By Joy Hampton
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — The Norman Farm Market has been ongoing for 33 years and a few vendors — like Perrys’ Farm in Goldsby — have been selling their produce at the market located at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds on Robinson Street for those entire 33 years.
There are a wide number of vendors inside and outside including those that sell handmade candles and large rose rocks.
Janetta Tesch of Tesch Farms in Bethel Acres, Okla. said this is their first year at the Norman Farm Market and they love it. And while some high temperatures the end of July and first of August impacted the growing season, cooler weather means crops are coming back.
“It wasn’t as bad as last year,” Tesch said. “In August everything dries up. If we can just keep it alive, it comes back.”
At the Tesch Farms booth they are also selling peanuts and peanutbutter for their friend at Snider Farms, a fourth generation peanut farmer.
Tesch and her husband are researching aquaponics — that’s a method that uses water, but unlike hydroponics which uses chemicals, it’s chemical free and allows the farmer to grow fish as well as plants.
For now, that’s in the future.
“We always like to research things well,” she said.
Butternut squash is available at many of the booths and at Perrys’ Farms, the pumpkins are just starting to come in with the cooler nights.
“We had a very good beginning but when 113 hit it was tough,” Charlene Perry said.
Perry said the next couple of weeks the Farm Market will move strictly outside because of the Cleveland County Free Fair, but the market will continue and products will be available.
Then the market will move back inside with some outside booths again on Sept. 12.
“We’ll have lots of pumpkins come fall,” she said.
Saturday, Perry brought six pie pumpkins and sold them all. She also brought several decorative pumpkins. Pie pumpkins have thicker walls than the ornamental type used for decoration or carving at Halloween.
“It’s mostly meat (in pie pumpkins) because that’s what you use for a pie,” said Tobi Perry.
Charlene Perry explained that you simply remove the seeds and cut the pie pumpkin into chunks and either boil it or bake it at 350 degrees until it’s soft. Then scoop out the softened flesh. There’s no need to peel the pumpkin before cooking it.
“You get all of the vitamins that way,” Charlene Perry said. “It’s a whole lot easier.”
Fresh pumpkin is more moist than canned and less milk should be used in recipes. Uncut, the pumpkins will keep four to six months.
“Pumpkins are one of the things our ancestors used to put in root cellars and eat in the winter,” she said.
Donna Blaine of Nature’s Harmony Farm got involved with growing things because of the influence of their daughter.
“My daughter is a master gardener,” Blaine said.
That daughter owns the first certified organic farm in Pushmataha County.
“She got me interested and taught me a lot,” Blaine said. “I work at a law firm. For me, this is my sanity.”
She said there is a strong social aspect and the Farm Market has become a way to connect with community.
“This is our 11th year,” she said. “We mostly have herbs, that’s our specialty.”
Joy Hampton 366-3539 jhampton@ normantranscript.com