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Fast-food Farmer Tips

Savor some seasoned advice on fast, healthy, summertime eating from fellow farmer friends

(from Farm-style Fast Food, by Lisa Kivirist)

Check out what these farmers say about eating fresh and local:

“In the summer, I eat as simply as possible and don’t spend much time assembling meals. Just about every day, we eat some form of a fresh vegetable sauté, varying vegetables based on what’s in season.

"I sauté chopped onions and garlic in one tablespoon of butter or oil in a cast-iron pan, then add anything from beans to beets, seasoning with fresh herbs such as basil and thyme. At the same time, I’ll cook up some buckwheat, which is surprisingly easy to make and highly nutritious. Lastly, I’ll add in some protein such as tofu, nuts or black beans, and I have a hearty meal ready in about 20 minutes.

“If I have any leftovers from the sauté, I often put it in the blender the next day with a little milk for a quick soup.”
—Marguerite Ramlow, Artha Sustainable Living Center, Wisconsin

“Harvesting from my garden right before we eat enables me to whip up a 5-star meal in 15 minutes. Nothing beats the fresh flavors when you harvest immediately.

"My husband and I will eat fresh salads two times a day. We make pesto on weekends and use that for hearty, flavorful grilled sandwiches throughout the week.

"One of my favorites uses fresh eggplant: I first marinate thin slices of eggplant in a homemade vinaigrette dressing. I then spread the pesto on bread slices, add tomatoes, mixed greens, the eggplant and a little melting cheese and grill till warm. We eat this several times a week and can’t get enough of it when eggplant is in season.”
—Deb Eschmeyer, Harvest Sun Farm, Ohio

“Farming with my mother and sister, we each often grab a meal at different times, depending on our schedules.

"One thing I’ve found makes an easy, quick meal is to cook up a big batch of dried beans and then scoop individual-sized portions into greased muffin tins. I place the whole tray in the freezer and then pop out each bean portion and place it in a freezer bag.

"I can then easily take one bean portion at a time and heat it up for a perfectly sized individual burrito. Add in some tomatoes, veggies, lettuce and cheese, and I have a fast, healthy, hearty meal.”
—Zoë Bradbury, Groundswell Farm, Oregon

“With four hungry boys to feed and my in-laws, who live on the farm across the road, often stopping by for supper, I focus on simple, lighter fare during the summer.

"We have a lot of picnics, which both adds a fun, festive twist to the meal and simplifies clean-up. If one of my boys makes a mess, it’s food for the birds! We raise our own meat, and my husband, Brian, loves to grill, so we’ll often grill a lot at once and eat the leftovers during the week.

“Eating fresh needs to sometimes be balanced with the realities of busy family lives and crazy schedules. Sometimes, my schedule needs turn to peanut butter and jelly, and that’s OK. I try to make sure it’s the better of the store-bought stuff: organic peanut butter with no hydrogenated oil, our own homemade strawberry jam and bread made in the bread machine with a dash of healthy extras like wheat germ.”
—Jodi Bubenzer, Sunflower Hill Farm, Wisconsin

Expand Your Recipe Box

For more ideas to make your summertime fast-food routine healthful, check out these cookbooks:

  • Recipes From Edible Earth: Savoring the Good Life with Vegetarian Recipes From Inn Serendipity, by Lisa Kivirist and John Ivanko (Paradigm Press, 2008)
  • Everyday Greens: Home Cooking From Greens, the Celebrated Vegetarian Restaurant, by Annie Sommerville (Scribner, 2003)
  • From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Cooking Farm-fresh, Seasonal Produce, by the Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition (Jones Books, 2004) 
  • Simply in Season, by Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert (Herald Press, 2005)
  • Savoring the Seasons of the Northern Heartland, by Lucia Watson and Beth Dooley (University of Minnesota Press, 2004)
  • Cooking with Heirlooms, by Karen Keb Acevedo (BowTie Press, 2007)

About the author: Lisa Kivirist is the co-author of ECOpreneuring (New Society Publishers, 2008) and Rural Renaissance (New Society Publishers, 2009) and is a W.K. Kellogg Food and Society Policy Fellow. You can find her eating pea pods off the vine on her Wisconsin farm and B&B, Inn Serendipity.

This article first appeared in the July/August 2009 Hobby Farm Home.

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Fast-food Farmer Tips

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Reader Comments
Good article.
Mary, Pembroke, ON
Posted: 10/4/2011 4:17:22 AM
Sounds good.
Galadriel, Lothlorien, ME
Posted: 6/17/2010 11:39:03 PM
thanks for the great information
Kim, Thonotosassa, FL
Posted: 1/12/2010 6:16:23 AM
Some good ideas
mary, Leoti, KS
Posted: 6/6/2009 5:29:54 AM
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