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seasons greetings

Seasons Greetings from Seasonal Roots

EAT BETTER LIVE BETTER NEWSLETTER / December 18,2018

Tips, hacks, recipes, stories, and the weekly special all help you eat better live better with fresh local food!

Seasons greetings from the farm!

2018 has been a great year for local food in Virginia! Thousands of Seasonal Roots members have been eating better and living better while supporting 75 local family farmers and food artisans. Thank you for putting your food dollars to work right here at home and for making our state more sustainable and humane!

You’ve also been voting with your orders, telling us what you like. Apparently you really, really like ...

Read the rest of the newsletter below, or view this issue as a printable PDF with clickable links.

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salsas don sebastian local salsa newsletter

Authentic local salsa made in Virginia

EAT BETTER LIVE BETTER NEWSLETTER / December 11,2018

Tips, hacks, recipes, stories, and the weekly special all help you eat better live better with fresh local food!

What a happy zingy way to eat your veggies!
Authentic local salsa made in Virignia

She was born in Venezuela and named America. Later she married Lionel, who comes from Mexico, and she grew to love the flavors of his rich culture. And now she’s handcrafting authentic local salsas right here in Virginia.

The company is Salsas Don Sebastian, the latest addition to our home-delivered farmers market. America and Lionel’s delicious mix of fresh vegetables are an easy, yummy way to boost your veggie...

Read the rest of the newsletter below, or view this issue as a printable PDF with clickable links.

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salsas don sebastian local salsas

Authentic local salsa made in Virginia

What a happy zingy way to eat your veggies!

– By the Veggie Fairy Team

She was born in Venezuela. Her parents named her America. Later she married Lionel, who comes from Mexico, and she grew to love the flavors of his rich culture. So, no surprise that she’s now handcrafting authentic local salsas and Latin sauces right here in Virginia, right?

The company is Salsas Don Sebastian, which is named after their son Sebastian.

salsas don sebastian local salsas 1

We veggie fairies were all a-twitter when all those amazing salsas made their debut in our home-delivered farmers market. We weren’t the only ones — our members couldn’t get enough of it. Salsa is a delicious mix of fresh vegetables, and that makes it an easy, yummy way to boost your veggie intake. So we had to get the story on this new local salsa that was lighting up our taste buds.

VEGGIE FAIRY:

Did you grow up eating salsas?

AMERICA:

Not like this! I got really into salsas after several trips to Mexico, where I was introduced to a wide range of flavors and colors that I was not used to before. I learned that in Mexico, there is a salsa for everything. Mexicans use it as a complement for every dish. As I started tasting salsas, my tolerance of the spices and heat was low. Now, however, I feel like I can actually taste the flavors of the different peppers that are used in the different salsas.

salsas don sebastian local salsas peppers

VEGGIE FAIRY:

How did you make the leap from making it for your family to making it for everyone?

AMERICA:

I have this vein of being independent and intrepid. I love doing something fun, different, creative. We’d been making the salsa forever, mainly because we couldn’t find any authentic Mexican salsas in the market. None of those products were as fresh and filled with exciting flavors as what we were making at home. So, from out of the blue it occurred to me that we might have something here that other people might enjoy. I talked about it with Lionel, but he had a good corporate job and he said, “I’m not going to leave my job to make salsa.” So I said, “Teach me!” Two years later, I quit my job teaching Spanish throughout the Richmond metro area and the rest is history.

salsas don sebastian local salsa

VEGGIE FAIRY:

Making food like this is a very creative process, right?

AMERICA:

It is! I discovered it was even more creative than I thought. You don’t just throw things in the blender. Making it is a science and an art, finding the balance among all the ingredients. Different salsas use different ingredients, and since I use as many locally grown ingredients as possible, they change with what’s in season. So I started making salsa and giving it away and people said, “I’d buy this in a heartbeat.” I put up a post on our Facebook neighborhood page and said, “Hey guys I’m thinking about selling this at a farmers market, would you try some? I just need feedback.” Lots of people wrote back saying they wanted to try it. I distributed it around and it was amazing — all the feedback was positive.

salsas don sebastian local salsas 3

VEGGIE FAIRY:

What did your taste-testers like best?

AMERICA:

Everyone talked about how fresh it was. What I make is very different from other salsas in the grocery store. Read the ingredients and those industry-made salsas have sugar and preservatives. They’ve been shipped from who knows where and then sit on the shelf for who knows how long. I make salsa today and the next day it’s on your shelf.

VEGGIE FAIRY:

I didn’t realize there was sugar in the big industry-made salsas.

AMERICA:

Mine has no added sugar. There are plenty of natural sugars in fresh vegetables. My salsas are also gluten free. And not to mention delicious! We make every batch from the freshest ingredients available that we can find locally. That’s why our salsas are fresher and tastier — because they’re local.

salsas don sebastian ingredients in bowl cropped

VEGGIE FAIRY:

What do you look for in the produce that goes into what you make?

AMERICA:

I go to different farmers markets and I have made very valuable relationships with the local farmers there. When local produce is in season, I source from my friends who farm sustainably. When my must-have ingredients aren’t in season, then I go to my regional wholesaler. Either way, it has to be fresh and it has to be grown sustainably. That’s good for us and for the environment. And I help make sure nothing goes to waste, because most of my produce doesn’t have to look perfect. I’m cutting it up. It just has to taste perfect.

VEGGIE FAIRY:

Yeah, we love ugly food, too! So long as it’s fresh and local, it has more taste and nutrients than the pretty produce in the grocery store.

AMERICA:

Exactly. Like the tomatoes I use don’t need to look perfect and the farmers love me for that. The only exception is cilantro. It has to be beautiful and green and perfect because that pop of color is part of what makes salsa so irresistible. But jalapenos, for example, they just need to be hot!

salsas don sebastian local salsas 2

VEGGIE FAIRY:

How do you, the professional, use salsa?

AMERICA:

On everything! Our red salsa is so versatile that it goes with most meats. You can put it on eggs, or just enjoy it as a dip with fresh chips or tostadas.

VEGGIE FAIRY:

So who does what at Salsas Don Sebastian?

AMERICA:

I wear most of the hats. My sister helps me with prepping all the veggies and making sure that all vegetables are super clean. Lionel helps when he gets in from work and also sells in farmers markets on the weekends. We work from the same recipes that his grandmother used when he was growing up. So every batch we make reminds him of fond memories from his childhood. Flavors and aromas are very connected to memory and we’re handcrafting happy new ones for our customers every day with our salsas.

salsas don sebastian mexican hats

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Start making your own delicious memories with America’s salsas and Latin sauces. You’ll find them in the Seasonal Roots home-delivered farmers market every weekend. In between you can check out all her latest creations on the Salsas Don Sebastian website and on Facebook.

ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, pastured eggs, grassfed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.

how to cook greens

How to cook greens

‘Tis the season for greens!

– Written by Margo L, veggie fairy & neighborhood Market Manager in Yorktown

Greens are loaded with perishable nutrients, so long as they’re fresh like our locally harvested greens. Our farmers are harvesting two types right now. The cabbage family (Cruciferae) includes bok choy, broccoli, cabbage (obviously), collards, kale, and turnips (which have tasty greens). The goosefoot family (Chenopodiaceae) includes beets, chard, and spinach.

So here’s the inside scoop on the difference between greens and how to make use of them, including how to cook greens.

Beets

Beets are loved or hated. They’re dense and have a strong, earthy flavor. But they’re also full of sugars. Beets can be boiled, steamed, or roasted to be eaten on their own or added to salads. They can even be used as a sweetener when baking certain desserts. Beet greens make an excellent salad green or can be sautéed or steamed.

Bok choy

Bok choy is sweet, crisp, and mild tasting. The stems are juicy and sweet and take a few minutes longer to cook than the mild-tasting greens. It’s delicious in stir fries and soups.

Broccoli

Broccoli crowns can be eaten raw, or cooked along with the stem. Just discard the shard tip, then slice the rest of the stem and steam or roast the slices longer than the crown, which needs only brief cooking. Bake broccoli into casseroles or add to soups and stews.

Cabbage

Cabbage, when overcooked, emits hydrogen sulfide (the rotten egg aroma), ammonia, and other foul smells. But cooked with care, it’s delish. Add it to soups or baked dishes, or simmer, sautée, or steam it. Eat it raw in slaws and salads, or use the leaves to wrap up a savory filling. Savoy cabbage, by the way, is the one with extremely crinkled leaves.

Chard

Chard, including lovely rainbow chard, is almost as quick cooking as spinach. You can steam, sautée, or braise it, or add it to soups, stews, and casseroles. The leaf and stem can be prepared together or they may be cooked and served separately.

Collards

Collards are actually a mild tasting variety of kale. Leathery looking but tender after an encounter with heat, they both do well when you slice them into slivers and cook them briefly. They’re commonly cooked with smoked meats, onions, chiles, garlic, and vinegar. But they’re also good with ginger, coconut, and spices like turmeric, coriander, cardamom, and cumin. Raw kale is good in salads or hide it in a smoothie.

Spinach

Spinach is a delicate veggie and best when lightly cooked, just until it begins to go limp. Its mild flavor absorbs any seasoning and its leaves have a velvety quality. Just wash it well, shake off most of the water, and put it in a hot pan – the moisture clinging to the leaves will be sufficient to wilt it. Spinach can also be eaten raw in a salad or smoothie.

Turnips

Turnips, in this case salad turnips, taste similar to a radish – earthy, crunchy, and peppery. Eat the roots and greens raw in a salad, or slice and sautée them.

So eat your greens, enjoy the flavors, and feel oh so very virtuous!

ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, pastured eggs, grassfed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.

how to cook greens

‘Tis the season for greens

EAT BETTER LIVE BETTER NEWSLETTER / December 4,2018

Tips, hacks, recipes, stories, and the weekly special all help you eat better live better with fresh local food!

‘Tis the season for greens
A pocket guide to our current crop of nutritious powerhouse greens
by Margo, veggie fairy & neighborhood market manager in the Yorktown area

Greens are loaded with perishable nutrients, so long as they’re fresh like our locally harvested greens. Our farmers are harvesting two types right now. The cabbage family (Cruciferae) includes bok choy, broccoli, cabbage (obviously), collards, kale, and turnips (which have tasty greens). The goosefoot family (Chenopodiaceae) includes beets, chard, and spinach.

Beets are loved or hated…

Read the rest of the newsletter below, or view this issue as a printable PDF with clickable links.

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kids love kale recipes

These kale recipes make kids love kale

EAT BETTER LIVE BETTER NEWSLETTER / November 27,2018

Tips, hacks, recipes, stories, and the weekly special all help you eat better live better with fresh local food!

These kale recipes make kids love kale
They even made me, a grown woman, love kale, too!
by Meredith, veggie fairy & neighborhood market manager

I’ve never been much of a “routine” person, despite my best efforts. However, every Wednesday after I complete all my deliveries I do the exact. Same. Thing.

Upon returning home, I unload all the boxes my members have given me to reuse and recycle (thank you!) Next, I head to my kitchen, where I unload and put away my own basket of goodies — everything but the kale and an apple (or a handful of grapes in the summertime). Then I proceed to make my favorite lunch…

Read the rest of the newsletter below, or view this issue as a printable PDF with clickable links.

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kale recipes

These kale recipes make kids love kale

The right kale recipes made me, a grown woman, love kale, too!

– Written by Meredith M, veggie fairy & neighborhood Market Manager in Northern Virginia

– Photo by Sherri B, veggie fairy & Area Manager in Richmond, whose son can’t wait to sink his teeth into some fresh, local kale

I’ve never been much of a “routine” person, despite my best efforts. However, every Wednesday after I complete all my deliveries I do the exact. Same. Thing.

Upon returning home, I unload all the boxes my members have given me to reuse and recycle (thank you!) Next, I head to my kitchen, where I unload and put away my own basket of goodies — everything but the kale and an apple (or a handful of grapes in the summertime). Then I proceed to make my favorite lunh…

Have you always read about the numerous health benefits of kale, but just didn’t have that easy, go-to recipe that you would want to regularly use? Well, I’ve got that recipe.

Start by tearing up a TON of kale from one of our local farmers. Don’t be timid. This recipe is so good you’ll want more.

Top your heaping plate of kale with a sliced Saunders Brothers apple of your favorite variety. I’m partial to the sweet tartness of the Piney Golds at the moment.

Next, toss on some pecans, craisins, and blue cheese, feta, or goat cheese — whatever your preference.

Lastly, drizzle some delicious homemade vinaigrette. You can whip up a vinaigrette using extra virgin olive oil, local honey from Alfredo’s Beehive, salt, pepper, and some of that apple cider vinegar you’ve been choking down through tears ever since you read about that miracle potion. Go ahead and make a big batch of this vinaigrette. It lasts a long time in those mason jars you hang on to “just in case,” and it’s fabulous on a basic spinach, cucumber, and strawberry salad. So good! Here’s the step-by-step:

VINAIGRETTE

1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c ALFREDO’S BEEHIVE honey
1/4 to 1/3 c apple cider vinegar
salt & pepper, to taste

(Kale salad recipe thanks to Homemadefoodjunkie.com.)

Ever since I began making this salad, I’ve been craving it. And I bet you will too. This one even made the cut for my Thanksgiving menu, and the competition was stiff — a heated battle between the kale and all the usual hearty stuff… but the kale won. It’s not easy being in the line-up alongside mouthwatering mashed potatoes, cherry pie, and the best corn casserole you’ve ever tasted, yet this salad still holds its own. But I digress.

Looking for a saltier alternative? That brings us to the next step in my Wednesday routine. I heat up the oven and use the rest of that curly bunch of greens to make chips!!

The spicy kale chip recipe I discovered long ago has never failed me. I tweak it here and there, but it comes out great every time. Even my harder-to-please family will chow down on these! I also recommend making kale chips when you need to use up the rest of your kale the day before Delivery Day to make room for the new bunch you’re about to receive. These zingy, savory chips disappear fast.

KALE CHIPS

(adapted from Ohsheglows.com)
1/2 bunch local kale leaves (approximately)
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1-1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t chili powder
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t smoked paprika
1/4 t fine grain sea salt or pink Himalayan sea salt
1/8 t cayenne pepper (optional)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 300. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
2. Remove leaves from the stems of the kale and roughly tear into large pieces.
3. Place kale in large bowl and massage in the oil until all the nooks and crannies are coated well. Combine all seasonings in separate bowl, then sprinkle on kale and toss to combine.
4. Spread kale onto the baking sheet in a single layer, being sure not to overcrowd the kale.
5. Bake for 10 minutes, rotate the pan, and bake for another 12-15 minutes until the kale begins to firm up. The kale will look shrunken, but this is normal. I bake for 25 mins total in my oven.
6. Cool the kale on the sheet for 3 minutes before digging in! Enjoy immediately, since they lose their crispiness with time.

There are lots more easy recipes to help you get in the kale habit on the Seasonal Roots Pinterest kale board.

And if you want to learn pretty much everything there is to know about kale, check out the Happy Happy Vegan blog for a deep dive!

ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, pastured eggs, grassfed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.

eat local

Hey, where did all the green beans go?!

EAT BETTER LIVE BETTER NEWSLETTER / November 20,2018

Tips, hacks, recipes, stories, and the weekly special all help you eat better live better with fresh local food!

Hey, where did all the green beans go?!
Eating local means eating what the local weather produces

If you like green beans, yet have no green beans on your plate this Thanksgiving, that’s good news. It’s a sign that you’ve chosen to eat local food – the freshest, most nutritious and flavorful food you can get.

Right now there are no locally grown green beans to be had. Our Farmer Connector Sam searched all over Virginia. No luck. So there were no green beans for Thanksgiving in our home-delivered farmers market, as you may have noticed. You also may have noticed a lot of rain this year. Those two things are…

Read the rest of the newsletter below, or view this issue as a printable PDF with clickable links.

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eat local deer run farm

Eat local and you’re eating the results of local weather

Hey, where did all the local green beans go?!

– By the Veggie Fairy Team

If you like green beans, yet have no green beans on your plate this Thanksgiving, that’s good news. It’s a sign that you’ve chosen to eat local food – the freshest, most nutritious and flavorful food you can get.

Right now there are no locally grown green beans to be had. Our Farmer Connector Sam searched all over Virginia. No luck. So there were no green beans for Thanksgiving in our home-delivered farmers market, as you may have noticed. You also may have noticed a lot of rain this year. Those two things are connected.

In parts of Virginia, 2018 has been the wettest year on record. Check out the photo at the top of this post. That was the scene at Deer Run Farm in Hanover, Va., after a heavy spring rain. Not much sun and too much mud!

Some plants love to hydrate. Others, like green beans, not so much. Bean plants prefer their soil evenly moist to max out their growth and bean production. Drying out stunts them. If it doesn’t rain enough to keep the soil moist, that’s easy to fix with a drip hose.

It’s much harder to do anything about too much rain. Excess water deforms plants or makes them prone to disease, covered in yucky fungal growth. And downpours can wash away soil nutrients before the roots have time to absorb them.

So when you sit down at your Thanksgiving table this week, give thanks for the beanless proof that you’re eating the healthiest food you can get… fresh, locally grown veggies.

And here’s hoping next year brings good green bean weather!

ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, pastured eggs, grassfed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.

legacy roasting fair trade coffee

Virginia Fair Trade Coffee Roasters

EAT BETTER LIVE BETTER NEWSLETTER / November 13,2018

Tips, hacks, recipes, stories, and the weekly special all help you eat better live better with fresh local food!

Coffee with a conscience
Introducing the newest artisan in your home-delivered farmers market

Want to feel good about your cup o’ joe? Make sure it’s sustainably and responsibly sourced. One way to do that is to look for the certified fair trade label. Fair trade coffee means the coffee beans were sustainably grown by small-scale family farmers who got a fair deal.

Another way to make sure it’s responsibly and sustainably sourced is to know your coffee roaster…

Read the rest of the newsletter below, or view this issue as a printable PDF with clickable links.

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