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FOOD WISE – Local produce ‘near you'


By Terry Jordan Although you may be feeling the end of summer blues, you can find happiness in the fact that it is the peak of harvest season.

CUT: Beets, pictured here as roasted with a garlic chive tarragon spread, make a great fall side dish. Beet greens are also packed with nutrition, as they contain fibre, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and iron.

Did you know that in August approximately 40 per cent of the produce sold at the Truro Atlantic Superstore comes directly from Canadian farmers, including over 40 Maritime producers? To celebrate our local growers and showcase their delicious products, our store is currently participating in the ‘Near You' campaign.

Previously known as ‘Grown Close to Home,' which focused solely on local produce, the program has been expanded this year to include locally produced products that have been either baked, aged, picked or raised "near you." You may be surprised to know that there is a wide range of locally produced items that come from the Maritimes and are available at Atlantic Superstore, including PC spring water, fresh beef, cured meats, a wide variety of cheeses, farmed Atlantic salmon and more - as well as a bounty of fresh produce such as potatoes, cucumbers, peppers, carrots, corn, apples and berries.

Local foods can benefit everyone in a variety of ways. First of all, local foods can sometimes be more nutritious because the products are sold not long after being harvested; therefore, they often retain more nutrients - not to mention more flavour.

Buying local can also help the environment. The average North American meal travels 2,400 kilometers, so by buying locally you are saving on energy and on packaging used for transport. Last but certainly not least, by supporting local farmers and other local food producers you are also helping to support the local economy.

A couple of popular local produce items that are in season right now include blueberries and bunched beets. Blueberries are packed with Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and are high in fibre. Blueberries are also a powerful antioxidant, helping to protect the body's cells from damage, lowering the risk of developing some diseases including cancers. Blueberries can be enjoyed in baked goods, in yogurt parfaits, sprinkled on salads or even on their own to munch as a snack.

Roasted beets, as in the recipe below, make a great fall side dish.

Although bunch beets are normally smaller than storage beets, they still vary in size so cook time will depend on how large they are. Beet greens are also packed with nutrition, as they contain fibre, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and iron. Beet greens can be steamed with water until tender. Make sure to wash them thoroughly before cooking. They make a great colourful side dish to any meal.

You can watch for local produce and other local foods by looking for the ‘Near You' signage and logo on products throughout the Truro Superstore and in the weekly flyer.

I am also happy to help you by pointing out what is fresh and local in-store at any given time - just look for me at my booth in the produce department.

TAGLINE: Terry Jordan is a Registered Dietician with Atlantic Superstore in Truro. Have a nutrition question? Want to book a free appointment or educational store tour for yourself or your community group or business? Contact me by phone at (902) 921-0700 or by email at terry.jordan@loblaw.ca.

Roasted Beets with Garlic Chive Tarragon Spread

Ingredients:

1 cup (250 mL) PC Blue Menu Celeb Margarine - Lactose Free

1 clove garlic, grated on a microplane rasp

3 tbsp (45 mL) chopped fresh chives

3 tbsp (45 mL) chopped fresh tarragon

2 bunches red beets, stems and leaves removed

1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil

1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt

Directions:

In bowl, stir together margarine, garlic, chives and tarragon until combined. Transfer to small bowl; cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

Scrub beets and place in shallow baking dish. Toss with oil and salt; cover tightly with foil. Bake in centre of oven for 1 to 1-1/2 hours or until beets are tender. Remove foil; set aside until cool enough to handle but still warm. Using fingers, gently remove skins from beets. Cut each beet into 6 or 8 wedges.

Place beet wedges in bowl. Add 3 tbsp (45 mL) of the herb spread to warm beets; toss until margarine is melted. Transfer to serving platter. Serve immediately.

Spoon remaining herb spread onto a piece of plastic wrap. Roll up into a log; store in freezer for future use.

Per serving: 120 calories, fat 9 g (of which 1.5 g is saturated), sodium 410 mg, carbohydrate 10 g, fibre 3 g, protein 2 g

Recipe source: www.pc.ca

Note: Compound butters are usually off the menu for people who are lactose-intolerant, but this one is made with lactose free margarine. You can slice frozen leftover spread into rounds and use as needed. Herb spread is delicious over seafood, grilled steak or steamed vegetables.

  

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