From the Farmer

Week 23 – 10/22/2015
In this late edition of The Week In CSA, we first announce that Michael J. Fox was arrested early yesterday for insider sports betting on DraftKings.  In other news, the Cubs lost to the Mets and were swept in the NLCS 4-0.
Also in this edition: ginger and Root of the Day (carrots or beets); Red Russian kale, broccoli, peppers sweet and hot, turnips, and winter squash.  Lots of color this week: green, white, orange, pink and yellow, orange and a little red. 
When we talk about nutrition aren’t we really talking about getting the energy to fuel our physical and emotional bodies, the nutrition to fire the enzymatic processes that allow us to build and repair our bodies, run our systems, and in turn be the best we can be.  What gets us there?  The same stuff we learned about in school: protein, fiber, carbohydrates, and vitamins and minerals.  Of the main groups of food – meats, dairy, legumes and eggs, cereals and grains, fats and oils, and fruit, nuts and vegetables – I think of fruits, nuts and vegetables as being a key source for vitamins and minerals and organic compounds these are contained in.
Adding color to our diets is another approach to enjoying good food and good nutrition.  Different colors are an expression of unique phytonutrients produced by each plant, many of which produce pigmentation, and health addicts recommend eating as many (natural) colors as possible: orange and yellow for catenoids like beta carotin, which becomes Vitamin A and other antioxidants; green contains chlorophyll, folate, omega-3 fatty acids and carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin; blue has the highest antioxidant activity, particularly of anthocyanins and polyphenols; white contains organosulfur compounds that can help lower blood pressure and protect against free radicals; and red lycopene and anthocyanin, good for your heart and circulatory system, and for protecting us from sun and UV.  
Some colors run through and through and some may only be skin deep – eat the skin!  And it’s important to note that many phytochemicals, particularly flavanoids, which are the largest class, are colorless, so we should not take a lack of color as a nutritionally bereft. 
Others describe it this way: 
  • white (immune support): onions, garlic; white radishes and turnips, kohlrabi and cauliflower; brown pears and white nectarines and peach; ginger, fennel and Jerusalem Artichokes
  • green (detoxification): broccoli, kale, spinach and other leafy greens; 
  • yellow (beauty): citrus, yellow peppers, yellow squash, yellow potatoes, yellow beets
  • orange (cancer prevention): winter squash and sweet potatoes, carrots, orange potatoes, cantaloupe, yellow watermelon and many fruits
  • red (heart health): tomatoes, red Swiss chard, beets, red peppers, watermelon
  • blue and purple (longevity): blueberries, purple cabbage, blackberries, eggplant, purple asparagus, carrots and potatoes, black salsify
I rather like the later approach as a way to encourage us to eat a diversity of foods.  While the complexity of biochemistry and health may not support a completely linear perspective as “White Only for Only Immune Support”, the evidence tells us that these are good general rules.  Add garlic or onion to your meals once every day or two.  And there are certain veggies that fight inflammation more than others (ginger, garlic, beets, red peppers, dark leafy things, dandelion and chicories), and some that may cause it to flare up.
What’s interesting is that many traditional approaches to health are now supported in diet and nutrition literature.  The science of food and nutrition has advanced so much in the last decades; first we learned about basic building blocks for health: protein, fiber, carbohydrate and mineral.  Then we found important categories of nutrients and vitamins.  We now recognize thousands of phytochemicals in subcategories like carotinoids, flavanoids, and tannins.  And there’s no doubt that eating whole and unprocessed foods as part of a holistic diet really is good for us, and that colors can indicate a diversity of important biochemicals.  They give us that suite of phytochemicals that are believed to work synergistically with other vitamins, minerals, and fiber to enable our bodies to run they are designed to.  The processes of making “processed foods” often strips away the good stuff, then enriches the simplified product, but with just a few of the parts that were removed.  If you look at a list of ingredients that includes “enriched flour” you’ll see a list of nutrients that are added back.  We rarely do as good a job as nature does in the first place, and our bodies are designed to eat more holistically.
There are two great cooking classes coming up.  The second may particularly speak to any of you (former or active) writers or bloggers.
Cooking with the Farm Harvest  
Wednesday, October 28 from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM at The Lodge. Hearty greens, winter squashes, Brussels sprouts and root vegetables are just some of the bounty you'll find at the Farm Stand this fall. Discover new flavor combinations and get great tips on how to stock your freezer for the winter.  Prepare and savor these favorite autumn dishes. Menu sneak peek: Garlicky White Bean Soup with Spicy Greens, Flatbread with Kale, Squash & Bacon, Curried Cauliflower & Broccoli Gratin and Gingered Pumpkin Pie.

Residents: Register HERE!
Farmily: Register HERE!

You Can Cook It. Now Learn to Write It!
Thursday, November 5 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM at The Lodge. What makes some recipes a delight to read, while others are head scratchers? Interested in putting together a collection of your own or family recipes? Want to know the secrets of how to interpret restaurant chefs' recipes? Washington Post Deputy Food Editor/Recipe Editor Bonnie S. Benwick will share the details in a lively session at Willowsford, with Willowsford Culinary Director Bonnie Moore. Feel free to bring a recipe that needs improvement; it might get chosen as a class example. A Farm inspired supper will be served.

Residents: Register HERE!
Farmily: Register HERE!

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