Sunday, September 25, 2011

BELD Celebrates at the Farmers Market

Andrea Taber from Ever So Humble Pie Co. gets help from volunteer Jim Regan.
  The calendar is rounding the bend into October this Saturday at the Braintree Farmers Market hosted by Sustainable Braintree.  This is one of the best months of the entire year with intensely blue skies, crisp air and vibrant yellow and red leaves.  Autumn is the season to stock up on winter squashes, onions, garlic and apples for the long haul.  It's also a good time to make hearty soups and stews made with fresh local ingredients from the market along with a loaf of freshly-baked, crusty bread and a good bottle of local wine.  The diversity and depth of locally grown and made products at the Braintree Farmers Market makes this all possible.  The market will continue every Saturday through October at the Braintree Town Hall Mall from 9 to 1, rain or shine.  Come on down and support this locally cherished venue.
   This Saturday our friends at the Braintree Electric Light Department (BELD) will be under the events tent as they celebrate National Public Power Week and have the opportunity to say "thank you" to their customers.  Over 2,000 electric utilities that collectively provide electricity on a not-for-profit basis to 43 million Americans unite for this annual celebration.  During Public Power Week BELD honors the democratic tradition of community decision-making and participation that led to it's founding in 1892.  Remember Hurricane Irene back in August when many surrounding towns that depend on huge corporate electrical companies went without power for several days?  Chances are if you are Braintree resident and you lost power during this storm it was out for only a short period of time.  This is due to the quick response and efficiency from the folks at BELD.
   This week BELD employees will be on hand to answer questions.  Visit demonstration tables and find out about programs that are offered through BELD such as their broadband services.  Smart Strips, an energy saving device that turns off peripherals when they are not in use, will be available to purchase through a representative from Sustainable Life Solutions.  Kids can pick up a hard hat and explore the bucket truck.  Parents are encouraged to bring their cameras.  There will be giveaways and drawings too.  They will be serving refreshments from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.  
   Got books to recycle?  This year BELD is partnering with the Friends of Thayer Public Library and will be collecting books that need a new home.  Bring your books on Saturday and BELD will take care of the rest.   They will also be providing a safe and secure recycling truck that will shred your personal papers while you watch from a special camera.  Bring your papers with you-the first box is free.  After that a $5 donation per box or bag is suggested with all of the proceeds going towards Sustainable Braintree.  Now that's a great deal.
   BELD's Municipal Light Board Vice Chairman, Jim Regan, is one on the most dedicated volunteers at the Braintree Farmers Market and has been with us since we opened in 2009.  Jim arrives at the market location every Saturday to help us out by putting up tents and banners for Sustainable Braintree and our Community Tent along with assisting many of the market vendors with their setups.  When the market is getting ready to close Jim is the first one to arrive and assist with our tear downs.  Last week he stayed late after the market closed and completely organized and neatly arranged all of our tents and supplies in the storage area.  We can't thank Jim enough for the service that he has done to make the market a success.  We'd like to dedicate this Saturday's market to Jim and declare that October 1st, 2011 is Jim Regan Day at the Braintree Farmers Market. Thank you Jim.
   So stop by and check out all the goodies at the market and see what BELD is up to these days.  The season seems to be flying by so don't miss out on this fleeting opportunity.  See you on Saturday.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Fall Flavors Arrive at the Farmers Market

Apples from C.N. Smith Farm.

   It's apple season already and there's plenty of them at the Braintree Farmers Market hosted by Sustainable Braintree.  If you're short on time or have other priorities and can't get out of town for picking apples come on down to the market and visit the C.N. Smith Farm tents for a wide selection of fresh picked apples, peaches and plums direct from their farm.  The air is crisp and so are the apples so there's no excuse not to enjoy these favorite local fruits while they're in season.  This farm also features their own fresh pressed apple cider so be sure to look in their coolers.  The market will continue at the Braintree Town Hall Mall every Saturday from 9 to 1 through October and we'll finish up with the Special Indoor Thanksgiving Market on Nov. 19th.

JoAnn Marsh is in love with Burnin' Love Sauces.
   Tailgating is a great reason to stock up on Burnin' Love Sauces who joined us for the first time last year.  JoAnn Marsh loves to tell folks about the many varieties of sauces she and her husband Gregory create.  This year they have a couple of new items in their lineup.  They are the Sassy Mo'Lassy Spicy BBQ and the My Honey L.O.V.eS. Me Vinaigrette (local apple cider vinegar, local honey, lavender and sage).  They have also reformulated their Sweet Onion Blues (caramelized onion, balsamic and blueberry chutney).  Try this recipe that includes the Sassy Mo'Lassy Spicy BBQ Sauce:

New England Chili
Soak 1/2 lb. dried Navy beans overnight in the refrigerator.
Drain and rinse beans. (Canned beans can be used instead if you prefer.)
In a large pot, saute a quarter of an onion, diced, in 1tsp oil. 
When onions are clear add 2 cups water, 12oz. Sassy Mo'Lassy BBQ. 
Add beans and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and cover. Cook on low for 4 hours. 
Add 1 lb. cooked drained ground beef, chicken or diced extra firm tofu.
For easy crock pot chili: brown the ground beef, add the onions for the last 3-4 minutes of cook time, drain off the fat, put in crock pot, add remaining ingredients and cook on low setting for up to 16 hours.

Donna Dunn is the owner and Chief Soap Maker at R.I. Spa Products.
   Another vendor that joined us in 2010 who has a devout following is Rhode Island Spa Products with Donna Dunn at the Helm.  Soaps, lotions and exfoliants that are made with all natural ingredients and are luscious and dreamy.  Donna is currently working on a collection of spicy holiday soaps and the Papaya Exfoliating Mask is brand new.  The Arnica Muscle Stick, made with Arnica infusion combined with an essential oil blend, is twice the size this season but not twice the price.  Use it on your tired and sore muscles for instant relief or apply it on bruises to reduce swelling and discoloration.  Try this vendor's products once and you'll be hooked and you can be assured they aren't filled preservatives and ingredients with chemical names that you can't pronounce.
  It's hard to believe that summer's really over and the fall flavors have begun to permeate the market.  Apples, pumpkins, cider, hearty soups, breads, cranberries, spicy soaps and fruit preserves are all currently available at the market.  Thanks to the gracious support of our community the market has continued to thrive. Drop by and taste the flavors of Fall.  See you on Saturday.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What's Old is Now New at the Farmers Market

Fall deliveries from C.N. Smith Farm.   
We're getting into a groove at the Braintree Farmers Market hosted by Sustainable Braintree.  The vendors that joined us for the first time this season have now learned the ropes and already have regular customers that show up to support them every week.  The weather is now transitioning towards warm days and cooler evenings and things couldn't be any more perfect for enjoying the peak of harvest season.  Join us every Saturday at the Town Hall Mall from 9 to 1, rain or shine, and start your weekend with a refreshing trip to an open air market with some of the best local products that you'll find anywhere.   
   Although we've spiced up the market with some great new vendors our farmers and vendors that have been with us since we opened in 2009 are always adding to their product lineups to keep things fresh and interesting.  The Farmer's Garden will start bringing many different varieties of squashes along with more leafy lettuce as the temperatures begin to cool.  C.N. Smith Farm has begun to bring a wide color assortment of fall mums just in time to spruce up your front porch.  Rob is always on hand to help you with your choices and even bring your purchases to your vehicle if you like.  This grower has a neighbor that's a beekeeper who brings her hives onto the farm to help with pollination of the crops.  All of the honey you'll find at their stand is made from the bees that are kept on their property.  Look for flavorful cider pressed from their own apples in their coolers at the market now.

Flip Flop Cookies from Jack's Cookie Jar.

   If you have a sweet tooth look no further than Jack's Cookie Jar.  Jack and his team of creative cookie bakers are constantly coming up with new cookie ideas.  Whether it's the brand new and totally delicious Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie or the recent, melt in your mouth Pecan Shortbread, you know Jack serves up only the best.  Whatever the holiday or season look for the most beautiful decorative cookies that taste as great as they look.  At Jack's Cookie Jar they love Halloween and can't wait to unlock their artistic cookie ideas for all to enjoy in the very near future. 

Find a wide selection of baked goods at Ever So Humble Pie Company.
   Have you noticed that our very own, award winning, Ever So Humble Pie Company has become more popular than ever?  If you want the best selection it's a good idea to get to the market early.  Chief pie maker, Andrea Taber, is always coming up with new products that continue to entice us and have us coming back for more.  This season she's experimenting with a new line of savory tarts.  The recently unveiled Zucchini Frittata is a perfect balance of fresh eggs, cheese and locally grown zucchini with a creamy texture and buttery crust.  It's goes perfectly with greens from the market and makes a quick meal that's healthy and delicious.  New pie flavors for this year are White Peach and Raspberry along with Summer Medley which is a blend of strawberries, blueberries, rhubarb and oranges.  Andrea has also been surprising us with new pie flavors as she continues to create the Ultimate Pie Sensation.  Remember the BlueBarb Pie?  Try her recent addition of tea breads with fall flavors like zucchini, banana, pumpkin and apple.  There's also an incredibly delightful Gluten-free Angel Food Cake that has a heavenly texture and taste.
   These are just a small sampling of newer items available from some of our original market vendors.  Please check in next week for the continuation of recently introduced products from our seasoned vendors.  For more information or to volunteer please visit us at  See you on Saturday.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Sustainable Braintree Earth Celebration at the Farmers Market

Eileen Campbell, SB Recycling Leader, and Pat Morey, SB Community Garden Leader, will have displays at the market this week.

   We love to throw a party at the Braintree Farmers Market, hosted by Sustainable Braintree, and this Saturday, Sept. 10th, is no exception. Come and join us for our First Annual Earth Celebration in conjunction with the market.  We've set aside this day to honor our natural world and our place in it.  Bring your lawn chairs and blankets so you can hang out and enjoy Candy Stout as she sings selections from the Great American Songbook accompanied by Jon Wheatley on guitar and Jim Repa on reeds.  Each individually has devoted many decades to the joy of melodic swinging and beautiful music.  Stroll the market while you check out a variety of activities and useful information that will inspire you to help keep our planet happy and squeaky clean. 
    Join the Recycling Task Force in an exciting game of Recycling Bingo for children.  Kids will learn more about what they can recycle in Braintree while playing a nontraditional form of the old school game. We can all learn more about Single Stream with exhibits and information about items residents can toss in their recycling bins – it’s amazing how many items we used to throw in the trash are actually recyclable now. Some things that can’t go into Single Stream can be recycled or reused elsewhere.  Check out our info on the many other options for recycling, such as old cell phones, corks, sneakers, keys, eyeglasses, crayons, tools and bubble wrap. Be sure to enjoy the display of inspiring sculptures made from recyclable materials that have been created by Braintree High School art students.
   Our friends from Project Have Hope will have beautiful jewelry and craft items from recycled paper from artisans in the Acholi Quarter of Uganda.  These pieces are colorful and creative and get that warm and fuzzy feeling when you support and empower the women and children in this region of Africa.
    Find out how easy it is to compost with Sustainable Braintree’s Community Garden Task Force.  They will give you some ideas of how to start a compost pile and what ingredients to feed it to make a nutrient-rich additive to your garden.  They will also display some produce from the Community Garden at Perkins Park. 
    Check in with Sustainable Braintree’s Energy Task Force for fresh ideas about how to save energy, save money, and save the planet.  Find out first-hand how much we can make a difference collectively when we all do our part. 
    You will have a chance to meet a giant tortoise, along with some smaller reptiles, courtesy of the New England Wildlife Center.  Learn about this local non-profit group that rehabs injured wildlife and returns them to the wild.  If you've ever come across injured or orphaned wildlife these are the folks you need to contact.  
    The Braintree Conservation Commission is providing trail maps of Cranberry Pond and other information about finding nature in Braintree.    Additional information will be on hand about a variety of educational organizations and resources that help us learn about and enjoy our natural world. 

A wide variety of locally-grown tomatoes are now available at the market.
    It's also the peak of harvest season at the farmers market and the best time of year to purchase fresh picked produce from you local farmers.  All of the produce items available are brought here direct from the growers that are located right here on the South Shore.  When you purchase from small local farms it helps them remain sustainable and viable.  Look for the Braintree Farmers Market every Saturday from 9 to 1, rain or shine, at the Braintree Town Hall Mall, One JFK Memorial Dr. Braintree until the end of Oct. with a special Indoor Thanksgiving Market on Nov. 19th.  See you on Saturday.