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A Bea in the Garden column: Snow stalling spring planting

Bea Westerberg may be contacted at

The daffodils that Daughter Nissa purchased for two cents each when she was 8 years old are still underground under a foot of snow. They have come up almost every year since she planted them many years ago. Not sure if she would get upset if I said that it was 31 years ago. Hopefully, some of the four-foot snow banks in some of the shade gardens will see fit to melt before June. It appears that I will be enjoying my spring flowers in June or July this year. Maybe Larry's shop door will also be accessible by then.

I have been wondering if anyone in this area actually plants their potatoes on Good Friday. It is something I have heard of forever and this year really makes me wonder if anyone really does it. It is kind of a wild idea for these parts of the world as the Easter season can really vary from year to year. I would think that in the southern areas of our country it may work out okay because they do not have frozen ground and weather to deal with. We can still harvest snowballs here, so we probably should hold our horses on doing any planting for a while, even the cold weather crops like lettuce and peas.

Making a name at the market

Last year, after 30 years, I passed the leadership role of the Hastings Farm Market over to "Corn Lady", LuAnn McNamara. She has done a superb job of getting all the ends pulled together and hopefully Mother Nature will become nice to the vendors and the market can start the second week of June. We were on pins and needles ever since last fall when we heard that the Westview Center would possibly be changing ownership. It was not until the first part of March that we heard the deal did go through and then we had to start contacting the new owners to see if we could continue leasing our space. Fortunately we were able to renew our lease and also get to meet with the new co-owner and the property manager. They happen to be husband and wife and are delightful people and have a lot of good ideas to bring the Center back to full life.

At the Farm Market we give our vendors names that identify what they sell.

LuAnn and her husband have been sweet corn sellers for many years so that is why she is known as "Corn Lady." I was known as the "Jam and Jelly Lady." We have two honey sellers but it was easy to know who we were talking about as Audrey was the "Both Day Honey Lady" as she sold on both Tuesday and Saturday and John was known as "Saturday Honey Man" because he sold only on that day. I think almost anyone who has been at the market knows who "Flower Man" is. He has those wonderful flower arrangements and sells them for an amazingly low price. The beautiful perennials person is known as "Plant Lady." The veggie vendors also have names like "Big Yellow Truck People" and "Greenhouse People." I think the only one we did not assign another name to was George Stoudt. As George says, he has been around forever and growing veggies forever, so what more could be said? The "Great Harvest Bread Company" came with a name already printed on things so it went without saying that would identify them to everyone. The market is like a big family so we do know each other's' real names but we find that it is easier for the general public to identity us with our "product" names.

Rice pudding

I have been requested to share my recipe for Instant Pot rice pudding. I have made it with a variety of white rices. If you are a brown rice person, you will need to increase the cooking time. Also to raisin or not to raisin, is totally up to you.

Bea's Favorite Rice Pudding from the Instant Pot:

• In the pressure cooking pot, combine 1 cup of raw white rice, 1½ cups of water, and a ¼ teaspoon of salt. Lock the lid in place and use the high pressure setting and program it for three minutes of cooking. When it beeps and says the three minutes are up, turn off the pot and let it use the natural pressure release for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, check to see if you need to release any pressure (often not).

• Remove cover and add 1½ cups of milk and ½ cup sugar. Stir to combine.

• In a small mixing bowl whisk two whole eggs with ½ cup milk and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract. Add this to the contents of the pressure cooking pot and now program to the sauté setting. Stir constantly until mixture starts to boil. Turn off the cooker and remove the pot. Now you can stir in your raisins if you wish. Pudding will thicken as it cools. Serve warm or pour into serving dishes to chill. The rice will absorb liquid as it cools. Stir in additional cream or milk to get your desired consistency.

There are lots of ways to jazz up the rice pudding. At our house I like mine warm but Husband Larry needs it chilled, cold or almost frozen. Go figure!