Fresh From the Fields - Issue #34
Are you looking to keep your plate full of nutrients without breaking the bank? We went to The Big Carrot to talk to their produce manager, Chris Cascanette, about this season’s harvest to find out which foods are seasonal, local and delicious in November.
By eating seasonally, not only are you supporting your local farmer’s but you are providing your body with more nutrients and keeping the flavour full on your plate. By eating foods in their season, you are consuming more nutrients as the produce has had the proper amount of time to grow and ripen.
TOP 5 local and seasonal veggies:
1) CELERY ROOT: Yes, celery has a root and it’s eatable. Don’t be scared by it’s appearance; their nutrient value and versatility is well worth it. This ugly brown hairball of a vegetable has a lovely mild, celery-like flavour with a starchy, rather potato-like texture. Both celery and root contain phytochemical compounds known as coumarins, which are being shown to be useful in cancer prevention and capable of enhancing the activity of certain white blood cells. So swap in the root julienne style in your next satay or dice it up in your next stew.
2) CABBAGE: The 'king' of the cruciferous family of vegetables, this nutrient-dense, low calorie food contains one of the powerful anticancer compounds - glucosinolates. Whether it's green, red or savoy cabbage you are adding to your plate - the less cooked it is, the better the effects.
3) BEETS: You’ve heard us talk about beets before but now is the best time to add them to your diet. As a relative to chard and spinach, beets are an excellent source of folic acid, manganese, potassium and fiber. Their sweet, earthy taste gives them flexibility between sweet and savoury dishes. Whether you try the traditional red ones or mix it up with golden or heirloom beets, you can hide them in a cake or swap them for tomatoes in a caprese salad. You will be pleasantly surprised and satisfied.
4) SQUASH: When was the last time you played with squash - the vegetable, not the sport? This group of vegetables are members or the curcurbitaceae family but vary in shape, colour, size, and flavour. Besides the family name, one thing they all have in common is their richness of carotenes- the important flavonoid compound that has powerful antioxidant functions that help the body scavenge free radicals, and thereby limiting damage to cell membranes, DNA and protein structures in the tissues. Don't be afraid to swap a squash for a sweet potato next time you're making our patties!
KALE: You already know how much we love this leafy green but right now purple kale- formally called Redbor Kale- is the one to experiment with. The nutrient value in all types of kale is pretty similar but in general, the dark and richer in colour, the greater the nutrient content. So whether you drink in a juice or add it a soup or toss it in a salad, there are so many different ways to play around with this ingredient.
4 fav local food bloggers for inspiration:
...Looking for inspiration on how to use these veggies? Below are 4 of our fav local food bloggers who are well worth checking out for ideas and inspiration:
1) Seven Spoons
Hailing from Southern Ontario, Tara O'Brady started Seven Spoons in 2005 — initially conceived as a recipe site, it has grown into a beautiful source of inspiration and ideas, as described by Tara beyond recipes “it's also a story of sorts, a collection of thoughts and family and food.”
In the Weeds is first is a video-blog series on foraging for fresh food. Each episode features different local chefs on a journey to uncover hidden food gems. At the end of each excursion the chefs prepare a meal in the wilderness with their find.
Born out of a passion for local food and farming in Niagara Region, Eating Niagara is the the brainchild of Tiffany Mayer a former daily news reporting on the Agriculture file. In Tiffany’s words, “My goal with Eating Niagara is to tell the stories of the people growing and making our food here, my stories as an eater and to cover all the ways that we can eat Niagara: at the farm stand or market, in a CSA or grocery store, foraging, trying our hand at growing our own food, or in restaurants or their own kitchen.”
Winner of the Saveur Magazine award for best food blogger, The First Mess is penned by another Niagara region resident, Laura Wright. Focused on seasonal eating and cooking with natural foods, in Laura’s words, “A meal has never been anything to take for granted in my life and this blog is a greater reflection of that simple idea.”