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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Buy Local, Buy Seasonal

I harvested the first vegetables of the season from my garden last week: three ears of corn (four actually, but one was kind of wormy), one cucumber, seven tomatoes, and three zucchini squash. The cucumber and tomatoes went into salads two nights in a row; the corn relish and grilled zucchini was fabulous along side grilled pork tenderloin; and with the remaining zucchini I made a delicious loaf of zucchini bread.

 

We’ve been growing vegetables and herbs in the backyard for about 10 years. This summer we’ll have tomatoes, corn, squash, and cucumbers. Our little garden produces enough for us to enjoy as well as share with family and friends. As I was harvesting my crops, I remembered a couple of book reviews that I saw a few months ago, and both of these books are on my summer reading list.

 

The first book review was about “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life” by Barbara Kingsolver. In it, she says, "This is the story of a year in which we made every attempt to feed ourselves animals and vegetables whose provenance we really knew . . . and of how our family was changed by our first year of deliberately eating food produced from the same place where we worked, went to school, loved our neighbors, drank the water, and breathed the air." Kingsolver and her family “stepped away from the industrial-food pipeline to a rural life in which they vow to buy only food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it. This book makes a passionate case for putting the kitchen back at the center of family life and diversified farms at the center of the American diet.”

 

The second book review was about “Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally” by Alisa Smith. According to Publishers Weekly, “the authors of this charmingly eccentric memoir decide to embark on a year of eating food grown within 100 miles of their Vancouver apartment. Thus begins an exploration of the foodways of the Pacific northwest, along which the authors learn to can their own vegetables, grow their own herbs, search out local wheat silos and brew jars of blueberry jam.” This book reports a study in the United Kingdom that shows the time people spend shopping at the supermarket — driving, parking and wandering the aisles — is "nearly equal to that spent preparing food from scratch twenty years ago."

 

Rather than shopping at the supermarket, I’d like to suggest a weekly Saturday morning trip to the Downtown Phoenix Public Market. It is a producer’s market so everything there is grown, harvested or produced by the people selling it – some of the farm products do come from farms out of the Valley in order to make sure that we have some volume and variety throughout the year.

 

The market organizers plan to expand into a 4,000-square-foot building with an adjacent courtyard during the summer of 2007. The building is just across the alley from the current market site (see address & other information below), and it will give market vendors and customers an air-conditioned space to sell and shop in, along with greater visibility for the cornucopia of products that the market offers. The market adds tremendous value to the lives of its vendors, customers and the community itself by supporting small businesses and local farmers and offering increased access to healthy fresh food choices.

Downtown Phoenix Public Market

721 N. Central

(SE Corner of Central Ave. & McKinley St., two blocks south of Roosevelt)

Season: Year-Round, rain or shine

Saturdays 8 a.m. to Noon

Call 602-493-5231

www.phoenixpublicmarket.com

 

Happy reading, happy eating, and remember . . . buy local, buy seasonal.

 

Zucchini Bread

1 cup sugar

zest of one lemon

zest of one orange

1 stick butter

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla

2 small zucchini, grated

1/2 cup walnuts

1-1/2 cup flour

1-1/2 tsp. Baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 1 loaf pan.

In a food processor, mix the sugar, lemon & orange zest, butter, eggs, and vanilla, and process only until blended. Add grated zucchini and nuts a third at a time, processing only until shreds are gone. Add flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg, processing only until ingredients are incorporated. Pour into loaf pan, and bake 55 minutes or until the bread shrinks. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove and cool thoroughly. Serve plain, or with butter, or with a rich cheese such as St. Andre or Explorateur.

 

Roasted Corn Relish

6 green onions

2 ears of corn, husked

1 tablespoons olive oil

Salt & pepper

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest

1/4 tsp chile powder (or more to taste)

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

 

Heat barbecue grill to medium-high heat. Brush green onions and corn with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill vegetables until slightly charred, turning occasionally, about 2 minutes for green onions and 7 minutes for corn. Cut corn from cob directly into a bowl. Coarsely chop green onions and add to corn. Stir in cilantro, lime zest, chile powder, 1/2 tablespoon oil, and 1 tablespoon lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

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