Eat locally; Fresh food is best: fruit salad recipe

Where does your food come from? Journalists and social experimenters Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon tell us, “ when the average North American sits down to eat, each ingredient has typically traveled at least 1,500 miles. . .instead of paying the true cost of our food choices up front, we buy our food cheap and pay the hidden environmental and social price later as a society .”

You may have heard about some form of the “100- Mile” rule. The premise is that we should eat only what is grown around us within a one hundred mile radius. Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon have been writing about their experiences being on the “100- Mile Diet” for one year at www.100milediet.org. Worth checking out their journal and stories online or purchase their book for a fun read with a serious message “Plenty- One Man, one woman and their raucous year of eating locally.”

Eating locally has great benefits to you and the world. There is less transport so there is less fuel spent. Less fuel, less impact on the environment. Buying locally supports the local farmer who in turn can grow plant varieties that may not travel well but are delectable and more nutritious. “100-mile” food retains vitamins, can be eaten at it’s nutritional peak and most likely is untreated (to maintain a saleable condition). In Alisa and J.B.’s own word’s they “ stopped eating apples that tasted like cardboard from season- less supermarkets, canned for the winter and prepared everything from scratch.” They suggest that even if we can’t do things like find a source of ground wheat, a sugar plantation or a citrus grove near us to sustain this type of life choice, perhaps by hosting a potluck “100-mile dinner” with friends you could draw attention to the benefits of a local in-season diet. During an Oregon summer that should be easy.

Our local crops just reaching market are strawberries and lettuce. Rhubarb and asparagus, the gifts of early spring, are still in the marketplace. Over at Thompson Farms, Larry Thompson told me that he and his longtime ( 20 years) farm manager Julie Pauls have opened the stands in Boring at S.E. 242nd at Bohna Park Road, and Sandy HWY 26 at the east end of town, with the first strawberries and an assortment of tender lettuces. Proud of the fact that they don’t use any fungicides and pestisides. He is fond of saying, “it is well known if you eat locally grown produce, it is much healthier for you.(Our) Produce is cut or picked that morning, goes right into homes right away and as you know there is a big difference in flavor ( and nutrition).” Web site: www.thompsonfarms.com . Check Thompson Farm’s crop update line at 503-658-4640

Liepolds Farm’s berry stand located at the crossroads of SE Kelso Road and SE Richey in Boring is set to open soon so best to keep an eye out. Other farms in the vicinity like Schedeens are listed at www.Tricountyfarm.org. ;you can find out from this farmers cooperative site which of their member farms has what and when all over the state . Call their “Ripe and Ready” line at 503-226-4112 and find out when Olsen Farms in Damascus has their Hood Strawberries ready. Sandy Farms can be reached at 503-668-4525 and will have berries. Call local Bushue Family Farm and see what they have ready at 503-663-6709.

Here is a salad, elegantly dressed our local fruit, candied local hazelnuts, and local honey!

FRESH FRUIT SALAD with Lemon Dressing and Hazelnuts

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Serves: 6 to 8
4 to 6 cups fresh seasonal fruit ( berries, peaches, nectarines apples etc. )
Prepare fruit by washing, cutting into serving sized pieces if required. Arrange on platter ( dip apples in lemon juice until ready to plate) on fresh lettuce. Serve the Lemon Dressing on the side.

Lemon Dressing

1/2 cup whipping cream
1 8- ounce cup lemon yoghurt
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon orange liqueur ( Grand Marnier )
Or orange juice concentrate
In a small bowl, whip cream until soft peaks from. In another bowl, whisk together lemon yoghurt, honey, and orange liqueur. Fold in whipped cream. Chill. Just before serving fold in 1/4 cup Hazelnut Praline.

Hazelnut Praline
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup orange juice
1/2 cup finely chopped toasted hazelnuts ( skins rubbed off)

Place sugar and orange juice in a one quart saucepan and swirl to dissolve sugar. Boil until the mixture turns medium caramel color, about five minutes( don’t leave stove). Stir in nuts and rapidly pour out onto a buttered baking sheet ( use a foil-lined buttered sheet). With a knife spread as thin as possible. The mixture will harden as it cools. When cool, break into 1/4 inch pieces or place in food processor to chop.