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FARMERS MARKET NEWS: Zucchini, corn, peppers and tomatoes now available

Garden harvest is in full swing and gardeners are finding time to be even more precious. Days are getting shorter and there's a little nip to the air in the mornings, reminding us that fall is just around the corner. Filling our own pantries and freezers along with marketing the wonderful produce we provide is definitely consuming work! You might find us looking a little more tired … but hard work pays off with the excellent quality and variety of produce you can find at the Carlton County Farmers Market.

Fresh, local super-sweet corn is now available, and peppers and tomatoes are making their first debut. You can find plenty of cucumbers for your favorite pickle recipe and, of course, plenty of zucchini — the garden's most versatile vegetable!

That wonderful ability to take on flavor is what makes zucchini so special. In this article I've included a super simple recipe for zucchini cream, which can be used as a low calorie/low sodium substitute in creamy soups and casseroles. You can preserve it by freezing or canning (follow directions of your pressure cooker). I also like to add fresh onion and/or garlic when making zucchini cream.

You can find ample quantities of produce for all your preserving needs at the Carlton County Farmers Market. Our growers challenge themselves each year to bring you the best variety of produce possible. You can make unique finds here too — black salsify and fennel bulb to name a few.

Please join us Tuesdays from 4-6 p.m. at the Four Seasons Event Center in Carlton and Saturdays from 9-11 a.m. at Premiere Theatres in Cloquet. You'll be greeted with a smile…

Happy gardening!

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RECIPE: Zucchini Cream

5 qts. small to medium zucchini, peeled and chunked

One stick butter

Melt butter in cold 5 qt. heavy saucepan over medium heat. When butter is melted and no longer steaming, add zucchini. Do not stir until zucchini starts to bubble in its own juice as this allows the bottom layer to brown slightly, adding a layer of flavor to the cream. Once zucchini is bubbling, stir and season to your liking. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until very soft, stirring occasionally. Use an immersion blender to completely puree. The zucchini cream is now ready to simmer ingredients for soup, adding milk or cream for extra richness at the end of cooking time. Also try using in your favorite au gratin recipes.

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