Tag Archives: Farmers Market

And where is my watermelon?

30 Jun

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This is probably the question that we hear the most, when we visit the 11 places that are scheduled on the itinerary of our mobile farmers market: FRESH on DEK! During the past 4 weeks of June, the DeKalb County Extension’s staff has served about 1,000 customers who have come to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, interested in eating them with their families while improving their lifestyles. But, almost every market day, we all smile when we hear the question: Do you have any watermelons today? I think it’s the most popular crop, but unfortunately our mobile market unit that brings fruits and vegetables to food desert or low access areas in our county, cannot store, load and distribute this usually heavy and large vegetable during our weekly stops. There are several publications from the University of Georgia on watermelons, and we can learn a lot about the requirements for transportation, storage, temperature and this delicious crop. Please visit  http://extension.uga.edu/publications/detail.cfm?number=C1035, for more information.

I would like to share with you some interesting facts about this crop, which will be one of the most consumed during the 4th of July weekend holiday. Watermelon is a vegetable, if we consider the way it is planted, grown and harvested. It is used as a fruit because of its sweetness and versatility when it comes to eat it. While we have fun eating a good piece of watermelon we can also think about their health benefits. There are over 100 different varieties of this plant belonging to the family of squash and cucumbers, but they all varieties have very low calories. It is quite remarkable the amount of lycopene, (“lycopene” by name) on them, only surpassed by tomatoes. Lycopene is considered a crucial nutrient in the fight against cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer. Other important nutrients that can be found in watermelons include vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium.

Other key facts about watermelons include their importance as part of Georgia’s agriculture and even having the city of Cordele, known and recognized as the Watermelon Capital within our state.  Although our mobile market cannot offer a good supply of watermelons, we hope that during this summer time you can enjoy the delicious taste in drinks, salads, frozen snacks, favorite recipes or just fresh. There are many ways to consume and use the whole watermelon, just remember to wash it before eating it and storing it at 32 degrees to prevent souring. Have a refreshing summer accompanied by a good piece of watermelon!sandia 1

Here is a link for a very refreshing recipe!

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/recipes/watermeloncranberry-agua-fresca/rcp-20049628

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What is a Zucchini? An experience from our Mobile Farmers Market in DeKalb Extension

28 Aug

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The afternoon was sunny and hot and I was working at one of the stops of our mobile farmers market at an apartment complex where a diverse group of seniors live. One of our clients came to our group and after checking all the products that were available for sale that day asked us the following question: What is a zucchini? According with his own words he didn’t know and has never tasted before.

You can imagine our surprise! Zucchini is one of the most abundant produce during summer, and is one of those we eat as a vegetable when in reality is a fruit.

Zucchini taste better when is about 6 to 8 inches long and 2 inches in diameter. When we buy it like that we can enjoy it when is tender and has a delicious flavor even if we eat it raw. You can shred the larger pieces and use them to bake zucchini bread and other bake goods.

Zucchini, with its intense green color is an excellent source of fiber, vitamins A, B and C and other nutrients. One cup of zucchini has approximately 35 calories, making it a perfect addition to a healthy eating diet.

Our friendly client left very pleased for visiting our mobile market that day. He left with a good supply of zucchini, learned something new about it and had the opportunity to taste one of our most popular recipes: Zucchini Italian Style. We invite you to prepare this quick and delicious recipe before summer goes away and take advantage of the plentiful zucchini at its best! Enjoy!

 

Cucurbita_pepo_Summer_Squash_Yellow_and_Green_Zucchini_zucchineZucchini Italian-Style

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup chopped onions

4 medium zucchini trimmed

1 canned stewed tomatoes, regular or low sodium

1/4 teaspoon mixed Italian herbs

1/4 teaspoon coarse—ground black pepper

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Wash hands and assemble clean equipment. Heat oil in skillet. Add onion and zucchini; stir-fry for about 1 minute.

Add tomatoes, Italian herbs, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover and steam 4 to 5 minutes or until zucchini is still slightly crisp.Stir in cheese and stir-fry for about 30 seconds.

Nutrition

Servings Per Recipe: 4

Amount Per Serving: 1 cup

Calories 132

9 g of carbohydrates, 5 g of protein, Cholesterol 5 mg,

2 g fiber

Sodium 365 mg or 153 mg with low sodium stew tomatoes