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July 2014

Mary's Modern Homemaking

Black Diamond Farmers Market
By Mary Frances

Mary's Modern Homemaking archive



The day was warm and beautiful, with bright blue skies. The Black Diamond Farmers Market could not have picked a more gorgeous day to open for its first season. You can enjoy shopping every Friday, from 11 a.m. until around 3 p.m.

One familiar vendor was Smith Brothers Farms. This family-run dairy has been in the Kent, Washington, area for generations, although they recently moved their cows to the eastern part of the state. But you won't find their dairy products in local stores; they do home deliveries only. Their dairy cows are free from rBST, which is a growth hormone also known as rBGH. I prefer not to have this in my milk. Just search for this subject online, and you can make your own decision.



I also saw Schwan's, which is based in Minnesota but offers local home delivery. I love their ice cream, but they have frozen organic veggies and fruits as well. Their selections of meat are so yummy and conveniently packaged in single-serving sizes.

My favorite find of the day was Hayton Farms Berries. Who could resist those bright red, juicy-looking strawberries? I bought some to take home and make some jam. More on that later.

This fifth-generation family-run farm was established in 1876 on Fir Island near Western Washington's Skagit Valley. The produce is all grown organically.

The young lady running their booth shared these interesting facts about berries.

Berries have more than one seasonal growing time: spring/summer and even as late as fall.

There are many different varieties: four kinds strawberries; five kinds of blueberries; five kinds of raspberries.

In fall, look for Anne, Autumn Bliss, Caroline, and Nantahala raspberries and the Chester blackberry.

Check their website for more information about the berry varieties and when they are available.

I had a good time at this farmers market and look forward to returning. Next time I go, I plan to stay longer. I will enjoy a hot dog. Sit a bit. Listen to the band. Simply relax some.

So be sure to visit the Black Diamond Farmers Market when you're in the area. Both the organizers and the vendors will be delighted to see you. As customers continue to shop and more local foods are added, this market is sure to grow and be a huge hit.



Now about those fresh strawberries I bought . . . I found the following classic recipe on a very old Holly Hobby Calendar.

Easy Homemade Jam

You'll need equal cups berries—such as strawberries, blueberries, or blackberries—and sugar. For example:

3 cups fresh strawberries, washed and sliced
3 cups sugar

Place the strawberries in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat until berries become soft and juice forms. Add sugar.

Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until the temperature reaches the soft jell stage (234-240 degrees on a candy thermometer; syrup will form a soft, sticky ball that can be flattened when removed from the water).

Pour into a jar.

Use this very tasty jam to make a great and quick strawberry shortcake: just pour the jam over a biscuit and top with a dab of whipped cream. Or place ice cream on top of a biscuit and top with jam.



Mary Frances lives in Ravensdale, Washington, and loves finding healthy ways to keep her castle clean. She believes that what we clean with can be just as important to our health as what we eat. When she's not cleaning, Mary Frances battles the blackberry vines in her yard. Also enjoy Mary Frances's blog, All American Gal.


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