Bet you didn’t know these fun facts about Broccoli

Bet you didn’t know these fun facts about Broccoli

Colchester Neighborhood Farm has selected  broccoli as its star organic vegetable of the week. While former President George H.W. Bush made it clear that this vegetable was not one of his favorites….for many people it is a staple of the dinner table. And for good reason.  After all, this cousin to kale and brussel sprouts is packed with vitamins and it’s a great item to include on your grocery list if you are trying to drop a few pounds. So without any further ado, I give you some fascinating and fun facts about broccoli.

  • Broccoli hails from the town Calabria in Italy.

 

  • Its name comes from the Italian word, braccio, which means arm.

 

  • If you prefer your broccoli shaken and not stirred, it may be because of the key role it played in the James Bond films…well, sort of. Italian-American Albert R. Broccoli is credited with bringing Ian Fleming’s suave and famous secret agent James Bond to the big screen. Broccoli produced all of the Bond films made during his life.

 

  • Thomas Jefferson imported broccoli seeds from Italy and planted the vegetable at Monticello.

 

  • The average American eats over 4 pounds of the cruciferous vegetable per year. California produces 90 percent of the nation’s broccoli.China, however, is the leading producer of the vegetable, over 8 million tons per year.

 

  • Broccoli is a member of the cabbage family.

 

  • According to the website mindbodygreen.com, broccoli is a powerhouse of vitamins, packed with Vitamins C and A. One cup of the chopped green vegetable has as much Vitamin C as an orange. The Vitamin A in the vegetable helps fight cancer and keeps eyes healthy.

 

  • Filled with fiber which aids in digestion and helps to keep you feeling full, at just 31 calories in a cup of chopped broccoli, it is at the top of the list of foods to eat if you are dieting.

 

  • According to the website, servingjoy.com, “the head of broccoli is made up of tiny flower buds. If you do not harvest broccoli on time, the head will be full of yellow flowers. Even when harvested, broccoli needs to be kept in a cool temperature to prevent the buds from flowering, which will make the vegetable taste bitter.”

 

  • The best way to store broccoli is unwashed, in a ventilated plastic bag inside the refrigerator. It should be eaten within five days.

 

  • Broccoli can be steamed, boiled, or roasted but to get the maximum nutrition value, the best way to enjoy it is raw.

 

  • This versatile veggie can be prepared in soups, salads or even a pesto.

 

If you’re curious as to how this veggie can be worked into a pesto, check out Colchester Neighbhorhood Farm’s Facebook page for a broccoli pesto recipe that will add some flavor to your pasta without adding to your waistline.

Fresh from the farm is an experience

Fresh from the farm is an experience

Buying fresh fruits and vegetables from a local farm stand not only demonstrates healthy eating habits to children, it can teach them the value of supporting local agriculture. If we’re lucky, the trip to the farm can result in a few cherished memories. There is no denying that tomatoes or lettuce picked the same day  taste better than the produce purchased from the grocery store. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of harvesting food from a backyard garden rather than a refrigerator, you will agree that the “chore” itself could be as fun as the food was tasty. I remember picking vegetables with my grandfather; he taught me how to choose the ripest and sweetest tomatoes and how to determine when peppers were ready to be picked. Even sweeter than those tomatoes are the memories of the experience that I still carry with me today.

 

By today’s standards, however, we are not always as diligent about taking time to smell the roses…or as the case may be, the basil. In our rush to complete all of our errands, making a special trip to a local farm, exclusively for the purpose of buying cucumbers and tomatoes, can seem like an added chore and one that could easily be eliminated, if we just purchased our produce at the local grocery store, along with all of the other items on our list. But sometimes, these everyday chores are the same ones that create an experience and in the process, a lasting memory, for children and parents, alike. If we eliminate these so-called chores, we may be denying ourselves and our children the pleasure of true, quality time spent together.

 

When you buy your fruits and vegetables from Colchester Neighborhood Farm, consider blocking out an extra 15 minutes or 30 minutes for the “chore” because it could easily turn into a fun and wonderful experience. Colchester Neighborhood Farm is a social enterprise in every sense of the word. Employing adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities who are more than happy to wait on their customers at the farm stand, they are also eager to show off their farm, which includes chickens, a friendly donkey named Dapple, and some goats and their babies…yes the kids love the kids! A visit to Colchester Neighborhood Farm is more than just buying fresh fruits and vegetables, it is an opportunity for our children to learn about agriculture, to see how their food is grown and where it comes from. And going home with a few good memories along with some fresh tomatoes, organically grown cucumbers, and a bouquet of fresh flowers isn’t bad either.

Getting your fair share of the pie…and the vegetables

Getting your fair share of the pie…and the vegetables

Today’s consumers have never been more savvy or health conscious when it comes to buying food for their families. They are opting for healthier choices and often times that means buying food that is locally grown, without the aid of chemicals and pesticides. Local farmers recognize this heightened demand for fresh fruits and vegetables that have been organically grown and are working harder than ever to make sure that their farm stands are filled with enough produce to satisfy all of their customers.

 

It can be terribly disappointing to get to the farm stand only to find out that the tomatoes are sold out or the lettuce has all been eaten up. This is the plight of the local farmer….knowing how much produce to grow to meet the demand of his customers. Grow too much and the farm suffers a loss in terms of expenses; grow too little and the customer is disappointed. In an effort to take the guess work out of the process and to ensure that every customer gets their fair share of freshly harvested fruits and vegetables, Community Supported Agriculture, also known as CSA shares, have become quite the trend and consumers and farmers alike are, pardon the pun, eating it up.

 

The way the CSA shares work is simple. Customers pay the farmer upfront for a season’s worth of fruits and vegetables. This gives the farmer a firm grasp on the number of people who will be purchasing from him during the season so he knows how much to plant to ensure that all of his “regular” customers get the vegetables they want. Each week, he sets aside the fruits and vegetables that have been “pre-ordered” by these shareholders. It is the ultimate customer service model and a win-win situation for both the farmer and the customer.

 

Here at Colchester Neighborhood Farm, we are selling CSA shares for our vegetables and fruits as well as the flowers we grow, organic eggs, and our winter vegetable crops…buying fresh and local doesn’t end when the last tomato has been picked.

 

What really sets Colchester Neighborhood Farm apart from other local farms is the people. Yes, it really is the people who are tilling the soil, picking the vegetables, building trellises, tending to the chickens, and all of the other work that happens on the farm. Managed and operated by New England Village, Inc., a nonprofit organization that assists people with developmental and intellectual disabilities find employment, the men and women working on our farm have found their purpose here and are happy to lend their talents and skills to this business. And they are happy to deliver the highest level of customer service to the people who visit our farm stand.

 

Buying fresh fruits and vegetables from Colchester Neighborhood Farm not only provides you with food that tastes good, it gives you a good feeling knowing you are supporting people who truly love their job and the opportunity to serve you.

6 Farmers’ Market Scams

Interesting article from organicgardening.com about myths of Farmers’ Markets.

Here are the six myths:

  1. Myth: All farmers’ markets sell local food
  2. Myth: Local = organic
  3. Myth: “No spray” is the same as organic
  4. Myth: Farmers aren’t certified organic because it’s “too expensive”
  5. Myth: Food from the farmers’ market is so clean, you can eat it right there
  6. Myth: Bugs on your food are bad

People tend to equate farmers’ markets and “local” food with clean, wholesome food.  That’s true in many cases—but not all of them.  Farmers’ markets have become so popular that they’re being co-opted by wholesalers, retailers, and farmers who may be local but not so committed to a sustainable food system.  If you’re looking for farmers’ markets that sell the kind of healthy, down-on-the-farm food most of us equate with farming, arm yourself with this info to ward off farmers’ market fraud.

Read the entire article HERE and be sure to click through each “myth”.

Longtime CNF CSA member, James shares how his family uses their share…

Although we are only two people most of the time now, we made pretty good use of all three seasons last year, and figured out how to freeze certain things and use others that we haven’t in the past.  If you have time on your hands, you might scan or search our food blog for mention of some items as they come in, though I have to admit the postings about Jerusalem artichokes are not the most uplifting.  The ratatouille posts, however, can encourage even the most reluctant eggplant recipient, since I was that person a year ago!

The blog is at http://nuevareceta.blogspot.com/ and that particular post is at http://nuevareceta.blogspot.com/2011/09/ratatatatouille.html.