There is a sense of anticipation in the air. Spring has unleashed her glory as witnessed by the trees full of buds, the Phlox creeping across lawns and the bees landing lightly on the newly opened blooms. Our area farmers and gardeners have begun to till their soil and sow their seeds. It’s the start of growing season. It is also time to start planning for the Clinch River Farmers Market.
At a recent meeting for the 2021 Clinch River Farmers Market, local growers gathered as Juanita Kelly reviewed guidelines and discussed this year’s market, scheduled to open the May 5. Farmers talked weather, what was planted, what was coming and what would be available in the early weeks of the market. It might have been cold and windy outside that evening, but inside everyone was looking forward to sunny days and good crops.
Our cozy market beneath a shady pavilion at Market Square hosts a dozen or so farmers and crafters some of whom have been selling at the market since it opened in 2009. This year, you will see many familiar faces and a few new vendors as well.
There isn’t much to harvest this early in the season, but everyone from the growers, to the crafters to the bakers and volunteers are eager to open. Clinch River Farmers Market is more than a place to buy local goods. Its a community gathering place where neighbors can catch up, have a cup of coffee, chat, eat and come back again next week to do it all again.
Open May through October on Saturdays from 8am - 12pm with Wednesdays during the summer months from 2 - 5pm.
Just to get us in the mood, here is a nice spring recipe for Scones.
One of the earliest crops you’ll see at the market is Rhubarb. This Master Scone recipe is great for any fruit, but especially good with Rhubarb (and strawberries). Adapted from https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/scones-recipe/print-recipe/70506/
· 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
· 1/2 cup granulated sugar
· 1/2 teaspoon salt
· 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
· 1/2 cup unsalted butter, frozen and grated (then place back in freezer until you use it)
· 1/2 cup heavy cream or buttermilk (plus 2 Tbsp for brushing)
· 1 large egg
· 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure
· 1–1.5 cups chopped fruit, berries, nuts, or even chocolate chips (try ¾ cup each of chopped strawberries and rhubarb)
· Whisk flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder together in a large bowl. Grate the frozen butter using a box grater. Add it to the flour mixture and combine until the mixture comes together in pea-sized crumbs. Place in the refrigerator or freezer as you mix the wet ingredients together.
· Whisk 1/2 cup heavy cream or buttermilk, the egg, and vanilla extract together in a small bowl. Drizzle over the flour mixture, add the add-ins (in this case Strawberries and Rhubarb), then mix together JUST until everything appears moistened.
· To make triangle scones: Pour onto the counter and, with floured hands, work dough into a ball as best you can. Dough will be sticky. If it’s too sticky, add a little more flour. If it seems too dry, add 1-2 more Tablespoons heavy cream or buttermilk. Press into an 8-inch disc and, with a sharp knife, cut into 8 wedges. For drop scones use about 1/4 cup of dough each, 3 inches apart on a lined baking sheet.
· Brush scones with remaining heavy cream or buttermilk and for extra crunch, sprinkle with coarse sugar. (You can do this before or after refrigerating in the next step.)
· Place scones on a plate or lined baking sheet (if your fridge has space!) and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
· Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°F
· Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat(s). If making mini or drop scones, use 2 baking sheets. After refrigerating, arrange scones 2-3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet(s).
· Bake for 18-26 minutes or until golden brown around the edges and lightly browned on top. Larger scones take closer to 25 minutes.
· Remove from the oven and cool
Optional Lemon Glaze
· 1 cup (120 gr) powdered sugar
· 1 TBSP grated lemon zest
· 2-3 TBSP (30-59 ml) lemon juice
· 1 teaspoon of melted butter
· Pinch of salt
Place all ingredients except lemon juice in a bowl, whisk in the lemon juice little by little until you have a thick but pourable glaze. If too thick, add more lemon juice. Drizzle over cooled scones.