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For the Love of Local

eat fresh!

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Growing up in Louisiana, if you got your hands on straight-from-the-farm food, it likely came to you by way of a roadside stop. Probably something like a pickup truck parked with its tailgate down, the bed filled haphazardly with offerings and a handmade sandwich board sign hailing its availability. Even fresh shrimp, which might seem like an oxymoron when you think of it being sold in the sultry Southern summers, could be found in a small white cooler-filled van. It probably shouldn’t fly in today’s USDA-driven world, but I remember strawberries being some of best things I have ever eaten. They were fresh. Picked in the last two days. From down the road. Local.

Ask any foodie—cook, chef, or eater—what “eating local” means to them and certain words pop out. Fresh. Green. Quality. Variety. Community. The bonuses to finding food in your area are abundant: infusing money into the community, acquiring fresher food in more varieties, creating fewer emissions from trucks hauling food cross-country, knowing your neighbors and lowering your chances of food contaminations. And, local fresh food just plain tastes better.

Luckily, the Wood River Valley and surrounding areas are extremely rich in the resources to eat local—farmers’ markets pop up weekly in summer, the cooperative Idaho’s Bounty allows you to order from local vendors and then delivers it here for pick-up. And as many Valley residents know: with any knowledge of mycology (mushroom study), you can look out your back door and find a veritable forest of food, with tasty morels in late spring.

Residents often refer to the Valley as “their own private Idaho.” It’s a diamond that we know people know about, but still like to think is our little secret—our oasis. Eden. In that sense, one of the main reasons to become a locavore (Fresh from the Farm) is that supporting local providers supports responsible land development (Topics of Conservation). And the open spaces that are pastures, kept for livestock or vegetables and farmed, have an economic reason to stay just that. Open, undeveloped, local land.

Glazed Chiogga Beets

This recipe, by Carol Rast of Prairie Sun Farms, works well with the chiogga beet—which is an Italian heirloom beet. They are milder and smooth, with a sweet peppery flavor.

1 bunch of beets
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon honey or brown sugar (or both)
1/4 cup apple juice
1/4 teaspoon ginger and ground cloves

Cut off greens about 1/2 inch from beets. Steam one bunch beets in lightly-salted water, for about 10-15 minutes until just fork tender. Remove skins by running under cold water. Skins will come off easily by slicing top off with a knife. Slice beets thinly. Add rest of ingredients to sauté pan with beets. Cook uncovered until the liquid thickens. Serve warm.

 


Lemon Ice Cream

Fresh dairy, fresh ice cream. For this cold treat I use Cloverleaf Dairy products to keep my ice cream delicious. Change it up by using key limes. Recipe by Jennifer Gilfoil.
Special Equipment: ice cream maker

Juice 4 lemons (5-6 if small)
½ tablespoon of lemon rind (more is better)
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 pint half & half
1 pint whipping cream
milk

Mix together first 6 ingredients. Put mixture in ice cream maker and if there is room, fill to the top with milk. Turn on your machine and when the ice cream is ready, enjoy! >>>

 

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