By Jessa Turner
Berea College Farm Store
This week marks the 44th anniversary of Earth Day, and what could be more important to our survival than clean air, clean water and clean food?
More and more people seem to be aware that food typically travels an average of 1,500 to 2,000 miles to reach the table, which can make something as fresh and green as your “organic” salad become doused in diesel and refrigerant to get it to the grocery store where you shop.
These “food miles” are why we are able to buy things such as strawberries and tomatoes in the dead of winter and also why these same foods tend to be distinctly lacking in anything resembling the actual flavor or texture that make us crave them when there’s a foot of snow on the ground.
For this observance of Earth Day, why not add a new, flavorful twist to your commitments to reduce, reuse and recycle by making a conscientious effort to eat with the seasons?
The folks at Kentucky Department of Agriculture (www.kyagr.com) have compiled an easy-to-follow produce availability information sheet that will guide you through the variety of flavors and colors available to Kentuckians throughout the year.
Not only will you decrease your carbon footprint, your food will be fresher, taste better and be more nutritious. Download the guide at: www.eattowinky.com/docs/AvailGuide.pdf.
To assist in your new endeavor to eat with the seasons and decrease your food miles, the Berea College Farm will be having another plant sale this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the college gardens and greenhouse on Scaffold Cane Road. With temperatures steadily rising, tomato and pepper plants are now available and the remaining stock of four-pack lettuce, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, collards, kohlrabi and spinach will be buy one, get one free!
Seeing as how spring is the season for crispy greens, I can’t think of anything better to add to my salad than a sprinkling of fresh goat cheese from Bleugrass Chevre (www.bleugrasschevre.com).
My personal favorite is the smoked black pepper, but the Berea College Farm Store also has plain and an herb blend (hopefully feta will be available soon!).
One might not think of it, but goat cheese is a seasonal item. Milking goats through a long, cold winter is stressful for both animal and farmer, so the goats get a break until the kids are weaned in the spring and cheese production can begin again.
One of my favorite food combinations is to spread a layer of goat cheese on a hand-sized collard leaf, add two to three spears of fresh-cut asparagus to the middle, toss in some shredded spinach, lettuce and kale, perhaps a slice or two of bacon for the meat-eaters, then roll it up like a burrito for a salad on the go! Roll these up the night before and you can look forward to a deliciously healthy lunch for your mid-day meal.
Until next time, eat well!