Slow Traditions

Eat Local, Economy, Environment, farm-to-table, Farmers Markets, Find Local Food, Health, Kelly Wilson, Stories

For me, food has always been a source of connection, a tool to communicate love, and a way to pass on family traditions. Some of my most vivid memories involve shared meals and many dishes are connected to specific loved ones in my mind. For example, my mom is chicken, rice, and carrots, whereas my dad is graham crackers dipped in milk. Apple pie and sharp cheddar cheese bring to mind my grandmother. The foods we made on our first date, kimchi and sauerkraut are my partner. These dishes provide comfort and a reminder to slow down.

Food has always been an important part of my life; however, it wasn’t until I studied abroad in Italy that I really fell in love. We toured a Parmigiano Reggiano facility, learned about Balsamico di Modena on a small family farm, and tasted traditionally cured prosciutto. Specifically, all the foods we encountered were part of a movement to preserve culturally significant foods and their traditional production practices: Slow Food.

Crop Spotlight: Turnips

Eat Local, Farmers Markets, Find Local Food, Health, Kelly Wilson, Recipes

In the dead of winter, we long for the abundance of summer gardens and farmers markets. While their bounty is hard to outshine, it is amazing to take stock of, and appreciate, how much variety is still available this time of year. Season extending techniques like hoophouses (aka high tunnels) allow us to have fresh tender greens, spinach, and cold sweetened carrots. We’re also able to find a wide range of storage vegetables: cabbage, beets, carrots, garlic, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, rutabaga, kohlrabi, and more! And don’t forget this month’s crop spotlight: the humble turnip.

Winter Sweetness: Candy Greens

Eat Local, Find Local Food, Health, Kelly Wilson, Recipe

As our state becomes blanketed in snow, it is easy to think life on the farm grinds to halt. Fortunately for us eaters, however, many farmers utilize hoophouses (aka high tunnels or passive solar greenhouses) to grow a variety of cold hardy winter greens: collards, kale, and spinach are commonly available year round. If you’re normally not a fan of greens, and even if you are, I dare you to try the winter kissed varieties and not fall in love.

Fresh, Frozen or Concentrated: Tis the Season for Cranberries

Eat Local, Health, Paula Martin, Recipe

Did you know that The American Cranberry is native to Michigan? While we are not the national leader in growing this fruit, our sandy soil, access to water and climate make them part of our fruit belt with major future growing potential.  When you follow the seasons to guide your meals and menu planning, it is no surprise that the cranberry is part of our nation’s traditions.

Move over Millet, Amaranth, and Bulgur: Teff is on the Scene

Claire Smith, Find Local Food, Guest Post, Health, Local Ingredients, Southeast Michigan, Specialty Producers

Teff, or eragrostis tef, is native to Ethiopia and is the world’s tiniest grain. It is about the size of a poppy seed but packs a huge nutritional punch. It is full of calcium, protein, iron and is also a great source of fiber so you stay full and are able to regularly “take care of business.” Teff is also naturally gluten free and is a resistant starch. Resistant starches are not digested in the small intestine but, instead, processed by bacteria in your colon. These bacteria turn it into molecules that help maintain good gut health and balance blood sugar.

Cultivating Health through School Gardens

Benefit, farm-to-table, Find Local Food, Health, Marissa Natzke, Paula Martin, Stories

Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District (TBA ISD) is using gardening as a tool to improve student health. Thanks to SNAP-ED funding through the USDA and the Michigan Fitness Foundation, TBA ISD implements a program called LifeSPAN, which performs cooking and nutrition lessons year round in the classroom to increase students fruit and vegetable intake and physical activity levels. Currently, they’re running summer garden camps where kids partake in nutrition lessons, help in school gardens, and cook healthy meals using produce they harvest.

Good Food, Better Health

Event, Find Local Food, Get Involved, Health, Kelly Wilson, Learn More, Southeast Michigan

Baste. Blanch. Chiffonade. Roast. Saute. Zest.

Ever see these terms on recipes and wonder “what the heck does that mean?” ? Well, if you have, you are not alone! One of the biggest challenges many of my clients face when changing their diet is navigating the kitchen and new recipes. Culinary education is no longer a staple in public education and our lives have become increasingly hectic. As a result, many people feel intimidated and overwhelmed in the kitchen and with cooking for themselves.

Ready, Set, Grill! Summertime Grilled Vegetables

Farmers Markets, Find Local Food, Health, Local Ingredients, Paula Martin, Recipes

Summer grilling is in full swing!  Local vegetables are ready to join the picnic.

Here are our favorite vegetables to throw on the grill:

squash Carrots
 Cauliflower
 Corn
 Eggplant
 Garlic
 Green Beans
 Mushrooms
 Onions
 Peppers
 Summer squash & zucchini
• Potatoes
• Asparagus

Grilling vegetables is a good way to meet your daily vegetable intake goals or event go meat free at the next family barbecue. Find these veggies at a farmers market near you.

The National Cancer Institute’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, has identified that a high consumption of well-done, barbecued meats is associated with an increased risk of colorectal, pancreatic, and prostate cancer due to the formation of harmful chemicals when they are cooked.  Fruits and vegetables do not pose the same risk when grilled as long as you avoid charring by:

• Soaking wooden skewers in water to prevent burning kabobs;
• 
Using a grill basket to prevent small pieces from falling, which may cause flare-ups; &
• 
Staying attentive to the grill while cooking.

One of my favorite things to swap into the menu during the summer is this easy grilled sandwich when I’m ready for a break from the traditional BBQ fare. It’s high in dietary fiber,  Vitamins A & C, and good source of protein- PLUS it is filling & tastes great!

Grilled Vegetable Sub Sandwich: (makes one serving)

½  sweet bell pepper (green, red, yellow) ¼ purple eggplant, skin on

¼ small summer squash, like zucchini, skin on 1 tbs. balsamic and olive oil dressing

¼ small onion, peeled 1 large Kaiser Roll or sandwich bun

1 slice provolone cheese (optional) olive oil, for lightly brushing  

Cut the vegetables in uniform sizes. Lightly brush with olive oil. Place in a grill basket. Grill on low to medium heat until wilted or fork tender. Remove from heat. In a large bowl, toss with the TLD recommended The Redhead’s balsamic vinaigrette. Place vegetables (as many as can fit) on the Kaiser Roll and top with provolone cheese. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts: Cal 442 , Fat 23g, Sat Fat 5g, Carb 46g, Dietary Fiber 7g, Pro 14g, Vit A 40% DV, Vit C 136% DV, Calcium 17%

Paula Martin is the Community Health Coordinator for TLD and a registered dietitian. Contact here at health@localdifference.org