On the Way In and Out
Tyson Farms is picking Stayman apples and bringing its own cider now. And Max Sr. has planted so many fall crops that he will send fall greens, turnips, radishes and more to market for quite a while.
We have plenty of beef at Angelic Beef and pork, lamb, and chicken at Heritage Farm. Ask both Doug and the Martins about specials. Doug offers a great family pack for those who want to stock a freezer. The most recent steer he took to the butcher produced some amazing steaks and ground beef -- I will report on the roasts next week.
Valley View will soon bring fall favorites including apple and pear tarts and pumpkin breads and desserts. And soups!
This week Celtic Pasties will have Beef & Guinness, Cottage Pie Style, Mango Chicken, Spinach & Feta, and Cheese & Onion pasties, plus they will reintroduce their popular Early Thanksgiving pasty with turkey and cranberry.
Special Events Coming Up
We’re having a big party next week -- save the date! Local jazz trumpeter Joe Herrera has pulled together a trio to play. Come for happy hour at the market -- wine by the glass will be available, and some vendors will be offfering $1 hors d’oeuvres.
Vendors With Us This Week
Fabbioli Cellars will be with us this week.
From the Market Master
Since Smart Markets opened its first market on the grounds of a public school in June of this year, we have become even more involved with parents of young children who are vigorously committed to raising healthy children by increasing the real food that they eat, limiting the “snacks, seconds and sweets,” and eliminating the “edible food-like substances.” Those words in quotes are from the little book that I have quoted before by Michael Pollan, titled Food Rules.
This fall, I have been not advising so much as reinforcing two committees of parents at Piney Branch Elementary School in Bristow that are working to introduce their school population to ideas about what we should eat and why. I will be sitting in on another meeting soon where we will discuss plans for Food Week, which begins with Food Day on October 22. I thought I would look through Pollan’s book for “rules” that the elementary school-aged kids could relate to.
It was easy to come up with a representative sample of quotations that cry out for illustrative projects and displays that kids can create themselves. Just imagine what a group of children could do with these rules. I have done some of the work for you, but I am sure that every parent and every teacher can think of more projects.
For the youngest children:
“Avoid foods you see advertised on television.” Watch your favorite TV programs and make a list of the foods that are advertised.
“Eat only foods that will eventually rot.” They would have a ball with this one, but the classroom might become slightly if not seriously rank.
“If it came from a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, don’t.” Can’t you see a colorful chart of foods made in factories and an even more colorful chart of foods grown in the ground?
For older grades in elementary school:
“Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” A student could interview a great-grandmother or grandmother about what they recognize from the grocery store that they ate when they were growing up and what they don’t recognize.
“Avoid food products that contain more than five ingredients.” Create a project to determine the percentage of products on one shelf in the grocery store that meet this requirement. (Not all the products on store shelves that meet this criterion are healthy, but it is still important to learn how to recognize those that do.)
“Avoid products containing ingredients that a third-grader cannot pronounce.” This could lead to a classroom elocution lesson unlike any in a curriculum guide.
“Avoid foods that are pretending to be something they are not.” This would put to good use basic science and interpretive skills -- looking for cheese that does not contain milk and other foods with fake rather than real sugars, real fats or real sweeteners. Remember when we were told that margarine was good for us? If we followed this rule, we would never have known what Imperial was. And we’d be healthier for it as a nation, too.
“Eat only foods that have been cooked by humans.” This one would require some Web research, but what an eye-opener for fifth- or sixth-graders to learn how food is really made in a factory. It’s these processes that lead to salmonella in peanut butter, pretty much on a regular basis now.
“It’s not food if it is called the same thing in every language.” Another great project for an early introduction to food that is eaten in foreign countries.
And for all ages: “Buy your snacks at the farmers’ markets.” Even the treats have been made by hand and therefore can have less sugar and more fiber than just about any treat bought in the grocery store.
I may go through the remaining two sections of the book next week and suggest some other ideas. These are not just for the teachers but for you parents who are stepping up to the dinner plate and taking back some control over what your kids eat at home and at school. And make no mistake about this, it is a battle for control. We have lost control to Big Food. Our government, our schools and our grocery stores are all the proof we need of that.
These classroom projects will work just as well at home. Chuck game night and do a project together that means something and may win fame and fortune -- or at least extra credit -- for your child or your school. These are the kinds of rules and lessons that can save a life -- literally.
Many thanks to Michael Pollan for writing a book that we can use as well as read. I wish we could afford to give copies to classrooms across Northern Virginia.
See you at the market! P.S.: Bring your “homework” to the market, and we will display it at the Smart Markets tent.