Saucy Salsas, Odd Fellows, and Turkey Talk at Pawtuxet Village Farmer’s Market

News from the Market:

Enjoy the all-too-temporary silence at dinner time as the robocalls, avalanches of campaign literature and candidate door-knockers come to a brief halt after the primary. Celebrate by treating yourself to some seafood. boar sausage, chicken, goat cheese, fresh apples, a pie and, of course, a dazzling array of wonderful veggies.

Terry’s Tasty Treasures will be offering samples this week. They’ll have their usual preserves, along with green tomato salsa, sweet red pepper relish and cucumber dill relish.

Looking for something new and different? Blue Skys has a variety of the unusual and weird: cippolini onions, orange and padrone peppers, blue potatoes and others. Ask Christina and Kim for serving suggestions. Most of our farmers have out-of-the-ordinary and heirloom varieties you won’t see at most grocery stores. Dare to be different!
Tomatoes, peppers and corn won’t last much longer, so get them now.

gC Farms has their own pickles for sale this week, prepared by Harvest Kitchen from their cucumbers. They also have some awesome gourds.

PV Farmstand is taking orders for Thanksgiving turkeys and Christmas geese; a limited amount are available and a $40 deposit is required. He also has frozen free-range chickens; please pre-order (go to his website for e-mail info). You can also pre-order your fish from The Local Catch for pick-up at the market.

See you at the market.

Dr. Lani’s Bone Health Guide — a Helpful Primer for Middle Age

laniNow that I am at the age that I find myself thinking about my bones and how they are doing, I was happy to find Dr. Lani’s No-Nonsense Bone Health Guide by Lani Simpson, DC, CCD. For people like me who have questions about whether you are getting the right nutrients for optimal bone health, or whether your back pains require special attention, Dr. Lani’s book is quite helpful.

The book is broken down into sections that explain the kind of testing and tools that doctors use to diagnose bone density and assess you for your personal fracture risk.  It then goes on to:

  • explore osteoporosis medications (for me, it is the big question of whether someday I will be asked to consider taking Fosamax, which my mother took);
  • describe alternative medications (this covers the gamut of supplements out there touting their bone health benefits);
  • discuss hormones (another big question we middle age women face — whether to use hormone replacement therapy);
  • explain how to assess your own gut health and understand how it impacts your bone health.

The final two chapters are dedicated to food and exercise — the two major lifestyle keys to healthy bones. I picked up some good reminders for myself in these chapters — mainly to keep up a raw food/real food diet as much as possible, and to keep up daily exercise.

I found this book highly accessible and readily applicable to my own life experience and the questions I have about bone health.  In particular, it helped me to understand some of the connections between how food is absorbed and bone is created and recreated in our bodies.  I would recommend this book to anyone who is having back problems or is worried about their future bone health.  This book will help you decide how to resolve your problem, and it will give you the information to ask much more detailed questions of the practitioners you may end up seeing for bone health.

Tomatoes Are in at Pawtuxet Village Farmer’s Market

From the Market:

Juicy tomatoes, plump corn, crisp cukes and perhaps some blushing peaches will be showing up this Saturday at our farmers’ tables. Tons o’ squash will be mounded in all their glorious variety: summer, zucchini, pattipan, and even some butternut and spaghetti squash. Bring your bags and “pick your own” to take home.

Thank you to all our customers who came out in the showers to support our farmers and vendors. Your commitment to our market community makes it possible for them to continue to bring you the best fresh local products every week. We appreciate you!

The samplings scheduled for last week were postponed due the wet weather, but we hope they will go on later this month. Frank Martinelli’s marinara sauce and herbalicious dishes from Blue Skys Farm should be on offer in the near future.

Terry Yeaw of Terry’s Tasty Treasures will be on hand with tastings of hot pepper and other savory jellies. Allison Hamel Dahlquist of Long Entry Farm has also been slaving over a hot stove in her farm kitchen producing rhubarb and dandelion preserves. Not only have these hardy women done the hard physical labor necessary to produce their wares, they have also put in hours researching and refining their recipes. They both have great suggestions for pairing the preserves with other foods for some unique meals.

See you at the market.

A Farmer’s Marriage Proposal and Other News from the Pawtuxet Village Farmer’s Market

Growing ProposalFrom the Pawtuxet Village Farmer’s Market:

Farmers are nothing if not practical, and even when romance is in the air, it’s often difficult for them to get off the tractor, dress up and go out for a special dinner. So when gC Farms’ Chris Mezak decided to propose to his long-time partner Gwen Stokes, he combined business with pleasure by planting beans in a newly cleared field spelling out “WILL U MARRY ME?” When the green letters began to be legible, Chris asked Gwen to go check on the beans. She read the message and gladly accepted; Chris sealed the deal with a lovely black diamond ring, which Gwen was sporting at last week’s market. Congratulations and best wishes to the happy couple; long may they farm together.

At last, the tomatoes are ripening on the vines and soon we’ll be seeing in all their glorious redness at every farmer’s stall. Sliced and dressed with olive oil and basil, on a margherita pizza, or just sprinkled with a little salt and devoured whole, tomatoes are the ultimate reward of buying local. Nothing compares with the taste of heirloom varieties, bred for flavor not looks, and fresh from the fields.

Combine with foods from all our other vendors for fantastic summer feasts. They won’t last forever.

This week we”ll be hosting Urban Greens Food Co-op. Stop by their table and find out how you can help. Urban Greens Food Co-op is a consumer-owned cooperative working to open a full-scale retail grocery store in Providence, RI. The store will provide and promote healthy, affordable, sustainably-sourced, and local food options.

See you at the market.

Gluten Freedom — An Essential Guide to Gluten Issues, with Recipes!

glufreeDuring the writing of my own book on cooking to nourish your archetypes, I read Gluten Freedom by Dr. Alessio Fasano, MD, Founder and Director of the Center for Celiac Research at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Given that many of my own recipes feature gluten-free alternatives, I was eager to read an expert’s version of the history of gluten-related illnesses and to learn more about the current state of treatment. Dr. Fasano’s book did not disappoint. The book contains a comprehensive review of the spectrum of gluten-related disorders, and also includes chapters on discussing leaky gut (you’ll get introduced to zonulin) as well as gluten’s influence on brain chemistry. Gluten Freedom also discusses new treatments and therapies, including enzyme therapy, a “celiac pill” treatment, and the possible development of a therapeutic vaccine. The book also talks about methods for prevention including delaying gluten introduction until one year of age, which is now being studied.

Taking the subject to a richer level of detail and creativity, Gluten Freedom also offers several recipes to remove gluten from the menu including all-time favorites like chocolate chip cookies and gluten-free scones. There is a charming chapter called “Dinner with Dr. Fasano” where we learn about the region, Campania, where Dr. Fasano spent his childhood. He then offers what sounds like a heavenly five-course meal of gluten-free specialties including Capri Salad featuring Mozzarella di bufala di Campania — the soft mozzarella cheese from the Dr.’s home region.

I like how this book provides comprehensive information on gluten issues including an appendix of apps for mobile phones as well as an extensive list for recommended reading. There are also some excellent practical features like a “Wheat Alert” table of menu items that contain wheat, and a stage-by-stage life guide for how to avoid gluten from cradle to grave.

After finishing the book, I was still left with a question, which I posed to the authors: “Is there any value in a low-gluten diet even if you don’t have gluten sensitivity? Does it help to diversify the grains we eat? If gluten calories are substituted with more fruits and vegetables, would that be better for overall health?”

Pam Cureton, one of the contributing writers for the book and a registered dietitian at the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment, responded:

“No, there is no advantage to following a low-gluten diet for those who tolerate gluten. There is, however, an advantage to eating more whole, natural foods and reducing the amount of processed foods to reduce unwanted levels of sodium, sugar, fats and extra calories. For people who tolerate gluten, these are the problem ingredients, not the wheat, rye or barley. Including these as whole grains along with other ancient grains, amaranth, millet, sorghum and others, would benefit everyone.”

I’m glad my own oatmeal-chocolate chip cookie recipe contains sorghum! Thanks, Pam! And thanks to Dr. Fasano and all the contributors to Gluten Freedom — helping us navigate this difficult health and dietary issue.

Link to Gluten Freedom on Amazon