We've been buying lots of local produce, which is not only tastier, but cheaper and healthier. Choosing local foods also supports small farmers who take better care of the land, who often grow many varieties of crops, and who often use organic sustainable farming techniques.
We recently received "The Green Book", by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas Kostigen, and "Green Chic - Saving the Earth in Style", by Christie Matheson. Both recommend eating local foods and buying from farmers' markets.
Both point out that it takes roughly 1500 miles for supermarket food to reach your plate, compared to 50 miles for local produce. Much more energy and resources are used to produce conventional food versus local food; Christie says that 32 times more energy is used and 32 times more CO2 is emitted with conventional food. In addition, local food is more nutritious, because it's picked when ripe, and eaten soon after, versus food from supermarkets that sit for days, maybe a week, before it's transported to the stores. (These are just some of the reasons to buy local - we suggest reading more about eating local foods and being "green".)
A great motivator to buy local foods, is trying new foods! There are so many varieties of fruits and vegetables that you can find at the farmers' markets. Here are some local foods we've eaten this summer:
- Heirloom tomatoes of different sizes and colors (yellow, orange, purple!)
- bell, banana, jalapeño, and one we don't know what kind it is - it's yellow with a "spin top" shape
- eggplant (small purple-and-white stripped)
- Texas peaches and corn
- zucchini, yellow, white, and sunburst
- sugar snap peas
- "jade" watermelon that was the best juiciest sweetest organic watermelon we've ever had! Very huge too.
- also "sugar not" melon that was a cross between a cantelope and a honey dew with a slight cucumber/kiwi taste and that was soo sweet and juicy!
- BTW - the melons came from Holistic Gardens of Texas A&M and there were about 20 more varieties of melons that they produced, and they wanted customer feedback!
And here are some tasty ways we used our great produce!
Roasted Veggies - eggplant, red bell pepper, tomatoes, and yellow squash with herbs - and served with couscous.
Garbanzo Snap Pea Quinoa Bowl ... garbanzos, snap peas, quinoa, green bell peppers, garlic, diced carrots, and a curry dressing.
Our first RAW meal! Lasagna with Zucchini "Noodles", a Spinach Basil Cashew filling, and Fresh Tomato Sauce! We are going to try to make a raw meal once a week. So far, it's been a great experience.
- We adapted Carmella's recipe from The Sunny Raw Kitchen. Lasagna usually takes so long to prep AND cook, but with this recipe, it only took long to prep, and then it was done!
Raw Spinach Zucchini Lasagna
Spinach Basil Filling:
1 cup cashews, soaked (for maybe 3-4 hours?)
1/2 cup water
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
3-4 cups fresh spinach
3/4 th of small pack of fresh basil (2 Tb?)
Grind nuts and garlic until fine. Then add other ingredients until creamy.
3-4 large tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup diced onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
rest of the pack of fresh basil
Blend in a food processor until slightly smooth, slightly chunky.
2 large peeled zucchini, sliced thinly lengthwise
Using 1/2 of zucchini, make a layer in the bottom of a pan. Spread 1/2 of the spinach filling over the zucchini. Then add the remaining zucchini to make another layer. Spread the remaining spinach filling, and then top with the tomato sauce. Add a little nutritional yeast and black pepper to taste. Cut and serve!
Here's a photo of the cream filling and then a photo showing some of the layering.
... And you'll just have to wait to see what concoction we create with the watermelon! :)
To end this post, we hope that you will buy more local food. We as consumers need to support local family farms, buying directly from the farmers. Go to a farmers' market, or even better, grow your own food. You can also participate in the Community Supportive Agriculture program (CSA) if available, for which you pay in advance for a weekly amount of fresh produce.
See you at the next Farmers' Market! LK