BY DEBRA J.MORRIS
Farmers Market Week highlights the vital role that farmers markets play in our nation’s food system. We celebrate it the first week in August and this year it takes place from August 6th to August 12th. Each year a different theme is highlighted, featuring one of the many aspects of farmers’ markets. This year we recognize all the people it takes to put a farmers market together.
The campaign is centered on the essential role that farmers market operators play, both in our local food systems and in our communities. For more than fifty years, farmers markets have influenced the way Americans eat, shop, and connect to their food, their farmers, and one another. Farmers markets are more than market places. They are places where neighbors learn, grow, and work together.
Greg Pursley, Regional Manager, states, “Most customers who go to their local farmers market don’t think about the fact that someone had to organize and fill this event and make it happen week after week. There are many others, besides the market manager, who make it happen – marketing, administration, and others. There are state and city regulations we have to follow as well.”
So this month we celebrate all those behind-the-scenes folks who put a farmers market together to bring you the best experience, the best produce, and a fun time each week.
This month we’re featuring sweet corn, one of summer’s favorite veggies. Sweet yellow, white, and bicolor corn is the star of summer picnics and barbecues. There’s nothing better than sitting down to a big crisp ear of sweet summer corn on the cob. Grilled or boiled, corn on the cob is a real treat that’s hard to top for flavor, freshness, and just plain deliciousness. Corn is now available at your local farmers’ market through early August.
Corn has a long and varied history and it wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the humans who developed it. Corn as we know it does not grow in the wild. It was developed from a grass called teosinte. Most people think of corn as a vegetable, but it’s really a grain. Scientists believe that corn was developed by the native peoples living in central Mexico over 7000 years ago. Also known as maize, the natives throughout North and South America, eventually depended on maize for most of their diet. Corn spread throughout the Americas and was discovered by explorers from Europe who had never seen corn. There are numerous varieties of cultivated corn now.
The Bay Area is known for sweet Brentwood corn, some of the best and sweetest corn available. This year corn arrived early because of the drought and the warm weather, but the flavor is still amazing. Grill, roast, boil – whatever you do, get your hands on some Brentwood corn and enjoy!
G&S Farms is now at your Martinez Farmers Market with sweet Brentwood corn. Here’s a tasty recipe to try using fresh sweet corn!
Air Fryer (or Oven) Corn Ribs
2 ears fresh corn on the cob
1 tbsp ghee butter, room temp
1 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp coarse sea salt
½ tsp smoked or sweet paprika
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp each parsley and oregano, plus more for garnish
Garnish with mayonnaise
Prepare the corn: remove from the husk and cut off the ends. Microwave the whole corn on the cob on high for 2 minutes. Let cool to the touch.
Slice whole corn into ribs with a sharp chef’s knife and a steady cutting board by placing the corn vertically (stand it up) and carefully and slowly dice it in half, then dice those halves into quarters.
Combine seasonings from butter to parsley. Brush the ribs with the seasonings on all sides.
Air fry: place the ribs in a single layer with some space in-between. Air fry at 400°F (204°C) for 12 minutes total (flip after 6 minutes).
Oven: place the ribs on a lined baking sheet. Bake at 425°F for 12-15 minutes or until they are lightly charred and a little crispy.
Serve: brush the corn ribs with a thin layer of mayo and sprinkle with more parsley on top. Serve hot or at room temperature!