Posts Tagged With: vegetables

Eating your fruits & veggies in 2014

A few weeks ago, the Indianapolis Star published an article by Karen Fernau about new year’s resolutions and eating.  Fernau noted that diet resolutions often focus on foods we shouldn’t consume, and she goes on to recommend a different route.  Instead of focusing on foods to cut out of one’s diet, why not strive to incorporate new, healthier foods into your daily eating habits?

Photo credit: Christman

Photo credit: Christman

In the article, Fernau encourages people to add kale, canned sardines, garbanzo beans, tofu and almond milk.  While all those are practical suggestions worth noting, I started to wonder what Indiana agricultural products I should focus on adding to my diet.  Indiana is home to more than 30 fruits and vegetables that would make healthy additions to almost any diet.  Here are my top five.

Blueberries: Blueberries are the perfect low-calorie, antioxidant-packed snack.  In 2011, Indiana produced 1.6 million pounds of these scrumptious berries.  Best Health notes that blueberries help reduce the risk of colon cancer, prevent hypertension, reduce belly fat and fight off disease.  Sprinkle blueberries on your cereal, munch on them at work and/or mix them with some plain yogurt and drizzle with honey.

Watermelon: Obviously, Indiana watermelons won’t be found on the grocery store shelves this time of year, but make sure they’re on your list this summer!  Indiana is a top producer of this crispy pink fruit.  Watermelon is a personal favorite and helps keep me hydrated during our hottest months.  Not only is watermelon an excellent source of vitamins A, C and B6, it also has the highest concentration of lycopene of any fresh fruit or vegetable, according to Discovery Fit & Health.

Apples:  An apple a day keeps the doctor away… or so the saying goes!  But what are the health benefits of the apple?  Eating Well  explains that apples aid weight loss, help keep the heart healthy and serve as a source of soluble fiber.  In 2011, our state produced more than 20 million pounds of apples.

Tomatoes: As a leader in tomato production, look for Indiana  tomatoes throughout the summer and don’t forget to purchase Red Gold tomatoes (an Indiana ag-business) for your canned tomato needs.  Tomatoes are a rich source of lycopene, and cooking tomatoes enhances their nutrients.

Cucumbers:  Full of vitamins C & K and potassium, cucumbers are a refreshing and hydrating vegetable choice.  Personally, I enjoy slicing up half of a cucumber and putting it in a cold pitcher water for a satisfying beverage option.  Cucumber is also a great dipper for hummus.

These are some of the fruits and vegetables that I’m planning on eating more of this year.  What foods are you interested in eating more of in 2014?

Categories: From the Field to Your Fork, Informational | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

5 tips for picking the right pumpkin to carve | Guest Post


Logan at Governor Pence’s Pumpkin Patch on Tuesday

Logan Garner is a program manager for ISDA’s environmental stewardship team.  Today, he shares his “Top 5” for selecting a good carving pumpkin.  Enjoy!

Logan’s tips for selecting the perfect pumpkin

5. Make sure it’s free of disease.           

No one likes a knobby, spotty pumpkin–unless you just feel sorry for it (or you’re going for that Boris Karloff look).

4. Look for one with a healthy stem and a flat bottom.

I like my pumpkins to sit level (or even look up a tad) and have a strong stem for grabbing and opening the top.  Some folks like to carve out the bottom and place the opening directly over the candle, which eliminates the “flat bottom” issue, but I was raised on the “lobotomy” method: scoop out the brains and guts from the top.  It just feels more Halloween-y that way…or maybe I’m just afraid of change.

3. Go for that nice bright (but light) orange.

A uniformly-colored pumpkin is a no-brainer, but also keep in mind that pumpkins tend to darken as they expire (a process which speeds up big time once you’ve carved your Jack-o’-Lantern and exposed its insides to the air).  A deep yellow-orange is my go-to color to ensure that I don’t have a rusty looking pumpkin hiding in the dark by Halloween.

2. Go big.

This one’s pretty simple but very important, at least to me.  I like big pumpkins because they aren’t as tedious to gut or carve.  They also have more seeds, and I love roasted pumpkin seeds!  Why let them go to waste?

And finally the most important tip…

1. Choose a good canvas!

That means after carefully narrowing down your selection, choose the pumpkin with a flat, wide “face” on it to carve, well, a face!  Maybe it’s the lazy-man’s approach, but I find that by avoiding really rounded or bulbous sided pumpkins, I don’t have to worry about that pesky problem of potentially disproportionate facial features (read: I’m not an artist and need all the help I can get).

 Need a place to pick a pumpkin with your family? Check out this post from Indy with Kids.

Categories: From the Field to Your Fork, General, Informational | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Worth a thousand words

Fall Cover Crop by Smith

Fall Cover Crop by Smith

To say that farming has changed over the last 200 years would be an understatement.  We all know it’s happened, but what do these changes look like? 

Every year, ISDA sponsors a statewide photo contest that allows participants to submit their best photos of agricultural life in Indiana.  Categories include Conservation, On the Farm, Faces of Agriculture and Agritourism.  Each of this year’s 13 winners offer a glimpse into what farming in the 21st century looks like.  Below are three of my favorite photos with a bit of my personal commentary.

 Fall Cover Crop, taken by Evan and Jessica Smith of Kokomo, Ind., captures a modern application of cover crops.  Indiana is quickly becoming a leader in the use of cover crops.  Cover crops are simply crops that are grown between the rows of traditional crops like soybeans and corn. This practice, which dates back to ancient India and China, reduces wind and rain erosion, improves soil structure and reduces the soil compaction.

Taken at Turkey Run State Park by Scott Roberts, In the Pouring Rain shows the natural beauty that can be found throughout our

In the Pouring Rain by Roberts

In the Pouring Rain by Roberts

state.  As I look at this photo, I’m reminded that a key element of agriculture is conservation.  Like it says on our website: “Stewardship of the environment is key to the continued viability of agriculture for generations to come.”  Farmers and agribusiness know that better than anyone and strive to serve as wise stewards of the land and preserve beautiful places like this nook at Turkey Run.

At the heart of farming and agribusiness is community.  That’s what’s communicated in Kristie Spear’s photo Honor System.  Without a doubt, a vital component of agriculture is economics and sound business principles.  But deeper than that is a desire to serve one’s neighbors and contribute to the welfare of the local, national and global community.  And for one farmer in Parke County, that means putting her vegetables on a table and trusting people to pay what’s due into a tin can.

It’s said that a picture is worth a thousand words.  And these three photos do much to describe the beauty and innovation of modern agriculture.

Are there any photos that you think capture the essence of farming in the 21st century?

Honor System by Spear

Honor System by Spear

Categories: Farming in the 21st Century | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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