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Farmers’ Market Season Lifts Off

Those hungry to visit farmers’ markets again got their first taste for the 2011 season with a special kickoff last weekend at St. Norbert Farmers’ Market

MAFRI staff were on hand to launch a special GPS challenge that jointly promotes visiting more farmers’ markets this summer as well as a second Open Farm Day scheduled for September 18.

In case you missed it, last year’s inaugural Open Farm Day was a huge hit, with thousands of Manitobans, many whom had never set foot on a real farm, dropping in on about three dozen participating farms around Manitoba.

This year, a special GPS challenge, launched June 4, is for farmers’ market devotees to register and find a new question about Open Farm Day posted at participating farmers’ markets each month. They can search for the answer at the same time they learn more about the area and the vendors at the market they’re visiting. (More information and registration for the GPS challenge can be found at www.mbagritourism.ca.)

Meanwhile, a guide map for the September 18 Open Farm Day – this year with 44 farms participating – is now posted online ( www.openfarmday.ca). while theLocal Produce Guide,listing farmers markets now open or soon to open for the 2011 season, is expected to be online shortly. (It is also available at MAFRI GO offices.)

There are over 60 markets to visit this year, including several brand new ones around Manitoba. Clearly, farmers’ markets have become a key summer attraction both in our small towns as well as larger centres like Brandon, Dauphin, Portage la Prairie and Winnipeg.

As the weather warms up – and let’s pray it has by mid-June – you’ll be looking for light suppers that make the most of fresh, seasonal produce or meals that you can quickly put together so you can head back outdoors. Pizza is always a family treat and so should this “faster than a burger” supper idea. And with rhubarb at its best right now, here’s a great cookie recipe as yet one more way to make the most of plentiful backyard rhubarb.

BBQ SPINACH RICOTTA PIZZA

Serve with a mixed green salad and a fruit smoothie, for a family night treat.

1-1/4 c. Canadian

ricotta cheese

1/3 c. pizza sauce

One 12-inch pre-baked

whole wheat pizza crust

2 c. packed baby spinach,

coarsely chopped

1/4 c. shaved Canadian

Parmesan cheese

Preheat grill to medium and lightly grease. In a small bowl, combine Canadian ricotta cheese and pizza sauce; spread on pizza crust. Top with spinach and sprinkle with Canadian Parmesan cheese. Place pizza directly on grill. Grill covered, for about 8 min. or until crust is golden brown and crisp and Parmesan cheese is melted, adjusting heat if necessary.

Preparation time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 8 minutes Yields: 4 servings

Tell us a fruity story

A reminder!

We’re looking for your best fruit-picking story to run on these pages a little later this summer. We’ll select the top three to publish, plus we’ll send each a copy ofPrecious Wild Berriesa cookbook with loads of wild fruit recipes that we featured here in May. Please keep your story down to no more than 150 words.

Sendyourstoriesto:

Fruit-picking stories c/oManitoba Co-operator Box 1794, Carman, Man. R0G 0J0

DeadlineJune30,2011

Sendyourrecipesorreciperequeststo:

ManitobaCo-operatorRecipe Swap

Box 1794, Carman, Man. R0G 0J0

or email [email protected]

FASTER THAN A BURGER

Beat cream cheese until fluffy. Beat in the icing sugar and vanilla. Spread over cookies.

1 lb. lean ground pork

2 or 3 cloves garlic,

minced

1/2 medium onion,

minced

1/2 c. beer

1/2 tsp. salt

2-3 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. coriander

6 soft sandwich buns

Chopped onion (to taste)

Mustard (to taste)

In a skillet, cook and crumble ground pork. Add garlic and onion and cook for 2 -3 minutes. Add beer and spices. Cover and simmer 20 -30 minutes. Serve on buns, topped with mustard and chopped onion.

Yield: 6 servings

Source: Manitoba Pork Council

RHUBARB COOKIES

This recipe comes from theSupper-in-the- Fieldcookbook, put out last summer by Parkland Tourism during last summer’s Manitoba dinner at Riding Mountain National Park. The Town of Grandview submitted this recipe for the cookbook, noting that it’s an all-time favourite cookie sold in the Parkland town’s Friendly Corner Bakeshop.

Cookie dough:

1 c. shortening

1-1/2 c. packed

brown sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

3 c. flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1-1/2 c. diced fresh

rhubarb or 1/2 c. frozen

1/2 c. flaked coconut

Cream shortening and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Fold in rhubarb and coconut. Drop by rounded teaspoons, 2 inches apart, onto greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 F for 10 to 14 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 1 minute before removing to wire racks to cool.

Icing:

4 oz. cream cheese

1 tbsp. softened butter

1-1/2 c. icing sugar

3 tsp. vanilla

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RECIPE SWAP

About the author

Reporter

Lorraine Stevenson

Lorraine Stevenson is a reporter and photographer for the Manitoba Co-operator with 25 years experience writing news and features. She was previously a reporter with the Farmers Independent Weekly and has also written for community newspapers in Winnipeg and Manitoba's Interlake.

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