Have you stopped by your local Farmers Market for some fresh vegetables? My favorite part of this time of year is sourcing seasonal fruits and vegetables from as many local farms as possible. This boosts the nutritional value of my food (vs. produce shipped from around the country) as well as the local economy! Living Acres is one of my favorite farms to buy organically grown produce. This week, I want to spotlight their spring greens and share with you how they stand apart from your typical grocery vegetable.
Swiss chard, butterhead lettuce, kale, chrysanthemum greens and fennel are among the mouth watering spring greens that Living Acres is growing. These greens provide a variety of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, particularly folate and iron. Folate and iron are essential for our cognitive function, immune system, growth and development, energy levels, and preventing anemia. A variety of dark greens should be a staple in our diet.
Chrysanthemum greens are a common Asian food which are very new to my kitchen. So far, I have enjoyed them lightly sauteed with Living Acres’ kale and scallions or steeped for a medicinal green tea. The leaves have a mild grassy, herbaceous taste with stalks that are sweet and slightly crunchy. In addition to tea, they are traditionally added to soups or parboiled and then topped with sesame dressing.
Fennel is one of my all-time favorite herbs! It has a sweet licorice taste similar to anise. Even if you don’t like licorice candy (which contains artificial flavor), you may enjoy this light and natural taste. The herb is made up of the bulb, stalks, and fonds (leafy part) I love to add the stalks and fronds to my salads or roast the bulb in the oven (add coconut oil, salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast flakes. Bake for 35-45 minutes until tender.)
I don’t exaggerate when I boast of these greens’ robust flavors. When you cultivate crops from the soil up, the fruit is impressively juicier and nutritious. Here is what Sasha and Amanda share about their practices, “Our farming philosophy is centered around soil health. We believe that healthy soils make healthy plants which in turn make healthy people. We strive to keep the organic matter in our soils high and the proper nutrients balanced by applying compost, cover crops, and natural soil amendments. No pesticides or herbicides are used in the growing of our vegetables. We are a low-mechanized farm that relies mostly on the power of humans.”
If you are not already part of their CSA membership, you can find them at Alfred’s Farmers Market every Sunday. (They also are at the Corning Farmers Market every Thursday.)
I hope you are able to try some new greens this spring as you source them from our local farmers. I would love to hear about some of your favorite local produce and recipes!