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A nip in the morning, time to grab a light jacket.
Here is a quick listing of what’s in season now.
Click on the links for recipes and other great information while you read the list!
Beets – get some baby ones and roast them. So delicious! Pickle some for later. Ummm
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!
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
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
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.
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.
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.
Turnips – add some to soup, mash some with your mashed potatoes. Toss some into your greens as they cook. My favorite, Pickled Turnips!
#localfood #eatfresh #healthyeating #freshfood #seasonalfood #localfarmers #farmersmarkets #freshfruit #freshvegetables #whatsinseasonnow
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.
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.
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.
Early 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.
On my visits to the market, I noticed they would have the same bagged greens that we could buy in the grocery store.
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:
“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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
#eatfresh #farmersmarkets #ethicalfarmersmarkets #Knowyourfood #wheredoesyourfoodcomefrom #eatwell #freshfood #fruit
#vegetables #freshproduce #healthyfood
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.
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!
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.
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.
#eatfresh #seasonaleating #localfood #fruitsandvegetables #foodinseason #supportfarmers #eatlocal #seasonalfood
Have you ever had one of those delicious pickles from a Jewish Deli and thought it was the best ever? Good chance it was a Half-Sour Pickle!
Half Sour Pickles are some of my favorite pickles. The best part is they are ready to eat only a few hours after making them.
Guaranteed they won’t be around for long!
As they age, they move into full sour pickles but that’s just because the cukes get to stay in the brine longer. Honestly, they never last that long in my home.
These are considered a “fresh” pickle
Boil 1 quart water. Place the 2-piece canning lid in a mixing bowl; pour boiling water over the canning lid; set aside until ready to use
Place the dill, garlic, and bay leaf into the bottom of a 1 quart wide mouth canning jar. Pack the cucumbers on top.
Bring the water, salt, and vinegar to a boil, pour directly over cucumbers. Place the canning lid on the jar, turn upside down and cool. Refrigerate. Allow pickles to steep 24 hours before eating. The pickles will change from half cured to a fully cured pickle the longer they sit in the brine.
They are good until they are gone, which won’t be long.
Adding dried onion flakes and jalapeno slices to the seasonings will add flavors as well. If you like your pickles spicy, try it.
This brine can also be used to pickle an excess of jalapenos and zucchini spears can be substituted for cucumbers if you like.
This is a quick and easy pickle. Try making some soon.
There’s nothing quite like a fresh pickle along side a sandwich or any kind of charcuterie.
Some say if it has a thick peel organic doesn’t matter, but sometimes it does.
Here’s a couple of lists: One of foods you should always buy organic and the other a list of produce that is alright to buy conventionally grown items.
This list features the most pesticide contaminated foods which are advised to purchase organically whenever possible. The conventionally grown foods on the list are the ones grown with the least amount of pesticide contamination.
if it’s not on the list, you’ll have to do some research and decide for yourself whether to buy organic or conventionally grown.
Most produce in the USA will come with a PLU number on it. It is not required by the government but the PLU system was designed to streamline things for processors and pricing, not consumers.
Here are a few basic guidelines for selecting fruit and vegetables using PLU codes.
Conventionally grown produce will bear a 4-digit number in the 3,000-4,000 range
Organic produce will bear a 5-digit number starting with 9
Supposedly GMO produce bears a 5-digit number starting with 8, but you don’t see it because they really don’t use those PLU codes to identify GMO grown foods. Why don’t they use the 8-digit code? Growers are afraid consumers won’t buy if it bears a code starting with an 8, so they choose to leave the code off the product. Use of the PLU code is optional, not required.
So the best thing to do is not totally depend upon PLU codes but know who grows your food and know where it comes from.
Learning how to make mustard can be as simple as mixing a few things together or as complicated as soaking a few seeds. It’s not hard at all to make.
While there are many different kinds of mustard you can make, this is a kinder gentler mustard, not too pungent.
All it takes is mix the ingredients together, heat until thick, bottle and cool.
Measure and mix everything in a heat-resistant bowl until a thin smooth paste forms.
Place the bowl over a pot of boiling water to make a double boiler, heat the mixture until it becomes thick. As the mustard thickens, whisk so it remains smooth.
Use a silicone spatula to get all the mustard in to a clean glass jar.
Allow to cool, cover, label and store.The mustard needs to sit for at least 2 hours before serving. The mustard will also “mellow” as it ages in the refrigerator.
I haven’t had a jar around long enough to tell you how long it lasts.
Use it as you would any mustard but be warned, it will spoil you from buying processed store-bought mustard.
Learning how to make mustard is an easy thing to do to reduce your consumption of processed foods.