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Local foods are fresh and best!

Posted Sep 25 2009 12:00am

When the question arises as to whether it is better to buy local or to buy organic, many people are at odds (saying that supporting local produce reduces the carbon footprint, while organic produce is better for the consumer’s immediate health).

As for me, I like to keep it simple. As a student (read: students are poor), I need to be frugal. As much as it is any vegan’s dream to drop cash on the new hempini seed butter (hemp seeds are often toted to be the most nutritious seed on the planet), or the raw foodist’s dream to buy a Spirooli (to make noodles out of zucchini), the mind that governs my wallet knows otherwise. When I grocery-shop, I like to buy produce that is on sale – organic when I have the choice, and local whenever it’s possible! I don’t believe in being strict about eating organically, principally because I know that the higher associated costs of doing so generally mean that I am forced to choose poorer and less nutritious options in other areas (for the sake of cost). Eating well (as opposed to my fellow KD-mac ‘n cheese-loving, Tim Hortons ice-cap-sipping, donut-munching, college counterparts) comes at a cost, and one should spend grocery money prudently, according to each one’s capacity. (As for me, my resources are limited.)

That being said, I LOVE local produce. Whenever I can, I go out to the St. Jacob’s farmer’s market and always appreciate the quality of the produce. So you can imagine my reaction when I found out that the UW Farmers Market were coming to my school on a bi-weekly basis – yes, I was elated Local produce that I could buy without even commuting/bussing/biking! It was fresh, and best of all, it was THERE. Right THERE. So yesterday I acquired myself some fresh, local treats:

After steaming them, I also used them in my own non-quantity-following, modified version of Gena’s Carrot Miso Dressing:

Carrot Miso Dressing (makes 3 cups, or so)

3-4 very large carrots (or 7-8 small — size varies dramatically from carrot to carrot, so estimate accordingly), chopped
1 cup water
3 tbsps Kyoto red miso
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp lemon juice
9 small, pitted dried dates
a sprinkle of ginger powder
a pinch of pepper
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

And blend! I really like the consistency of this paste. I had some of this for lunch with zucchini sticks.

For the miso paste, I use a Cold Mountain Kyoto Red Miso, which has 60% less sodium. I bought this at my local health food store in Toronto (which I love), Ambrosia. In general, the Red Miso pastes are stronger than the White versions – this is simply due to longer aging times = more fermentation = stronger taste. For whatever reason, the “Kyoto” versions, however, have shorter aging periods than the “Traditional japanese” versions. Personally I appreciate Cold Mountain because of their reduced sodium options, and I highly recommend the brand to anyone who is sensitive about genetics and pesticides – their soybeans are 100% certified organic and all of their ingredients are non-GMO.

Happy weekend!

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