Last week I got to attend a cool little blogger meet-up with my friend Laurel (check out her healthy eating blog). It was hosted by Everyday Health and The Wellness Club at Whole Foods Market TriBeCa here in New York. They had representatives from Hudson Valley Harvest and Chef Laura Vitale come to discuss eating locally. I buy almost 70% of my ingredients from the farmers market so you know I didn’t need any convincing that eating local is a good way to go, but it was cool to learn about a couple of things and taste some delicious local produce.
The Wellness Club at Whole Foods
I had never heard of The Wellness Club at Whole Foods. There are currently five of these Whole Foods Wellness Clubs in the country. Essentially, The Wellness Club is a community and lifestyle program for people who are enthusiastic about healthy living (especially when it comes to food, but a little bit of everything else too) and who want to learn more. Members get all kinds of cool perks like a 10% store discount, a supper club, all kinds of cooking, nutrition, and other healthy living classes, as well as cooking demos and other community events. Definitely something I would look into if I lived closer.
Hudson Valley Harvest
Hudson Valley Harvest is a fairly new company located in upstate new York that sells minimally processed, local food. They source their food from a collection of sustainable, small-scale farms in their area and sell beef, pork, and flash-frozen vegetable products. I got to take home a bottle of their tomato juice. I’m very keen to try it as, believe it or not, I’ve only ever had the mass produced canned stuff. Local Bloody Marys anyone? Oh wait, we don’t make vodka here. Damn.
Laura in the Kitchen
Laura Vitale is a YouTube celebrity chef. She and her husband started her own YouTube show as a means to get her name out there so she could eventually publish the cookbook she dreamed of. This self-taught home cook’s show got a really great response and she is now very much a YouTube celebrity chef and a regular on the channel, “Recipe Rehab.” Laura talked a bit about her story and did a quick healthy cooking demo (well, technically a no-cook demo) using fresh ingredients from Hudson Valley Harvest. She made a raw corn salad which I thought was going to be okay, but it was surprisingly really flavorful and satisfying! Who knew raw corn could be so tasty with a bit of bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, cumin, cilantro, and lime juice?
One attendee asked her a great question–it’s easy to shop local in the spring and summer when farmers markets are full of exciting produce, but how do we get out of our kale and potato rut in the winter? Laura suggested switching up your preparation of a winter vegetable to keep some variety going so you don’t get bored of winter produce. I thought that was a really great tip and a reminder that we have no excuse not to shop local in the winter months! Thinking back, I definitely wasn’t bored of sweet potatoes this past winter. They were great baked whole, or as sweet potato fries, or mashed with kale and bacon, or as hash with sausage and eggs, or as mini egg bakes. You just need a little creativity, that’s all.