Tag Archives: farmers

Feast for the Eyes

toastingimagesBeautiful spring weather calls for beautiful meals under the canopy of nature.
They say we eat with our eyes, but looks like we should be eating for our eyes too. Nutrition researchers are gazing into our orbs to illuminate the link between nutrition and eye health. Important diet discoveries go beyond eating carrots to see well in the dark.

Carrots still rank high on the eyesight saving menu but other heroes, perhaps even more important, are emerging from the farm. Scientists have set their sights on green leafy and deep orange or yellow vegetables such as spinach, kale, zucchini, corn, tomatoes, pumpkin, squash, carrots, collard greens and turnip greens.

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The Lady of the Refrigerator dressed in a pumpkin. Fashionable and fabulous for eye health. Good looking and good for looking!
Pumpkin and the other foods listed above contain two natural carotenoid plant pigments called lutein and zeaxanthin. They are both potent antioxidants thought to protect the eyes against the damaging light waves that contribute to cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and age related macular degeneration (AMD).

A study in the British Journal of Nutrition reports that lutein can reduce risk of cataracts by up to forty percent and a study in the Archives of Ophthalmology found that lutein may cut risk of AMD by thirty five percent. Lutein is also found in eggs, especially the yolk. So enjoy the whole egg for a whole lot of health benefits.

Peek a Boo! I see you!

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Lutein is important for the development of an infant’s eye sight (attention moms-to-be) and maintaining children’s vision health (eat your vegetables kids!).

Recipe note: since lutein and zeaxanthin are fat-soluble nutrients absorption is increased when consumed with a little oil. So it’s good to know that olive oil drizzled on the season’s fresh vegetables is good for your taste buds and your eyes. Yum! Here’s a delicious example from The Slim Down South Cookbook. The BLT Chicken Salad.

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Focus on Foods
Other powerful antioxidant nutrients associated with maintaining overall eye health are zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene.

Lutein/Zeaxanthin: kale, collard greens, spinach, turnip greens, broccoli, avocado, zucchini, peas, corn, Brussels sprouts, tangerines, dark leafy salad greens and eggs.

Beta-carotene: carrots, mangos, sweet potato, greens, spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, cantaloupe, kale, and apricots.

Vitamin C: papaya, citrus fruit, strawberries, tomato, mango, green peppers, and berries.

Vitamin E: almonds, wheat germ, whole grain breads, avocado, and greens.

Zinc: oysters, lobster, beef, poultry, pork, lentils, and whole-grain bread.

Source: USDA nutrient database.

Happily, many of the foods rich in nutrients good for our eyes are delicious additions to any meal and are beautiful to look at too.

Here’s the video!!! of Beautiful Ways to Present Beautiful Foods FOR our Eyes.

It’s all about placement on the plate.

Add Color and MORE….

 

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Farmers Market Finds

Peachtree Road Farmers Market in Atlanta 

Shopping at your local farmers market is more popular than ever.


Farmers meet consumers one-on-one to sell their just-picked crops and suggest the best ways to cook them.

Friends and neighbors, often with their kids and dogs in tow, chat about the weekend and compare purchases.

Where are the fresh baked dog biscuits? 


Crazy colored heirloom tomatoes! Purple potatoes! 

Don’t know how to cook a Japanese eggplant? As the farmer!


Candy-striped beets! Sweet corn, peaches, okra and onions. Locally made goat cheese and honey! Asiago cheese bread!

The taste benefits drive shoppers to farmers’ markets but the health benefits of enjoying freshly picked fruits and vegetables are a big attraction, too. Add to that the good feeling of supporting local farmers and food producers with your purchases and farmers’ markets are a great place to shop.

Have lunch at the Famers Market too!

But, how do you choose the best peaches? The ripest tomatoes? And what do you do with that strange looking squash?

Farmers Market Secrets   Watch CBS Better Mornings Video Here! 


Farmers Market Shopping List of Tips:

-Try to get there early! Look on line for list of farmers and food producers who attend each Farmers’ Market to help plan ahead. I go to the Peachtree Road Farmers Market on Saturdays. 


I get everything from ears of corn to cute earrings from the artisans there. 



Chili Ristas and Turquoise Jewelry at Santa Fe Farmers Market



-Jump into the season: what’s seasonal now? If it is in season it will taste best and cost less

Chef Charles Dale power shops for tonight’s menu at the Santa Fe Farmers Market


-Talk to the farmers, if they grew it, they are happy to tell you how to cook it. Don’t be shy! Hey farmers are the new celebrities!!!


-Buy some ripe, and buy some not so ripe!!! That way the harder peaches or greener tomatoes will ripen up during the week so if you buy on Saturday, they’ll be just right on Wednesday. Actually, produce is so often so fresh at the market, it’ll stay fresh for a week. Then it’s time to go back!


-Imperfections can taste best, the “ugliest” tomato is likely to be an heirloom variety with more tomato flavor. Try varieties or vegetables you’ve never tasted before.

-Bring your own reusable bags to be earth friendly – but please folks – make sure they’re clean!!! Did you know that dirty bags can contaminate your perfect produce? 

Goodies for dining and decor at the Santa Fe Farmers Market, nice hat.


– Have small bills in cash. It will be easier and faster to make transactions with the farmers and producers. Credit cards are a pain and they cost the farmer money. Be a friend to the farmer! 


-Look for perishable foods such as cheeses, yogurts and sausages displayed on ICE!  Food safety is important.  And have a cooler with ice in the car to place perishable purchases.

Chef Demos teach kids ( uh, and all of us ) how great fresh foods taste!


-Create a Farmers’ Market Ready Pantry at home with staples such as whole-wheat flour, granola cereals, canola oil, olive oils, and spices to turn those fresh finds into fabulous dishes. 




I like to bake peaches and top with Sunbelt Bakery Granola to make a Peach Granola Crunch.      
   

Baked Peach Granola Crunch with Sunbelt Bakery Granola

Happy and Healthy Shopping at the Farmers Market of your choice, folks!

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