Eat Fresh! What’s in Season Now: November 2014

Eat Fresh! What’s in Season Now: November 2014

Fall colors are in full swing, we are anticipating the first frost and freeze.

Today, the first day of November is rainy, cold and there are flurries in the forecast.

It’s a great day to pull out the crock out and put on a warming soup or maybe Chai tea.

Gather these things to make Chai. include black tea or burdock root or another herb if you prefer.

Gather these things to make Chai. include black tea or burdock root or another herb if you prefer.

If you’re heading to the market this month, here’s what you’ll find in season:

Apples: We’ve had some amazing local apples! The flavors this year are so delicious. Eat them raw, slather with almond butter and toasted almonds, make pies, turnovers or apple dumplings. Apple DumplingGrab extra to make apple butter for Christmas.

Apple Snack!

Apple Snack!

Beets: What a powerhouse of nutrition. Red, gold, big or baby beets, roast them, peel them , eat them. Make salads, pickles, noodles, you will feel your blood getting healthier with every tasty mouthful. Don’t toss those green tops! Chop the stems and saute, cook the greens like you would spinach, wash and saute until tender. I love the greens with a splash of Ume Plum Vinegar.

Bok Choy: This season is closing very soon due to frosts and cold weather. Grab some for stir fry, use instead of plain green cabbage in making bok choy slaw.

Brussels Sprouts: OK, try shredding them, saute with shiitake mushrooms, onions and pecans.

Put pecans on top

Put pecans on top

Use them in making slaw to. Get them before the freezes set in!

Kale and cabbages at the market

Kale and cabbages at the market

Cabbages: Fresh available through mid December. Time to make some sauerkraut! A good New England Boiled Diner with potatoes, celery, onions, carrots, cabbage and brisket would be nice on a chilly evening. Sweet and Sour Cabbage is great with roasted pork or pork chops, sautéed onions and apples. (See, staying seasonal!)

Collard Greens: My favorite choice for Meatless Mondays! Boiled collards, pinto beans and organic blue cornbread.

Greens from the market

Greens from the market

Yummy! Don’t salt the water you cook the collards in so you save it to use as a base for vegetable soup. Being November, chilly days are surely ahead. Nothing smells better or warms you better than homemade soup. Except chopping and burning wood.

Cranberries:

3 Cranberry sauces from left to right: Orange Cranberry, Easy Cranberry Sauce and Sherried Cranberry Sauce

3 Cranberry sauces from left to right: Orange Cranberry, Easy Cranberry Sauce and Sherried Cranberry Sauce

Although not local, these fresh berries only appear for a short while. Buy several bags and freeze them now for later. Make a batch of Cranberry Liquor or use left over cranberry sauce to make these oatmeal cranberry bars.

Oatmeal Cranberry Bars

Oatmeal Cranberry Bars

 

 

Cucumbers: Going quickly!

Greens: All kinds from whatever was planted in late summer for fall harvest. Make soup or saute yourself up a big bowl.

Fresh Herbs: Grow some of your own. Fresh herbs are expensive and why waste an entire bunch if you only need a leaf or a pinch? Besides having herbs growing in your kitchen is pretty darn cool. You’d be surprised how easy it is.

Kale: One of my favorite greens cooked or raw. If you’re prone to kidney stones, be careful as too much kale may encourage stone formation. Add dried cranberries to your kale salads.

Massaged Kale Salad

Massaged Kale Salad

Saute it with bacon and onions or use Kale in soups, it’s quite delicious! Crispy kale chips are another way to use this amazing leafy green.

Lettuce: Tender lettuce will be gone once freeze happens. While you can buy lettuces year round, you may notice a slight price increase for it not being local.

Mushrooms: Only until the end of the month. Duck kale white bean soup 031

Mustard Greens: Spicy and greatly nutritious! If you don’t like how spicy they are, tame them by combining with kale, collards or other greens.

Napa Cabbage: Another good green about to retire for the season. I like this lightly blanched, stuffed and steamed.

Peanuts: Year Round, good source of protein. Have you ever made your own peanut butter?

Pecans: Pecan pie is just around the corner with the holidays fast approaching. Store your fresh pecans in a tightly sealed bag in the freezer for longer storage.Make Spiced Pecans for holiday gifts or make Pecan crusted okra for a new way to serve okra.

Pecan Crusted Okra

Pecan Crusted Okra

Radishes: One of my favorite salad vegetables, but try slicing them on a ham sandwich. Top a piece of lightly buttered bread with thinly sliced radishes, you’ll thank me later.

Romaine: Lettuces planted in the fall for the second planting, are coming to an end. Leaves should be strong and dark green.

Snow Peas: A crispy tasty treat. I love these as a nibbling snack or quickly saute. Be sure to “string” them before eating or cooking.

Snow Pea Tips: A trendy garnish for your plates

Spinach: Before the freezes set in for the winter, you’ll still find fresh spinach. Saute it, make omelets, spanikopita or spinach salads

Inside a baked garnet sweet potato; isn't that a great color?!

Inside a baked garnet sweet potato; isn’t that a great color?!

Sweet Potatoes: Available all year. Make Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries; save on fat and full on flavorSweet potatoes

Turnips: Roast turnips to bring out their sweetness. Mash carrots, turnips and potatoes together for a fun change to mashed potatoes

The foods are changing from light fresh foods to hearty, sometimes long cooked foods. The aroma of a simmering soup, a slow roasting chicken or pork roast is comforting and warming as the seasons change.

Thanksgiving is this month; time to reflect and express appreciation and gratitude for all you have in your life. With delicious produce still in the markets, plan your Thanksgiving menu around what you discover fresh.

The farmers will appreciate it.

#freshfood #whatsinseason #eatinglocal #eatrealfood #wholefood #realfood #seasonalfood #apples #cranberries #winteriscoming #staywarm #makesoup

mailboxes in winter

#happyhealthyholidays #healthyholidays

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Eat Fresh! What’s in Season NOW: October 2014

Fall is in the air!

Fresh Crisp Fall Apples

Fresh Crisp Fall Apples

A nip in the morning, time to grab a light jacket.

Here is a quick listing of what’s in season now.

These are the things you should be seeing in the markets, things that are growing locally.

Click on the links for recipes and other great information while you read the list!

Apples – Quite abundant for apple dumplings  and apple sauce now through February. Find an orchard and go apple picking!

Beets –  get some baby ones and roast them. So delicious! Pickle some for later. Ummm

Pickled beets

Pickled beets

Apples on display

Apples on display

Bok Choy – debuts mid month! Make a refreshing salad of crisp stir-fry

Cabbage – plenty on hand until mid December. Try your hand at making Sauerkraut or Kimchee

Cherry Tomatoes – these juicy gems will be gone by November. I’ve witnessed my plants slowing way down in production. Enjoy them now!

Collards – A year round favorite green. Make some cornbread, cook up some pinto beans, add simmered collards and YUM! You’ve got quite a meal.

Cucumbers – are saying good bye. As in days of yore, if you haven’t put up your pickles yet, you’re almost out of time!Chow Chow Pic

Greens – Like cooler weather so there should be a good selection through mid December. Time to fortify.

Herbs – There are many you will find in the markets. They are quite easy to grow so you should consider a small container of herbs for your kitchen.

Indian Corn – for decoration

Stuffed Mini Pumpkins

Stuffed Mini Pumpkins

Kale – Hearty and healthy; abundantly available. Make salads, stews, soup,  smoothies, chips, saute it, wraps. . .

Lettuce – makes another quick season before it gets too cold.

Muscadine Grapes – nearly gone. Freeze some for holiday punch bowls and drinks. Crush, simmer and extract the juice. Make sorbet to die for. Definitely worth doing

Muscadine grapes

Muscadine grapes

Mushrooms – you should be seeing a nice supply through the end of November

Napa Cabbage – shows us a quick cool season until mid December when the deep cold sets in with shorter sunlight hours

Peanuts – Seems these are always available

Pears – Nice juicy pears are around until the end of October. Poach a few, can a few more for winter treats.

Persimmons – The perennial Fall Favorite to those who like them. Honestly, I don’t get it.

Pumpkins – Yay! I get them for carving, roasting, eating, I plant succulents on them, decorate with them. After Thanksgiving, I paint them Christmas colors.

Painted Pumpkins Lined up to dry

Painted Pumpkins Lined up to dry

Radishes – There should be a bunch of radishes this month. I love the French Breakfast Radish. Yeah.

Raspberries – Fresh and short lasting. Enjoy them, freeze them but that’s just not the same as fresh. Gotta love those little seeds!

Romaine – Another lettuce for the Fall season. Practice your Caesar Salad skills.

Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad

Snow Peas  – Toss some into your Stir-fry, I like to snack on them like chips. So crisp and delicious!

Spinach – Add just a pinch of fresh grated nutmeg to your spinach for an awesome flavor compliment. Just a small pinch is all you need.

Sweet Potatoes – Available all year.

Tomatoes – If you grow them, watch for the first freeze and pick whats left. Make Green Tomato Chow-chow or Green Tomato Pie (tastes just like apple!)

A delicious Green Tomato Pie

A delicious Green Tomato Pie

Turnips – add some to soup, mash some with your mashed potatoes. Toss some into your greens as they cook. My favorite, Pickled Turnips!

Pickled Turnips

Pickled Turnips

This, is the list for the Piedmont area of North Carolina.

What’s growing where you live?

#localfood #eatfresh #healthyeating #freshfood #seasonalfood #localfarmers #farmersmarkets #freshfruit #freshvegetables #whatsinseasonnow

 

 

 

 

 

Questioning the Ethics of Farmers Markets

Is everything you buy from the farmers market from a local farm? If you think so, I hate to tell you, but in some cases,  you would be wrong.

As with every industry, business and activity, there are those who will jump on an opportunity for a quick buck.

Got to be NC Agriculture

Got to be NC Agriculture

There are ethical markets that vet their vendors to prove the products they are selling are indeed from the local area. Locally, the Matthews Farmers Market, Atherton Mills Market and Yorkmont Markets are truly farmers markets. Then there are others.

It really irks me when I see opportunists take advantage of trusting customers. Our local Farmers Markets  sell produce, hoop cheese and country ham; primary season is from April through October 31; adding pumpkins and squashes as the season comes to a close. The markets are extremely busy.

Ask about how the animals are raised

Ask about how the animals are raised

People buy there thinking they are in some manner, doing better for their families, communities and supporting farmers.

I remember when Robert used to tell me of the farmers market on the corner near his house. I lived in the mountains of North Carolina at the time and walking to a weekly farmers market painted romantic dreams of urban living.

There is a corner market nearby that I have been observing for years. It is a family run business, they own a nice block or two of land in what would be considered “prime commercial real estate” for mid-town Charlotte.

On market days, there are often traffic jams which require hiring off-duty police to direct traffic. People pile in and load up their baskets with whatever produce they find; feeling good about feeding their families on fresh “farmers market” foods.

They don’t ask questions, they just flock in and buy.

Vegetables at the marketEarly in the morning, restaurants show up at the market to buy the produce at wholesale prices. In turn, the restaurants go back and advertise on their menu’s that they offer “local vegetables bought from the farmers market.”

The biggest buzzwords in food lately are “local, sustainable and organic.” Claim that and you gain an easy audience in your marketing; your marketing image leans towards a caring business who supports the local community.

However, the public is being duped.

People don’t ask questions!

On my visits to the market, I noticed they would have the same bagged greens that we could buy in the grocery store.

Locally grown? Chiquita, really? Mangoes? Pineapples?

Locally grown? Chiquita, really? Mangoes? Pineapples?

I noticed they always had corn. Always have corn, from April through the end of November. And the corn has a sign on it, written with highlighter, “Non-GMO.” Somehow I don’t believe it. I’d like to ask for proof.

What really caught my attention and lit my fire was the last time I was there. Each check out station was surrounded by pulp baskets of strawberries with signs on them declaring “Sweet Strawberries $3.99 qt.”

Being July and knowing it is well past strawberry season here, I asked:

Commercially grown strawberries dressed up to look like farm-fresh. These "local" berries are from California and sometimes Driscolls grows in Mexico too.

Commercially grown strawberries dressed up to look like farm-fresh. These “local” berries are from California and sometimes Driscoll’s grows in Mexico too.

“Where the berries were from?”

“California. . .”

“Are they organic?”

“No, they are Driscoll’s.”

This makes them no different from what you buy in the grocery store! Driscoll’s just happens to be a huge mono-culture farmer of commercial berries.

Commercially grown strawberries are sprayed and hold residue of many different chemicals. Here is an in-depth article you can read here:

Pesticides are a Danger to Health and the Environment – Choose Organic!

The article will tell you about the research and how dangerous chemicals are being used on commercially grown strawberries and other produce and best of all, what you can do about it!

So when people buy the berries from this market, they are not getting an organic berry but commercially grown berries instead. The berries are packaged to look like farm fresh; the hand written signs are casual and fit the marketing image.

Muscadine grapes

Muscadine grapes

I looked around and saw shoppers scarfing up the berries and other produce thinking they are in some way or another doing good because they are buying their food from the farmers market.

The problem is, they are buying the same as they would get from the grocery without it being disclosed! They are buying the same stuff commercial restaurants buy from commercial broadband vendors and smaller vendors like Restaurant Depot.

 The are buying the commercially grown food they are trying to avoid by shopping at the farmers market in the first place.

This is the kind of food we try to avoid for better health.

I think all markets should be required have signage on every product that says where it was grown and by whom. All items should be labeled how it was grown and be able to provide the paperwork to prove it, if asked.

Full Disclosure!

Let us have the right to make a choice and they should be prepared to provide the proof. I’ve lost my trust in our corner farmers market. They may have a few farmers but I don’t believe their corn in Non-GMO, I don’t believe their claims. Broccoli is not coming out of any local garden at this time of year, yet they have a table full of it.

The public needs to be aware of this practice so they can actually support the real farmers; go to a real market.

At this time of year, you won’t see any strawberries because they aren’t in season.

California has passed a bill to crack down on Farmers Market Fraud. See the article below for information.

 http://blogs.kqed.org/bayareabites/2014/08/27/california-legislature-passes-bill-to-crack-down-on-farmers-market-fraud/

In the meantime, when you go to a market, ask questions. If they can’t or won’t tell you, don’t buy it! They are probably a commercial enterprise posing as a farmers market for easy money.October 15, 2011 farmers market 021

Here are some easy questions to ask:

  • “Where are these (insert whatever fruit or vegetable) from?”
  • “Are they organically grown?”
  • “Does the farm have a website?” Then use your phone and look them up. You’ll know if it is a commercial farm or a local farm.
  • “Why do you have broccoli in August? Where is it being grown? and how far did it travel to come to be here?” [To people wanting to reduce their carbon footprint, this matters!]

The Farmers Market industry currently has few regulations. Some require you to apply and be approved before you can sell there. They actually verify you are truly a local food producer.

However, if you own a few acres of vacant land, you can throw up some awnings, spread tables with produce you bought at the broad distributor food service uses, invite a few folks to sell grass-fed beef, home-made cakes, pies, flowers, and you too can be in the Farmers Market business as long as you have a business license.

I think this is scandalous and it really makes me quite angry.

Don’t Assume!

We’ve all got brains in our heads, it’s time to put them to use. This is something everyone who goes to a farmers market should be aware of.

Do some research, find out what kind of farmers market you patronize.

Be sure you are actually getting what you think you are getting. Ask a few questions. The answers may surprise you.

Don’t be duped!

#eatfresh #farmersmarkets #ethicalfarmersmarkets #Knowyourfood #wheredoesyourfoodcomefrom #eatwell #freshfood #fruit

#vegetables #freshproduce #healthyfood

Support your Local Farmer!

Support your Local Farmer!

Eat Fresh – What’s in Season NOW! September

Here is a quick run down on Eating Fresh – What’s in season now, September 2014.

Every where you look, people are trying to eat better.

To be an educated eater, you need to be aware or what fresh #fruitsandvegetables are available according to season.
Simply going to the grocery store or that busy farmers market on the corner isn’t a good way to determine what is in season. Food gets shipped in from all over the world so the availability seems season-less.

Eggplant and Okra

Eggplant and Okra

Knowing what is in season and that winter would be the “bleakest” food season; you can prepare and plan to have a pantry full of amazing things. But that’s another discussion.

Summer is winding down, days are getting shorter. Tomatoes are in full swing, melons are ripening on the vines.
Okra is growing over your head the plants have become so tall!

Here's what you can buy fresh from the garden in September:

Click on the hyperlinks to get fun, interesting ideas and recipes.

  • Apples- are coming in, crisp and fresh! Look for more varieties in the market as fall progresses.

    Apples on display

    Apples on display

  • Blackberries- soon to be gone! Make some Blackberry Sage Jam for a cold winter morning.
  • Cabbage – a good winter staple
  • Cherry Tomatoes – great for salads, snacking, roasting or sauté – abundant now through first frost
  • Collards – Simply an amazing green to simmer and eat with beans and cornbread, ’nuff said! Don’t forget the hot pepper vinegar!
  • Cucumbers- until first frost, time to make some pickles. Here’s a primer to get you going.
  • Figs-  get them quick! They are almost gone. Fig and lemon jam will capture their essence, or simply do whole figs in syrup. Wrap them in prosciutto. . .
  • Green Onions I find they winter ok if you grow them yourself. For fun, try sprouting the root end again by putting it is a small glass of water, it grows!
  • Greens- Easily available, get baby varieties to eat raw
  • Herbs- easily available in most varieties. Mint may be dying back, Basil is trying to seed. Freeze fresh herbs in ice-cube trays for winter use.
  • Indian Corn- begins to hit the market through October
  • Muscadine Grapes- Short season, all-time favorite regional treat. Freeze some for Halloween, use them as ‘eyeballs’ in the punchbowl or drinks.
  • Mushrooms- Late summer varieties rich flavors!
  • Mustard Greens- start coming in mid-September. Try some for a spicy different taste.
  • Peaches- leaving the market soon. Get your fill now! Make some fresh peach ice cream this weekend and serve it over warm peach cobbler or pie.
  • Peanuts- a year round favorite, raw, roasted or boiled.
  • Pears- the best pears are just starting to show up. Pears will only be here a short while, through October.
  • Persimmons- tricky to get just right, those who do love them!
  • Pumpkins- YAY! I adore pumpkins, eating and decorating and carving, flesh seeds and all! (Check out the links! You’ll have fun, promise!)
  • Raspberries- Almost gone until next year. Freeze some.
  • Snap Beans- Coming to an end of the season. I adore green beans and freeze some for winter. I think canning them makes them to soggy.
  • Yellow Squash- I know some aren’t sorry to see these go. Still available through mid October.
  • Sweet Corn- the symbol of summer, gone by the middle of the month. If you haven’t yet, grill you some corn on the cob for dinner.
  • Sweet Potatoes- Available year round although some specialty varieties come and go. I adore the garnet type from mid summer.
  • Tomatoes and Tomatillos- Through first frost. Be sure to get the green ones at the end of season to make chow-chow!
  • Watermelon- Another summer classic about to depart as fall descends.
  • Zucchini- only through the end of September. Shred some and make some Brownies!

I hope this helps. If you’re at the market and see things that really don’t seem right, like strawberries in September, ask where they came from and how they were grown. Leave them behind if you don’t like the answer.

Use your dollar to vote for better food and health with every purchase you make.

How do you eat, do you follow seasons? Buy Local? Please comment below and tell us how you plan your meals.

The What to Eat Now – October will be out soon. Subscribe to Spoon Feast so you are sure to get it! Use the subscription button on the right.

Massaged Kale Salad

Massaged Kale Salad

#eatfresh #seasonaleating #localfood #fruitsandvegetables #foodinseason #supportfarmers #eatlocal #seasonalfood

 

Lemon Detox Challenge

Lemon Detox Challenge!I’d like to invite you all to a simple challenge.

The 21 Morning Lemon Detox Challenge

Here’s what you do:

Each morning, before you have anything to eat or drink, squeeze 1/2 or a fresh lemon into a glass, add 8 ounces of room temperature water and drink it down.

Then go about your day as normal.

Make any notes about anything you may feel or how drinking the lemon water effects your body.

People report having more energy, clearer skin, calmer gut, less gas, regular bowel movements, anti aging effects (you’d have to do it a lot longer than 21 days, like, forever. . .) and easier weight control.

I’ve done this before and I really do like how I feel when I do this. My mother used to tell me when I was a little girl to drink a glass of lemon water every morning for your health. Good thing I like lemon.

Would you like to join me?

I’ll be doing a brief post each day about my experience on my Health Coaching Website’s blog www.chefpamela.com in hopes of supporting you in successfully completing your challenge.

SO go buy 4 fresh lemons and get ready to join me in the morning.

It’s time to feel good!

Related Articles:

Natural Beauty-21 Day Detox Routine http://ourlittlegreendot.com/natural-beauty-morning-detox-routine/

 

 

 

Join The 2014 Food Revolution Summit with John & Ocean Robbins

Don’t let Monsanto or Coca-Cola control your menu or your country

For the April 26-May 4 , bestselling author John Robbins is personally interviewing Vani Hari, Dr. Jane Goodall, Dr. Dean Ornish, Woody Harrelson, Andrew Kimbrell, Dr. Mark Hyman, and 18 more real food leaders. Join in for free to find out what’s really going on in the food movement, and more importantly, what you can do about it.

You’ll get urgent insights on topics like GMOs, the collapse of bee colonies, the real meaning of words like “organic” and “natural”, and how to protect yourself from toxic chemicals that should never have been approved.

You’ll also get the latest science on hot topics like gluten, sugar, fat, Paleo and vegan diets, fair trade, and what it’s going to take to feed a world of more than 7 billion.

Join The 2014 Food Revolution Summit with John & Ocean Robbins.

9 Days, amazing speakers!

Register for free for full access anywhere, follow the link below

http://www.foodrevolution.org/summit?orid=271881&opid=108

Listen this about Monsanto’s lies