By Bonnie Rukin and Omar Hassan

Thanks to a growing number of African-born farmers now working in the greater Portland and Lewiston areas, vegetables familiar on the African continent – such as molokhia and amaranth – are available for purchase fresh from the farm right here in Maine. There is no longer a need to purchase them frozen from Africa!


In addition to tomatoes, peppers, corn, okra, and collard greens, traditional popular vegetables used in African dishes are grown on cooperative farms connected to Cultivating Community (Hurricane Valley Farm), the Somali Bantu Community Association (Liberation Farms), and New Roots Cooperative Farm. The produce is available at farmers markets and some immigrant-owned markets, with no need to shop elsewhere. Support Maine’s economy – shop local!

SOMALI FLINT CORN:
Muufo (traditional Somali bread)
Ingredients:
1 cup Liberation Farms cornmeal
1 cup Maine Grains organic sifted all-purpose flour
2 1/4 cup warm water
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. oil, more for cooking

Instructions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Add the oil and just enough warm water to form a dough. Add more cornmeal and flour if the dough is too sticky, or more water if it’s too dry.
  2. Use dough immediately or let it rest for up to a day before use.
  3. Divide the dough into 6 equal parts and flatten with your hands to about a 4-inch circle. In a skillet set to medium heat, fry each flatbread in oil until golden, about 4-5 minutes. You can also brush the bread with oil and use a griddle or grill to cook the bread.

This recipe can be found on the Maine Grains’ package of Liberation Farms Cornmeal, available at Maine food co-ops, grocery stores, and farmers markets.

Amaranth is a favorite of the farmers. It is a crop that can be grown for its seeds, which are cooked and eaten like a grain, or for its greens, which is what is sold at New Roots. Amaranth is packed full of fiber, iron, and other nutrients, and is delicious! People often cook amaranth chopped into small pieces and sauteed with olive oil, onions, and tomatoes. Add chicken or vegetable stock, okra, meat – whatever sounds good!
Recipe from Omar Hassan/New Roots Cooperative Farm

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Farmers Markets


Isuken
• Cumberland Farmers Market, Cumberland Town Hall, 290 Tuttle Rd., Cumberland: Saturday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
• Lewiston Farmers Market, Bates Mill No. 5 Parking, 65 Main St.. Lewiston: Sunday 9:30-1:00
• Alan Day Community Farmers Market, 26 Whitman St., Norway: Fridays 5-8 p.m.

Liberation Farms
• Alan Day Community Farmers Market, 26 Whitman St., Norway: Fridays 5-8 p.m.
• Yarmouth Farmers Market, 1 Railroad Square, Bickford Pavilion, Yarmouth: Thursdays 3-6 p.m.

New Roots
• Cumberland Farmers Market, Cumberland Town Hall, 290 Tuttle Rd., Cumberland: Saturday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
• Kennebunk Farmers Market, Garden Street Municipal Lot (behind Garden Street Bowl), Kennebunk: Saturday, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
• South Portland Farmers Market, City Hall Parking Lot, 25 Cottage St., South Portland: Sunday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.