Tag Archives: essential

Is it possible to only shop at farmers markets?

With so many benefits to shopping at farmers markets, is it possible skip supermarkets altogether and only shop at farmers markets?

It is, and I have been doing so for 3 years. I remember thinking that I couldn’t possibly find everything I needed. Maybe one meal’s worth, but all three? everyday?

Yep, it’s possible and the benefits are extraordinary. I spend less money, eat much better, my health is actually improving (I’m losing the fat!), and I have become part of a community. I know my bread-lady, meat-man, old-school Italian (he says to me: “hello-uh big-uh boy”), the avocado savant, and even a Mexican cactus farmer.

The variety of foods at the farmers market is quite deep, so deep that it will take you months to explore all of them. There is no lack of possibilities for feeding yourself. This makes three meals a day easy. The only snag is that while you know how to make Mac n’ Cheese, you probably don’t know what to do with Chard. There is a learning curve but most people seem to enjoy that part of it.

Next, is cost. If you compare, item to item, the food at the farmers market is more expensive than the supermarkets. But, if you compare value (i.e. nutrition) then the farmers market is an extreme bargain.

The easiest way to explain this is think of foods considered to be of very little nutritional value, like popcorn. You can eat a whole jumbo popcorn and still feel hungry. Popcorn is food and a vegetable but it doesn’t contain enough of the vitamins and essential nutrients our bodies need. Yet, it is extremely cheap to buy at the supermarket. Think of farmers markets as the exact opposite. The foods sold there are designed to be jam-packed with vitamins and essential nutrients. So much so, that you get full really quickly. I often find myself eating half of what I used, sometimes one-fourth.

When you’re buying half as much as you used to, or even one-fourth, the amount you spend drops pretty fast. This is hardest part for folks to understand. Always at the farmers market I see people shocked at the prices and I just want to stop them and say “it’s quality not quantity.”

That is especially true when it comes to our health. When you put less food in your body, you lose weight. When you put higher quality food in your body, your health improves. Oh, and higher quality food tastes better too. I could talk for hours about the impact this has on how I look, but suffice it to say, I’m in the best shape of my life.

Depending on the size of your local farmers market, there are some things you won’t be able to find. Coffee is the most obvious one, so is chocolate and tea. For specialty items like these I shop at my local health store. They tend to stock higher quality, more nutritious products (though nowhere near the quality at the farmers market).

Lastly, is the winter stores. There are still plenty of things to buy during the winter, even in especially cold regions. In fact, a large part of French and German cooking is about cooking things sold only in the winter (French Onion Soup, mmm!). But, sometimes you just want a tasty watermelon or juicy pear in January. This is easily solved by creating your winter stores. Buy your favorites at the farmers market when they are going out of season and on sale for steep discounts. Cut them up into squares, freeze them, and don’t let anyone touch until the depths of winter.

These are the important things to know when making the switch to an all farmers market diet. Everything else you can learn at the market, from buyers and farmers. You can ask them anything, about quality or how to cook, and they will answer. That’s why they sell at the market and not the supermarket. They’re part of the rising sub-culture dedicated to ideal health and amazing food. Go ahead, make the switch and see what happens!

 

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Tribute to a Legend: Jacques Pépin

We honor the culinary success of one of America’s most celebrated chefs, Jacques Pépin.

“Easily the most influential French chef to the wave of young American chefs.”

“His earliest work was all about taking the classic dishes and demystifying them, almost decoding them, and making them accessible.”

See his public access show – Essential Pépin (Episode 103 – Desserts)

Jacques Pepin Desserts – light and healthy panache, tatin, and tart

My favorite chef, Jacques Pépin, cooks up four delicious, and mostly healthy desserts:

Episode 103: Jacques helps his daughter Claudine relinquish her fear of making pastry with his easy Tartelettes Aux Fruit Panaches. She goes on to assist her father in the kitchen as he makes his variation of the very traditional French, Tarte Tatin. Jacques then shares his mother’s recipe for Mémé’s Apple Tart using an unusual method to make the pastry. Finally his granddaughter Shorey joins him to make and taste Individual Chocolate Nut Pies.

“You cannot make great food without mixing some love into it.”

My favorite is the Tartalettes Aux Fruit Panaches - Thin disks of dough baked with a topping of lightly sugared apricot and plum wedges until the pastry is crisp and the fruit soft.

Getting Starting with Wikipedia: Seven Essential Steps

This weekend, something special happened. And I’m not referring to the fact that Steve and I got up before 9AM on a weekend.

A group of women (and a couple men) came together voluntarily on their own time to teach and learn how to edit Wikipedia. For 4 hours, 20 of us sat in the kitchen area of JESS3 headquarters and talked and learned and had a genuinely fun time. As I’ve written previously, it’s critical to have a diverse body of people contributing to Wikipedia since it’s key to making it reliable as a neutral knowledge resource.

If you’re interested in contributing to Wikipedia but aren’t sure where or how to start, here is list of key steps to get you going:

1. Do your homework. If you’ve don’t have any experience with programming or HTML, wiki-markup (the syntax used to create and edit Wikipedia articles) might intimidate you. So might the environment. Don’t let it. Learn the lingo and guidelines for engagement: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Contents/Getting_started

2. Begin on home turf. Start by creating you own User page and play around with formatting there. Most Wikipedians respect individual User pages and won’t touch them.

3. Be bold. No one owns Wikipedia. Your contributions count just as much as everyone else’s. You can’t break Wikipedia. Nothing is ever lost if you change or remove something.

4. Use logic and tenacity. Sometimes edits you make will get deleted (or reverted). It happens. If you believe in your edits, use logic and tenacity to make them stick.

5. Talk it out. If you encounter a conflict or don’t understand why an edit you made is reverted, leave a message on the person’s Talk page to elaborate. You can see who reverts an edit page by the View History tab.

6. Don’t take it personally. Sometimes edits get reverted. It happens. Sometimes people are in pissy moods and take it out in Wikipedia. It happens. Don’t let this deter you from contributing. Learn and grow from it.

7. Find a buddy. Ask friends if they know how to edit Wikipedia. Or check out your local area for Wikipedia:Meetups and go and make some friends. Most Wikipedians are generous with their time and knowledge and will happily help out a beginner. You can also get “adopted” to be mentored via the Adopt-a-user program.

The full agenda and details of the workshop can be found in Wikipedia:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Meetup/DC_WWW1