Tender Profile | Celeriac (Celery Root)

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Botanical name/plant family: Apium graveolens repaceum

Important practices: Like celery, I should be purchased organically, as conventionally grown versions are likely to have high pesticide residue levels.

Harvest season: Find me from October to February.

Great source of: Vitamins C, K and B6. I’m lower in strachy carbs than most root vegetables, so substituting me in for part of a recipe lowers the overall carbohydrate and calorie content.

Storage methods: Trim my roots and stalks, then wrap me up in plastic and store me in the fridge for up to 10 days.

Cooking methods:

  • Peel me and add some lemon juice or vinegar to prevent browning while preparing.

  • Add me raw to salads

  • Grate me into a remoulade with mayo, lemon juice and dijon mustard.

  • Substitute me partially for potatoes in soups, stews, hashes, casseroles, or mash me with them!

  • I’m also great roasted.

World cuisines: Celeriac is popular in the Mediterranean, especially in France. I’m also especially popular in German cuisine, much more so than in the U.S.!

Pairings: I have a strong, distinct flavor similar to celery, so I’m best paired with other strong flavors to balance me out, such as ginger, dill or horseradish. I’m great with other root vegetables like potatoes, parsnips or turnips, as well as mushrooms, cauliflower and leeks.

Fun Facts

  • I’m one of the oldest root vegetables in history!

  • I’m technically the same plant as celery, but I’m cultivated for my root instead of my stem.

Tender Profile | Apples

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Botanical name/plant family: Malus pumila

Important practices (organic/grassfed/etc.): According to the Environmental Workers Group, 90 percent of conventional apples had detectable pesticide residue; it is recommended to buy organic apples.

Harvest season: I am crisp and juicy August through October

Great source of: Fiber and Vitamin C, I have the ability to improve digestion, lower inflammation and improve heart health!

Storage methods: The best place for me to be for storage is the crisper drawer of the refrigerator, if you don’t have room in the fridge they will also stay fresh on the counter, just not for as long.

Cooking methods: Apples have made their name as an easy household snack, that doesn’t mean they can’t be enhanced by sauteing, baking, roasting, or blending!

World cuisines: Apples are commonly grown in North America and thus represent a lot of American food.

Pairings: I’m sweet and tart so naturally I pair flawlessly with a variety of flavors. Try an old classic, the Waldorf salad, a mix of grapes, walnuts, celery, apples all mixed with mayo or yogurt all over a bed of lettuce. You can top any salad with apples for a sweet unexpected crunch! Apples are also a star for desserts of all kinds, stewing apples down and putting in pies, crisps or atop ice cream is sure to be a hit.

Fun Facts:

  • There are currently 2,500 varieties of apples being grown in North America, regardless the crabapple is the only native one.

  • It takes about 36 apples to create a gallon of apple cider!

  • Americans eat more apples than any other fresh fruits, averaging 16 pounds of fresh apples.

Tender Profile | Bok Choi

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Botanical name/plant family: Brassica rapa chinensis

Important practices: Like other varieties of cabbage, I'm less of a threat to pests, which means that generally, less pesticides are used on me than other vegetables. We always recommend purchasing organic for better flavor and nutrition!

Harvest season: I'm available year-round, but fall and spring are my peak.

Great source of: I have one of the highest concentrations of nutrients per calorie of any vegetable! I'm full of Vitamins A, C, and K, and am a good source of folate, vitamin B6, and calcium as well. I also contain the mineral selenium, which isn't found in many other fruits or vegetables.

Storage methods: I'm best kept in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your fridge. I'll last about a week!

Cooking methods: I'm best added to soups, braised, or sautéed, either on my own or with other veggies in a stir-fry. I like to hide dirt in between my stalks, so make sure to separate them like you would celery, and rinse me well before cooking. I come in baby and mature varieties, but either way, the whole plant can be eaten.

World cuisines: I'm a Chinese variation of cabbage, so you can often find me in Chinese or other Asian dishes.

Pairings: I'm very porous, meaning I absorb the flavors of whatever you cook me with. However, I go especially well with soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sesame, and mushrooms.

 

Fun Fact:

  • I'm sometimes referred to as "soup spoon" due to the shape of my leaves.

  • I'm made up of 95% water.

  • I've been cultivated for over 5,000 years.

Tender Profile | Arugula

Harvesting Arugula at Pitchfork Farm in Burlington’s Intervale

Harvesting Arugula at Pitchfork Farm in Burlington’s Intervale

Arugula, a.k.a. Eruca sativa

Who am I?

  • Plant family: Brassicaceae

  • Harvest season: Arugula is harvested from late spring through fall

  • Botanical details: Small leafy green with a peppery flavor

  • Great source of*: Folic Acid, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Iron, and Magnesium

*contains more than 10% of the recommended daily allowance for these nutrients

How to care for me:

  • Wash and dry my leaves and wrap me in paper towel inside a plastic bag, I like the vegetable crisper section of the fridge.

Pairings:

  • With a rather prominent pepper undertones, I pair well with sweet things like strawberries, beets and pears as well as more complex flavors like tomato, pungent cheeses, and don't forget the balsamic vinegar!

  • You can find me in Mediterranean and Italian cuisines!

Fun Facts:

  • In India the leaves of arugula are not commonly used however the seeds of the plant are pressed to produce oil known as taramira that is used for medicinal and cosmetic purposes.

  • Mention of arugula can be found in several religious texts, in 2 Kings in the Bible it is referred to as oroth and in Jewish texts such as the Mishna and Talmud that date back to the first through fifth century AD.

  • Arugula’s spicy aroma and flavor make it naturally resistant to pests.

Tender Profile | Bell Peppers

Bell peppers at River Berry Farm

Bell peppers at River Berry Farm

Botanical name/plant family: Capsicum annuum

Important practices: According to the Environmental Working Group, conventionally grown bell peppers contain high levels of pesticide residues - look for organically grown peppers!

Harvest season: Summer

Great source of: Vitamin B6, Vitamin C (Excellent source!!! 97% DV in green peppers, and near 300% in red)

Storage methods: Store bell peppers in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.

Cooking methods: I am crisp and sweet raw, though I also am great pickled, stuffed, grilled, sauteed, and stir fried! Roast me and remove my seeds for a delicious addition to sandwiches and salads, or puree me with garbanzo beans and tahini to make a flavorful hummus.

World cuisines: Bell peppers are indigenous to South/Central America, but were brought back to Europe in the 1400s by Christopher Columbus and incorporated into cuisines worldwide.

Pairings: I have a very distinct sweet flavor, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t pair well with savory ingredients. Serve me with onions, beans, lean pork, steak, zucchini, basil, salmon, and more!

 

Fun Facts

  • Unlike other members of the Capsicum family, bell peppers do not contain capsaicin, the compound that provides the pungency and kick to spicier varieties of peppers such as Serrano and Jalapeño.

  • Peppers have genders! Those with 3 lobes on the bottom are female, while those with 4 are male. Female peppers are sweeter and have more seeds and are better eaten raw and in salads, while male peppers are less sweet and contain less seeds and are better stir fried or sauteed.

  • All peppers begin as green peppers. Yellow red, and purple peppers are simply more ripened and therefore sweeter!

 

Tender Profile | Sweet Potatoes

Burnt Rock Farm Sweet Potatoes

Burnt Rock Farm Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes

Botanical name/plant family: Zipomoea batatas

 Important practices: While sweet potatoes are typically grown with less pesticides overall than other potatoes and other produce, we always recommend choosing organic whenever possible!

Harvest season: I hate the cold, so I'm ready to eat in the fall before the frost hits.

Great source of: Vitamin A, calcium, Vitamin C, and several B vitamins. I also have tons of fiber and antioxidants, and have less of an effect on blood sugar than white potatoes.

Storage methods: Keep me in a cool, dark and dry place, and I'm good for at least a week. Make sure not to store me near onions, as they release gasses that make me more likely to sprout.

Cooking methods: I can be baked, mashed, roasted, or boiled. Cut me into cubes and roast in the oven, then add me on top of salads or as a side dish. Replace white potatoes with me in breakfast hashes, stews, casseroles, or mashed potatoes. I'm great in chili, too! You can even slice me into thin pieces, put me in the toaster, then top me with nut butter and banana or avocado and egg. I'm also great in sweet dishes, such as baked and topped with yogurt, or in pies or pancakes.

World cuisines: Sweet potatoes are popular in African cuisines and are a staple food in the Pacific Islands. Japanese sweet potatoes, which are purple on the outside with a white flesh, are used in a variety of dishes throughout Asia.

Pairings: I pair nicely with corn, black beans, red onions, chili powder and tomatoes in southwestern-style dishes. Or try me with other root vegetables, garlic, and rosemary. I'm also delicious as a dessert with maple, cinnamon, and nuts!

 

Fun Facts:

  • Although I'm sometimes mistaken for a yam, I'm actually part of a completely different plant family.

  • My juice is combined with lime juice to make clothing dye in South America..

  • I'm the official state vegetable of North Carolina.

Tender Profile | Winter Squash

Burnt Rock Farm Acorn Squash

Burnt Rock Farm Acorn Squash

Winter Squash

Botanical name/plant family: Cucurbita

Important practices: Look at my stem- make sure it's tan and dry, otherwise I was harvested too early! My skin should be tough and matte if I'm ripe, not shiny. When conventionally grown, I have the propensity to absorb insecticides from the soil — so choose organic whenever possible!.

Harvest season: Despite my misleading name, I'm typically harvested in the fall.

Great source of: Fiber, potassium and vitamins A, C, and B6. I'm also low in calories, fat and carbohydrates.

Storage methods: My tough exterior keeps it fresh without refrigeration for at least a month. Store me in a cool, dark place if I'm ripe, or out in the warm sun if I need to ripen a bit more.

Cooking methods: I can be baked, boiled. steamed, mashed, added to stews, salads or casseroles. You can even incorporate me into desserts. My skin typically isn't edible, but piercing me with a fork and microwaving me for a few minutes helps make peeling a breeze! When you scoop out my seeds, save them for roasting. I come in so many varieties that there's plenty you can do with me:

  • Acorn- I'm round and full of seeds, so once you scoop them out, I make the perfect edible bowl! After halving, removing the seeds and baking, stuff me with meat, rice, kale, and cheese.

  • Butternut- My natural creaminess makes me perfect for soup, casseroles, risottos and even macaroni and cheese with some local VT cheddar.

  • Honeynut- I'm butternut's smaller, easier to work with cousin - the perfect serving size for making stuffed squash! You can replace butternut with honeynut in any recipe, just keep in mind that I'm sweeter.

  • Delicata- Unlike other varieties, my skin in soft enough to be eaten. Try slicing me into circles roasting me with cinnamon and a bit of pure maple syrup to bring out my natural sweetness.

  • Red Kuri or Sunshine Kabocha- My skin is also edible once cooked, so you can substitute me for delicata. I have a rich, flavorful texture and a dark orange color. I also make a great pie or muffin.

World cuisines: Different varieties can be found around the world. Calabaza is popular in the Carribean, while kambocha is native to Japan. 

Pairings: I go great with any flavors reminiscent of fall and Thanksgiving. Spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, and foods such as cranberries, kale, and walnuts complement me perfectly.

 

Fun Fact:

  • Winter squash became an important food for the first American settlers, so much so that it was eaten at the first Thanksgiving!

  • Squash has been depicted in Native American artwork dating back over 2,000 years!

  • In Mexico, some varieties are used by herbalists to regulate blood sugar levels.

Tender Profile | Pears

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Important practices: According to the Environmental Working Group, more than 50% of conventionally grown pears contained 5 or more types of pesticide residue. Buy organic!

Harvest season: Depending on the variety, pears are available late Summer through Winter.

Great source of: Flavor!

Storage methods: Pears are best stored out in the open at room temperature so display them in your favorite bowl on the counter out of the sunlight!

Cooking methods: Pears can be made into chutneys, sauteed, roasted, pickled, braised, and baked. However they are most delicious when eaten ripe right out of your hand.

World cuisines: French

Pairings: Pears are very versatile both in and out of desserts; they make wonderful tarts crisps and pies, but also pair wonderfully with some brie or stilton on a cheese plate, or sauteed alongside pork! Make your pears into chutneys and compotes as well.

Fun Facts:

  • There are around 3000 varieties of pear grown around the world.

  • Before tobacco was introduced to Europe, the leaves of pear trees were smoked instead.

Tender Profile | Leek

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Botanical name/plant family: Allium ampeloprasum

Important practices: Similar to garlic, leeks are naturally pest resistant, which means they can be easier to grow without pest amendments.

Harvest season: Fall, Winter, and Spring

Great source of*: Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Folate (Vitamin B9), Vitamin C, Vitamin K (amazing source!!), Iron, and Manganese.

Storage methods: Fresh leeks should be stored unwashed in the fridge, loosely wrapped in plastic to conserve moisture.

Cooking methods: When people think leeks they think of creamy soups, often with bacon, potatoes, and lemon. Leeks are far more diverse than this though! “Sweat” your leeks in butter or oil and add them to pizzas, pastas, soups, stir fries and more!

World cuisines: Leeks are native to the Mediterranean/Middle East, though they are a very important part of French and British cuisine.

Pairings: Leeks pair well with rich cheeses such as chevre and gruyere, carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, mustard, chives, garlic, sage, and many more!

Fun Fact:

  • Leeks have been the national symbol of Wales for nearly 700 years

  • Hippocrates, ancient greek physician and “father of medicine”, often prescribed leeks as a cure for nosebleeds

Tender Profile | Cilantro

Cilantro at Diggers’ Mirth Collective Farm by Jessica Sipe

Cilantro at Diggers’ Mirth Collective Farm by Jessica Sipe

CILANTRO

Botanical name/plant family: Coriandrum stativum

Important practices (organic/grassfed/etc.): It is extremely important to buy organic and pesticide free cilantro! Because it is prized for its delicate and lacy leaves, which are often victim to hungry insects, conventional cilantro can have residues of over 68 different pesticides as found by the USDA.

Harvest season: Summer/Fall (in warmer areas)

Great source of*: Vitamin A, beta-Carotene, Riboflavin (B2), Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folate (B9), Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K (295% DV!!), Iron, Manganese, Potassium.

Storage methods: Place me stem-side down into a jar partially filled with water. Cover my leaves loosely with a plastic bag and keep me in the fridge where I will keep for at least 2 weeks, I love cool temperatures!

Cooking methods: I am often used as a garnish, though I am a vital ingredient in many curries, sauces, and stir frys!

World cuisines: Asian, Indian, North African, and Latin American

Pairings: I am wonderful with many meats, poultry, seafood, and tofu; as well as yogurt, tomatoes, corn, and chiles. Try adding me to a stir fry at the last minute, or crushing me up into a pesto!

Fun Fact:

  • Cilantro seeds (which we call Coriander) have been found in the tombs of Ancient Egyptians!

  • Around 20% of the population possess a gene which makes them more sensitive to the aldehydes which give cilantro it’s flavor, causing them to perceive it as “soapy” while others perceive it as tasting lemony and bright.

Tender Profile | Plums

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Plums

 

Botanical name/plant family: Prunus

 

Important practices: If I’m from the U.S., you’re in the clear to buy conventional. But if I’m imported from Chile, buy organic if you can.

 

Harvest season: I’m in season during the summer and fall, from late May through October.

 

Great source of: I’m full of vitamin C and can help your body better absorb iron. My high fiber content helps regulate digestion and provides food for the probiotics in our guts!

 

Storage methods: If I’m ripe, store me in the fridge for up to 3 days. If I’m still firm and need to be ripened a bit, be sure to store me at room temperature in a paper bag for a couple days until my skin is soft.

 

Cooking methods: Raw, I make a delicious, portable snack. I’m also great sliced, pitted, and added on top of salads, pancakes, waffles, ice cream, or yogurt. You can make me into jam or pudding too, or bake me into pies or cobblers.

 

World cuisines: You can often find me in Chinese food, made into a sweet and savory sauce, or pickled and paired with rice in Japanese food. My dried version, prunes, are popular in the U.S. and England.

 

Pairings: As a raw snack, I pair nicely with cheddar or goat cheese! Orange, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves compliment me nicely in desserts and I’m great with pork in savory dishes.

 

Fun Fact:

  • I may have been one of the first fruits domesticated by humans!

  • There are over 140 different varieties of me available in the U.S. alone.



    Photo by 
    Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

Tender Profile | Green Beans

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Botanical name/plant family: Phaseolus vulgaris

Important practices (organic/grassfed/etc.): According to the Environmental Working Group, green beans are fairly low in pesticide residue and should be okay to buy conventionally.

Harvest season: Mid-late Summer

Great source of*: Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Manganese

Storage methods: Store unwashed fresh green beans in a reusable container or a plastic bag in the crisper section of the refrigerator for up to a week.

Cooking methods: Green beans are delicious raw, though they also love to be roasted, stir fried, sauteed, and lightly steamed. Some more creative uses for them include quick-pickling and canning.

World cuisines: Green beans are native to South and Central America, and were introduced to France by the conquistadors in the 16th century where they quickly became an important culinary staple.

Pairings: Green beans’ fresh and mild taste pairs well with a variety of flavors; most notably lemon, mild cheeses, ginger, and soy. They also are delicious when served with chicken, squash, tomatoes, eggplant, currants, and nuts.

Fun Fact:

  • The first string-less green bean was developed by Calvin Keeney in 1894 in New York.

  • Every last Saturday in July, the city of Blairsville, Georgia, honors the green bean with the Green Bean Festival. The celebration includes cooking contests, canning plant tours, beauty pageants and other activities that showcase the vegetable.

Tender Profile | Tomatoes

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Tomatoes

Botanical name/plant family: Solanum lycopersicum

 

Important practices: Buy organic tomatoes whenever possible, tomatoes are one of the fruits/vegetables that has the highest amount of pesticide residue on their skin. Always wash before eating!

 

Harvest season: Summer

 

Great source of*: Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin A

 

Storage methods: When I am ripe, I am best stored on a countertop at room temperature away from direct sunlight. If I am not yet ripe, keep me stem side down in a cardboard box or paper bag in a cool place until I turn red.

 

Cooking methods: I am wonderful raw on sandwiches or in salads, though I also am an important ingredient in a variety of soups and sauces. Roasting helps to bring out my natural flavors!

 

World cuisines: European, South American, North American

 

Pairings: I pair very well with flavors such as basil, oysters, balsamic vinegar, gruyere and mozzarella cheeses, garlic, and more!

 

Fun Fact:

  • Though the tomato is technically a fruit, in 1883 the US Supreme Court ruled that it is legally a vegetable because of the way it is commonly used.

  • Returning Spanish colonists introduced the tomato to Europe in the 1500s, but in North America the tomato was thought to be poisonous until 1820 when Colonel Robert Gibbon Johnson ate one on the steps of the Salem, New Jersey courthouse.

Cherry Tomatoes

Botanical name/plant family: Solanum lycopersicum var. cerasiforme

 

Important practices: The Environmental Workers Group ranks cherry tomatoes 13th on their Pesticide in Produce guide, we suggest buying organic cherry tomatoes!

 

Harvest season: I am sweetest and juiciest when harvested from July to late September.

Great source of*: Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin A


Storage methods: Like all tomatoes, I don’t do well in the cold! Keep me at room temperature for peak flavor and texture (I can get mealy in the fridge)

 

 

Cooking methods: If you can resist eating all of the cherry tomatoes raw, you can slow roast for sweet and savory flavor, saute, throw on the grill for some flavorful char, or sauce them!

 

World cuisines: Italian, American and Mexican cuisine

 

Pairings: I am sweet, juicy and ready to mix and match with many different types of cheeses, greens, and pastas! I am very receptive to garlic, and onions.  

 

Fun Fact:

  • There are more than 7500 tomato varieties grown around the world

  • A “tomato fight” happens every year in the small Spanish town of Bunol, where about 40,000 people gather and throw an estimated 150,000 tomatoes

  • People used to be afraid of eating tomatoes due to their relation to the belladonna

Featured Tomato Recipes

Tender Profile | Corn

Harvesting corn at River Berry Farm in Fairfax, VT

Harvesting corn at River Berry Farm in Fairfax, VT

Corn

 

Botanical name/plant family: Zea mays

 

Important practices: Corn is considered to be a high risk for GMO crop, so we recommend purchasing organic (all plants grown using certitified organic practces are guaranteed to be non-GMO

 

Harvest season: For the sweetest kernels pick me in August!

 

Great source of: I am a rich source of Vitamin A, Vitamin B and Vitamin E as well as providing the necessary calories for a healthy metabolism

 

Storage methods: Keep corn in the husk, in the refrigerator! I will stay sweet and juicy for 2-3 days

 

Cooking methods: Cut raw into a salad; steam, boil or grill and eat right off the cob; or get a bit more adventurous with soups, veggie burgers, cornbread, and fritters!

 

World cuisines: Corn is commonly found in Mexican and Spanish food!

 

Pairings: Pair sweet corn with creamy soft cheeses, herbs like basil or cilantro and tomatoes for strong tastes of summer. Try matching with acidity like lime or onion, corn goes exceptionally well with fresh fish, red meat and beans!

 

Fun Fact:

  • An average cob of corn has 800 kernels in 16 rows, every cob of corn has an even number of rows.
  • The US is the largest maize producer in the world.
  • In the days of early settlers in North America, corn was so valuable that it was used as currency and traded for other products

Tender Profile | Kale

Green Curly Kale

Green Curly Kale

Kale

Who Am I?

  • Botanical name/plant family: Brassica oleracea, Acephala Group

  • Great source of: Keep chompin’ on those dark leafy greens for great quantities of Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin A and manganese

  • Harvest season: Spring, Summer, and Fall

  • Varieties you might find: green curly kale, lacinato or "dinosaur" kale, Siberian kale, red Russian kale

Important practices: It is recommended to buy organically grown kale (especially and any leafy greens; the Environmental Working Group included kale in the foods with high rates of pesticide use when grown using conventional practices instead of organic practices. Organic practices also tend to result in higher nutrient density!

 

How to care for me:

For the longest lasting kale, wrap in paper towels and store in a plastic bag inside the crisper drawer.

 

Flavor and Pairings:

World cuisines: Kale is used in a variety of cuisines due to it’s recent surge in popularity, thought it’s use originated in the Mediterranean centuries ago!

Cooking methods: Saute, roast, wilt or eat fresh to add a powerful punch of nutrients to any meal. I may seem intimidating with coarse leaves and thick stalks, but saute me with eggs and cheese for a winning savory breakfast or wilt me into just about any soup or stir fry!

Pairings: I go nicely with many grains, vegetables and legumes! My neutral flavor allows me to intermingle with a variety of different foods. Try mixing me with soba noodles, mushrooms and hot peppers. Or, combine with sweet potatoes and avocados for an appreciable taco! Or, blend me into a smoothie with lots of fruit for a delicious and nutritious breakfast!

 

Fun Facts:

  • A serving of kale has more absorbable calcium than a small carton of milk.

  • National Kale Day is October 1st! It seems only right to dedicate a whole day to the green that contains such a bountiful mix of health benefits and nutritional goodness!

  • Lacinato Kale is also referred to as “Dinosaur Kale” due to their large green leaves

 

 

Featured Recipes

Tender Profile | Cabbage

green cabbage
 

Green Cabbage

See also: Napa Cabbage

Who Am I?

  • Botanical name/plant family: Brassica oleracea
  • Great source of: Eat me for an excellent source of Vitamin K, Vitamin C, and Vitamin B6
  • Harvest season: Here, up North, I can be picked July through October!

Important growing practices: It is recommended to buy organic cabbage; the Environmental Working Group included cabbage in with the foods with high rates of pesticide use when grown using conventional practices instead of organic practices. Organic practices also tend to result in higher nutrient density!

How to care for me:

Keep me uncut until you are ready to eat, until then, I like the crisper drawer. Generally, I will stay fresh for 2-3 weeks!

Flavor and Pairings:

I am a very versatile vegetable with a distinctive crunch! Chop me up and eat raw tossed in salads, throw in a stir fry, roast, make a slaw and even braise. With my neutral flavoring, I pair effortlessly with an infinite number of foods. Mix ground beef and tomato sauce for delicious stuffed cabbage, chop up with carrots and ginger and fold into delicate wontons. Try mixing with thinly sliced apples for a sweet crunchy slaw! 

Fun Facts:

  • The world's largest cabbage was grown in 1865 and weighed in at 123 pounds

  • Russia consumes the greatest amount of cabbage in the world, ringing at 44 lbs per person per year!

 

3 Ways to Cut and Prepare Cabbage 

1. Slices/Steaks

Perfect for preparations such as roasting or grilling - just brush with oil, season with salt, pepper, and your favorite spices.

  • First, cut your cabbage in half.
  • Next, simply cut vertically to get the largest center slices.
  • Keeping the core intact will help keep your slices together while they roast
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2. Wedges - for roasting, pan searing, grilling, or braising (roasted with some broth or liquid added for a really tender result)

  • Cut your cabbage in half
  • Next lay your cabbage halves on the cutting board flat side down, and cut on a angle to create 3 or 4 wedges
  • Leave the core intact to hold the wedges together while they cook
cutting cabbage wedges
cabbage wedges
 

3. Coring & Shredding - for slaw, salad, and stir-fry.

We like to use a very sharp knife and cut carefully for thin, tender shreds. Finely sliced cabbage will better absorb dressing to tenderize, and will be perfectly crunchy without being tough.

  • Using a very sharp knife, cut the cabbage in half, and lay it flat side down on your cutting board.
  • Slice at an angle to cut out the thick white core
  • Cut carefully for thin shreds. For longer pieces, cut on the long side of the cabbage. For shorter (more bite-size) pieces, cut on the short side of the cabbage.
Coring cabbage
shredding cabbage
cabbage slaw
 

Tender Profile | Onions

Onion

Who Am I?

  • Botanical name/plant family: Allium cepa

  • Great source of: Vitamin C and Manganese

  • Harvest season: I am ready for harvest in the summer

Important growing practices: Buying organic is always a smart choice. Onions are naturally fairly pest resistant and do not require much pesticide use.

How to care for me:

Keep me in a cool, dark, dry place, away from potatoes. 

Flavor and Pairings:

I am well suited to be used raw on sandwiches and in salads, and add a crunchy zing. When I'm caramelized (cooked slowly for a long time until browned and sweet), I add a lovely flavor to pastas, sandwiches, quiche, salad dressing, and more. I am delicious sautéed, grilled, and baked as well. I am great with a wide variety of ingredients, including meats, cheeses, celery, chicory, mushrooms, curry, tropical fruits, honey, and cloves just to name a few.

Fun Facts:

  • The ancient Egyptians worshipped onions, because they believed that their spherical shape and layers symbolized eternity. There are even ancient onions that have been found buried in pharaohs' tombs!

  • In the Middle Ages, onions were accepted as a form of currency for paying rent and for goods and services (if only that were still true!)

Tender Profile | Zucchini

Zucchini with its blossom

Zucchini with its blossom

Zucchini

Who Am I?

  • Botanical name/plant family: Cucurbita pepo
  • Great source of: Vitamin C, potassium, magnesium
  • Harvest season: I am available for harvest through most of the summer, and am one of the most plentiful crops.

How to care for me:

I can be stored directly in the crisper drawer, or wrapped in a plastic bag.

How to cook me:

I'm great on the grill, sautéed in a pan, or added to a stir fry. 

Pairings:

I am a sucker for olive oil, parmesan and garlic. Try spiralizing me for a delicious replacement for spaghetti and toss with the sauce of your choice. I compliment meats and fish alike and will brighten up any summer meal! Try me with basil, match me up with eggplant, garnish me with parsley, and sprinkle me with pepper. I'm also great with tomatoes. 

Fun Facts:

  • A single zucchini is referred to as a “zuchinna”

  • The world’s largest zucchini on record was almost 70 inches long and weighed in at 65 lbs.

  • A zucchina :) has more potassium than a banana.

  • Zucchini is the only fruit that starts with the letter “Z”

A few ways to prep your zucchini:

Zucchini ribbons (we made these with a simple veggie peeler!). Serve these as their own dish with pasta sauce, olive oil, etc., or, add them to pasta!

Grated Zucchini - the first step to making zucchini bread, zucchini fritters, veggie burgers, etc. 

Zucchini boats (stuffed with grated zucchini, breadcrumbs, rice, meat, etc. & baked)

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Zucchini Coins - you can roast these or sautee them for a simple side dish. Or, add them to a simple savory crust for a Vegetable tart. Or, arrange them just so to bake them or add to the top of a quiche or frittata!

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Featured Zucchini Recipes

Tender Profile | Fennel

Fennel in the field at Diggers' Mirth Collective Farm in Burlington

Fennel in the field at Diggers' Mirth Collective Farm in Burlington

Fennel

Who Am I?

  • Botanical name/plant family: Foeniculum vulgare

  • Great source of: Vitamin C, dietary fiber, potassium and manganese

  • Harvest season: I am ready for harvest in early Summer

Important growing practices: It is recommended that leafy greens be bought organic, to limit exposure to pesticides

How to care for me:

If I come with both the leafy parts and the bulb, for storage you will want to separate the stalks from the bulbs and place in plastic bags.

Flavor and Pairings:

I have quite a unique flavor - crunchy and slightly sweet, with hints of anise or licorice, but with a bright fresh taste. I still enhance many different foods - I compliment sausage beautifully and heighten many seafood dishes! Enrich your fennel dish with apples, pomegranate, pears or citrus for lots of flavor and texture!

 

Fun Facts:

  • Fennel is a type of flowering plant that belongs to the carrot family.

  • People of India and Pakistan chew sugar coated fennel seed after eating to aid in digestion and eliminate bad breath.

  • Fennel has antispasmodic properties, which relieves muscle spasms

 

How to Prepare Fennel

Cut off the stems of the fennel where they meet the bulb. Don't compost the stems though! They can be used in stock to add flavor.

  1. If the fronds are attached to the stems, save them too. They can be treated like any other herb, and provide a more intense licorice flavor than the bulbs. (They look very similar to dill, making them a beautiful garnish as well.)

  2. The outside of fennel may be slightly brown, bruised, and/or discolored, but don't let it discourage you from still using your fennel! The outer layer can be pulled away with your hands to reveal inside layers, as you would with cabbage. Another option to prevent waste is to use a vegetable peeler to remove this outer layer, which conserves much more of the fennel and keeps it out of your compost and on your plate.

  3. After peeling your fennel, be sure to cut off the bottom of the bulb for a nice flat base. Now you’re ready to wedge, shave, and slice your fennel!

 

Removing the Core

The core of fennel is entirely edible, though it is a little firmer than the rest of the fennel. The core also will help to hold your fennel together a bit more, so it is entirely up to you whether or not you wish to remove it. When wedging the vegetable for roasting taking out the core will not cause the fennel to fall apart too badly, however if you wish to thinly slice and saute your fennel you will end up with many very thin slices as the layers will separate without the core to hold them together.

  1. In order to core your fennel, first quarter it using the steps below.

  2. Next, simply lay each quarter down flat on your cutting board and while holding your knife at a 45° angle remove the small hard core -  and you’re done!

 

Cutting Your Fennel Into Wedges

Cutting your fennel bulb into wedges is a super quick and easy way to prepare them, and their larger size makes them perfect for techniques like roasting!

  1. To begin, prepare your fennel using the above steps. Then, simply cut your fennel bulb into quarters using a sharp chef’s knife.

  2. Remove the core if you wish, and you are ready to cook!

 

Sliced Fennel

Slicing your fennel makes it a great candidate for sautes, salads, gratins, pizzas, crudite, pickling, and more! It all depends on the size of your slices and whether or not you chose to remove the core.

  1. Using a sharp knife, first slice your fennel into halves and then lay each half cut side down onto your cutting board.

  2. Depending on if you would like smaller rounded slices or longer more straight slices, hold your fennel widthwise or lengthwise, respectively.

  3. Finally, simply slice me as thickly or thinly as you would like!

 

Shaved Fennel

  1. Shaving your fennel will provide much thinner slices and can make it a fresh crunchy addition to many dishes.

  2. Using the same vegetable peeler that you used to remove the outer layers of your fennel, simply shave the rest down until you have reached your desired amount. Any remaining fennel can still be sliced using the directions above or saved for another day.

Tender Profile | European Cucumber

By Kelly Neil

European Cucumber, a.k.a. Cucumis sativus

Who am I?

  • Plant family: Cucurbitaceae
  • Harvest season: August through October for field cucumbers. Earlier for greenhouse cukes. 
  • Botanical details: European cucumbers are longer than slicing cucumbers, and have thinner skin and smaller seeds. In some circles, they are considered to be a superior eating cucumber. 
  • Great source of*: Vitamin K. Cucumbers are delicious, crunchy water! They do contain other vitamins and minerals, but you'd have to eat a lot of cucumber to get an appreciable amount. 

*contains more than 10% of the recommended daily allowance for these nutrients

How to care for me:

  • I can be stored for up to two weeks in the crisper drawer of your fridge. But, like most things, the fresher I am, the better.

Pairings:

  • I am a great match for tangy ingredients, such as vinegar (think pickles), lemon juice, and yogurt, as well as for bold and pungent alliums, including garlic, chives, and red or green onion. Because of my mild flavor, I compliment lots of different herbs and spices. Try parsley, cilantro, caraway, coriander, cumin, horseradish, mint, and thyme. 

How to cook me: 

I show up a lot in Mediterranean cuisines, as well as Southeast Asian cuisines. 

Fun Facts:

  • Cucumbers are one of the oldest cultivated vegetables. They've been grown by humans since 8000 B.C. 
  • It is believed that cucumbers originated in India. They're related to zucchini, summer squash, pumpkins, and melons. 
  • It's said that Ulysses S. Grant would make an entire meal out of cucumber and coffee.
  • The ancient Egyptians made a drink out of fermented cucumbers.
  • The longest cucumber ever recorded was grown in England, and measured 47-inches long. 
  • Because they're so high in water, the inside of a cucumber can be up to 10 degrees cooler than the ambient temperature.