Anna Gill has retired from writing her weekly column but may make a few guest appearances. We will continue to provide a recipe each week featuring products available at the market.
After his ghostly experience, it was said that Scrooge “knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge”. Fortunately, our own ghastly experience is drawing to a close. Not soon enough and not without significant toll. Usually, for many of us, this time of year is a time of deliberate excess. To take pleasure in being able to give expansively, to indulge deeply, to include everyone. Though we are not quite completely free of the woods, we certainly have reason to celebrate. The 2020 holidays need us to keep Christmas cleverly, cautiously and with a sharp eye to future seasons. We need to continue taking precautions, keeping those we cherish at a safe distance for the next holiday when we will be extra thankful for those precautions. Just think of all those stories we can tell over and over to glaze-eyed grandchildren and great grandchildren about this infamous year. It has given an entirely new significance to the term 2020 vision.
Everyone knows that laughter is the best medicine. We feel it. Our scientists have proved it. It is a tonic we reach for in need. It’s okay to start reaching now. And laughter is best shared. If we must Zoom jolly, Facetime merry and Gotomeeting happy, then so we will. There are some folks who have given this a fair amount of thought. Here are a couple of links to some unusual tele-party party ideas: 13 Zoom Holiday Party Ideas For 2020 That'll Make You Feel Extra Festive (bustle.com), 22 Virtual Christmas Party Ideas in 2020 (Holidays) (museumhack.com) and 32 Fun Virtual Holiday Party Ideas in 2020 (Santa Approved) (teambuilding.com) that can give you a hand in planning of a virtual get together. You can also download festive backgrounds for your tele-partying. Here’s a link for a few, 67 Festive Christmas Zoom Backgrounds - Free Download (thebash.com) and 20,000+ Free Christmas Pi
Never was there a better time for those of us who have to share with those of us who don’t. In these days of social distancing, volunteering is complicated with additional risks. However, if you are looking for a place to give locally you might contact the Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation at https://www.northwestcf.org/ who will be able to provide direction according to your focus. Check on your neighbors with a call. Send an email photo of an old Christmas you shared to someone you can’t be with this year. Send a gift box of food to someone who can’t be at your table this year. Giving is one of the easiest things on the planet to do. One of the most satisfying too.
As for the holiday table of 2020, there is no end of holiday ideas and recipes that you will find on our website Farm-Fresh Market - Home (litchfieldfarmersmarket.org). Just to mention a few:
Stilton Tart with Cranberry Chutney
Prime Rib with Red Wine
Roast Pork Loin with Cardamon
Chocolate Whiskey Pie
Spicy Pumpkin Bundt Cake
Cranberry Glazed Ham
Pear Cranberry Tart
Thyme and Maple Roasted Venison
Chocolate Peppermint Tart
Gingerbread Pear Cake
While you’re there, simply name your favorite vegetable in the search box and you’ll score dozens of side dishes. This time around, we opted to add a Grasshopper Chocolate Chip Tart to our offerings, for a light, bright finish to a holiday meal.
Now it is time to say farewell. I have been writing this column for eleven years. This will be my final regular column, though I may make an occasional submission or two. I have been very proud to be some little part of this farmers’ market. I have learned so much and come to know amazing people, the farmers and vendors, the supporting shoppers, the volunteers, and the truly remarkable team that pulls it together no matter what each and every time. I am awed by the daily challenges that they plow through like so much confetti. In particular, I would like to thank Kay Carroll for her unstinting support, encouragement, ideas, recipes, rescues and, above all, her friendship and her humor. We are a very lucky community to have her and her team bringing this unique facility to us so consistently. With that, for now I wish you all a very merry holiday and to all a good night.
Hope, like all living things, must be nurtured, cherished and kept close. Never was that more apparent than during the continued anxiety of 2020. Likewise, our fortitude, persistence and resolution must be warmly and creatively fed not only with hopes but with whatever comforts can be devised. Though we need to hunker down a little bit longer, vaccines, spring and renewal are in the offing. What better way to endure a bit longer than to fill so
Everyone has their own version of comfort. For some, it is as simple of an unhurried conversation with a friend, unchallengingly trivial and familiar. Perhaps for one person it is a snuggling cat or two. For another it might be a companionable dog, the sight of a wheeling hawk cruising a winter-bare meadow, the scent of a waiting cup of hot chocolate, a fireplace resounding with snap and heat of its wood, welcome sunlight bounding through the window after a storm or the promise of a dinner revived out of childhood memories and daydreams. Have you noticed how frequently comfort and food come together, are inextricably united?
No matter what the definitions of comfort may be, we are certainly allowed to indulge in them. We are also permitted to fiddle with those definitions, invent new ones, tinker with the tried and true. At this point, we’re due just about any comfort we can pull out of our frayed 2020 hats. In terms of comfort foods, you will find many recipes for soups, stews and crock pot dishes as well as new ideas on our website: http://www.litchfieldfarmersmarket.org/. Today, we’ll be posting a new recipe for Chicken, Shitake and Black Barley Stew. We were pleased and surprised by how well the nutty, slightly chewy barley offset the density of the mushrooms and the chicken flavors. Try comforting yourself with it.