Whether you know it or not, you are part of a movement, the local foods movement. There has been a trend growing over the last decade or so for folks to get their food locally. The whole idea is that people source what they eat from a local farm, and, in return, they receive food which is fresh, get to know their grower, and support their local economy to boot. People have figured out that shipping substandard food covered in fungicides half way around the world doesn’t make a heck of a lot of sense. I call it a movement because it really is a strong trend you’ll find across the whole country; it’s not just something you find amongst only crunchy folks in California…you’ll find the same thing in Des Moines. Not too long ago very few farmers markets existed, and those that did were not what we think of them today. Go to the St. Paul Farmers Market today and you’d never guess that twenty years ago it looked pretty sparse with a dozen or so vendor huddled in a barren parking lot. The market we sell at on Saturdays, Lakes Area Farmers Market in Detroit Lakes, didn’t even exist 10 years ago. The very first CSA started in upstate New York in just the early 80’s. By 1990, only a handful existed, until today when we have between 30-50 in Minnesota alone.
Things have progressed to the point where a recent Star Tribune headline read “Too Many Markets or Too Few Farmers?” It described a new farmers market in Bloomington and their challenges getting vendors to fill the stalls. Basically no farmers, no farmers market—pretty simple. This being my sixth produce season and second year as our market’s president, I know what this is all about. Local foods used to be on the fringe, like organic foods in the 1970’s. Now it’s definitely taken hold and things have grown to the point where we have no problem finding customers, but a harder and harder time finding growers. And this will be problem for the near future until guys like myself quit their dayjobs and grow full-time, convention farmers get into produce, or more people are convinced to give up their weekends.
IN THE BOX:
Broccoli: A later variety than we had a couple of weeks ago.
A couple Summer Squash: You may already be getting sick of this stuff, so I took it down to two this week.
Fresh Italian Parsley
Lacinato Kale: A Italian variety of kale which most call “Dino Kale” since it looks like it comes from prehistoric times.
Mini-head of lettuce: There was an area of salad mix uncut from last week which basically produced some mini-heads of lettuce…
Chiogga Beets : An heirloom variety. See recipe below.
Five Minute Beets
From Deborah Madison, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
4 beets, about 1 pound
1 T butter
Salt and pepper
Lemon juice or vinegar to taste
2 T chopped parsley, tarragon, dill, or other herb.
Grate beets into coarse shreds. Melt the butter into a skillet, add the beets, and toss with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Add ¼ cup water, then cover the pan and cook over medium heat until the beets are tender. Remover the lid and raise the heat to boil off any excess water. Taste for salt, season with a little lemon juice or vinegar—balsamic or red wine is good—and toss with the herb. If you don’t mind the shocking color, you can stir in a tablespoon of yogurt or sour cream, always a good addition to beets.