Loris Sofia Gregory, Healthy Kitchen Coach, Apple Valley, MN
Valley Natural Foods, 13750 County Road 11, Burnsville, MN 55337
July gifts us with a healthy abundance of flavorful FRESH & LOCAL produce: the crisp nutrient-packed greens of cilantro, collard greens, cucumbers, kales, lettuces, Napa cabbage, parsley and zucchini; the succulent reds and oranges of beets, berries, carrots, radishes, romaine and melons; and the captivating earthy palette of heirloom tomatoes. Satisfying summer meals and optimum health are not the only benefits of eating a rainbow of FRESH & LOCAL produce. When we buy local, we help our local farm families earn a living, which in turn preserves farmland around us. Buying fresh local food also supports our local economy and saves money through minimizing and eliminating processing, packaging, marketing and transportation costs. Take your taste buds on a lip-smacking tour of these July flavors, recipes and meal ideas.
Harmony Valley Farm, Viroqua, Wisconsin
FRESH & LOCAL produce from Harmony Valley Farm reflects the benefits of the 30+ years farming experience of owner Richard de Wilde, who has been growing organic vegetables since 1973. Richard values soil fertility and an integrated, healthy, natural growing environment. Harmony Valley strives to offer the cleanest, freshest, tastiest variety of organic produce available anywhere, including cilantro, parsley, radishes and mini red romaine currently in stock at Valley Natural. Want to maximize the health benefits of your salads? The ample Vitamin C, beta-carotene, folic acid, potassium and fiber content of red romaine make it a heart-healthy “green.”
The super nutritional and detoxifying benefits of cilantro and parsley are often overlooked. Consider adding either of these fresh herbs to your green salads, your 4th of July potato salad, your favorite guacamole or replacing basil when making pesto. Marrying cilantro with lime juice, local honey and shredded cabbage leads to a standout coleslaw.
How about freshening up July picnics with Radish-Cilantro Salsa based on recipe from Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything?” Dice fresh radishes and add some diced cucumber. For every two cups of radishes, add 1/3 cup chopped red onion or green onion, 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic and 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves. Add zing with a few tablespoons of fresh lemon or lime juice or red wine vinegar plus chopped chile peppers or red pepper flakes to your taste. Delicious freshness!
Wisconsin Grower’s Cooperative, Black River Falls and Mondovi, Wisconsin
When you buy FRESH & LOCAL from Wisconsin Growers Cooperative, you are supporting 25 Amish farm families in rural Black River Falls and Mondovi. These farmers use horse-drawn plows and hand tools to provide VNF shoppers with some of the highest-quality produce grown in the Midwest. Most of the farms are certified organic and all the farmers follow organic standards. Taste the FRESH & LOCAL difference in Wisconsin Grower Cooperative’s beets, carrots, heirloom tomatoes, Napa cabbage and zucchini now at Valley Natural.
For a scrumptious July meal, consider Summer Stuffed Zuchini with Simple Spinach Salad and Strawberry Sherbert, including a ready-to-go shopping list.
Click here for summer fresh recipes for Tomato Soup (including carrots) and Pan-Seared Wild Cod with Tomato-Cucumber Salsa.
Featherstone Farm, Rushford, Minnesota
Featherstone Farm is a 250-acre certified organic farm located in the bluff country near Rushford, Minnesota. Founded in 1994 by Jack Hedin and Jenni McHugh, Featherstone Farm draws its name and focus on environmental sustainability from the Featherstone Township homestead (80 miles upriver) where Jack’s great grandfather farmed in the 19th century. Featherstone Farm has been certified organic since 1997. Look for Featherstone’s FRESH & LOCAL collard greens at VNF this month. Steamed collard greens outshine steamed kale, mustard greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage in terms of its ability to lower cholesterol and bind unhealthy acids in the digestive tract. Spicy Collard Greens are great with steamed brown rice, cooked adzuki beans and corn bread for healthy satisfying meal. Collards are also delicious with grilled tuna steaks or poultry.
Gardens of Eagan, Farmington, Minnesota
From a small roadside stand in Eagan, to 100 certified organic acres near Farmington, Gardens of Eagan has grown and evolved. Martin and Atina Diffley, national pioneers in fresh, local and organic, decided to take a breather after more than 20 years of growing vegetables. In 2008, they leased their farmland to the Wedge Food Co-op, selling them 20 tractors and a well-respected brand name. Gardens of Eagan continues to be knowledgeable, committed, passionate folks dedicated to the organic stewardship of their piece of earth, while producing high-quality produce for the Twin Cities community and VNF shoppers.
For delicious, off-the-charts nourishment, notice Gardens of Eagan’s outstanding red, green or Lacinato kale. Once on your kitchen, slide the kale leaves off the stems. Chop or tear into bite-size pieces. Sauté in water for five to 10 minutes. Drain, drizzle with butter and tamari (or Bragg Liquid Aminos). Serve and enjoy immediately.
I look forward to meeting you at these FRESH & LOCAL July events. Registration 36 hours in advance is required for the films and class. Call VNF Customer Service at 952.891.1212, ext. 221 or see more details and register online here.
DEMO: FRESH & LOCAL FLAVORS OF PEAK SUMMER. Tuesday, July 10, 11 am-2 pm, FREE
SUMMER FRESH FRIDAY FILMS: “The Miracles of Greens: How Greens and Wild Edibles Can Save Your Life,” Friday, July 13, 6-8 pm, FREE
CLASS: FRESH & LOCAL FLAVORS OF PEAK SUMMER, Tuesday, July 17, 6:30-8:30 pm
DEMO: EAT MORE WHOLE FOODS, Wednesday, July 25, 3-6 pm, FREE
SUMMER FRESH FRIDAY FILMS: “Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days,” Friday, July 27, 6-8 pm, FREE
Based in Apple Valley, contact FRESH & LOCAL health coach Loris Sofia Gregory at 952.431.5586 or lorissofiagregory.com. Loris would love to hear your ideas and questions about eating FRESH & LOCAL. Request her earth-friendly recipes and healthy seasonal eating tips if you miss her monthly demos and classes at Valley Natural Foods.