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Grower Spotlight: Amandaland Farms

Where do you go to get a savory pear chutney, a bouquet of zinnias, and a tasty bag of sprouted lentils? From Amandaland Farms at ALFN of course! Amanda Isbell is serving up uniquely delicious treats for our food club, and shared with us how and why she got into the microgreens game.

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Amanda brings a warm presence to the local food scene!

Amanda: I’ve always loved to grow things, and I’ve always loved healthy food. Microgreens are where those interests come together. I am so amazed that all the energy that little plant needed was right there in that seed. I grow the microgreens on soil and keep them happily watered. They come out of their seed in the most beautiful ways. They are packed with nutrients and can be used anywhere you would use lettuce or spinach. I harvest them on the night before or the day of the market so they are super fresh! They are versatile, they are a nutrition powerhouse, and they are just darn cute. My favorite ways to eat them are:

  • 20799507_849040745272193_2745679895879190816_n.jpg
    Move over breakfast salsa, here comes pesto and microgreens

    Pea shoot and zucchini salad with feta cheese and olive oil lemon dressing

  • Pea shoots sauteed with sesame oil and peppers – like a stir fry
  • Sunnie (sunflower shoots) on lettuce wraps, on tomato sandwiches, and in my salads
  • Microgreens in my morning smoothie – they are packed with vitamin C
  • I love them mostly in savory dishes, but I really did enjoy a pea shoot and Arkansas strawberry salad with a balsamic vinaigarette.

 

I also love the ALFN market! I love that it is non-profit and run by volunteers! I had so much fun talking with everyone, seeing the incredible products by the growers, and cheese makers, and bread bakers. I am really proud to be able to offer my microgreens through this venue.

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Look for all of Amandaland’s products, like microgreens, pears, and chutney, on ALFN’s Little Rock Food Club!

Seasonal Recipes

Written by Tammy Pope, vendor representative on the ALFN Board and owner of Tammy Sue’s Critters

It’s September, and it really feels like fall. We have been busy in the kitchen whipping up some yummy concoctions with a bit of end of season produce. These side dishes go well with chicken, beef, or seafood. If you have about thirty minutes, you can indulge your taste buds in the deliciousness!

Squash

Ingredients:

  • 3 summer squash, sliced in medallions
  • 1 Tbsp sunflower oil
  • ½ tsp oregano, dried
  • ½ tsp basil, dried
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Turn on broiler
  2. Sautee squash in oil until soft over medium heat.
  3. Add in seasoning and stir well.
  4. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.
  5. Broil for 3-4 minutes until cheese is golden brown.  


Cinnamon Apples

Ingredients:

  • 4 apples, sliced into thick slices
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon, ground
  • 8 Bamboo skewers


Directions
:

  1. Soak bamboo skewers in water for several minutes
  2. Prepare grill
  3. Combine sugar and salt
  4. Toss apples in sugar-salt combination
  5. Place on bamboo skewers
  6. Grill for 5 minutes, until apples start to soften

Seasonal Produce: September in Arkansas

Fall is here! You can feel it in the air, and you can see it at the Farmer’s Market. This month will be the last of Summer’s sweet berries, but there’s still plenty to look forward to.

Pumpkins

Of course, it wouldn’t really be fall without pumpkins. Eat it all day long as pumpkin french toast or as a warming chicken with pumpkin and mushroom dish.

Squash

Did someone say butternut squash spinach tortellini?

Sweet Potatoes 

Which we all know taste the best covered in brown sugar and pecans.

Greens

Look for new varieties as farmers start their fall greens.

Mhmm! September is going to be a delicious month.

11 Reasons To Shop and Eat Local

By ALFN Board Member Amy Pritchard
  1. Local food supports the local economy – Your dollars go directly into the pockets of local growers and producers, and they in turn often reinvest the dollars in other local businesses.
  2. Local food is fresher – ALFN growers pick food at its peak of ripeness to fill orders and deliver to local markets, while non-local fruits and vegetables can travel for days before they reach the store.
  3. Local food is more nutritious – non-local foods lose nutrients over days of travel: eating food at its peak freshness also means eating food while it is still full of nutrients.
  4. Local food is seasonal – which allows you to eat along with nature’s natural rhythms.  Remember the sweetness of the first berry you eat in the spring or the comfort you feel when eating roasted squash in the fall? That’s the joy of seasonal eating!
  5. Eating locally helps the environment – local food requires less fossil fuels to transport and generates fewer greenhouse gases.
  6. Local food preserves food diversity – many ALFN producers offer Arkansas heritage and heirloom products that have been grown locally and preserved for generations.
  7. You can know exactly where your food was raised and how it was processed – on the ALFN website, you can find information about our vendors’ farms and practices.
  8. Eating locally allows you to get to know your food producers – many of our growers and producers offer farm or garden tours or classes.
  9. Eating locally gives you the opportunity to try new foods!  ALFN growers are able to produce smaller crops of unique fruits and vegetables that you don’t often see in stores like purple peppers, pea shoots, and purslane.  Wondering what to do with a food product?  Many producers share their favorite recipes on Facebook or upon request.
  10. Eating locally promotes food safety – conventional food travels long distances and risks contamination along many points in its journey.
  11. Local food tastes better.  Don’t believe me?  Order some fresh, seasonal, local food from our website and try for yourself!
Image from The Huffington Post

A Farmers Market That Lets You Hit Snooze

By Board Chair Tifany Hamlin

I like to sleep in on Saturdays. That’s not a great pairing with also wanting to support local farmers markets and the whole “early bird gets the worm” thing. My support of ALFN started as a practical matter almost five years ago. When I realized I could sleep in on Saturdays and still buy fresh peaches and blueberries and lettuce and eggs from Arkansas farmers, I never looked back.

As I became a devoted shopper on ALFN, I also began to learn about the organization. I am deeply committed to supporting local farmers, artisans, and makers and bringing the same access to all is one of my chief concerns. I’ve enjoyed serving on ALFN’s board of directors for the last two years and learning even more about our  mission. Knowing that my shopping habits support 25 families with the same fresh, local, and delicious foods that I buy each week, only sweetens the experience for me.

My husband and I enjoy our Saturday mornings and our locally sourced goods every week. For us, ALFN serves our lifestyle and our hearts at the same time.

Community Cookbook: Zucchini Fries

By ALFN Board Member, Sarah Donaghy

Zucchinis are coming out our ears! Well, not really, thank goodness. But zucchinis are abundant this time of year. Besides zucchini bread, one of my favorite, and somewhat indulgent, ways to use up these green gems is to make zucchini “fries”.

  1. Cut your zucchini into slices cross-wise or length-wise, whatever shape you prefer. If cross-wise, not too thin and if length-wise, not too thick.
  2. Toss the zucchini in a little bit of flour – shake off any excess. Then dip into a beaten egg. Next dip into a bowl containing an even mix of breadcrumbs or Panko and grated parmesan.
  3. You can pan fry in a bit of olive oil or bake on a pan coated with olive oil in a 350 degree oven until crispy, turning once midway for even browning. Then, eat up!

Why I Volunteer at ALFN

By Board Member and Volunteer Cathi Watkins

Volunteering to write this blog post gave me a chance to discover more about ALFN’s Saturday morning market volunteers (set-up 8 to 10:30 am or pick-up 10 am to 12 pm).

Here’s what I learned from the men and women volunteering this past Saturday:

  • One volunteer has been with us from the start (nearly a decade of volunteering); others were first-time volunteers.
  • Several volunteers come nearly every Saturday, others are more occasional volunteers.
  • Most volunteers were members before volunteering, but one just like volunteering so she just started helping out!
  • Volunteers ranged in age from 20-something to 60-something.
  • All of the volunteers love ALFN’s fresh, healthy food offerings and all enjoy the comradery of fellow volunteers, staff and shoppers.

Personally, I volunteer because online ordering helps me plan weekly meals, and I want ALFN to thrive in spite of increasing market pressure.

Talking with volunteers made me aware of others’ motivations such as:

  • Volunteers get to see ALFN’s products in person, know what looks good, are in-touch with seasonal produce, and are prepared for next-week’s order.
  • Showing up on Saturday mornings gives structure to the day, setting a good pace for the whole weekend.
  • Volunteers can select an incentive that covers their membership fees, or allows them to purchase something special. Volunteering is a way of contributing to the household (literally, “bringing home the bacon”).
  • Volunteers appreciate helping sustain local farm businesses. They strongly value ALFN’s farm and food suppliers and the web of local small business.
  • Volunteers gain insight into how the market works and like having a part in making it run smoothly.
  • Volunteers treasure meeting farmers who drop off foods early on Saturday.
  • Volunteers create happy community while working together. Volunteering is fun!