Q&A: Garden, Market or CSA – How will you source summer produce?

It is snowing as I write today, but that hasn’t stopped me from gazing out on our future garden spot and visualizing the raised beds full of lettuce, zucchini, herbs and tomatoes. Winter still has many weeks to rage and blow before it gives way to spring, however, one can’t help but think about pending arrival of fresh greens and tender fruits.

March is a good time to start making plans for how you will source your summer produce. If you live in the city, now is the time to sign up for a  spot in the community gardens. If you are more rural, you should be putting in a seed order right about now. Not into gardening, but want farm fresh vegetables? Then perhaps you should be calling around and getting your name on a list for a CSA basket.

Seven ways to source your summer produce

The first crisp asparagus spears and strong rhubarb shoots will be poking up through the ground before you know it. Here are seven ways to source your summer produce that don’t involve a shopping cart and a supermarket. Which do you plan to use come spring?
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Nutrition for Picky Eaters (Recipe: Fluffy Banana Oat Pancakes)

Feeding kids is a tough job. As parents we constantly worry about what they’re eating. Are they getting enough? Eating the right things? Trying new foods? It’s a never-ending process.

That said, some kids are naturally adventurous eaters and you don’t have to worry quite so much. On the other hand, some are much less than adventurous. You might even call them a “picky eater.” Or if it is especially bad, a “problem feeder.”

In our family we have one of each. Our daughter was a particularly voracious eater as a baby. She skipped the baby food phase almost entirely, preferring to grab at chopped up table food with her chubby hands. She’s easily encouraged to try something new and eats a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, so it’s not often that I worry.

In contrast, our son is a “problem feeder” (read more about that here). At times I have been in a constant state of worryregarding his nutrient intake. With the help of a feeding therapist and a nutritionist we were able to work around his limited palate.

Here are some healthy eating tips that have worked well for us along the way. By using these simple suggestions, you can turn many foods that a typical picky eater or problem feeder enjoys into something that is much more nutritious for their growing bodies.
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Winter Pizza Inspiration (recipe: Caramelized Onions)

Vine-ripened tomatoes and fresh basil are my absolute favorite pizza toppings. I slice the tomatoes thinly, tear the basil and marry them under a blanket of fresh mozzarella. A drizzle of olive oil and…heaven.

However, this deluxe pizza margherita is a summer-only treat, as local fresh tomatoes are but a memory of last August and – aww snap! – my basil plant got hit with frost months ago.  Now, tomatoes are tasteless rocks, a single bell pepper costs upwards of $3, and zucchinis are shriveled and soft. Not at all ideal garnish for my Friday night pizza.

So what is one to do during the winter months when the pizza cravings hit? I don’t love loading up pizza with meat – I prefer my ham glazed with a side of scalloped potatoes, thank you very much – and gravitate toward vegetarian toppings, no matter the season. Here are some of my favorites, plus my secret weapon recipe to great tasting pizza anytime.

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Weekend Links

Three Favorite Pancake Recipes (Buckwheat, Cornmeal & Whole Wheat)

I couldn’t very well give you a line-up of all natural homemade pancake syrups and not share any pancake recipes now, could I? Besides, with Pancake Tuesday coming up, I thought you could probably use a new recipe or two in your back pocket to whip out for the kids.

These are three solid favorites from my griddlecake repertoire. In fact, I keep jars of buckwheat flour, cornmeal and organic whole-wheat flour on hand at all times as well as a jug of buttermilk for those non-supper nights when I just want to keep everyone happy.
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