Central Farm Markets

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National Food Day: Connecting our Communities

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October 24th is National Food Day, a nationwide celebration and movement for healthy, affordable and sustainable food.  National Food Day supports priorities such as promoting safer and healthier diets, sustainable and organic farming, reducing hunger and reforming factory farms.  Actually, Food Day is a year-long event with over 3200 hundred events around the country, and October 24th is the culminating day of this year-long journey.

Great goals, fabulous events and dedicated people are finding creative ways to address the problems that affect all of us socially and environmentally. But what is the purpose of holding so many events? How does it relate to us, to our families and to our communities? Who has time to address all of this when we are overworked and spread too thin? As individuals can we really make a difference?

The short answer is yes, we can make a difference. By becoming part of a community-wide effort we can address the food system issues that are critical to us and to our environment. By joining a group, we connect ourselves with the wider community across the nation.  By involving our children, we teach them that collaboration and creativity may be able to bring down the barriers that separate us.

All of our communities face issues. Open discussions, events and programs that look at public health problems and ways to make good food more accessible and sustainable in our communities do make a difference. By becoming part of the conversation we can ensure that the dots get connected, not only for us, but for future generations.

So, this year we encourage you to get involved. You can find out what’s going on in your area at www.foodday.org. Post your thoughts and ideas on our Facebook page and let us know how you connect the dots!

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The Color Purple

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We often think of fall in terms of beautifully colored trees, brilliant fall flowers and bright blue skies. Fall also bring us the rich jewel colors of fall vegetables. Squashes are splashed with golden yellows, pumpkins and sweet potatoes are ablaze in orange, and purple potatoes and bright green Brussels sprouts shimmer in the sun.

Fall vegetables are not only eye candy,  but they are some of the most nutrient rich foods that we can eat. Research has shown that the more brightly colored the vegetable, the more protective health benefits they have. This is due to the vast assortments of plant compounds call phytochemicals.  Phytochemicals  help our bodies fight the effects of free radicals, which form a naturally occurring process called oxidation in our bodies. It is this oxidation that may lead to more serious health problems later in life. Studies have shown that the phytochemicals and antioxidants found in deeply colored vegetables can neutralize the free radicals before they can do damage. Many of the deeply colored vegetables are abundant with beta-carotene and vitamins E and C.

The color purple is not just a great movie, but a real treat at the farmers market too. For many years we did not see these brightly colored vegetables at the supermarkets because commercial agriculture literally wiped out the variety of colored foods. With the resurgence of locally grown foods, heirloom and colored varieties of produce are finding their way back into our lives.

So what purple veggies can you find at the market? Besides eggplants, which easily comes to mind, there are many others. You will find purple potatoes,  carrots, kaleidoscope kale, peppers, beans and even some purple cauliflower from time to time.

Take some time this weekend to explore the richness of the fall market! Here’s a nice recipe to help you enjoy the color purple. More fall recipes can be found on our Pinterest boards. Happy eating!

Roasted Purple Sweet Potatoes

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 to 3 large purple sweet potatoes (about 2 lbs), peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Pinch ground cardamom
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/3 Tbsp. toasted pecans, chopped

Directions:

  1. Heat the oven to 400.
  2. Toss potatoes with melted butter, maple syrup, cinnamon and cardamom. Season with salt and pepper
  3. Bake 30 minutes or until soft.
  4. Top with chopped pecans and serve.


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Les Dames d’Escoffier Culinary Garage Sale & Green Tables Cooking Demos

The Culinary Garage Sale by Les Dames d’Escoffier is a treasure trove of gently used kitchen items from leading culinary experts in the greater metro area. Find gems and bargains among the dishes, glassware, tableware, equipment and cookbooks.  Proceeds support financial scholarships to culinary students from the area.


Green Tables Cooking Demos

Local chefs, including Chef Karen Lippold, Aviva Goldfarb and Drew Faulkner will be demoing some delicious dishes alongside the culinary garage sale at the Green Tables Cooking Demos.

At 10am Chef Karen Lippold will use market ingredients to create a Baby Spinach Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Beets and Oranges.  Chef Karen is a former Peace Corps volunteer from West Africa who has lived abroad for over 20 years and has worked with indigenous people to learn about their cultures and respective cuisines.

Salad:

  • 1 ½ Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 lbs. peeled sweet potatoes, cut into ¾ inch pieces
  • 1 ½ lbs. of fresh beets, peeled and cut into 1 inch wedges
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • ¼ cup very thinly sliced red onion
  • 8 ounces of baby spinach (washed and dried)
  • 3 cups orange sections  (about 6 oranges)
  • 3 Tbsp. toasted pine nuts

Dressing:

  • 4 Tbsp. fresh orange juice
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. stone ground mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. orange blossom honey
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Combine first 4 ingredients, tossing well.
  3. Place potato mixture on a jelly-roll pan lined with parchment paper.
  4. Place beet wedges on a different jelly-roll pan lived with parchment paper.
  5. Bake veggies at 400 for approx.. 45 minutes, stirring occasionally
  6. Remove from oven and let veggies cool; discard garlic cloves
  7. To prepare dressing, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir well with a whisk.
  8. Plate Spinach leaves, red onion, oranges and roasted veggies on a platter.
  9. Drizzle salad dressing over salad
  10. Sprinkle toasted pine nuts over salad

At 11am Aviva Goldfarb will demo a Spice Rub that you put on Sweet Potato Fries.  Aviva is a family dinner expert, author, entrepreneur, mother and is the creator of the Six O’Clock Scramble. She was also a judge at Bake Bethesda a Pie Contest this year!

SWEET POTATO FRIES (Aviva’s 11 year old daughter loves to make this!)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Slice 2 medium sweet potatoes the long way, making thin, long strips (no need to peel them).  In a medium bowl, toss them with 2 Tbsp. vegetable or peanut oil, and the SPICE RUB that will be demonstrated at the Bethesda Farm Market. Bake them in a single layer on a baking sheet for about 20 minutes, turning once, until they are lightly browned.  For a crisper texture, broil them for a few minutes before serving them.  Serve them with ketchup, if desired.

At 12pm Drew Faulkner will make Stewed Peppers and Tomatoes over Soft Polenta. Drew is a Chef Instructor at L’Academie de Cuisine who teaches recreational classes in Asian & Italian cuisines. This stewed peppers and tomatoes dish combines  the last peppers, tomatoes, and herbs of the summer harvest.