Posts Tagged ‘community supported agriculture’
Wednesday, October 14th, 2009
It’s apple harvest time in Colorado.
I’ve got a big jug of Ela Farms organic, sugar-free apple cider in the fridge and I’ve been busy making apple sauce, dehydrated apples, apple porridge, apple bars and apple muffins. Not that I’m complaining. But, after picking up my CSA box yesterday and finding another zillion honey-crisp apples in the fruit basket, I had no choice but to expand on my healthy options and make a full-on, traditional, sugar-laden, butter-filled apple crumble.
Seriously, I had no choice. None.
There are a handful of desserts that insist on being made with the real thing. This is one of them.
Melissa’s GF apple crumble
what you need for the apple filling
6 to 8 apples, depending on size
1/2 cup organic sugar
2 tablespoons GF flour * (I used Pamela’s GF Baking Mix, but any GF mix or regular flour will work)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
dash of salt
what you need for the crumble topping
3/4 cup GF flour * (I used Pamela’s GF Baking Mix, but any GF mix or regular flour will work)
1/3 cup organic sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup butter *
1 cup chopped pecans (or less – I love pecans in this, so I use a lot)
1. Wash, core and slice apples in thin sections and place in a large bowl. Depending on your preference and time, you can either peel them or not. I’ve done it both ways, but it does change the texture a bit if they are unpeeled (the photo below shows them peeled, but unpeeled is more-often my choice).
2. Using a whisk and a medium sized bowl, mix the remaining ingredients on the apple filling list.
3. Pour mixed dry ingredients over the apples and gently stir to cover all the pieces with filling ingredients. Place in greased pie plate and arrange to fit. If you feel as though there’s not enough coverage, mix up a small amount of extra filling mix and add that. I have a fairly large-sized pie plate so depending on my apple sizes, sometimes I end up making a touch extra. I’ve also increased all the measurements and made a big apple crumble during special occasions. Adjust as you see fit.
4. Whisk together flour, sugar and cinnamon from the crumble ingredient list. Add butter as indicated below (*) and mix well. Add the pecans, stir and cover pie with crumble mixture. Press down to cover all the area. The photo below is an example of the pre-baked crumble, but in a much larger baking dish. This version was half-again bigger than the recipe calls for (I wanted to show you some options).
5. Place in pre-heated 400 degree oven for about 45-50 minutes. Check after about 30 minutes and cover loosely with foil if it starts to burn (it may, so watch it closely). Quick clean-up tip: you might also want to put a piece of foil on the floor of your oven in case the filling boils over and makes a mess of your oven.
6. Remove from oven, serve with vanilla ice cream and swoon over your creation. No one (NO ONE) will care that this is gluten-free. Don’t even tell them. On second thought, tell them and then don’t give them the recipe. Just explain that this is what is served in our wheat-free parallel universe that they aren’t part of. Be totally snooty about it. So there, you wheat-eaters!
Of course, I’m kidding.
* Butter, here’s the deal – if I’m going to use butter, I’m going to use the best available source. My choice is Organic Valley Pastured Butter for a variety of reasons. The real thing is much healthier for you than all those nasty “I thought it was real, but it’s really a bunch of icky fake crap” butters. Plus, how the animals are treated makes a big difference in my food choices. This is a good, healthy option for me.
* Butter-using tip: I buy the big chunk of butter and store it in the freezer. Then when I need butter for pie crusts and crumbles, I take it out of the freezer and shred it with a cheese grater. That is much easier than doing that double-knife-ninja-crossover-thing to mix up butter. Then I put the butter back in the freezer for next time. Very easy and there’s less chance of a serious, pastry-mixing injury. Are you listening, GDave?
Go forth and enjoy the apple harvest!
Thursday, October 1st, 2009
I’d like to say it’s a lazy, hot summer day in Golden, Colorado, perfect for ripe, juicy seasonal watermelon. But no, it’s cold, windy and the low last night was 28 degrees. Not exactly picnic weather. More like hot chocolate, flannel jammies and furry slippers weather.
But, when you eat local and seasonal food, you go with the plant flow and it’s watermelon time, so put on a down parka and dig in!
I have been eating watermelon daily for the past three weeks. I’m really not complaining as you all know how much I love my weekly CSA share from Grant Family Farms. Yes, I’ll admit it – I love my farmers up the road in Wellington. Head over heels, stalkingly in love. But in a good veggie-fruit kind of way. Yes, Andy Grant is my version of Sting, a total rock star. Or rather a dirt star.
This smoothie was created using fruits and veggies from my recent share box. Mix and match according to what you have on hand, but this made for a perfect breakfast shake. While sitting by the fire, wrapped in a wool blankie, wearing mittens. Hey, nobody promised that eating seasonal in Colorado would always make sense.
watermelon chia seed smoothie (this is a winner)
2 cups watermelon chunks, seeds removed
2 cups mixed lettuce greens (the good stuff, not iceberg lettuce)
1 small apple, unpeeled and chopped
1/2 cup diced cucumber
1/2 cup Redwood Hill Farms vanilla goat yogurt
1/2 to 1 scoop Chia Seeds (this is what I use)
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Place all ingredients in the blender and mix well. If your watermelon is juicy enough, you’ll have a perfect smoothie without adding any liquid. This was absolutely delicious and something even picky kids will love (or you green-food-avoiding grownups – you know who you are). The green, leafy stuff is practically unnoticeable.
Chia (chee-ah) is an edible seed from a desert plant that is a member of the mint family. Like quinoa was to the Inca Indians, chia was warrior food for the Aztecs and Mayans.
Total Zena, Warrior Princess food.
Chia is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, niacin, zinc and blah, blah, blah. These little nutty-tasting seeds truly are power-packed. The high fiber content makes them perfect for slowing down the process by which carbs are converted to sugar, so energy levels are more balanced. Chia is great mixed into trail bars, granola, muffins and hot cereal.
Go forth and thrive!
Zena, Warrior Princess
Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009
It was 32 degrees here last night, cold all day and light snow is expected tonight. It’s been snowing heavily in the mountains (yeah!). Monday’s CSA delivery had no chance of becoming anything other than farm-fresh soup. Other than garlic, broth, olive oil and one small sweet potato, I used what was in my delivery box and made a big batch of soup. It could have easily been a salad had I not cooked the ingredients.
I forgot to put the spinach in the before photo (my share box was absolutely overflowing again). Imagine a sweet potato where that gorgeous egg plant is and imagine it surrounded by rich, vibrant spinach leaves. As I was busy chopping away, I decided a sweet potato played into this soup better than the eggplant, so I switched those out at the last minute. I’ll figure out something with the egg plant later this week. Eggplant parmesan with a homemade tomato sauce?
Here’s the before picture.
Here’s the after picture.
Salad in the form of warm, soothing soup
What you need (anything you want, but I used the following)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 bay leaves
2 – 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks (about 3/4 inch cubes)
6 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1 cup water
3 carrots, washed and cut into chunks (don’t you love those chubby carrots)
3 celery stalks, washed and chopped into 1/4 – 1/2 inch pieces, leaves and all
2 cups washed, trimmed and sliced green beans (1 – 2 inch pieces)
2 cups washed and chopped zucchini (1 inch pieces)
corn kernels from 1 ear of corn (uncooked, removed from the cob)
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 – 2 cups spinach, washed and chopped into large pieces
herbs such as thyme, rosemary and basil
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
what you do
• Heat the olive oil over low heat in a large stock pot. Add onion and bay leaves and stir frequently for 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 2 more minutes. Add sweet potato, stir occasionally and cook 5 more minutes. Pour 1 cup of the broth over the vegetables, increase heat slightly and simmer for 5 minutes.
• Add the next 5 cups of broth and the 1 cup of water and bring to a light boil or simmer. Add the carrots, celery and green beans and cook for 5 to 8 minutes. Add the zucchini and corn and simmer another 5 minutes.
• Add the diced tomatoes and the herbs and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes. Add the spinach, cook another 2 to 3 minutes, season with salt and pepper, remove the bay leaves and serve. Top with a touch of shredded cheese if you’d like (Parmesan or Monterey Jack is good).
These cooking times are flexible, but I’ve found this “layering” method works well with so many different types of vegetables. Put the veggies that take the most time to cook in the pot first, ending with things like herbs, tomatoes and greens that take much less time. I like my soups with crunchy vegetables and vibrant colors and if you over-cook the soup, you lose both characteristics.
Go forth and make salad into soup on cold days!
Thursday, September 17th, 2009
Those of you following this blog know I occasionally assign quirky personalities or off-beat characteristics to my vegetables. Contrary to what you might think, it’s not because I have too much time on my hands.
I just love food, especially farm-fresh fruits and vegetables. That, and the fact that I have an overly-active imagination.
Between my Grant Farms CSA veggie share and my neighbor who’s out of town and asked me to keep an eye on his tomatoes (invasion of the tomato snatcher), I have a boat-load of these wonderful gems.
Tomatoes are auxiliary verbs. Don’t get me wrong, I love them on their own, but more than any other vegetable (at least at this moment when I have dozens of them rolling around on my counter), they play a “helper” role. An auxiliary verb helps to form the tense and voice of the main verb. Stick with me here. They combine with the main verb (or ingredients) to add texture and meaning to the sentence (or recipe).
See? Tomatoes are auxiliary verbs, they “help” express the richness of the dish. The depth of the sauce. The fullness of color. They bring out the best in basil, tarragon, parsley and oregano.
Those of you who are still reading, thank you for indulging me.
Onward. Here are a few things I’ve been doing with my invasion of tomatoes.
Thawed tomatoes make for great additions to soups, stews and sauces (think auxiliary verb). They can be frozen in a variety of ways, but here’s how I do it. Wash, dry, core and cut the tomatoes into wedges. Place them on a cookie sheet, making sure they aren’t touching each other and stick the cookie sheet in the freezer. Once frozen, place them in several individual freezer bags or containers, date them and put them back in the freezer for later.
All-purpose blended tomato sauce (which I froze in separate containers)
Once again, this is a “launching pad” recipe which was created according to what I received in my CSA share on Monday. Adjust accordingly and be creative.
what you need (be creative)
8 tomatoes, washed, cored and quartered (cut off funky spots)
6 cloves garlic, chopped in chunks
2 carrots, washed and cut in chunks
1 cup chopped squash (skins included)
1/2 onion, chopped in chunks
basil, parsley and oregano
fresh ground black pepper and sea salt to taste
* chop the veggies enough so they work in the blender
All of these ingredients, except the garlic and oregano were in my CSA box. I’m simply trying to use what I can and save the rest for later. This is a “save the rest” recipe. The basil and parsley were fresh from the farm, the oregano was dried.
what you do
Blend the tomatoes in a food processor or blender until half-way pureed. Not totally pulverized, keep some chunky stuff in there. Pour most of it into a large pot. Retain some of the tomato sauce in the blender so the rest of the ingredients have some liquid to blend with. Add the other ingredients slowly and blend well. Pour this into the pot and cook on low for an hour or so to thicken it and meld the flavors together. Season with fresh ground pepper and sea salt. Let cool, pour into individual freezer containers, write the date and what it is on the container and freeze it for later. You can also freeze some of this in small ziplock freezer bags for adding to stews and soups. A cup or so of this sauce added to a soup or stew made with vegetable, chicken or beef stock is absolutely wonderful.
For a few other veggie personality profiles (and some recipes, check below)
The deadly serious beet
Punk rock kohlrabi
Rhubarb, the little tart
There you go – auxiliary verb tomatoes!
Tuesday, September 15th, 2009
Here is this week’s Grant Farm’s CSA share. This is my abundant, small veggie share, plus my fruit share and a dozen pastured chicken eggs. I was at a loss for words, which is rare for me.
Luckily (or unfortunately for you), those occasional synapse lags never last long. Now it’s time to get to work figuring out what to do with all this produce, plus the lingering stuff from last week.
But first, I’m going to repeat something I wrote over a year ago. Josh, our witty CSA coordinator at Grant Farms, mentioned in his weekly newsletter how important fresh, wholesome, organic food is to our health. As a nutritionist, helping people make lasting and healthy lifestyle changes revolves around food. As an advocate for the return of old-fashioned food (real food), I’m on a mission to support the farmers who grow that food. Josh was right when he said that “many of our health issues are rooted in the food we eat and how it is grown or raised.”
Skip the overblown health claims for expensive supplements, don’t bother with the next dietary fad, avoid fast food and processed junk foods – eat the real thing – wholesome, traditional, real food.
Food Pyramid Remix (my take – late fall, 2008)
The government has made an effort to let us know what we should be eating on a daily basis by creating the Food Pyramid. Rather ironic, wouldn’t you say? Here we are at the top of the food chain and we’re the only animals in need of eating instructions.
I’m not picking sides, but in light of some of the decisions made by our elected officials, maybe we should educate ourselves and figure out what we should eat on our own.
Okay, having said that, I’m going to throw my two cent’s worth into the mix. More irony, you say? I suppose so, but at this point, there’s an overload of complex and confusing information from too many sources. It’s time to slow down and rethink things. We all have to eat, why is it so confusing to choose a healthy diet? Why are we so obsessed with food and yet so unhealthy as a culture? Part of the problem is too many choices in a world of food politics and an industry worth billions of dollars a year — in the United States alone. That can make eating complicated and even stressful.
It doesn’t have to be.
Here are a few of my tips for healthy eating:
1. Eat whole, fresh food (preferably organic).
2. Make whole plant sources, especially vegetables, legumes, and fruit your foundation. You can even eat veggies for breakfast — it’s okay, trust me. Choose whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, and teff.
3. For the most part, choose foods you can hold in your hands and wash. Can you wash a box of Kraft mac and cheese or a package of ding dongs? You can wash a tomato, cabbage and you can rinse brown rice. See how easy that is?
4. Don’t eat food that never spoils. Remember my HFCS post? The pink snowballs and the chocolate hockey pucks? As I mentioned, I’ve had those on my closet shelf for over a year. If it doesn’t rot, it’s not food.
5. If animals, insects, and bacteria won’t eat it, maybe we shouldn’t. Food that has been sprayed with chemicals to repel critters is not a good choice for people either. Whoa, that doesn’t mean bugs are smarter than we are, does it? Yikes, maybe so.
6. You’ve all probably heard this one before — don’t eat foods from the middle of the grocery store. Stick to the periphery where the real food is located.
7. Make it yourself. Learn from your grandmother. Enjoy the cultural wisdom of food. My mother grew up in a very poor family in the south during the depression. I mean dirt-floor poor. They had few food choices, but somehow the family was fairly healthy. All they had was what they grew or traded someone else for – vegetables, beans, cornbread, dandelion greens, whatever fruit or nut tree was around, some oatmeal and an occasional pig, chicken, or fresh-caught game (birds, fish, rabbits). My grandmother also made them all take a dose of cod liver oil regularly. Hmmm? When you think about it, you’ve got some very healthy food choices there. They either grew or caught everything they ate. I know things are different now and you just don’t have time to go rabbit hunting on your lunch hour, but it doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.
8. To sum it up: eat less, eat slower, use smaller plates, join a CSA, frequent farmer’s markets, choose fresh ingredients, eat more vegetables, choose humanely treated and pastured animal sources, skip the junk food, and savor your food. Part of healthy eating is enjoying what you eat, how you prepare it, the cultural variations, and sharing it with others.
Go forth and eat real food.
Thursday, September 3rd, 2009
These were so good that I’m just going to skip the prelude and get right to the point.
I went for a 4 mile power walk/hike early this morning and was starving when I got home. My 5 AM apple with almond butter lasted long enough to finish my hike, but that was it. Okay, so I’m not getting to the point, but I’ll be there soon.
This week’s Grant Farms CSA bounty was a bit overwhelming. Actually, seriously overwhelming, so now I’m refusing to go anywhere near a market. I can’t spend money on store-bought food when I have all these fresh, local veggies laying claim to every square inch of my refrigerator.
So, what’s for lunch (10 AM lunch)?
What you need
squash, chopped in small chunks (I used half of a large zucchini-type squash)
1 medium tomato, diced
4-6 large kale leaves, stems removed, leaves chopped into 2 inch chunks
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped in small chunks
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon red chile pepper flakes
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
corn taco shells
what you do
Preheat oven to 400 and place taco shells on a cookie sheet, set aside for now. It only takes a few minutes to heat the shells, so plan to put them in the oven when you’re almost finished making the taco fixings.
Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, squash and green pepper, stir-fry for 3 to 5 minutes until veggies are semi-tender. Add kale and continue stirring so it has a chance to get covered with the olive oil and cook down a bit (another 3 minutes or so). Place taco shells in the oven and set timer for 4 minutes. Next add the tomatoes, beans and crushed red pepper to the taco mixture; continue stirring until all ingredients are hot. Season with salt. Serve in heated taco shells, top with small amount of grated cheese (optional). Makes 4 to 6 tacos depending on how big the shells are and how packed you cram them.
This was a surprise hit. Gourmet Magazine, here I come. I might even serve them for dinner tonight.
Go forth and play with your food!
Wednesday, August 26th, 2009
I’ve said this before, but I’ll admit it again. Being a nutritionist doesn’t stop me from having a full-on sweet tooth. That’s my thing, that’s my issue, that’s my problem, that’s what I’d want if I was stranded on a dessert (Fruedian spelling slip) island.
Stranded with Brad Pitt? No thanks. Stranded with something sweet? Count me in! Stranded with a maple tree and some sap buckets? Yeah!
Pancakes and pure maple syrup — yep, that’s my downfall.
They’re just maple syrup holders. A reason to eat pure, organic, grade A, Vermont maple syrup.
Knowing full-well I’d be better off topping my pancakes and hot cereal with something other than liquid sweetness, I’m always up for a healthier option. Once again, Ali, from Whole Life Nutrition has come to the rescue, inspiring me to try something new. She just did a post on blueberry syrup and it looks divine. I, however, picked up another big bag of fresh Colorado peaches in my CSA box on Monday.
what you need
6-7 ripe peaches, pitted and chopped in small chunks
1 cup water (a little less if you have very juicy peaches)
2 teaspoons agar-agar *
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
what you do
Wash and chop the peaches. I put the chopped peaches in a large strainer like this, over a larger bowl. I squished (sophisticated culinary term) out some of the juice into the bowl, pressing and smooshing the peaches into the strainer. Pour water and collected peach juice into a medium-sized sauce pan. Add agar-agar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a strong simmer and stir frequently for 5 minutes until agar-agar has fully dissolved.
* Agar-agar is a thickener made from seaweed. You could use arrowroot powder for the thickening agent, or skip it altogether. I like using agar-agar because it’s high in iodine and I feel like I need a dose now and then for thyroid health.
Add peaches, cinnamon and honey and continue simmering and stirring for another 10 minutes, until sauce thickens and water is reduced. It should be the consistency of applesauce.
You have to stir frequently so you might as well keep yourself busy. Stand facing your kitchen counter, about 3 feet away (maybe a little more depending on how tall you are). Okay, here’s the disclaimer. Read this and swear to me you’re not going to do something stupid. Ask your doctor if it’s okay for you to do push-ups against the kitchen counter. Don’t slip on the floor, chip your tooth, hurt your shoulder or whatever else is possible. Make sure you have decent shoes on, your floor isn’t wet and you’re not standing on a banana peel.
With your feet at least 3 feet from the counter, bend over and grasp the edge. Now you’re at a 90 degree angle similar to Uttanasana Forward Bend demonstrated in this illustration. The only difference is you’re grasping the counter top and your feet might be farther away from the cabinet. The farther away, the harder the push-up. Also, the easier it is to slip and hurt yourself (see above disclaimer, read it again). Using core strength (imagine velcro-ing your belly button to your spine from the inside — work your abs), do a series of strong push-ups. Don’t sag. Start with 10 push-ups, rest, stretch back into Uttanasana Forward Bend and then stir your peach syrup; do 10 more push-ups, rest, stretch back into Uttanasana Forward Bend and continue to stir your peach syrup. And on you go. Think of how much strength you build just hanging around in your kitchen waiting for stuff to happen. Seriously, I do iron-chef-girl yoga all the time.
Serve your peach syrup warm over pancakes or let cool and store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for later use. This is great over ice cream, hot cereal (wonderful over hot teff or GF oatmeal), buckwheat pancakes, French toast, or waffles.
Whew, cooking is hard.
Thursday, August 13th, 2009
I’m on a roll with these organic Colorado peaches from my CSA fruit share. Just like with the cherries, I can hardly decide what to do with them next. I started with two good-sized bags on Monday and I’m afraid they’ll be gone by the weekend.
These muffins have a subtle, off-beat (as in quirkily good) taste, followed by full-on peach power. Of course, they’re gluten-free, but for those of you who eat wheat cooties, I’ll also make an attempt to adapt backwards so you won’t miss out.
gluten-free peach pecan mesquite muffins (drool)
what you need
2 cups Pamela’s GF Flour Blend (baking mix)
1 cup diced peaches, juice and all (2 medium-sized peaches, unpeeled)
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon mesquite flour * (optional – if you don’t use any, add 1 teaspoon of vanilla)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
what you do
In medium sized bowl, whisk together Pamela’s Mix, mesquite flour and cinnamon. Set aside. In a separate (and larger) bowl, whisk eggs and honey until well combined. Gently stir in the peaches. Add the dry ingredients and stir by hand until well blended. Fold in pecans and spoon into lined or greased muffin pan, 3/4ths full. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 20 to 22 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Makes 1 dozen muffins.
* Since I never bake with regular flour, I can’t make any guarantees, but if you want to give this a try with wheat flour, you need to use a leavening agent (approximately 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda per cup of traditional flour). Decrease the flour as I’ve found 1 cup of traditional flour equals about 1 and 1/4 cup of GF flour. For more general tips on exchanges and baking with GF flour, check here. I imagine you could also use a traditional banana bread recipe and substitute chopped peaches for the bananas.
* Mesquite flour is a bit pricey, but it’s worth it for the exotic fun factor and the taste. I love the stuff. You don’t need much – in fact, a little goes a long way, so it lasts for months (store it in the freezer). Mesquite has a sweet, chocolatey, coffee, cinnamony taste. Or something like that. I can’t quite pin-point it, but it smells absolutely divine. It gives baked goods a nice cinnamon color — it’s beautiful flour. Plus, mesquite is high in fiber and protein and is a good source of calcium, iron, zinc, and potassium. It also helps balance blood sugar levels. Ground mesquite pods were a staple for Native Americans and indigenous people of the southwest.
Hmm, what’s next for my peaches? Goat milk peach ice cream? Or peach cobbler?
Tuesday, August 11th, 2009
Those of you who are CSA members know all about the whim of the farmer, right? Well, I’ve been totally whimmed lately.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. Not at all. If I was a farmer and worked out in the fields all day long, I’d express a little whimsy whenever I dang-well pleased.
But, here’s the deal. I’ve been waiting for those little flying saucer squashes to appear because I have a fun recipe all ready to post, but nooo, it’s not happening. I figured sunburst squash would be coming our way because I was given 3 as a gift when I was snooping around the farm taking photos for my last post. Someone must have found a few in their big red boxes. I have the evidence.
Alright, who got those little scalloped thingies? I picked up my delivery last night and it wasn’t me.
There you go. It’s the whim of the farmer.
Aaah, but peaches are in season in Colorado right now! Luscious, drippy, sweet, unbelievable peaches. I was still getting cherries when peaches starting making their CSA rounds. At first, I was all pouty when I got the tail-end of the cherry run two weeks ago on Monday and everyone from Tuesday on got the start of peach season. Until I was forced (literally forced) to make cherry-pecan streusel and homemade cherry-vanilla ice cream. Bummer.
Onward. We’re in the midst of peach season. Yippee!
peach salsa – the perfect complement to fish
what you need (adjust according to your whim, this is a launching pad recipe)
2 peaches, chopped
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
1/3 cup chopped cucumber
1/4 cup diced onion (mild onion or scallions)
1/4 cup chopped jicama (optional)
juice of 1 small lime
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
sea salt to taste
what you do
Mix together, taste, adjust to your liking and be thankful you live in Colorado where they grow the best peaches around.
Go forth and Eat A Peach
Sweet Melissa (and all this time I thought that song was written for me)
Tuesday, August 4th, 2009
Although I find the subject of food politics fascinating, I’ll spare you (sort of) my comestible ranting and stick to some of the more fun aspects of farming, food and healthy living.
But first, a little background.
Okay, I admit it — I drive an SUV. I was born and raised in Colorado, what else would I drive? I ski, hike, backpack and own a 130 pound furry dog. I’m not trading in my 4-wheel drive Pathfinder for some little foo-foo, plug-in car.
Having said that, I also care about the environment. Second to cars, the way our food is produced and distributed uses more fossil fuel than any other segment of the economy. And according to some of the experts who study this stuff, our Standard American Diet (SAD) contributes over one-third of the greenhouse gases that are emitted into the atmosphere. Not to mention what that diet does to our general health.
Food travels an average of 1500 miles before it lands on our dinner plate. Most of the time we have no idea where it came from, who grew it, or how it made its way into our homes. Other than the short trip from isle 14 at the supermarket and into the kitchen.
So, to do my part, I’m keeping my 9 year old SUV “clunker” and instead of taking the $4500 in government subsidy money and trading it in on a new car, I’ll make an effort to eat as much locally grown, seasonal food as possible. Is “cash for kale” part of any of these government stimulus packages? That might fit nicely into all three of these bills currently stirring up debate in Congress; climate change, food safety and health care. Oooh, as tempting as this political thread is, I’ll resist jumping on my soap box (or fruit box, in this case) and move on to the fun stuff.
Those of us who belong to the Grant Farms CSA program know where a good part of our food comes from. At least 26 week’s worth, but most of us don’t know the finer details. Here’s a closer look, complete with photos I took last Saturday while indulging my hippie-girl roots and painting flowers and peace signs on the farm-tour buses.
. . . and eat your veggies.
Grant Farm’s Jane and Maggie – peace, love, Bob Dylan and sparkly farkle.
You’d never guess who the lady-bug painting expert was. These farm boys are gentle souls (right, Josh?).
This organic lettuce was grown with care by Andy Grant, Ricardo (lettuce scientist extraordinaire) and the gang at Grant Family Farms. It’s harvested at its peak and packed carefully into the CSA delivery boxes by Uriel (above) and his coworkers for pick-up by us, the lucky shareholders. Even knowing the basics of the process, it’s hard for me to imagine how much work actually went into growing and getting that bunch of lettuce into my hands. To be honest, I have no clue, but I can see the pride in Uriel’s eyes and the spirit behind his smile and that gives me a hint.
This is Carmen, carefully dishing out summer squash while flashing her mega-watt smile. There’s a whole assembly line of cheerful, hard-working people putting together our CSA share boxes. Visiting the farm, touring the distribution center and meeting the people who grow, care for, harvest, organize and distribute the food makes it taste all the more delicious.
And Alonzo — a delightful smile to match a pleasant attitude. Now, don’t you appreciate that squash a little more knowing where it came from? And doesn’t that make you smile too? Go ahead, I dare you. Look into these faces and try not to smile. See, it’s impossible (snicker, snicker).
Good people, good energy, good food.
Okay, I don’t want rant (too much) and I don’t want to preach (too much), but by purchasing locally grown food from folks like this who care about the land and value the goods they’re producing, we become an important part of that community — a cog in the health and sustainability of the cycle. They need us and we need them.
It’s a privilege. Thanks, Andy and gang!
Peace, love and veggies!
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