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Picking the produce: Shop local at farm markets

Photo by Michele Newbanks Kim Buran of Marietta gets a bag ready for produce while Jimmy Brown of Flatwoods, W.Va., picks out tomatoes at the Witten Farm Market on Pike Street in Marietta.

This is the perfect time of year for people who enjoy locally-grown fruits and vegetables, as there are farms who set up stands all over the Mid-Ohio Valley.

At the produce stand near Tomlinson Park in Williamstown, Ken and Elaine Fullerton of Belpre are currently selling squash, zucchini, onions, white and bi-color corn, green beans, beets and tomatoes.

The couple have been selling at the stand for 18 years and their current big sellers are corn and tomatoes. Elaine said she hasn’t had much time to work with the produce she sells everyday.

“Canning green beans and making pickles,” she said. “That’s all I’ve been doing so far.”

R and K Wagner Farms in Lowell has blueberries and blackberries in right now.

“We also have tomatoes just starting, and green peppers starting,” said Sandy Wagner. “We have garlic, which is an unusual thing. We really cut back from last year.”

At their u-pick farm on Ohio 60 just south of Lowell, visitors can pick blueberries and red and gold raspberries. In the fall, they will have another crop of black raspberries. They have a crop of black raspberries in the spring and another in the fall.

“Raspberries are our biggest crop,” she said.

Wagner said the blueberries are the ones she likes best.

“I like to make blueberry crisp and pie,” she said. “And blueberry pancakes and waffles. We just eat them plain.”

But with raspberries, she enjoys pie and cobbler.

Along with their berries, the farm will also have sweet corn before long, Wagner said.

Their season starts in mid-May and lasts until the blueberries are done, which will probably be mid-August, Wagner said.

The Witten Farm Market on Pike Street in Marietta is well-known to people looking for locally-grown fruits and vegetables.

Marietta resident Olivia Hesson, 16, has been working for Witten’s for two years and said she’s a fan of the heirloom salsa you can make with their tomatoes. While the market has a variety of fruits and vegetables such as peaches, watermelons, cantaloupes and green beans, they are mostly known for one thing – corn.

“Obviously our biggest seller is our corn,” Hesson said. “Then it’s the tomatoes.”

Marietta resident Kim Buran and Jimmy Brown of Flatwoods, W.Va., visited Witten’s market Tuesday morning to pick out some of their favorites.

“She likes fried green tomatoes,” said Buran, nodding to Brown. In the past, they have also bought berries from the market to make pies.

Michele Newbanks can be reached at mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com.

At a glance:

¯ Locally-grown produce can be purchased at several markets around the region.

¯ Fruits such as peaches, watermelons and tomatoes are popular this time of year.

¯ Corn, cucumbers, onions and green beans are just a few vegetables readily available.

¯ Berries such as blackberries, raspberries and blueberries are also in season right now.

Source: Times research

Peach Streusel Muffins

Yields: 12 standard size muffins

Prep time: 25 minutes

Total time: 55 minutes

Ingredients:

Crumb Topping

¯ 1/3 cup packed light or dark brown sugar

¯ 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar

¯ 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¯ 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

¯ 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

Muffins

¯ 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

¯ 1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar

¯ 1/4 cup granulated sugar

¯ 2 large eggs, room temperature preferred

¯ 1/2 cup yogurt

¯ 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

¯ 1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

¯ 1 teaspoon baking soda

¯ 1 teaspoon baking powder

¯ 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¯ 1/8 teaspoon allspice

¯ 1/2 teaspoon salt

¯ 3 Tablespoons milk (any kind)

¯ 1 and 1/2 cups peeled, chopped peaches (about 3 peaches)

Glaze

¯ 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

¯ 3 Tablespoons heavy cream (or milk for a less creamy texture)

¯ 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1. First, make the crumb topping: In a medium bowl, combine both sugars, the cinnamon, and melted butter. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the flour. The crumb topping will be thick and crumbly. Set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 12-count muffin pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.

3. Make the muffins: In a medium bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar and beat on high until creamed, about 2 full minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, yogurt, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute, then turn up to high speed until the mixture is combined and uniform in texture. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.

4. In a large bowl, toss together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, all-spice, and salt. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and slowly mix with a whisk. Add the milk, gently whisking until combined and little lumps remain. Fold in the peaches with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.

5. Spoon the muffin batter evenly between all 12 muffin tins. There may be enough to make a 13th muffin in a 2nd batch, depending if there were a few extra peach chunks thrown in. Fill the muffin tins until they are full all the way up to the top. Press a handful of the crumb topping into the top of each; crumble it with your hands to make some big chunks.

6. Bake for 5 minutes at 425 degrees, then keeping the muffins in the oven, lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 15-19 more minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

7. Make the glaze: whisk all of the ingredients together and drizzle over warm muffins.

8. Make ahead tip: Muffins stay soft, fresh, and moist in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Muffins freeze well for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and heat up (if desired) before enjoying.

Watermelon Salsa

Yields 3 cups

Ingredients

¯ 2 cups balled or cubed seedless watermelon

¯ 1 green or yellow sweet pepper, cored and cut into small chunks

¯ 2 scallions, very thinly sliced

¯ 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley or cilantro, optional

¯ Juice of 2 large limes, about 1/3 cup

¯ Dash hot-pepper sauce, optional

Directions:

In a medium bowl, mix watermelon, pepper, scallions, parsley, if desired, and lime juice. Add hot-pepper sauce to taste, if desired (a drop will simply add flavor; for adults, you may want to add more). Chill for about an hour before serving.

Fusilli with

Roasted Tomato Sauce

Yield 4 servings (serving size: about 1 cup pasta mixture and 1 tablespoon cheese)

Ingredients

¯ 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

¯ 6 large tomatoes (about 3 1/2 pounds), cored, cut in half crosswise, and seeded

¯ 3 garlic cloves, crushed

¯ 1 teaspoon chopped fresh or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

¯ 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided

¯ 2 garlic cloves, chopped

¯ 2 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

¯ 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

¯ 3 1/2 cups hot cooked long fusilli (about 8 ounces uncooked pasta)

¯ 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

¯ Basil sprigs (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2, Brush a jelly roll pan or shallow roasting pan with 1 tablespoon oil. Arrange tomatoes in a single layer, cut sides down, in pan. Arrange crushed garlic around tomatoes; sprinkle tomatoes with thyme and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

3. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes; drain juices from pan. Bake an additional 30 minutes. Remove tomatoes from pan; cool slightly. Discard juice and crushed garlic. Peel and coarsely chop tomatoes.

4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add chopped garlic, and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add chopped tomatoes and basil, and cook 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add pasta, and toss to coat. Sprinkle with cheese; garnish with basil sprigs, if desired.

White Cheddar Baked Corn

Yields: 6 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

4 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

6 ears sweet corn, kernels removed

1/4 cup freshly chopped chives, plus more for garnish

3 sprigs thyme, leaves removed

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cup milk (preferably whole)

3/4 (8 ounce) block cream cheese, cut into cubes, softened

2 1/2 cup shredded white cheddar, divided

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in corn, garlic, chives, and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute, then add flour. Stir constantly for 30 seconds, then pour in milk.

2. Bring mixture to a simmer, then stir in cream cheese, 2 cups white cheddar, and Parmesan. Top corn with remaining ¢ cup white cheddar. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until corn is bubbly and cheese is melted, about 20 minutes.

3. Garnish with more chives and Parmesan before serving.

Blueberry-Sausage

Breakfast Cake

Yields: 9-12 servings

Prep time: 25 minutes

Bake time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

¯ 1/2 cup butter, softened

¯ 3/4 cup sugar

¯ 1/4 cup packed brown sugar

¯ 2 large eggs, room temperature

¯ 2 cups all-purpose flour

¯ 1 teaspoon baking powder

¯ 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

¯ 1 cup sour cream

¯ 1 pound bulk pork sausage, cooked and drained

¯ 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

¯ 1/2 cup chopped pecans

BLUEBERRY SAUCE:

¯ 1/2 cup sugar

¯ 2 tablespoons cornstarch

¯ 1/2 cup water

¯ 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Directions

¯ In a bowl, cream butter and sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour, baking powder and baking soda; add alternately with sour cream to creamed mixture, beating well after each addition. Fold in sausage and blueberries.

¯ Pour into a greased 13-inch x 9-inch baking pan. Sprinkle with pecans. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until cake tests done.

¯ For sauce, combine sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan. Add water and blueberries. Cook and stir until thick and bubbly. Spoon over individual servings.

¯ If using frozen blueberries, use without thawing to avoid discoloring the batter.