Slow Food USA
Your Taste Buds Will Rejoice
In This Issue:
What's Cooking... Carrot Top Pesto
Dig In... Nourish Your Garden
Go Slow... Slow the Fork Down for A Grow Dinner
In the Field... Good Food Awards

Dear Friend,

Every day this summer, communities are converging to celebrate a simple event: farmers coming together to sell their harvest. The result? More viable regional economies; increased access to fresh, nutritious food; and stronger social networks that help keep communities healthy.

There are so many reasons to love your local farmers market—seeing neighbors and friends, talking with your farmers about their growing practices, and learning new ways to prepare your favorite foods. And of course, the fresh, delicious produce.

From August 4th -10th, communities across the country will be celebrating their local markets during National Farmers Market Week. The Farmers Market Coalition will be joining in the celebration by sharing some of the amazing statistics we’ve been collecting.

Here’s a taste of the good news we have to share:

  • There were more than 7,800 farmers markets in the US in 2012—an increase of nearly 10% in just one year.
  • For every $100 spent at a farmers market, $62 stays in the local economy, and $99 stays in-state.
  • People who shop at farmers markets have 15-20 social interactions per visit, while they would only have one or two at the grocery store.
I hope you’ll celebrate your local farmers this summer by visiting a farmers market – especially in the week of August 4th. Not only will it benefit your community and food system, your taste buds will rejoice.

Jen O’Brien Jen O’Brien
Interim Executive Director
Farmers Market Coalition


What's Cooking... Carrot Top Pesto
By Jen O’Brien, Farmers Market Coalition
Recipe created Mario Hernandez of “Cookin’ the Market,” and authored by Anna Buss of the Pacific Coast Farmers Market Association

Too many times I have seen people ask market venders to remove the tops from their carrots. What they don’t realize is… the tops are delicious!

Carrots belong to the parsley family. And the green tops have a flavor very similar to parsley, making them an excellent ingredient in pesto. The most flavorful tops are found on young carrots, and blanching them allows for a smooth, beautifully vibrant green pesto. For this root-to-stem recipe, we used Nelson carrots from Happy Boy Farms in the Jack London Square Farmer’s Market of Oakland, California. It’s one of my favorite summer dishes. Enjoy!

Carrot Top Pesto
1 bunch of young carrots
1 cup of arugula (optional)
¼cup almonds, blanched and shelled
1-2 teaspoons of green garlic
½ cup olive oil
Juice from 1/2 of a lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Remove greens from carrots.
Blanch greens in salted water until tender and bright green.
Remove greens from water and shock in ice bath. Squeeze out water and set aside.
Repeat steps 2 and 3 with arugula, and then with carrot bottoms.
Blanch almonds until shells become loose. Remove almonds from water and allow to cool. Shell and set aside.
Combine carrot greens, arugula, garlic, almonds, olive oil, and lemon in food processor. Blend until smooth, adding salt and pepper to taste.
Toss pesto with blanched carrots, and serve. Pesto can also be tossed with your favorite spring salads, pasta, and veggies, or spread it on a sandwich.

Dig In... Nourish Your Garden
By Stephen and Cindy Scott, Terroir Seeds / Underwood Gardens

Underwood Gardens

It’s the height of the gardening season and, with any luck, your garden is growing and thriving. When everything kicks into high gear like it is now, plants need a lot more nutrition and support to produce those luscious tomatoes, fruits and veggies that make a home garden so memorable. Here are three techniques that will help support and nourish your hard-working garden at this time of year, and one for getting a “second season” from your garden. Read more …

Go Slow... Slow the Fork Down for A Grow Dinner
By Annie Donnelly, Slow Food USA intern

Oxfam Grow LogoA home-cooked, seasonal meal is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Whether it’s an heirloom tomato salad in the blazing heat of summer or a comforting stew in the dead of winter, a meal that uses what’s in season and local will always hit the spot. And, with National Farmers Market Week just around the corner, now is the perfect time to embrace the summer season and host a dinner using Oxfam’s Grow Method.

The “Grow Method” is simply an approach to dining that helps further a more sustainable and fair food system. You can use the five principles of the method as your “Farmers Market Guide” – (1) reduce food waste, (2) cook and buy food efficiently, (3) buy only what’s in season/local, (4) reduce meat consumption, and (5) buy products that benefit small-scale producers.

A good “Grow” dinner will sprout from a solid meal plan. Start with knowing what’s currently in season and let your menu grow from there. Eating seasonally is without a doubt the most exciting way to eat. Not only does meal planning become easier (fresh spinach, eggs, and asparagus today? A frittata is born!), meals will be much tastier, too.

As you plan, consider how you can use less meat. For some, myself included, this is not a challenge, as I eat meat very rarely. For others, like my father and brother, this proposal can be truly daunting, as meat is a staple of their diets. For folks struggling with the idea of consuming less meat at mealtime, check out Mark Bittman’s article “Make Peace with Meat,” along with the accompanying recipes for some inspiration.

To round out your meal plan, think about reducing food waste. Even just a little planning will ensure that you’ll only buy the amounts you need. And embrace the delights of leftovers! Almost anything can go into a sandwich, and salads are always enhanced when cooked veggies, beans, etc. are added to the mix.

Once you’ve got a menu, take a minute or two to consider how to consolidate your time and not waste energy and water while cooking. What can be cooked together? Can you wash all of your produce at once, instead of individually? Preparedness here will save you time, energy, and money.

Now, with your menu and energy-saving plan in place, it’s off to the market you go! There are variations between markets, so check to ensure that you’re getting products from the most local and sustainable sources in your area. Since you’re already shopping at a local farmer’s market, supporting the small-scale producer will be easy.

As you browse your market, be sure to chat with the vendors. Farmers markets offer unique opportunities to connect with the source of your food production – no middleman here. I have always found vendors more than willing to discuss their growing methods, what’s currently super tasty, and even the best cooking techniques for their produce. So, go ahead and ask those questions about zucchini that you could never ask the supermarket cashier! Not only will you learn more about your food, you’ll also foster a unique connection within your local food community.

With your farmers market bounty in tow, finally it’s time to cook! If you can, make this a family affair or have a few friends over to pitch in. This will not only be more efficient, it will make the meal even more pleasurable and rewarding. Enjoy your meal and be proud that you’ve supported your local farming community, economy, and the health of our planet. And I bet it will taste great, too!

Good Food Awards In the Field... Good Food Awards
By Aimee Thunberg, Slow Food USA

The Good Food Awards—the first national initiative to recognize American craft food producers who stand out in both taste and sustainability—is looking for America’s best food producers.

Encourage your favorite local producers and artisans to enter online. The deadline for entries is July 31.

Awards will be given to 100 winners in five regions of the US (north, south, east, west, central) within ten categories: beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, coffee, confections, pickles, preserves, spirits and oil.

Read more …

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