5.25.2011

Eating Local and Organic

After my soggy Saturday 6.5 miler, I got changed and headed downtown for the Farmer's Market.

**I did not know that we had horses for our police officers. Learn something new every day....

Last summer, I made an effort to go every Saturday for fresh produce. I found that it was cheaper and tastier. Plus, I liked the idea of helping out local farmers.
Just a couple weeks ago, I finished reading Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver et al. It changed the way I thought about food and where it comes from. I feel more of a need to buy local and organic as much as possible.

So as the rain cleared up, I headed out in search of spring veggies and anything else interesting I could find.
First stop was Java Joe's on 4th street for a post-run iced coffee. Yum!
I walked through the entire market and was able to locate 2 stands that had organically grown produce.

At the first stand, I was able to get carrots. They had packed them in dirt over the winter to keep them fresh. That was a great find! At the next stand, I found asparagus, baby onions and tomatoes. It's early for tomatoes, but they have a green house where they are able to grow them year round.
I was also able to find fresh portabello and button mushrooms, bulb garlic, Swiss chard, spinach, chevre, farm fresh eggs and organic chicken breasts. I even found locally infused olive oil!
I stopped by my favorite stand, Mast Family Farm, for fresh bread and some baked goods.
Needless to say, I was very happy with all my finds.
I even made a tasty, healthy. lunch after I got home. Tuna sandwich on fresh bread with spinach and tomato, served up with some carrots and tomato slices. 

After reading  Animal Vegetable Miracle, I felt like I shouldn't eat fruit unless I could find it locally in Iowa. I've been really missing bananas. :(
When I visited the farmer's market I talked to the owner of Grinnell Heritage Farm about the book and how I was doing my best to eat local. He made a couple of good points to me:
  • It is really hard to grow organic fruit in Iowa. Buying organic and free trade fruit isn't going to kill the environment. If you are doing your best to eat local and organic otherwise, it's okay to buy fruit from a store.
  • If your grandparents wouldn't recognize an ingredient in something you are eating, you shouldn't eat it. (Good point!!)
This led me to visit the local organic grocery store, New City Market. And they had organic, fair trade bananas!! And I also got fresh made pasta, pears and some heritage Arkansas Black apples.

Super tasty- especially with a small bit of fresh cheese. This apple almost has a red wine tasting skin. I actually went back for a couple more just today!

With all this local produce, I whipped up a little dinner last night for me and T.

First, I washed and steamed a big bunch of Bright Lights Swiss Chard, chopped up some portabellos and fresh garlic bulb for sauteing and baked some chicken. I also boiled up my fresh whole wheat spaghetti.
I made a small side salad with the spinach, carrots and tomato I purchased at the Farmer's Market.
Here is the finished product.
I tossed all the ingredients with the Basil and Roma Tomato infused olive oil I purchased at the market. It was pretty tasty.

In Animal Vegetable Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver cites this statistic, "If everyone in America ate one local meal each week, it would save an estimated 1.1 million barrels of oil- every week!"*

*(From Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver, Steven L. Hopp and Camille Kingsolver, based on data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration and “The Oil We Eat,” by Richard Manning in Harper’s Magazine, Feb. 2004.)

I'm glad to say that T and I did our part this week.