via OPFM

The Oak Park Farmers Market, offering high quality, locally-grown produce, is held in the Pilgrim Church Parking lot at 460 Lake St. from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday through October. Call for a free pickup and ride to the Market (Tel. 708. 383.4806). Please call before 2:00pm on Friday.

MARKET HIGHLIGHTS FROM COLLEEN MCNICHOLS:

Only two markets remain this season. Please mark your calendar for our stone soup give away on 10/26. Additionally, guest writer and Chairwoman of the Market Commission, Laura Lencioni, shares her expert tips on cooking with market ingredients below. She is looking ahead to Thanksgiving and sharing her thoughts on cranberries and turkey. Enjoy.

–Colleen McNichols

UPCOMING EVENTS:

  • Stone Soup giveaway, closing day, Oct. 26
  • Knives sharpened every week at American Pride Microgreens booth
  • Live Folk Music, every week, starting at 9:00am
  • Church donuts, coffee (iced and hot), OJ, every week

Bake sale: Fenwick Key Club

Children’s  activity: Oak Park Library Book Bike

Alternating vendor: Green Fire Farm

MARKET INSIGHTS FROM LAURA LENCIONI:

This weekend I spent a lot of the time in the kitchen putting up the bounty from both the Oak Park Farmers Market and my own garden. As the market season is rapidly drawing to a close, I am thinking in earnest about holiday meals. What do I want to make sure I have in my freezer when I am ready to cook those special holiday meals? As of right now, I have 2 ducks from Finn’s Ranch, a gallon bag of frozen cranberries from Ellis Farms, a ton of zucchini frozen as sliced rounds, grated, and spiralized “zoodles.” This time of year, I am also starting to cut up, blanch, and freeze various kinds of squash for use in soups, roasting, or mashing. I’m even thinking about storing enough sweet potatoes to last me until Christmas. Between what I buy at the market and grow in my garden, I will never be without my favorite sweet potato dishes.

On my to-do list is to order a fresh turkey; Green Fire Farm and Mint Creek Farm are both taking orders for Turkeys. They may have local drop off sites even after OPFM closes for the season, so check out their websites or talk to the farmers at the next market. I am a huge fan of local turkeys from local farmers. Many years ago, I had a working share with Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm (not an OPFM vendor but a wonderful local farm in Ottowa, IL nonetheless), and I helped butcher both chickens and turkeys. From this experience, I can really appreciate the care that goes into bringing those Thanksgiving turkeys to market. You can really taste the difference between what you’ll get from one of the Farmer’s Market vendors and the typical factory-farmed bird. You can find sustainably-raised, free-range, pastured, and heritage turkeys for your holiday meals.

There is an endless selection of ingredients to make your holiday feasts at the market. I hope you are inspired to let your local OPFM farmers provide for your holiday feasts this year! Here are a few recipes that I like to serve for those holiday parties between Thanksgiving and New Years.

MARKET READY RECIPES FROM LAURA LENCIONI:

Brined Turkey

Brining your turkey overnight makes it especially tender. Brining is especially useful if you are cooking a heritage breed turkey that is a bit leaner than the conventional big-breasted breeds. You will need a container large enough to submerge your turkey completely; I use a cooler.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 turkey, any size; however, I typically use 12-15 lb turkey. Allow to defrost the frozen turkey in the refrigerator for several days before cooking.
  • coarse pickling salt, 3-4 cups
  • 1/2 garlic bulb garlic, peel and partially crush the cloves with the flat edge of a knife
  • whole sage leaves, fresh or dried, crushed/shredded coarsely
  • turmeric root, (optional)
  • branches of rosemary and/or thyme (optional)
  • bag of ice

DIRECTIONS:

In warm water, dissolve 3-4 cups of coarse pickling salt. Add to a large container (I use a cooler) and add garlic and herbs to the water. Add ice. Then, remove any organ meats from the bird (set aside for later). Place turkey in the brine and submerge with a weight if necessary (I just use a heavy plate). You can do this without adding ice if you can fit your cooler inside the fridge, or if it is cold enough outside to put the cooler out on the porch. Allow to brine overnight, 8-12 hours. Then, rinse the turkey and pat dry. Strain out the herbs and garlic, and discard the rest of the brine. Arrange your turkey breast side up in a roasting pan, add the organ meats to the cavity. Place garlic and herbs on top of the turkey. To keep it from drying out too quickly, I cover the breast with aluminum foil and take it off in the last half hour or so of cooking. Cook the turkey according to weight (see this handy chart from Allrecipes for temps/times to cook your turkey). I use a meat thermometer to let me know when the bird is done.

Classic Cranberries

This super simple prep for cranberries is my favorite side dish to complement a turkey.

INGREDIENTS:

  • A quart or so of fresh cranberries (I got mine from Ellis Farms last week)
  • A cup to cup and a half of brown sugar
  • chopped ginger, to taste
  • dash of cinnamon
  • dash of allspice
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • a couple of cloves

DIRECTIONS:

Add all ingredients to a saucepan and cook until the berries are soft. Serve warm or cold.

Marshmallow Sweet Potatoes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3-4 large sweet potatoes, I recently got a few different kinds from Iron Creek
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • dash of salt
  • bag of marshmallows

DIRECTIONS:

Wash, peel and chop sweet potatoes into cubes. Boil in a pot until they start to soften up. Remove from water, drain, and add to a roasting pan. Arrange them in a single layer. Sprinkle brown sugar and dash of salt. Arrange a layer of marshmallows on top of the sweet potatoes. Bake in the oven at 325 for about 45 min or until the marshmallows are melted and golden on top. Serve with turkey and cranberries.

Laura Lencioni

Oak Park Farmers’ Market is committed to equal access to high-quality fresh food. We believe that anyone who wants to eat locally grown and produced food should be able to, regardless of their income level. Therefore; we accept SNAP/LINK cards for payment. We match each dollar spent with a Link card with a one dollar coupon (up to $25.00 per Market day). In addition, we accept WIC and Senior vouchers, as well. To learn more about our equitable programs visit our website:

http://www.oak-park.us/our-community/oak-park-farmers-market

REMINDER: Please remember to bring your yogurt containers or storage containers to bring your berries and fruit home. Keep your bag clean and berries safely protected. We have given out all of our compostable shopping bags, so please remember to grab your bags on the way out of the door.

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