For The Love Of Food

by | Sep 30, 2011

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

I had to restrain myself from including 20 articles in this week’s post, but for your sake I kept it to my usual top 10. Whatever you do don’t miss Bittman’s calculations on the price of broccoli versus McDonald’s, how easy it is to sell fruit to kids, how global warming is affecting the fishing industry, how the food industry is responding to the Real Food movement, and the other five articles.

Want to see all my favorite links? Be sure to follow me on on Digg. I also share links on Twitter (@summertomato) and the Summer Tomato Facebook fan page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you.

Links of the week

What inspired you this week?

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Introducing Mercado: The Official Summer Tomato Farmers Market Bag

by | Sep 28, 2011

I’m beside myself with excitement that the official Summer Tomato farmers market bag, Mercado, from Quirky Inc. is finally here!

It was nearly a year ago that I presented the Quirky design community with my farmers market problem. The issue when you buy ripe, seasonal produce from your local farmers market is that it’s extremely juicy and delicate, making it nearly impossible to get home safely in any standard soft bag. I had been using two bags and carrying tuppers and lids to help protect my most delicate items, but I knew there was a better way.

Quirky member Peter Wachtel created the winning design, and it is both cool and functional. A large compartment on the inner half of the bag holds your bigger, sturdier produce like kale, onions and cauliflower.

The outer half of the bag is composed of two smaller pockets made from a soft nylon mesh, which is held open and rigid by a wire frame. This prevents the sides of the bag from collapsing in and bruising softer items.

In addition there are several small pockets lining the inside of the nylon compartments that are ideal for cradling your most delicate items like peaches, pears and tomatoes.

The bag has a wide, adjustable strap and two deep side pockets that are ideal for your wallet, keys and shopping list. The outer parts of the bag are made from a thick, durable canvas that is attractive and comfortable.

I’m totally in love.

Mercado is currently in the presale stage. The way Quirky works is that a product must collect a minimum number of orders before it goes into official production. If you place your order(s) now you’ll get the bag for a discounted price of $19.99.

It will retail at $24.99, so you’ll save some cash by ordering early. Obviously you won’t be charged unti the bag actually goes into production.

Lastly, you can earn 10% on any sales you refer to Quirky for the bag. Just use the referral link they give you when you click “Spread the word and earn 10% on sales!” Help us get the bag made and make some money in the process. Woohoo!

Place your order here

Thanks for your support!

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To Carb or Not To Carb? with Alexia Tsotsis of TechCrunch – Episode 13 – Summer Tomato Live

by | Sep 27, 2011

Tonight on Summer Tomato Live we’ll be talking to Alexia Tsotsis of TechCrunch about how she got over her fear of carbs and lost weight in the process.

Join us live here at 6pm PST to ask Alexia your questions. To participate click the red “Join event” button, login with Twitter or your Vokle account. There is no password for this event.

I encourage you to call in with video questions, particularly if your question is nuanced and may involve a back and forth discussion. Please use headphones to call in however, or the feedback from the show is unbearable.

To keep up with live events, get access to exclusive content and have Darya personally answer your food and health questions, sign up for the Tomato Slice newsletter.

Click here to see past episodes.

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Farmers Market Update: Memphis

by | Sep 25, 2011
Flowers

Flowers

I’m Sharon Steed and I’m a freelance writer from Chicago. I go to Memphis a few times a year to visit some family I have down there, and this was the first time I went to the farmers market there. I lovecooking, reading, Housewives (the ladies from Beverly Hills are my favorite) and wine. You can follow me on Twitter @sharonsteed.

Farmers Market Update: Memphis

by Sharon Steed

99 degrees. That’s how hot it was at 10:00am when I got to the Memphis Farmers Market. I was in town visiting family for Labor Day weekend, and I wanted to explore something more than the Memphis night-life for this trip. The farmers market was a good way for me to see what else the city had to offer, and it helped me not gorge on yummy southern food for four days.

Memphis is known for a few things including the enormous contributions to American Music (Graceland is a little south of downtown), the Beale Street bars and good old southern hospitality. It’s not, however, known for being a hub for healthy, locally grown food. And that’s where the Memphis Farmers Market (MFM) comes in.

Memphis Farmers Market

Memphis Farmers Market

The MFM is a non-profit corporation in the State of Tennessee. They’re dedicated to providing local food choices, improving public health, educating the community on nutrition and serving as a community gathering place.

Peaches

Peaches

This was my first time venturing out during daylight hours while in Memphis, and I was pretty surprised at how much the city had to offer. The market is in the heart of downtown Memphis, and only a few blocks away from the Mississippi River and Beale Street. It was miserably hot that day – especially for someone from a cooler city like Chicago. But that didn’t stop the smiling faces and perky families from getting healthy eats.

Beets

Beets

I love cooking, but I rarely take time out to do it on vacation. Since I was in town for a long weekend, I figured this was a good opportunity to change that up. Spaghetti squash is a little bit time-consuming to cut and carve, but it’s so worth the energy. And I figured I could convince some of my family to have a few bites since it looks like linguini.

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash

I’m obsessed with tomatoes; I put them on pretty much everything. Sometimes I even just eat them alone with maybe a little dressing. They’re a perfect vacation food because you can always find a simple greens to mix them with and it only takes a minute to cut up a couple.

Summer Tomatoes

Summer Tomatoes

Apples are a good travel food since they’re sturdy and don’t leak. I picked up some for the eight-hour drive home.

Apples

Apples

About half of the vendors there were selling artwork. This steel heart caught my eye.

Steel Heart

Steel Heart

I also saw some beautiful wood tree houses and I spent a few minutes talking to a really sweet man who made them by hand.

Gas Station Bird House

Gas Station Bird House

The granola vendor was the first one I stopped at when I got to the market, and I’m glad I did. Finding good granola is pretty difficult as I gather it’s quite challenging to make. This granola from Groovy Foods was probably the best I’ve ever had.

Granola

Granola

My mom and I have been enjoying baked stuffed peppers lately, and these were so vibrant and flavorful that it was immediately on my list for an easy vacation meal.

Green and Purple Bell Peppers

Green and Purple Bell Peppers

I was really surprised to find out that the MFM was non-profit solely focused on bringing together area farmers to sell healthy foods. The farmers market has its own outdoor facility and is run by a board of directors. The sense of community was so refreshing, and, as an out-of-towner, I was blown away by everyone’s hospitality. Memphis is a special place for me, and the MFM is now a go-to spot for all of my future visits to one of my favorite cities.

Onesie!

Onesie!

What I bought:

  • Apples
  • Roma tomatoes
  • Dark Star Granola from Groovy Foods
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Green and Purple Bell Peppers
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For The Love Of Food

by | Sep 23, 2011

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

In this week’s Top 10 I found some cool new data supporting my claim that even non-brightly colored, white fleshed fruits and vegetables have superfood potential, some sad news about the anti-aging chemical in red wine resveratrol, and a whopping two BS stories of the week.

Want to see all my favorite links? Be sure to follow me on on Digg. I also share links on Twitter (@summertomato) and the Summer Tomato Facebook fan page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you.

Links of the week

What inspired you this week?

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Office Hours: Are Frozen Vegetables OK?

by | Sep 20, 2011

Join us today at noon PST as we discuss the latest food news stories and I answer your burning food and health questions.

To watch live and join the discussion click the red “Join event” button, login with Twitter or your Vokle account. There is no password for this event.

I encourage you to call in with video questions, particularly if your question is nuanced and may involve a back and forth discussion. Please use headphones to call in however, or the feedback from the show is unbearable.

To keep up with live events, get access to exclusive content and have Darya personally answer your food and health questions, sign up for the Tomato Slice newsletter.

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Lifehacker: Get Fit

by | Sep 19, 2011

Lifehacker is one of my favorite websites and podcasts, and this week is their Get Fit episode.

Because cooking at home is my #1 piece of advice for losing weight and getting healthy, I shared some of my best kitchen tips in this week’s episode. I hope you enjoy.

What are your favorite cooking hacks?

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Farmers Market Update: Eastern Market, D.C.

by | Sep 18, 2011
Eggplant

Eggplant

Ali is a reformed loather of all-things cooking. She recently found her inner chef after losing herself in the farmers markets and local grocers of Washington D.C. She now counts cooking with her beloved husband among the highest joys in life. Ali lives life through her taste buds, and considers the countless foods growing and living on this earth as true gifts from God.

Ali works for the United States Army in public affairs and communications and is also an instructor of cause and non-profit related communications at Georgetown University.  She has a master’s of public relations and corporate communications from Georgetown University, and lives outside D.C. with her husband and two overfed felines. When not in the kitchen, Ali enjoys training for triathlons and bikram yoga, though is admittedly terrible at and uncommitted to both. She can be found on LinkedIn as Ali Zimmer Sanders, or on Twitter as @AliZimmer.

Farmers Market Update: Eastern Market, D.C.

by Ali Sanders

Every weekend, DC’s Capitol Hill sheds its buttoned-up, political shell and exposes its warmer, friendlier side through its Eastern Market. Thousands pour in every Saturday and Sunday to walk the colorful streets and choose among the myriad odds and ends in an endless party for the senses.

Eastern Market

Eastern Market

Eastern market is a veritable mecca for vintage furniture and hand-made art, jewelry, soaps, beauty products and clothing. But the greatest draw of DC’s longest-running farmers market is the local, homegrown and farm-raised food.

My family visited us this past weekend for Labor Day, and we had lofty ambitions for cooking something special together at each meal. I introduced them to a realer side of our city, devoid of memorials and museums, tourists on Segues, and pretention. Eastern Market serves, twice a week, as DC’s thumping heartbeat, where the energy, excitement and lust for life among DC-ists is palpable.

Prior to flinging ourselves into Eastern Market proper, we enjoyed the offerings of the various merchants flanking the market on Capitol Hill. We started with a coffee and various French provisions at Montmartre, followed by deep diving into the extensive and cavernous Capitol Hill Books. We emerged ready to take it by storm.

Eastern Market consists of an indoor area for perishables like meat, dairy and seafood, and a colorful and extensive outdoor area for everything else, including all fruits and vegetables. We started at the peach stand. Can you blame us?

Peaches

Snow King Brand Peaches

These peaches suffered the fate of becoming the evening’s dessert. We sliced them, grilled them, basted them in a melted unsalted butter, cinnamon and brown sugar mixture, and dumped them, still hot, on vanilla ice cream. We then drizzled a simple raspberry sauce (made by crushing and heating raspberries over the stove and adding a touch of sugar).

A peach and tomato smorgasbord

A peach and tomato smorgasbord

Also on the side to drizzle over the dessert was fresh, local honey… purchased today.

Local honey – did I mention how delicious this tasted

Local honey – did I mention how delicious this tasted

For dinner, we created a linguini pasta mixed with fresh, late-summer veggies and a healthy amount of good-quality extra virgin olive oil. We included some of these beautiful, juicy tomatoes, almost too pretty to chop. We could sample each farmer’s tomato offering before buying the meatiest ‘maters for our meal.  This was the winner today!

Agora Farms Heirloom Tomatoes

Agora Farms Heirloom Tomatoes

We removed the casing from this sausage, cut it into small pieces and sautéed it for the pasta, keeping the juices for our sauce.

Sausage

Sausage

Chopped zucchini and onion complimented the flavors perfectly.

Mom with Zucchini

My mom displays her zucchini selection

Add chopped mozzarella, just a drizzle of marinara and a splash of parmesan.  It will rock your world.

Onions

Onions

We continued our meanderings through the market looking for the ingredients for the rest of the weekend. We decided to make berry pancakes for the next morning’s breakfast, and Coquille St. Jacques, sautéed asparagus, and oniony rice pilaf for the following evening’s dinner.

Here are a few more photos from our day in Foodie Heaven. Call me inexperienced in the world of brussel sprouts, but these were by far the daintiest, smallest sprouts I’ve ever seen. Perfectly bite-sized!

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts

Not a very good day for these poor dudes. But the extensive seafood selection was impossible to resist. Enter our sea scallops. They don’t have faces, so it was easier to nom them later ;)

Blowfish! The notoriously deadly sushi fish

Blowfish! The notoriously deadly sushi fish

My brother’s favorite – sunflowers.

Sunflowers

Sunflowers

Fragrant herbs abounded. The merchant knew special tips about each herb and how best to use them in meals.

Herbs

Herbs

Here’s to breakfast! The next morning, we paired homemade blueberry pancakes with smoked bacon and local coffee.

Blueberries

Blueberries

I have a special place in my heart for shiny, plump little blackberries. These were just gorgeous.

Blackberries

Blackberries

At this time of year, when in the presence of black cherries, seize the day! Summer is almost gone.

Black Cherries

Black Cherries

Agora farms Oyster & Shitake mushrooms.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms

I wonder why the basil in my garden looks nothing like this.

Basil

Basil

Gracie samples Spanish manchego cheese in the market to go with our Spanish tempranillo wine.

Cheese

Cheese

The first sign of impending fall and many more seasonal blessings to come.

Pumpkins

Pumpkins

Our grocery list:

  • Peaches
  • Honey
  • Tomatoes
  • Sausage
  • Scallops
  • Blueberries
  • Onions
  • Zucchini
  • Manchego Cheese

Would you like to share your farmers market with Summer Tomato readers? Find out more.

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For The Love Of Food

by | Sep 16, 2011

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

Great reading this week, including an excellent piece by Michael Pollan about an unlikely ally in the political food fight, as well as Harvard’s answer to the USDA My Plate and a new website to help you find farm fresh produce in your area.

Want to see all my favorite links? Be sure to follow me on on Digg. I also share links on Twitter (@summertomato) and the Summer Tomato Facebook fan page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you.

Links of the week

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Farmers Market Update: CSA, Los Angeles

by | Sep 11, 2011
Community Supported Agriculture

Community Supported Agriculture

This is the first Farmers Market Update describing a CSA (community supported agriculture) box, and I absolutely love it. Thanks Samantha!

If you’d like to share your own CSA or farmers market with Summer Tomato readers, please read this and contact me.

Farmers Market Update: Central Farmers’ Cooperative

by Samantha Jones

I’m Samantha Jones, a Bay Area girl who now lives in LA. I’m getting a masters in public health at UCLA (which is awesome) and I love running, cooking, and dreaming about growing my own veggies.

Wednesdays are the most exciting day of my week. I leave work or class, rush to a designated pick-up site, and retrieve a mystery box! I head home, joyfully unpack the box and make something amazing for dinner, often for a friend who has noticed I have delicious lunches and wants to know my secret. The secret is a weekly CSA share, something I’ve been participating in for the past three years. Thanks to my CSA, I am now an awesome cook, I can turn any vegetable into a tasty meal and I have a diet centered on fresh, affordable produce.

Week 1

Week 1

CSA stands for community supported agriculture, and it’s basically a system where we as veggie-consumers buy our produce directly from the farm that grows it. The idea is that the farm gets payment up front to support their operating costs, and their subscribers share in the farm’s harvest via a weekly produce delivery. In the SF Bay Area, where I bought my first veggie box, I subscribed to the very awesome Riverdog Farms. Now that I live here in Los Angeles, I subscribe to the equally awesome South Central Farmers’ Cooperative. I know affordability is relative, but I have found CSAs to be very reasonable.

Week 2

Week 2

I wrote this over the course of three summer weeks, and each week I got a TON of produce. I have mounds of spicy peppers.

Peppers

Peppers

And more summer squash and zucchini than I can handle.  (I invite friends over for dinner and force them to take squash home.)

Summer Squash

Summer Squash

I also get melons each week, a treat because boxes are generally veggie focused.

Watermelon

Watermelon

This summer I’ve also gotten bunches of beautiful basil every week, which smells AMAZING.

Purple Basil

Purple Basil

I get kale year round (several kinds in the winter time!) which is great because I can eat it every day.

Kale

Kale

I also get tomatoes, eggplants and cucumbers each week. Last week was unusual in that I got a vegetable I’ve never seen before – I think it is some kind of long bean?

Long Beans

Long Beans

This was all summer produce; in the fall and winter I get several kinds of greens each week, (collards, spinach, kale, chard) broccoli, winter squash, carrots, cabbage, beets, (LOTS of beets) and citrus fruit. In the spring, I get asparagus, fava beans, more beets, more greens, little carrots, strawberries and lettuce so good it will blow your mind. With some CSAs you can even order pasture-raised meat and eggs!

Peppers, Tomatoes, Kale, Melon

More summer produce

I started buying a CSA because a good friend loved hers and I wanted to try something new. I was really bad at actually making it to farmers markets and when I made it there I got excited and spent way too much money. My CSA solved these problems for me, but now I keep it up just because I love it so much.

Sometimes I tell people as a joke that my CSA totally CHANGED MY LIFE, but really, it’s kinda true. It has raised my standards for produce quality, made me a better cook and an all around healthier person. I totally encourage people to try a CSA, you can check out Local Harvest to learn more about CSA programs and find one in your area.

What did you find at the market this week?

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