Veronique’s Post: When One Door Closes…

This winter season, as an intern for Seacoast Eat Local, has been one of the most wonderful and educational experience thus far. I’ve learned so much from both Shelly and Jill, my amazing co-interns, the array of farmers, and the many customers that I’ve met. I can still remember my first farmer’s market, and the buzz of energy that vibrated right before the opening of the day. My excitement was obvious then, and continued to remain for the rest of the market days.

As a Sustainable Agriculture major at the University of New Hampshire, I felt so much emphasis on food production, and ways to grow the best crops, that I forgot one of the most important aspect of agriculture: people. As an intern, I was able to see how much these markets and farmers have made an impact on the community. There were families that were regulars, who were dedicated to feeding their families local and healthy foods, and also supporting their farmers. I’ve enjoyed witnessing how excited people were for products like kohlrabi, for both those who’ve never had the product and those who were avid kohlrabi enthusiasts. The community and atmosphere of the markets were so open and welcoming, and it made me beam to think about how people from different places, lives and experiences were all able to enjoy the simplicity of food. This experience has helped push my desire to become part of our local food system, and learn even more. And though the Winter’s Farmer Market season is now over, a whole new season is coming up, which means more food, excitement, and community. 

Veronique’s Post: It’s Always Tea Time

What’s better than a steaming cup of tea and great book? The weather might be warming up but that won’t stop me from brewing a cup of my favorite tea. There are a variety of teas, with coinciding health benefits. Though I love my cup of Earl Grey, there are so many blends and flavors to entice any tea skeptic. An easy way of enjoying tea is by creating your own! Many herbs for tea can be grown in your own backyard. Herbs like mint, lemon balm, sage, chamomile, and lavender can easily be grown and dried to make your own blends. You can also mix up your blend with rose hip, raspberry leaves, citrus peels, or even dandelion root. Here are some helpful tips to brew your perfect cup:  

  1. Harvest your herbs mid-morning or in drier conditions, after the dew has evaporated 
  2. You can air dry herbs by laying them out in an even layer over cheesecloth, careful to avoid direct sunlight, and damp areas.  
  3. Lay a cheesecloth or paper towel over the herbs to protect from dust, and dry them for a minimum of ten days 
  4. Place the dried herbs in an tightly closed jar after  
  5. Using a tablespoon of your blend, you can pour hot water over the blend or use a tea infuser and steep for ten minutes.  

Here is a great recipe to try out! 

Cinnamon Rose Hip Tea 

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of cinnamon  
  • 1 cup of dried rose hips 
  • 1 teaspoon of dried, grated lemon peel 
  • 1/4 cup of dried  lemon balm leaves

If making your own tea blend isn’t for you, be sure to check out our friends at White Heron Tea!

Veronique’s Post: Warm Weather and What’s to Come

It’s April, and we’ve only left the cold temperatures and blankets of snow. With the bitter frost behind us, warm weather is creeping in. What better way to celebrate the arrival of spring than with this iconic springtime crop, asparagus! Asparagus usually start popping up around May but their season does not linger too long, so make sure you take advantage and grab some asparagus in local upcoming markets around the Seacoast. Their short season is one of the reasons why people are so excited for this perennial crop, and not to mention their sweet and tender flavors. Asparagus in the spring are best eaten on the day of harvest (or within a couple days), and should not be over-prepared. Try this simple recipe, that surely will not disappoint 

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound asparagus, tough ends trimmed 

  • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided 

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

  • 4 eggs 

  • Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 500 degrees . Line a sheet try with tin foil and toss asparagus with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper then place in the oven. Roast until asparagus is tender and beginning to brown in places, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and tent with foil. 

    Heat oil over medium high heat until shimmering. Carefully add one egg to the skillet. Cook until egg whites are set, spooning hot fat over the top, about 1 minute. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining eggs. 

    Divide asparagus between four plates and top each with 1 egg. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately. 

    Recipe Adapted from seriouseats.com  

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

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.