LocalHarvest Newsletter, January 22, 2009

Like the photo? It's a new day, and we're kicking up our heels! So is this beautiful heifer, Cali Rae, from 4B Ranch in Mesick, MI. What an athlete! Two weeks ago we asked our members to send in photos of their farms and markets and nearly 300 people sent some of the most gorgeous farm shots we've ever seen. We are so pleased! Look for their beautiful photos on the LocalHarvest site and here in the newsletter throughout 2009.

Knowing that many of our farmers are also outstanding cooks, we also asked them to submit some of their favorite farm recipes. What generous members we have! Over 350 people sent in recipes. Starting next month we will be giving them star billing in our newsletter and, later in 2009, in a searchable archive on LocalHarvest. This change will make this the last month that Lorna Sass' recipes will be included in the newsletter. We want to thank her for sharing her enthusiasm for cooking and her healthy recipes with us over the last two years.! Lorna is the author of several cookbooks, including a new one being published this month. We have three copies of Whole Grains for Busy People to give away to lucky LH newsletter readers. If you would like to enter your name for the drawing, click here. We'll announce the winners in the February newsletter.

As promised, we have the results from our first ever grassroots survey, "How Does Local Compare?" You may recall that last fall we drafted a price comparison survey for seasonal produce and asked interested readers to collect data at their local farmers markets and grocery stores. What a complex puzzle this has turned out to be! We are learning a lot from this pilot survey. We hope to take another run at this question in the early summer, with some outside help. Watch the newsletter for details if you would like to participate in the data collection. Meanwhile, we offer you the results of our pilot study, below.

Erin Barnett
Director, LocalHarvest

From the LocalHarvest Store:

Our box of honeybells arrived today and between my daughter and me we ate three in the first 20 minutes. How can I say it so you will understand? Try this: these honeybells – a cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit – are the most flavorful, juiciest citrus I have ever had, ever. Ever. Only a week or two before the trees are bare until next year. They're 15% off while they last. Order some now. I promise you will not regret it.

Here's something else we're very pleased with this month: our heirloom tomato seeds. We even gave them their own page! With over a hundred offerings of gorgeous heirloom tomatoes – those colors, those shapes! – we thought they deserved a little time in the spotlight. Check them out.

If the tomatoes make you decide to devote all your garden space to them, you may want to consider joining a CSA to round out your summer veggie options. CSAs are beginning to fill up, so now is a good time to research the possibilities in your area. We have 2300 CSAs in our directory, some of which offer their shares online.

Survey Says…!

Last fall we set out to answer the question, "How does local food compare on price?" The assumption among many people is that it is more expensive. Is it? We wanted to find out. The data some of you collected help us come up with our first take on a very complex question. Before I discuss the results, let's look at The Fine Print.
(Read on...)

Vitamin D, The Sunshine Vitamin

The other day I was eating some delicious garlic fries at Johnny's--a hip harbor-side cafe here in Santa Cruz. As I was eating them, enjoying their crispy texture and golden flavor, I couldn't help but think about the possibility of greasy free radicals from those French fries wreaking havoc on my coronary arteries. This is the problem when you have too much clinical nutrition information in your head — you can no longer unconsciously enjoy junk food. I imagine we are all faced with such dilemmas as we make our food choices. There is often a struggle between what we desire and what we know would be a better choice. Sometimes we just have to default to the fries. Even so, I would like to play a role in promoting conscious eating in the hopes of encouraging good food choices. For this reason, I'd like to shift the focus of this year's articles to the individual nutrients: what they do for us, and where to find them. Let's start with Vitamin D...
(Read on...)

Recipe Corner: Quick Brown Rice with Tuna and Green Beans
By Lorna Sass

From my just-published Whole Grains for Busy People, here's a last-minute skillet supper you can toss together if you keep Kraft Minute Brown Rice, canned tuna packed in olive oil, and frozen green beans on hand.

Toasting the quick brown rice before steaming it enhances the grains' flavor. Serve this hearty main dish on its own or with a side salad. Double the recipe if you want to make 4 portions or enjoy some leftovers for lunch.
(Recipes and More...)