Roanna Martin

"make [food] simple and let things taste of what they are." {Curnonsky}


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Farmers’ Market Gleaning Project

As a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, I get to choose a state affiliation. Since I’m living in West Virginia for grad school, I am currently a member of the West Virginia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (WVAND), and it’s been a fun way to get to know other dietitians in the state.

At the 2012 WVAND meeting, I committed to supporting local foods in my community, and I met that challenge by coordinating a gleaning project from the Morgantown Farmers’ Market.

I enjoyed coordinating this pickup and subsequent distribution to the local Salvation Army soup kitchen. 

My project description was just posted on the WVAND Website, and I thought I’d share it here as well!

“This past summer, after a suggestion from RoundRight Farm, and in collaboration with a graduate student in Ag Economics at the Davis College of WVU, I coordinated a market gleaning program from the Morgantown Farmers’ Market to the Morgantown Salvation Army Soup Kitchen.

Every Saturday as the market closed, myself or another volunteer walked around to each stand at the market to ask vendors if they had extra produce would like to donate. At the beginning of the summer, when there were just a few bags of greens, it was easy to walk the produce down the street to the soup kitchen. However, as the season progressed and beans, beets, tomatoes, and other hefty veggies were abundant, a car was necessary to transport the bounty.

The vendors were glad to see their produce being put to use, and the soup kitchen was creative in their use of the veggies. When I stopped by to see what they had made, they were serving green beans with sliced radishes!

We would love to see this project continue in the future, and are in the process of making plans to formalize, improve, and expand upon our current model. Perhaps this is even something that could be replicated around the state in other farmer’s markets.

If anyone is interested in providing future assistance in this program, either by helping with pickup, or potentially making a special dish out of the produce to serve at the kitchen, we would love to hear from you! 

Much thanks to Jessica Kozar, a WVU Human Nutrition and Food major, for her assistance with the pickup and delivery!”

Produce on its way!

Produce on its way!

And one of the creative dishes:

Green Beans and Radishes

Green Beans and Radishes


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Delicata Squash: A Template

Who wants to know what I ate for dinner tonight? Well, I didn’t really think anyone would… but Emily encouraged me to blog about this, so here goes:

For $2 at the Morgantown Farmers’ Market on Sunday, I picked up a wee little gem: a Delicata Squash.

Photo Courtesy of Serious Eats

They are typically about 5 or 6 inches long, and 2 or 3 inches in diameter, and make a perfect meal for two people.

I first discovered the beauty of cooking with these fall vegetables last year, at which point I called them: “My New Favorite Convenience Food” on my previous blog. 

Chop the squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds.

Place both halves cut side down in a container with a little bit of water. Then either microwave the squash for about 4 or five minutes, or bake for about 15 minutes.

Then, turn the squash over so you have little “canoes”. Fill with items such as cooked beans, tomato chunks, cooked rice, cooked ground beef, sauteed onions, and whatever spices you please. This is a great way to use leftover chili, or pieces of chicken, or anything that’s in your fridge, really! Top with a sprinkle of reduced fat cheese.

Return to the microwave for five minutes or until contents are thoroughly heated and cheese is melted.

For those of you who like measurements and ingredients, here is what went into mine tonight.

Combine in bowl:

1 cup cooked kidney beans

1/2 c shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese (reserving a small amount to sprinkle on top)

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Place mixture in partially cooked squash, and return to oven or microwave to finish cooking.

When you pull it out, top each half with 1/4 cup salsa.

 

 

When prepared this way, each squash half contains:

252 calories

6.4 g fat

34.8 g carbohydrates

10.2 g fiber

14.9 g protein

66.4% RDA of Vitamin A

(Nutrient Analysis: Recipes.Sparkpeople.com)

Winter squash is a more-than-excellent source of vitamin A, which is known to help promote and maintain healthy skin, teeth, connective tissues, and vision. So, rather than pay money to pop a pill, why not try some real food that’s super high in vitamins and minerals?


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Saturday’s Activities

Finally, it feels like fall.
The weather was rather overcast today, but 40’s seems more appropriate for late October than the 70’s and 80’s that we’ve had the past few days.
And I love fall. I adore the brilliant beauty of the trees as they change color (and the mountains of West Virginia offer a SPECTACULAR show), the chilling of the air, wearing cozy sweaters and scarves, the crunch of the leaves under my running shoes, and the smell of cinnamon and baking apples.
After finishing up my first week of clinical rotations at Charleston Area Medical Center, I decided to spend my Saturday doing a bit of exploring. Well, first I stayed curled up in my bed and finished reading “The Color Purple”, then came downstairs to a surprise breakfast of waffles (the family that I’m staying with is wonderful!). After that my exploring began. I went for a run through the surrounding leaf covered streets, then headed off to town.
First stop: The Capitol Market
Big surprise, eh? If there’s a farmers’ market, there’s a good chance I’m going to be there. I find it hard to stay away.
In addition to several permanent stores inside, there was a wide array of fresh produce, gourds, live music, and art displays outdoors.
Here’s a bit of the loot that I came home with:
Second stop: the Nina and the Pinta. Yep, replicas of the ships that Columbus and his crew sailed across the ocean 500 years ago have come to dock in Charleston.
Did you know that vitamins were discovered because of riding on ships? That’s right. Scurvy– a disease caused by the lack of vitamin C- was first treated effectively in the mid-1700s by a Scottish surgeon in the Royal Navy, James Lind when he provided citrus fruit to sailors who were previously subsisting on cured meats and dried grains.
I decided to whip together a favorite fall dessert: apple crisp. On average, one medium apple (2 1/2 inches in diameter) contains about 8 mg of vitamin C. However, the content does vary by apple variety. And almost half of the vitamin C is located right beneath the skin, so be sure to keep the skin on so that you’re not cheating yourself out of vitamin C and insoluble fiber.
I use recipes a lot in the kitchen, but I also love to just cook intuitively. Apple crisp is something that I don’t really use a recipe for.
So here’s my “nonrecipe” for apple crisp:
A baking pan full of sliced apples (I used an 11×7 inch pan)
And then in a cereal bowl I tossed together:
Rolled oats (about 1 1/2 cups)
Whole wheat flour (about 1/4 cup)
Brown sugar (about 1/4 cup)
Butter (about 2 Tablespoons)
Cinnamon (maybe 1 tsp)
Cloves (1/2 teaspoon)
Ginger (1/2 teaspoon)
A few tablespoons of orange juice (until mixture is just moist)
Using the juice cuts down on butter, and makes a nice crispy sweet crumble.
Bake at 350 degrees Farenheit for about 35-40 minutes. Apples aren’t too picky- temperature and time can be altered depending on what else you have going on in the oven. 
Just watch for the topping to turn brown. Then pull out of the oven and enjoy!
If you couldn’t tell from my previous posts here and here– I love apples. 


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Morgantown Farmers’ Market

Where’s the place to be in Morgantown on a Saturday morning at 8:30? At the corner of Spruce and Fayette streets, of course! The Morgantown Farmers’ market runs from 8:30 to noon, and typically starts off long lines of customers streaming in front of the stands. For the earlier part of the summer the market was held at an alternate location while a pavilion was constructed.

 

On September 22nd, the Morgantown Market Place officially opened for business, and market hours were extended until 1 PM for the Grand Opening. The day kicked off with a ribbon cutting ceremony. There was a great crowd, and even Monti the WVU Healthcare mascot was there to cheer on the market. The grand opening saw the highest customer total ever. Jim Manilla, Mayor of Morgantown, spoke during the dedication of the building.

 

According to market manager Lisa Lagana, “The Grand Opening was a huge success thanks to so many supports especially WVU Healthcare for sponsoring the event, the City of Morgantown for letting us use their facility & equipment, the Morgantown Parking Authority for setting up all of the equipment whenever needed, and Main Street Morgantown who helped pull the whole event together.”

 

It was a busy day under the pavilion, full of delicious flavors and great sounds. There was a cooking demonstration by Marion Ohlinger, chef & owner of the Richwood Grill.  He used market goods to create a surprise menu, which included breakfast burritos (breakfast sausage, goat cheese, and eggs), steak, and goat fajitas (goat meat, onions, and peppers).

Featured musicians of the day included The Short Brothers who kept customers dancing throughout the morning and One Bullet Barney, who kept the energy going with their electric punk blues.

 

Other featured events from the day included a vendor demonstration of wool spinning, a live bee hive, and a “Green Morning” workshop by the Morgantown Municipal Green team. WVU Healthcare offered free blood pressure screening, free reusable market bags, and a “talk-to-a-nurse” station.
 

In celebration of WVU’s Transportation Week, the WVU Transportation & Parking Authority came to the Market as our non-profit to promote sustainable & healthy ways of traveling.  A bicycle rack is provided at the market for customers who choose to use pedal power to get around town.

 

Although the pavilion is up, the project is not yet technically complete. A culinary station has yet to be installed. As a future dietitian, I’m especially excited about this as a way for exposing customers to new foods. There will be a second opening when the station is complete, with a “Taste of the Town” demo featuring 4 different chefs from Morgantown who will coordinate to use fresh market ingredients to create samples for customers.

 

Phase 2 of the market project will probably include solar panels, but that is still down the road. The Grand Opening also received some great publicity from the Channel 12 News

The Morgantown Market is one of my favorite Saturday morning activities here in town, and if you live anywhere in the area, it’s definitely worth checking out!

*Note: This post was also published at wvfarm2u.org.


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“Making Everyday Choices for a Healthy, Sustainable Diet”

I recently came across an excellent handout on a sustainable diet through the Hunger and Environmental Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group (HEN DPG), of which I am a member. HEN is a special interest group within the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, formerly known as the American Dietetic Association.

This handout was compiled by Mary Meck Higgins, a Human Nutrition Specialist and Registered Dietitian working with the Kansas State University Cooperative Extension Service. I think she does an excellent job of highlighting some of the principles helpful in promoting personal health as well as the health of the planet. She reminds us of the importance of personal choice- we can’t expect the government or big industry to solve the world’s sustainability problems. These entities are shaped primarily by consumer demands. So how are you, as a consumer, going to respond?

 Her suggestions are organized into seven categories:

  1. Choose nutrient-rich foods: Base meals on whole grains, fruits, legumes, and dark green, red, and orange vegetables. Choose fat-free or low fat dairy, lean red meats, and poultry without skin to reduce calories and saturated fat intake. Vary your protein- try non-animal sources. Choose water most of the time, and cook at home often. For more specific recommendations for your age, gender, and body size, visit myplate.gov.
  2. Eat locally produced foods when available: Choose foods that are in season. Visit a local farmers market or farmstand, join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), or try growing something of your own.
  3. Buy from businesses with sustainable practices when possible: This can affect not only the health of the environment, but local economic vitality. Support local restaurants who purchase from local producers. Choose certified sustainable seafood products. When you buy tea, coffee, or chocolate, choose at least some that is certified fair trade.
  4. Minimize avoidable food losses and waste: On average, households in the US throw away at least 14 percent of food purchases. Store perishable foods appropriately. [An example: since I shop for myself and I don’t eat a loaf of bread very quickly, I often store it in the freezer and simply pull out a slice or two and toast it to prevent waste]. Even excess milk can be frozen if you won’t drink it by the expiration date! Instead of peeling potatoes or apples, simply wash them well and eat the peels. Extra fiber, less scraps. Speaking of scraps, try composting them! For a variety of reasons, restaurants often generate a sizable amount of food waste- another reason to cook and eat at home.
  5. Limit energy use: Of the energy consumed in the U.S., nearly 20 percent is used for food production, transport, processing, packaging, distribution, storage, sales, and household food handling. Limit how often you drive to the grocery store. Better yet- walk or bike to get a bit of exercise at the same time! Wash with hot water, but rinse with cold water. Let your dishwasher air dry instead of using the heated dry cycle. 
  6. Limit water use: Conserve water when preparing food by keeping an empty pitcher to capture water from the faucet while waiting for it to heat up. Use this to water plants. Use water-efficient kitchen appliances. Turn off the faucet in between rinsing dishes.
  7. Minimize packaging and wrapper waste: Carry a reusable water bottle instead of buying packaged bottled water. Keep your reusable grocery bags in the car so you remember to actually take them with you to the grocery store! Eliminate packaging when possible: purchase whole, unprocessed fruits and vegetables. Instead of buying small packages of food (i.e. individual yogurt cups), try buying a larger container and separating the amount you plan to eat out into smaller containers.


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Local Foods

One of my greatest passions is connecting consumers with producers, and teaching people about the benefits of eating healthy whole foods. For bootcamp this year, I was asked to give a presentation on Local Foods. I was able to pull in some research that I had done in my Rural Economic Development course this past semester, investigating the use of SNAP benefits at farmers’ markets across the state of West Virginia.

What follows is the powerpoint that I compiled to use as a tool for my presentation:

 

I hope you enjoy!


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South Morgantown Community Farm Market

After spending Thursday morning working on curriculum development for a “Fun with Food” cooking class at Monongalia County Younger 4-H camp next week, Kaitlin and I accompanied the Families and Health Extension agent on a trip to the South Morgantown Community Farm Market.

Located on the Grafton Road, just a few miles south of Morgantown, the market is open on Thursdays from 3-6:30 PM.

One of the Nutrition Outreach Instructors from Extension had planned a cooking demonstration for women from the community, and so we took a trip out to check out the market.

I was able to talk to a few vendors at the market, both of whom have been selling at the market since it opened. The woman working at the stand of “Busy Beaver’s Farm and Greenhouse” also sells at the market in Oakland, Maryland. She most enjoys selling at the South Morgantown Market because of the people there.

I also talked to Suzie, of SFS farm, who also sells at the Morgantown Market.  Although it’s been a dry year, she still had a nice selection of produce on her table. She is anticipating a high tunnel from an NRCS (National Resources Conservation Service) grant to help extend her growing season.  She kept busy at her table during the time I was there, but it was fun to talk to her a bit and hear about her passion for growing food.