An Affair with Fresh Produce
April 1st, 2012
Peggy Fiandaca

Like many of you, I grew up eating canned vegetables. Vegetable variety meant creamed or regular canned corn. Frozen vegetables, though available, were too expensive. Our cabinets were filled with canned corn, beans, peas, fruit medley, and peaches. Fresh produce was iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and on Fridays, fresh peppers and mushrooms on homemade pizza.

Dinner at my friends’ homes introduced me to a new world. Mrs. Maritato’s Italian stuffed zucchini and anchovy stuffed artichokes or Mrs. Tartol’s creamed spinach sent me down a path never to return to canned vegetables again. But it was my husband Curt that threw the door wide open while courting me with fresh produce. Who knew? He introduced me to Brussels sprouts, eggplant, chilies, asparagus, French green beans, sweet potatoes, wild mushrooms, and the spectrum of squashes from acorn to spaghetti.

Farmer's Market Bounty
  Today we have access to fresh fruit and vegetables year round. I don’t know what can be more important than ensuring that the food your family eats is the best quality possible.

You can find a Farmers’ Market selling straight from the farm produce any day of the week. On a recent visit to my market in Fountain Hills on the Avenue of the Fountains (every Thursday, October through May), I picked up some incredible Chioga beets.

The roasted beet salad I made was a celebration of spring in a bowl. The recipe is available at this link.

Like our wine that reflects the quality of the grapes in our vineyard, the food you eat should be made from quality produce. Get to know the people who grow the food you put on your family’s table. Buying local products has a direct impact on our economy and preserves America’s family farming heritage. Buying local, fresh produce, meat, or wines is good business and it keeps your purchasing dollars in our state.