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Cooperative Extension hosts healthy recipe demos at farmers markets

1474981785299The University of Delaware’s Cooperative Extension Family and Consumer Sciences program has been making its rounds to farmers markets throughout New Castle County, preparing ingredients and conducting demonstrations in order to raise public awareness about healthy eating.

The program is led by Maria Pippidis, New Castle County Extension director and a family and consumer sciences extension educator, who said that the demonstrations “promote easy and simple no-cook recipes that use seasonal ingredients and provide visitors with the chance to taste the recipes and maybe even try an ingredient they haven’t tried before.”

Overall, several volunteer UD dietetics students have visited 18 different markets throughout the county during the summer months, reaching 809 visitors and distributing 400 copies of healthy recipes.

Monica Marcial-Gutierrez, a UD alumnus who graduated in 2016 with a degree in dietetics and now works with Cooperative Extension, and Regina Santangelo, a volunteer for the demonstration who also graduated in 2016 with a degree in dietetics, led a demonstration in Rockwood Park, where they presented a corn and black bean salsa recipe.

“The whole point of doing these demonstrations is to show people what to do with in-season vegetables and also to encourage them to buy local produce. Our aim is also to show people how to make it, and just how easy it can be,” said Marcial-Gutierrez.

At Rockwood, the corn and black bean salsa was served with a side of chips for sampling and the ingredients were simple, fresh and easy to find.

One of the goals of Cooperative Extension is to educate the public on just how easy healthy eating can be. “Salsas like this are very popular, and you don’t have to be a cook in order to do it,” said Santangelo.

In some areas of Delaware, finding fresh food can be difficult, and all that may be available is fast food or processed food.

“I think it’s important for people to have access to fresh and healthy food. Some people don’t even know what to do with the food once they have the ingredients,” said Marcial-Gutierrez. “We get many questions from our visitors. For example, a visitor may ask, ‘Where do you get [the ingredients] and what do you do with it?’ I tell them, ‘You can get it right here, and here’s a nice recipe you can make with some of the ingredients.’”

“Cooperative Extension has a long history of helping local agricultural producers grow foods and be profitable, as well as providing nutrition education,” Pippidis said. “This project has helped us address both initiatives by linking local growers who are glad to have new clientele visit their booths for ingredients they just learned about from our farmers market food demonstration project.”

UD Cooperative Extension will hold demonstrations on Friday, Sept. 30, from 4-6 p.m., and Friday, Oct. 29, from 4-6 p.m., at the Southbridge Youth Farm Stands at the Neighborhood House in Wilmington.

Originally posted on UDaily

Got Fresh Fruits & Veggies? Delaware Does!

One thing to look forward to is the first day of Spring, warm weather, and the many opportunities for fresh, local produce the upcoming seasons will bring.  If you know anything about Delaware, it is probably that there is a farm of some type on just about every back road – which is a great thing when it comes to healthy eating!

There are many benefits of buying local produce.  It is fresher than anything you will find in a grocery store which means it will taste better and will most likely contain more nutrients.  Buying from local farmers is also great for our local economy – which is important now more than ever.

Community Supported Agriculture

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is becoming a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer.  Here is how it typically works:  A farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public which usually consist of a box of vegetables and sometimes may also include other farms products such as eggs and milk.  Weekly shares are purchased upfront through a membership or subscription and are available through pick-up or delivery each week throughout the farming season.  For more information on CSAs visit:  www.localharvest.org/csa/.

delaware freshFarmer’s Markets

A Farmer’s Market is an area where local growers gather once or twice a week to sell their produce directly to the public.  The Delaware Farmer’s Market Guide can be found on the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s website by visiting http://dda.delaware.gov/marketing/FarmersMarketsGuide.shtml or by downloading the Delaware Fresh app from the your app store supported by your mobile device.  More information about the app can be found here:  http://delaware.gov/topics/apps.

U-Picks / PYOs

A U-Pick or Pick-Your-Own Farm is one in which you travel to a farm and pick fresh produce directly from the field or orchard.  To find a u-pick farm in Delaware and other helpful information about canning and freezing fresh produce, visit http://www.pickyourown.org/DE.htm.

Roadside & Farmside Stands

An informal, but convenient, way to purchase local produce is at a roadside stand.  Roadside stands pop up all over Delaware between May and July and offer many fresh produce selections including tomatoes, sweet corn, cucumbers, peppers and peaches.  Find your closest Delaware roadside stand by visiting http://dda.delaware.gov/marketing/FarmstandsGuide.shtml.

Unfortunately, many children never learn where their food actually comes from.  In addition to great nutrition, farms and farmer’s markets can also provide excellent agricultural and nutrition education opportunities for children and families.  So the next time you get held up behind a tractor or combine, just relax and think of how lucky you are to have so many opportunities to eat healthy in Delaware!