Lauri Sturdivant is interested in how our friends and families gather around a table sharing meals and telling stories. In this column she shares recipes and stories from people in Siskiyou County, and restaurant reviews from her travels. Read full interviews, find recipes and reviews at TheBillPlate.com
You might know Pandora J. Kane as Paj from the VITA free tax preparation program or her skills as the bookkeeping wiz at JEDI, Jefferson Economic Development Institute. Paj has stepped away from individual counselling in a move closer to retirement and toward her passion for farming as the Mt. Shasta Farmers’ Market Manager. She can be seen every Monday setting up the for the market and putting in her miles, checking with vendors and telling folks the market is no place for dogs. It’s a health department rule.
The 2019 market is every Monday 3:30-6 p.m. until to October 14th on the 400 Block of N. Mount Shasta Blvd, rain or shine or snow showers.
Lauri: How did you become the manager at the at the Farmers Market?
Paj: Market founder, Kirsten Olson was retiring and they needed a new Manager. I was retiring from business counseling at JEDI so it seemed like a good part-time job. I’ve been working at JEDI since 2002. I’m now the Special Projects Manager so I manage the Farmers’ Market and the free tax preparation program.
Lauri: What's the best part about managing the Market?
Paj: The vendors and the customers. I like the interaction with the growers, food producers and artisans and it is so great to see all the community members coming to the Market each week!
Lauri: You do a lot of walking, how many miles do you walk on Market day?
Paj: 4 million
Lauri: Where do you get the inspiration to do what you do?
Paj: In truth, “I’m a farmer…” (I think I got that off some old TV show but, it really does describe me). I’m a seriously addicted farmer/grower/gardener so when I see what the other farmers can produce, I get inspired and want to make the Market all it can be for them. I get a lot of inspiration from Kirsten Olson and all our vendors making a living at what they love to do.
Lauri: What’s growing in your home garden?
Paj: I live and garden on a quarter acre. I finished putting up a deer fence and am converting my rock beds to raised gopher proof beds so, I’m in transition this year. I’ve been saving seeds and growing heirloom tomatoes for many years and I also grow an assortment of vegetables like garlic, leeks, broccoli, parsnips, fennel, eggplant, pumpkins and squash to name a few. I was given some okra seeds so I’m going to try that out this year.
Lauri: Is there anything new to the Market this year?
Paj: I am putting together a list of presenters who will give demonstrations on environmental topics, tips for home gardening, children’s activities, craft projects and performances in Parker Plaza before the Market opens at 3:30 p.m.
Lauri: I didn't realize there were so many food vendors.
Paj: That is a good reason to go to the Market. You can pick up readymade food and not have to cook one night a week. We hope to have a new vendor who will be selling soup and salads and who is trying for zero waste packaging.
Paj Kane’s Tuscan Kale Salad
1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 garlic cloves, mashed
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 bunches kale (about 14 ounces), ribs removed (optional) and leaves sliced into 1⁄4-inch shreds
1⁄2 cup finely grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons toasted whole wheat bread crumbs
Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese shavings, for garnish
In a salad bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and red pepper flakes. Add the kale and toss well to coat. Let the salad sit at room temperature for 10 to 30 minutes. Add the grated cheese and bread crumbs and toss again.
Garnish with the cheese shavings before serving. Cover any leftovers and refrigerate for up to two days.