Anyone who’s ever had tomatoes fresh off the vine or corn right off the stalk knows that fresh foods just taste better. Health experts, from Dr. Oz to Dr. Agatston of South Beach diet fame, tell us fresh food is better for us. If you want to reap the health benefits and lower your carbon footprint, eating fresh foods just makes sense.
Deepak Chopra says in Grow Younger, Live Longer “…fresh foods enhance regeneration and vitality. For most foods, the less time between harvesting and consumption, the more energy and intelligence it provides.” Studies show the U.S. food industry is one of the biggest and most wasteful users of energy. About 80% of the energy used goes into processing, refrigeration and transportation, and these costs go into the price.
Small local farms are run by farmers living on the land and working to preserve it. They are less likely to aggressively treat their crops with strong chemicals and many farm organically. Much of the fruits and vegetables sold at local farmers markets are harvested the day before or even hours before. An added bonus, as Chef Emeril Lagasse says, is there’s no excess packaging to deal with and none of the little stickers to peel off.
Emeril Lagasse’s book Farm to Fork Cooking Local, Cooking Fresh is his “guide to help you explore the great local bounty through fifteen flavorful chapters…” There’s a lot of terrific recipes like Lemon-Scented Blueberry Pancakes and Provencal-Style Stuffed Zucchini plus a chapter on canning and preserving so you can enjoy the goodness all year.
Then there is Fresh From the Farmer’s Market by Janet Fletcher a chef who honed her craft at Chez Panisse. Her book is divided into seasons to take advantage of what’s available when. Just a couple of her offerings are Tomato Salad with Corn and Basil and Pizza with Mozzarella and Arugula.
Of course what cookbook shelf would be complete without a book from Southern Living. Their Farmers Market Cookbook offers recipes for every season along with shopping tips and a section on herbs. How about Tasty Turkey Burgers With Herb-Grilled Vidalia Onion Rings or Warm Cranberry Brie.
There’s even a book from Tyler Florence about starting your infant, baby or toddler on fresh, healthy food. Start Fresh contains 60 recipes including Asparagus Puree and Banana, Pineapple and Avocado Pudding.
Come to the 5th annual Green Fair Saturday, April 21 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm for more tips and information about making your life greener.