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Farmers Market Apples

Why Apples are the Eye of the Empire State

Empire, Cortland, Red Delicious and McIntosh. Do these names sound familiar? If you grew up in the state of New York you’ve probably not only heard of these kinds of apples but you’ve probably consumed your fair share of them. The Empire state is known for offering the most varieties of apples in the United States. With about 700 growers throughout the state it’s almost impossible to travel through the various regions without coming across an apple orchard.

There are many reasons why an apple a day can keep the doctor away. One medium sized apple provides one-fifth of your daily dietary fiber, which promotes both cardiovascular and digestive health. They are an excellent source of energy and antioxidants. Apples are low calorie, delicious, and easy to eat on the go so they make for the perfect snack.

From apple pie to apple brown betty there are so many apple recipes and different ways to prepare apples, which often justifies buying them by the bushel. You know you’ll get good use out of them but either way you can store apples up to about a month. The proper storage temperature is around 30-35 Degrees Fahrenheit and the best place to store them is in a refrigerator crisper drawer along with a dampened paper towel to create a humid environment.

After you’ve properly stored your apples start thinking of ways to utilize them throughout the fall months. Are you a baker? Cortland apples are one of the many varieties that are excellent for baking. Do your kids love applesauce? If you want to make homemade apple sauce Golden Delicious apples will require little to no added sugar to make it sweet. Most of the NY varieties are ok to freeze so you can enjoy them throughout the winter!

Can’t make it to an orchard? No problem. Often time’s your local farmers market will offer some of your fall favorites this time of year. Don’t forget to pick up some apple cider while you’re there. Buying apples locally will not only support a healthy diet, but will also support a healthier economy. How do you like them apples?

What’s being picked this week: Grapes, Kale, Apples, Brussel Sprouts, Beets, Cabbage, Broccoli, Beans, Zucchini, Tomatoes, Herbs, Peppers, Lima Beans, Eggplant, Potatoes, Squash, Sweet Corn, Blueberries, Raspberries, Okra, Collards

Recipes: The BEST Apple Pie for the NY Native (https://audreysapron.wordpress.com/2013/12/20/the-best-apple-pie-ever/)

Photo Credit: Carriagehouse2011 Via Flickr Creative Commons

Apples!

There’s a good reason that apples are the official fruit of New York State: we are the

second largest producer of apples in the United States, and there are almost 700

apple farms here. The apple industry in New York State employs about 17,500

people. Apple trees are happiest in a climate that is warm half the year and cold half

the year. Apple trees also need a lot of water in order to produce fruit, so even

though rain can dampen our spring and summer plans sometimes, it makes the

apple trees very happy!

Even though the Red Delicious is one of the most popular apple varieties, it doesn’t

really have the best flavor. Not all apples are best for the same thing, either; some

are great for eating, while others are awesome in baking. Don’t worry if you like to

eat fresh apples and cook with them – a lot of varieties work for both.

Here are some facts about apples:

 You can use your SNAP card to purchase all kinds of apples at farmers’

markets across the state.

 Some of the tastiest New York State apples are Braeburn, Honeycrisp,

Jonagold, Macoun, and Northern Spy. Don’t be afraid to try other varieties

that you might see at your local market – remember that the farmer can

answer any questions you have about their products.

 Apples are part of the rose family – yup, those roses. Peaches, plums, pears,

and cherries are also in that family.

 Most apples are picked by hand, not machine.

 Apples float because they are 25% air.

 One of President George Washington’s favorite hobbies was caring for his

apple trees.

 There are 7,000 different kinds of apples grown around the world. 2,500 of

these are grown in America. The only apple that comes from the USA is the

crabapple.

 Scientists think that apple trees first grew in mountains that are between

modern-day China and Russia. People started growing them as a crop in

ancient times (around 325 BC). The first apple orchard was planted in the

United States in 1625.

 Apples are delicious and good for you, so buy them when they’re fresh at

your farmers’ market!

Here’s what’s being picked this week*:

Apples

Raspberries

Cabbage

Leeks

*Availability will vary by market due to differences in growing zones.

Check out these recipes:

Apples

Leeks

Saving Farmers’ Market Finds for a Rainy (or Snowy) Day

Depending on where you are in New York State, you can look forward to your winter being either very long, or kind of long. Fortunately, you can keep the flavors of summer throughout winter by using a few different methods.

  • Drying: You can dry (dehydrate) your produce using a cookie sheet, a piece of cheesecloth, and your oven. Even though dehydrating your produce isn’t hard, there are a lot of steps to follow. First, you will want to blanch your vegetables in hot water. Blanching is putting your veggies in boiling water for a short period of time and then cooling them under cold water. You can get the rest of the instructions and handy charts to help you here: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/09308.html. You can get the steps to dry fruit here: http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/uga/uga_dry_fruit.pdf.
  • Canning: Make your own jams and jellies at home using your saved summer fruit, and your kitchen will smell amazing! Fruits, tomatoes and pickles can all be canned using a water bath on your stove. Learn how here: http://www.freshpreserving.com/getting-started.
  • Freezing: Bread and meat are super easy to freeze – just pop them in the freezer! However, to reduce the risk of food-borne illness, it is best to not re-freeze meat that has been thawed. If it’s your first time freezing fruits and veggies, maybe stick with hardier fruits like blueberries (they freeze like a dream) because super soft fruits like strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries are more difficult to freeze. Here are step-by-step tips: http://www.designmom.com/2013/05/living-well-11-secrets-to-properly-freezing-produce/
  • Remember Fruit Roll Ups (do they even still make them)? You can make your own fruit leather at home using farmer’s market fruits, and all you need is a blender, a baking sheet, microwave-safe plastic wrap, and an oven. If you make a lot, you can pop them in the freezer to save for later too! Learn how here: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_make_fruit_leather/

 

What’s being picked this week*:

Pears

Plums

Carrots

Beets

 

*Availability will vary by market due to differences in growing zones.

 

Check out these recipes:

Beets

Pears

Sweet, Sweet Corn

Corn: so sweet, so delicious. It has a long history in America, as several Native

American tribes – from North America to South America – were growing it before

Christopher Columbus came ashore. Corn was grown in Mexico before it made its

way north to us. After Columbus, corn made its way to Europe, Africa, and China

before the year 1600. Corn is grown on every continent except Antarctica.

Corn was an important crop because it could be eaten fresh, cooked into cakes and

breads, and ground into cornmeal or corn flour, so it could be used year-round,

which was very important during the winter. Today, corn is grown for humans and

animals such as cows and horses to eat, and used to produce fuels and medications.

 Corn is good for you! It has lots of fiber, Vitamin C, and magnesium. It also

has two chemicals that help with healthy vision.

 An ear of corn has about the same number of calories and less sugar than an

apple. Keep it healthy and don’t drown it in butter or other toppings – a little

goes a long way!

 Cooking corn makes it more nutritious. The heat releases antioxidants, which

are very good for you.

 Corn is used to make the antibiotic penicillin, ethanol that is added to

gasoline, and glue.

 It’s easy to microwave corn, just shuck it (remove the leaves and silk), wrap it

in a damp paper towel, and microwave for about 5 minutes. Be sure to use

potholders or oven gloves when handling it at first, because there will be a lot

of steam.

 To boil corn, fill a large pot with water (there should be enough room and

water for the corn to float). When the water boils, add the shucked corn on

the cob and boil for 4-5 minutes. Use tongs to remove the corn from the

water.

 If you want to use fresh corn kernels instead of frozen, slice the bottom off a

corn cob so it’s flat, hold it straight up-and-down on a cutting board, and use

a sharp knife to cut from top to bottom. You can mix this fresh corn with a

can of drained black beans and diced bell pepper and your favorite

seasoning, or sauté it with other vegetables like mushrooms and zucchini for

healthy and easy side dishes.

Here’s what’s being picked this week*:

Corn

Eggplant

Plums

Blueberries

*Availability will vary by market due to differences in growing zones.

Check out these recipes:

Blueberries

Corn

Swiss Chard

Farmers’ Markets: Fun and Good for You, Too!

There are lots of benefits that come from eating fresh food that was grown locally, like the kinds you find at your farmers’ market.

  • Your SNAP card makes it easy for you to buy fresh and local at your farmers’ market.
  • Fresh is best! Fresh food just tastes better. The strawberries you get in December that were grown thousands of miles away just can’t compare to the ones that were just picked a day or so ago. Also, as food ages (like when it has to be shipped from another country) it loses nutrients. When you buy fresh and local, your food tastes best and is healthiest for you.
  • You know those nasty outbreaks of sickness from contaminated food you see on the news every so often? There’s less chance of that when you buy local. Less travel for your food means less handling, which means more safety.
  • Are you curious about what farmers use on their crops to keep bugs away and help the plants grow? Just ask them!
  • Buying local is good for the environment, which is good for you and your loved ones. The shorter the distance your food has to travel, the less pollution from airplanes, ships, trains, and trucks goes into the air and water.
  • Often, farmers grow produce that grocery stores don’t carry because they wouldn’t sell enough, so you get to find new foods at the farmers’ market. Just because you haven’t seen that funny-looking tomato at the store doesn’t mean that it’s not delicious!
  • What’s missing from all of the fruits and vegetables at the farmers’ market?
    • Mountains of salt, that causes high blood pressure (or makes it worse).
    • Added fat, and we all know what too much of that does. We need fat to live, but we should get it from lean meat, eggs, avocadoes, healthy oils like olive oil or canola oil, and nuts. Try having a few of your favorite nuts with your favorite fruit, or having an egg on top of some sautéed spinach or a half of a baked potato. It’s not the same as potato chips, but it’s way better for you, and you might just find your new favorite snack!
    • Table sugar – like the kind we put in coffee and bake with – sneaks into lots of foods, but you get a different sugar when you eat fruit. Sugar from fruit goes into your bloodstream more slowly, so you don’t get a sugar rush and then crash. Sugar from fruit is much better for people with diabetes than table sugar is.
    • Food coloring. Does it hurt? Some say that it does, some say that it doesn’t. Does it help? Nope. Definitely not, so why pay for it?
    • Have you every gotten a headache after eating Chinese takeout, fast food, or packaged food? That could be from MSG (monosodium glutamate). Some people are really sensitive to this, and fresh produce from the market has zero MSG, so you could literally be saving yourself a headache.
  • Want to learn more about how one family ate only local food for a year? Grab your library card and check out Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver.

 

Here’s what’s being picked this week*:

Cantaloupes

Peaches

Hot Peppers

Swiss Chard

*Availability will vary by market due to differences in growing zones.

Check out these recipes:

Swiss Chard

Peppers

Need a Reason to Shop at the Farmers Market?

Need a reason to shop at a farmers’ market? We have a few…

Within the past few years, farmers’ markets have become more and more popular. If you’re not used to shopping at them, it’s hard to see what the big deal is and when you’re used to shopping at your usual store the idea of changing up your routine isn’t very tempting.

There is a reason – several, actually – why so many people love going to the farmers’ market. Some of the most common are:

  • Many farmers’ market vendors now accept SNAP for fruits and vegetables, so buying them is, well, a snap.
  • Fruits and vegetables are in season, and picked at the peak of their flavor and nutritional value. In other words, they’re the best tasting and the best for you and your family.
  • When you shop at a farmers’ market, you’re supporting farmers in your community. Your local farms are basically small businesses, and they need community support to survive.
  • You know where your food comes from, and if you’re in a rural area, you may literally know the roads that some of these farms are on. At a farmers’ market, you won’t find any stickers saying “Product of Chile.”
  • If you’re not sure how to prepare something, you can be sure the farmer does. You’ll be surprised how much time you’ll spend chatting with the vendors, learning about their farms and their products (and not always because you have to, but because you want to!).
  • If the market is outside, you get fresh air, and our winters are too long to spend the nicer months indoors!

Here’s what’s being picked this week*:

Cherries

Raspberries

Lettuce

Greens

 

*Availability will vary by market due to differences in the climate county to county.