Wednesday, January 26, 2011

LEARNING ABOUT THINGS ORGANIC

If you follow me here at all you know that part of my new food quest is learning (and sharing) more about where our food comes from.  Last night I took the opportunity to visit Ms. Julie's Kitchen on South Main Street where the good folks from TreeHouse Organics chatted with us about their family of local organic farmers, master gardeners, green growers, bee keepers, and craftspeople.  Most of what I saw this evening were products made from their gardens and farms, such as honey, maple syrup, flavored vinegars, tomato sauces and fruit preserves. 

Topics ranged from crop rotation to the use of bio diesel fuels on the farms to sea salt mined in South Carolina.  Farmer Ben and his family talked to us about tilling the earth the good old-fashioned way without the use of tractors that pump toxins into the air and drip pollutants into the soil.  He tells us how they break the sod up by walking the fields barefoot so that they can feel how thoroughly the soil is being worked under their feet. 

These are folks that not only talk the talk, but walk the walk.  They believe in growing products without the use of pesticides, herbicides, steroids or other chemicals.  They work hard and are willing to share the bounty of their efforts with anyone that appreciates it. My mouth watered when Ben spoke of sweet corn, fresh tomatoes and other summer vegetables that we simply cannot get this time of year.  Learning to eat seasonally is one of the big adjustments we must make if we begin to follow the local food chain.

The more I read and learn, the more convinced I am that it's a healthy thing for both myself, and the earth as a whole, to seek out vendors such as TreeHouse Organics.  Eating closer to the ground, as some call it, should become a way of life, much as it was for our Grandparents and their parents. 

I will definitely be back to pick up some of their products at Ms. Julie's Kitchen.  Kimberly Beckett from the Downtown Akron Partnership was on hand this evening to tell us that their market will be open again this year at Lock 3 beginning in July and we hope to see TreeHouse Organics there.

Check out The Akronist for my full-blown story on TreeHouse in the next couple of days. 

LATE NIGHT SALAD DINNER
After listening for two hours of the benefits of organic foods, I felt too ashamed to come home after a long day and eat a hot dog for my dinner (which truthfully was my original plan).  I blatantly love a good hot dog and have waxed poetically about them on several occasions in this blog.  But heck if I wasn't inspired to come home and toss together something a little closer to the earth.

Now I'm not too sure of the origin of most of my salad ingredients tonight, except that I know the carrots and broccoli were local.  The cauliflower has been rolling around the bottom of the fridge so long I could easily have gotten it locally when they were available.  I'd take a guess that the pineapple came from Hawaii (or maybe South America).  BUT, I'm feeling pretty good about the fact that this is vegetarian AND that I was able to bypass those hot dogs screaming my name from the fridge door, AND it tasted good to boot!


A sunny day in a bowl!
Broccoli Carrot Salad

BROCCOLI CARROT SALAD

Salad:
  1 cup broccoli flowerettes
  1/2 cup cauliflower flowerettes
  1 cup shredded carrot
  1/4 cup fresh pineapple bits
  1/2 shallot, minced
  2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
Dressing:
  4 tablespoons mayonnaise
  2 teaspoons sugar
  2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar

Mix up all ingredients except mayo, sugar and vinegar in a medium bowl.  In a small bowl combine the dressing ingredients and mix well. Pour over salad and toss to combine.

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