Monday, July 15, 2013

Farm Fresh Dinner

Tonight for dinner we had a delicious meal made exclusively of ingredients from a local farm.  I wish I could say this was a regular occurrence in our house, but I am just starting to get the hang of buying local.  I spent a lot of time thinking "What's the difference between local and grocery store organics?  As long as it doesn't have the pesticides, it's fine!"  Now of course to me it is still the most important thing to avoid foods tainted with toxic chemicals (such as Monsanto's insecticide corn), but in the summertime, especially in the garden state, it is so great to eat local ingredients!

Did you know that most grocery store tomatoes are picked when they are green and ripened artificially so that they are red when they arrive in your grocery store?  Because of this, the tomatoes you buy in the grocery store are less tasty and less nutritious than the in season, local variety.  This information comes from a study by the Harvard School of Public Health:

               "While all of the factors affecting nutritional quality of fruits and vegetables – crop
variety, production method, post-harvest handling, storage, and processing and packaging
– apply equally to produce that is produced locally or on farms across the country, relying
on local sources for your produce needs has some distinct advantages. First, even when
the highest post-harvest handling standards are met, foods grown far away that spend
significant time on the road, and therefore have more time to loss nutrients before
reaching the marketplace. Second, farmers growing for a local (and especially a
direct) market favor taste, nutrition and diversity over shipability when choosing
varieties. Greater crop diversity from the farmer means greater nutritional diversity for
the eater. Third, in direct and local marketing strategies, produce is usually sold within 24
hours after harvest, at its peak freshness and ripeness, making consuming them a more
attractive prospect. Fourth, during this short time and distance, produce is likely handled
by fewer people, decreasing potential for damage, and typically not harvested with
industrial machinery. Minimizing transportation and processing can ensure maximum
freshness and flavor, and nutrient retention." (Harvard School of Public Health)

Does this mean I won't go to Wegmans to buy grape tomatoes for Gracie's insatiable appetite (the kid can't get enough of them) in December?  No, at least not yet.  But it does mean that a dinner like the one we ate tonight was more nutritious, and a heck of a lot more flavorful, than it would have been if we had purchased the ingredients at the grocery store!

I am not a tomato lover, but these tomatoes are so sweet, bright, and full of flavor!
Pasture raised bacon.  Yes, please!
So, what did we eat?  A simple dinner of bacon and eggs, sweet corn, and cucumber and tomato salad.  I bought pastured bacon for the first time from Farmer Scott, and it was delicious!  Naturally cured "the way they did it 150 years ago," according to Scott. All of the other ingredients were from the farm too, and all the veggies were picked the day I
 bought them!  
Farmer Scott's corn is GMO free and grown without the use of pesticides.  Also, delicious.
Some green peppers added flavor and color to the eggs.

My final plate.  I added more cucumber tomato salad...and more bacon.

Remember to go to to find farms and farmer's markets in your area!  Bon Appetite!

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