Blog

Sofia’s Post: A Farmers’ Market Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is just around the corner! Do you think t the original 1621 celebration in Plymouth, Massachusetts included a trip to the grocery store? No, it was a local food feast, and you can have one too! Let’s give thanks to your local hard-working farmers who help bring food to our tables.

Luckily, there are some great finds at the farmers’ market that are perfect for your Thanksgiving meal. Stock up on your favorite humanely raised meats, fresh fruits and vegetables to fill up your Thanksgiving table. There are a few markets the weekend before Thanksgiving. Check out the Saco River Farmer’s Market and Rollinsford Winter Farmer’s Market on November 17th or the Kittery Winter Farmer’s Market (in collaboration with SEL) on November 18th.

Don’t forget to share with your friends and family where their food came from! This could be a great opportunity to discuss why you love the farmer’s market and why it is important to buy local foods.

Here are some items from the market that are must-haves for your Thanksgiving meal:

  1. Apples: Make a classic apple pie or check out Sofia’s recipe for Apple & Pear Crisp (right).
  2. Fresh flowers: Farmer’s markets have a great selection of fall flowers/foliage right now that can make a beautiful center piece!
  3. Beets: Simply roast them or Check out Sofia’s post on Fall Root Vegetable Salad.
  4. Broccoli: Try a broccoli casserole.
  5. Mushrooms: Switch up your gravy by adding mushrooms.
  6. Onions: Onions are great in almost everything!
  7. Potatoes: Mashed potatoes are a staple to a Thanksgiving feast.
  8. Sweet Potato: Make a sweet potato casserole or Check out Kaidy’s Post for a Thanksgiving breakfast. 
  9. Turnips: Roasted turnips are an easy side dish!
  10. Farm Fresh Eggs: If you are baking dessert, don’t forget eggs from the market.

 

AND.. turkey of course!  Check out this great resource for finding local turkeys near you!

 

Erika’s Post: 5 Great Ways to Enjoy the Market as a Family

One of the great things about farmer’s markets is that the whole family can participate and have fun. With all the different stands containing colorful fruits and veggies, music, or arts and crafts, its enough to make for a great outing for all! Here are 5 reasons why going to the farmer’s market with the family is a great day trip.
1. An interactive learning experience for the kids: Walking into the farmers market has lots of learning opportunities for kids. They can walk around and see all of the bright colors, meet the different vendors and talk with them (if they are old enough) about the different kinds of foods and where they come from, learn more about farm-to-table, and see all of the other people and families. They may be able to do crafts or talk with vendors about how they made their art like jewelry, paintings, wool yarn, etc. They may also get the chance to watch and enjoy some local live music!
2. A fun activity for the family to enjoy together: Going to the grocery store with kids can become overwhelming quickly when there isn’t a lot for them to do. The farmers market has a lot of action and things to look at, and people there are usually with their families so they can appreciate other little shoppers. It is lighter and brighter shopping outside and it changes the whole approach to shopping and cooking with the little ones when they can be involved and entertained.
3. Local food can create a smaller carbon footprint: You can talk with the farmer about how the food is grown and when all the different foods that are in-season, as well as enjoy the freshness to boot! Having it grown locally reduces the carbon footprint by reducing the miles and gas it takes to get to your plate.
4. Supports healthier, more sustainable growing practices: You can trust food coming from a farmers market. Yeah, sometimes the grocery store may feature a few items from local farms, but being a mom, its nice to be able to trust that everything is grown sustainably, the meat is humanely raised, and my kids are growing healthier and stronger because of that.
5. The power of choice: When it comes to food kids definitely have their own opinions! One way to get them to try new things is to have them pick out their own produce. Let them pick out one item to try at a time. That may be the best option because if they take a few bites and don’t want it anymore, it goes to mom and dad and there isn’t as much waste.
When you’re shopping with kids it is also nice to keep some things in mind to create a better experience. Reduce your carbon footprint further and bring your reusable shopping bags. Most stands will take cards, but you can help your kids do math by bringing ones or fives since most produce are at even price-points. Bring or buy a snack or treat while your there if possible so that the kids can taste the food  while they are there and associate it better. Also try to go to the farmers market often if possible to create and keep good habits.

Sofia’s Post: What is Tatsoi?

Tatsoi is a small plant that have spoon shaped leaves with short pale stems. This leafy green is a variety of Chinese cabbage that is commonly known as “spoon mustard”, due its leaf shape. This vegetable’s culinary roots originate in Japan, and the name tatsoi derives from the Japanese name tasai.

Why it’s good to eat: 

  • Good source of Vitamins A, C, and K
  • Good source of calcium and potassium

How to eat it:

The flavor of tatsoi changes depending on how it is served. Raw tatsoi has a sweet nutty flavor but when cooked, has an earthy taste similar to spinach. Tatsoi is very versatile and can be used similarly to spinach. It can be eaten raw, steamed, sautéed, or stir fried. In the easy recipe below, the tatsoi can be added to a stir fry or eaten as a side dish.

How to store it:

Tatsoi should be refrigerated. Tatsoi has a short shelf life and will only last a few days. Store in a tightly sealed container.

Easy Tatsoi Recipe:

 Ingredients:

  • 2 heads of tatsoi
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 5 ounces of mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

  1. Cut the tatsoi so you are left with just the stems and leaves. Chop into 1- inch pieces.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat while you dice the onion and mince the garlic cloves. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and sauté for a minute. Add mushrooms until beginning to brown (about 2 minutes).
  3. Add the chopped tatsoi and continue to stir fry for another few minutes, until the stems turn bright green.
  4. Serve as a stir fry with rice or as a side to a protein.

 

Sources:

Specialityproduce.com

Farmerfoodhsare.org

Kaidy’s Post: Sweet Potatoes are November’s Harvest of the Month!

The Harvest of the month for November is sweet potatoes. Despite potato being in its name, sweet potatoes are not part of the same family as traditional white potatoes. They belong to the Convolvulaceae family, along with morning glories. Sweet potatoes are commonly mistaken for yams. Yams are cylindrical, have rougher skin, and typically contain white-flesh. Sweet potatoes have tapered ends with smoother skin and can range in color from white to orange to purple. The most common varieties are Garnet “yam”, Hannah, Jewell, Japanese and Purple sweet potatoes.  Sweet potatoes are available in the Seacoast area throughout the fall time.

Sweet potatoes are packed with nutrients. One cup of sweet potato contains 103 calories, 24 grams carbohydrate, 3.8 grams fiber and 2.3 grams protein.  One cup of sweet potato also contains 438% vitamin A, 37% vitamin C, 28% manganese, 16% vitamin B6, 15% potassium and 10% pantothenic acid of the daily recommended values. Due to its high levels of vitamin C and vitamin A, sweet potatoes aid in immune health, helping to prevent sickness and inflammation in the body. Sweet potatoes are also high in the antioxidant beta carotene, which has been shown to prevent signs of aging, promote healthy vision and support the respiratory system.

Many of you have probably heard the controversy over potatoes and considered whether you should be consuming sweet potatoes over traditional white potatoes. While both types of potatoes contain different nutrient profiles the decision ultimately comes down to what you are looking to achieve in your diet. Both sweet potatoes and traditional potatoes are high in fiber and vitamin C, folate, vitamin B6 and potassium. Sweet potatoes have significantly higher levels of vitamin A and the antioxidant beta carotene. Although both types of potatoes have high levels of carbohydrate, sweet potatoes have more fiber which prevents blood sugar levels from spiking so high after a meal. Another component to consider is the meal you are trying to create. White potatoes are typically used in savory dishes, while sweet potatoes can be incorporated into both the main meal and dessert dishes. All in all, both types of potatoes can be incorporated into a healthy diet in moderation.

While there are lots of both savory and sweet ways to use sweet potatoes in your diet, below is one of my favorite sweet potato dishes.

Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash  

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Ingredients:

  • 1 sweet potato
  • ½ red onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 TBS fresh rosemary
  • 4 eggs

Instructions:

  1. Dice the sweet potato.
  2.  Add olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium heat. Add diced sweet potato. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, while stirring occasionally.
  3. Dice and mince the garlic and red onion. Add to the skillet.
  4. Dice the bell peppers. Add to the skillet.
  5. Dice the jalapeno. Add to the skillet.
  6. Chop the green onion and rosemary. Add the skillet. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, until the sweet potato is tender.
  7. Create 4 wells in the vegetable mixture. Crack one egg into each well. Cover and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes.

Kaidy’s Post: Acorn Squash

Acorn squash has always been a fall staple in my house growing up. In the seacoast area, acorn squash are available from the beginning of the September through the end of October. The acorn squash is part of the family Cucurbita Pepo, which includes pumpkin and zucchini. The most common variety is dark green in color with a splotch or two of orange, however there are also yellow and white varieties as well.

Acorn squash contains 115 calories, 29.9 grams of carbohydrate and 9 grams of fiber in a one cup serving. One serving also contains 37% vitamin C, 26% potassium, 23% thiamin, 22% magnesium, 20% vitamin B6, 18% vitamin A and 10% folate of the daily recommended values. Although acorn squash has a high carbohydrate content, its glycemic index is relatively low, allowing it to actually help stabilize blood sugar levels after eating a meal. Also due to its high vitamin C and vitamin A levels, this vegetable helps to boost your immune system to help fight off sickness.

There are so many different ways to eat acorn squash. Although it tastes delicious on its own, one of the most common ways to serve this vegetable is to bake it in the oven and stuff the insides with a filling. Below is one of my favorite recipes for stuffed acorn squash.

 

Turkey and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

Ingredients:

  • 2 small acorn squash
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 TSP salt
  • 1 TSP pepper
  • 1 TSP rosemary
  • 1 TSP fennel seed
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½ lb ground turkey
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 1 cup turkey ready to make stuffing
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

  1. Slice each acorn squash in half and scrape out seeds to created individual bowls for the stuffing.
  2. Drizzle each half of squash with olive oil, salt, pepper
  3. Roast squash in oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 40-50 minutes
  4. In a large fry pan add oil, onion, celery, salt, pepper, rosemary and fennel seed over medium heat. Cook until onions begin to soften.
  5. Add garlic and turkey. Cook until turkey has browned all the way through.
  6. Add apple and cook until slightly softened. Mix in ready to make stuffing and Parmesan cheese until incorporated. Remove from heat.
  7. Remove squash from oven when it has finished roasting. Fill each acorn squash half with the prepared stuffing mixture.
  8. Place back in oven for 20 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Add a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese to the top of each squash for the last 5 minutes.

Sofia’s Post: What to do with your pumpkin after Halloween

It’s my favorite time of the year, Halloween! I love the spooky skeleton and spider web decorations that are awaiting trick or treaters all over the neighborhood. And what would Halloween be without the jack-o-lantern?!

But after you have carved and displayed your pumpkin, what are you supposed to do with it?

You can eat it! You will want to use a fresh Jack-O-Lantern that was just carved a few hours before and refrigerate it overnight.      

Pumpkin Puree 

Pumpkin puree is very versatile and can be used many recipes from pancakes, to pastas to pies! You can also freeze the puree to use at a later date.

 

 

 

To make pumpkin puree:

  1. Clean your pumpkin with a wet cloth
  2. Slice your pumpkin into wedges from top to bottom (discard the parts where the cut out design was)

3.Rub the cut surfaces with oil. Place them, skin side up, in a roasting pan and add 1 cup of water to the pan. Roast at 375 degrees, for 45-60 minutes.

  1. Once tender, remove from oven and place on a surface to cool. Once cooled, scoop out the pumpkin flesh.
  2. Puree the pumpkin in a food processor or blender.
  3. Use a colander with paper towels to drain the excess water, let it sit for about two hours.

Check out Kaidy’s blog post  on Pumpkin Sage Pasta to use the puree!

You can also roast the pumpkin seeds:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F
  2. Clean and dry the seeds.
  3. Toss seeds in a bowl with the melted butter and salt. Spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown; stir occasionally.

 

Source: Goodhousekeeping.com

Margo Clark Joins the SEL Team in Outreach Role

Seacoast Eat Local is proud to introduce Margo Clark as our incoming Market Outreach and Support team member!
Margo first started with Seacoast Eat Local by interning at the SNAP booth at the Rochester and Somersworth summer markets in 2016. Inspired by the work and impact of her experience, she has continued her work as the SNAP Coordinator at the Exeter and Portsmouth summer markets, and now assisting with Marketing and Support.
Margo’s passions include access to local food and nutrition education. She studied Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems at the University of New Hampshire where these passions grew. She is also serving as an AmeriCorps member with Cooking Matters based at the NH Food Bank in Manchester, a program that offers cooking classes to individuals and families who are food insecure. The cooking classes are based on learning to create delicious, nutritious, affordable meals. In her free time, Margo loves exploring the beautiful landscapes in New Hampshire and Maine such as hiking in the Whites or enjoying the Seacoast’s multiple beaches. All the while munching on local produce of course!
In Margo’s new, part time role with Seacoast Eat Local she will be supporting existing markets and coordinating expanded outreach efforts including advertising campaigns, information distribution and representing the organization at various community groups and committees. Seacoast Eat Local values Margo for her enthusiasm, passion and dedication and is excited to welcome her back in this new role.
Reach out to Margo by e-mail at margo@seacoasteatlocal.org

Kaidy’s Post: An Apple a Day…

Apples are in season in the seacoast area from the beginning of September till the end of October. There are over 100 varieties of apples grown in the United States, but over 90% of the apples grown consist of only 15 varieties. These include McIntosh, Fuji, Gala, Red Delicious, Crispin, Braeburn, Honey Crisp, Jonagold, Granny Smith, Empire, Golden Delicious, Cortland, and Jazz apples. Apple picking is available at lots of farms during this time of year, as it is a fun fall activity for all ages. Some of my favorite places to go are Applecrest Farm and Demerit Hill Farm.

Many of you have heard the saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” And while apples will not necessarily prevent you from getting sick, they do contain a lot of health benefits! Apples contain about 95 calories, 4 grams of fiber and 14% of the daily recommended value of vitamin C. Due to their high fiber and water content, they are very filling making apples a great snack to hold you over until dinner or to bulk up your meals without adding a lot of calories. Apples also contain polyphenols, specifically a flavonoid called epicatechin that has been associated with lowering blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels.

Besides eating apples as a snack, one of my favorite ways to eat apples is in desserts. Baked apple products have a special place in my heart, however they are often loaded with sugar and not the most nutritious option to eat on a daily basis. The recipe below takes one of my favorite fall baked goods, apple muffins, and puts a healthy twist on this classic treat.

Healthy Apple Muffins:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup applesauce, unsweetened
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cup grated apples
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Line muffin tray with cupcake liners.
  2. In a small bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt
  3. In a separate large bowl, whisk together eggs, maple syrup, melted coconut oil, applesauce and vanilla extract.
  4. Combine dry ingredients slowly into the wet ingredients while mixing. Fold in grated apples and walnuts. Stir until combined.
  5. Fill muffin tins all the way to the top. Bake at 425 degrees for 5 minutes. Decrease heat to 350 degrees and bake for 12-18 minutes.
  6. Let cool and serve!

Sofia’s Post: Parsnips!

Fall is here and so are parsnips! Parsnips often get confused with carrots because of their similar shape, but parsnips have a lighter, white color. Parsnips have a delicious nutty, sweet flavor. This root vegetable contains a lot of essential vitamins and minerals which have several beneficial effects on our health, such as:

  1. Loads of potassium, which helps to reduce blood pressure
  2. High dietary fiber that helps to reduce cholesterol levels and lowers the chances of developing diabetes.
  3. Rich in iron, Vitamin C and B9, which helps prevent anemia
  4. Rich in soluble fiber, which makes you feel fuller for longer and helps you avoid over eating

Parsnips can be eaten raw or cooked in a variety of ways, such as: roasted, baked, boiled, fried or pureed.  Parsnips are a great substitute for potatoes, even as french fries!  If you want to  experiment with parsnips, try this rosemary garlic parsnip fry recipe. These parsnip fries are an easy side dish that have a crunchy exterior with a soft inside, taking only about 5 minutes to prep and 30 minutes in the oven!

Rosemary Garlic Parsnips Fries

Ingredients:

  1. 1/4 cup olive oil
  2. 4 large parsnips (6-8 smaller)
  3. 4 cloves of garlic (chopped)
  4. 1 tablespoon of chopped rosemary
  5. Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
  2. Cut your parsnips into small shoestring pieces and place in a mixing bowl
  3. Drizzle the fries with oil and toss until they are coated. Add the garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper to your bowl and continue tossing.
  4. Spread the fries out on your baking sheet evenly. Bake for 15-20 minutes and take them out to toss the fries around a bit.
  5. Bake for another 15-20 minutes.

Sources:

Recipe: realsimplegood.com

Nutrient information: lybrate.com

Kaidy’s Post: It’s Pumpkin Season!

Pumpkins are in season in the seacoast area from the beginning of September through the end of October. They belong to the Cucurbita family, also known gourd family,

 which includes several squash varieties, cucumbers and melons. There are over 45 varieties of pumpkins, ranging in color from orange to white to green.

In one cup of pumpkin there 49 calories, 12 grams of carbohydrate, 2 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber. There is also 245% vitamin A, 19% vitamin C and 16% of potassium, 11% manganese, 11% copper, 11% vitamin B2, 10% vitamin E and 8% iron of the daily recommended values. Pumpkin is filled with vitamins, specifically vitamin A and C, which support immune health, helping you to fight sickness and heal wounds. Also due to its low calorie, nutrient dense nature, pumpkin can help with weight maintenance and loss. Pumpkin seeds are also a great source of nutrition, containing 3 grams of fiber, 7 grams of protein, and 13 grams of polyunsaturated fats per one ounce serving, making them a filling snack to eat throughout the day.

As fall begins to move into full swing, more and more people are picking up pumpkins for their fall decorations. The stores are filled with pumpkin spice flavored goodies and treats and families start to bake pumpkin stuffed treats. However, pumpkin does not have to be only reserved for sugar-filled pumpkin pies and cookies. The recipe below is just one way to incorporate pumpkin into your healthy diet during the fall season.

Pumpkin Sage Pasta

(Makes 8 servings)

Ingredients 

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  •  2 white onion, diced
  •  4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  •  3 cups milk, or milk alternative
  • 4 cups pumpkin puree (1 sugar pumpkin)
  •  salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  •  ½  teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 box whole wheat pasta, cooked

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. Cut a sugar pumpkin in half, from the stem to base. Remove seeds and pulp. Cover each half with foil.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven, foil side up, for 1 hour, or until tender.
  4. Scrape pumpkin meat from shell halves and puree in a blender. Strain to remove any remaining stringy pieces.
  5. In a medium pot over medium heat, add the oil, onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, and dried sage and cook until onions are translucent, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add milk, pumpkin, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Combine until a smooth, creamy sauce forms. Allow to heat through.
  7. Add prepared pasta and combine.

Pro tip: Roast the leftover pumpkin seeds at 300 degrees Fahrenheit on a baking sheet with olive oil, salt and pepper for 45 minutes or until golden brown to use the whole pumpkin!