Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Farmer’s Market Haul

I finally made it to the farmer’s market in our community for the first time since June (Saturday mornings are a busy time at our house).  This particular market has been open about a year and a half, so it is still small, but I made a good haul.  Here’s what I bought, and what I’m going to cook with it this week.  I typically do the same at the supermarket: buy what is on sale or in season and prepare it while it’s fresh.

Fresh round sourdough bread: we’ve been slicing this to eat with our meals.

Tomatoes: they will go into a couple of salads.

Small round yellow squashes: will be stuffed with a ground chicken picadillo and baked.

Okra: I fried half of it and will cook the other half in tomato sauce.  Fried Okra recipe below.

Butternut squash: will be baked and pureed into a spicy soup with chipotle chile peppers.  Recipe below.

Isolated Butternut Squash by Petr Kratochvil

I also spoke with the grass fed beef rancher about possibly purchasing an eighth of a cow (or more if family and neighbors join in the order) in the near future.  Buying in bulk is the most economical for this healthy red meat.  Grass feed beef contains more omega-3 fats than conventionally raised beef.  The fats in feed lot animal meats are the over consumed omega-6 variety rather than the omega-3s that maintain overall health.  This difference in fat content occurs because conventionally raised animals are fed corn or soy instead of their natural diets.  We all need a healthy balance of both types of fats; the problem is that Americans are consuming way more omega-6 fat than omega-3 fat, when it should be the other way around.  This leads to many chronic health problems due to inflammation in the body.  

Since organic, grass fed meats are provided by mostly independent ranchers, they don’t have the lobbying power of the conventional providers, so most Americans aren’t aware of the health differences.  Also, grass fed beef is more expensive because cattle eating grass take four or five years to grow to slaughter weight.  Cattle raised in confined animal feeding operations don’t move around, so they grow to slaughter weight after only a year and a half.  The growth of this industry, along with government subsidies of feed corn, has made conventionally raised beef affordable to nearly all Americans; previous generations did not eat beef as often as we do.  Nor did they have the chronic health problems that are so abundant today; just some food for thought.

A new vender at the market gave me a sample of his tasty chicken tamales.  Another offered a taste of her green peach salsa.  We conversed about combining peaches and peppers in various ways.

My children played on the park structure, and they listened while the local library conducted story time.  The librarians are regulars at our farmer’s market.  Another time, they brought bookmarks for children to decorate.  The Easter Bunny visited our market last spring and I’ve heard someone even teaches free yoga classes sometimes.  There is a lot more happening besides food: plants, an oldies singer, zumba, volunteer opportunities in the community garden.

If you have a farmer’s market in your community, go buy some fresh local produce and see what else is happening.  I often see a friend when I’m shopping, which reminds me: take your friends along.

Yesterday, I made fried okra for the first time.  I prefer not to fry foods because the fats in the frying oil can become oxidized at high temperatures, but my children don’t like okra in tomato sauce, or sautéed with onion and potato, so I decided to try this recipe.  As one of the comments suggests, I used milk instead of egg to soak the recipe, and I’m glad I did.  My youngest decided to eat pieces of raw okra soaked in milk right out of the bowl!  I also followed another suggestion and used half cornmeal, half flour, salt, and pepper to coat the okra before frying.  When neither of my girls seemed very interested in eating the fried okra, I poured some milk in a small bowl and told them to dunk their okra into it; they ate some more, but I think I’ll have to prepare okra a different way next time.  Let me know if you have some ideas.

For the butternut squash, I am planning to make this soup.  Last time I made it, I used about five cups total chicken broth instead of six, and one chipotle chile.  I think I’ll throw the chile in the blender with the soup this time instead of cutting it by hand.  We skipped the chipotle in the cream last time, drizzling on plain Mexican Crema instead. You can find canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce in the international food aisle of your supermarket.  Each small can holds about six to eight chiles, so I divide them into small containers and freeze them for later use.  If you are wondering what to do with those frozen chipotles, look for more recipes at the Food Network link above by Marcela Valladolid; she uses chipotles all the time.  We have liked almost every one of her recipes that we have tried, but who wouldn’t love “Mexican Made Easy” (her show) especially if it’s traditional and made with fresh ingredients?

Reminder: you can enter a raffle to win a signed copy of my chapbook until August 31; see my giveaway post for details.  [FYI: this raffle took place in 2011.]

The Food Pharmacy  by Jean Carper
Super Foods Rx by Steven Pratt, M.D.
The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan

Ann Kroeker hosts a weekly Food on Fridays Link up, so I have also connected there, where you will find many links somehow (either casually or directly) related to food and recipes.

Lisa at Home to 4 Kiddos hosts a weekly Try a New Recipe Tuesday Link up, and I have also linked up there.

Carrie at Young Living Oil Lady shares hosting duty for the weekly Healthy 2Day Wednesday Link up with three other bloggers.  This link up is for “an idea, tip, recipe, things to avoid, something new to try, etc. that will help us to remain or become more healthy.”

I am also linked with the Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life as Mom.  This week’s theme is Fall Produce.

Jen’s Favorite Cookies is hosting a Fall Food Link up that is part of a series of fall link ups.


  1. We love our farmer's market! Buying locally grown,grass fed is best! I sure wish I owned a big piece of land :) Great post!!! Thank you for sharing with us at Healthy 2Day Wednesdays!

  2. I also wish we had enough land for a few cows and some chickens. Thanks for visiting, Carrie.


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