Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Eat Local Challenge

Farm News
The month of September is a good one to eat locally. Summer vegetables are usually still prolific, the fall squashes and potatoes are ready, and apples and pears are ripening on the trees. Eating local can be defined in different ways, but on the Eat Local Challenge website, there are many suggestions of how to incorporate such ideas into your lifestyle. The tips for eating with-in 100 miles (or whatever geographic area seems manageable) contain several ideas that are underway in Central Kentucky. By belonging to a CSA, you already seek out healthy food that comes from a farm in your area grown by people that you know. Many of you attend local farmers markets, including the Lexington Farmers Market (which will be open outdoors on Saturdays through Thanksgiving weekend.) Several of you have preserved your basket items or obtained more produce to freeze, can, pickle and preserve for your use later on in the year. And, a lot of you already seek out thought-provoking and influential writings on food, health, the environment, and our economy.
Other suggested actions from the Eat Local Challenge folks include:
· taking a field trip to a local farm, orchard, or vineyard;
· finding out what restaurants use locally produced foods and patronize them;
· commit to preparing and eating one local-only meal each week;
· share with family, friends, and co-workers your finds and experiences;
· keep track of your food sourcing and meal preparing as it becomes a valuable resource; &
· start simple and small by replacing one food item each week.

Organizations, events, websites, and books provide more resources for each of us to learn about what is available in our area and explore our own potential to meet the challenge of eating locally. For a starting place to find local in Kentucky visit:


Registration is now underway for the annual Healthy Foods, Local Farms conference hosted by the Kentucky Sierra Club at Bellarmine University in Louisville along with a Kentucky Harvest Festival co-sponsored by Slow Food Bluegrass the evening before the conference. Both events are open to the public, but registration and payment are required by Sept. 15. Go to http://www.kentucky.sierraclub.org/ for more information and registration forms. We are pleased that Elmwood Stock Farm was paired with a local chef serving farm food for the evening meal. The event is an opportunity to meet Chef Alice Waters, Wendell Berry and other speakers of the Healthy Food, Local Farms Conference, talk to local chefs and farmers, and enjoy an evening of great local food and music.

In Your Basket . . .

Acorn Squash - new this week!
This hard squash can be stored in your pantry, no need to refrigerate. Cut in half, remove seeds, and place face down on baking dish with a little water. Bake 45 to 90 minutes depending on size. Enjoy it with butter, brown sugar and a little nutmeg or other spice.
Bell Peppers – organic
Remember that the red peppers can be roasted, peeled and frozen for later use. Sweet pepper makes a wonderful addition to wraps, fajitas, pizzas, soups, or other fresh recipes.
Green Onions – organic
Use these green onions in any recipe. Store in your refrigerator.
Garlic - organic
Swiss Chard
- organic
Tomatoes – organic

Your Choice Basket:
Hot Peppers

Okra – organic
Slice into bite-sized pieces to put in your freezer for vegetable soup later in the year!

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Zucchini Bread –1 Loaf

1 C all purpose flour
1 C whole-wheat flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp allspice
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 egg
¼ C vegetable oil
½ C sugar
1 C grated zucchini, skin on
½ C milk

In one bowl combine first 7 ingredients and set aside. In another bowl, beat egg. Add oil, sugar, zucchini and milk. Blend well. Add to dry ingredients, stir just until moist but don’t overdo it. Spoon in greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour, or until tests done.

Pasta with Greens and Ricotta

Recipe serves 4-6 and is from The Moosewood Collective’s Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home, 1994. The watercress, nuts, and tomatoes add wonderful flavor but can be omitted if not readily available.

1 bunch watercress, tough stems removed
1 bunch Swiss chard, tough stalks removed (about 4 cups chopped)
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste
¼ tsp grated fresh nutmeg
¾ c ricotta cheese
1 lb pasta (fettuccine, penne, fusilli, farfalle, or shells)
grated Parmesan cheese or crumbled ricotta salata
chopped fresh tomatoes
toasted walnuts or pine nuts

Bring a large pot of covered salted water to a boil. While the water heats, rinse the greens well, shake off any excess water, and chop coarsely. Sauté the garlic in the oil for a minute, until soft and golden, taking care not to scorch it. Add the damp greens and sauté, stirring often, until they are wilted but still bright green. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and remove from the heat. In a blender, puree the cooked greens with the ricotta until smooth and evenly colored. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
When the water boils, cook pasta as per package instructions. Cook until al dente, drain, and immediately toss it with the sauce in a warmed serving bowl. Top with Parmesan or ricotta salata, tomatoes, and/or toasted walnuts or pine nuts.

Cranberry Acorn Squash
From Asparagus to Zucchini

½ C raw fresh cranberries
1 small apple, cored, chopped into pieces
¼ C currants
½ C orange juice or apple cider
1 ½ T honey or maple syrup
1 T melted butter
pinch salt
2 acorn squash, cut in half, seeds removed

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients except squash in a saucepan. Heat until berries are just tender. Place squash in ovenproof dish. Fill cavities with fruit. Cover dish and bake until squash is tender, about 35-45 minutes. Makes 4 servings.