National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month

Farmers market, Saint Paul, Minnesota

Image via Wikipedia

Did you know June was National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month? Isn’t that appropriate, with all the fresh produce you see at Farmers’ Markets and in stores? Have you had a chance to visit a Farmers’ Market this season? They are often open on Saturdays so hopefully you’ll have a chance to go this week-end and enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of their labors.

To your health and that of your family,

Lee Jackson, CFCS
Food and Nutrition Consultant

Enhanced by Zemanta

Food Education and Connection to Family Farms

SAN FRANCISCO - AUGUST 11:  A row of lettuce i...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

I have written before about the importance of eating locally and teaching children about the importance of fresh, local produce. Here is an inspiring story http://bit.ly/bwGuSY that shows what one person can do for children, for schools, for the environment. It is an interesting success story about what can be done to help schools and farmers work together in improving the nutritional food  of children.

Here is a concern reported by The Telegraph in England: regional tastes are in danger of going extinct as fewer people are able to appreciate the subtleties of flavors in fresh, seasonal products. They go on to report that we’re losing contact with where food comes from – and its distinctive taste.

These are concerns in the US as well. More can, and should, be done to educate young people especially, about proper diets, rich in real locally grown food.

Lee Jackson
Author: Apples, Apples Everywhere – Favorite Recipes From America’s Orchards
From the Apple Orchard – Recipes for Apple Lovers
The Littlest Christmas Kitten
Careers in Focus: Family and Consumer Sciences

Enhanced by Zemanta

Going Food Shopping at the Farmers’ Market

Onions

Image via Wikipedia

Going to the local farmers’ market with your child helps him or her learn where their food comes from. Here your child will see the many varieties of fruits and vegetables that are grown right in your own region.

Understanding that the corn in the can or frozen package really started as corn in the husks on the cob is sometimes hard for children to comprehend. Seeing carrots with bushy tops and not perfectly scrubbed clean in plastic bags can be eye-opening for them as well. Even seeing the quantities of melons in the back of pickups and truck beds piled high with corn is really quite a sight.

I always think of the hard work that goes into growing this food and getting it to market. I know that those who work the soil are always dependent on Mother Nature to bring the rain and sunshine just at the right moments. The fruits of their labor relies on cooperation from the elements.

Even though farmers’ markets offer food at the peak of freshness, we still must be concerned with maintaining the freshness and keeping it safe for eating. It’s always a good idea to go right home to get perishable foods in the refrigerator.

Some produce can be ripened on the kitchen counter and then stored in the refrigerator. Foods such as peaches, nectarines, pears, and plums fall into this category.

Some foods taste best at room temperature, such as onions, potatoes, tomatoes, and squashes. They need to be stored in a clean, dry, well-ventilated place, away from direct sunlight and areas where meat is prepared.

I always like to prepare what I bought as soon as possible. The last time I went to market I bought some beautiful looking onions. I hadn’t baked onions for a long time but remembered how my grandmother used to just set the onion on the top of the cover from a metal coffee can. (I suppose because aluminum foil wasn’t readily available and the juices do run out – can you remember the time before aluminum foil)??

Anyway, baked onions are delicious.

This is what you do…and it’s easy enough that kids can help and be part of the “going to market and then using the fresh food” experience.

Baked Onions

Cut off both ends of the onion and peel the outer skin. Cut an X in the center of the onion and dribble on some olive oil or add a dab of butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place each onion on a piece of foil and wrap tightly. Set in a baking dish. Bake for about 1 hour, or until tender. You can sprinkle top with freshly grated Parmesan, or crumbled cooked bacon, or some fresh herbs.

Serve with any meat dish or pasta.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]