How’s and Why’s of Eating With the Seasons

Kelsey MacDonald, Seacoast Eat Local Intern

spring

What Does Eating In Season Mean?
Eating in season is a way of celebrating the food products, especially produce available in your area at that time of year. This also means waiting to eat foods until they are available to you locally, which maybe a challenge at first. Eating only the freshest, local products will provide the richest flavors and highest nutritional value. Today this can be hard with all the commercial food options available, but you will find food coming into season exciting. And you will be ready for the new products to come in their bounty.

Spring is the time of new growth with products that are leafy and tender.

Summer provides light and cooling foods.

Fall provides the end of the light foods and the beginning of the warming food with its bountiful harvest.

Winter is a time of warming and hearty foods that keep us sustained.

late summer

Why Should I Eat in Season?

Fresher foods have more flavor and provide a higher nutrient content. Seasonal foods also have what the body need at that time of year. For example, in the summer produce has a high water content and natural sugars to help with hydration; in the winter foods tend to be heartier and more warming. At any time of year, without having to be harvested early and transported a long distance (which degrades nutrients), local foods will have more vitamins and phytonutrients.

You are supporting your neighbors and the local economy by shopping from farmers, markets or locally sourced restaurants. You are promoting a healthier environment by reducing the carbon footprint of the food from the field to your fork. Lastly, you are also reducing the packaging of your food exponentially, creating less waste overall.

How Do I Eat In Season?

Shop at a farm stand nearby or the farmer’s market regularly to purchase what is coming in and out of season. See the market schedule at: http://seacoastharvest.org/market/ .  Through direct sales from the farm, you are able to ask many questions about flavor profiles, flavor combinations and recipe ideas. There are also seasonal cookbooks that offer great suggestions on recipes, and how to prepare vegetables that may be new to you.

Signing up for a CSA (community supported agriculture) share is a great way to ensure you are able to try what is available each week (or bi-weekly). By paying up front, your farmer is able to plan for seeds, labor, equipment costs and more. If this is too much, try signing up for a CSA share with a friend or neighbor and learn the ropes together for the first year.

See more information at: https://seacoasteatlocal.org/find-local-food/csas/

Plan ahead and preserve:

Preserving, pickling, canning and freezing are great ways to ensure your fresh and local products are available to you with a longer shelf life. There are many possibilities and canning makes for great gifts too!

See https://seacoasteatlocal.org/kitchen-garden/food-preservation/ for tips and classes near you.

This may sound overwhelming, but an easy way to start is with freezer pickles:

freezer pickles

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds pickling cucumbers, sliced
  • 8 cups thinly sliced onions (about 8 medium)
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 2 cups cider vinegar

Directions

  • Rinse 10 2-cup plastic containers and lids with boiling water. Dry thoroughly. Divide cucumbers, onions, salt and water between two large bowls. Let stand at room temperature 2 hours. Do not drain.
  • Add 2 cups sugar and 1 cup vinegar to each bowl; stir until sugar is dissolved. Transfer to prepared containers, leaving 1-in. headspace for expansion; freeze up to 6 weeks.
  • Thaw pickles in refrigerator 8 hours before using. Serve within 2 weeks after thawing. Yield: 10 pints.

http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/freezer-cucumber-pickles/print#ixzz3XcJFqHy3

 

Sources:

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=faq&dbid=28

http://www.nourishlife.org/2011/03/eating-with-the-seasons/

http://www.justfood.org/csa

http://www.saga.co.uk/health/healthy-eating/seasonalfoodsbetterforyourbody.aspx

 

 

 

 

Kids’ Corner: An Ode to Eggs

egg odeAn Ode to Eggs

By Trey Ferdyn, Age 11

Hi! I’m Trey, and I have a favorite food. Some of you guys might have favorite foods like ice cream, or pizza, or chocolate chip cookies, but mine is different. My favorite food is eggs. Ok, I know it sounds weird, but I really love eggs! My mom sometimes makes eggs for breakfast (or lunch, or dinner!) and I love them.

One of the reasons that I love them so much is that there are so many things that you can do with eggs! You can poach them, scramble them, you can hard boil them, you can turn them into an omelet, or so much more! One of my favorite ways to eat eggs is to scramble them, and mix in spinach and cheese.
chick in hand

Our family buys eggs from a local farmer, and they are so fresh and yummy! We love to buy local food because it tastes better than what you would buy at a grocery store. If you’ve never had a farm fresh egg and you think it’s probably the same as at the grocery store, believe me, it’s so much better! With local eggs, the yolk is all golden and delicious, and the eggs are sometimes really big, or sometimes smaller. It is also cool to be able to meet the farmer  and get to know where your food comes from. Recently, I got to visit the baby chicks at the farm, and they were so cute! Here are some pictures!

Alright, I guess it’s bye for now, but remember: eggs are the BEST!

Baby chicks at Stout Oak Farm
Baby chicks at Stout Oak Farm

March 28 is Dairy Day & Kids’ Day at Market!

brandmoore milk 2

There was a time when New Hampshire was dotted with dairies and milk came fresh to your front door. Times have changed and so has the farm landscape, but fresh local dairy is still in abundant supply if you know where to look! Our March 28th Market is celebrating local dairy in many forms. The Winter Farmers’ Market will be at Exeter High School from 10-2. We’ll have local dairy resources, recipes and several farms with a delicious array of dairy goodness. Brookford Farm & Brandmoore Farm will have raw milk, cream, & yogurt while Jesta Farm will be bringing Raw Goat Milk. Numerous awesome cheese varieties will be available from Brookford Farm, Wolf Meadow Farm, & Hickory Nut Farm. (Plenty of samples available!) Plus as part of our Kids’ Day activities, there will be a butter making station using raw cream from Brookford Farm.

veggiesWe are excited to be celebrating our first ever Kids Day! There will be numerous community groups running activities for young and young at heart! Andrea Szirbik will be back at the market with interactive music to entertain and delight. Riverwoods Retirement Center will also be at the market answering questions for those young at heart but close to retirement!

We are very grateful for our ongoing partnership with Cornucopia Food Pantry. They will be at the market collecting fresh food donations and sharing information on their community support programs. Thanks to your generous donations and the generosity of our market vendors, we’ve been able to collect over 1,000 pounds of food this season for area families in need. Please consider picking up some extra veggies to donate at market.

Maine Maple Sunday, March 22

Maihow_1ne Maple Sunday
Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Maine Maple Producers Association welcomes you to join Maine’s Maple Syrup Producers, statewide, as they celebrate Maine Mapl Sunday is always the fourth Sunday in March although some sugarhouses are offering events for both Saturday and Sunday. Please be sure to read the description of each sugarhouse to know what times they will be open and the activities they offer.

For more information and map: http://www.mainemapleproducers.com/maine-maple-sunday-map.html

Meet your CSA Farmers Part 2

CSA Days are returning to the Winter Farmers’ Markets in February! Seacoast Eat Local will be hosting a variety of CSA Farms and styles to suit your needs. Our first CSA Day Event will be on February 14th at Wentworth Greenhouses in Rollinsford. Be sure to mark your calendar and show your love for local food. Read on to learn more about some of the farms offering CSA Shares this year.

drumlinfarm small

Mildred’s Drumlin Farm – Lee, New Hampshire

1. Why should someone participate in your CSA program?
We are small so are able to provide exceptional and personal attention to detail. Almost everything is harvested on pickup day for the freshest possible produce.

2. How does your CSA program fit into your farm system?
CSA is becoming the main focus of our farm and we will be expanding it over the next couple years to replace 1 of our farmer’s markets.

3. Why do you farm?
We farm because we love it. We offer CSA because we love to share what we grow.

 

Sirois Family Farm – Lebanon, Maine

1. Why should someone participate in your CSA program?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
We offer from Farm to Home, the freshest food possible both vegetable and meats.

2. How has your CSA program changed over the years?
Our CSA program has grown to Organic Certified Produce and Meats.

3. How does your CSA program fit into your farm system?
We are a 3 generation farm and CSA’s are another way for consumers to buy our local farm products.

4. Why do you farm?
We farm as a way to teach our children and grandchildren how to plan, how to follow through, how to manage time & money, live well. We learn how to be self reliant. The Sirois Family takes Pride in growing and producing the best food available in the area.

 

Stout Oak Farm – Brentwood, New Hampshire

1. Why should someone participate in your CSA program?
There are so many great reasons to join our CSA. Get to know your farmers!  Eat more organic vegetables!  Eat with the seasons! Cook healthier meals for your family!  Learn about how your food is grown! Support local organic agriculture!  Participate in the local food movement!
What stands out about Stout Oak’s CSA? All of our members pick up their shares at the farm, so they really make a connection with the place, and with the farmers. Our farm is Certified Organic. We love to grow and eat all kinds of greens at Stout Oak, so salad greens and cooking greens tend to be plentiful in our CSA shares. We keep our members well informed, with weekly newsletters, recipe ideas, and farm news.
If you’re going to take one action this year to support local farms, choose something high impact. Join a CSA!
2. How has your CSA changed over the years?
stout oak share smallWe’ve expanded our CSA program beyond traditional boxed vegetable share to offer more flexibility, choice, and price levels. Our members can now choose from two different types of shares: Weekly Organic Vegetable Shares or Farm Store Credit Shares.  Pickup of Weekly Vegetable Shares happens on Tuesday and Friday afternoons.  Our Farm Store Credit members can shop at the farm anytime it’s open (5 days a week).
3. How does your CSA program fit into your farm system?
Our CSA is the core of our farm business. This year, we’re offering 60 Weekly Vegetable Shares, and 80 Farm Store Credit Shares. Each year, our members provide our farm with the financial support to hire our crew, purchase our seeds and supplies, and get our growing season underway.  As farmers, we love how the CSA model connects us with our friends and neighbors, and creates a supportive community around the farm.
4. Why do you farm?
We love to grow food for our community.  Although we’ve been farming for quite a while now, we’re just starting our fourth year on our land in Brentwood.  As we’ve gotten settled in here, we’ve been so grateful for the enthusiastic response we’ve received from the community.  It’s this farm-community connection that gives our work meaning, and makes it possible for us to continue to do what we do.

Wake Robin Farm – Stratham, New Hampshirewake robin share small

1. Why should someone participate in your CSA program?
Our members enjoy a very wide variety of fruits and vegetables, and receive a discount on any additional purchases from the farm. We also pride ourselves on exposing our members to vegetables they may have never heard of, and finding new ways to enjoy old favorites.

2. Why do you farm?
Our family has farmed here for 14 generations, we love what we do and we wouldn’t have it any other way!

Share the love at the Winter Farmers’ Market!

Celebrate your love of all things local on February 14th at the Winter Market!

carrot shirtThe Seacoast Eat Local Winter Farmers’ Markets are returning to Wentworth Greenhouses on Saturday, February 14th from 10am till 2pm. Not only is the market on Valentine’s Day this year, we also have our CSA Day Event going on for even more connection with the community that feeds you! Be sure to mark your calendars and come out for a day of food and fun with friends and family.

 

Show some love for your community:

Cornucopia Food Pantry will be on hand sharing information on their support programs and collecting food donations to help those in need. Last year we collected and donated nearly 2,000 pounds of fresh food to area pantries throughout the winter market season. We are well on our way to exceeding that level this year. Please consider picking up a few extra items at the market and dropping them for donation at the pantry’s table on the way out.

Show some love for area musicians:

Mike Morris is a market favorite and often has a few remixes of old classics tailored for the market. We can’t wait to have him back to sing, entertain and bring a smile to your face. It may be the day of love, but slow dances will be optional. chocolate winnipesaukee

Show some love for someone special:

There are many ways to show how much you care about your partner, child, friend or colleague. Take a stroll through the market and think about alternative ways to say I love you. Boxed sets of jams or sauces, a gourmet fresh pasta dinner, growlers of local beer, maple candied nuts or a classic chocolate bar are just a few of the possibilities you will find walking through the market. This year Seacoast Eat Local will also have Valentines for sale at the Market. Pick up a few or the whole set to give out to your favorite farmers and food producers.

Show some love for the Winter Farmers’ Markets:

At Seacoast Eat Local, we work hard all year round to bring together the Winter Farmers’ Market series. Swing by our Market Info Table to say hi, pick up recipes, a Seacoast Harvest food guide, market info and more. Take a moment to check out our Seacoast Eat Local T-shirts, Maine-harvested Seaweed, DIY book collection, or market Totebags. Your purchases help to keep these markets thriving and growing!

Meet your CSA Farmers Part 1

CSA Days are returning to the Winter Farmers’ Markets in February! Seacoast Eat Local will be hosting a variety of CSA Farms and styles to suit your needs. Our first CSA Day Event will be on February 14th at Wentworth Greenhouses in Rollinsford. Be sure to mark your calendar and show your love for local food. Read on to learn more about some of the farms offering CSA Shares this year.

touchingearthfarmveggieTouching Earth Farm – Kittery, Maine

1. Why should someone participate in your CSA program?
We grow a great variety of vegetables, most being heirlooms that are chosen for flavor and vitality. Our CSA includes weekly access to a large flower and herb cutting garden which is also a great way for kids to experience the farm. We grow responsibly and without the use of any sprays or fertilizers that are not approved by OMRI. We also have an annual summer picnic and fall farm-dinner that are a great way for members to come together.

2. How has your CSA changed over the years?
Every year we adjust crop plans and vegetable varieties to fine-tune our operation. We delight in discovering new veggie varieties that thrive on our farm, as well as sticking with the tried and true.

3. How does your CSA program fit into your farm system?
We are primarily a CSA. The bulk of our vegetables go into the shares, and the rest go to market, chefs, and the school right down the street from us.

4. Why do you farm?
It is deeply satisfying to grow good vegetables for people, and of course, to cook with them ourselves! We love contributing to the local food culture!

Old Fields Farm – South Berwick, MaineOldFieldsFarmveggies

1. Why should someone participate in your CSA program?
The flexibility to buy nutritional produce when and in the quantities you desire.

2. How has your CSA changed over the years?
It has grown in membership. Our cultivation methods have moved towards minimal or no-till practices, while emphasizing mineralized composting for nutrient dense produce.

3. How does your CSA program fit into your farm system?
Our CSA is the primary focus for the farm. We also work with restaurants.

4. Why do you farm?
We like working with the rhythms of nature. Plus, it’s nice to be barefoot all summer!


Two Toad Farm – Lebanon, Maine

twotoadraintwotoadshine

Two Toad Farm knows a picture is worth a thousand words and take great pleasure growing food for you rain or shine!

Applecrest Farm Orchards – Hampton Falls, New Hampshire

1. Why should someone participate in your CSA program?
Participate in Applecrest FarmShare CSA because we are unique, we likely offer the greatest variety of on-the-farm grown vegetables and fruit.

2. How has your CSA changed over the years?CSA Mac + Elana + Member
Our CSA is constantly evolving due to membership surveys; we’ve been able to tailor our CSA to truly fit the wants and needs of our members.

3. How does your CSA program fit into your farm system?
Our CSA program is an integral component of our overall highly diversified farming system.

4. Why do you farm?
To make an honest living and watch things grow.

Win a Market Tour and Free Luncheon!

two farmers veggies long

Get a fresh start on the new year with an educational Farmers’ Market Tour and Free Lunch at the Jan. 10 market at Exeter High!

In partnership with Dig In: Real Food Solutions, we are raffling a guided market tour and fresh-made market lunch.

  • Do you want to learn more about eating locally and seasonally?
  • Do you have questions about the best ways to store and
    preserve winter veggies?
  • Do you need new ideas on ways to utilize local farm foods?
  • Do you like free food?!

Then enter to win a market tour and luncheon at the Exeter Winter Farmers’ Market on January 10th with Kath Gallant, owner of Blue Moon Evolution, and health coach, Tracey Miller. Tracey and Kath are founders of Dig In: Real Food Solutions a fun, informative and creative food-coaching program to help you enjoy healthier food and be good to your body. They provide weekly cooking videos, a winter cookbook and food journal, daily tips and optional cooking demonstrations and meetups at the Blue Moon Evolution in Exeter. Their winter program starts January 12th. For more information visit www.diginrealfood.com.

Several lucky winners will have Kath & Tracey take them around the farmers’ market and give them some guidance on how to preserve and prepare all the great food available at our winter markets and after they’ll be treated to a freshly prepared market-sourced lunch!

Click here to enter!

Only one entry per person.
You must be present at the January 10th Winter Farmers’ Market at Exeter High to claim your prize.
The market runs 10am till 2pm. Market Tour and Luncheon will take place between 10:30am and 1pm.
Winners will be announced and contacted on January 8th.

heron pond veggie display

Finish all your holiday shopping at the Winter Farmers’ Market!

giftswfm

The Winter Farmers’ Markets have continued to grow over the years and with them the local food offerings. Eating with the seasons is not only getting easier, it’s getting tastier and more creative! The Winter Markets offer a lot more than meal tips and local ingredients for your holiday feasts, they also bring together a wide variety of great items perfect for gifting around the holidays. Jams, syrups and soaps can top off any stocking with some local flair. The amazing market vendors also have lots of things packaged and ready to wrap or tuck into a gift bag. Handmade hats with local farm wool, bird boxes from farm squash, hand salves and balms are just a few of the items available. If you have an especially difficult to shop for friend, consider buying them Market Debit Tokens, they can be used like cash with all Winter Farmers’ Market vendors and never expire! Finish up your list and come over to the next Winter Farmers Market. We will be at Exeter High School this Saturday 12/13 from 10-2 and back at Wentworth Greenhouses in Rollinsford next Saturday 12/20 from 10-2. Visit our Winter Market Site for more info.

table items

Help share the harvest!

veggies

This holiday season, make a donation to help seacoast farmers share the harvest with neighbors in need! Join our Locally Drive Food Drive!

Participating Seacoast Farms have pledged to match produce in-kind for all all funds raised.

This means that every dollar raised goes directly to a local farmer, who in-turn will donate TWICE that value in fresh, healthy produce to a local food pantry.

Seacoast Eat Local will collect the produce at the Winter Farmers’ Markets in Rollinsford and Exeter.

Many participating farms are already donating high quality produce to local food pantries and soup kitchens. This fundraiser provides a direct way of giving something back to the farms for the good hard work that is already happening…and providing incentive for EVEN MORE fresh, healthy food going to people in need.

Donate online or directly at the market. Our next markets in Rollinsford are on Saturday Dec. 6th and 20th. The next Exeter market is Saturday Dec. 13. Visit our Winter Market site for details. Be sure to stop by the Seacoast Eat Local Market Information Table to find out more.