May’s here, even with all this rain my winter blahs are being chased away. This is the time of year where I start to head back to the outdoor markets and re-acquaint myself with many of my favorite farmers, vendors and friends.
The Champaign Farmers Market starts May 14th and the first few weeks of this season will give you a small peek of the bounty that is about to come with spinach, salad mix, leeks, radishes, collards, kale, arugula, napini, sweet potatoes, asparagus (green & purple!) and maybe turnips and beets.The excitement that started at my home a few weeks ago with green garlic, ramps, napini and radishes is already coming into full swing. The pickling jars are being washed and made ready to use. This past week it was pickling napini and ramps that kept me busy on those days off work I couldn’t get out in the yard.
Speaking of the garden, there will also be starts and seedlings for tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, squash, melons, cucumbers and various herbs. Perfect for planting in the ground, a raised bed, or growing in a container. You can also use your SNAP benefits to purchase plants that produce food, such as tomato plants and basil. Every Tuesday you can double the value of your SNAP benefits at the Champaign Farmers Market up to $20.
On May 21st the Illinois Master Gardeners will be joining us to answer questions and give advice about raising your own veggies and herbs.
Here’s some of the old friends you will find at the Champaign Farmers Market again this month, Heidi at Berries and Flour, Robb at Central Illinois Bakehouse, Traci at Sola Gratia Farms, Molly at Meyer Produce, David at Havilah Gardens, and Staci and Dave at Dragon Fire Pizza.
The new friends you will meet at the market this month are Laura at Zuzu’s Fresh Roast Coffee, Margaret at The Spice Sisters, Drake at Last Call Farms, Sarah at Sitka Salmon, Dave and family at Ruhter Bison and the folks at Betsy’s Bistro, stop in and say hi, I know they’d love to meet you
And just because they are so good!!
2 lbs. of napini (kale florets)
3 cups of cider vinegar
2 cups water
8 cloves garlic, sliced super thin (I also used green garlic instead in a few of them)
1 1/2 tbsp sea salt
crushed red pepper flakes
- Trim the napini and discard any tough stems.
- In a heavy saucepan, bring the vinegar, water, garlic and salt to a boil over medium heat. Dissolve salt.
- Add in the napini pushing it down with a spoon or tongs to submerge in the brine.
- Cook on a boil for 5 minutes.
- Drain the napini and discard the brine.
- Spread out on a baking sheet to cool.
- Pour a little olive oil in the bottom of the jars and pack the napini in the jars, sprinkling the red pepper flakes in as you go.
- Slowly pour enough olive oil to cover.
- Screw the lids on tightly and let stand at room temp for 24 hours.
- Let the napini “cure” in the fridge for about a week before using. It will keep about 2 months in the refrigerator.