Hug your local farmer

We are now in one of the more pleasurable eating seasons, with many vegetables and fruits ready for harvest.  Despite the drought, farmers are still showcasing some great stuff in the markets of our area! 

Have you ever tried gardening? To be successful takes some research and know-how!  Balance and amend the soil - restore the micro flora, feed plants the right nutrients, tame the bugs (naturally of course), water...not too much, not too little.  Really, farmers create amazing things. They are artists - producing nature's edible "works of art"!

Fresh veggies can make a quick dish:  wash, chop, saute, season and viola!  A veggie side dish created in minutes is loaded with disease-fighting compounds.  Do you need recipes for all that great produce you are buying - or growing yourself?  Follow this link to find easy recipes (and even scroll down to see cooking videos) http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/30-minutes-or-less.

Pass the peas, please!

I recently had the pleasure of making my kids shell peas.  Yes, eyes rolled when I asked, but they actually got into it!  They got a kick out of stripping the pod and popping the peas out 

(of course all over the kitchen and at each other).  The pod, they said, was like "nature's little sleeping bag"!  And the best thing is, this kind of activity helps them gain a hearty respect of where food comes from ...natural, real..."eat-close-to-the-earth" food - a lot different than "boxed this" and "microwaved that".  When kids take part in fresh food prep, they are more likely to eat what they had a hand in making. It's true! And to borrow a phrase from a blog I recently read - "Let's raise fresh food kids in our French fried world!"

I'm a big-time advocate of local eating. Many of you out there are right along with me. The benefits of local eating are enormous. It helps support local family farms and our rural communities. We become better environmental stewards when we eat local. The food tastes fresh and is so nutritious.  Just imagine - they say that "food miles" for items bought in a traditional grocery store are on average 27 times higher than goods coming from local sources.  Your average piece of produce in a grocery travels over 1,500 miles!

Have you been finding good farmer's markets?  Here's a quick resource on local markets in our area published by the Allen County office of the Purdue Cooperative Extension Service. 

Let me know which farmer's market is your favorite and feel free to upload a photo of yourself at the market!

Until next time - happy local eating!

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