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Tag Archive | "Solon Market"

Basil—The King of Herbs


DIG-Fresh-market-sweet-basil-plantFresh Market

By Vicky Babcock

 

Ah basil. Its heady aroma, its varied and intense flavors, its striking foliage.  How could one not love basil? Its popularity is world-wide, yet none more so than here, with our blend of cultures and cuisines. America’s love affair with basil most likely stems from its association with Italian cuisine, flavorful sauces and pesto. Yet basil was not always loved and it is not native to Italy.

Some sources suggest that basil derives its name from the terrifying basilisk—a creature in Greek mythology, half lizard, half dragon, whose stare could cause madness and death. Perhaps this is the source of the belief, first recorded by scribes dating pre-206 BCE that basil “exists only to drive men insane.” It is also the first known written record of basil in any context. Both the Greeks and the Romans associated basil with hatred. Western European lore claims that basil belongs to the devil and for basil to grow well, one must curse the ground it is planted in. The French idiom, “semer le basilica,” to sow the basil, is synonymous with going off on a rant. Nicholas Culpeper believed it was poisonous. He also adhered to the belief that basil could produce scorpions and that smelling too much basil could create a scorpion inside the brain. Conversely, basil is held by some to protect against scorpions and the herbalist, John Gerard, noted that those who ate of basil would feel no pain from a scorpion sting. There are as many advocates of basil as there are detractors.

Native to India, the word stems from the Greek “basileus” meaning “king.” Jewish folklore suggests that it adds strength while fasting. It is sacred to the god Vishnu in its native country and the goddess of love in Haiti. In Hindu, holy basil, or “Tulsi,” is a symbol of love, fidelity, eternal life, purification and protection.

Basil is a member of the mint family. Its essential oils show both antifungal and insect repelling properties and components of the plant have been proven to be toxic to mosquitoes. The herb is an excellent source of Vitamin K and manganese, and a good source of Vitamins A and C. It is heart healthy, being a good source of beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant that protects against free radical damage and also prevents free radicals from oxidizing cholesterol in the bloodstream. Only after it has been oxidized does cholesterol build up in blood vessel walls. Because free radical damage is a contributing factor in other conditions, such as asthma, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, basil may help to lessen the progression of these conditions as well. Studies have shown that components of the oil can act as an anti-inflammatory by inhibiting an enzyme called “cyclooxygenase.” Many common over the counter non-steroid anti-inflammatory medications, including aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen work by inhibiting this same enzyme.

Basil is best consumed fresh, as drying changes the flavor. For cooked dishes, add this herb at the end of the heating process to maintain flavor and nutrition. For future use, try freezing basil in ice cube trays with water for soups and sauces. Or try our recipe for pesto below.

 

Pesto 

1 large bunch of basil, leaves only, (about 2 cups, packed) washed and dried

3 medium cloves of garlic, peeled

1/3 cup raw pine nuts

¾ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

A few tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

Salt to taste

In a food processor, pulse basil, garlic and pine nuts briefly—do not over process.  Add cheese and pulse a bit more.  Blend in olive oil and add salt to taste.

Great on sandwiches or over pasta.  Refrigerate.

Makes about 1 cup.

 

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718. Like us on facebook for updates.

 

 

 

 

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Opening Day at Solon Market June 7


School’s out and Mom’s already frazzled. The kids have already started their, “I’m bored!” blues.  What to do?  Head on over to Solon Market for a fun-filled summer! The Market kicks off Opening Day Saturday, June 7, with give-aways and a petting zoo, free samples and plenty of seasonal produce as well as crafts, baked goods and flea market items.  Browse the open-air market and visit with your friends, neighbors and family.

Solon Market is bringing back many favorites such as Christmas (in July this year), Fire Fighter Days and the popular Dog Daze Pet Expo. For a complete calendar of events, check out their facebook page at Solon Market or call 696-4227.

Solon Market is a free market charging nothing to vendors for set-up. Located at 15185 Algoma Ave. behind Solon Township Offices in and near the picturesque barn once owned by the Stout Family. It is family-oriented and kid friendly.  Market hours are every Saturday through October from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m.  Come and join the fun!

 

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Fresh Market: Rhubarb


By Vicky Babcock

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It is January. In an old shed near Wakefield England, a group of men move carefully among the rows of rhubarb, plucking the pink stems by candlelight.  Most of the shed is in darkness and the atmosphere is hushed.  There is an air of reverence here, as if some rude cathedral.  If one listens quietly, states the farmer, Janet Oldroyd-Hume, one can hear the rhubarb grow.  Is this some sacred rite from pagan days gone by—some obscure celebration of the solstice?  No.  It is the harvest of the forced winter crop, cast in darkness to encourage rapid growth.  Oldroyd-Hume relates the tale that led to this remarkable scene.  In 1817 or thereabouts, the legend goes, workers digging a trench in Chelsea inadvertently covered some rhubarb roots with soil. Upon removing the soil, they discovered that the rhubarb, seeking daylight, had grown long pink stems. “Luckily, it was Chelsea,” Oldroyd-Hume quips, “so they tasted them.”   Ian Jack-the Guardian, January 2008.

Welcome to the Rhubarb Triangle—a 9 square mile area between Rothwell, Morley and Wakefield famous for its forced rhubarb.

Most rhubarb, as is Michigan’s crop, is grown naturally and harvested in the early to late Spring.  The bright red stalks, native to China and dating back over 5,000 years, add a festive look to pies and jams and its tart distinctive flavor makes it an excellent choice for sugared desserts. Rhubarb was given the sobriquet, “pie plant” as it is a vegetable, but is treated as a fruit.

Before sugar’s introduction to the world, rhubarb was treated primarily as a medicinal plant—its roots are a powerful laxative that is still used today.  As sugar became more available and popular to Europeans, so too did rhubarb.   The vegetable lost favor during wartime sugar shortages—people grew tired of eating the plant with little or no sugar and so turned to other more costly fruits to round out their diets. It’s been reported that, for a brief time during WWI*, it was advised to use rhubarb greens as a food source in Briton—this was quickly rescinded as it became abundantly clear that the leaves are toxic to both humans and animals.

Ben Franklin was said to be responsible for the introduction of rhubarb to North America in 1772.  And Marco Polo wrote extensively about this medicinal herb.  In the late 1800’s, Russians brought the stalks to Alaska to treat scurvy as the plant is rich in vitamin C. Rhubarb is low in calories and high in fiber, making it a highly desirable plant for our diet as is.  However, few of us can tolerate the bitter stems without a touch of sugar.

*Note:  Although many sources state WWI, others state WWII.  I even found a reference to Americans being advised to eat the leaves as opposed to the British.  One of the sources that I would have trusted most contradicted itself within the same article.

Rhubarb Bread Pudding

3 cups bread cubes

3 cups chopped rhubarb

1 ½ cup sugar

¼ tsp. salt

3 eggs, beaten

1 stick melted butter or margarine

Combine—spoon mixture into 8×8-inch pan.  Bake at 375º 40 minutes.  This is delicious warm from the oven, but can be reheated or eaten cold.

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

 

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Bootacular!


N-Bootacular1Ghouls and ghosts were in abundance last Saturday at Solon Market, as they kicked off their first annual Bootacular Event!  There were prizes and treat bags and a craft with lots of room to run! Favorite quote?  “I love this mask because I don’t have to smile for pictures!”

N-Bootacular2Solon Market is closed for the season.  Look for them in the Spring  and watch their facebook page for future up-dates.

 

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Fresh Market the Cranberry


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It is commonly held that there are only three fruits native to North America—blueberries, cranberries and Concord grapes. While I am not certain of the accuracy of this statement, cranberries are indeed native to America. Native American Indians used the berry as both a food source and a wound medicine, as well as a dye.  Its name is said to come from a variation of “craneberry,” so called because the early settlers from Europe thought the flower resembled the head of a crane.  Also referred to in various parts of the world as mossberry, fenwort or fenberry, marshwort, bearberry, bounceberry (a common method of testing for quality was to bounce them) and Sassamanash.

The rich red color of the berries lends itself well to festive occasions such as Christmas and Thanksgiving. Indeed, many of us associate the fruit solely with Thanksgiving and have not enjoyed the many dishes that can be created from this versatile berry.  If your experience with cranberries has been limited to cranberry relish, it’s time to open the door to a world of culinary possibilities.  Cranberries—used to flavor meats for centuries—make a good addition to breads and desserts as well as salads and cereals.  Because of their tart flavor they are best consumed in a sugared dish or paired with another fruit such as the apple.

Cranberries are one of the Super Fruits. This nutrient rich berry carries its own natural anti-biotic and has been linked—in the form of juice—with urinary tract infections relief in women. Cranberry juice consumption can aid in the prevention of tooth decay as it helps prevent the build-up of plaque. Studies indicate that extracts may have anti-aging effects.  Cranberries are high in vitamins C and K as well as fiber.  Vitamin K promotes cardiovascular health. It, along with phosphorous in cranberries assists in bone and tooth health.

An Indian legend describes how the cranberry came to be:  Long ago, the Yakwawi’àk, or Mastodons, walked the Earth, placed here by the creator to be useful to man. The monstrous beast was fierce, powerful and invincible and a great help to the Lenape’wàk .  But the powerful creatures turned on them and waged war on all of the animals—a great battle was fought. Many lives were lost and the ground ran red with the blood spilled.  Yet the Yakwawi’àk were nearly impossible to kill! Slowly, the battlefield turned into a great quagmire and many of the hugh creatures drown. The Creator, angry with the monstrous beasts, threw lightning bolts, killing all but one bull. Badly wounded, the beast fled to the far north, where it is said, its evil spirit remains. Evidence of the great battle can be seen today. You can find the bones of the Yakwawi’àk as well as other animals in the marshes. The Lenape’wàk were saddened by the lives lost and the loss of potential food and furs. In remembrance and compassion, the Creator caused the cranberry to grow in the marshland so that it might be used as food for mankind. The deep red color of the berry was to remind us of the blood that was spilled on that terrible day.

Cranberry Cake with Butter Cream Sauce

3 T. butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 cup evaporated milk

2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed and halved

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy; beat in milk.  Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture.  Stir in cranberries.

Pour into a greased 9-in. square baking pan.  Bake at 350º for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.

Butter Cream Sauce

½ cup butter, melted

1 cup sugar

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a saucepan, combine melted butter, sugar and cream; bring to a boil, stirring often.  Boil for 8-10 minutes or until slightly thickened.  Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla.  Serve warm over Cranberry Cake.

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

 

 

 

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Fresh Market – The Pear


By Vicky Babcock

Ginger Glazed Chicken and Pears a la Orange

Ginger Glazed Chicken and Pears a la Orange

 

Because they are considered hypoallergenic, pears are often one of the first foods we introduce to babies.  Soft and easily digestible compared to other fruits, these are excellent choices for first time foods.  As children, we remember growing up with canned pears and Fruit Cocktail.  Given that association, many of us might label the pear as a “kid” food.

Not so. Pears—especially in its natural state—are an excellent choice for our diets at any age! Even more so than others, pears are a fruit that should be consumed with the skin intact, as the skin contains a majority of the phytonutrients (about 75-80%) and about one-half of the dietary fiber.  These phytonutrients have been shown to provide us with antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory benefits. Consumption of pears has been associated with reduced risk of several chronic diseases, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes—often referred to as adult-onset diabetes.

In addition, the consumption of pears has been shown to aid in the prevention of cancers such as colon, stomach and esophageal cancers.

The pear is a member of the rose family, joining a large group of fruits including apples, cherries, peaches, plums, raspberries and strawberries.  It is an Old World fruit, originating in both Europe and Asia as well as some parts of Africa.  The ancient Chinese believed the pear to be the symbol of immortality.

There are over 3000 varieties of pears throughout the world.  Most pears grown in the United States are of European origin.  The Bartlett, best known of these varieties, is most often the choice for canned pears.  In Europe, it is known as the Williams.  It was renamed by a Bostonian, Enoch Bartlett when he purchased an orchard and began distributing them himself, not knowing they were already named.  Other varieties you might recognize include the Bosc, the Green Anjou, the Red Anjou and the Red Bartlett.  Red varieties are higher in nutritional value as they contain anthrcyanins, a powerful antioxidant .

Because a pear ripens from the inside out, it can be difficult to determine when it is ripe.  We recommend pressing gently at the top of the pear near its stem.  If it gives to pressure it is likely ripe for eating.

Ginger Glazed Chicken and Pears a la Orange

Ingredients:

2-3 T. butter

About 8-10 chicken tenders

Morton’s Nature’s Seasons or similar seasoned salt

2 T. soy sauce

2  T.  white vinegar

1/4  cup (or less) sugar

1  tsp. ground ginger

2 T. dry white wine

½ cup orange juice or 2 T. orange liquor

1 onion, cut thin

1 unpeeled pear, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 cup rice, cooked in 2 cups water with 2 bullion cubes (3 cups cooked rice)

Arugula

Directions:

Season chicken with Nature’s Seasons and braise lightly in butter in large pan over medium heat on both sides. Remove from pan—do not rinse pan.  Add soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and ginger and heat until sugar melts.  Add wine and orange juice—stir.  Add onion, pear slices and chicken; cover and simmer over medium low heat until chicken is cooked through and onion is tender—about 12 minutes.  Serve over rice.  Add a couple leaves of Arugula to the side of the plate. (Although this was originally intended for garnish, it adds a nutty flavor that truly enhances this dish!)  Serves 4-6.

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

 

 

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Christmas in October


ENT-Christmas-OctoberSolon Market is hosting “Christmas in October” this Saturday, October 12. Santa will be there with his reindeer, and there will be pictures with Santa, activities and giveaways. Bring the kids and join the fun and get a head start on your Christmas shopping! For more information call 616-696-4227.

Like us on Facebook for updates. Solon Market is Located at 15185 Algoma Ave. Cedar Springs, MI 49319. Market hours are 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. every Saturday.

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Free wagon rides a hit at Solon Market


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Kids and horses were the theme again at Solon Market this past weekend as a pair of Percherons  stole the show!  Rich Straub brought his pair to Market Saturday for free wagon rides.  Ford and Chevy are back from up north, where they spent the summer helping an Amish farmer—a friend of Rich’s—plow his fields. “They love it,” Rich tells us, speaking of the wagon rides. “They love all of the attention.”

And the kids love them.  Percherons are draft horses, built to pull a heavy load. But they (Ford and Chevy) are gentle giants, soaking up the attention of the young crowd.

N-Wagon-rides2Solon Market is closed this week for Red Flannel Festival, but they will be open again the following weekend when they will host “Christmas in October.”

 

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Fresh Market—the Pumpkin


 

By Vicky Babcock

 

Nothing says Fall quite so well as the pumpkin! Its bold color and robust texture are characteristic of the season. It is a fall favorite in the U.S., selling over 1 billion pounds annually in its relatively short season. Over 90 percent of our nation’s processed pumpkin comes from the State of Illinois, with a majority (85 percent) being processed for sale with the Libby’s ® label.  Most Americans today have never made a pumpkin pie that has not come out of a can.

Pumpkin popularity grew enormously in the U.S with the advent of the Jack o’ Lantern, a tradition brought over by Irish immigrants, who used carved turnips in their home country as lanterns to chase away evil spirits.  According to legend, Jack tricked the Devil into agreeing to never claim his soul. When Jack died, the Devil gave him a lit coal to light his way in the afterlife. Jack placed the coal in a turnip and became known as “Jack o’ the Lantern.”

Pumpkins, as other squashes, are native to America and Native Americans grew and harvested them for centuries. It was one of a group of crops known as the “three sisters” and was grown in conjunction with corn and beans. The corn stalk provided a pole for the beans to grow, while the pumpkin covered the ground, providing cover to deter weeds and to keep the soil moist. The Iroquois legend of the three sisters speaks of a Sky woman who fell to Earth, becoming the first woman on Earth. Being with child, she gave birth to a daughter who in turn, gave birth to twins by the West Wind. The woman died in childbirth and the children buried her; from the ground where she lay, sprouted corn, beans and pumpkins, which served as the main food staples of the Iroquois.

While pumpkins are most popular here as a carving base these days, the fruit is loaded with nutritional value. Pumpkins are high in vitamin A and beta carotene; the seeds are high in protein and rich in a highly nutritious, flavorful oil. The flowers and the leaves are edible and considered a delicacy in some countries.

Some little known facts:  pumpkins are used as a feed for livestock; the raw fruit can be used as a supplement to chickens during the winter to aid in egg production; the biggest pumpkin on record weighed in at a whopping 2009 pounds; Columbus brought the first pumpkins back to Europe from the New World; the largest pumpkin pie ever made was over five feet in diameter and weighed over 350 pounds; canned pumpkin (not pie filling) has been recommended by veterinarians as a supplement for dogs and cats experiencing ailments such as constipation, diarrhea or hairballs.

Still not convinced that you should buy a pumpkin? Consider pumpkin chucking. A competitive sport in which teams build devices to throw a pumpkin as far as possible.

Crustless Pumpkin Pie

1 32oz can of pumpkin

1 12oz can of evaporated milk

4 eggs

3 teaspoons pumpkin pie mix

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cups sugar

1 box yellow cake mix

1 stick butter

Pecans to scatter on top as desired.

 

Mix pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, pumpkin pie mix, salt and sugar in bowl.  Pour in 13”x9” cake pan. Cover with 1 box of Yellow Cake mix.  Scatter pecans on top.  Melt butter and drizzle over the top. Bake at 400 for about 40 minutes.

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

Note:  Solon Market will be closed October 5 for Red Flannel Festival. We will be open again the following week.

 

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Horseback riding a hit at Solon Market


_N-Horseback-riding2_N-Horseback-riding1With fall comes apples, cider, hay rides—and horses. Kids and horses were a winning combination at Solon Market this past Saturday as they jockeyed for next in line to ride. Skye, Paint and their caregivers, one of our local businesses, provided hours of entertainment to the children and their parents at no cost. Smiles were in abundance. Look for wagon rides this Saturday with Rich Straub and his pair, Ford and Chevy, a Market favorite. Come enjoy the beautiful countryside at Solon Market, 15185 Algoma Avenue, on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Enjoy the ride!

 

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