Friday, May 28, 2010

NEW - The Olive Press

We're very pleased to announce the addition of The Olive Press to our Saturday Farmers Market.  They are incredibly helpful and knowledgeable about Olive Oil.  Here are a few frequently asked questions that I found extremely interesting!

What is Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

Extra virgin olive oil is the oil extracted from fresh olives using a mechanical process without the use of excessive heat or any form of additives or solvents. It also must pass chemical tests, including a maximum acidity, in terms of oleic free fatty acid, not more than 0.5 %. In addition, it must be judged defect-free with some olive fruitiness, determined through a blind sensory evaluation by a trained tasting panel.

What is the difference between early and late harvest oils?

They are simply different styles of olive oil. As their name suggests, early harvest oils are made from olives picked earlier in the season. As they are made from greener olives, early harvest styles are usually more grassy/herbaceous in aroma and flavor and have higher levels of bitterness and pungency. Late harvest styles are usually milder oils and display riper fruit flavors. Due to their different taste properties the two styles of oil are used in different ways in the kitchen.

How many pounds of olives would be found on an average tree approximately?

This varies but approximately 50-200 pounds are produced from the average mature olive tree. How many gallons of olive oil could be made from an average mature tree? Approximately ½ to 4 gallons of oil per tree OR on average you can expect @ 30-35 gals. per ton of olives, depending on time of harvest / ripeness. There are so many extra virgin olive oils to choose from.

What do I look for?

First and foremost, consider purchasing an extra virgin olive oil that is useful for the culinary purposes you have in mind. Extra virgin olive oils can be intensely flavored and can also be strongly bitter and pungent. Many 'early harvest' styles fit in this category. Others can be very fruity with only hints of bitterness and pepper, while 'late harvest' styles are typically mild with very ripe fruity flavors. As a general rule, oils with a strong flavor suit strongly flavored dishes, and mild oils are used in dishes which are delicately flavored. Check The Olive Press list of EVOO’s, it provides descriptions that emphasize oil style, so it should be of help when making your purchase decision.

Where is the best place to store extra virgin olive oil?

A general principle applies here. Both light and heat are the enemies of olive oil. As such, olive oils should be stored in a cool dark place. Conversely, the worst place to store olive oil is next to the oven where they may become heated, or even worse on a window sill. Olive oils will rapidly become rancid if stored in a warm, well lit environment. Exposure to light also hastens the loss of the health giving vitamin E like compound tocopherol.

How long can I expect my extra virgin olive oil to last?

Extra virgin olive oils are best consumed young as it is at this time when their fresh olive like aromas and flavors, and the health giving polyphenols are at their peak. Unlike wine, olive oils do not get better with age, so the closer to their release date that you purchase and use them, the better. However, the higher levels of natural antioxidants and the higher proportion of monounsaturated fats generally found in extra virgin olive oil mean that they generally remain fresher longer than other edible oils. Mild styles of oil contain lower levels of polyphenols so they tend to have shorter shelf lives. However as a guide, provided they are stored properly, the majority of current season extra virgin olive oils will retain good flavor, aroma and freshness for at least 12 months.

Monday, May 24, 2010

EAT YOUR FRUIT & VEGETABLES - Hawthorne Senior Center

EAT YOUR FRUIT & VEGETABLES in not a threat it's a promise.  At the Hawthorne Del Aire Certified Farmers Market we have a triple threat of fruits, vegetables & protein (eggs & chicken). We are the Fast Food Farmers Market - Home of the Original Fast Food!

Flavor & Creativity - EAT YOUR VEGETABLES never sounded so good. Nothing dull and boring found at this farmers market Full of Flavor & Creativity! Eating brings you to your senses, It's visceral - and what I mean by that you eat with your 5 senses.  Looks, smells, feels good, sounds good, tastes good!  Food doesn't just fill you up, it makes you feel alive!

Simple Tomato Sandwhich!
Strawberry Cucumber Salad
Steamed  Vegetables

What we really want from our food is good flavor.  When we cook we Cook to impress, cook to be excited or, at the very least, cook to share. 
We know from experience that seniors like their mealtimes to be interesting . . . not just the food, but the setting, the companionship and the conversation.   Appetizing meals are an important part of our lives, and vital to physical and emotional well-being.
We're Lucky to live in So Cal where share food from many cultures and living longer with many generations.  There’s something really intimate about sharing food.

Food also helps us connect to our past and the now.  What’s great about food is the nostalgia factor that ties all of us to where we’re from.  So it’s a wonderful tool  to take us back to the things that make us feel good, whole, happy and excited about life.
Be creative to liven up food while staying within appropriate dietary guidelines. Advocate moderation rather than denial.   
Recommendations for adding flavor to a senior’s diet without compromising good health:
  • Add low-sodium, no-salt stock to a sauce to make it taste like it has been simmering all day.  Likewise, cook rice in chicken or vegetable stock rather than water, and replace cream with stock when making mashed potatoes for a flavorful, low-fat alternative.
  • Fresh herbs are a no-fat addition, and readily available in grocery stores to brighten the flavor of salads, dressing and sauces.
  • Purchase better cuts of meat for better flavor and less fat.  Seniors shouldn’t sacrifice quality, even if they’re on a budget.  “Never buy less than a ground sirloin because of the fat content.  Don’t buy fatty foods as opposed to lean, healthy meats to save pennies because in the end you’re not, you have to trim.  And the amount of waste balanced against lean clean meat is negligible.  A small amount of lean protein is better than a larger amount of fatty protein.”
  • Stock up on fresh meats and vegetables when they’re on sale, then divide and freeze them.  “Prepared foods are not good for seniors because they can’t control the amount of salts, fats and additives.  Seniors should spend the money instead on prepared raw foods they can finish cooking, which will taste better to them as well.”
 Fast Food Farmers Market, Home of the Original Fast Food has something for everyone to cook flavorful, fun and fast meals!

I'll be speaking at the Hawthorne Senior Center about the Farmers Market May 25th 11:30am where there will be Senior Nutritional Program Coupons distributed. I'll also be handing out recipes provided by the LA County Nutritionist Program. 

What's in Season - Stone Fruit, Cherries, Strawberries, Greens, Asparagus, etc.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Capture Consumer Passion for Food at Retail

Kraft Foods White Paper on Consumer Passion for Food at Retail includes Farmers Markets.  The obvious is that people shop Farmers Market's for Fruit & Vegetables with addition of bread.  It is interesting to read that chicken represents 11%, salad greens 10%, tomatoes 6%, of total grocery sales.  We've got it all!  Lots of good information!

Nutritionist - Strawberry Cucumber Salad

Strawberry & Cucumber Salad
Yield 4 servings
• 4 Cups hulled strawberries,
• 2 Tbsp. thinly sliced fresh basil
• 2 Tsps. balsamic vinegar
1 Tsp. sugar
• 2 Medium cucumbers, peeled,
halved lengthwise, seeded, and
thinly sliced
• 1 Tsp freshly squeezed lemon
• 1/4 Tsp. salt
• 1/4 Tsp. ground black pepper
Nutritional information for 1.5
cup serving:
Calories 49, Fat 0.5 gm,
Fiber 3 gm, Cholesterol 0 mg,
Sodium 150 mg

Combine the first four
ingredients together in a large
bowl, and toss gently to coat.
Cover and chill for one hour
(optional). Combine cucumbers
and juice; toss to coat. Add
cucumber mixture, salt, and
pepper to strawberry mixture;
toss gently together.
Serve immediately. Enjoy!
Ask the Dietitian County of Los Angeles 09

Scent 2 Heal's New Web Site

Here is the link to Scent 2 Heal's web site.  Full of information, offers and upcoming events!