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Don’t miss the Winter Farmer’s Market in Princeton this Saturday

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Even in wintertime, you don’t have to miss out on local produce and other products.

Slow Food Central NJ and the West Windsor Farmers Market are holding the second of three Winter Farmer’s Markets on Saturday, January 11 at Tre Piani restaurant in the Princeton Forrestal Center. The Market will run from 11 am to 3 pm.

Many local vendors will be hand with their fresh produce, mushrooms and baked goods. There will be also be locally produced meats, cheeses and prepared foods plus jam and local chocolate. A nice bonus is knife sharpening (bring your knives with you!) offered by Nice & Sharp.

Lunch items will be available for purchase at Tre Piani's Tre Bar.

Here are the farms and vendors that will be at the Winter Farmer’s Market:

Beechtree Farm
Birds & Bees Farm Honey
Cherry Grove Farm
Chickadee Creek Farm
Davidson's Exotic Mushrooms
Donna & Company Chocolates
Elijah's Promise Bakery
Fulper Family Farmstead
Happy Wanderer Bakery
Judith's Desserts
Nice & Sharp Knife Sharpening Service
Rocky Brook Farm
Valley Shepherd Creamery
WoodsEdge Wools Farm

After you’ve visited the farmer’s market, here’s a wonderful recipe for a hearty minestrone. Don't be scared off by the long list of ingredients. Most are easily available and what you may have on hand anyway. Enjoy it with some of the bread and cheese you’ve picked up…and those great mushrooms.

My Minestrone (serves 8)

2 onions, sliced
¼ green cabbage, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
olive oil
1 cup white or any exotic mushrooms, sliced
salt and pepper
2 quarts vegetable, chicken or beef stock
1 cup white wine
2 potatoes, any size, peeled, medium diced
1 large can tomatoes OR 2 lbs fresh tomatoes, chopped
2 zucchini, chopped
thyme, sage and basil, 1 generous tbl each, if fresh
OR 1 generous tsp, if dried
1 cup string beans, topped and tailed
1 14 oz can beans, drained and rinsed under cold water - cannelloni, kidney, chickpeas - your choice
½ cup uncooked macaroni, cooked al dente, separately in boiling water*

On medium heat, soften onions, cabbage, carrots and celery in olive oil. Raise heat to medium high and add mushrooms and salt and pepper. Cook until mushrooms are just beginning to release liquid. Add stock and wine, potatoes and canned tomatoes. Bring to boil. Add zucchini and string beans. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Add 1 can beans. Simmer another 15 minutes. Add cooked macaroni 5 minutes before serving.

Soup can be frozen when completely cool.

*If you cook the macaroni in the minestrone, it will absorb all the liquid. So cook it separately and add it before serving.

NOTE: I like to serve this with large croutes of French bread topped with Emmental. Cut your bread in 1/2 inch slices on an angle. Top with cheese and place under broiler or in toaster oven until cheese melts. You only have to cook one side.

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