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Take your farmers’ markets inside

Recipe Swap: Buttercup Squash Bread and Moussaka

St. Norbert's online market will be the first year-round farmers' market of its kind in Manitoba.

We’re in a state of limbo in September, as we feel sorry to see summer go, and possibly a bit anxious about approaching winter. But there’s still so much to love about this beautiful month.

It’s the very best time of year to visit farmers’ markets. Vendors’ harvests are peaking and markets of all sizes are extra lively, vibrant places. Many markets now stay open well into September and October. Not so long ago they were operating just 14 days a year, until the Farmers’ Market Association of Manitoba negotiated regulatory changes to remain open longer.

Farmers’ market season doesn’t end when the snow flies either.

You may have heard about St. Norbert Farmers’ Market’s plans to launch a new website (Sept. 20) so customers can continue ordering and paying online from vendors year round. The move will potentially expand business opportunities for market vendors and keep their customers connected all year long, picking up what they’ve ordered across the road from the market site at Eagles Club located at 3459 Pembina Hwy. until the market starts up again next spring.

This form of direct marketing is actually already underway elsewhere in Manitoba among the numerous buying clubs that have formed. They’re similarly organized, with a central ordering system and an arranged pickup site. I’m a member of one myself. Each week the Pembina Valley Local Foods Buying Club sends me an email with an online order form and pickups are Thursday afternoons at the Morden Library. When spring and Morden Farmers’ Market opens, we meet our vendors at the market again.

St. Norbert’s online initiative is an exciting development because it’s really the beginning of Manitoba’s first year-round farmers’ market on this scale. Let’s see if our enthusiasm for buying at farmers’ markets lasts through a long, cold Manitoba winter. Judging by the throngs at St. Norbert each week, and at other markets across the province this year, I have no doubt it will.

Moussaka

This delicious recipe comes to us from St. Norbert Farmers’ Market vendor Marianne Paseschnikoff. Marianne and her husband Serge operate a small family-run market garden business at Oak Bluff where they grow a variety of speciality vegetable crops such as Hungarian yellow peppers, eggplants of every shape and colour, parsley root, celeriac, broad and pinto beans. They also grow novelty veg such as bright-purple carrots and cauliflower and flat cabbages, and heirloom tomatoes. The Paseschnikoffs’ share their passion for gardening with their daughter Larissa and her husband Garrett and you can meet them all at the market on Saturdays during market season. Marianne says this is one of her favourite fall recipes because it’s a great way to use vegetables which are all available at the same time. She makes up a few to freeze and enjoy throughout the winter.

  • 2 large potatoes
  • 3 small zucchinis
  • 2 eggplants
  • 1-1/2 lbs. of lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 2 c. tomato sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Slice the vegetables 1/2 inch thick. Brush slices with olive oil and pan-fry or broil until golden and put aside. Brown beef and onions. Add sauce, salt, pepper, cinnamon, bay leaf and simmer for 15 minutes, then set aside. Make white sauce by melting butter and stir in flour. Gradually whisk in the milk and stir frequently until thickened. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add Parmesan cheese. Whisk eggs in a bowl and add some hot white sauce to eggs while whisking. Add egg mixture back to saucepan and continue to cook a few more minutes and set aside. Use a deep-dish 13×9-inch pan or casserole dish to layer the ingredients. Layer potatoes and eggplant. Cover with one-half of the meat sauce. Layer zucchini and remaining meat sauce. Add last layer of eggplant. Pour white sauce over. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 F for 45 to 60 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let it sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Buttercup Squash Bread

Can you have too many buttercup squash? Not when you have great recipes for using it. We have Kim Shukla and Richard Whitehead to thank for this tasty squash bread recipe. Kim and Richard are also regulars at St. Norbert Farmers’ Market. They own Stonelane Orchard just east of Steinbach, specializing in Prairie-hardy trees and shrubs, and growing over 25 different types of gourmet pesticide-free vegetables plus sour cherries, strawberries, raspberries, black currents, grapes and saskatoons. Kim and Richard also operate a Community-Shared Agriculture (CSA) venture with pickups arranged with customers at their farm on Wednesdays, the newer Winnipeg Downtown market on Thursdays and St. Norbert on Saturdays.

  • 1 (.25 oz.) package active dry yeast
  • 1/2 c. warm (not hot) water
  • 2 tbsp. molasses
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. caraway seeds
  • 1 c. mashed, cooked buttercup squash
  • 3 c. all-purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add molasses, salt, caraway, squash and 2 cups flour; mix well. Add enough remaining flour to form soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about six to eight minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch dough down; turn onto a floured surface and shape into a loaf. Place loaf in a greased 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Bake at 400 F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to cool on a wire rack.

Makes: 1 loaf

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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