And now for something deliciously different!

Happy National Spinach Day, friends!

Many of your favorite Central Oregon farmers have recently been busily planning, planting, and yes, harvesting good healthy food for you and your family.  Thank you for giving them your business! (see this page in case you’re not sure where to buy). Today, as on all days, we thank our farmers, and we especially acknowledge their harvest of spinach, an early and abundant crop here in the high desert. Each year, National Spinach Day reminds Americans of the health benefits packed of the leafy green vegetable.

Here are some points people should know: impress your friends at your next virtual happy hour and trivia contest!
• An annual plant, spinach grows natively in central and southwestern Asia. Thought to have originated in ancient Persia, Arab traders carried spinach into India and then later introduced into ancient China. There it was known as “Persian vegetable.” Thank you, Persia!
• The earliest available record of the spinach plant was found in Chinese, saying that the spinach plant was introduced into China via Nepal in the 7th century. Hey Spinach, you really get around!
• Spinach was most probably brought to Europe in about the 12th century and to the US in 1806. Thanks for coming, Spinach!
• During her reign as queen of France, Catherine de Medici enjoyed spinach so much, it was served at every meal. To this day, dishes made with spinach are known as “Florentine” reflecting Catherine’s birth in Florence. Lucky for us we can all eat like queens and kings of France!
• Spinach is eaten raw or cooked and is available fresh, frozen or canned. And it’s available farm direct or from your local grocery!
• Spinach is one of the best sources of iron. And an excellent source of calcium, folic acid, fiber, protein, calcium and vitamins A, C and K.It’s  loaded with cancer-fighting antioxidants, believed to help improve cardiovascular and gastrointestinal health. I feel better already!
• The creator of the comic strip character, Popeye, E.C. Segar was a vegetarian and as a way of promoting the benefits of vegetables, he boosted his character’s strength with a known iron-rich food. And it goes really well with Olive Oyl!
• Alma, Arkansas (population approx. 4,700), holds an annual spinach festival each April, organized by the Alma Chamber of Commerce. Alma proclaims itself to be the “spinach capital of the world”, a title also claimed by Crystal City, Texas, which erected a statue of Popeye in 1937. Maybe we can make it to Alma next April!
• Medieval artists extracted green pigment from spinach to use as an ink or paint. We recommend eating it instead!
• Name “Spinach” is derived from the word ispanai meaning green hand. In Latin it became spanachia which eventually evolved into the present word. Get some of that green in your hands today!
• It can make workouts easier. Preliminary research published in Cell Press found spinach might make your muscles more efficient during a workout. Just ask Popeye!
• On average, each American eats 1.4 kilograms (3 pounds) of spinach a year. Come on people, you can do better than that!

Source: southfloridareporter.com, commentary from HDFFA!

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