Ruby Red Rhubarb Slice

Ruby Red Rhubarb Slice

This simple and delicious dessert isn’t too sweet and the tart rhubarb is balanced out with the buttery crust and topping.  You can make the crumbs for the base and topping ahead of time, store in a sealed container in the fridge and assemble when you are ready to bake.   It makes 12 generous slices.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees or 325 degrees if baking in a glass dish.

Base

2 cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup sugar

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

½ cup butter, cold, cut into chunks

1 egg, lightly beaten

Filling

2 eggs beaten

1 ¾ cups sugar

¼ cup butter, melted

1 tsp vanilla

4 cups fresh or frozen rhubarb, chopped into 1” pieces (About 8 stalks)

½ cup flour

Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Add the butter and the egg to the flour mixture.  Using your hands or a pasty cutter blend the flour mixture until it is the consistency of small peas.  Reserve one cup of the mixture to sprinkle on the top of the rhubarb.  Using the back of a large spoon or your hands press the rest of the mixture into a greased 9”x13” non-aluminum baking pan.

Mix eggs, sugar, melted butter and vanilla until combined.

Toss rhubarb with flour and add to egg mixture.  Stir together and spread onto unbaked base.

Sprinkle the reserved base crumbs on top of the rhubarb mixture.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until rhubarb is bubbling and topping is golden. Serve warm.

This recipe is adapted from the “Whitewater Cooks with Friends” cookbook.

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Producer Profile – Charlie Welsh

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Charlie Welsh of Scotland, Ontario is one of our asparagus producers.

By now, you’re probably craving fresh-from-the-field Ontario vegetables on your plate – and at last, you can have your fix with the first crop of Ontario asparagus. At Reesor’s, we eagerly anticipate the first stalks of asparagus because it kicks off the Ontario growing season, which we always wait for.

At Reesor Farm in Markham we specialize in growing strawberries, sweet corn, and other vegetables.  So we count on farmer Charlie Welsh and other farmers from Norfolk County to grow asparagus for us.  Last week Charlie and his partner (and uncle) Peter Welsh harvested their first crop of asparagus, and as he sees with every harvest, the arrival of spring’s first vegetable is greeted with smiles. “When I bring asparagus to market every year, people are very excited. I’m happy to be growing something that people get excited about,” says Charlie.

The Welsh family has been growing sweet corn since the 1930s and started growing asparagus in 1989. On the shores of Lake Erie, Norfolk County has been an ideal growing location for asparagus because of its sandy loam soil.  Since his father retired in 2007, Charlie has been farming in partnership with his uncle Peter Welsh.

“The most challenging part about growing asparagus is like any crop, you are at the mercy of the weather,” says Charlie. “If it’s cold, it stops them from growing.  If it’s hot they grow too quickly and we can’t keep up with the picking.”

His tips for home gardeners who want to plant asparagus:   “Make sure your soil is well-drained and well-weeded.  It’s tricky weeding asparagus, so this is one of the challenges of raising it.”

Did you know?

• Asparagus can grow so fast during very warm weather that pickers go through the fields twice a day to harvest them before they get too large

• Under ideal conditions, an asparagus spear can grow 10″ in a 24-hour period

• A well-cared for asparagus planting will generally produce a crop for about 15 years without needing replanting

http://www.asparagus.on.ca/

Reesor Layer Cakes

Have you tried any of our layer cakes yet? Our bakery now makes lemon, German chocolate with coconut and almond topping, and chocolate fudge cakes. They are 8″ and serve at least 6. They are available only at Reesor’s Market & Bakery.

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Lemon Layer Cake made at Reesor’s Market & Bakery

Upcoming Events

Markham Main St. Farmers’ Market 

Main St., Markham at Robinson St.
Every Saturday 8:00 am – 1:00 pm
May 11 – September 28, 2013

Downtown Stouffville Farmers’ Market

Park Dr., just south of Main St.
Every Thursday, 2:00pm – 7:00pm
May 9 – October 10, 2013

Asparagus & Green Pea Salad with Mint

This favourite recipe comes from Jay’s sister Karla who lives in Calgary.  This unique recipe uses shaved, uncooked asparagus. Try it and let us know what you think.

• 1 ½ cups fresh or frozen peas
• 2 tbsp lemon juice
• 1 tbsp minced onion or shallot
• 2 tsp Dijon-style mustard
• ½ cup olive oil
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 1 pound asparagus, washed
• 6 cups spring greens
• 8 slices prosciutto or your favourite smoked ham, cut into thin strips
• 2 tbsp chopped mint
• 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese

Preparation

If using fresh peas place the shelled peas and 1/4 cup water and some salt in a saucepan. Cover and cook over high heat 4 to 5 minutes or until peas are tender. Drain. Let cool.

If using frozen peas, place them in a sieve and pour some boiling water over them.

In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, onion or shallot and mustard. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place the woody end of the asparagus on cutting board, holding the tip and shave lengthwise along each stalk with a wide vegetable peeler. Place shavings and tops in ice water for 10 minutes. Drain well.  Discard the base.

Place the greens in a large salad bowl adding ham, shaved asparagus, peas and mint. Drizzle with desired amount of dressing.  Toss altogether.  Top with shaved Parmesan.

The View from the Farm

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The other evening three generations of my family sat down together at our dinner table. My daughter Jessica and her husband Steve had come home to help plant strawberries. Since they were around it seemed like a great opportunity to have my parents, John and Anna, come for dinner.

We were tired after a long, hot day transplanting strawberry plants. Although three out of four of the tasks to plant strawberries can be done while sitting down on equipment, it is still very tiring, dusty work.

Dinner conversation with my parents turned to what farming was like before the advent of tractors and other implements to help them with their work. Farm tasks were much harder and took a lot longer back in the days of my parents’ youth.  My dad remembers when his father bought their first tractor in the early 1940s. He recalls what a great advancement tractors were because they could plough a field a lot faster than a team of horses.

In the old days it would have taken days and days to hand plant the 10,000 strawberry plants and the 2.5 hectares of sweet corn we had planted earlier.

Today, farmers typically specialize in one or two crops. But in my parents’ day, farmers diversified their harvest, with a variety of crops and livestock to best utilize their resources and the growing season. My mother’s family farmed on Elgin Mills next to what is now Hwy. 404, and raised pigs, chickens, dairy cattle, and they raised sheep to sell the wool. They grew strawberries to pick and sell to the neighbours, and planted crops. I’m sure they were dead tired every night from May till the end of October. Funny, it sounds like my days, even with tractors and implements.  Perhaps the life of a farmer isn’t that much different from generation to generation. Hard work, good weather and good luck are still necessary to have a good crop.

By the way, it isn’t too late to plant a garden for this season.  Turn your gardening aspirations into a reality this year and develop your own connection with the land.  In my opinion, it’s one of the most satisfying things you can do.

When To Expect Local Goodness

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These strawberry blossoms will be yielding fruit about June 8.

Here’s the harvest schedule for rhubarb, strawberries, peas and corn at both of our locations:

Rhubarb:  mid-May.

Strawberries:  Depending on the weather you can expect to see early strawberries from southwestern Ontario around June 10 and our own strawberries around June 18.

Peas: From southwestern Ontario around June 25 and our own peas about July 5.

Corn: Early corn from southwestern Ontario available around July 15 and our own early corn starting by July 25.

Reesor Farm Market Opening

Reesor Farm Market will be opening for the season on Thursday, June 6 at 9:00 a.m. Stay tuned for more information.

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Jay’s daughter Jessica came home in May to help out with transplanting the strawberries you’ll be enjoying next year This trickle irrigation system keeps their roots moist and uses less than half the water of an overhead irrigation system.

The Wait for Ontario Asparagus is Over!

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Ontario asparagus is now in season and we have lots at Reesor’s Market & Bakery in our produce section and in our prepared salad fridge.  It’s wonderful having a greater variety of Ontario fruits and vegetables becoming available now that spring is here, with summer just around the corner.

In our pie department, we’re happy to announce that rhubarb pies are back, but only until the end of June. You can also get that tangy flavour in our rhubarb streusel muffins, our rhubarb coffee cake, and in our strawberry-rhubarb squares.