Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Dale Rodman will celebrate Farm to School Week with a visit to Eudora Wednesday.
Rodman was scheduled to join Eudora school board members and Douglas County officials on a tour of the Eudora school district’s garden and culinary center. The group will also hear presentations from the district’s food service representative and superintendent about Farm to School initiatives there, said Mary Geiger, communications director for the state department of agriculture.
Rodman and other officials also were scheduled to enjoy a 45-percent local lunch with students.
Wednesday is Kansas Food Day, which the state describes as an effort to promote well-balanced, nutrient-rich eating habits; support all Kansas farmers and ranchers; continuously improve agricultural production; and reduce hunger in Kansas communities.
The menu for the Lawrence school district’s upcoming farm to school lunch originally called for, among other vegetables, peppers.
But unlike produce shipped from distant, always-summer climates, local food is dependent on local weather. And an early October frost means local schools won’t be serving as many peppers as planned.
“We have to work with what we get,” said Lindsey Morgan, registered dietitian and district food service supervisor.
The district has planned Thursday’s mostly local lunch to celebrate statewide Farm to School Week. While some Lawrence schools occasionally incorporate local food into student meals, the lunch is the first such districtwide effort.
While the Kansas departments of agriculture and education are promoting and providing guidelines for districts statewide to serve local meals this week, state officials said as of Monday that Lawrence and Eudora were the only districts that had confirmed plans with the state to do so.
Seasonality, delivery methods, availability of large quantities and compliance with nutritional guidelines are all factors that can make serving local food more challenging for schools than, say, ordering in mass quantities from corporate distributors.
“We are trying to get as much local as we can,” Morgan said. “But we feed over 6,000 meals a day, so trying to get quantities is something that we’ve been trying to work through.”
Foundation for growth
This year the Lawrence district’s local offerings have included watermelon, green beans, squash and lettuce, though they were served in select schools because there wasn’t enough to serve districtwide, Morgan said. Some schools also serve items from their school gardens, again as quantities allow.
While both Lawrence high schools have docks for large deliveries by truck, local food may arrive in a different type of vehicle, Morgan said. Once produce arrives, it may have unique storage requirements — right now, at Free State High School alone, there are 250 pounds of squash and a pallet of apples awaiting Thursday’s special lunch.
Morgan said the Farm to School program’s current goal is to learn more about those factors, as well as seasonal availability of produce, and “continue to grow from there.”
The program officially started in 2010 with a grant from LiveWell Lawrence that designated a farm to school manager, who also is the kitchen manager at Schwegler School. She laid groundwork by researching policies, networking with farmers and creating food safety guidelines.
Even with fewer than expected peppers, Thursday’s districtwide lunch will have a spicy flavor. The menu includes savory butternut squash and black bean burritos, made with local squash and tortillas baked in Kansas City, Kan.; chicken fajitas; apples from Fieldstone Orchard in Overbrook; lettuce from Lecompton; salsa made in Baldwin City; black beans and salad.
While the special menu cost more to put together than a typical school lunch, Morgan said, students will pay the same price as usual.
Jackie Stafford and other Cordley School parents have organized weekend or after-school fruit- and vegetable-picking field trips for the past couple years.
With district approval, she said, some of that same produce made it into lunches in the Cordley cafeteria.
On Sunday, a group of Cordley students picked apples at Fieldstone, and while they took home those apples, the trip was planned to show them where the apples that will be on their trays Thursday came from.
Stafford said her children, a fourth-grader and a kindergartner, have had many opportunities to visit farms to see where their food comes from, and she is hopeful her efforts will give other children that chance, too.
She also said she supports local foods both from nutrition and business standpoints.
“It just makes so much more sense, if we’ve got enough food around here, to be supporting the local food economy,” she said.
Prior to the farm to school program’s official formation, Linda Cottin, who runs Cottin’s Hardware Farmers’ Market, helped organize some of the first local food lunches at Cordley.
Like Stafford, she agrees that the more children know about where their food comes from, the better. She’d like to see the program grow.
“It’s baby steps,” she said. “And it needs to move slow ... the supply up to where the demand is can’t happen overnight.”
More on farm to school
Lawrence chef Rick Martin helped about a dozen low-income residents cook a healthy dish of red beans and rice with sausage that was topped with fresh pico de gallo.
The cost: $1.44 per serving.
On Wednesday evening, Martin lead a three-hour cooking class where he showed residents how to chop and measure ingredients and then provided assistance as they created their dishes. He also talked about how to properly store food and sanitize cooking areas.
Martin’s classroom was in the lobby of the Just Food warehouse, 1000 E. 11th St.
Among the participants were Anne LaPlante, of Lawrence, and her 7-year-old daughter, Elle Martin. LaPlante said she learned new cutting and cooking techniques and found the weight and measurement tables helpful. Her daughter enjoyed helping Mom.
“It’s fun,” said Elle, as she dumped a cup of rice into the water.
Just Food, Douglas County’s food bank, received a $25,000 grant from the Kansas Health Foundation to help start a cooking program that could be replicated in other communities. Just Food wanted to start one because a majority of its clients do not know how to prepare flavorful dishes with the food that’s given away, such as canned beans, a package of chicken and garden tomatoes.
Jeremy Farmer, executive director of Just Food, said, “They think that microwaving macaroni and cheese is both cheap and quick, and they are just not aware that it’s just as simple and easy to take the produce or food that we give away and make something that’s balanced and nutritious for their family and tastes good.”
Wednesday’s cooking class was the last of three pilot classes to see how a cooking program might work and to gain input from the participants. Just Food plans to begin offering a four- to six-week cooking program in September or October that would be offered to anyone, regardless of income; the hope is that those who can afford to pay would make a donation to make the program sustainable.
“It’s not just people who are low-income and unable to have the resources to cook, but it’s a lot of parents who have kids playing soccer and baseball and they have just 30 minutes at home, so they pick up fast food. It’s teaching them how to cook, too, and about getting a balanced diet,” Farmer said.
The red-beans-and-rice dish included kale — a green that not many participants had used before, but many said it added color and a dose of nutrition.
Martin said that was one of the tricks he learned growing up as a child in a low-income family.
“It’s something I made a lot as a child, and I learned early to add fresh ingredients to do really nice additions of fresh, nutritious vegetables so that it’s not just beans and rice,” he said.
Farmer has big plans for Just Food’s cooking program, especially to help low-income residents get a leg up in life.
For those who complete a cooking program, they will receive the tools — things like pots and pans, knives and measuring cups — to take home and put to use.
Farmer also would like to offer an intermediate level and an expert level with the possibility that someone might even discover a new career. If so, Farmer would like Just Food to be able to offer a scholarship to Johnson County Community College’s culinary arts program. Farmer has even thought about having classes on canning foods, then possibly paying some in need of work to do it.
“It could have ripple effects that affect so many great things in our community,” Farmer said. “It’s super exciting to me. We want it to grow, and we want it to expand and be more than just a cooking class.”
COOKING AND SAFETY TIPS
Lawrence resident Rick Martin, a chef and culinary art director at Eudora High School, provided lots of tips during a cooking class at Just Food. Among the tips:
• Store foods in the refrigerator in this order from top to bottom for safety: ready to eat, raw seafood, raw whole cuts of beef or pork, raw ground beef or pork, and raw poultry.
• Best way to prevent foodborne illness: Wash hands. He said to use water as hot as you can stand, wet hands, use soap, wash for at least 15 seconds, rinse and dry with single-use towel.
• Cooking temperatures should be: 165 degrees for poultry, 155 for ground beef and pork, 145 for seafood and whole cuts of beef and pork, 135 for vegetables, soups and grains.
• The shelf life for leftovers in the refrigerator is seven days.
MARTIN'S RED BEANS AND RICE RECIPE
2 cups — dry, white rice
1 quart — water
1 teaspoon — salt
Place ingredients in a four-quart pot and bring to a simmer on medium heat. Simmer until rice is a soupy consistency, approximately 10 minutes. Cover and set aside for 15 minutes or until ready for use. Makes 8 servings.
Red bean mixture
3 cans — red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 pound — polish sausage, kielbasa or andoullie
1 cup — kale, chopped
1 — small onion, diced
2 — carrots, diced
1 tablespoon — paprika
1 teaspoon — chile powder
1 teaspoon — onion powder
1 cube — chicken bouillon
3 tablespoons — butter or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons — flour
1 1/2 cups — water
Heat 2 tables of butter, olive or vegetable oil in a four-quart sauce pan. Add carrots and onion and saute until soft and slightly browned. Add sausage and cook for an additional 4 minutes. Add flour and stir while cooking for an additional 2 minutes. Slowly add water while stirring. Add seasonings, beans and bouillon cube and simmer on low heat for 8 minutes. Add kale and set aside covered for 5 minutes. Serves 8.
Pico De Gallo
3 — roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 bunch — cilantro or parsley, chopped
1 — medium onion, diced
Half of a lime, juiced
1/2 teaspoon — salt
1/4 teaspoon — black pepper
Minced jalapeno optional
In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients 15 minutes before serving. Chill.
Directions: Serve red bean mixture over rice and then top with pice de gallo. Total cost for ingredients is approximately $11.50.
A new 5K race is coming to Lawrence on July 28 that will benefit a school garden project that began at West Middle School three years ago. Since then, the project has grown to include gardens at two nearby elementary schools, on city property, and at The Merc.
Not only are seven students planting and harvesting produce for school cafeterias, but they are also selling it this summer at a weekly farmers market and through a Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, program.
So far this season, they’ve harvested 500 pounds of produce and made $1,377 in sales.
“It’s been going really well, and we’ve had a lot of produce despite the heat,” said 15-year-old Hayley Luna, a student gardener who has been involved with the project called “Growing Food, Growing Health” for two years.
On Wednesday morning, she talked about the garden after washing off potatoes that would be sold at the next day’s market.
So what else has been growing in their gardens? Hayley rattled off a long list that includes okra, beets, herbs, strawberries, blackberries and peppers.
Hayley said the keys to their success have been watering and weeding. She said they are lucky to have a drip irrigation system for watering everything but a few areas. But there’s no easy way to pull weeds, and she said it’s important to keep the weeds out so they don’t take the water from the plants.
“It’s rewarding work and a lot of fun,” she said.
Hayley thinks the 5K run will raise more awareness about their project and money to help keep the gardens sustainable. The money will be used to purchase items such as seeds, plants, mulch, educational supplies for students and equipment. “I am really excited about it,” she said.
Lily Siebert, garden coordinator, said they decided to have a 5K, or 3.1-mile, event because it would connect the two aspects of healthy living: physical and nutritional. She encourages walkers and runners to participate in the event, which will start and finish at West Middle School.
“We encourage absolutely anyone to run, jog, run-walk, walk-jog or skip the course,” she said. “We will cheer as hard for the first person to cross the finish line as the last.”
Afterward, there will be post-race festivities including garden tours, live music, raffle prizes and a farmers market. There also will be a build-your-own sandwich bar that will include ingredients like honey, bananas and peanut butter.
“The T-shirt is really fun,” Siebert said. “The tagline is a race to the spinach.”
HOW TO PARTICIPATE
A school garden project called “Growing Food, Growing Health” is hosting its first 5K run at 7:30 a.m. July 28, at West Middle School, 2700 Harvard Road. The event will benefit gardens at West Middle School, and Sunset Hill and Hillcrest schools.
Participants will receive a T-shirt, and the top overall male and female finisher will receive a $100 gift certificate to The Merc.
The cost to participate is $25 before Saturday, and then it’s $30. To register, visit The Merc at 901 Iowa or its website at themerc.coop. Participants also can sign up on race day.
For more information, contact Lily Siebert at 843-8544 or firstname.lastname@example.org. She’s also seeking volunteers for the event.
Wings, pizza, potato chips, dips and beer.
Yep, overindulgence is pretty easy to do when the stakes are as high as they are in tonight's championship game.
Here are some tips from the Erin Easum, Weight Watchers leader and ambassador for Northeast Kansas, to help Jayhawk fans keep from feeling a food hangover on Tuesday:
• Have a game plan and stick with it. If you know you’re going to a food-filled party and are worried about your will power, eat something light before you leave go to take of the edge, such as some almonds and string cheese. Offer to bring a dish or two that will be a healthier option for you. And designate every other quarter of the game as “food free” to avoid mindless eating.
• Focus on the goal. At Weight Watchers we believe in moderation – not deprivation. You can still enjoy some of your favorites, such as a few chicken wings, a slice of pizza and a cold one. To prevent yourself from overdoing the fat and calories, try this trick: pair each indulgent food with a vegetable or fruit; and follow each sugary or alcoholic drink, with a non-caloric drink. This will help fill you up and stay satisfied.
• Power up with power foods. These are your lean proteins, fruits, veggies, non-fat dairy, and whole grains.
Here's a healthy twist to a game-day favorite from Weight Watchers:
Preparation time: 12 minutes.
Cook time: 15 minutes.
3 sprays of cooking spray
1 pound uncooked boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup fat-free egg substitute
1/2 cup dried plain bread crumbs, whole wheat, toasted
1/4 cup uncooked cornmeal
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup fat free salsa
1/4 cup fat-free mayonnaise
1 tablespoon cilantro, fresh, minced
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place egg substitute in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, combine bread crumbs, cornmeal, garlic salt, salt, paprika and pepper. Dip chicken in egg substitute and then in bread crumb mixture; turn to coat. Place chicken on prepared baking sheet; coat with cooking spray. Bake for 5 minutes, flip over and bake until chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes more.
Meanwhile, to make sauce, in a small bowl, combine salsa, mayonnaise and cilantro; stir well.
Yields about 6 nuggets and 2 tablespoons of sauce per serving.
During National Nutrition Month®, take this quick quiz to see if you’re on track with making wise food choices.
FACT or FICTION?
1. In a healthy eating plan, all the foods I eat should be low in fat.
2. Snacking may keep me from becoming ravenously hungry and overeating at mealtime.
3. Eating too many carbohydrates causes weight gain.
4. Vegetarian diets are healthful.
5. Eating sugar causes diabetes.
6. Fad diets work.
7. Frozen or canned fruits and vegetables are not as nutritious as fresh.
8. It’s easy to spot whole-grain products. They’re brown.
9. Should limit my daily salt intake to about one teaspoon.
10. I’ll gain about 10 pounds a year by eating an extra 100 calories a day.
1. Fiction. Your goal should be to eat few foods that are high in solid fats. That doesn’t mean every single food you eat must be low in fat. Select lean cuts of meats or poultry and fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese. Look for foods that are low in saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol. Switch from solid fat to oils when preparing food.
2. Fact. Healthful snacking - including carbohydrates and protein, like whole grain crackers with low-fat cheese or fat-free yogurt with fresh fruit - can help your body stay fueled so you will be less inclined to overeat at your next meal. But don’t overdo it on the snacks; keep your portions small.
3. Fiction. Eating too many calories, from any source - carbohydrates, fat, protein or alcohol - combined with an inactive lifestyle, and you are more likely to gain weight. Make at least half your grains whole. Choose 100% whole-grain breads, cereals, crackers, rice and pasta. And, get 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week.
4. Fact. A well-planned healthful vegetarian eating plan emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat-free or low-fat dairy or dairy alternatives and is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt and added sugars. Depending on the type of vegetarian diet, protein sources may include eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, soy-based products, grain foods such as bread, cereal, pasta and rice, beans and nuts. With planning, most people, including children, can healthfully follow a vegetarian diet.
5. Fiction. If you don’t have diabetes, eating sugar won’t cause you to get diabetes. Since foods that are high in sugar also are often high in calories, overeating those foods can lead to weight gain. Being obese and inactive increases your risk for diabetes. Cut back on extra calories, by choosing foods and drinks with little or no added sugars.
6. Fact, with a significant “but.” You may lose pounds quickly on a fad diet. But over the long term, you are unlikely to maintain that loss. Fad dieters often return to their old eating habits and regain the weight. Meanwhile, many fad diets require you to give up foods or entire food groups that most people need for good health. The best way to reach and maintain a healthy weight is to develop an eating plan you can follow for life, combined with regular physical activity.
7. Fiction. In almost all cases, there is little nutritional difference between frozen or canned and fresh. In fact, canned or frozen produce is generally processed at its peak, so it may contain more nutrients than fresh produce (unless your picking from your own garden or local produce from local growers). On the other hand, canned or frozen produce may contain added sugar or salt. Read food labels when purchasing these items.
8. Fiction. Color is not a reliable method for identifying healthy food products. The most reliable information is on the food label. To get the full range of health benefits provided by whole grains, including fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidant, eat three or more servings of whole grains every day.
9. Fact. According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the recommended daily sodium intake should be 2,300 milligrams (mg) and a further reduction to 1,500 mg among persons who are 51 and older and those of any age who are African-American or have hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes or chronic kidney disease. One teaspoon of salt is equivalent to about 2,300 mg. Keep in mind, most of the sodium we eat comes from processed foods, so check the Nutrition Facts food label for information on the amount of sodium contained in a serving of the foods your are choosing. Then, add them up throughout the day!
10. Fact. One hundred calories per day adds up to about a pound of weight gain per month. On the other hand, look at it this way: You can lose 10 pounds in a year by cutting 100 calories per day and increasing your physical activity. Try to get at least 30 minutes of activity most days of the week.
The Community Mercantile Education Foundation partnered with West Middle School two years ago to start a garden project at the school.
The project involved planting a garden that would produce food for the cafeteria and hiring students to not only take care of the garden, but to sell produce so it would be sustainable.
Trish Bransky, Southwest principal, said she has been in awe of what has been accomplished at West.
“I think it’s amazing. I’ve been a gardener all of my life and I’m impressed with the way that it’s set up. It looks nice and it’s good instructionally,” she said. “I think they’ve shown that you can have a viable program like this in a school environment and it can be instructional and kids can be responsible for a lot of things.”
Last year, the Growing Food, Growing Health garden crew harvested 2,360 pounds of produce and 560 pounds of it went into the school’s cafeteria. The students also sold $3,823 worth of produce which went back into the project.
In November, it sold sweet potatoes to the Lawrence School District for use in the Schwegler cafeteria. Nancy O’Connor, project director, said it was the first time that the district bought produce from a school garden and the gardeners had to document their growing practices and fill out a lot of paperwork to make it happen.
“That was really fun because we don’t get paid for all of the stuff we put in the West cafeteria, but it was symbolically important to be able to sell something to the district,” O’Connor said. “We are hoping to see more of that.”
The Growing Food, Growing Health project has even bigger plans for this year. Among them:
• They are partnering with the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department to start a student-run Community-Supported Agriculture program. The program would be open to health department employees. In addition, there will be a weekly market inside the building where the health department is located at 200 Maine. The students will offer education and sampling in addition to selling their goods.
• They have applied to participate in the City of Lawrence and Douglas County’s new Common Ground Program. They hope to be able to garden on land owned by the city. O’Connor said if they get one of the 12 sites that are available, they plan to partner with another farmer. The city and county expect to name the grantees at the end of the month.
• They are organizing a new 5K run/walk in Lawrence to raise funds for the project. It will be in April or May and called “Running For Food, Running For Health.”
“Our heads are spinning, but it can’t be a stagnate project because we haven’t done everything that needs to be done yet,” O’Connor said.
The Growing Food, Growing Health adult leaders also include Lily Siebert, garden coordinator, and Dan Phelps, grower resource. They have been meeting regularly with Bransky and Southwest’s garden coordinators Carol Thrasher and Perry Kennard, both teachers at the school.
“They have been amazing in helping to get this off the ground in terms of their expertise, financially and so forth, to make it a reality,” Bransky said.
Southwest will have two gardens. The vegetable garden will be located north of the building and an herb and flower garden will be close to the main doors. There will be two volunteer work days to get the garden ready: March 31 and April 14. The school has received about $1,500 in grants for startup costs. It plans to have a display at the school where staff, parents and neighbors can donate money for items like tools, plants and gloves.
Bransky said they plan to hire two students for the project. The goal is to provide produce for the cafeteria’s salad bar and to sell it in markets at the school. Southwest also is having a logo and name contest for their garden project.
“Gardening is something that I am very interested in and I think this is a great opportunity for our school,” Bransky said.
Leaders and students with the Growing Food, Growing Health project — which involves gardens at West Middle School and Sunset Hill and Hillcrest elementary schools — are having a dinner to raise money.
The dinner will be from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 28 at West Middle School cafeteria, 2700 Harvard Road. The cost is $8 for adults, $5 for children ages 5-10, and free for those younger than 5.
The meal will feature burritos or enchiladas made with sweet potatoes from the West garden. Students in Eudora High School’s culinary program will make a side dish using herbs from the West garden. There will be a salad made with local greens and local chefs are donating desserts.
Student gardeners will give a presentation and there will be live music. All of the proceeds will be used for the school gardens.
Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance at The Merc, 901 Iowa.
Save money and improve nutrition.
Here are some grocery shopping tips that Aynsley Anderson, community education coordinator at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, offered in this month's issue of Wellness Words, LMH's monthly newsletter. They are from the U.S. Department of Agriculture:
• Look for bargains on day-old bread and other bakery products. Try to select whole-grain items.
• Buy regular rice, oatmeal and grits rather than flavored or instant types.
• Look for large bags of frozen vegetables. You can cook just the amount you need, close the bag tightly and pop back into the freezer for future use.
• Buy seasonal fresh fruits when they may cost less.
• Use dry beans and peas instead of meat, poultry and fish. They provide similar protein but cost much less. Or add them to meat-based recipes to enhance nutrition and decrease the amount of meat needed.
Anderson also included the following chili recipe from the USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion:
1 pound ground turkey
3/4 cup minced onion
2 tablespoons margarine or olive oil
3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon dry parsley flakes
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 15.5-ounce can red kidney beans (drained)
1 6-ounce can of tomato paste
1/2 cup pearl barley
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
In a large sauce pan, cook turkey and onions in margarine or oil until turkey is browned and no longer pink in color, about 9 minutes. Drain; return turkey and onions to pan. Add remaining ingredients except cheese, to turkey mixture; bring to boil, stirring frequently. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and simmer another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve over cooked macaroni (whole wheat is preferable). Sprinkle 3 tablespoons cheese over each serving of chili. Serves 4.
Per serving: Calories: 540, Total Fat: 26 g., Saturated Fat: 9 g., Cholesterol: 104 mg., Sodium: 579 mg.
Note: You can add green pepper, canned tomatoes, grated carrots and other vegetables to this recipe to make it more nutritious.
I took the $25 class in hopes of tasting some new foods and learning some new cooking skills, which doesn’t take much because I am more of a baker than a cook. I also hoped to take away some heart-health tips.
The two-hour class didn’t disappoint, and I received the 144-page “Deliciously Healthy Dinners” cookbook by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Hilary Kass, nutrition educator and owner of Ancient Grains, taught the class, which had 20 participants. Not only did she whip up four heart-healthy dishes for us to taste test, but she shared cooking advice.
When it comes to cooking, I measure everything precisely and make sure I use the exact ingredients. Otherwise, I fear failure. So I marveled at Kass and her ability to put in a little of this and a little of that — just eyeballing it. She also substituted a number of ingredients. For example, The Merc didn’t have fat-free evaporated milk, so she used evaporated milk and 1 percent milk as a substitute. For a couscous recipe, she used cranberries instead of raisins.
Kass also provided some simple tips for noncooks like me. A few:
• Lemon juice. The best way to get juice is to slice a lemon open and then squeeze it with your hands. Let the juice run between your fingers while catching the seeds in your hand. Clean up is simple.
• Juices. She said adding orange, lemon or lime juices can add zest to recipes. She added lemon juice to squash soup that she made during class. She thought the recipe version was a little bland.
• Minced garlic. She prefers cloves over the prepared jars. To open, place the clove on the counter and squish it with the dull side of the knife. Then, cut off the end and the outer shell peels right off. Simply cut into small pieces.
• Spinach. Portabella mushrooms and spinach were the toppings for the turkey burgers. After the mushrooms were done broiling, she added the spinach on top and broiled a tad longer until the spinach was kind of wilted. The taste was outstanding.
Besides Turkey Burgers, we had Edamame Stew, Creamy Squash Soup with Shredded Apples, and Couscous with Carrots, Walnuts and Cranberries.
I’d never had a turkey burger or edamame (green soybeans). Both were delicious.
Among her heart-health tips:
• Eat colorful foods. They typically are higher in nutrition. The edamame stew was full of color with corn, zucchini and tomatoes as ingredients.
• Eat whole foods, such as fruits, nuts, lean meats and eggs, and try to stay away from processed foods. If a food keeps for a long time outside the refrigerator, it typically isn’t good for you because there are lots of added preservatives. Think about how long Oreo cookies or potato chips keep versus fruit or whole-grain bread. Her most powerful food list: berries, nuts, seeds, dark green leafy vegetables and whole grains.
• Leftovers. For today’s time-crunched cooks, she suggests making more of the good stuff and freezing or refrigerating it. That way you are less likely to grab the more convenient, highly processed foods.
• Don't stress. People are overwhelmed with nutrition advice. They also tend to tear themselves up about food and how they are eating. But Kass said that’s not good for the heart.
“It’s good to learn about new foods and try them, but also relaxing about it and not getting too up tight,” she said.
Take a class
The Merc, 901 Iowa, offers a variety of cooking classes throughout the year. The cost varies depending on the class.
This month it has classes about cooking without gluten, simple foods for beginner cooks, Japanese foods, and homemade medicinal foods.
For the full menu of class options, visit The Merc’s website.
Heart healthy recipes
The following recipes are from the “Deliciously Healthy Dinners” cookbook by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Creamy Squash Soup with Shredded Apples
2 16-ounce boxes of frozen pureed winter butternut squash
2 medium apples (try Golden Delicious or Gala)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 12-ounce cans fat-free evaporated milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Place the frozen squash in a microwave dish. Cover loosely. Defrost in the microwave on medium power for 5 to 10 minutes until mostly thawed.
Meanwhile, peel then shred apples using a grater or food processor, or peel and finely chop apples into thin strips. Set aside 1/4 cup.
Warm oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add all but 1/4 cup of the apples. Cook and stir until apples soften, about 5 minutes.
Stir in thawed squash and pumpkin pie spice.
Add the evaporated milk about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring after each addition.
Season with salt and pepper.
Cook and stir over high heat just until soup is about to boil.
Ladle into individual soup bowls. Top each with a tablespoon of the unused apples. Sprinkle with additional pumpkin pie spice if desired, and serve.
Yield: 4 servings. 1 1/2 cups equal a serving.
Nutrition: Calories 334; total fat 4 grams, saturated fat 1 gram, cholesterol 7 milligrams, sodium 370 milligrams, fiber 5 grams, protein 18 grams, carbohydrates 62 grams, potassium 1,142 milligrams.
1 16-ounce bag frozen shelled edamame
1 35-ounce can no salt-added Italian whole peeled tomatoes with basil, diced into small chunks
2 cups zucchini, rinsed, quartered and sliced (Kass suggested green pepper and spinach as substitutes.)
1 cup yellow onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice (or cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice)
2 tablespoons garlic, minced or pressed (about five cloves)
1 cup frozen yellow corn
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice or 1 large lemon, freshly juiced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Place frozen edamame in a deep saucepan with just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cover. Cook for 5 minutes. Drain. Set aside.
While soybeans cook, chop tomatoes, zucchini and onion.
In a large nonstick sauté pan, cook onion in olive oil over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes.
Stir in cumin, cayenne pepper and allspice. Cook and stir for about 2 minutes.
Add garlic. Cook and stir for 1 minute.
Stir in the drained edamame, tomatoes, zucchini, corn and salt.
Cover. Simmer until zucchini is tender, about 15 minutes.
Stir in lemon juice and oregano.
Yield: 4 servings. 2 cups equals a serving.
Nutrition: Calories 285; total fat 10 grams, saturated fat 1 gram, cholesterol 0 milligrams, sodium 303 milligrams, fiber 14 grams, protein 16 grams, carbohydrates 40 grams, potassium 1,227 milligrams.
Turkey Club Burger
12 ounces 99 percent, fat-free ground turkey
1/2 cup green onions, rinsed and sliced
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 large egg
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
4 ounces spinach or arugula, rinsed and dried
4 ounces portabella mushroom, rinsed, grilled or broiled, and sliced
4 whole wheat hamburger buns
Preheat oven broiler on high temperature with the rack 3 inches from heat source or grill on medium-high heat.
To prepare burgers, combine ground turkey, scallions, pepper and egg, and mix well. Form into 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick patties, and coat each lightly with olive oil.
Broil or grill burgers for about 7 to 9 minutes on each side to a minimum internal temperature of 160 degrees.
Combine mayonnaise and mustard to make a spread.
Assemble 3/4 tablespoon of spread, spinach, mushrooms and one burger on each bun.
Yield: 4 servings.
Nutrition: Calories 299; total fat 11 grams, saturated fat 2 grams, cholesterol 89 milligrams, sodium 393 milligrams, fiber 5 grams, protein 29 grams, carbohydrates 26 grams, potassium 424 milligrams.
Couscous with Carrots, Walnuts and Raisins
1 cup couscous (preferably whole wheat)
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon
1 1/3 cups water
2 tablespoons raisins
1/2 cup carrots, rinsed, peeled and shredded or thinly sliced
In a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat, cook and stir couscous, olive oil, walnuts, salt, pepper and spice just until couscous begins to brown.
Slowly add water, then raisins and carrots. Cover. Bring to a boil over high heat.
Remove from the heat, and let stand for 10 minutes.
Fluff with a fork. Serve immediately.
Yield: 4 servings. A serving equals 1/2 cup.
Nutrition: Calories 218; total fat 4 grams, saturated fat 0 grams, cholesterol 0 milligrams, sodium 155 milligrams, fiber 3 grams, protein 6 grams, carbohydrates 39 grams, potassium 168 milligrams.
About 500 Lawrence children and their families will benefit from a two-year, $100,000 grant that was awarded this week.
The Douglas County Child Development Association, in partnership with the Success by 6 Coalition of Douglas County, received the grant to make locally grown foods more available to children ages 5 and under and their families.
“The less time between the garden and the table, the more nutrition you are going to get in that food, and so the more that we can do to get people in the habit of growing their own food or getting it locally, the better."
— Anna Jenny, DCCDA executive director
The effort is called Families, Farmers, & Educators United for Healthy Child Development and it will bring together local producers, child care providers and families.
“It’s a focus on relationships because relationships are what’s going to sustain it,” Jenny said. “We can give people a lot of stuff over the next two years, but once the stuff is gone it will go away unless they’ve built a relationship.”
The project will hook up three child care centers with a Consumer Supported Agriculture group, commonly called CSA, so the children can eat fresh produce. Families will be able to access CSA the following year.
The project also will provide 25 home-based child care programs with supplies and the expertise to start a garden in their back yard or in a community garden.
Besides planting gardens, the project will teach child care providers and families how to produce and cook with local produce. It also will implement a child care curriculum called Food is Elementary, which focuses on improved food choices.
Jenny said the centers, homes or local CSAs have not been chosen yet.
First, they plan to hire a full-time and a part-time position to help with the project. She hopes to have those positions filled in January.
The goal is to start planting seeds in small beds in February and March, and then to get the gardens started in April and May.
“Kids just love to eat stuff that they’ve grown,” Jenny said. “They get so excited about things they wouldn’t want to eat if it came from a grocery store, but if it came from their garden — they watched it grow, picked it, washed it and cut it — that makes it very special.”
Lawrence was among seven Kansas communities that received a total $500,000 from the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund to prevent obesity in young children through increased physical activity and better nutrition.
The Lawrence community will benefit from a $100,000 grant that was announced today by the United Methodist Health Ministry.
The Douglas County Child Development Association in partnership with the Success by 6 Coalition of Douglas County received the grant to spearhead an effort to make wholesome, locally-grown foods more available to young children and their families in Lawrence.
The project is called Families, Farmers, & Educators United for Healthy Child Development, and it has four interrelated components:
• Establish Consumer Supported Agriculture or CSA — a weekly subscription for pick-up or delivery of fresh produce from local growers — in three center-based child care programs and with the families enrolled in them.
• Facilitate community and home gardening for 25 home-based child care programs enrolled in the Child and Adult Care Food Program and the families of children in the programs.
• Train center-based and home-based child care cooks in preparation of fresh produce and how to pass this information on to families.
• Implement in participating child care programs a new child care curriculum — “Food is Elementary” —focused on improved food choices.
Lawrence was among seven Kansas communities who received a total $500,000 to prevent obesity in young children through increased physical activity and nutrition.
The grants, awarded through the Health Fund’s 2010 Fit for Kansas Kids program, were selected from among 39 proposals received representing approximately $2.5 million in requests.
Other communities who received awards:
• Coffeyville, $77,630. It will support upgrades at the Jerry Hamm Early Learning Center to establish a community site for physical activity and nutrition activities for young children and their families.
• Newton, $49,140. It will support expanded physical activity and health lessons at the new Cooper Early Education Center, which serves nearly 200 preschool children.
• Wichita, $99,956. It will go to a coalition led by Kansas University School of Medicine — Wichita to encourage pregnant women to engage in adequate physical activity.
• Derby, $35,000. The Derby Recreational Commission is leading a community effort to provide more opportunities for young children in the area to be involved in healthy physical activity and learn about good nutrition.
• Wichita, $47,893. The Health & Wellness Coalition of Wichita will expand its successful work in worksite wellness and school health to improving the culture of child care programs around physical activity and nutrition. Through a small grant application process, 25 Wichita child care programs will be selected to participate in the project.
• Lindsborg, $6,669. It will fund Fit for Lindsborg Kids, a collaborative community project which will establish a series of free activities and events specifically for young children and their families.
• Graham County, $94,240. Several Hill City parks will be upgraded to have appropriate equipment for young children. To encourage use of the facilities, the local recreation commission will implement new programs specifically designed for the families of young children, such as T-ball, exercise classes, and swimming classes.
A garden project — the size of a football field — is taking root at Free State High School.
The garden will serve two purposes.
First, it will be a school garden. Students will plant, maintain and harvest produce. The food will be served in the cafeteria and sold at a school farmers’ market with funding going back into the project.
Second, it will be a community garden. Plots of various sizes will be rented to the general public for individual use.
“It’s a great joint venture — just the number of organizations that have come together to make this happen in the planning process is exciting,” said Ed West, principal at FSHS.
About a dozen community and school leaders began planning for the project — called the Lawrence Community and Learning Garden — at the end of June. They have formed two subcommittees: one to come up with the policies and another to hammer out the garden’s design and layout.
They plan to have a community forum this fall and form an official board. The goal is to break ground in November before Thanksgiving and begin planting in the spring.
The garden will be on the southwest corner of the FSHS campus, where the band used to practice. It’s the area between Overland Drive and the baseball field.
“Because our band is able to practice on our artificial turf at our new facility, we have adequate space that’s close to parking and that has close access to water. The timing kind of all fell together,” West said.
West said the garden will provide a number of learning opportunities for students who are members of FFA or taking agriculture classes. For example, the ag business classes could collect fees from the community garden and help manage the books.
“There’s a whole bunch of things that can go on in terms of our curriculum that’s really exciting,” he said.
Laura Priest, agricultural education teacher, is looking forward to incorporating the garden into her lessons.
“When I first heard about the project I was like, ‘Wow, what a cool project to work into my plant science class and get the kids more hands-on experience because you can only do so much in a greenhouse,” she said. “My goal is to get the kids out there and just appreciate how their food is grown.”
Jennifer Smith, horticulture agent with K-State Research and Extension — Douglas County, had been looking for a potential site for a community garden since December. She said there are several community gardens on privately-owned property in Lawrence.
"Many community gardens around the country are on on city, county, or state property and I think it provides a different atmosphere," she said.
Smith said she gets a lot of calls from people looking to rent space in a garden.
“It’s a great opportunity to increase the fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet and get the great feeling of growing something for yourself,” she said. “You also get a little bit of physical activity, taking care of things in the garden. I want people to have that opportunity.”
There are also the cost savings.
“If you buy some plants and get a space for just a little bit a year, you can grow way more than you could buy at the store for that amount of money,” she said.
Smith said this project is unique.
“There actually are quite a few communities who have a typical community garden, and there are a lot of school gardens popping up, but not a two-in-one,” she said.
INTERESTED IN THE PROJECT?
Plans are under way for a community and school garden project at Free State High School.
About a dozen community leaders serve on a planning committee. They will have a community forum this fall, and also will form an official board for the project.
If you are interested in serving on the board or volunteering with the project, send an e-mail to Ed West, FSHS principal at EWest@usd497.org. He will be collecting names, phone numbers and e-mail addresses.
Those serving on the planning committee include Ed West; Patrick Kelly, Lawrence school district; Jennifer Smith, K-State Research and Extension — Douglas County; Laura Priest, FSHS ag teacher; Rick Martin, Free State Brewery; Maisie French, FSHS parent; Chris Wiltfong, Hy-Vee Food Store; Mike Ryan, Johnson County Community College; Eileen Horn, sustainability coordinator for the Lawrence and Douglas County; Emily Hampton, Americorps VISTA volunteer; Laura Zell, Lawrence resident; and Tom Bracciano, Lawrence school district.
Eat Local Challenge — Days 8-9
I did it! I earned the coveted “Eat Local Challenge” T-shirt by shopping and eating local foods during the past week. I received my T-shirt during a reception Sunday evening at The Merc.
The challenge has raised my awareness of where to shop and buy foods that are grown and/or produced within 200 miles of Lawrence. I learned that there are quite a few local options: stores, farmers’ markets, CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture), and restaurants. But, you have to do a little digging to find out where these places are and what hours they are open.
I also learned eating local can be pricey, but there are good deals if you shop around. For example, a watermelon was the same price — $4 — at Dillons grocery store and the farmers’ market, but peaches were quite a bit more at the farmers’ market.
During the challenge, my husband and I re-arranged our schedules to attend the downtown Lawrence Farmers’ Market — both Saturdays. This past weekend, I bought a seedless watermelon for $5 and six peaches for $5. It was enough for two stickers. Unfortunately, we were late getting around and I had to work at 10 a.m., so we missed out on trying the salsas — darn it, but maybe next year.
We also ate at two downtown Lawrence restaurants that we hadn’t tried before: 715, which I wrote about last week, and Local Burger. On Saturday, we had lunch at Local Burger, 714 Vt. We were pleasantly surprised at the variety of menu options. My husband ordered a double buffalo burger ($10) with progressive potatoes ($2.75) and a small house salad ($2.75). I ordered the “world famous veggie burger” for $6. The total cost: $21.50. I earned the final sticker that I needed for a T-shirt.
We wondered why we had waited so long to try Local Burger, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary in September. Our food was delicious.
After getting my T-shirt on Sunday, I made a quick trip inside The Merc to buy a few local items: Iwig Family Dairy skim milk, about a pound of lean ground beef, two chicken breasts and a tub of homemade salsa — for $20.13. (Note: I will get $2.25 back when I return the glass milk bottle). Although it was a little pricier than if I had bought the items at my usual supermarket, it felt good knowing that I was supporting local farmers, producers and the economy.
More importantly, it should taste better!
The "Eat Local Challenge" also inspired a produce day at work. We have tomatoes, okra, peppers, herbs, black-eyed peas and squash to pick from. How cool is that?
The third annual “Eat Local Challenge” drew 432 participants, up 72 percent from last year.
The goal of the weeklong event, which was Aug. 14-22, was to challenge people to buy and eat local foods — at farmers’ markets, restaurants, Community Supported Agriculture subscription services, and The Community Mercantile, which sponsored the event.
“It’s a way to promote local and show shoppers where their dollar goes,” said Joshua Kendall, brand manager at The Merc.
Participants received a T-shirt if they purchased enough local foods to earn six stickers. For example, if they bought one bag of goods at a farmers’ market, they received one sticker. So far, 65 people have earned a T-shirt, but they have until Wednesday to pick up a shirt if they earned it.
This was the first year that the event featured local food options beyond The Merc, 901 Iowa.
Kendall said they plan to partner with more businesses, farmers and restaurants for the fourth annual event, and they also want to recognize people who grow their own food.
“We are planning to expand,” he said.
Also for the first time, The Merc hosted a reception Sunday evening for participants that featured local foods and music, and about 80 people attended.
Here’s what people had to say about the challenge:
Rae Jaan Spicer, 13, West Junior High School student
Her school started a garden this spring, and the produce is being sold at a weekly farmers’ market and it is being served in the cafeteria.
She earned stickers by buying foods at the WJHS market.
“Local is better and it’s delicious, and I am also helping my school,” she said. “I tried our tomatoes last Thursday and they was delicious. The tomatoes were so fresh,” she said.
Rae Jaan also ate at Local Burger, a downtown Lawrence restaurant that features a local menu.
“Their french fries are delicious.”
Anju Mishra, 47, financial counselor
This was her third time to participate in the challenge.
“I like eating fresh food. I cook — that’s my passion, that’s my hobby, so I like to use fresh ingredients. I think they are the best tasting,” she said. “It supports the community. I have taken roots here and I love it.”
She thinks the awareness of local foods is growing, and there’s more options than even three years ago.
Anju said the prices are reasonable because the food is “truly satisfying.”
She eats what’s in season, and her favorite produce now is tomatoes. She uses them in salsa, curry dishes, sandwiches — “a lot of things.”
Dick Meidinger, 71, retired physician
He has participated in the challenge for three years.
“Local food is good and it’s good for us. It really encourages people, I think, to try new things — local things,” he said. “It encourages the local economy, and certainly we need more local farmers.”
He said he grew up in a farm community near Hiawatha, where the number of family farmers has diminished.
But, he does his part to support them.
“Ever since we’ve moved here, it’s been my Saturday ritual to go the farmers’ market. In fact, I really plan my weekend around that,” he said.
He also talked of his fondness for the food in Italy.
“They don’t have as much refrigeration. They don’t have much in the way of big supermarkets, so what you eat over there is fresh," he said. "It's crisp, fresh and really good."
Kara Bollinger, 23, Kansas University student
The first-time participant said it wasn’t as hard as she thought it might be.
“I feel like you have to make somewhat of an effort, but not a huge effort,” she said.
During the challenge, she “treated herself” to lunch at The Merc a couple of times, and shopped at the farmers’ market. She bought eggplant, zucchini, squash, apples and watermelon.
“Obviously, in the winter it would be much more difficult,” she said.
Kara said eating local can be expensive, but worth it.
“The quality of the food is so much better,” she said.
Jerry Feese, 57, computer programmer
He participated in the challenge for the first time.
“There’s more local food around than we realized,” he said.
He tried a downtown Lawrence restaurant, 715, for the first time that boasts of a local menu. He thought it was a bit pricey.
Jerry also shopped at the farmers’ market, where he bought peaches, corn, chicken, tomatoes and pie.
He tries to buy local if the choice is available, although he finds it typically costs more.
Deborah Altus, 51, Washburn University professor
“I think it is so important to try to support the local growers and the local economy,” said Deborah, a second-time participant.
She tries to buy local when it’s available. This time of year, she said, it’s easy.
“It does make me think more about eating in our local region and how important that is, and how I want to do more of it,” she said.
Deborah described the prices as reasonable, especially at the farmers’ market.
Priya Mishra, 23, Kansas University student
The first-time participant said, “It turned out to be easier than I was expecting. There were lots of choices.”
She bought peaches, watermelon and chicken at the farmers’ market.
“We go to the farmers’ market pretty regularly,” she said.
Prya also ate at Local Burger and Free State Brewery, which features seasonal dishes and uses as many local ingredients as possible.
She really liked the local chicken taco at Free State.
“It was delicious. You could really taste the difference,” she said.
Kristin Wilson, 41, school teacher
The first-time participant said she tries to buy local foods for a number of reasons.
“I think it’s really good to promote the businesses and community. I think it’s certainly good to support the local restaurants,” she said. “I do it healthwise — to promote healthy eating.”
During the week, she shopped at The Merc, farmers’ market and ate at Local Burger.
Kristin said she could do better when it comes to buying local foods.
“You kind of get in a habit of shopping and buying certain things and kind of forget about that (local),” she said. “So, I think the challenge makes me aware that there are more opportunities out there to do that.”
Note: Check back Monday morning to find out what I've learned from taking the challenge!
Eat Local Challenge — Days 4-5.
There's still time to sign up for this week's challenge at The Merc, 901 Iowa.
Although it might be hard to earn the six stickers required to get a T-shirt by Sunday, it's worthwhile to sign up. You get a packet of information about where to buy local food — CSAs, farmers' markets, restaurants and, of course, The Merc, which is sponsoring the third annual event.
I have earned three stickers so far, and have no doubt that I will earn a T-shirt. I do most of my food shopping on the weekend because I have little time during the week.
On Tuesday night, my husband made bruschetta with local tomatoes, parsley and basil. It was delicious. The tomatoes were from my garden, 6News TV photographer Steve Jones' plants, and my parents' garden. Steve and I were bragging about our tasty tomatoes, so we decided to swap and try each others.
That sprouted an idea — we should have a day at work where everyone brings in their produce for a swap. For those that don't have gardens or plants, maybe we can convince them a trip to a farmers' market is worthwhile, if they haven't been!
On Wednesday night, I made a quick chicken wrap with local tomatoes and cucumbers. Of course, I paired it with the local fruit that I bought Saturday. Before this challenge, I mostly thought about how "healthy" I was eating, and now I find myself thinking about if I could get it locally and at an affordable price.
Eat Local Challenge — Day 2
It is one of five Lawrence restaurants featured in this year’s “Eat Local Challenge."
Unfortunately for me, the restaurant was featuring its weekend brunch menu. Almost everything had eggs and/or some version of pork. I am not a fan of either. However, it was a hit with my meat-loving husband, who also likes eggs.
No surprise — my husband ordered the three-meat special, which contained porchetta, house-cured bacon and a duroc link sausage with two fried eggs and potatoes. Everything was local, but the potatoes. The cost: $15.99.
I ordered a whole-grain waffle with fresh fruit. The fruit — cantaloupe, blueberries and strawberries — was local. Many of the waffle ingredients also were local — eggs, milk and butter. The cost: $6.99.
Everything tasted great, and we agreed that we would go back and try the dinner menu which boasts of pizza, pasta, salads and main dishes such as chicken, pork chops and duck.
For my order, I earned another sticker for my “Eat Local Challenge” passport. I am already halfway toward my goal of getting a T-shirt.
Other restaurants participating in this week’s “Eat Local Challenge” are:
• Free State Brewery, 636 Mass. Its August seasonal items are the Free State BLT and a Tomato Bread Salad. It uses local produce when in season, such as corn, asparagus, tomatoes, squash, broccoli and fruit. It also uses local beef, honey and chocolate. Of course, this place is well-known for its local beer.
• Pachamama’s, 800 N.H. Its menu changes with the seasons to take advantage of local food sources. It buys food from nine local farmers and producers.
• Local Burger, 714 Vt. Its menu features organic, local and sustainable fare that’s free of additives and preservatives. Among its local offerings: meats such as elk, beef and turkey; sunflower oil from Hoxie to make french fries; tofu, honey, and cheeses.
• WheatFields Bakery Café, 904 Vt. The menu features local produce and meats. Staff members often shop at the downtown Lawrence farmers’ market for ingredients. Its August menu features three local dishes: vegetable primavera ziti, local beef tenderloin tips, and local pork tenderloin medallions.
Besides eating at the restaurant today, I enjoyed snacking on the watermelon and cantaloupe that I purchased at the farmers’ market on Saturday. I also had my first local peach — yum!
On Sunday evening, I picked a bowlful of cherry tomatoes, five regular-sized tomatoes and a handful of jalapeno peppers from our garden. We also have a bounty of produce from my mother’s garden left to eat. We are looking forward to BLT’s and steamed squash in the coming days.
Here's a list of farmers' markets in Lawrence:
• Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., between Eighth and Ninth streets on New Hampshire Street.
• Tuesdays, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., between 10th and 11ths streets on Vermont Street.
• Thursdays, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., northwest corner of Wakarusa Drive and Sixth Street.
• Cottin’s Hardware & Rental, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays, 1832 Massachusetts St., back parking lot of store.
• West Junior High School, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays, 2700 Harvard Road.
Eat Local Challenge — Day 1
About 3,000 people attended Saturday morning’s downtown Lawrence Farmers’ Market, including me.
Tom Buller, market coordinator, said the attendance was about average for this time of year.
My husband and I didn’t get there until 10:30 a.m. — just 30 minutes before closing time — but lucky for us, there were plenty of melons to pick from.
We bought a watermelon for $4. Then, we purchased two large tomatoes and a big cantaloupe for $5. I couldn’t resist trying locally-grown peaches, even though they were pricey — $6 for 7 peaches.
For $15, I felt like we walked away with a bounty of fruit, and it was very gratifying to put the money into the very hands that helped grow the food. I earned two “Eat Local Challenge” stickers for my purchases. I only need four more to get a T-shirt!
I can’t wait to see how everything tastes. The peaches still need to ripen a little bit.
I just cut up the melons, so they are chilling in the frig. I tasted a few bites of watermelon — delicious! Now, we can snack on that throughout the week or use it in meals.
Here's a list of farmers’ markets in Lawrence:
• Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., between Eighth and Ninth streets on New Hampshire Street.
• Tuesdays, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., between 10th and 11ths streets on Vermont Street.
• Thursdays, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., northwest corner of Wakarusa Drive and Sixth Street.
• Cottin’s Hardware & Rental, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays, 1832 Massachusetts St., back parking lot of store.
• West Junior High School, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays, 2700 Harvard Road.
A food package isn’t just a package anymore. It’s a marketing tool. Sure, modern bags and boxes still contain all the important material — name, type of food, manufacturer, etc., but there’s something else you might notice smack dab on the front of your favorite cereal box.
Fat-free. Low calorie. High fiber. Good source of calcium/vitamin C/protein. Organic. Natural. Whole grain.
Think those are just random terms bandied about by food makers to get your attention? Well, they are and they aren’t.
Some of those terms are federally regulated using a strict set of guidelines. However, some are terms that are nothing but empty claims that go unchecked by any entity other than your internal skepticism meter.
“I’m still a little confused on what those mean,” says Lawrence shopper Angie Fishburn, who makes it a point to look for buzz phrases like “low sodium” and “low sugar” when at the grocery store. “I would say 99 percent of the time, I read the (nutrition) labels.”
So what claims can you trust and which claims should you swallow with a grain of salt? We break down the lingo and let you know what’s what at your favorite market.