown away.  It’s important that we do our best to make use of all parts of the animals we kill for our food.

To prepare the beef heart for cooking, cut away all the fat, any obviously squishy tissue, connective tissue and valves.  In other words, anything you don't think looks good to eat. You want clean dense muscle only.  On a side note, you can save the fat and render it for tallow and use the other parts in stock.  This is what it looks like before you start:

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Be sure to take all of the shiny skin off on both sides.

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This is what it should look like when you are done trimming it.

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For this recipe I'm going to roll the heart into a roast shape and tie it as tight as possible with kitchen twine.  This is what it should look like:

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Now you are ready to follow the recipe I have chosen!  That wasn't too hard, was it?

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Braised Beef Heart

3 lbs or so prepared beef heart

1 cup beef stock (more may be needed while cooking)

2 tablespoons your choice of oil

2 large onions sliced

1 teaspoon and prepared mustard

12 cup breadcrumbs

salt and pepper to taste

  1. Brown in the oil on all sides in 6 qt Dutch oven.
  2. Add the onion and all the other ingredients, except the bread crumbs.
  3. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours, turning every half hour.
  4. After 2 hours, add the bread crumbs.  Cook for 2 more hours, turning every half hour.  Add more stock to pan if it starts getting too thick.
  5. When done, remove heart and use an immersion blender or regular blender to smooth the gravy. Thicken or thin gravy if necessary.
  6. Slice as you would a roast and serve with mashed potatoes and some veggies or a salad for a nice dinner.

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Thanksgiving Shopping at Market!

This weekend is the perfect time to pick up fresh, local ingredients for your Thanksgiving dinner! What better way to celebrate all that we have to be grateful for? We'll be open from 10 to 2 on both Saturday and Sunday, and the farmers and other vendors featured here, along with many more, will be out with this autumn's finest offerings. We asked vendors which of their items might be joining them at the holiday table this year. In the photo above, Mary and Rachel of Buried Treasures Farm in Groton display some of their Thanksgiving selections.  Mary holds a basket of sweet potatoes (yes, they can be grown here!), which she recommends roasting whole, skin and all, for maximum flavor and nutritional benefits. Rachel has a variety of unusually shaped heirloom pie pumpkins, creatively called Longpie, which is rumored to make the best Thanksgiving pumpkin pie! DSC_8410 Jacob of Six Circles Farm in Lodi recommends their Hakurei turnips, which are a mild flavored, sweet, tender turnip, which are also great baked whole. When the produce is this good, minimal processing allows the vegetables to speak for themselves! DSC_8380 Jesse of Crooked Carrot Community Supported Kitchen knows that apple sauce and dill pickles deserve a spot on the table. Apple sauce is a great compliment to meat (and is also the perfect topping for latkes, or potato pancakes --Hanukkah is coming up in just a couple of weeks!) The dill pickles might seem like an unusual addition to the Thanksgiving meal, but pickles and black olives are a longstanding Pennsylvania Dutch tradition. Try them this year and find out why! DSC_8398 Rick of Humble Hill Farm in Spencer is looking forward to dining on his multicolored assorted carrots for the holidays. Not only are they gorgeous to serve alone, possibly glazed with some honey and butter, but they are a welcome addition to a fresh salad. Rick recommends grating them over salad greens along with beets and daikon radish for a refreshing and nutritious side dish. They are also great in a carrot cake, as the rainbow colors make for a unique presentation! DSC_8415 It is difficult to imagine a Thanksgiving dinner without Brussels sprouts! Trever of Ithaca Organics holds just a few of the many he has grown on his family's farm in Dryden this year. (Note: Trever's head is not actually glowing in this photo; it's just the sunlight filtering in at a funny angle... but when you see the amazing vegetables that Ithaca Organics has for sale, you might wonder if there are in fact some mystical forces at work!) Brussels sprouts are another one of those veggies that are so delicious, they require minimal preparation to bring out their flavor. We like roasting them in some butter or olive oil, and adding a little garlic. DSC_8383 Alex, owner of Jackman Vineyards, suggested a soup made from Butterkin squash and roasted poblano peppers. The squash compliments the hot peppers, resulting in a soup that is complex, with the sweet, buttery flavor of the squash shining through. We look forward to trying this one out. Squash is such an important part of the holiday, it's great to find new ways to enjoy it! DSC_8421 If you need more recipe ideas for Thanksgiving, stop by to see Cody (or Aaron, or new manager Becca!) at the Farmers Market office, where you can pick up a copy of the IFM cookbook! While you're there, you can also get some beautiful (and economical) reusable canvas totes to hold all of your finds. We look forwards to seeing you at the Farmers Market on November 21st and 22nd as we all prepare for an incredible Thanksgiving. Let's enjoy the region's bounty and give thanks for all of the local farmers who make it possible!

Vendor Profile: Eric and Marie of Pole Star Farm

Pole Star Farm is a relative newcomer to the Ithaca Farmers Market, having been with us for only a couple of seasons, but they have years of experience growing good old-fashioned vegetables and herbs! This year they were regulars at the Wednesday East Hill Market, which just ended its glorious 2015 season at the end of October. They can also be found on selected Sundays at Steamboat Landing. You can recognize their booth with this distinctive sign, which is always at their booth, along with colorful and beautifully displayed herbs and veggies.
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Pole Star Farm's handpainted sign, featuring Morgaine and Rune

Marie and Eric both grew up in Pennsylvania and moved to our area to start their farm. Pole Star Farm is located between Mecklenburg and Trumansburg, where the farmers live with their almost-2-year-old daughter, Morgaine, who enjoys helping out with farm work and at market. She still needs a little bit of supervision, as one of her favorite tasks is pulling out the just planted seedlings, but she is always delighted to be involved. Their dog Rune, a pug-beagle-terrier mix, is also an essential part of the business, working hard every day to keep the crops safe from invading ground hogs and mice. But the lion's share of the farming is done by Eric, who works on the farm full-time. Eric began as a college farmer back in Pennsylvania, and has passionately pursued the farming life ever since. Marie works off-farm with youth and young adults, and she is also the field and market assistant, often running their Farmers Market booth.
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Marie at East Hill Market begs the question, are you going to Pole Star Farm? Cilantro, sage, oregano, and thyme!

Marie says that her work teaching peace education to youth complements her work on the farm, as it is all about the connectedness of what you're doing with the earth, and how it connects people in communities. On the farm, she is particularly excited about growing nightshades such Sungold cherry tomatoes and ground cherries. She also loves their botanical cousins, the tomatillos and jalapenos, which she combines with garlic and lime juice to make a mean salsa verde. But Pole Star Farm does not live by Solanaceae alone... they also grow plenty of potatoes, onions, beets, sweet potatoes, carrots, winter squash, garlic, beans, all types of culinary herbs... The list could go on for a long time!
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Onions and potatoes from Pole Star Farm, just waiting for some nice market shopper to take them home

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Luscious, freshly harvested beets from Pole Star

In addition to selling at market, Pole Star Farm also distributes their produce through a small CSA with on-farm pickup, and sells to a few local restaurants. To learn more about Pole Star Farm, and see lots of beautiful pictures and fun updates from Eric, Marie, Morgaine, and Rune, you can check out the Pole Star Farm Facebook page, or better yet, find them at a Farmers Market near you!