Increasing Access to Local Food – Teaching WIC families to make salad dressing from scratch

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In an effort to increase healthy cooking education and local agricultural awareness, AdkAction and Essex County Women, Infants, & Children (WIC) teamed up to present a delicious and nutritious “Quick Tips for Cooking with Local Products” demonstration at multiple WIC clinics on June 27th and 28th. 

AdkAction’s Farmacy Project Coordinator Kiana French gave a brief presentation on DIY salad dressings and croutons tasting opportunities for a variety of locally grown vegetables. “Having the opportunity to taste local, seasonal vegetables is one of the best ways to break out of your comfort zone in the kitchen. Many families left with multiple vegetables they had not experienced prior to this event” says Kiana French, Farmacy Project Coordinator for AdkAction. Kids, parents, and other participants enthusiastically snacked on local vegetables such as fennel, kohlrabi, pea shoots, and zucchini while sharing their own personal recipes and cooking techniques. 

The “Quick Tips for Cooking with Local Products” event was intended to raise awareness about local agricultural, as well as generate interest and enthusiasm about cooking with the local bounty the North Country has to offer. Participants received purchasing resources for local products, such as farmer’s market schedules, a how-to guide on cooking rice, grains, beans, and other items that can be bought in bulk, a month by month local availability cheat sheet for fruits and vegetables,  and an opportunity to purchase local food using farmer’s market WIC checks. Participants at the Keeseville event were also given a $10 coupon to be redeemed at the Keeseville Farmacy, the mixed-use storefront in Keeseville stocked with local products and pantry staples. Friday’s participants received meal kits consisting of farm fresh products to replicate the recipe demonstrations at the event. Families left the clinic with new kitchen inspirations, healthy recipes, and fridges full of fresh, local vegetables grown in Essex County. To expand on the mission of healthy cooking education, the Keeseville Farmacy will be hosting 2 cooking classes this summer geared toward cooking farm fresh food. 

A special thanks to Essex County WIC for coordinating this event, and also to Adirondack North Country Association for providing the funding for the take-home meal kits. 

AdkAction is a nonprofit with a mission to create projects that address unmet needs, promote vibrant communities, and preserve the character of the Adirondacks.  More info at AdkAction.org.

 

Keys to DIY Dressings

Choose your fat: 

Olive Oil

Avocado Oil 

Sunflower Oil 

Sesame Oil 

Plain Yogurt (may want to cut this amount and combine with an additional oil)

Mayonnaise (may want to cut this and combine with an additional oil)

 

Choose your acid: 

Lemon

Lime

Orange 

Any other citrus

Balsamic 

Red Wine Vinegar 

Rice Wine Vinegar

 

Choose your salt: 

Regular salt 

Soy Sauce/Liquid Aminos (best paired with sesame, avocado, or sunflower oil)

 

Choose your seasonings: 

Garlic 

Onions 

Ginger 

Black pepper

Herbs (fresh or dried)

Parmesan cheese

Honey 

Maple

 

Shake it up!

In a mason jar (with a lid), combine: 

  1. Use the 2:1 ratio to add your chosen fats and acids (2 parts fat, 1 part acid)
  2. Salt to taste
  3. Your chosen seasonings

Close the jar and shake it until the dressing is uniform (no longer has separate layers)

Taste- you may need to add more fat if the dressing is too sour, or more acid if the dressing feels too oily or thick! 

Experiment with the different seasonings and oils to find your favorite combinations! 

 

Honey Lemon Dressing

2 parts olive oil

1 part lemon

1 spoonful of honey 

Salt, pepper, crushed garlic and chives to taste

 

       Make your own croutons!

              1 loaf of bread 

              ⅓ cup of olive oil 

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cube the bread into inch sized pieces. TOss the bread cubes with olive oil, then spread them evenly onto a baking sheet. Toast for 18-22 minutes, and rotate the croutons to brown evenly on all sides. Bake until all sides are golden brown. Remove from the oven and season with salt, and herbs.

 

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