Serving Up Vermont
Springtime in Vermont is a long-anticipated season. After long months in the bitter cold and the wintry snow, it’s a happy sight to find the colors of nature bloom out from underneath. My favorite sight? The bright green springy coils of fiddleheads! Move over root veggie stew, it’s time to add some springtime flavors to the menu. My favorite spring recipes feature the addition of this ingredient and the taste always reminds me of the warm weather to come. Fiddleheads are a tasty vegetable, they’re easy to use, and they pack a nutritional punch to boot.
Ramps, or wild leeks, are incredibly popular this time of year. After living through a winter full of root crops and squash, people are excited to eat something green, fresh, and foraged from the land. This excitement is also historical – ramps were traditionally an exciting spring addition to plates of Native Americans and early colonists as well. You or your parents may also remember their parents and grandparents going out to harvest ramps and bring home buckets full. In the American South, you can still find festivals celebrating the arrival of ramps to this day. The popularity of the ramp is not abating, but is in fact growing. Due to a rapid increase in popularity throughout the country starting in the 1990s as chefs began to highlight this local ingredient, there has been disagreement over best management practices to ensure that ramp populations are protected and not overharvested.
I was surprised to see a few yellow dandelions blooming close the ground just over a week ago when the days were still quite chilly. These plants are hardy! While some people may be annoyed by pesky dandelions growing in their lawns and gardens, these healthful plants are actually one of the first spring foods you can forage from the land (if picking, be sure to harvest plants that are in an unsprayed area, at least 20 feet from a road, and not near sidewalks or trails).
Adaptogens are herbal remedies that increase our abilities to resist the effects of stress on our bodies and help restore our bodies to normal functioning by regulating the adrenal stress response. Adaptogens also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that help protect cells from damage. Adaptogens are generally non-toxic, even with prolonged use (but of course, be sure to check with your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns).
If you’ve wandered through the Bulk department or the baking section in Aisle 1, you know there are a plethora of sweet, sugary options to choose from. So many options, it may seem, that it can get difficult to choose! From white sugar to confectioners’ to turbinado, what’s the difference between them all?
Like carotenoids, flavonoids are another reason to “eat the rainbow.” Flavonoids are plant pigments that help plants attract pollinators, fight environmental stress, and regulate cell growth. But they are good for humans too!
You know how they say you should “eat the rainbow”? The reason is carotenoids. Carotenoids are the pigments that give food their vibrant colors of orange, yellow, and red. Think carrots, sweet potato, purple cabbage, tomatoes, kale, etc. Some varieties of carotenoids that you might be familiar with are beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein.
When you think of the words local food, what do you envision? Perhaps grown by your neighboring farmers, seasonality, delicious, healthy, minimal carbon foot print and supporting local economies. Well here at City Market, we define local products as grown or raised in Vermont, where the farm selling the product is from Vermont, and any processing is done in Vermont. Typically, these products are mostly whole, unprocessed foods.
Last week, City Market hosted an Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony, led by Mulu Tewelde. Mulu grew up in Eritrea (just north of Ethiopia) and moved to Vermont in 2006. She is a successful cook and caterer, leading Authentic Ethiopian Night at Arts Riot with colleague Alganash Michael, as well as doing private catering events. For a unique social, cultural, and food event, she demonstrated an Ethiopian coffee ceremony, true to the way it’s formed every day by women in Ethiopia.
What’s to love about hummus? Everything! And it seems like more and more people are discovering the joy of hummus; the hummus industry has been growing quickly in the US, going from $5 million 15 years ago to $530 million in 2012. If you haven’t jumped on the hummus train, what’s stopping you?