CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture

Classic Produce Subscription - Community Supported Agriculture - Bring It Food Hub

Community Supported Agriculture, as they state at Local Harvest, “has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer… A farmer offers a certain number of ‘shares’ to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a ‘membership’ or ‘subscription’) and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.”

The Bring It Food Hub model is similar to that, but we source produce from multiple farmers. Our CSA subscription, is a weekly bag of local fruits, vegetables and occasional staples such as rice. This produce subscription is then delivered to a convenient pick up location near you.

At Bring It Food Hub we work with over a dozen local farmers within a 150 mile range of Memphis. We also work with Urban Farm of Memphis and this year we will be sourcing from GrowMemphis community gardens.

We offer cheese, bread, eggs and flower shares that can be added on to your subscription and received each week with your produce CSA. We also offer various value-added items, meats, coffee and grains that can be bought online in our webstore for delivery with your produce subscription.

So it’s going to a big year for us all as we try new produce and recipes. Like one CSA member said, “I can’t wait to see what I get each week. It’s like a big bag of surprises just for me!”

Click HERE to sign up and start getting your fruit and vegetable surprises in May.

5th Annual Mid-South Farm to Table Conference

photo

This morning Alex Greene, Bring It Food Hub’s general manager, and Rozie Schleinig, our assistant manager, headed off to the Eugene Woods Civic Center in West Arkansas for the fifth annual Mid-South Farm to Table Conference.

This year’s conference was focused on the farmer, and the sessions were dedicated to addressing the specific needs and challenges that Mid-South farmers currently face. The conference was led by three experts in agriculture: Ellen Polishuk, an “ecoganic” vegetable grower, biological farm consultant and teacher with Potomac Vegetable Farms; Mark Cain, founder of Dripping Springs Garden; and Richard Underhill, master beekeeper of Peace Bee Farm.

Throughout the day, the three speakers held sessions for farmers, consumers, local entrepreneurs and food enthusiasts alike, speaking on issues that directly applied to farmers growing in the Mid-South. Topics ranged from high tunnel construction, cropping for season extension, specialty crops, soil fertility, managing work crews, effective farm record keeping, flower production, bees for business and farm micro-loans. Discussions paused for a lunch break catered by the Parsonage Bakery and Deli, a restaurant in Marion, Arkansas, and resumed in the afternoon.

What we find so wonderful about the Mid-South Farm to Table Conference is the people it brings together and the information it provides for local farmers. Conferences such as this speak directly to our two-fold mission of increasing access to healthy, affordable local foods and strengthening farmer livelihoods. We can’t increase access to local fruits and vegetables without the farmers to grow them. However, producing food in modern day America is becoming increasingly difficult. Farm to table conferences attempt to lessen these challenges through  information sharing and by creating a forum for farmers to consult with experts, interact with their consumers, and facilitate relationships with local food stakeholders. This years conference was spearheaded and organized by Mary and Wes Riddle with Roots Memphis; Brandon Pugh with Delta Sol Farm; Caitlin Dupuigrenet with the Cooper Young Farmers Market and Rochelle Brahalla with Green Leaf Learning Farm.

Today was especially exciting for Bring It because we got to share our mission with even more local farmers, and hopefully create long lasting partnerships that help us bring fresh, local produce to communities across the city.

For more information on this year’s conference, visit the Mid-South Farm to Table Conference website and Facebook page, and for more information on the farmers that led today’s conference, see the links below. Special thanks to everyone who organized, supported and participated in today’s event!

Eat local. Eat well.

Ellen Polishuk, Potomac Vegetable Farms

Mark Cain, Dripping Springs Garden

Richard Underhill, Peace Bee Farm

Meet Your Farmer: Dennis O’Bryan, Urban Farms

Urban Farms is a unique farming operation in Memphis, TN,  run through a partnership with the Memphis Center for Food and Faith and the Binghampton Development Corporation. Located on just three  acres of land in the Binghampton community, Urban Farms strives to be a sustainable, educational example of agriculture that works in an urban area.

What started in 2010 has expanded significantly and is growing bit by bit each year. Originally, Urban Farms was the product of a collaboration between the Binghampton Development Corporation and Christ Community Health Service as a part of a grand vision for urban renewal. However, the project has evolved greatly since its beginning. What once began with a combination of farming techniques, including aquaponics, has now morphed into a pilot project for bio-dynamic farming in an urban landscape. Much of the change occurred with the addition of Dennis O’Bryan as Farm Manager.

Dennis joined the Urban Farms team in 2012 from what he describes as an “accident of networking.” O’Bryan came to Memphis in 1986 and worked for the Hilton Corporation for over 20 years. However he always loved working outside and growing food and frequently volunteered with Urban Farms after its creation in 2010. Over time, one conversation led to another, and soon he was leaving his career to put his passion into practice by leading Urban Farms’ day to day operations. He took over the farm in May of 2012, and can still be found at the farm on any given day, digging in the dirt, harvesting, or planting in one of its many hoop houses. O’Bryan  clearly loves his work and finds it personally rewarding. He describes his farm work as his expression of concern for our planet. “Globally we have an increasing problem with top soil loss, droughts and crop failures.” In order to farm sustainably for the future, he argues that we have to reverse bad farming practices and start putting carbon back into the soil, and this is where bio-dynamic farming comes in.

Bio-dynamic farming is a method that was developed by  philosopher Rudolf Steiner and is based on an organic, holistic approach to agriculture. With bio-dynamic farming, soil restoration, composting and plant health are key, and farmers focus on natural processes for productivity rather than chemical inputs. At Urban Farms, O’Bryan is striving to do just that. The overall mission of Urban Farms is to demonstrate the capacity of bio-dynamic farming to contribute to the growth of resilient city neighborhoods, healthy food access, and strong local food economies. He wants Urban Farms to be a pilot location for the city, illustrating that bio-dynamic farming is possible in the South and showing people just how you do it.

Much of O’Bryan’s day to day work is top soil renewal. When the site for Urban Farms was first created, much of the top soil was scraped away. In order to heal the land, O’Bryan accepts 15-20 large garbage cans per week of vegetable scraps and other compostable materials and a few truck loads of leaves. He then mixes those scraps and leaves to create a nutritious compost for his raised beds and Urban Farms’ very own potting mix. By heavily mulching his land and creating raised beds, he traps water and nutrients within the soil, which lessens pest pressure, keeps soil temperature warmer, greatly decreases the amount of water loss and overall creates richer soil. Still,  every system  has its challenges. While he firmly believes that bio-dynamic farming is the answer to a more sustainable system – it can be difficult to make work.

Although the farm is located on three  acres, not all of that soil is currently suitable to cultivate, and this type of holistic farming is difficult on a small scale. When access to land is limited, it becomes more difficult to schedule planting and succession planting, and crop rotation is harder to manage. In addition to the complex system, some farmers argue that bio-dynamic farming is unrealistic in the South, due to increased pest pressure. However, O’Bryan’s faith in this natural farming method remains unshaken,and he’s had some great success overall. “I’ve found that people usually don’t mind a few bug holes here and there because they know then that their produce hasn’t been sprayed. “ Urban Farms plans to keep chugging along in the upcoming years. They are currently trying to revitalize more plots and slowly expand. The farm’s goal is to reach a sustainable scale where they can hire another employee. With some added help, the hope is to expand cultivation and ultimately facilitate future growth.

Urban Farms is currently producing veggies during all 4 growing seasons, and as O’Bryan puts it, is “always growing something.” In addition to seasonal veggies, the farm has day lily’s, a prickly pear cactus, two pear trees, two peach trees, elderberry, and a coop full of chickens for eggs at the farmers market. When I visited, I saw pak choi, tatsoi, onions, carrots, arugula, lettuce, spinach, kale, kohlrabi and mizuna growing in various locations around the farm, and seeds being started for their first round of spring: marjoram, parsley, dill, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. Currently, Urban Farms sells at farmers markets around the city and to a few cash and carry customers in the neighborhood. This summer, Urban Farms will be joining the Bring It Food Hub growing team once again, with a variety of cucumbers, squash, peppers, celery, three varieties of eggplant and four or five varieties of tomato. And through Bring It Food Hub, Urban Farms has been the regular supplier of the Grace-St. Luke’s food pantry. So, if your mouth is watering – and we know it is – try Urban Farms’ pesticide-free produce, along with goodies from other local farmers, by signing up for our summer CSA subscription. Pre-sales are currently open on our online shop.

If you’d like to learn more about Urban Farms or are interested in volunteering and getting your hands in the dirt, please send an email to allyson@urbanfarmsmemphis.org. Urban Farms is located at 198 Wills St, Memphis, Tennessee 38112.

Eat local. Eat well.

Written by: Cierra Martin, Bring It Food Hub

Meet Your Farmer: Emma Self, Green Girl Produce

Emma Self was practically destined to be a grower. Born and raised in Memphis, Self comes from a family of farmers — major soybean, corn and cotton producers in the Delta on her dad’s side and a large family who grew all of their own veggies on her mom’s side. With such a deeply rooted farming background, you could almost say it’s fate that Self has now found herself back in Memphis doing just that – growing greens.

However, Self has transformed what many people would think of as traditional agriculture and put a creative, sustainable spin on it. She now grows tasty little micro-greens in an indoor office at Emerge Memphis and is the founder and day to day operator of “Green Girl Produce,” Memphis’s first indoor vertical farm.

Self’s journey to where she is today began once she came back to Memphis after getting her bachelors in fine arts at the Appalachian Center for Craft located in Smithville, Tn. Self said that she had always loved working with her hands and it was in Smithville that she picked up her technical skill-set, developing a foundation in materials, craftsmanship and an overall personal aesthetic – tools that would later prove really useful for her hydroponic micro-green farm planning.

Post-degree, she found herself teaching elementary school children art at the Evergreen Montessori school, and over time began to take over and restore the school’s community garden. However, she couldn’t shake the feeling that the Memphis that she left at 18 was quite different than the one she came back to almost a decade later. Suddenly “local” and “farm to table” were real things, in real Memphis restaurants, and her interest was immediately sparked. From that point on, she began to do more in the garden with her students and started to research creative urban agriculture techniques – until one day, she decided to jump in head first. She quit her job and went to work for chef Ryan Trimm at Sweet Grass, starting as a waiter and later moving on to design his outdoor seating area with mobile raised gardens.

Self depicted the environment at Sweet Grass as utterly contagious. She described the camaraderie and creativity between chefs as “a truly beautiful blend of passions,” and it was that passion that inspired her to jump feet first into the local food movement. Coincidentally, after deciding to take the plunge, she met Taylor Berger (entrepreneur and Memphis restaurant owner) and the people at Launch Memphis (now Start Co.), and her dream started falling into place. There were conversations on restaurant farm co-ops and how best to serve a market of chefs with a growing demand. While the idea morphed from one possibility to the next, growing micro-greens seemed to make the most sense. One 48 hour pitch weekend, nights of research and many conversations later, and Self received the start up capital necessary to make her dream a reality. While it took a little over a year to stream-line the production process and get ready to grow, Green Girl has been selling her greens since July of 2014. We had the opportunity to taste some this summer and share them with our CSA members, and they are truly delicious.

Her little plants are 40 times more nutritious in their infant stages (when harvested) than when fully grown and are completely packed with flavor. She currently produces brassica’s, which include arugula and radish, and grow in as little as 10 days. She also raises a few slow growing varieties such as basil, parsley, red-veined sorrel, amaranth, and her secret rainbow mix that can take up to 20 days to grow. These plants grow in a 280 sq. foot hydroponic fodder system that Self designed herself. “It took a lot of tweaking,” she said, but she finally has a system that works well, producing 40 – 50 lb. of micro-greens per week at full capacity. The process is simple once the technology of the system is working smoothly. She sows the seeds in the tray, adjusts the lighting and water continuously throughout the growing period, put’s a little love in them, harvests, packages and cleans her system, and voilà, her micro-greens are on their way to you.

What Self is most proud of, she says, “is knowing that I did it…Leaving at 5 p.m., knowing that everything will still be growing when I get back is the most rewarding feeling.” “It means that I’ve made it work.” Self’s story and her little tasty greens are proof that with a lot of research, dedication and hard work, who knows what can happen. If you would like to taste some of these luscious little plants, you can order a Bring It Deluxe CSA today to begin in May! Until then, head on over to Folk’s Folly, Grove Grill, Flight, Peabody, Ecco, Beauty Shop, Sweet Grass, Strano, Bari, Westin, Aldo’s and Miss Cordelia’s to get a sneak peak.

For more of an “inside look” at our producers, keep reading our blog, and to order your CSA with Self’s micro-greens and more delicious, local produce, please visit our online shop today. Eat local. Eat well.

Written by: Cierra Martin, Bring It Food Hub

Your Ultimate Guide to a Local Thanksgiving

Use everything in your CSA this week for your Thanksgiving sides! Check out the recipes compiled below for a little bit of Thanksgiving inspiration, and if you haven’t purchased a turkey yet, we can take care of that too. Visit our online shop to reserve your bird today and our farm-fresh recipe page for more Fall recipes! Note quantities in each recipe may vary from quantities in your bag, but you can easily adjust the measurements to fit your needs! Happy Holidays from the hub!

Apples

  apple whole wheat scones   Sauteed Apples   apple walnut stuffing    fennel

Arugula

  arugula salad   butternut-Squash-Quinoa-and-Arugula-4-of-4-666x1000

Butternut Squash

   spice butternut squash   Butternut squash gratin   bread-pudding_300

Carrots

  FW1105FTG02   carrot cheesecake   brown-sugared-carrots-mscs103-640x360-288x162

Collard Greens

  FW1105WTG04   200811-r-creamed-collard-green

Long Island Cheese Pumpkin

  pumpkin gravy   pumpkin quesidillas   pumpkin penne

Radishes

  orange radishes

Sweet Potatoes

  FW1105FTG03   FW1102FWB05   FW1102FWB07   Semi-Sweet Potato Gratin_HiRes

Turnips

  mashed turnips   turnip casserole   turnips mushrooms carrots

Increasing Access to Fresh Fruits and Veggies in Memphis

We are excited to announce that we just received our 501 (c) (3) status, officially classifying Bring It Food Hub as a public charity in Memphis! This classification is especially exciting for our organization because it allows us to better fulfill our mission of increasing access to fresh, local food in underserved Memphis communities. While many of us have the opportunity to choose what we want to eat on a daily basis, eating fresh produce one day and a delicious cheeseburger the next, there is another quite large population in the United States and in Memphis that cannot. Many areas in urban cities have very little to no food access and are left with products from convenience stores, gas stations or fast food chains. These areas with severely limited food options are known as food deserts and are a growing issue in the Mid-South.

The USDA defines a food desert as an urban neighborhood or rural town “without ready access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food,” and many times without a vehicle. While it may seem like an uncommon problem to most of us, the USDA estimates that 23.5 million people in the United States are living in these conditions. If you look at the  map below, you can see that the Mid-South area has one of the highest concentrations of these food deserts in the country (note the dark red and black areas on the map, representing communities with between 5- 10% of its population living in a food desert.)

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When you look at Memphis in particular, the situation becomes even more complicated. Memphis is one of the poorest cities in the country, with an overall poverty rate of approximately 28%, and in areas of South Memphis that number can get even higher. Memphis is also one of the most obese cities in the nation, with an obesity rate of over 30%. Poverty and obesity lead to an increased risk of health risks and diseases, and these issues are becoming increasingly evident in our community. Approximately 12.4% of our residents have been diagnosed with diabetes, and heart disease and stroke are currently the number one and three leading causes of death and disability in TN. Research has shown that there are strong links between poverty, limited food access and obesity that all lead to poor health. However, this cycle of poverty, poor health and food inequality can be broken with local community efforts, and YOU can help. While this information can be extremely jarring, we draw attention to these dismal statistics to say that change is possible and well on its way.

Currently farmers markets, local non-profits and other Memphis institutions are all collaborating to increase the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables in these areas. For example, the Cooper Young Farmers Market and the Downtown Farmers Market participate in a program called the Double Coupon Voucher Program. This program matches produce purchases using SNAP/EBT up to $10. For instance, if someone buys $10 of produce from local vendors, the matching program gives them $10 of extra “green tokens” that can be used to purchase fresh produce only. This doubles consumption and makes healthy eating a bit more accessible. You can help by donating to this fund or by simply volunteering at the farmer’s market. In addition to the Double Coupon Voucher Program, there are other programs directly targeting food deserts in Memphis such as the Green Machine: a mobile produce market bringing fresh fruits and vegetables to local neighborhoods with limited access to fresh produce. The more people that support community initiatives such as these, the larger effect we will see.

Another way to make a difference is to purchase a Pay It Forward subscription from us! For every $20, Bring It Food Hub is able to supply a family with a bag full of fresh local produce. Through our Pay It Forward program, we partner with community organizations around the city such as All Saints Presbyterian and Advance Memphis to connect farm fresh food with families in food deserts. You can purchase a full season or donate by the week. We also look forward to offering our produce subscriptions directly to SNAP/EBT users in 2015, now that our non-profit status is official.

In addition to food donations, participating in activities like fresh cooking classes can also increase awareness. For example, The Church Health Center hosts cooking classes in its Wellness Center and we donate the veggies. Classes like this not only promote healthy eating, but show people how to actually cook and maintain a healthy diet from week to week. The really exciting part about increasing community food access is that studies show that increased access actually does lead to increased consumption.

In 2010, the Food Trust analyzed eight studies conducted that looked at access to nearby supermarkets in relation to the consumption level of fresh fruits and veggies. These studies accounted for demographic variables such as race and income and still found a relationship between food access and healthy eating. African Americans living near a supermarket were more likely to meet dietary guidelines for fruits and vegetables, and for every additional supermarket, produce consumption rose 32 percent. Among whites, each additional supermarket corresponded with an 11 percent increase in produce consumption. See results for 2002 below.

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This study is encouraging because it illustrates that greater access should lead to greater consumption. The possibilities for these communities are endless if we can garner community support and help people understand the severity of food deserts in Memphis.  Everyone should have the right to eat well, so let’s make it a reality. If you have questions or comments, please reach out to us via e-mail or by giving us a call. Eat local. Eat well.

Healthy Halloween Treats Using CSA Veggies

Use the produce in your CSA subscription this week to make fun, healthy Halloween snacks for the whole family! Halloween doesn’t have to be unhealthy! Check out the Halloween recipes below and photos that we’ve compiled from our favorite spots online. There are sweet treats for the kids and a few yummy ones for the adults too!

Jack- O- Lantern Stuffed Peppers 

Jack-O-Lantern-Stuffed-Peppers-from-itsyummi.com_

What you need:

  • 4 Orange/red Bell Peppers
  • 1 cup cooked rice (Braggadocio is the best)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 medium red onion, diced small
  • 8 ounces small fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 handful spinach
  • 1/4 cup of your favorite cheese
  • 16 ounces (2 cups) roasted red pepper pasta sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper, to taste

How to make it: Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Use a sharp knife to slice the top off each bell pepper horizontally. Set tops aside (do not discard) Remove all seeds and membranes. Rinse and pat the peppers dry with paper toweling or a clean, soft cloth. Use a small paring knife to cut holes into the exterior of the peppers to make jack-o-lantern faces. If peppers don’t stand upright, use the knife to slice a small amount from the bottom to flatten the surface. Cook rice according to package directions. As rice cooks, use olive oil or non-stick spray to lightly grease a small sheet pan. Arrange peppers and tops of peppers on pan and cook in oven for 20-25 minutes, or until peppers are cooked, but still are still firm (al dente). Remove peppers from oven and allow to cool while you make the filling.

For the filling: Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and mushrooms and saute for 3-4 minutes, or until mushrooms have softened and reduced in size. Increase heat to medium high. Add ground turkey and spices to pan and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until no pink remains. Drain excess grease from pan, and add spinach. After about 2 minutes, reduce heat to medium low, then add pasta sauce and cooked rice. Stir to combine and cook for 2-3 more minutes, or until mixture is heated through.Prior to serving, fill each pepper with approximately 1 cup of mixture, over filling each pepper slightly and top with cheese. Place a top onto each stuffed pepper and serve with a big jack-o-lantern smile!

Recipe and photo from: http://www.itsyummi.com/jack-o-lantern-stuffed-bell-peppers/

Spooctacular Pears 

HE-PEARGHOSTS-81ab384d-e1aa-45fc-815c-37839fd3e715-0-472x310

What you need:

  • 4 ripe pears, peeled (leave stalk intact if possible!)
  • 10fl oz apple juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 pinch dried cinnamon
  • dried blueberries or currants (for ghost eyes)
  • sunflower seeds (for ghost teeth)
  • 7fl oz pomegranate juice (for the ‘blood’)

How to make it: Place the peeled pears into a saucepan with the apple juice and cinnamon stick. Lid on, simmer gently for about 20 minutes, until the pears are slightly soft. Remove from the juice and place on a plate. Remove the cinnamon stick and continue to gently simmer the remaining juice for about 5-10 minutes until it has thickened slightly and become syrupy. Pour the pomegranate juice into another small pan and gently simmer for about 10 minutes until thickened slightly and become syrupy. Cut a thin slither off the base of each pear so they stand. Give each ghost pear two eyes (make a small hole with a skewer first to make sure the eyes stay in!) & push the sunflower seeds into the pear to make a small circle for a scary ghost mouth. Drizzle a little of the ‘blood’ syrup into each ghost mouth & a small drizzle/puddle of the reduced apple juice – Serve your scary ghosts with care!

Recipe and photo from: http://realfood.tesco.com/recipes/pear-ghosts.html

Thai-spiced Deviled Eggs

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What you need:

  • 6 Eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons thick coconut milk, cold(not low fat) or mayonnaise
  • 2 Teaspoons Thai Curry paste
  • 1 Teaspoon ketchup
  • ½ Teaspoon paprika plus more to sprinkle
  • ½ Teaspoon spicy mustard
  • ¼ Teaspoon Sriracha or other red chilli sauce
  • Salt and pepper  to taste
  • Extra Paprika
  • 1 Spring/green onion

How to make it: Cover the eggs with an inch of cold water and bring to a boil. Boil for a minute, then cover and set aside for 10 minutes. Drain and then fill the pan with cold water. After 5 minutes, peel the eggs. Slice each egg length-wise and gently remove the yolks. Place the yolks and all the other ingredients in a small bowl and mash until very smooth. Mound the yolk mixture into the egg whites or transfer it to a ziptop bag and pipe it out. Wet your finger and pat the surface of the filling smooth. Using a toothpick draw lines to make the ‘pumpkin’ indentations. Sprinkle with paprika if desired. Cut up the green part of the onion to make tiny stems and add them to finish off the pumpkin look.

Recipe and photo from: http://tadkapasta.wordpress.com/2011/10/27/eggs-quisite-eats-for-lil-devils/

Apple Monster Bites 

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 4.09.09 PM

What you need:

  • fresh apples
  • peanutbutter or sunflower butter
  • slivered almonds

How to make it: Wash and cut your apples into quarters, squeezing lemon juice on them. Cut a small chunk from skin side of the apple quarter in order to make a mouth. See picture. Now, spread on some peanut butter or sunflower butter for the tongue and then push some silivered almonds in for the teeth. For a nut-free option, sunflower or pumpkin seeds can work in a pinch.
Recipe and photo from: http://ohsheglows.com/2012/10/15/3-ingredient-halloween-apple-bites/#ixzz3HNiZnR1B

Upside Down Pear Tartlets 

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 3.27.48 PM

What you need:

  • 1 3/4 pound (about 4) pears
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 (8- by 10-inch) sheet puff pastry

How to make it: Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Peel, core, and cut the pears into 1/2 inch wedges. Melt half the butter in a skillet. Add pears and cook over medium-high heat until juices release and begin to turn golden on edges. Drain juices and reserve the pears. Place sugar in a large skillet over high heat until sugar melts, bubbles, and turns amber. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter and pears, being careful as the caramel will sputter. Turn to coat pears using a heatproof rubber spatula. Remove pan from heat and spoon pear slices into the cups of a jumbo muffin tin (3/4-cup capacity). Arrange to form a 1-inch layer. Cut the pastry (it should be about 1/8-inch thick) into six 2 1/2-inch rounds. Discard or reserve scraps for another use. Top the pears in each muffin cup with a piece of puff pastry and bake until pastry puffs and is golden brown — about 25 minutes. Cool on wire rack.Run a spoon around the edges of each tartlet. Remove and serve pear side up. Serve warm.

Recipe and photo from: http://www.countryliving.com/recipefinder/upside-down-pear-tartlets-clv0907

Pumpkin Hummus (if you have leftover pumpkins or want to try this recipe with next week’s bag!)

pumpkin hummus

What you need:

  • 1 Cup Reduced-sodium Chickpeas, de-skinned (180g)*
  • ¾ Cup fresh pumpkin puree
  • ¼ Cup Maple syrup
  • 2 tsp Pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tsp Coconut oil, melted + additional for drizzling, if desired.
  • Cinnamon sugar pita chips

For homemade chips:

  • 1 Whole wheat tortilla
  • ½ Tbsp Coconut oil, melted
  • stevia, for sprinkling
  • Cinnamon, for sprinkling

How to make it: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and rub a cookie sheet with melted coconut oil, set aside.To de-skin the chickpeas:Drain the chickpeas and spread them out on a paper towel. Gently squeeze each chickpea until the thin, papery skin comes off. Repeat with remaining chickpeas. Add the chickpeas, pumpkin , maple syrup, pumpkin pie spice and 2 tsps of coconut oil into a small food processor and process until smooth. You may need to stop the processor and scrape down the sides every so often to get everything smooth and mixed, depending on how strong your processor is. Mine took a good 5 to 6 minutes of blending.

For homemade chips: Cut the tortilla into 8 triangles and lay on the prepared cookie sheet. Brush with ½ of the melted coconut oil and then sprinkle with cinnamon and Truvia. No need to use an exact measurement, just give a good pinch of Truvia for each chip. Bake for 8 mins, or until lightly golden. Flip the tortillas, brush with remaining oil and sprinkle with more cinnamon and Truvia. Bake for another 7-8 minutes until the tortillas are a deep golden, brown. They will not seem crunchy at first, as the Truvia will melt. But, once the chips cool and Truvia hardens, you will nice and crunchy chips! Drizzle the hummus with additional melted coconut oil, if desired, and serve with the chips!

Recipe and photo from: http://www.foodfaithfitness.com/the-best-hummus-recipe-pumpkin-hummus/

Mummy Pumpkin Granola Bars 

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 3.06.52 PM

What you need:

  • 3 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup applesauce
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

For mummy icing:

  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

How to make it: First prepare mummy icing. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer. With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar a cup at a time until smooth and creamy. Beat in the vanilla extract. Set aside.

For granola bars: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8 by 8 baking pan with cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk oats, spices, and salt together. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk brown sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, honey, and vanilla extract until smooth. Pour over oats and stir well, until all of the oats are moist. Stir in chocolate chips. Evenly press oat mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. The pumpkin keeps the bars moist, so make sure they are golden and set-you don’t want them to be under baked. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Using a sharp knife, cut into bars. Remove from pan and let cool completely. Once cool, drizzle icing over like a mummy and place two chocolate chips on top for eyes.

Recipe courtesy of: whole food life.com and photo from: http://dinnersdishesanddesserts.com/mummy-granola-bars/

Happy Halloween Y’all!!! Eat local. Eat well.

Shady Grove Presbyterian’s 2014 Race for Grace

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Join Bring It Food Hub in the Race for Grace 

By: Cierra Martin

This year, Shady Grove Presbyterian’s annual Race for Grace will be held on November 1st at 9 a.m., marking the event’s 18th consecutive year of combining running and fundraising for good causes in Memphis. This year we are lucky to be one of the three race beneficiaries, along with Knowledge Quest and the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center. If you’re a part of our CSA or have been in the past, we need you, so please sign up to run with Bring It Food Hub!

Race History

The Race for Grace is a mission of Shady Grove Presbyterian Church. This mission began in 1997, to benefit their partner, the Church Health Center and to celebrate the congregation’s 40th anniversary. Since then, the mission’s scope has grown substantially. In 2011, the Church Health Center began their own 5K fundraising race, so Shady grove expanded their mission to incorporate 3 new charities each year. Sine then, the governing body of the church works in conjunction with the race committee to choose three beneficiaries that are performing good works in the Mid-South. Their goal is to spread the word about these organizations that are under the radar and to help them raise funds. Additionally, they encourage their own congregation to become involved in the beneficiaries’ community activities.

A Success

The reach of the Race for Grace mission has been quite large and very successful, according to pastor Jarad Bingham, with the largest race participation exceeding 800 runners in a given year. Last year, over 400 people participated and the committee awarded over 100 medals in the various division categories. Bingham shared that “everyone enjoys the race,” whether it be the kids, the beneficiary members who run, or people who just love 5K’s. People enjoy this charitable race, because it’s more than just a race. The Race for Grace incorporates fresh, homemade food and fun race perks like custom t-shirts and a photo booth. Congregation members make homemade granola bars for participants, and Cosmic Coconut comes out each year with fancy juices and delicious drinks. Winning runners also enjoy very specialized race medals with lanyards hand crafted by the folks at Sew Memphis and a specialized pewter and blue porcelain medallion.

Race Path

The race is 5 Kilometers and starts at the church, on the corner of Yates Road and Shady Grove Road. Traveling south on Yates, runners will turn right on Brantford, right on White Station, right on Walnut Grove, right on Yates and right into the driveway at the northeast corner of the Shady Grove Presbyterian Church parking lot. Parking is available at Shady Grove Elementary and at Wesleyan Hills United Methodist Church. There will be water stations at mile markers 1 and 2, plus refreshments at the finish line.

The Details

Sign up now to be a part of the race and benefit 3 awesome organizations in Memphis! Pre-Registration is $25 if you sign up online before October 30th. Day-of-race registration is $30 and starts at 7:30 a.m. at Shady Grove Presbyterian Church. The commemorative race shirts are guaranteed for everyone who registers by October 15th. T-shirts and other materials may be picked up the day of the race from 7:30 – 8:30 am. The race begins at 9:00 a.m., but all runners should arrive by 8:30 am. When you register, be sure to choose which of the three beneficiaries will receive your registration dollars as a charitable contribution. If you’re a part of our CSA, please support our work this year by registering with Bring It Food Hub!

Register now by clicking here! Eat local. Eat well.

A Handful of Greens A Day Keeps the Doctor Away…

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Why Adding More Greens to Your Daily Diet is Beneficial to Your Health

Cierra Martin, Bring It Food Hub

It has become a pretty common fact that eating more green leafy vegetables are better for your health, yet many people still struggle with adding greens to their dinner plate. So just how good are these little green things, and is it worth the struggle of forcing down more spinach each week?

According to recent research, leafy green vegetables are the most nutrient rich vegetable out there, calorie for calorie; meaning that for each calorie, these veggies contain more nutrients than any other.  In addition to being low calorie and still packed with nutrients, dark green vegetables have high amounts of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals linked with disease prevention, longer life expectancy, weight-loss and improved heart, eye and bone health.

While keeping everything clean and working on the inside is very important, adding more greens to your diet has also been linked to outer beauty as well. Because of the high vitamin C content in the majority of these greens, consuming them can help your body make the collagen needed for beautiful, strong, glowing skin. I personally started juicing and blending about a year ago, making spinach and kale smoothies every morning, and noticed differences in my skin immediately. Every morning while my coffee brews, I grab a big handful of spinach, one banana, a scoop of peanut butter, ice and a splash of water and blend it up for a delicious breakfast shake!  Since I started this morning ritual, I’ve noticed fewer breakouts, have a better working digestive system and feel much more energized overall. Yay spinach!

But don’t jus take it from me! The the U.S Department of Agriculture recommends that people include 3 cups or more of dark, leafy vegetables each week, but with so many greens out there, it can be hard to know which are best and how the heck you can make them taste good. Don’t worry, it is possible. Check out our adapted list below  of our favorite greens, their star nutrient qualities, and the best ways to prepare them, and start eating more greens this Fall!

Kale

Nutrient Highlight: Vitamins A, C, K E and B 1,2,3 calcium, beta carotene, iron, magnesium and the carotenoid lutein. May help boost immune function, protect against cancer and helps rid your body of natural toxins.

In the Kitchen: Great for breakfast smoothies, omelets and stir fry!

Best Recipes 

Spinach

Nutrient Highlight: Fiber, vitamins A, E and K, folate, riboflavin, calcium, iron, magnesium and manganese. May help maintain healthy bones and eyes.

In the Kitchen: Use raw in salads, smoothies, soups, casseroles, pasta dishes and side dishes.

Best Recipes

Collard greens

Nutrient Highlight: high in fiber; vitamins A, C and K; folate;  calcium and manganese. May help protect against heart disease and cancer, maintain healthy bones and support digestive health.

In the Kitchen: Stream or sauté for a side dish or add to soups.

Best Recipes

Swiss Chard 

Nutrient Highlight:Vitamins A, C and K, iron, magnesium, potassium and manganese. May help with blood sugar regulation and support bone health.

In the Kitchen: Use raw in salads or boil, roast or sauté for a side dish.

Best Recipes

Bok Choy or Chinese Cabbage

Nutrient Highlight: Vitamins A, C, K and B-Complex vitamins, Calcium and dietary fiber.

In the Kitchen: Best in Stir fry’s, coleslaw or Asian themed salads.

Best Recipes

Mustard Greens

Nutrient Highlight: Vitamins A, C and K and folate. May help boost immune function and help protect against cancer and heart disease.

In the Kitchen: Steam or sauté as a side dish, add to soups, or use raw in salads.

Best Recipes 

Arugula 

Nutrient Highlight: Vitamins A, C and K, Folic acid, Iron and Copper.  As one of the best vegetable sources of Vitamin K, arugula provides a boost for bone and brain health. Like other leafy greens, arugula is also a hydrating food, helping keep your body hydrated in the heat of summer.

In the Kitchen: Great on pizzas and in salads and pastas.

Best Recipes

If I Can, You Can! Making a Farm Fresh Pumpkin Pie

pumpkin blog post

If I can make homemade pumpkin pie in a dorm room, you can make one in your kitchen! Last Fall on Halloween, I was feeling a bit homesick at Rhodes. I had decided to skip class, (mom- my professor cancelled class), and I had the entire day free with nothing to do. The weekend before, I had participated in a pumpkin painting contest with local kids at the farm park where I worked, and I had a leftover pie pumpkin. Feeling spontaneous and in the Fall mood, I decided to try my hand at baking a real pumpkin pie.  Off to Kroger I went. I really wanted to do it the right way, but living in a semi- dorm apartment on campus, had very few cooking tools, so I ditched the idea of rolling out a homemade pie crust and bought a delicious whole wheat crust from Kroger.

As I got back to Rhodes, I was getting more excited by the minute. Fall leaves were everywhere, I had a great Halloween costume for later that night, and I was about to make a REAL pumpkin pie! I scrubbed the kitchen clean, lit some candles, put on some upbeat music and got to work baking. What surprised me was how simple it was. All you have to do is bake the darn pumpkin (scooping out the seeds to roast later of course) and follow some simple directions. I loved every minute of it. It made my entire hallway smell heavenly, and it gave me a few hours to enjoy the smell of fresh, warm pumpkin and de-stress from the hectic flurry of school and work. If you enjoy baking even a little bit, I would recommend trying this out. The taste is incomparable to store bought pumpkin pie, and your family and friends will love you forever.

I used the recipe below adapted from Taste of Home. It had the fewest ingredients and seemed the most straightforward. However, many of my friends said it was a tad spicier than a traditional pumpkin pie. This year, I’m going to decrease the ginger to 1/3 teaspoon and increase the cloves to 1/3 teaspoon. I’ve also been curious about replacing the 2% milk with heavy whipping cream for added richness and flavor. Either way, you can’t go wrong. This pie was so delicious that I made it again on Thanksgiving- this time making my 17 year old brother Nick join in the fun. Whether you need to de-stress or just want to eat some delicious pie, baking a homemade pumpkin pie versus store-bought is always the way to go. Enjoy!

What you need: 1 medium pie pumpkin, 1 whole wheat pie crust, 2 eggs, 3/4 cup packed brown sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves,1 cup 2% milk and a good attitude.

How to make it: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut pumpkin in half lengthwise; scoop out seeds and place in a bowl for cleaning and roasting later. Cover cookie sheet with foil, and rub edges of cut pumpkin with a bit of canola oil. Place both halves, cut side down on cookie sheet. Bake one hour or until outside of pumpkin begins to cave and get soft and the inside is warm and golden brown. Meanwhile, get your whole wheat pie shell out and mixing bowl. When cool enough to handle, scoop out pumpkin pulp and mash. Set aside 2 cups (save remaining pumpkin for another use). In large bowl, combine the mashed pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves; beat until smooth. Gradually beat in milk. Pour into crust. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°; bake 40-45 minutes longer or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cover edges with foil during the last 30 minutes to prevent over-browning if necessary. Cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 8 servings.

This Year be Thankful for Healthy, Pasture-raised Turkeys

turkey promo solo

Key Facts At a Glance

pasture-raised turkeys contain:

  • No Arsenic
  • No bacterial contaminants such as Staph or E Coli
  • No growth hormones, antibiotics or steroids
  • Extra Omega-3’s (good fatty acids)
  • 3 to 5 times more CLA (conjugated linolenic acid – another type of good fat)
  • Higher levels of Vitamin E
  • Lower amounts of fat and calories (including Saturated fats linked with heart disease)

As September rolls in, it’s almost that time of year again. Halloween candy is covering the stores; the nights are getting cooler; and people are starting to dream of cranberry sauce, grandma’s pumpkin pie, and the big one.. turkey. Every year, I spend the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving thinking about new recipes and how I want to prepare my turkey on the big day but never actually consider the quality of the bird itself. This year, think twice before purchasing the turkeys on sale at your local grocery store, and buy a local pasture-raised turkey from us!

While the turkeys at your local grocery store won’t break the bank, they could be hurting your health more than you realize. In a research study conducted in 2008, it was noted that a high number of large-scale poultry producers have added small amounts of arsenic to their feed since the 1960‘s in an attempt to speed up the growth of the birds, kill bacteria and make their breast meat pinker. This is problematic because in recent years, arsenic has been closely linked to a process called “angiogenesis” that increases a person’s risk of cancer. While the USDA mandates that the levels be smaller than 0.5 parts of arsenic per million who wants any percentage of arsenic on their Thanksgiving dinner plate?

Another study conducted in 2011 and published in the journal “Clinical Infectious Diseases” found that 47% of the meat and poultry sold in the U.S. contains the bacteria “staphylococcus aureus” commonly known as Staph. This bacterial presence is attributed to America’s “densely stocked industrial farms that are ideal breeding grounds for drug-resistant bacteria.” In addition to bacterial diseases, the majority of meat sold in the supermarket contains antibiotics and chemicals like ammonia and chlorine in order to combat disease and other pathogens found in industrially-grown poultry. This poses an entirely new kind of health threat of its own. So one of the major benefits of pasture-raised turkeys is simply what’s not in them.

Cultivating grass-fed poultry ensures that a lot of the poisonous toxins and harmful bacteria that we discussed above are left out of our birds; but it also allows for higher levels of the good stuff. For instance, pasture raised turkeys have more omega 3 fatty acids. In a study found in the British Journal of Nutrition, researchers found that participants who ate more grass-fed meat for only 4 weeks had higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids and lower levels of the bad fatty acids like the pro-inflammatory omega-6 acid. Consequently, participants who ate more conventional meat and no grass-fed poultry had the opposite effect with higher levels of omega-6 and lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids. While a certain amount of omega-6 fatty acids are necessary for good health, they are most prevalent in vegetable oils and in grain-fed animals, both of which are over-consumed in America, and grass-fed animals have ten times less the amount of omega-6 fatty acids.

In addition to more omega 3’s, research has shown that grass-fed animals are one of the most abundant natural sources of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), another good fat that has been found in certain studies to block the initiation and continued growth of cancer. As if higher cancer-fighting properties weren’t good enough, pasture-raised animals that are fed their natural diet also have higher levels of Vitamin E and are overall much leaner than their feed-lot raised counterparts ̶ meaning that they are lower in fat and lower in calories. Who doesn’t like that? Overall, leaving animal growth up to nature is going to be more humane for your turkey and better for your body.

So this year, take a look at the health benefits of your meat when planning your Thanksgiving dinner, and support your local farmer by signing up for a pasture-raised turkey!

These Thanksgiving turkeys are grown plump  ̶ free of antibiotics, hormones and steroids ̶ in the green pastures of Rosecreek farms, and it only takes $10 to reserve your bird. The balance of $5.50 per lb. is due Monday, November 24th when the birds are delivered to the Food Hub (via refrigerated truck, never frozen). Turkeys are expected to weigh between 12-15 lb. and can be picked up at the hub November 24 or 25.

Reserve your turkey by visiting our shop. Have any questions? Please give us a call at 901-444-3055 or send us an e-mail at localfood@bringitfoodhub.com.

 

Bring It Community Partnership Feature: Cooking with the Church Health Center

CHC pizza

This summer’s pilot program will be back by popular demand in September!

Today over 30 % of Memphis residents are obese and face a greater risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke. While obesity is in part due to poor eating habits and ever-increasing portion sizes, it is also a product of low-income neighborhoods with no supermarkets and no access to fresh local food. Memphis has a big problem on its hands.

At Bring It Food Hub, we want to change these statistics and are focused on increasing the accessibility, affordability and consumption of fresh, local foods in Memphis, but we can’t do it alone. That’s why we’ve partnered with community organizations like the Church Health Center. The Church Health center’s mission is to “reclaim the Church’s biblical commitment to care for our bodies and our spirits.” In addition to providing low-cost health care to thousands of uninsured Memphians, the Church Health Center also promotes healthy lifestyles with a wellness center that includes, among other things, a fitness area and a demonstration kitchen.

This summer, Bring It Food Hub and the Church Health Center collaborated to host a series of six cooking demonstrations at the Wellness Facility called “Bring It. Cook It. Take It.” During the evening class participants observed a cooking demo, taste the prepared meal and took home a recipe card along with the fresh produce needed to make that meal at home, all for only $5. Carolyn Nichols, nutrition education coordinator for the Church Health Center, felt that the summer series was really a success. “We averaged about 12 people a night ranging from moms and teens to retirees in the community, and the feedback was really great.”

The focus of the series was to promote meals and ingredients that are good for the body but can be prepared in 30 minutes or less. The meals- ranging from skillet dishes to farm fresh pizzas to Southwestern sweet potatoes, – were delicious, yet simple enough to not overwhelm a new chef or someone with little time. Working with area farmers, Bring It provided the produce at cost, and the Church Health Center staff educated participants on portion sizes, meal planning, carb counting, healthy eating habits, grocery shopping and other topics.

Nichols explains that the partnership with Bring It just makes sense. “The Church Health Center has the space, staff and a network of people already using our facilities, and Bring It has the ability to source local food and connect with local farmers.” It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

If you are interested in healthy cooking with fresh, local fruits and vegetables, please join us for our Fall series at 5:30 p.m. every Thursday in September. Classes are $5 and include a tasting plus all the fresh veggies needed for the meal! Classes are hosted at the Church Health Center’s Nutrition Kitchen, located at 1115 Union Ave.

Want to volunteer for Bring It? Have any questions? Please shoot us an e-mail at localfood@bringitfoodhub.com

Church Health Center:

http://churchhealthcenter.org/assets/1850/bring_it_cook_it_take_it_flyer_2014.pdf

Farm Fresh: The Farm-to-Table Movement Evolves to Include Food Hub

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If you listen to the folks organizing Bring It! Food Hub, this multi-farm distributorship offers much more than just another way to purchase local produce.

It’s a barometric reading of the Mid-South food movement, a cultural revolution, a tool to fight health problems.

General manager Christian Man heads an impressive who’s who of local agriculture overseeing the project, including principal adviser Chris Ramezanpour ( President of BioDimensions Renewable Oils) , and board member Jill Forrester ( Co-Owner / Manager of Whitton Farms and Trolley Stop Market ).

Bring It! is modeled after Intervale in Burlington, Vermont, one of the first food hubs supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“I would love to be able to expand on the amount of produce that I’m growing, but I don’t have the time to farm out in the field and also truck it around town,” Forrester says. “There’s been a need for a local distributorship in Memphis for a while. The food hub model has been popular on the East Coast and the West Coast. What we’re trying to do is bring it to Memphis. Hence the name, ‘Bring It!'”

A subsidiary of the Memphis Center for Food and Faith, Bring It will be run as a non-profit, delivering local produce to congregations, hospitals, schools, grocery stores, restaurants, and households.

“We say we have a triple bottom line,” Man says. “We’re trying to make enough money to sustain our operations, but we sort of define success by how much we help farmers grow and also how much food we’re able to sell into limited-income communities.”

Bring It! has signed up about 20 farms so far, and Man is currently gauging interest and courting CSA (community supported agriculture) subscribers so farmers involved can plan their crops. Bring It! members will receive a selection of fresh produce on a weekly basis beginning in May. Bring It! will operate out of Whitton Farms Cannery at 694 Madison.

“With the boom in farmers markets that we’ve seen across the city over the past three years, the number of farmers is increasing at the farmers markets, trying to get in and establish themselves and grow their own agribusiness,” Forrester says. “The time is now. I don’t think there’s been a better time in Memphis. This is Memphis’ best shot of having a food hub.”

For more information on Bring It, call 901-444-3055