Watch as Farmers Grow
Header

Green and Beans/What is an Herb?

August 26th, 2011 | Posted by Casey in Product Information - (Comments Off on Green and Beans/What is an Herb?)

2011 What’s Cooking

July 11th, 2011 | Posted by Casey in Product Information - (92 Comments)

 

 

June 20th, 2011 | Posted by Casey in Product Information - (131 Comments)

The “Greens and Beans” page was created as a space to share nutrition information and recipe ideas for the bounty of life giving plants foods that we grow and make available to our community.  It is for individuals who  are interested in cooking and eating with the seasons. 

The Story of One “Sister”

It has been a kind of awakening for me to take time each week to focus on just one plant food.  I wasn’t aware that I had a visual image of snap pea flowers that could be described as “giant perfect snowflakes” or that tomatoes would send me off on a hybridization tangent or that I would EVER use the world love in a title (“Garlic Scape Love”).  I mention connections a lot because they are so interesting and important and often revealing.  When I sat down to contemplate winter squash this is what happened.  I thought Beta Carotene..fall..three sisters…water…drought.  This is what came to mind when I sat down to write about winter squash?  I got stuck on water or lack of in this case.

This season’s crop of winter squash was planted outside our 3 acre market garden.  Meaning no protection, no weeding and no irrigation.  We did end up extending the electric fence to that area but beyond that the area just never made it to the top of the task list.  It was stressful at first to know that we had planted those seeds and now we weren’t finding time to provide them with the most essential nutrient.  Water.

But everything needed water.  If anything had a chance to survive wouldn’t it be the three sisters?  Native Americans didn’t irrigate did they?  Is this why the rain dance came into existence?  At this point I thought ..research Native American Agriculture..three sisters..irrigation…rain dance.  I am still reading up on that but in the meantime I can tell you what happened to our three sisters in a drought year. 

We did harvest winter squash from that field and a small bit of corn and the smallest bit of beans.  As the weeks passed with no rain, I began to really feel connected to the history of the land.  Wondering if Native Americans grew the three sisters on this exact plot of land.  Romanticizing about the fact that we had waited for the rain just as the Native Peoples had.  There was something special about the experience.  I guess I never thought we could take a step that far back.  Since tractors and drip lines and cultivators and none such are so easily accessible why would we?  Like I said, there was just something special about the whole experience. 

The Spread

“Veggies of the Week” was winter squash.  Our plates were loaded with delicious squash in many forms.

Baked Delicata Squash with sauteed kale, toasted walnuts and gorgonzola cheese.

Winter Squash Soup

Winter Squash Fritters and

Mixed Greens Salad with Radishes and Turnips.

Baked Squash with Sauteed Kale, Walnuts and Gorgonzola

4 Small Delicata Squash cut in half lengthwise and scoop seeds out.  Don’t forget to save the seeds for toasting.

1 bunch lacinato kale (any variety works) chopped

1/4 to 1/2 cup Walnuts toasted and coarsely chopped

2 cloves garlic minced

Gorgonzola cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Drizzle olive oil in a pyrex dish and place squash halves skin side up in dish.  Bake until you can easily push a fork into the skin.  About 30 minutes.  While the squash is baking heat 2 tabelspoons of olive oil in a cast iron pan on a medium/high flame/burner.  Add garlic to the pan and saute for about 1 minute.  Be careful not to let it burn.  Now add the kale and saute about four minutes while stirring.  Set aside until the squash are finished cooking.  Now fill each squash with kale and sprinkle on the toasted walnuts and gorgonzola cheese.  You could serve as is but I like to put it back in the oven for about five minute to warm the cheese.  Serve warm if possible. 

Let’s Talk Nutrition

When you are holding a winter squash in your hands, you are basically holding a giant muti-vitamin/mineral capsule.  That’s the way I look at it and from what I understand I am not the first.  Native Americans would bury winter squash with their dead to provide them nourishment for their final journey.   

Winter squash can be stored for up to 6 months and contains significant amounts of Vitamin A, Potassium, Calcium and Fiber.

Just 1/2 cup of baked squash with a pat of butter will give your child 100% of the Vitamin A they need for the day.  That’s just looking at Vitamin A.  I couldn’t help playing around with the charts and numbers a little more.

Serve your friends and family baked squash topped with black beans and sautéed kale and they will be getting all of the Vitamin A, Potassium and Calcium they need for the day.  I had to stop myself there.  I was feeling a little Wizard of Ozish.  Vitamin A and Potassium and Calcium oh my!  Antioxidants and protein and fiber oh my! 

Try one of our winter squash recipe ideas to celebrate the harvest and help build up your bodies nutrient reserves in preparation for the longer, cooler, darker months of winter. 

As so often happens if we allow it, when we trust and respect our natural surroundings, we find nourishment in our plant friends.

My Industrial Tomato

October 25th, 2010 | Posted by Casey in Product Information - (Comments Off on My Industrial Tomato)

The “Greens and Beans” page was created as a space to share nutrition information and recipe ideas for the bounty of life giving plants foods that we grow and make available to our community.  It is for individuals who  are interested in cooking and eating with the seasons. 

MY IDUSTRIAL TOMATO

Step right up and get your perfectly symmetrical, red tomato.  It was picked green by a machine, packed into a cardboard box and shipped hundreds or thousands of miles to reach us.  Don’t worry, this tomato was bred deliberately to withstand these exact conditions and still reach us perfectly symmetrical and red.  All that was sacrificed was the flavor. 

Hybridization did not exist until the early 1950’s.  Up until that time, families selected tomatoes for a variety of desirable traits which always included flavor.  They saved the seed each season to ensure these varieties were passed down from generation to generation. 

The family heirloom tomato is how we refer to them today, in order to distinguish them from “industrialized” tomatoes.  They are often called “ugly tomatoes”, “antique tomatoes”, “heritage tomatoes” or “mystery tomatoes”.  There are so many shapes, colors, sizes and textures and all of them have flavor. 

Well, there is a bit more to the story here.  Flavor is not all that is being lost through hybridization of our plant foods.  We lose diversity.  Yup that’s a biggy.  It is a direct threat to our food supply.  Allow your mind to ride my drama-queen-brain-wave for just a few moments.  Think of it in terms of the Irish Potato Famine.  Were potatoes really the only thing they grew and ate?  No, but most of the land was planted with “the simple potato” destined for export.  Within six months of the first crop failure people began to starve to death and in the end over 1 million of them did.  Over the past couple of decades, our food industry (the Bristish if you will) is dictating what we (the Irish) consume.  We are losing diversity, nutrients,  and flavor quickly.  The question I have for you is “Are we as helpless as the Irish were?”.    

Do I think we are all going to starve to death if we do not protest hybrid tomatoes?  No I do not.  However, it does scare me how quickly and easily we have forgotten what a real tomato tastes like.

 Every heirloom variety is gentically unique.  Each has evolved in it’s own specific growing conditions where it is able to resist the diseases and pests that exist in the same tiny corner of the universe. 

It is up to us a gardeners and responsible stewards of the earth to assure we sustain the diversity gifted to us through heirloom varieties.   

The Spread

On a lighter note, below is a list of what we cooked up at last weeks Greens and Beans coooking club meeting. 

Tomato, Avacado and Corn Salsa

Tomato and White Beans Soup

Sliced Tomato with Mozzarella and Basil and

we dressed up our mixed greens salad with

Tomato Vinegrette Dressing.

Let’s Talk Nutrition

Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin K. They are also a very good source of molybdenum, potassium, manganese, dietary fiber, chromium, and vitamin B1. In addition, tomatoes are a good source of vitamin B6, folate, copper, niacin, vitamin B2, magnesium, iron, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, vitamin E and protein.

Whenever a discussion comes up about the health benefits of the tomato, most of us think of the phytonutrient Lycopene.  Lycopene has a reputation as a cancer-fighting antioxidant.  A ton of research had been conducted to study this effect and not just on rats, on humans as well.  The antioxidant function of lycopene is known to help protect against prostrate, breast, endometrial, lung and pancreatic cancers. 

Lycopene is a fat soluble carotenoid which means in order to get the protective benefits of the tomato, you need to consume them with a fat.  Olive oil, cheese, avocado or nuts are some good options. 

The color of the tomatoes has also been studies for lycopene content.  A slightly higher amount can be found in the dark red and dark purple varieties.

I recommend buying organic.  Not just because I am an organic farmer but also because the organic tomatoes were found to contain much higher amounts of Lycopene.  Up to 5 times as much in some studies. 

Step right up and get your plump, juicy, deep red colored, vine-ripened, hand-picked, local organic heirloom tomato.

Greens and Beans/Carrot Soup

September 16th, 2010 | Posted by Casey in Product Information - (Comments Off on Greens and Beans/Carrot Soup)

The “Greens and Beans” page was created as a space to share nutrition information and recipe ideas for the bounty of life giving plants foods that we grow and make available to our community.  It is for individuals who  are interested in cooking and eating with the seasons. 

An Unexpected Reaction To Carrot Soup

It reminded me so much of a traditional sweet potato dish that I loved to cook during my years in Sub Saharan Africa.  I was unexpectedly transported back to that coziest of places next to the cooking fire, preparing my evening meal.  Comforted by the sounds of neighboring families drumming, dancing, singing, chatting about the day and relaxing for the first time since just before sunrise.  This is what I experienced after just one bite of carrot soup. 

Each bite of soup brought on an additional wave of memories.  Happy moments woven into the difficult, yet soul-satisfying daily life of a subsistence farmer, in a small village, in Africa.  Most villagers (myself included) found hope, joy, warmth and comfort each night around the fire.  Bellies full and satiated further by song, dance, fire and community.  All matter of pain and suffering were dissolved into the night.  And at the peak of my carrot soup induced trance, I am quite sure I proposed marriage to the chef. 

We served up our carrot soup alongside:  Basil Mashed Potatoes, Basil Pesto with Brown Rice, Corn and Beans, Mixed Greens Salad with Tomato and Parsley and Basil Lemonade.

Carrot Soup Recipe

Recipe details to be updated, but for now here is a sneak peak at the flavors involved.

Onion, Carrots, Peanut Butter, Soy Sauce, Hot Pepper, Basil, Cooking Oil. 

Really the recipe will be posted just in time for our fall carrot harvest.

Let’s Talk Nutrition

Carrots are one of the best sources of carotene, a substance that is converted by the body into Vitamin A.  Vitamin A is important for proper vision, especially night vision.  Carrots also provide fiber, calcium, potassium and other trace minerals. 

1 cup of cooked carrots (fresh carrots not frozen or canned) contains:

Calcium 48mg, Carbohydrates 16g, Protein 2g, Fat 0.1g, Calories 70g, Phosphorus 47mg, Iron 1mg, Potassium 354mg, Sodium 103mg, Vitamin A38,300 (IU), Ascorbic Acid 4mg, Thiamine, Riboflavin and Niacin <1mg.

Accept all of what this brilliant root has to offer by not peeling.  Wash the carrots well but try your best to keep every good bit for your soup pot.  To retain maximum amount of nutrients, you can steam your unpeeled carrots and top with chopped herbs, either butter or olive oil and a little sea salt.   

You can also try raw carrots cut into sticks for snacks or appetizers (they make great dippers), shredded carrots go well on salads.  My favorite is grated beets, carrots and fennel with citrus sesame dressing.  You can find the dressing and salad recipes at Thesuppersprogram.org

As fall approaches we can talk more about roasting root vegetables which a another delicious option for carrots.  Carrot and parsley juice is refreshing and energizing any time of year but everything serves our bodies best when eaten in season.

The Next “Greens and Beans” Cooking Club meeting will be Thursday September 9th.  For more information or to RSVP please call 609-647-9769. 

Kale for Breakfast

July 26th, 2010 | Posted by Casey in Product Information - (Comments Off on Kale for Breakfast)

The “Greens and Beans” Page was created as a space to share recipes, nutrition information and hopefully inspiration to friends, family and community members who would like to incorporate these life-giving foods we grow into their diets.   

KALE for BREAKFAST

We start our kale in the spring after the threat of a hard frost passes.  This cooler climate seems to keep the plants happy and the leaves tender, crispy and sweet.  Although kale hangs on through the hotter, dryer summer months, it grows best in the cool crisp autumn air.  Like most vegetables in the brassica family, kale is sweetened by a touch of frost.  Some call it the perfect fall crop. 

Kale was our very first “Vegetable of the Week” for our “Greens and Beans” cooking club.  Below are some suggestions based on our night in the kitchen with kale.

There were four or five recipes we trialed at that meeting and the results gave us some tips to share.

Most of us agreed that if kale has just recently come into your life, you should start off with a recipe in which the kale is cooked.  Steamed, blanched or in a stir fry.  You can transition to raw salads and even juicing if you become a true kale “junky” like myself.  We also noticed that our favorite recipes included lemon juice, olive oil and a touch of sea salt. 

Recipe Ideas

Start with:

1 bunch kale (lacinato or red russian) chopped

2 cloves garlic (minced)

2tablespoons olive oil or other cooking oil

2 tablespoons water

Heat oil in a pan on med/high heat, add garlic and saut’e for 1 minute, now add kale and 2tbs. of water (to prevent sticking) and cook for about 4 minutes.  Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste.

This basic recipe is delicious on it’s own. You could also try adding one of the following to the basic recipe:

1) Fresh juice of 1/2 lemon and a drizzle of olive oil.

2) 2 tablespoons balsamic vinager, 1/2 cup walnuts, 1/4 cup feta cheese.

3) Try adding 1 cup sliced mushrooms and 2 tablespoons tamari to the saut’e pan at the same time you add the garlic.  OR

4) Add 1/2 cup chopped kale to your omelet or scrabbled aggs in the morning.

Nutrition Talk

It was during a nutrition course I took that I first started really paying attetntion to how my body (and mind for that matter) responds to different foods.  I discovered I am a “greens girl” through and through.  How do I know?  Try keeping a journal or log of what you eat and how you feel before and after each meal, snack, drink and dessert.  It is time consuming but even if you track just a few days you will discover something.  Over time you will be able to adjust your diet resulting in increased energy, mental clarity, digestive wellness and overall optimal health. (*Learn more about keeping a food/mood log this fall/winter at our Suppers meetings.  For more information go to thesuppersprograms.org

Here is what I found out about kale:

Kale is an excellent source of vitamin K (1328%DV), vitamin A (354%DV), vitamin C (89%DV) and manganese(27%DV). It is also a very good source of dietary fiber (3g/1cup cooked), copper(10%), calcium(9%DV), vitamin B6(9%DV),  iron(6%DV), potassium (8%DV), lutein and the phytochemicals sulphurophane and indoles which research suggest may protect against cancer. 

These percentages are based on the average person ages 4 and older consuming a 2000calorie diet.  Remember that we are all biologically individual and amounts may vary based on our indivudual needs. 

As a “greens girl”, I eat kale for breakfast.  Try it!

(*Just  a reminder that none of the information found on the “Greens and Beans” page is medical advise.  For that  you should always visit witha medical professional.)