Thursday, October 6, 2011
Fresh Farm Goodness
So, I recently bought a ton of tomatoes from a local farm, Terra Nova. These guys are pretty fantastic, you can hit them on facebook or email with an order, and they deliver them to you. My work loves to order from them, and buy all of their fresh farm produce. Besides the tomatoes, I also bought some spicy peppers and organic eggs. I plan on doing a lot of canning of sauces, soups, and salsas, just in time for the cold months. A customer asked me why I go through so much effort to make simple items that I can buy at the store. My personal reasons are that it taste better, doesn’t have preservatives and cost less. I also have some people at my work that are skeptical of fresh organic vegetables being any better than the ones you buy at the store. It is easy to think organic vegetables are healthier but when you compare the prices at the grocery store, organic produce also cost more. But if you cut out the middleman and buy straight from the farmer, it is about the same if not cheaper than the regular veggies at the grocery store. This got me questioning what are the health benefits of eating farm fresh vegetables?
I found that fresh farm produce is higher in nutrition levels, including higher levels of vitamin C, and trace minerals. Also, you can directly ask your local farmer if they do use pesticides, as well as what they use. It is a safe way to know what you are ingesting while protecting your health. Also, it is a good way to avoid many health issues with produce; with having the assurance of your local farmer being knowledgeable of the product they are growing. In addition, if you have children, they benefit from the lack of pesticides as well, since they lack the immunities we have as adults. Lastly, you know what you are eating. Although you may have to go shopping more often, you know that the produce you have is freshly picked, with no added colors or preservatives. Overall, it is just better for your health.
I have been told that it is difficult to make time for grocery shopping, and that is why some people’s houses lack fresh produce. Try to incorporate a few ideas to help out the shopping blues. Try going to a growers market, focus on fun activities at the market, as well as the produce. Checking out the live music, new products, as well as grocery shopping will make it a much more enjoyable experience. Also, try planning out meals ahead of time, so when you go to shop, you have it all planned out. Or, you can find a cool group of farmers like I did, and order your groceries and have them delivered. Just think, these ideas just take a small amount of time and increase your health and also benefit your community as well.
Try these fresh fall farm recipes out:
Butternut Squash Soup
4 T Olive Oil
2 c yellow onion
1 T curry powder,
3 lbs butternut squash
2 granny apples
2 T thyme
5 c chicken stock, or vegetable stock
1 c apple cider
salt and pepper
Sprinkle thyme for garnish on top
Place olive oil in a large pot. Add chopped onions, thyme and curry powder, cover and cook over low heat until onions are tender, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, peel the squash, scrape out the seeds and chop the flesh into large cubes. When the onions are tender, pour in 4 cups stock, add squash and apples and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover, until squash and apples are tender, about 25 minutes. Use a potato masher to puree the squash and apples. Add apple cider and additional stock and stir well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Allow to heat through and serve.
This soup will keep in the refrigerator for several days, can or freeze.
Oven-Roasted Tomatoes Stuffed with Goat Cheese
12 tomatoes (about 3 pounds)
1 ½ pounds goat cheese
2 garlic cloves
2 T basil
1 t kosher salt
1/4 t pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
Preheat the oven to 425. Slice off the top 1/2 inch of each tomato and reserve the tops. Scoop out the inside of the tomatoes. Cut a small amount of the bottom of the tomato so it can sit flat. Place the tomatoes in a baking dish.
In a bowl, combine the goat cheese with the egg, garlic, basil, salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Spoon the goat cheese mixture into the tomatoes; fill completely, and over the top a couple of inches, since it will melt down. Cover with the tomato tops and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Bake the tomatoes for 35 minutes, until tender and begin to brown and the cheese is hot. Pull out and let sit for ten minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Posted by Shannon Rodrigues at 7:27 PM