Market plans, October 10

As of this morning, we’re intending to be at market tomorrow, with a wide array of product. We’ll have just about everything we had last week, as seen above in our largest display of the year, plus some exciting new items (see below).

IMPORTANT
We’ll be moving our location from the front of the market, where we’ve been all year. This is due to two factors; the market’s slow shrinkage as some vendors finish for the season, and our need for electricity to run the corn grinder (see below). Look for us halfway down the north side, between Show Me Beef and the Market Oasis. I’m told this will be our location for the rest of the year.

NEW THIS WEEK

We’ll bring the first small batch of dent corn, for grinding at market into fresh cornmeal. Most of our stock is still drying, as the wet year has kept it from curing in the field and we’ve had to shuck and hang it in the house. Starting the woodstove this coming week will help. But we’ll have a few pounds of mostly Arikara White with a few early ears of Hickory King mixed in, all ready to grind fresh for a tasty batch of heirloom cornbread (recipe cards will be available). We’d love it if customers brought small jars or containers to save a bag for this; 1-2 cups are enough for a batch of cornbread.
We’ll also bring the first batch of mixed dried soup beans. These are best used mostly on their own, where their excellent flavor can shine. We like to cook them up and make simple stews with a few other vegetables and greens, or even just to serve them salted on their own as a side or simple lunch.
Both these and the corn are products that we could in theory keep all for ourselves as winter food, but we want to test the market and share these amazing items with customers. Both the beans and the corn have rich, authentic flavors that are nothing like the generic stuff in the store, and they’re worth sharing. So we’ll see how the beans go this week, and will probably keep bringing small batches for the rest of the market season.
As prices go, local stores sell “high-end” pre-packaged cornmeal of uncertain age for $2-3/lb. We’ve often found that such cornmeal is old and rancid, as whole-corn meal will naturally start to degrade eventually. Our fresh-ground stuff is worth at least $4/lb to us. 1 cup is about 1/2 lb, so you’ll be spending anywhere from $2-$4 for enough to make cornbread, depending on whether you want to cut it with flour (taste is better if you don’t).
Store bulk beans aren’t even comparable; the nearest equivalent for our beans is Seed Savers Exchange’s offerings of culinary beans for around $5/lb, and Joanna saw similar beans for $7.50/lb in Chicago. They’re using economies of scale that we don’t have, though, with large equipment on mono-crop fields, as opposed to our small-scale no-till integrated management, so it takes a bit more work for us to bring in the same crop. We’ll be asking $10/lb for our beans, with the expectation that customers will buy them in small quantities as a special treat for a specific meal. For example, 1 cup weighs about 1/2lb, so you might pay $5 for something that will cook up to around 2-3 cups of beans, enough for two healthy servings. The one customer to whom I sold a batch earlier in the year as a test, returned two weeks later raving about how the taste was better than anything she’d ever had and how they were well worth the price. If we don’t sell any, we’ll happily eat the whole stock all winter and not buy any more imported “organic” beans from unknown origins.

ALSO AVAILABLE
Mustard greens, collard greens, kale, lettuce, hot radishes, sweet daikon radishes, turnips, beets, okra, herbs, and more.
DONE FOR NOW
Green beans, tomatillos, and bok choi are finished. The first two were done in by frost, and the latter remaining heads are too insect-damaged. The chickens and geese will love them. Okra will be done after this market.
COMING SOON
We expect to bring some sweet potatoes next week, but otherwise there really aren’t any other products coming down the line, we’re at the end of our season and coasting on what’s already there. We hope to last at market through October; whether we go beyond that depends on sales and weather.

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