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Holiday parties and feasts are quickly approaching. While it’s tempting to give up on all nutritional priorities this time of year, it’s important to fuel your body right. Fortunately, places like Star Hollow Farm offer local and seasonal produce that will do just that. Based three hours away from Washington, the farm's Community Support Agriculture (CSA) drives to the District on Saturday mornings to sell their produce at a market stand in Adams Morgan.
Liz Greenlaw, an integrative nutrition health coach who is board certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners, encourages people (including athletes) to eat seasonally and locally as possible.
“For one, you’ll be getting the most nutrient-dense produce available,” Greenlaw says. “Think of it this way: if your food has to travel across long distances to get to you (e.g. blueberries from California), it will surely lose some of its vitamin and mineral content during each day of transit. In addition, unless the produce is Certified Organic, your food is sprayed with synthetic pesticides and toxic chemicals. Yuck! So, not only is it better for you to get the current season’s produce from a nutritional standpoint, but it just tastes a lot better, too!”
The list below highlights five foods the Star Hollow Farm will sell this winter through their CSA and that athletes can benefit from this winter:
Randy Treichler, owner of the Star Hollow Farm, says there are 12 to 16 apples in season right now and if you keep them at the right temperature, they can last you "months and months."
“It’s absolutely prime time for apples,” Treichler says. “Each variety has a slightly different storage time but there are some apples that will be available through the winter to march. What a lot of people don’t understand is apples are a storage crop, which means a crop that you harvest when it’s ready. But then if you put it in the right conditions, it will just sit and keep for you for quite a while."
Pears are high in Vitamin C and another storage crop that will be available all winter long. According to Greenlaw, consuming fruits such as pears and apples is “crucial to fighting off infections and preventing seasonal colds.”
This winter, the Star Hollow Farm will grow kale and other lefty greens under high tunnels, which are greenhouses that use solar power. “They don’t have the negatives of burning fossil fuels but you’re catching solar heat and making use of solar power to grow greens that will take cold weather,” Triechler says of the farm’s high tunnels. While the high tunnels don’t freeze overnight this early in the winter, they eventually will, but that’s actually a benefit for vegetables such as kale. “Oriental mustard greens and kale, which seems to be everybody’s favorite these days, can freeze every single night. During the day as it warms up it thaws out again and it’s no worse for the ware. In fact, I think--and a lot of other people think--it tastes better because it gets sweeter.”
Loaded with Vitamin A and fiber, mustard greens are growing rapidly at the Star Hollow Farm. And that’s a good thing for athletes. Consuming leafy greens such as mustard greens and kale is critical for athletes because they’re high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
“In the winter time, our need for high-quality nutrients increases even more because our bodies have to combat cold weather and harsh winter conditions,” Greenlaw says. “For this purpose, dark leafy greens such as kale, arugula, Swiss chard and mustard greens serve as a great source of Vitamin A and fiber. They are also great sources of trace minerals such as magnesium, which is important for athletes, since magnesium plays a big role in controlling normal, healthy heart rhythms and muscle contractions.”
Six weeks ago, the Star Hollow Farm began digging up root vegetables and putting them in cooler boxes to preserve the moisture. Some of these root vegetables can be sold all the way into December but celeriac (also known as a celery root) is the exception.
“One of the best storage crop I’ve ever yet come across is celeriac," Treichler says. "Those will last into April of next year and not be noticeably different from today. In addition to its long shelf life, this vegetable is high in Vitamin C."
In addition to selling seasonal fruits and vegetables, the Star Hollow Farm will also sell local meat and eggs all winter long.
"While these fruits and veggies are great sources of natural carbs, starches and sugars, we must remember to pair them with healthy proteins and fats at each meal," Greenlaw says. She suggests pairing any of the items above with with "organic chicken, grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish and/or beans, as well as healthy fats such as coconut oil, grass-fed butter, and organic olive oil."
Recipes Courtesy of Liz Greenlaw.
Steamed Halibut with Kale & Walnut Dish (can be used as a side to any fish or chicken):
· 4 6-ounce skinless halibut fillets (or any other fish/chicken)
· 3 tablespoons olive oil
· sea salt and black pepper
· 1 lemon, thinly sliced
· 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
· 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
· 2 large garlic cloves, minced
· 1 1/2 pounds kale (about 8 cups), tough stems trimmed
- Heat oven to 400º F. Coat both sides of the fish with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Place in a single layer in a roasting pan.
- Season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Place the lemon slices on top and roast until the fish is opaque throughout, about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat.
- Add the walnuts. Stir occasionally until lightly browned, 3 minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside.
- Add the garlic and remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 1 tablespoon butter to the skillet. Cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the kale, ½ cup water, and ½ teaspoon salt and toss. Cook, covered, tossing occasionally, until wilted, 5 minutes. Stir in the walnuts. Serve with the fish.
Quick White Bean Soup with Swiss Chard and Tomatoes
· 2 pound(s) Swiss chard, large stems discarded and leaves cut crosswise into 2-inch strips
· 1/4 cup(s) extra-virgin olive oil
· 3 clove(s) garlic, thinly sliced
· 1/4 teaspoon(s) crushed red pepper
· 1 cup chopped tomatoes
· 1 16-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
· Sea Salt
1. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add the chard and simmer over moderate heat until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain the greens and gently press out excess water.
2. In the saucepan, heat the oil. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook over moderate heat until the garlic is golden, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil.
3. Add the beans and simmer over moderately high heat for 3 minutes. Add the chard and simmer over moderate heat until the flavors meld, about 5 minutes.
4. Season the stew with salt and serve.
Thanks to our contributors for this article, Starhollow Farm and Liz Greenlaw.
About Star Hollow Farm: “Star Hollow Farm is nestled two valleys into the Allegheny Range of the Appalachian Mountains in southern Pennsylvania. We’re in what’s called the ridge and valley region of the state, a good two hours west of Lancaster, which is where most people think of when they think of farms in Pennsylvania (and no, we’re not Amish). In our valley, farms are cut out of the woods; one ridge to the south the farms are larger, flatter, and have better soil. Oh well, the land there sells for about three times what we paid. Our farm is bordered on three sides by Sideling Hill Creek. Our 15 acres of fertile bottom land are irrigated by the creek when it’s dry and flooded by it when it overflows — something that has been happening all too frequently lately — we got nailed by Hurricane Irene and lost all our crops in those lower fields. The creek eventually joins the Susquehanna River and empties into the Chesapeake at Havre de Grace, Maryland.” Learning more by visiting their webiste: http://www.starhollowfarm.com/
About Liz Greenlaw: Liz Greenlaw, CHHC is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Board Certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. She works one-on-one with clients to develop personalized nutrition plans and help individuals reach their goals of living healthier and well-balanced lifestyles. For more information on Liz and her health coaching programs, visit her website: www.livewellwithliz.com.