It’s that time of the year again in Minnesota…fresh and local produce will be available very soon. It has been a strange weather here with winter lingering into April and May and then blazing hot temps so it should be interesting.

Regardless of the weather, each there is a “dirty dozen” list – foods that are better options if organically grown because of pesticides. The list does seem to change from year to year. I thought this article/slideshow really explains it well.

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Posted by admin, filed under Fruits, Local Food Connections, Organic Choices, Vegetables. Date: May 17, 2013, 10:18 am | Comments Off on Organic or Not – That is the Question

Hi there,

Hope you are enjoying your summer! The past couple of weeks in MN have actually been almost decent. We sure suffered a long period of high temps and dewpoints, lots of rain and this affects the crops seriously. With such a short growing season, it offers a serious challenge to our CSA. However, they seem to always come through with great veggies. Corn took a serious hit this year, but last week’s share was wonderful. So after the pre-requisite grilled corn on the cob…the result for the leftover ears was a great chowder. Here is my version…

Cream of the Crop Corn Chowder

  • 6 strips bacon
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 medium potatoes (Russet or Yukon Gold) peeled and cut in 1/2″ pieces
  • 5 – 6 ears of corn, cut off the cob. If you don’t have fresh, you can use frozen. That would be preferable over using canned because of the salt content.
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and diced
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups  milk (Use at least 1%)
  • 1/2 cup half and half (full or non/low fat version)
  • 2 -3 oz. chopped green chiles (or one small can)
  • 1/2 – 1 Tbs. red pepper flakes (or to taste)

Cook bacon in soup pot. Remove and drain on paper towels. Let cool and crumble.

Saute onion in bacon grease until just tender.

Remove onions and drain the grease from the pan. Wipe the pan. Return the onions to the pan. Add the potatoes and the broth.

Bring to a boil, stir and simmer uncovered until potatoes are tender – 15 to 20 minutes.

Add corn and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

Remove about half of the potatoes and corn with some broth and puree in a blender or food processor until thick. Return to the soup pot.

Add the milk, half and half and stir. Add red pepper, green chiles, red pepper flakes and stir again. Let simmer for about 10 minutes for flavors to develop. Do not allow it to boil.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into serving bowls and top with crumbled bacon bits.

I made grilled turkey sandwiches to go along with the soup – sourdough bread spread with mayo and a bit of spicy mustard, sliced turkey breast, sliced tomatoes, fresh spinach and Swiss cheese.

Surprisingly, it was not a heavy dinner, even for a summer night.

Take care,




Posted by admin, filed under Healthy Food, Local Food Connections, Local Food Recipes, Vegetables. Date: August 14, 2011, 10:30 am | Comments Off on Cream of the Crop Corn Chowder

Hi everyone,

I came across a couple of side dishes that would be a nice accompaniment if you serve a ham or pork roast for your Easter dinner.

Honey Glazed Carrots – http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/honey-glazed-carrots-recipe/index.html


  • Salt
  • 1 pound baby carrots
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley


In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add salt and then carrots and cook until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain the carrots and add back to pan with butter, honey and lemon juice. Cook until a glaze coats the carrots, 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley.


Carrot and Yam Puree – http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/carrot-and-yam-puree-recipe/index.html


  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 pounds yams, ends trimmed, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup water


In a saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute until aromatic. Add the carrots, yams, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook for 5 minutes until slightly softened. Add the stock and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the carrots are tender, about 25 minutes. Using a ladle, remove 2 cups of the cooking liquid and reserve. Using an immersion blender, puree the mixture until slightly chunky, adding the reserved cooking liquid, 1/4 cup at a time, if needed. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Cook’s Note: The carrot mixture can also be drained in a colander and working in batches, blended in a food processor or blender.

Take care,


Posted by admin, filed under Healthy Food, Local Food Connections, Random Recipes, Vegetables. Date: April 16, 2011, 11:09 am | Comments Off on Carrot Side Dishes for Easter

04  Apr
C is for…Carrot

Hi everyone,

After a frantic March, I am back on track, so here goes!

C is for Carrot, Cucumber, Cilantro and Coconut –  our April “C” foods.

Starting with carrots… the “good for your eyes” food.  Carrots are a root food and grow underground. California grows carrots year around, however, the very best tasting carrots will be those grown locally and fresh in their season, which is summer and fall.

Carrots are a member of the Umbelliferare family, which includes parsnips, fennel, caraway, cumin and dill. That is due to the umbrella-like flower clusters that are part of the plant. They come in the familiar orange color, as well as purple, red, white, yellow and black.

Carrots are a superior source of Vitamin A and have many anti-oxidant properties, which benefit anyone’s diet. Beta-carotene helps with vision, particularly night vision, and carotenoids promote good colon and lung health. They are also rich in Vitamin K, C, B6 and dietary fiber.  One cup chopped carrots contain 52 calories with 428% of your Vitamin A requirement, 13% of Vitamin C and 14% of your recommended dietary fiber. The minimal amount of fat and sodium occur naturally.

When selecting carrots, look for firm, smooth, straight carrots with bright color – the more orange in color, the more beta-carotene in the carrot. Storing carrots is easy. They will keep longer than many other veggies. Simply store them in the coolest part of the refrigerator wrapped in a paper towel or plastic bag. Don’t store them with apples, pears, potatoes or fruits or veggies that produce ethylene gas. If the green tops are attached, cut them off before storing.

Want to grab a quick snack, peel a carrot and enjoy. Carrots are a wonderful (and to me necessary) addition to stew or that roast in the crock-pot. They do well in soups also. I also like to serve them with my Buffalo Chicken tenders. I like the sweet contrast of the carrot to the spice in the chicken.

Food52.com had a recent carrot showdown and here are the recipes and links for the two finalists: Roasted Carrot Soup and Glazed Carrots with Braised Bibb Lettuce. Check out the blog and the recipes. Go ahead, try them and vote for your own favorite.


Check back next week and we’ll talk about another “C is for….” food.

Take care,



Posted by admin, filed under Alphabet Posts, Healthy Food, Local Food Connections, Vegetables. Date: April 4, 2011, 11:36 am | Comments Off on C is for…Carrot

Hi everyone,

Continuing on with our A is for month…. the Artichoke!

If there is a specific vegetable season that I wait for in MN, it is artichoke season because then we can actually afford to buy them. They are a favorite with everyone in the family. (I am serious, including our 4 year old grandson, who actually asks for them). With five in the house at one time, it was a real treat and a dent in the grocery budget, but worth every bite!

Artichokes need a cool climate for optimum growth and that is why you will find them primarily along the coastal areas of California in the spring and summer and inland areas for winter growth. Artichokes, a member of the thistle family (sunflower plant),  are hardy plants and produce their crops for about ten years. The artichoke we eat is actually the plant’s flower bud.

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Posted by admin, filed under Alphabet Posts, Healthy Food, Random Recipes, Vegetables. Date: February 20, 2011, 10:58 am | 1 Comment »

Hi everyone,

Here in the Midwest, we are getting close to the wonderful part of the year with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables coming our way. I look forward to having a selection of local produce, as well as our favorite CSA, Crazy Daisy Farm

Now is a good time to consider the advantages of eating local and organic. The economy has dealt many of us a rough hand the past couple of years and I understand the need for having to carefully manage the grocery budget as well as anyone. However, there are a few areas where I won’t skimp and eating healthy food is one of them. It is a conscious decision on our part to spend a bit more on the best quality for our meals and not splurge on a meal out as often.

fresh vegetables
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Posted by admin, filed under Green Resources, Healthy Food, Locavore, Vegetables. Date: April 27, 2010, 9:02 am | 2 Comments »

Hi everyone,

Zucchini season for sure! We’ve had an interesting summer (or some say lack of) here in MN. I think the cooler weather has caused some crops to go on overload. I have noticed an abundance of zucchini everywhere.

Take a minute to read my article on zucchini – it might help you use up some of the extras you have sitting around now!

Here a Zucchini… There a Zucchini… There a Zucchini – 5 Ways to Use Zucchini

Take care,

Posted by admin, filed under Local Food Recipes, Vegetables. Date: September 2, 2009, 7:41 pm | Comments Off on Here a Zucchini …. There a Zucchini

29  Aug
Zucchini Overload

Hi everyone,

It is summer and that means zucchini. I enjoy zucchini and summer squash, but sometimes I want to try something new and different.

This week, I will post a few different ideas to use the bountiful crop that summer brings.
Squash Blossom - Where it all starts
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Posted by admin, filed under CSA - Community Supported Agriculture, Local Food Recipes, Vegetables. Date: August 29, 2009, 12:38 pm | Comments Off on Zucchini Overload

05  Mar

Hi everyone,

Salsify – I love that word. It just rolls around your tongue and comes out sounding like music. Talk about stereotyping, immediately exotic comes to mind. This vegetable is far more popular in Europe than the U.S., which makes it even more interesting to me.

When we received our 2009 CSA brochure, salsify was on the list of vegetables they are testing this season. So, now I am curious if the flavor of salsify will sing as much as its name. Salisfy comes in two colors – black or white and looks like a carrot or parsnip, but even skinnier. Apparently not only are they tasty, they have a beautiful flower to adorn your vegetable garden as it grows.

Meadow Salsify
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Posted by admin, filed under Local Food Connections, Vegetables. Date: March 5, 2009, 4:50 pm | 2 Comments »