Onions, the most commonly used member of the allium family, are not only fantastic sources of flavor for food but also provide a nutritional punch. They are rich in Vitamins C and B, fiber, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron. They are not only nutrient-dense but have also been widely used in traditional medicine for millennia. The organosulfur compounds that give onions their characteristic tear-inducing qualities also provide noted health benefits that include promoting cardiovascular health through antiplatelet and antithrombotic functions, reducing unhealthy bacterial loads, providing cancer-preventing antioxidants, and promoting improved respiratory health.
Posts Tagged ‘local food’
When you think of agriculture in the Adirondacks, you may not think of waving fields of grain. However, New England was actually the “breadbasket” of the United States until the late 1800’s.
Global markets have driven local grains out of favor. Today, China is the top wheat producer, followed by India, Russia, and the United States. But flour is flour, right? Not really. The difference in flavor, nutrition, and community impact is significant.
Pumpkins are an undeniable symbol of the changing seasons in the Northeastern United States. Pumpkins are an annual fruit in the genus Cucurbita, along with butternut squash, zucchini and cucumbers.
What’s the Difference Between a Pumpkin, Winter Squash and Gourd?
Pumpkins, winter squash and gourds are all fruit of the same genus, Cucurbita. Botanically speaking, there isn’t much difference between them. However, there is a significant difference in pumpkins, squash and gourds that have been bred for ornamental or edible purposes. A jack-o-lantern-style pumpkin would be tasteless and disappointing to eat. But a pie pumpkin would be sweet and delicious, much more like butternut squash. Edible pumpkins and squash can be unique decorations that can later be eaten. Look for delicious and beautiful varieties like Blue Hubbard, Autumn Frost, and Long Island Cheese to make your autumn decor do double duty.
Apples are one of the most historically, culturally, and economically significant fruits on earth. It’s estimated that humans have been eating apples since 50,000 BCE. Today, there are currently over 7,500 known cultivars of apples, ranging from small, green and tart, to big red sweet globes. The modern apple is thought to have been domesticated in modern-day Kazakstan 4,000-10,000 years ago.
Apples are not native to New York State or the United States at all. However, today there are over 42,360 acres of apple orchards in the state of New York, which is second in the US behind the state of Washington for apple production. The United States (5M tons/year) is second only to China (50M tons/year) in apple production.
So how did the United States become a leader in growing a fruit that is relatively new to the area?
Melons have been adapted over many years to include a variety of distinct fruits. They can have ribbed, wrinkly or smooth rinds, and their flesh can range from juicy to dry, and sweet to mild. Melons are in the gourd family and are closely related to pumpkins, squash and cucumbers. They prefer warmer climates, and there is a very short window of time that they are available in the Adirondack region- between August and early September.
By Garet D. Livermore, executive director, Cornell Cooperative Extension Herkimer County
Obtaining fresh food in the Adirondacks has always been a challenge. Between the cold climate and the poor glacial soil riddled with stones and boulders, farming in the Adirondacks is, at best, a difficult proposition. The indigenous people of the region, the Mohawks of the Haudenosaunee nation had large settlements in the rich river valleys that surround the Adirondacks that supported large farms that grew the “three sisters” (corn, beans and squash) that sustained their communities. When they came into the central Adirondacks, they brought these food staples with them to supplement the fish and game of the mountains.
The European settlers coming into the Adirondacks in the 19th century attempted farming, but few stayed on the land for long. The growing conditions were simply too poor to support lasting settlements. Within a generation most moved on to western lands that were more hospitable to growing foods and building communities.
Today’s Adirondackers face similar challenges in keeping their families well fed. Many year-round residents plan for elaborate monthly shopping trips to Utica or Glens Falls to stock up on essential food items. Similarly, vacationers often arrive in rented cabins or to campsites with coolers stuffed with all of the food that they need for their vacations.
Culinary herbs are the aromatic leaves of plants that are used to flavor, or be eaten as, food. “Fresh herbs” are herbs still in their whole plant form and have not been dried or processed. Fresh herbs have been used in traditional cuisines of cultures across the world for thousands of years. Fresh herbs provide a diversity of distinct flavors and aromas and are part of what makes regional culinary traditions taste unique.
Perhaps I am biased, but I think that fresh herbs just make life better! Think about how good a really good mojito is with mint. Or basil on a ripe summer tomato. Or the incredible scent of a bouquet of lavender or roses. There are many reasons to love fresh herbs, especially from local farms and gardens!
Rhubarb is a perennial spring vegetable that grows abundantly from May to July in the Adirondacks. Rhubarb is in the plant family Polygonacea along with knotweed and buckwheat. While the plant is technically a vegetable, the tart edible stalks of the plant are most commonly thought of as a fruit, and is eaten in sweet preparations.
Eggs, more specifically, chicken eggs, are an integral part of traditions, celebratory dishes, and the everyday diet around the globe. Historians estimate that humans have been eating eggs for roughly 6 million years. Originally, people foraged eggs from wild bird nests until they were domesticated around 1500 BCE in Ancient Egypt. Throughout history, eggs have become a symbol of life, rebirth, renewal, and fertility for many cultures.
Today, humans eat about 88 million tons of eggs each year worldwide. China is the top producer of eggs (roughly 34 million tons), then the United States (roughly 6.9 million tons), and then Mexico (roughly 4 million tons). While we may think of them as a staple of the American diet, countries like Japan, Paraguay, China, and Mexico consume more eggs per person each year.
Spring Greens are the edible young leaves or new growth of plants. Spring greens are the tender new growth that first emerges in early spring. In the Adirondacks, spring greens start to appear in greenhouses at the end of March and early April.
These tender greens are the unofficial start of the new year. They are the first fresh growth of the season! They indicate that young radishes, asparagus, and scallions are coming soon.
When we say “spring greens”, we mean baby cut lettuce, kale, chard, spinach, and other plants like bok choy. Many times, a variety of different spring greens or types of lettuces are packaged together and called “Spring Mix” or “Salad Mix.”
When you think of agriculture in the Adirondacks, you may not think of waving fields of grain. New England was the “breadbasket” of the United States until the late 1800’s. Global markets have driven local grains out of favor. Flour is flour, right?
Many grain growers and “bread heads” would whole-heartily disagree. Have you ever eaten cornbread made with freshly ground cornmeal? Or eaten a shortbread cookie made with freshly ground buckwheat? The difference in flavor, nutrition, and community impact is significant.
Fish can offer our bodies some amazing benefits including omega-3 fatty acids and a large
amount of protein. This is a great way to fulfill your protein needs without overloading your
system with saturated fats and additives.
This recipe allows for a bright flavor while providing a
zesty taste in the mix. This dish is also lower in calories but with the high content of healthy fats,
you are sure to be left feeling very full!
AdkAction is pleased to announce that more than 100 families in the North Country will be able to enroll in local community supported agriculture (CSA) vegetable subscriptions at no cost this year, thanks to crowdfunded support and a generous $25,000 matching grant from an anonymous donor.
“We set a goal to raise enough by the first day of spring for 100 families to participate,” said AdkAction Food Security Projects Manager Kim La Reau. “In just one week we exceeded our initial goal, and are now well on our way to serving 125 families through the program this year. The outpouring of support has been tremendous.”
The Fair Share CSA program was tested last summer, when AdkAction sponsored 23 families to participate in farm shares at White Rainbow Farm in Peru and Tangleroot Farm in Essex. The program provided fresh local produce to these households (75 individuals) for 20 weeks in the first season.
Whether we shop at the supermarket or the farmers market, the foods we purchase bare a wide variety of labels. And we rely on those labels to provide us with information on, among other things, how the food was grown and/or prepared, or in the case of meat and meat products, how the animals were raised.
When we choose to buy food products that we believe are better choices, based on labeling, we want to know that we’re buying food that’s healthier for our families and the environment? And most people would agree that consumers have a right to know. But, all of the branding, pictures, and / or descriptions we find on, or attached to food products or packaging can be confusing. And, sometimes, misleading.
Sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) are large, sweet-tasting, starchy, tubers that grow under soil attached to a sprawling vine with heart-shaped leaves. While we eat them like potatoes (Solanum tuberosum), they are actually not a potato. Sweet potatoes are a member of the Convolvulaceae plant family and are more closely related to morning glories than potatoes. Potatoes are in the nightshade family, and are more closely related to eggplant, tomatoes, and peppers.
Sweet potatoes thrive in warm climates, and they continue to be a culturally significant food in the American South, where they have been grown by indigenous people, European colonists, and enslaved people, and farmers for hundreds of years.
Photo from the Saratoga Farmers’ Market, Pleasant Valley Farm, By Pattie Garrett
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