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Local food

Tami's Kitchen:  Recipes and ideas for local food in season

Spring is a fantastic time to get into the practice of eating locally.  More and more we are seeing an emergence of farmers markets, farm stands, and a growing demand for CSA shares.  To find a farmers market or CSA near you go to our Find Local Food or go to Local Harvest and check off what you are looking for. Plug in your zip code, and you will get a listing of all of your local resources!

 

11 Reasons to Eat Local Food
 

  1. Eating local means you are supporting small scale local farmers who are farming because they believe in good food for good people. Without your support, these small farms will go out of business and you will be left with sad, wax covered, mass produced unloved vegetables.
     
  2. Locally grown produce is fresh. When you buy your food from a farm stand or a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) you buy a share of a farm and pick up a supply of fresh veggies from them every week of the growing season. Chances are really good it's been picked in the last 24 hours. Produce at your local chain market was likely packed days or weeks ago and has been transported and stored while losing energy, life and flavor.
     
  3. Local food just plain tastes better. Because they are going to be handled and stored for shorter amounts of time, they are able to ripen to perfection before being sold to you, rather than being harvested early to withstand the holding tank.
     
  4. Eating local is better for the environment as less fuel is used in transporting them from the farm to your happy little hands.
     
  5. Buying local food keeps us in touch with the seasons. Amazingly, food grows at the times we need them- the fresh leafy greens and sprouts that surround us in the spring, filled with chlorophyll and cleansing elements, and the fresh fruits filled with antioxidants in the spring, it's perfect!
     
  6. Buying locally grown food opens a door for you to get to know a farmer or a helper on a farm.  Take the time to ask questions about how your food was grown, how they knew it was ready to harvest, and get some ideas of what to do with new produce!
     
  7. Eating local means that you're getting food from a farm where farmers were able to pay attention to what was going on in their land.  Large mass farms have to rely on machines and chemicals to keep their farms going because they are too big for the attention they require.  Smaller farms means that someone has been paying attention to your food, and caring about it. It makes a difference.
     
  8. Supporting local providers supports responsible land development. When you buy local,
    you give those with local open space - farms and pastures - an economic reason to stay open and undeveloped.
     
  9. Smaller scale farmers have more creative freedom in what they grow. You're likely to stumble on some fun vegetables you've never heard of or haven't had the opportunity to try!
     
  10. Farmers Markets and CSAs are a great way to meet new people who share an interest in good food and healthy living. 
     
  11. Walking around a farm stand, a farmers market, or joining a CSA will, without a doubt, introduce you to new foods or feed your desire to eat well.  You won't be able to resist the colors, smells, textures, and endless possibilities you will find once you get looking around. 


Garlic Scapes!

Garlic clipsNo, it's not a pit of green snakes on the left, they are garlic scapes!

These are the fantastic bonus shoots that come out of garlic this time of year.

Cutting these shoots not only helps your garlic to finish growing the way it ought, but it provides a fun vegetable to add to your spring cooking!

Scapes taste much like a green bean, but with a nice garlic flavor to them.  Garlic scapes are not only fun, but they are loaded with calcium, vitamin C, and fiber.

They are easy to prepare with a simple steam, water sauté, or with some olive oil and tossed in with other cooking greens, asparagus, and some whole grains.

Keep an eye out at your farmers market this time of year as they are just starting to harvest!


Scape Pesto

  • 1c fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 lb. fresh raw scapes
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Puree scapes and olive oil in a food processor until smooth. Stir in Parmesan and lemon juice and season to taste.

Great on crackers, pasta, in a wrap filled with farm fresh veggies, or whole grain pasta.


Scape dip

Great for dipping veggies, crackers, pretzels, spread on sandwiches and wraps, or off a spoon.

  • 3-4 garlic scapes, chopped into 2 inch chunks
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2c cannellini beans (you can use any bean really, but I like these best)
  • 1 Tbs olive oil

Put everything but the oil in the food processor and pulse a few times.  Add in the oil a little at a time until you get your desired consistency.

 Asparagus!

AspargusA fun way to play with one of the vegetables that I have dubbed a resident of the island of misunderstood foods. It lives there with Kale, Beets, and many other lovely friends.

Asparagus is an exceptional vegetable in the loads of nutrients it offers. I know I say that about lots of vegetables, but in particular, Asparagus is a leading supplier of folic acid.  One serving will provide 60% of the daily requirements of folic acid.  Why do you want folic acid? It plays an essential role in blood cell formation, growth, and prevention of liver disease.  For women who are planning a pregnancy or who are expecting a child, increasing your folic acid intake can help prevent neural tube defects like spina bifida. 

On top of all of that, Asparagus is low in calories and sodium, and high in potassium, fiber, thiamin,and  B6!

But what do you do with it?

You can eat it raw, you can steam it, you can sauté it, you can make soup out of it, there is no limit to the creative possibilities here. If you don't want to eat it all at once, you can store it in the fridge for a bit. For best results Keep fresh asparagus clean, cold and covered. Trim the stem end about 1/4 inch and give it a wash.  Pat dry and place in a zip lock bag.  Refrigerate and use within 2 or 3 days for best quality. You can also wrap a moist paper towel around the ends, or stand them up in a glass with a little water in it in the fridge to keep them fresh and crisp. Some recipes will tell you to peel the asparagus before using it.  If you really want to go through that effort I'm not going to stop you, but I've never peeled an asparagus and I have no intention to begin now.

When purchasing and cooking your asparagus, the key is to not let it get floppy.  If you're looking at your asparagus it should be standing proud, and not bending over to touch its toes.  Same with when you're cooking it.  You want to steam the outside, especially if you are putting a yummy sauce on it, but you want some crispiness left in there so you know you didn't cook all the good stuff out of it. 

Asparagus is easy to get fresh at your local farm stand this time of year, make sure you support your local farmers and get it fresh!  Enjoy!

Lovely Lemon Asparagus:

  • 1 lb. asparagus, ends snapped off.
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 T. olive oil or water.
  • 1 1/2 T. garlic, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 T. freshly chopped parsley

Gently bend the asparagus stalk until you can feel where the tough bottom part ends, and where the tender yummy part starts. Sounds weird, I know- but you'll know what I'm talking about when you have a piece of asparagus in your hand and you bend it.

Break off those bottom pieces and put them in your compost or set aside to use in broth for a different recipe. Slice the top parts of the asparagus into bite size pieces. 

Cut the lemon in half.  Take one half of it and slice into wedges.  Set the wedges aside. 

Zest the other half of the lemon with a zester or peeler and set the zest aside. 

Sauté the asparagus in olive oil or water for 1-2 minutes.  Add the garlic and lemon zest and season with salt and pepper. Sauté for another 1-2 minutes.  Add chopped parsley, and then squeeze some juice from the zested lemon half on top. 

Toss well and serve with the lemon wedges on the side.

Spicy Spring Asparagus

  • One bunch asparagus
  • Olive Oil
  • Sea salt
  • Cayenne powder
  • Braggs liquid aminos

Drop asparagus into hot tap water  for under 3 minutes, so they are brilliant green.  Arrange onto platter and drizzle over the oil and Braggs, sprinkle on salt and cayenne. This recipe preps the asparagus so it is essentially raw.  If you like it more cooked, just steam the asparagus for 4-5 minutes and top with the sauces!


Tamara Flanders is a Holistic Health Counselor and graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.  Her health coaching practice, Your Body Awake, is located in Rexford, NY.  Learn more at her website www.yourbodyawake.com

 

Tamara Flanders is a Holistic Health Counselor and graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.  Her health coaching practice, Your Body Awake, is located in Rexford, NY.  Learn more at her website www.yourbodyawake.com


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