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Back to the Market

November 14, 2011

Last year my CSA did not get hit by a hurricane. Nor did it get flooded a second time as a tropical storm dumped rain on already sodden land. Given the conditions Roxbury had to deal with this year, it’s amazing we got as much gorgeous food as we did.

Even after the floods we were getting tomatoes, beets, potatoes, winter squash, turnips, sweet potatoes, onions, carrots and more. And while I may have missed a repeat performance of last year’s cabbage bounty, Mrs. Fussy was dancing a little happy jig that the cabbage crop was destroyed.

Okay, that’s not exactly true. But she really doesn’t like cabbage.

Anyhow, last year we got weekly deliveries into December. And then on top of it all, I ordered a forty-pound storage box of winter root vegetables. All of that produce kept me happy at home well into January without venturing into the local farmers markets. Well, let me rephrase that. I would venture, but I wasn’t there for groceries. I do like to browse.

This year is different.

Roxbury’s deliveries ended early this season. There is no winter storage box, and I’m already almost out of the storage vegetables I’ve been hoarding. I’m down to some potatoes, a couple of squash, a smattering of beets and turnips, a bag of carrots and a massive supply of onions. Seriously, I’ve got a staggering amount of Mrs. Fussy’s most reviled food.

I suppose it’s still a lot of produce, but I wanted to supplement it. There is a recipe I plan to make that calls for green bell peppers. Given their typical pesticide loads, I feel strongly about buying organic versions of this vegetable.

The ones at Honest Weight Food Co-op looked awful. And I hoped there might be a few left at the Schenectady Greenmarket on Sunday. It seemed unlikely given the season, but I spied a crate of them the week prior. So it was worth a shot.

Sunday was the first time in a long time that I went to a farmers market as a buyer. It’s hard to believe, but the CSA really keeps me well stocked.

Free Bird Organic Farm was the stall where I had seen the peppers the prior week. And I was crestfallen when I neither saw the pepper on the table or on their price board. There was only one other vendor selling bell peppers, and they were not an organic farm. Desperate, I figured there was no harm in asking.

Lo and behold, there just wasn’t room on the table, but indeed, there was a crate of organic green peppers. I only needed a couple, but these were small. So I picked up three for less than $2 and I left with my score, feeling great. Organic bell peppers, even green ones, can be crazy expensive.

But I also discovered another farm while I was there.

One of the great things about small local farms, besides the quality of the food, is the quality of their stories. And I finally got the story behind Migliorelli Farm. Here’s my favorite part, as pulled from their website:

Originating in the Bronx in 1933 when Angelo Migliorelli first brought the broccoli raab seeds when he immigrated to New York from the Lazio region of Italy. Migliorelli and his son, Rocco peddled their vegetables by horse and cart up and down the Bronx, sun up to sun down. Eventually Co-Op City was to be built therefore pushing the last of the farmers out of the Bronx. Farming was Rocco’s passion so he brought his family to the Hudson Valley. Now in its 3rd generation, Migliorelli Farm is growing over 130 different varieties of fruits and vegetables, including the same strain of broccoli raab.

Seriously, how can you read that and not want to try their raab? You can’t. I couldn’t. Especially since it was only $2 for a large bunch tied tightly with a piece of brown twine. It was beautiful, and ultimately it was delicious. One day I’ll learn more about their integrated pest management system, but I feel good about eating these leafy greens from a storied local producer that doesn’t engage in routine spraying with toxic chemicals.

Maybe next Sunday I’ll see you in Schenectady?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 14, 2011 11:11 am

    K and I are there every Sunday. I love that place. I am still missing Barber something fierce and Free Bird lucked out big time by getting their spot this winter.

  2. November 14, 2011 11:51 am

    I looked all over for green peppers at the Troy Farmer’s Market last Saturday and couldn’t find any. I feel that’s one of the harder veggies to find at the market and I’m not sure why that is. I will say that considering the flood, there has been a remarkable plethora of good looking produce still available at the market throughout the fall.

    Yummm…broccoli raab makes me hungry for a Philly cheese steak with broccoli raab and provolone.

  3. November 15, 2011 9:25 am

    I haven’t yet been to the Schenectady Greenmarket *or* the Troy Farmer’s Market. My husband is a night owl and getting him up before noon on the weekends is a project. However, I think it will be easier to get him over to Schenectady for 10-10:30 on a Sunday (when everyone else is presumably at Church) than to Troy for 9ish am on a Saturday. (Though, when I told them they had local oceans fish in Troy, he raised a happy eyebrow.)

    We didn’t get the crateful of gourds from our CSA this year that we got last year (presumably for the same reasons you did not get your box of root vegetables), so at the very least I want to get a few sweet gourds both for making stuffed squash and also pumpkin/winter squash pie. However, this will have to wait until December; I leave for vacation on Friday morning. :)

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