By Frank E. Vaerewyck FF/EMT
It’s that time of year again, and kitchens all over the world in homes, fire stations, and restaurants are getting their vegetables and produce from farmers markets and locally grown venues more and more. On February 29th, 2012 the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced the launch of a new online resource that aggregates USDA supported local and regional food projects into a searchable map and database making it easier to buy locally. The items bought at these markets support the local economy; and since the produce is picked at the peak of the season, the nutrients and phytochemicals are more abundant then their preservative packed canned counterparts. Fresh is always better when the dinner bell rings at the Firehouse.
The smell of fresh parsley, cilantro, onions and various other goods permeates the senses when walking throughout the farmers market. The conversations between farmers, patrons, friends and new acquaintances breathe life into the community. Fresh from the farm food has a different zeal about it. Experiencing food at its finest can encourage even the pickiest eater to try a few bites. Find out how the grower likes to prepare the particular type of produce, have fun with the kids, give them a couple of dollars and see what they choose. There is a much greater chance your child will try this new food since it belongs to them.
Often with dinner, it is always nice to have a fresh salad that is not only easy to make but light, crisp, and refreshing – full of vibrant colors and flavors, a nice blend of vegetables. This month’s recipe only takes about 15 minutes to prepare and is a great addition to any meal.
Original Recipe Yield 12 servings
2 cups sliced celery
2 cups thinly sliced cauliflower
2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
2 cups thinly sliced carrots
2 cups sliced cucumber
1 medium onion, thinly sliced, separated into rings
3/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
In a large serving bowl, combine the celery, cauliflower, tomatoes, carrots, cucumber and onion. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the remaining ingredients. Pour over vegetables and toss gently. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Serve with a slotted spoon.