By Tamas Mondovics
and Jana Jones
“Would you consider a mid-week market so we can buy produce after work? We can’t make it into town on Saturdays.”
These are some of the requests the Johnson County Farmers Market (JCFM) has received in the past, which has prompted market organizers to give it a try. Thanks to an abundance of produce to sell mid-week as well as on Saturdays, local farmers have committed to support the effort. JCFM officials emphasized that there is plenty of room for additional vendors that perhaps could only sell their wares during the week. The mid-week market will be held in Ralph Stout Park near the Farmers Market shed starting on Tuesdays, July 24 from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. until the harvest slows down.
“It will be open so people getting off work will have an opportunity to shop,” organizers said.The success of the Mid-Week Market, will, of course, depend on the demand for such an offering. It takes most of the day for vendors to prepare to set up at the outdoor venue, be available for three hours, and then tear down and clean up afterward. If the community does not support such efforts, it makes sense that the vendors will not be able to continue.
“This will be a test market for two months to see if there is enough demand for a Mid-Week Farmers Market in our community,” Jones said.
JCFM is looking for more vendors for the Tuesday Market as well as the Saturday Farmers Market. Those with extra produce in their garden, or anyone who would benefit by selling their produce, eggs, processed meat, baked goods, or handmade crafts, are encouraged to contact the Market Manager at [email protected]
Since the JCFM is entering the “abundant harvest” phase of the season, Jones wanted to share with readers Ratatouille with its traditional French recipe that contains zucchini, eggplant, green peppers, tomatoes, onions, and garlic – all of which are now available at the Saturday Farmers Market.
In a large skillet cook 1 thinly sliced onion and 2 cloves of minced garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil over moderately low heat, occasionally stirring, until the onion is softened.
Add 3 tablespoons olive oil and heat it over moderately high heat until it is hot but not smoking.
Add 3 cups of eggplant cut into ½ inch cubes (about 3 cups) and cook the mixture, occasionally stirring, for 8 minutes, or until the eggplant is softened.
Stir 1 zucchini, cut into thin slices, and 1 chopped bell pepper, and cook the mixture over the moderate heat, occasionally stirring, for 12 minutes.
Stir in 3/4 lbs chopped ripe tomatoes and cook the mixture, occasionally stirring, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in 1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano and 1 Tbsp fresh thyme,
1/8 tsp ground coriander, ¼ tsp fennel seeds, ¾ tsp salt, and pepper to taste and cook
the mixture, stirring, for 1 minute.
Stir in ½ cup shredded fresh basil leaves and combine the mix well. The Ratatouille may be made one day in advance, kept covered and chilled, and reheated before serving.
The Johnson County Farmers Market is located at Ralph Stout Park in the parking area near the children’s playground. Visitors can enjoy live music, farm-fresh produce, eggs, meat, dairy, and local handmade baked goods and craft items each Saturday morning from 9 until noon. The new “Breakfast at the Market” tent and the manager’s table that
offers “Fresh is Best” t-shirts along with other items and information are convenient additions.
JCFM offers the Fre$h Savings Program with doubles the dollars for EBT customers. Children can enjoy the GoJoCo Kids tent to make healthy snacks and participate in fun activities. Like JCFM on Facebook and see all of the current news or visit the webpage at JohnsonCountyFM.org to learn more.