This is a guest blog post from Izzy of Busy Izzy Granola. Thanks, Izzy, for all you do and congrats again on your award!
As the recipient of the 2019 and 2020 Local Food Champion award for specialty foods, I am constantly thinking about how I can support the local farmers and rancher of Central Oregon. This year is no different and what is weighing heavy on my mind is the need to share the joy I have with our local produce and the need for all of us to eat healthy for our immunity…it’s really the only weapon we have or need.
Within as little as two weeks, what you eat can have a profound impact on your immunity…so there is no time like the present to acquaint yourself with the farmer’s market for what’s in season.
Here’s a few things to keep in mind when thinking about your new found friends:
The closer you are to the source, the more nutritious.
As soon as veggies are picked they start to lose their nutritional value. So don’t do what I do some of the time, let those precious healers fade at the bottom of the fridge. Instead, buy fresh from local farmers and buy often.
Take care of them and they will take care of you.
The reason eating lots of veggies like greens, cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and sweet potatoes is good for you is because they are food for your microbiome (the microorganisms in your gut). If you take care of them by feeding them more good food, they will fend off the bad guys when they are introduced to your system. 80% of your immune system gets trained in the gut…it’s a major battle zone and the good guys need nourishment.
Buy local and in season.
In order for fruit to make it to Central Oregon from say Mexico, it most likely was not picked ripe and had the necessary time to expel the toxins that are typically used to protect the developing seeds. You eat those toxins when you eat fruit that has not had a chance to properly ripen…consider that when you are buying tomatoes in February. In addition, as humans, we are not meant to eat fruit all year round. Eat it when it tastes amazing and is plentiful…and then give your body a break.
Bitter is Better.
Bitter veggies have all kinds of good stuff in them…and people like me who have the bitter tasting gene, tend to shy away from them. So there are a few ways around this…try some of my recipes below…and just try to eat more of them. The more you eat, the more your taste buds will change to accommodate the good stuff you are eating…promise.
So here goes a few of my favorite veggies and what I do with them.
I am CRAZY about salad turnips! I am finding they best in the spring…and .I like to buy them small. Look at these beauties. They are like candy…I honestly buy them a few bunches at the time and inevitably one is gone by the time I get home. They are the best when purchased from your local farmer for sure.
I bought fennel at the market a week ago and it was out of this world. So much sweeter than anything I buy at the store. I love to do two things with Fennel. I like to slice the bulb somewhat thin, sprinkle with a little salt, dress with olive oil and lemon. That’s it folks…a delicious salad/side!
The second thing I absolutely love to do with fennel is BBQ it on the grill with another veggie like asparagus. Toss with some olive oil and put in a grill pan over a med/low flame…toss occasionally until your fennel starts to caramelize. You will want to have this every week.
OK folks…instead of green salad every day…I tend to eat my red cabbage salad almost every day. I slice thin (usually a half of a head at a time), put in a big bow and sprinkle salt to taste…and let it sit for about an hour. Then I toss with a few slices of shallot (minced) and dress with organic olive oil, red wine vinegar, a splash of Celia’s Balsamic vinegar, some granulated garlic on it. This salad is good to eat right away but will be even better the next day.
Olive oil is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. It’s one of the reasons the Mediterranean diet is successful and great for overall health. I think I read somewhere that the olive oil is even a prebiotic…and can negate a small amount of bread that it may be eaten with. Always buy organic olive oil…and buy locally produced if you can. I typically can be seen picking up a case of half gallon bottles at Locavore of the Arbequina olive oil from California. This stuff is so good I even put it on ice cream, if I happen to have it. You don’t want to run out…and you want to use it on everything you can. Even ice cream…one of my favorites.
Happy eating…and stay well!
A note from HDFFA: Many of the foods highlighted in this post are included in the Central Oregon Top 10 Locally Grown Foods. Learn more about what grows here and where to find it on our “Get A Taste of This Place” page.