I’m overcome with veggie joy as I stand surrounded by dark purple beans, bright yellow orbs of pattypan squash, rainbow chard with colorful stems and deep green leaves, and a large array of others including kale, cabbage, zucchini, bok choy, onions, garlic, and basil at the Somersworth Farmers’ Market. There is nothing like a summer bounty – which one can come to expect from Marybeth and Jordan Pike of Two Toad Farm, located in Lebanon Maine, who grow over 200 varieties of vegetables and herbs per year.
All of this beautifully fresh produce before me is a result of their treasured soil, the focus of Marybeth and Jordan’s farming practice. Marybeth refers to soil health as “the building block of organic farming” since healthy soil creates healthy plants which can then resist pests and diseases more efficiently. Because soil is seen as the foundation of farming, wholesome management of the soil makes it viable for generations to come. The hard work that goes into managing the soil and running a farm has its rewards – Marybeth sums up the satisfaction as being able to “literally eat the fruits of my labor.”
I am not the only one who has taken notice of Marybeth and Jordan’s commitment and effort that has resulted in the crisp and just picked produce, as others continue to join me in admiring the selection. One costumer’s inquiries what kind of squash the pattypan is, and is answered with “only the most delicious squash ever!” from Marybeth, who is working the stall at the farmers’ market today. This enthusiasm and welcoming spirit are the reasons why customers stick around to chitchat with the owners of Two Toad long after they pick up their salad greens and eggs.
After talking with Marybeth myself, I walk away from her stall with some of gorgeous purple beans I had been eyeing, the beloved pattypan squash, green bell peppers, and cabbage. Inspired by the pepper, once I got home, I whipped up a version of stuffed peppers with brown rice, black beans, corn, salsa, and spices (the recipe I followed can be found below). The pepper’s subtle sweetness pairs well with the spiciness of the classic filling. I also suggest serving them with diced tomatoes and cilantro or sprinkling cheese on top once you take off the foil after cooking them for 20 minutes and then sticking them back into the oven until it becomes all gooey and yummy. While looking forward to creating other dishes with the rest of the irresistible produce, I am already looking forward and excited to see what beauties they have in store next market. (See below for the list of markets Two Toad attends.)
Sanford, Wednesdays 12:00-4:00 pm, Saturdays 8:00 am – 12:00 pm
Somersworth, Thursdays 3:00-6:00 pm
Portsmouth, Saturdays 8:00 am – 1:00 pm