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Of all the holidays, Halloween is my favorite. The weather is cool, the air smells fresh and there are tasty treats everywhere. Plus dressing up as someone (or something) you aren’t is definitely a plus.

Many Napa Farmers Market vendors have been dressing in costume on the market day that is closest to Halloween and having a little “best costume” contest. I’m a vendor at the market, and two years ago I made a really cool Mary Poppins costume. Alas, I lost to one of our veteran vendors, Fran Brady, who dressed as a fairy.

This year, the market is getting in the “spirit” with a Haunted Market. Bring your youngsters to Spooky Story Time, which starts at 9:30 a.m., or to the even Scarier Story Time at 10:30 a.m.

Kids will want to dress in costume for our Kids Costume Contest at 10 a.m. Then at 11 a.m. we will have a comparative tasting of one of fall’s most wonderful fruits, persimmons, at the education station.

There is still plenty of time to shop for everyone’s favorite Halloween decoration: gourds and pumpkins. Farmers market vendors have them in many shapes and sizes, and I plan to stock up. I find it much better to buy right from our local farmers rather than to go to a supermarket where they are pretty generic.

Be sure to walk the whole market before you decide which pumpkins you want to take home and carve. Of course, you can always roast the seeds or make pumpkin soup with the varieties that are best for eating. Our farmers can help you pick just the right one for your needs.

For another tasty table decoration, pick up some persimmons. They are freshly picked and beautiful right now. Add them to a basket with pomegranates, walnuts and apples, all available at the market.

Last week, we celebrated Food Day at the market. It is a national event, and the market was eager to do its part. Our goal was to educate and inspire our local community to work together so everyone has enough wholesome food to eat. We had our first-ever bilingual Chef Demo, and the town turned out in force with fresh produce donations for local families. We also provided nutrition education with the help of local nonprofit organizations. We hope that you, our market shoppers, will continue to purchase a little extra every time you shop and bring those fresh fruits and vegetables to our education station so we can continue to distribute them to those in need.

Halloween Stuffed Peppers

Halloween night is really busy in our neighborhood, so we usually get pizza and salad for dinner as we don’t want to miss a single cute kid in costume. This year, I want to try something new but it has to be easy. I think this recipe will fit the bill.

This recipe is from the website Citron Limette (www.citronlimette.com).

4 medium bell peppers

¾ pound ground sirloin

1 cup chopped onion

½ cup chopped fresh parsley

1 tsp. paprika

½ tsp. salt

⅛ tsp. ground allspice

1-1/2 cups cooked brown rice

1 cup tomato-and-basil pasta sauce divided

½ cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

½ cup chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Wash the peppers. Cut jack-o’-lantern faces into the peppers with a sharp paring knife, making triangle eyes and a nose and pointy-teeth smiles. Slice off the tops of the peppers and scoop out the seeds and cores.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sirloin, onion, parsley, paprika, salt and allspice. Cook 4 minutes or until beef is lightly browned, stirring to crumble the meat. Remove from the heat. Add the cooked rice, ½ cup pasta sauce and the cheese, stirring to combine.

Combine the remaining ½ cup pasta sauce and chicken broth in a small saucepan; bring to a boil.

Spoon about ¾ cup of the beef mixture into each pepper. Place the peppers in a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray; add the broth mixture to the pan. Cover with foil and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 5 minutes.

Serves 4

Activities planned at the Napa Farmers Market on Saturday, November 3

  • Rob Merrick, The Electric Chef, will do the Chef’s Demo at the Napa Farmers Market at 10 a.m. The demonstration is free and recipes and tastes will be provided.
  • Bring your youngsters to the market’s Education Station on for Story Time at 9:30 a.m. Story Time repeats at 10:30 a.m. followed by a celery tasting.
  • Fred McCarty will perform on the KVYN music stage.

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Sherry Gallagher is a jewelry vendor at the Napa Farmers Market and on the market’s board of directors.

The Napa Farmers Market takes place year round on Saturdays and seasonally on Tuesdays (through Nov. 20) from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., in the parking lot of the South Napa Century Center, 195 Gasser Drive, Napa. For more information or a schedule of upcoming events, visit www.napafarmersmarket.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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