Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Vegetable Spotlight: Bell Peppers!

Why should you eat Bell Peppers?

Let's find out!

Colorful Protection Against Free Radicals

Want to color your life healthy? Brightly colored bell peppers, whether green, red, orange or yellow, are rich sources of some of the best nutrients available. To start, peppers are excellent sources of vitamin C and vitamin A, two very powerful antioxidants. These antioxidants work together to effectively neutralize free radicals, which can travel through the body causing huge amounts of damage to cells. Free radicals are major players in the build up of cholesterol in the arteries that leads to atherosclerosis and heart disease, the nerve and blood vessel damage seen in diabetes, the cloudy lenses of cataracts, the joint pain and damage seen in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, and the wheezing and airway tightening of asthma. By providing these two potent free radical destroyers, bell peppers may help prevent or reduce some of the symptoms of these conditions by shutting down the source of the problem.

Promote Optimal Health

Red peppers are one of the few foods that contain lycopene, a carotenoid whose consumption has been inversely correlated with prostate cancer and cancers of the cervix, bladder and pancreas. Recent studies suggest that individuals whose diets are low in lycopene-rich foods are at greater risk for developing these types of cancers.

Promote Lung Health

If you or someone you love is a smoker, or if you are frequently exposed to secondhand smoke, then making vitamin A- rich foods, such as bell peppers, part of your healthy way of eating may save your life, suggests research conducted at Kansas State University.

While studying the relationship between vitamin A, lung inflammation, and emphysema, Richard Baybutt, associate professor of nutrition at Kansas State, made a surprising discovery: a common carcinogen in cigarette smoke, benzo(a)pyrene, induces vitamin A deficiency.

Seeing Red May Mean Better Eyesight

Bell peppers appear to have a protective effect against cataracts, possibly due to their vitamin C and beta-carotene content. Italian researchers compared the diets of hospital patients who had cataracts removed with patients who had not undergone the operation. Certain vegetables, including sweet peppers, reduced the cataract operation risk. The red variety of bell peppers also supply the phytonutrients lutein and zeaxanthin, which have been found to protect against macular degeneration, the main cause of blindness in the elderly.

Protection against Rheumatoid Arthritis

While one study suggests that high doses of supplemental vitamin C makes osteoarthritis, a type of degenerative arthritis that occurs with aging, another indicates that vitamin C-rich foods, such as bell and chili peppers, provide humans with protection against inflammatory polyarthritis, a form of rheumatoid arthritis involving two or more joints.

How can you enjoy bell peppers? Here's a great recipe for orzo stuffed peppers!

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees

- 4 large red, yellow or purple bell peppers
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 cup Orzo
- 2 spicy chicken sausages, casings removed
- 3 tablespoon organic virgin olive oil
- 1 white onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped and drained
- 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
- 1 Jalapeno pepper, roasted peeled, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

- Cut the tops off of the bell peppers and discard seeds. Rub bell peppers with 1 tablespoon of olive oil coating both the inside and the outer skin. Set aside in a baking dish. Bring 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock to a boil (reserve remaining 1/2 cup of chicken stock for later use), add Orzo, cover and simmer for 20 minutes without removing lid during the cooking time.

- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, break up sausage into small pieces. Saute until browned, draining any excess oil when completely cooked. Add organic olive oil, onion, diced chili, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, celery seed, cilantro, Orzo and remaining chicken stock. Cook until heated and liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and salt and pepper to taste.

- Stuff peppers with orzo mixture and place back in the baking dish. Sprinkle tops with Parmesan cheese. Add 1/2 cup boiling water to the dish and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the peppers are hot. Serve immediately with a side of sour cream.


* Information taken from

Monday, July 19, 2010

Why Buy Local?

The New Market Farmers Market aims to be a resource for healthy eating and to promote our local community of artisans, food vendors and farmers. "Buying local" may be a popular catch phrase, but its meaning is far from a fad or trend soon to be replaced by something else. Supporting our local farmers and merchants supports our local economy. It assures that our dollars stay in our community, where they benefit us and those we share our homes and neighborhoods with.

On the environmental front, buying local means reducing the energy used to transport grapes from Chile
and potatoes from Idaho. Our carbon footprint is reduced and stays where we can see it, and the planet we share with billions is a little better off.

Did you know?
"Most produce in the US is picked 4 to 7 days before being placed on supermarket shelves, and is shopped for an average of 1500 miles before being sold." (And this is only counting the US!) -Local Harvest

"If every US citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country's oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil per week. That's not gallons - but barrels."* Imagine that.

So join us and spend some time every Saturday shopping at the New Market Farmers Market. Your family benefits, your town benefits, our planet benefits. Invest in your community.

* Quote from * from “Animal, Vegetable Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver.

Some of our wonderful products!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Calling all Musicians!

The New Market Farmers Market is looking for musicians interested in free exposure! You're more than welcome to sell CD's! If interested, please email Allyson at!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Peaches, Corn, Tomatoes, and Zucchini, Plus A Great Summer Recipe!

We have peaches from Turkey Knob and lots of other fresh produce (tomatoes, berries, zucchini, cabbages, and more!) from Shenandoah Farm Market! Join us this Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon!

Don't know what to do with all of your produce?
Try this recipe!

Garden Casserole

- 2 pounds eggplant, peeled
- 5 teaspoons salt, divided
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 medium zucchini, sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 5 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
- 2 celery ribs, sliced
- 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup minced fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese

Cut eggplant into 1/2-in.-thick slices; sprinkle both sides with 3 teaspoons salt. Place in a deep dish; cover and let stand for 30 minutes. Rinse with cold water; drain and dry on paper towels.
Cut eggplant into 1/2-in. cubes; saute in oil until lightly browned. Add onions, garlic and zucchini; cook 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, celery, parsley, basil, pepper and remaining salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in Romano cheese. Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Combine crumbs and butter; sprinkle on top. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Yield: 12 servings.

** I made my own version of this for dinner last night with summer squash, zucchini, onion, tomato, celery, asparagus, carrots, and parsnips! I used less cheese and bread crumbs, and it was still delicious! Be creative!

- Allyson