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Turning Leafy Greens Into Chips and Other Farmers Market Miracles

The Wilton Farmers Market is back and offers a variety of interesting and delicious items.

Eating healthy not only means a diet rich in vegetables, but also eating locally grown produce. And you can't get more local than right in your own backyard. 

I went to the Wilton Farmer's Market opening on Wednesday expecting to get a few vegetables and hoped I would be able to find the time to cook them before they passed their prime. I was pleasantly surprised, however, to find almost all the items were ones that I could grow myself and prepare and eat at my leisure. 

Two farms, Wilton's local Ambler Farm and Hamden's Flowers From The Farm were both on hand, supplying Wiltonians with a variety of gardening options.   Ambler Farm was selling some of their transplants from their transplant sale, including a few varieties of kale, broccoli and lettuces. 

"The mission of Ambler Farm is to promote sustainable living and to teach people to grow their own," said Jim Meinhold of the farm.  That's exactly why Ambler Farm is participating in the weekly market at the Wilton Library. 

Last year, Ambler Farm had a stand at the farm two days a week.  This year, Ambler will be at the library every Wednesday and only one day at the farm, on Saturdays, starting May 29.

When I stopped by the farm's stand, I noticed two boxes of fresh crisp mixed lettuces.  Meinhold said that they had a good stand of fall lettuces that survived the winter so they were selling them to folks at the Farmer's Market.  The mixed lettuces and transplants are all organic, including the kale, which I had no idea how to prepare.

"Well, you can steam it," said Meinhold, "but a woman once told me that she laid it out on a baking pan, sprinkled it with salt and olive oil and baked it in the oven.  The leaves came out like potato chips." 

If you can turn a healthy leafy green into a potato chip, then that is the lettuce for me.  But I don't have a proper area for a vegetable garden; what about planting lettuce in a pot?

"You can grow anything in a pot," said Meinhold.  "Corn is tough, but vegetables like tomatoes and eggplant do just fine."

Michelle Warner of Flowers From The Farm at The Shulze Farm, echoed Meinhold. 

"Any of this can be done in a container," she said. "That means you can do it right off the back porch." Anything that grows vertically can be planted in a pot, apparently. 

This is Warner's farm's second year attending the Wilton Farmer's Market.  They will feature herbs, vegetables and flowers at their stand.  "We'll be here all season long, smiling and selling veggies."

Almost an entire meal can be found at the Wilton Farmer's Market. There is Calcutta Kitchens, an authentic Indian home cooking stand selling chutneys and simmer sauces, of which I could not resist purchasing a container of.  Serving fresh bread alongside the simmer sauce would be a perfect accompaniment and Wave Hill Breads can help you out there. Ducky Life Teas will also be there every week, with a variety of organic loose leaf teas to drink before, during or after your meal.  And for dessert, don't forget about Izzi B's allergen-free cupcakes and Norwalk's Michele's Pies, where everything is handmade with fresh fruit. 

It's going to be a delicious season!

For more information visit www.wiltonlibrary.org

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