As someone who grew up in a small rural community, where we always had access to fresh local produce, I can't remember a time when we went without fresh fruit or vegetables, only the times that my mom made us eat all the cabbage and broccoli. During the summer months, we would go to the farmers market on the weekends to buy local corn, peaches, green beans, potatoes, and fresh bread, and if we were lucky we would leave with a fresh pie and ice cream. The produce was easily accessible, fresh, delicious, and affordable.
When I first moved to Seattle I had no idea what the local market scene was like. I made it a priority to live within walking distance to a grocery store, but as for the fresh local produce, I thought that would warrant a trip outside of the city. I soon learned that Seattle was well-known for its pop-up Sunday Markets, scattered throughout various locations around the city. So now every Sunday I'll grab my reusable grocery bags (the big sturdy kind with the flat bottoms) and my Brent (who can carry much more than me), and we head to the market to fill our bags with the most delicious and unique veggies that we can find. This past Sunday, we went to our local market - the Capitol Hill Broadway Market and discovered the wonderful world of heirloom cucumbers and peppers. We were completely amazed by the different varieties of melons offered, and we couldn't carry enough peaches in both arms to sufficiently tide us over until next Sunday.
I consider ourselves very fortunate to live in an area where we have access to fresh produce. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who live in Seattle who doesn't have access to affordable and nutritious food like we do. Over 306, 600 people in the King County area and 23 million across the US lack accessibility to fresh produce for reasons such as distance, lack of transportation, lack of funds, or just no availability. The term used to describe these pockets of urban neighborhoods and rural towns is the Food Desert. I couldn't imagine what it would be like to walk over an hour to a grocery store just to buy fruits and veggies. Not having a car, or public transit options to get around. Suddenly the 7-11, McDonald's, or the take-out pizza just down the street seems like a much more appealing option. Thus, the cycle of poor diet, obesity, and chronic health issues begin.
A few weeks ago I was approached by the folks over at Naked Juice about an awesome initiative they've started - the Drink Good, Do Good Campaign. After learning a bit more about food deserts and how close the issue is to home, I was immediately on board with their campaign. The Drink Good. Do Good Campaign is a collaboration between Naked Juice (my absolute favorite maker of juices) and Wholesome Wave (a totally awesome non-profit organization involved in creating a whole network of nutrition incentive programs), to help make fresh fruits and vegetables accessible to everyone. During the next month, the awesome folks over at Naked Juice will be donating fresh fruits and vegetables to underserved communities all across the US.
If you are looking for a way to get involved in this great cause and help with the fight against food deserts - all you have to do is take a photo of yourself holding a vegetable or fruit. Tag the photo #DrinkGoodDoGood and post it on Instagram or Twitter! Naked Juice will be donating 10lbs of fresh produce per photo to Wholesome Wave to be distributed across the US to underserved communities. Be a part of a good cause and help in donating 500,000 lbs of produce! To learn more about the campaign, visit DrinkGoodDoGood.com
In celebration of summer, markets, eating your veggies, and helping others, I wanted to share a recipe for grilled vegetable quesadillas. After my trip to the market this past Sunday, I actually came home with more produce than I could eat in one week. When this is the case, I like to fry up all the veggies I have no plans for and serve them in a warm tortilla with melted sharp cheddar, and a chipotle dipping sauce on the side. It is such an easy and healthy meal to prepare, which is exactly what I am looking for these days.
Thanks to the folks at Naked Juice for partnering with Flourishing Foodie in the DrinkGood. Do Good Campaign.
GRILLED VEGGIE QUESADILLAS WITH A TANGY CHIPOTLE SAUCE
prep time: 20 minutes
cooking time: 30 minutes
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
1 small sweet onion, sliced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
2 cups swiss chard, chopped
salt and pepper
4 whole wheat tortillas
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
1 cup plain yogurt
1 garlic clove
2 chipotle peppers
3 tbsp adobo sauce
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp salt
Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Add the chopped sweet potato and boil for 2 minutes. Drain and set to the side.
Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large fry pan. Add the sweet potato and carrots and fry for 5 minutes. Add the onion and mushrooms and continue frying until soft. Finally, add the swiss chard and season with salt and pepper. Fry until the chard is soft.
Heat a skillet or frying pan on medium heat. Once warm, place a tortilla onto the hot surface. Add 1/4 of the vegetable mixture and 1/2 cup shredded cheese to half of the tortilla. Flip the other side over the veggies so you have a half moon shape. Fry for a few minutes on each side until the cheese is melted and the tortilla crisp. Continue cooking the rest of the quesadillas in this manner.
To make the dressing, place all of the ingredients into a food processor to blend. Pulse until smooth.
Cut the quesadillas into quarters and serve with the dipping sauce. Leftovers can be stored int the fridge for a couple of days.