Roanna Martin

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


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Just Rotating Away…

 I have been quite occupied recently- with events such as the GoRed Day (so beautifully documented by my fellow intern Emily) and working on my masters thesis.

I don’t remember if I’ve shared with my blog readers or not, but my masters thesis is looking at the relationships among families having home food gardens and preschool children’s intake of fruits and vegetables, and their weight status. The data is finally coming in, and my time has been filled by playing around with STATA- a statistical software that speaks a completely different language than what I’m used to. Let’s just say that I’m learning a lot, and I’m also glad that I didn’t choose a computer or math-related field of study! 

The plan is to present my research at the Experimental Biology conference in Boston at the end of April, and I am submitting my abstract for the conference tomorrow. I have a few more weeks to finish up writing the rest of my thesis, so my laptop and I are becoming even more acquainted than ever before. Exciting results are pending- kiddos in the study who had a home food garden ate more dark green and deep yellow/orange veggies!

Thesis work aside, I am also currently doing a community rotation at WIC- Women, Infants, and Children, a “federally funded program that provides healthy supplemental foods and nutrition services for pregnant women, postpartum and breastfeeding women, infants and children under age five in a supportive environment.”

Since this is a nationwide program, I am really excited that my internship was flexible enough that I am able to complete my WIC rotation at the Community Action Program of Lancaster.

 

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Since I’m originally from Lancaster, I’m able to live with my parents for a few weeks and get to know some dietitians in the area (and spend some time with my 6 adorable nieces and nephews). One of the most exciting things is that I have been able to use my Spanish skills on a daily basis.

Contrary to popular belief, there are actually more Latinos than Amish in Lancaster County, according to a December 19, 2010 article in the Sunday News. Many are bilingual, but a number of the clients that I have seen in the past week prefer to use Spanish, and I love being able to communicate directly with them without the use of a translator. To be sure, my vocabulary needs a little augmentation, but if I don’t know a specific term I can at least describe it enough to get the point across. 

I will try to post soon a bit more about some of the things I am learning, but in the meantime if you want to find out more about WIC, you can check out the USDA (US Department of Agriculture) information, or my friend Mary’s blog on her WIC rotation in West Virginia.

A quick summary of interactions with clients: we encourage mothers and their children to eat more fruits and vegetables. Honestly, that’s really what it comes down to! 

bigstock-Heart-of-fruits-and-vegetables-184383741

As a side note, people often do a double take when I tell them that I am currently a student at West Virginia University- but then I explain that I am originally from the Lancaster area, and then it makes a bit more sense. I like being able to spread some Mountaineer Pride to my home state!

 


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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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Family Mealtime

“It’s dinnertime!”

What does that mean for you? Is it grabbing some food and eating in front of a TV, is it picking up take-out on the way home from Junior’s late basketball practice, or is it dinner around the table with your family- perhaps chicken with mac & cheese and broccoli and a glass of milk?

Increased frequency of family meals has been associated with increased intake of fruits, vegetables, grains, and calcium-rich foods, and decreased soft drink consumption (1). In addition, having more meals together as a family may reduce chance for disordered eating behaviors (2), and curtail other high-risk behaviors among adolescents (3).

The kitchen table is a wonderful place to build relationships, nourish the body, and rewind after a long day.

As part of my graduate program, I am working with a West Virginia early childhood obesity prevention project called Choose to Change

A few weeks ago, we hosted a “Family Fun Night”, where families simply came to a community center for a free meal, and engaged separate activities for kids and adults, promoting the importance of family meal time. 

The tables were set and waiting for families to arrive. 

The benefits of family meal time aren’t about a beautiful table setting or fancy courses. It’s simply having people together, talking and sharing life with one another.

However, we did put a bit of extra effort into creating some masterpiece centerpieces- turkeys crafted out of melons, grape skewers, and pepper slices.

Fruit and Vegetable Turkey

After the meal, I hung out with the little preschoolers. We had fun activities like a relay race to set the table, and bean bag games where some colors were “healthy foods” and others were just “sometimes” foods.

Choosy, the mascot for the program, showed up. This was a huge hit with the kids. I managed to get a picture with him too!

Celebrity Shot

Family meals were always a priority in my home growing up, and I’m incredibly thankful that my parents chose to make these evening rendezvous an essential part of our day. I learned a lot around the kitchen table.

As a college student, family-style meals can’t always happen, so I’m even more thankful when they do occur.

These past 6 weeks I have been completing a clinical rotation about 2 1/2 hours from where my apartment is. I’ve been blessed by living with a great couple here, who have graciously opened their home to Emily and I.  Here we are, enjoying a family-style meal together. A bit of Thanksgiving dinner and sparkling cider at the dining room table- this didn’t happen every night, but we did enjoy eating dinners together when able.

Late Thanksgiving Dinner

It’s hard to believe that this clinical rotation has come to a close already. Good-bye, Charleston!

The Gold Dome of the West Virginia Capitol Building

 


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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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Apples in October

This time of year, I adhere to a personal mantra of “three apples a day keeps the doctor away”. Seriously, it’s not that unusual for me to slice an apple into my morning oatmeal, snag an apple as an afternoon snack, and enjoy applesauce or apple crisp or cake or pie for dinner. A large dose of cinnamon, a few cloves and ginger thrown in for a rounded out fall flavor. Can’t beat it.

October is “National Apple Month”. It’s also “Farm to School” month. For this reason, I’m going to share about a little project that I completed in my most recent rotation. It has to do with apples, and farms, and schools.

The Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design is not only home to the Division of Animal and Nutritional Sciences (where my program falls), but also the Division of Plant and Soil Sciences.

This division operates the Kearneysville Tree Fruit Research and Education Center located in Jefferson County, WV- in what is referred to as the “Eastern Panhandle” of the state. The fruits of this labor are then sold through the Plant and Soil Sciences farm, about 2.9 miles away from the dining hall where I was rotating. The apples are brought in large crates, and anyone can come to pick out their own apples. Varieties include Golden Delicious, Rome, Red Delicious, Honey Crisp and I believe a few others too. Availability varies, and this year was more limited than some, due to less than ideal growing conditions.

 

So how does this connect to my rotation? I needed to complete a “Process Improvement Project”, and chose to work on bringing local produce into the dining hall.

I first spoke with the Director of Dining Services. They had gotten apples from the farm in the past, but this year it had not been made a priority, so my assistance in the project would be much appreciated.

I made some phone calls, visited the farm, coordinated with dining facility personnel to cancel current orders of apples from the standard supplier, and got the ball rolling.

One of the common issues with purchasing local food is the increased amount of labor required in bypassing the “conventional” food system. In this case, the individuals working at the farm did not have time to sort out apples that were needed for the cafeteria, and likewise dining facilities was short-staffed and unable to provide this labor and transportation. So myself and the Director of Dining Services stepped in the labor gap and counted out 2,300 apples. Yeah, it was a lot of apples. 

 

 

 

Apples were brought into the dining facility. Here they are- ready to be washed and put out for tasting!

 

The apples were then placed in the cafeteria, along with point-of-sale advertisement that the apples were grown in West Virginia.

 

 

 

I may get a little bit too excited about fresh food- especially when it is grown locally. 

When calculating the cost of purchasing the West Virginia apples, even including the additional labor required for sorting, the cost of purchasing these apples was slightly less than ordering through the produce contract. Buying local foods for use in foodservice operations can be done- but I will be the first to admit that it takes creativity, hard work, and persistence. To date, 176 colleges and universities nationwide have completed a survey on the Farm to College website indicating that they are integrating local food into their operation. There are also now Farm to School programs in all fifty states. Movement towards connecting consumers with the source of their food is growing (pun intended), but a lot more work remains.

As a random bit of trivia- the Golden Delicious is the State Fruit of West Virginia- discovered in Clay County, WV around 1912 by a man named Anderson Mullins. There’s even a Golden Delicious Festival to celebrate it.

 


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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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Round Right Farm

It’s a busy week for me in my internship, but I just wanted to let you all know that I’m still here! I am currently putting the finishing touches on my assignments for the current rotation. In addition, I’m presenting in my graduate seminar course on Thursday. I’ll likely share some highlights with all of you after it’s over…

In the meantime, check out an incredible local CSA that I spotlighted a few months ago for the West Virginia Farm2U blog, check out my post on RoundRight Farm. In addition, if you’re looking for resources to connect to local food in West Virginia, you should definitely check out the WVFarm2U website! The recent update has made it even more user friendly.