I miss Summer. I know I’m not the only one. But while others miss the beach and icy margaritas, I miss visiting the farmers’ market each week. Last year was the first time I signed up for a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Each Monday, I would visit the friendly folks at the Silverbrook Farm tent, where unlike other CSAs, they give you free reign to choose your vegetables. Throughout the Summer and Fall, I experienced the micro-seasonality of a southeastern Massachusetts farm, greedily snatching up bags and bags of amazingly flavorful tomatoes, greens, onions, potatoes, basil, berries, peaches, plums, apples, squash, and eggplant. I couldn’t resist stocking up on Silverbrook’s colorful jams and jellies, some of which I hid away in my pantry so I could have bursts of summer all winter long. I see I’m not the only one who fell for their jam!
While New York City and Rhode Island love winter farmers’ markets, Boston is seriously lacking on that front. When the market closed in November, I sadly headed back to my supermarket with the goal of trying to eat as seasonally and locally as possible. Fast forward to February when my co-worker told me about a winter farmers’ market that she had recently visited. I was so excited by the idea, I peppered her with questions until she agreed to take me along.
Last Saturday morning, we made our way to the town of Wayland to visit the sprawling Russell’s Garden Center. The place was packed! We wandered past Russell’s beautiful greenhouse and through vendors selling hummus, salsa, and dried fruit leather, until we came upon the farm stands. I recognized Red Fire Farm, and soon began to examine their offerings of root vegetables and greenhouse grown spinach, collards and greens. A recipe began to take shape in my head, and I set about gathering rutabagas, turnips and parsnips – vegetables known to me by name, but not as much by taste. I couldn’t wait to get them home and roast them up!
The following is the loose recipe I created for this massive haul of winter vegetables. Feel free to use different vegetables, and to increase the amount of the maple balsamic mixture. I served them over polenta with feta cheese sprinkled on top for a great wintry meal.
Maple Balsamic Roasted Root Vegetables
- 3 rutabagas
- 3 parsnips
- 2 turnips
- 4 large carrots
- 3 radishes
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 3 tbsp maple syrup (honey would also go nicely here)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 glug of soy sauce (optional)
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, stripped from woody stems
- 2 teaspoons rosemary, stripped from stems and chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
Turn the oven on to 400 degrees. Line two cookie sheets or jelly roll pans with tin foil. Wash and peel the root vegetables and cut into uniform sized pieces. (I usually go for a smaller size so that they don’t take as long to roast.) Place all cut vegetables into a large bowl and set aside.
In a smaller bowl or a glass measuring cup, combine the vinegar, maple syrup and olive oil (and add the soy sauce here, if you are using). Pour the mixture over the vegetables and toss to coat well. Roast the vegetables, tossing once in awhile, for about 30 minutes or until browned and softened.
There is one Saturday remaining (February 27) at the winter farmers’ market at Russell’s Garden Center. Don’t miss your chance!
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