Seeking a SNAP Services Ambassador for 2017!

Summer 2017 Seacoast Eat Local Stipended Position: SNAP Services Ambassador

we're hiring!

Join the Seacoast Eat Local team for the 2017 Market Season and help us make healthy, local foods accessible to all individuals!

This is a seasonal, stipended position from May 22, 2017-November 6, 2017 which is geared towards an immediate post-graduate or individual seeking part-time, temporary work. The position is 30 hours per week, with hours that will reflect farmers’ market schedules, and will include Saturdays and Sundays.

Background: Seacoast Eat Local is a non-profit organization focusing on expanding the accessibility of local foods to all people throughout the greater Seacoast. Over the past 4 years, SEL has expanded SNAP acceptance services at farmers’ markets. Colloquially known as food stamps, SNAP benefits are accepted at farmers’ markets SEL coordinates with, and SNAP customers are able to take advantage of two different incentive programs to help extend their ability to purchase local foods at farmers’ markets. Extensive information on our history and programs can be found on our website: www.seacoasteatlocal.org.

This is a young, dynamic organization with lots of potential for autonomy and growth. The staff person for this position will be part of a high-energy team and expected to be strongly self-motivated and independent. All ideas and initiatives will be open for discussion and this could be an exceptional learning opportunity for a young professional to spread their wings!

Qualifications:

This position is geared towards an immediate post-graduate, although all applicants will be considered equally. Candidates must have strong verbal skills, attention to detail and be comfortable in public and retail settings. A background in agriculture, nutrition or human services is preferred. Applicants must have access to a working vehicle and should be able to lift up to 50lbs and be willing to transport market supplies in their vehicle.

Position Description: This is a 30 hour/week position providing SNAP services and incentives programs at participating summer markets. The staff person will be responsible for attending participating summer markets at various locations throughout our service region over the duration of the market season. They are ‘the face’ of our services at markets and must be able to build strong, mutually respectful relationships with vendors, volunteers, market managers and SNAP recipients. They should be friendly and welcoming of all individuals and able to answer, with training, questions about SNAP participation. This staff person will run all SNAP transactions, provide market incentives, keep records regarding vendor reimbursement and follow protocol surrounding data tracking for SNAP/USDA guidelines. Attention to detail and record keeping skills are a necessity.

Hours and Compensation: This is a 30 hr/week, short term position, but commitment to the position through November 4 is required. The vast majority of hours will be completed at markets, located across our service region from Exeter, NH to Kittery, ME. A flexible schedule is a must, as most markets extend into the evening hours or are held on weekends. However, hours will remain consistent from week-to-week once set. A smaller portion of hours will be spent performing record keeping and market outreach.

The total paid compensation for this position will be $7,300, or $10.00 per hour. An additional $200 in market dollars will be provided.

To Apply: To apply for this position, please send a resume, cover letter and two contacts for reference to Jillian Hall, Seacoast Eat Local Director of Programs, at jill@seacoasteatlocal.org. The priority application date for this position is May 1, 2017. Applicants should expect to interview in person, in Dover, at least once.

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Emily’s Post: Springtime Snacks

With warmer weather coming around the corner, there is going to be a lot more opportunity to meet up with friends to enjoy the weather.  If you’re anything like my friends and I, there is no such thing as a gathering without food around.  Typically, some snacks include some sort of chip product.  Unfortunately, chips are not the healthiest snacking option because they typically are high in fat content, making them higher in calories.  I have recently discovered a yummy alternative…carrot chips!  Carrots are high in vitamin A which helps with eyesight and also contain more fiber in comparison to a potato chip.  Carrot chips are easy to prepare and make, and satisfy that chip craving.

Here’s how to make them:

Ingredients

  • 2 large carrots
  • ½ teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt

 

Directions 

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Wash and peel the carrots.  Using a knife, tilt the carrot and slice diagonally making oval-shaped pieces.  The thinner the slice, the crispier the chip will be.
  3. In a bowl, toss the carrot slices with the olive oil and sea salt until evenly coated.
  4. Lay the carrots on a lined cookie sheet.
  5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the carrots are crisp.

This is such an easy way to get your salty chip craving fix while not putting extra fat and calories into your body.  You can modify this recipe and use it with other root vegetables.  Pair your homemade chips with your favorite dip and you will be ready to have a healthy springtime snack!

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Chloe’s Post: A Pasta Lovers Dream at Valicenti Pasta Farm

As a nutrition major, I get asked the following question quite often: what is your favorite food? My answer is always pasta, whether it be the comfort food macaroni and cheese or a plain farfalle with olive oil, cheese, and black pepper! I simply love pasta and all the ways in which you can use it. I’ve even had experience making my own pasta from scratch, which turns out to be harder than you think (you seriously need some arm strength to flatten the dough to make it thin enough).

Because of my love of pasta, you can imagine my shock and happiness to find that our very own farmers’ markets (Rollinsford and Exeter) have their very own pasta farm vendor: Valicenti Pasta Farm. I was beyond ecstatic. Just looking at the farm display is wonderful. They lay out each of the day’s pasta in an artistic way. They have pasta shapes and flavors that I have never seen before (like the beet twists)! They also make homemade sauces as well. The pasta I used for the Spaghetti Experiment (previous blog) was Bucatini (a hollow spaghetti). It was delicious and very easy to cook! Because fresh pasta is not dried, it takes a lot less time to cook and is even more delicious.

When I talked with the farm stand, they gave me some more information that made me love this farm even more. 90% of the vegetables and herbs used in the products are grown in a giant greenhouse the farm owns! This means that they can have herbs all year long! Furthermore, the owner of the farm, David Valicenti, used to be the head chef at a Cajun restaurant in Louisiana. Armed with this cooking experience and also his Grandmother’s sauce recipe, Valicenti was able to create Valicenti Pasta Farm and make it the success it is today!

Some of the farms best sellers include brown butter & sage roasted sweet potato ravioli, wild garlic scapes tagliatelle, and fresh herb pappardelle. I made their roasted beet & pecorino toscano ravioli earlier in the week and it was delicious! No seasoning was needed! It was extremely easy to prepare and had a beautiful deep magenta color from the beets. This pasta also tasted extremely fresh, unique, and exotic.

I encourage you to visit Valicenti Pasta Farm (gimmiespaghetti.com) at the Exeter and Rollinsford winter farmers’ markets. I look forward to learning about and tasting the other pastas this farm provides and encourage you to do the same. If you do happen to visit this fantastic farm, comment what type of pasta you tried and how you liked it!

Till Next Time,

Chloe

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Veronique’s Post: You Can’t Beat Beets

Beets are finally obtaining their deserved spotlight, no longer are they treated as an ignored side dish. Though I usually turn away from what I assumed was another plain root vegetable, I found myself drawn to these earthy bundlesWhen you cut into the rough dirty exterior of these, you unearth beautiful jeweled tones of red and gold. Beets are extremely versatile, and can be pickled, boiled, roasted, and even juiced! Beets provide many nutrients and vitamins such as B vitamins, iron, manganese, copper, magnesium, and potassium. Do not judge these vegetables by the cover, you will surely miss out. There are many ways for beets to be incorporated into your own diet, such as this amazing recipe for Golden Beet Slaw. 

Ingredients: 

 

  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar 
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest 
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice 
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 
  • 1 1/2 pounds golden beets, peeled and cut into matchsticks 
  • 3 scallions, sliced 
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro 

Whisk together oil, vinegar, zest, orange juice, salt, and pepper. Toss with beets, scallions, and cilantro. 

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

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Emily’s Post: Are You Getting Enough Fiber in Your Diet?

Did you know that most Americans do not eat the Daily Recommended Intake of fiber?  What does that mean?  What does fiber do to my body?  How much fiber should I be eating?  I am here to explain the basics of fiber to help you add more into your diet!

Fiber is the non-digestible form of carbohydrate that helps regulate gastrointestinal function.  Consuming foods high in fiber makes you feel fuller longer after eating.  Fiber helps reduce the risk of chronic disease such as cardiovascular disease, Type 2 Diabetes, and colorectal cancer.  Proper intake of fiber also assists in weight management and helps regulate blood sugar.  There are so many health benefits of adequate amount of fiber in a healthy diet, yet most people are not getting enough in their diets.

The Daily Recommended Intake of fiber for women is 25 grams per day, and 38 grams per day for men. An easy way to make sure that you are getting enough fiber in your diet is to eat three servings of whole grains and five servings of fruits and vegetables daily.  If you think that you’re not getting enough fiber in your diet, make sure to add it into your diet slowly.  Adding too much fiber too fast will cause gastrointestinal distress.  I would suggest adding a fiber rich food every few days to let your body adjust to the increase in fiber.

Here are some common foods that are a great source of fiber, remember to aim for 25-38 grams:

  • One slice of whole wheat bread has 3 grams of fiber
  • In a serving of oatmeal there is 4 grams of fiber
  • A serving of mixed nuts contains 2 grams of fiber
  • There is almost 4 grams of fiber in a serving of broccoli
  • There is 3.5 grams of fiber in brown rice
  • There are 3 grams of fiber in a banana
  • Beans are a great source of fiber with 9-19 grams of fiber in one cup!
  • 1 cup of raspberries has 8 grams of fiber
  • 1 cup of strawberries has 3 grams of fiber, while 1 cup of blueberries has 4 grams of fiber
  • In 2 tbsp of chia seeds, there is 8 grams of fiber

There are more foods available that contain high amounts of fiber, the ones I listed above are just some examples.  A well rounded diet includes adequate amounts of fiber, so be aware of how much you are consuming to make sure you are as healthy as can be!

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Chloe’s Post: Kohlrabi is an Up and Coming Superfood!

What makes a superfood a superfood? A quick google search gives the following definition: a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being. Kohlrabi is just that. A nutrient-dense cabbage, this cruciferous vegetable is cousins with brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, and kale. It has the texture of a potato or an apple and tastes like the stem of a broccoli but sweeter! The first time I tried it, I was amazed at how good it was.

In order to be a superfood, the item must be nutrient-rich, which kohlrabi is. It is high in nutrients while also being low in calories! Here are some of the health benefits associated with nutrients found in kohlrabi:

  • Vitamin A: good for your eyes
  • Vitamin C: immune system health
  • Iron: prevents iron deficiency anemia
  • Calcium: improves bone health
  • Potassium: helps blood pressure and muscle/nerve function
  • Fiber: great for digestive health

In addition, kohlrabi also contains a lot of phytochemicals, which are highly regarded for their antioxidant properties. It is also an extremely good food choice for those looking to lose weight. This is the case because it is high in fiber which makes you feel fuller faster. Furthermore, it is low in fat, has no cholesterol, and only has 36 calories per cup!

A note when working with kohlrabi: make sure to peel it well because there is another fibrous layer below the outer skin. While this is fine to eat, it can be tough, which can interfere with cooking. Kohlrabi can be eaten either raw or cooked. I like to eat it raw because it is absolutely delicious as is! In addition to being served raw, kohlrabi can also be incorporated into soups, salads, and spring rolls.  It can even be pickled or made into fritters!

This past market, I created a demonstration showcasing kohlrabi and it was an amazing success! Farmers’ market customers could sample kohlrabi raw, with hummus, or with ranch dressing. Additionally, I prepared an apple and kohlrabi coleslaw that was a big hit (see recipe below)! Nearly everyone who tried the kohlrabi loved it and wanted to know where to buy it. It was so in demand that the farm that sold it sold out!

Kohlrabi and Apple Coleslaw

Original recipe can be found here: https://food52.com/recipes/31806-kohlrabi-apple-and-walnut-slaw-salad

 Ingredients:

  • 1 kohlrabi, peeled and julienned
  • 1 large apple julienned
  • 4 large scallions, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tsp maple syrup
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • sugar to taste

Preparation:

  1. In a bowl, mix together julienned kohlrabi, apple, and scallions.
  2. In separate small bowl, whisk together apple cider vinegar, oil, & maple syrup.
  3. Combine dressing with veggies and toss. Season with salt, pepper, and sugar. Enjoy!

Though it may look like an odd vegetable, I assure you kohlrabi is amazing! Not only is it tasty, but it also has a ton of nutritional benefits and is really easy to prepare! If you weren’t able to try any samples at the past famers’ market, make sure you get your hands on a kohlrabi and try it out! Spread the kohlrabi love!

Till Next Time,

Chloe

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Emily’s Post: Veggie Up Dinner

One of my more recent obsessions is spaghetti squash.  Spaghetti squash is a pale yellow winter squash that resembles the appearance of spaghetti on the inside.  It is a great way to incorporate another vegetable into your meal, and is a great substitute for spaghetti and pasta.  If you are trying to reduce your intake of carbohydrates, substituting with spaghetti squash is a great alternative.  A cup of spaghetti squash contains only 10 grams of carbohydrates in comparison to around 40 grams of carbohydrates in a cup of pasta.  There are many ways to use spaghetti squash in your meals as it takes the flavor of whatever you put on it.

The best way to prepare spaghetti squash is to take a fork and poke holes lengthwise from end to end of the squash to make an outline to cut it in half.  Putting the squash in the microwave for 2-5 minutes can help soften it to cut in half easier.  Cut following the fork marks lengthwise.  Using a spoon, scrape out the seeds.  Drizzle the inside with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.  Place the squash halves face down on a prepared baking sheet, and then put them into a preheated oven of 400°F for 35-45 minutes, or until the squash is tender.  After taking the squash out of the oven, let them cool a bit then turn them over.  Take a fork and scrape the flesh to make the long spaghetti-like strands.

Because spaghetti squash takes the flavor of what you put on it you can put whatever toppings you would like on it.  You could top it with a traditional meat sauce, pesto and chicken, or even more veggies! You can find fresh spaghetti squash at our farmer’s markets in late summer and fall and while storage supplies last through the winter. Spaghetti squash also freezes exceptionally well, so if you have extra (they are very prolific garden plants) it pays to freeze the remainder for using all winter long!

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Veronique’s Post: the Bees Knees

As the warmer weather hits and the snow starts to melt (hopefully), new varieties of fruits and vegetables are coming to the market. One product that has stayed constant throughout these seasons is: honey! Honey can be found throughout our farmers markets and New Hampshire. Honey is a staple food item for NH residents, and it is easy to understand why people love honey so much. Yet, our honey is in danger of disappearing.  

Bees are our only source of honey, yet their numbers are dropping not only in New Hampshire but across the country and world. Bees are natural pollinators and are a key component of agriculture production. The disappearance of these bees is critical as the USDA cites thaabout one in three mouthfuls of food we eat directly or indirectly benefits from honeybee pollination. This could mean no more apples, strawberries, cucumbers, pumpkins and MANY more fruits and vegetables. Not only would the disappearance of honey mean no more of these amazing products, it could potentially lead to an extreme increase in the price of foods. There are many factors that could be contributing to the decrease in bee population, and it is important that we do our part in prevent further numbers from dropping.  

They are many ways in which we can help promote the population of bees, such as:  

  • Planting a variety of native wild flowers to promote bee pollination  

  • Become a beekeeper! There are many resources to help start your own hive 

  • Stop using pesticides! Though many pesticides are not aimed at bees, they can do some damage 

  • Buy local organic foods to promote growing more local varieties of food, which will then promote bee populations 

  • Buy local raw honey, when people purchase more local honey it increases demand, and supply will surely follow 

  • Call your local representative to push for a ban on chemicals that harm bee populations 

Bees are an important part of our livelihoods and it would be detrimental if they were to go extinct. There are many more resources for people to get a better understanding on these organisms and see how we can help.  

Posted in Intern Posts, Veronique | 1 Response

Chloe’s Post: The Spaghetti Experiment

One of the major benefits to eating local foods is that they are extremely fresh and taste better. In order to confirm this, I conducted a little experiment with my family members as the research subjects. For dinner one night, I prepared two dishes of spaghetti with red sauce. The difference between the two was that one was made with store-bought pasta and Prego sauce (traditional style) while the other was made with fresh goods from the Exeter farmers’ market (pasta from Valicenti Pasta Farm, onions, and garlic). The tomatoes were bought at the grocery store because they are not currently in season.

After letting all my family members try each pasta, they unanimously voted for the version made with local ingredients. Here are some of the things they said about the farmers’ market spaghetti:

Mom: It has flavor. You can taste the ingredients. This one is rich and sweet while the other is thin and bitter.

Dad: It has more character while the other one has a thin packaged-food taste.

Brother: It tastes more real. Has more flavor. The other one is boring.

local pasta

pasta prego-style

grocery store ingredients

farmers’ market ingredients

When I tasted the two different pastas, I also found that the one made with local goods was infinitely better than the one made from packaged goods. I found that the store-bought one did not have much flavor and was too acidic. Usually I can enjoy a basic spaghetti with red sauce, but when compared to the local version, there was no comparison. This is the benefit to cooking with local goods. The food tastes beyond fresh and has more complex flavors! While you can get “fresh” fruits and vegetables in the produce section of the grocery store, they still can have chemicals in and on them that are used to increase the shelf life. So in actuality, they are not as fresh as the goods from farmers’ markets.

This was a fun experiment to do because it was not only fun cooking using local goods, but it was also great to see how much better the local version tasted than the store-bought version! I encourage you to try this experiment at home and recreate a store-bought meal with fresh goods from a farmers’ market! If you do, comment below with what you made and how the dish turned out!

Till Next Time,

Chloe

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When Food becomes like a Pet

When, like I do, you have a bit of a penchant for projects, sometimes your food starts to feel oddly like a pet – or at least something that is monitored and cared for on a daily basis until finally you get to enjoy the ‘fruits’ of your labor!

There have been a few ill-fated trial runs with my own yeast starter, a passable-but-not-great hard apple cider experiment, an endless array of pickled this and thats, a fermenting box built specially for black garlic and gelled egg yolks… and now, my own brined corned beef.

It turns out my significant other loves meat. So, in my love for him I got a little too enthusiastic about a recent NYT Cooking headline, “What if You Could Make Great Corned Beef?” Well, what if I could… that sounded like a challenge and a perfect opportunity to deliver the delicious meat he loves and and have the project-based cooking and social time I enjoy (dinner party, anyone?).

Step 1: Find the Meat

Brisket, which is the cut of meat called for in making corned beef, can be a bit harder to source locally than some others, especially on short notice. Be sure to call around to local beef vendors before heading to the farm or market so that you are not disappointed. If everyone seems to be fresh-out, source from a reputable butcher that can work in higher quantity and therefore get the cuts you need faster. You should still call ahead. We recommend our friends over at MEat in Kittery!

Step 2: Oh yea, those other tricky ingredients 

There’s always that one ingredient or one piece of cooking equipment that just trips you up. For this recipe, it was the curing salt. after some phone calls and online shopping, I’ll admit that I decided my best bet was to order an appropriately sized and priced baggy of curing salt from Walmart. Then cue Superstorm Stella…. the salt didn’t come in time, but thankfully it wasn’t vital to the recipe. Looks like I will have plenty for next year..

Step 3: This is where I spend more time with my meat than with my dog

And now the brisket is like a part of the family, or maybe more like an inconsiderate guest. It’s taking up more than its fair share of fridge space and pantry supplies and has the audacity to need turning every day for 5-7 days before I spend 4 hours cooking it to perfection… to be devoured in 20 minutes.

We are four days in and holding strong… here’s hoping that Saturday evening reveals a delicious home-corned beef brisket for a late St. Patricks Day celebration!

 

Get inspired yourself with the recipe: What if You Could Make Great Corned Beef?

What’s next you ask… Authentic Sauerbraten for Easter... another brined meat!

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