Did you know you can get local edamame at Oliver Farms? Just steam or boil them in the pods until the color changes. Then sprinkle with sea salt and enjoy!
There are a number of different terms being used in food production these days and it can be confusing. Here are some short definitions of terms you may see at farms and markets. Remember, the power of buying local is in your ability to ask questions directly to your farmer. Look beyond the label and find out more!
Certified Organic: This means the producer and their products have been certified by the USDA to be following certain standards that exclude the use of non-organic pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers, growth hormones, genetically modified organisms, and antibiotics in the farming or processing.
Natural or Organic Practices: This is a form of non-chemical farming and food processing. Farmers who are growing using an organic method generally don’t use synthetic chemicals, genetically engineered seeds or products, growth hormones or routine antibiotics in their practices. These farms have not been certified as organic by the USDA and cannot represent their products as “certified organic.”
Sustainable: This means that the farmer strives for harmony with the natural environment, considers issues of human health, societal and economic well-being, while seeking to be environmentally and socially responsible.
Free Range: This is a method of animal husbandry and pasture management where livestock and poultry are allowed to roam freely instead of being confined closely or caged. It can be applied to meat, eggs or dairy farming.
Pasture-raised or grass-fed: Meat, dairy and poultry described in these terms came from animals raised primarily on a diet of freshly grazed pasture during the growing season and stored grasses during the winter months. They are generally not given growth hormones or grain food.
Integrated Pest Management: The use of scientifically proven thresholds to monitor pests and make decisions based on severe crop loss when considering the use of pesticides.
Questions to ask your farmer:
The power in buying locally comes from being able to ask your farmer questions that are important to you. We offer a few suggestions on things to ask or look for.
By Cathy Bowers, RD
Summer squash is now in season in Hampton Roads. What are the benefits to eating squash? It is a great source of manganese and vitamin C. Zucchini is also a wonderful source of dietary fiber that will keep your body in shape for the long haul. Summer squash also has Vitamin A, copper, phosphorous, folate, potassium, and magnesium. Most people are surprised to find out that it has a high content of omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, niacin and it even has some protein. Zucchini is one of the best that you can eat since it is loaded with lots of nutrients, carbohydrates, soluble and insoluble fiber, minerals, and amino acids. Pregnant women are highly recommended to eat zucchini because it has folate.
What to look for when buying squash? Purchase the ones that are shiny, rinds with no blemishes, and seem heavy for their size. Make sure the rinds are not real hard because this means the squash is over-ripened and will have hard seeds and a stringy flesh. Also it is best to pick those which are average in size since the bigger ones may be fibrous and the smaller ones will not be as flavorful. Store your squash in an unwashed, air-tight container in the refrigerator. Squash keeps for seven days on average. Suggested ways of eating zucchini – grate it over salads or sandwiches, put it on the grill, sauté it with your other favorite vegetables, add it to a bread recipe (reduce the liquid in your recipe, since there is a lot of moisture in the squash)
Visit my website for a delicious zucchini recipe. http://livingfoodsllc.com/little-known-facts-about-summer-squash/
Cathy Bowers, RD
Living Foods, LLC
By Marah Strickland
The biggest hesitation I’ve heard about buying local food or buying organic food is the cost scare. There are a two major tricks to the trade of buying local food.
Buy what’s in season.
It’s no surprise that blueberries and pineapples in the dead of winter are going to leave you with a bad case of sticker shock. Buying seasonal fruits and veggies will be less of a burden on your wallet. Squash, carrots, kale, sweet potatoes, pears, and apples are great examples of delicious winter produce that should be available at your local farmers market.
Don’t let anything go to waste.
If you’re cooking for one, if there are leftovers, or any scenario that leaves you with a little bit extra make sure you put it to good use! Leftover fruit can be frozen and blended in smoothies. Kale stems can be saved to make fresh homemade juice. Leftover veggies can be slow cooked into a delicious stock for soup. The key to buying local on a budget is to preserve your investment! Make sure none of it ends up in the trash. Get a little creative and use every bit of what you buy.
Sticking to these pointers will help soften your weekly grocery costs. Buying seasonally keeps a variety of recipes on the table. Doing this keeps the comfort food abundant in the fall, and bright vibrant colorful food on the table in the summer. Getting creative with the remaining bits and pieces of everything you buy is another exciting way to introduce new dishes to the table. It also keeps the kitchen fun! Try new things with your leftovers; get a little crafty! Getting those creative juices flowing and saving your hard earned money are just two small advantages of buying fresh and buying local.
Strawberries are starting to come in. This is a list of farms in Hampton Roads that sell strawberries! Be sure to call ahead or check their websites or Facebook pages before heading to the farm. Availability will vary from farm to farm, and city to city.
Brookdale Farm: 2133 Mt Pleasant Rd. 757-721-0558
Hickory Ridge Farm: 2928 South Battlefield Blvd. 757-560-6763
Lilley Farms: 2800 Tyre Neck Rd. 757-435-2085
Lilley Farms: Bennets Pasture Rd. 1 mile south of Rt. 17. 757-435-2085
Oliver Farms Produce: 18222 Longview Dr. 757-255-4563
Virginia Beach, VA
Bay Breeze Farms: 1076 Sandbridge Rd. 757-721-3288
Brookdale Farm: 2060 Vaughn Rd. 757-721-0558
Cromwell's Produce: 3116 New Bridge Rd. 757-721-6226
Cullipher Farm Market: 1444 Princess Anne Rd. and 1065 First Colonial Rd. 757-721-7456
Cullipher Berry Patch: 722 Princess Anne Rd. 757-721-7456
Flanagan Farm: 1880 N. Muddy Creek Rd. 757-426-5585
Flip Flop Farmer: 3244 New Bridge Rd. 757-426-9908
Henley Farm: 3483 Charity Neck Rd. 757-426-7501
New Earth Farm: 1885 Indian River Rd. 757-373-3219
Salem Berry Farm: 1763 Salem Rd. 757-818-3156
Vaughn Farms: 1258 Princess Anne Rd. 757-615-4888
Buy Fresh Buy Local members have the best shellfish at their fingertips right here in Hampton Roads.
We live in the heart of the oyster and clam industry in Virginia, a win-win situation for us all.
In the past 20 years, oyster production has increased by leaps and bounds on the Eastern Shore and in the Lynnhaven River. In 2014, the oyster harvest in Virginia was the largest since 1987.
Virginia leads the nation in clam production with Eastern shore being the center of the industry. Watermen are working to bring back clamming to the Lynnhaven.
Year round, BFBL members can dine on steamed clams fresh from nearby waters and they can serve up a platter of regional oysters for taste tests.
So be sure to ask your server or your fishmonger where your shellfish comes from before you order. Make sure it’s local.
We can thank aquaculture, along with folks everywhere who work to keep Virginia waters clean for our overflowing shellfish plates.
In aquaculture watermen start with “seeds,” baby oysters and clams that are about 1/16 of an inch big, that are raised in tanks. Baby oysters are then transferred to large floats and cages on rivers and creeks and clams are planted directly on the bottom.
Oyster and clam farmers have control over the size of the shellfish they harvest and in the case of oysters even on how they are shaped with a deep bottom shell that rests nicely on a restaurant half-shell platter.
With aquaculture, watermen are creating a sustainable industry and they are not overharvesting wild stock.
In addition oysters and clams are nature’s vacuum cleaners. As filter feeders, oysters and clams clean the water and help keep it healthy for other yummy seafood to thrive and for humans to enjoy!
Lynnhaven River Now operates an oyster recycling program in Virginia Beach. Recycle your oyster and clamshells and help build more oyster reefs. Find recycling bins at:
Spring has sprung! Pollen is invading, most farmers markets have their regular operational hours, and the humidity is no joke. As it gets warmer, it becomes increasingly important to keep hydrated. A lot of produce is really efficient at doing the job. Things like watermelon, and cucumber are wonderful for keeping us cool in this humid, warm Virginia weather. Making fresh juice is a phenomenal way to pack a lot of nutrients and key minerals into one glass. In my humble opinion, the more green the better.
You don't have to spend hundreds of dollars on an expensive juicer. Any blender will do. I've been head over heels in love with my Vitamix because I don't have to deal with the clean up that a juicer leaves behind.
While there are infinitely many combinations and concoctions to try, I'll share with you what I'm sipping on for breakfast.
2 cups spinach
1 cup freshwatermelon
3 whole strawberries
1/4 inch of ginger
Stop by your nearest farmers market market to pick up some fruits and veggies that you like, and dream up your own potions. Feel free to tag us and share online!
A lot of people ask me questions about my diet and lifestyle. Making the decision to implement a more plant based or whole foods diet is the easy part. What happens next? That’s the difficult part. Finding recipes, finding ingredients, and getting them in the pantry or on the table is where the commitment lies. You have to take action right?
Whether you’re new to trying more plant based foods, or you’re a seasoned health nut, the Organic Food Depot is a phenomenal place to visit. This unique grocery is locally owned, and it’s one of my all time favorite places to shop. I’ll actually go in just for fun or when I need some new recipe inspiration.
Some of the produce they carry is actually grown on their farm in Pungo. They’ve been up and at it for more than twenty years. They also source from other local farms. Be sure to ask what is local! They stay very active on instagram and facebook to let customers know what new exciting products they’re getting in. You can always find something new and unique there.
Recently, Follow Your Heart released a mind blowing product called The Vegan Egg. The Organic Food Depot is one of a small handful of stores in the entire country that carries the product. Other people have to place online orders, and wait for it to be delivered. I’m lucky enough to have a local grocer in my own community that carries it.
Organic Food Depot carries a wide variety of products. They have brands and items for all food sensitivities including gluten free, dairy free, yeast free, fair trade, soy free organic, kosher, wheat free, vegan, and vegetarian. Honestly, my favorite thing about shopping here is that it keeps variety in my diet. There’s always something new to try. I’ve never been disappointed by any of the products I’ve brought home. They put a lot of care into product selection, and it certainly shows.
You can sign up to be a member to receive discounts and place online orders for pick up. However, you can also do it the old fashioned way and peek in to browse and shop. They have two store locations. The Virginia Beach location is off of Holland Road, right in the middle of Virginia Beach (4301 Commuter Dr., #105). The Norfolk location is off of Granby Street (1912 Granby St.)
Take a moment to stop by! Be sure to take a moment to “like” their instagram and facebook pages to stay updated of all the fresh brands hitting their shelves.
Buy Fresh Buy Local Hampton Roads
Buy Fresh Buy Local connects consumers to Hampton Roads' freshest and most delicious locally grown and produced food.