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Mad about Melons

By at August 22, 2016 | 11:35 am | 0 Comment

Heart of GoldThis time of year we’re all mad about melons. In Nevada, the fruit is at its peak harvest right now. While farmers markets and produce aisles are packed with Casabas, honeydews and Crenshaws, here in Nevada, the Heart of Gold steals the show. The melon is an heirloom in the cantaloupe family, and one Nevada town even holds a festival in its honor. More on that later, but first, some history.

The cantaloupe was named after the town of Cantalupo, near Tivoli, Italy, a summer residence of the Pope. It’s thought that the melons originated in India and the Middle East. Christopher Columbus brought the first cantaloupe seeds to America on his second voyage in 1494.

Roland Morill, a Michigan farmer developed the Heart of Gold variety when he crossed the Osage melon with the Netted Gem melon in 1890. He was granted a trademark for it in 1914.

Homesteaders planted cantaloupes in the early 1900s and according to the Fallon Convention and Tourism Authority, O.J. Vannoy was first to grow the Heart of Gold in the Fallon area. They became abundant in the 20s and 30s.

chris holloman - girls with lattin farms melonsRick Lattin of Lattin Family Farms is quite familiar with the history of the Hearts of Gold. His family started growing the melons in the 50s. He says the area’s higher altitude gives Nevada-grown Heart of Gold melons better flavor.  His farm is one of just 12 Nevada family farms growing the crop today. While loved for their sweet juicy flavor, the fruit has a shelf life of just a few days, so shipping is difficult. As new varieties of hybrid cantaloupes have developed, the demand for the Heart of Gold has faded.  Hybrid varieties have a longer shelf life and still retain a sweet, juicy flavor.

While still a “boutique” crop, Heart of Gold melons are seeing a resurgence in popularity. The local food movement may be a big reason as organizations such as NevadaGrown work to educate people on where their food comes from, and eating seasonally and locally. You can also grow your own, as seeds are readily available.

Wrapped MelonThis month you’ll find Heart of Gold melons showing up at your local farmers markets. Be sure to take one home. You can enjoy the tasty fruit just as it is, or wrapped with prosciutto and drizzled with balsamic vinegar or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. You can find more ideas in the NevadaGrown cookbook NevadaGrown: A Year in Local Food.

cantaloupeAnd back to that festival. The Fallon Cantaloupe Festival takes place over the Labor Day weekend. The event celebrates the areas rich agriculture and history. Find out more at http://www.falloncantaloupefestival.com/.

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5 Things We Love About Edible Flowers

By at June 3, 2015 | 11:58 am | 0 Comment

Photo credit FineDiningLovers.com

Edible flowers make for the perfect garnish when you’re trying to add a touch of vibrancy to an ordinary dish. The range of flowers is surprising—some taste floral while others are surprisingly spicy. Have fun sampling the fare and mixing varieties to elevate any recipe. Here are a few reasons why we think you should start incorporating edible flowers to dishes.

Photo credit Chef’s Garden

1. Add a pop of color

The bright colors add a bit of excitement to a familiar dish. Surprise guests with a salad that incorporates purple and pink hues.

Photo credit Miso Bakes

2. Candied flowers

Flower petals can be crystalized and incorporated into sweet dishes like cakes and cookies. Try using pansies or violets for a sweet and elegant addition.

Photo credit Meg Thompson

3. Freeze them into ice cubes or popsicles

Add the colors of spring to ice cubes or popsicles by freezing fresh whole flowers. This is the perfect solution to jazz up a glass of water or add a touch of whimsy to a classic frozen treat.

Photo credit FineDiningLovers.com

4. Nutritional value

Many edible flowers such as nasturtium, daylily and dandelion contain vitamin C.  To get your daily dose, try adding nasturtium or dandelions to a salad.

Photo5_WinnieAbramson

Photo credit Winnie Abramson

5. Old school preserves

Use a mortar and pestle and a 1:2 ratio of fresh flowers to sugar for a classic preserve. Rose or lavender varieties are great choices for a sweet spread.   Check out your local farmers markets or ask your favorite farmers for NevadaGrown edible flowers. If you’re able to find this colorful treat, be sure to purchase it on the spot because this seasonal delicacy can be a rare find. Or try looking at Meadow Valley Farm in Moapa, north of Las Vegas, to get your flower fix. The farm also offers CSA Baskets with fresh produce options that sometimes include fresh edible flowers.

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CSA Baskets: A Partnership Between Farmers & Locals

By at March 30, 2015 | 11:02 am | 0 Comment

summer-basket

If you’re interested in having access to the healthiest food available and supporting local farmers, then community supported agriculture (CSA) is for you. CSA farms offer special programs to locals that educate about the growing process, while making sure buyers are stocked with the freshest seasonal ingredients. Programs offer weekly or bi-weekly CSA baskets filled with a variety of fresh produce and/or meats. Becoming a member of a CSA not only supports the local family farm, but also encourages a healthier lifestyle throughout the community. Partnerships like these help people eat seasonally, with ingredients that haven’t traveled thousands of miles to get to your plate.

Check out some CSA Basket options near you:

Girlfarm
1400 Long Valley Road, Reno, NV 89508
(775) 221-0001
contactgirlfarm@mac.com
www.girlfarm.org

Girlfarm’s Personal Farmer Program provides produce and meats to local families and restaurant owners. There are four CSA basket programs to choose from that each cater to different lifestyles. From there, members are able to select exactly what ingredients they want in their basket from a master list of all items. Sign up and get fresh Girlfarm ingredients in your kitchen!
Great Basin Basket CSA
775-867-3750
greatbasinbasketcsa@gmail.com
www.greatbasinbasketcsa.com

The Great Basin Basket program presents members with a variety of high-quality, seasonal produce grown on local sustainable farms. A variety of local farms provide farm-fresh produce to member baskets, with Lattin Farms certified organic farm being the main producer. Sign up for early or late season baskets on the website—or sign up for both seasons to keep the produce coming year round. Pay online for your basket and then pick it up either weekly or bi-weekly at pick up locations in Reno, Sparks, Carson City, Gardnerville and Fallon.

Mewaldt Organics
1750 Mclean Road, Fallon, NV 89406
775-867-3469
http://www.mewaldtorganics.com/

Mewaldt Organics’ Garden Goddess CSA program includes the freshest items from their harvest along with special requests being met as often as possible. Instead of paying upfront for the whole season, members pick up their basket on a bi-weekly basis for $25. Baskets feature a variety of produce, a flower bouquet and a newsletter to keep members up-to-date on current happenings at the farm. Depending on the season, packages will also often include fresh eggs and herbs.

Nancy’s Green Barn Farm
220 Bullion Road, Dayton, NV 89403
775-246-8456
nancy@nancysgreenbarnfarm.com
www.nancysgreenbarnfarm.com

Nancy’s Green Barn Farm offers weekly Subscription Farming CSA baskets from their Certified Naturally Grown produce. Those interested have the option of the pre-season basket for $10 a week, or the regular season basket for $20 a week. Members can pick-up their basket at the farm or arrange for it to be delivered for an additional fee.

Salisha’s Delicious Organic Produce
5862 MacPherson Lane, Fallon, NV 89406
775-867-5167
salishasdelicious@gmail.com
www.salishasdelicious.yolasite.com

Salisha’s Delicious Organic Produce CSAD program features fresh seasonal produce delivered on a weekly basis to your home or office in Fallon, Fernley or Reno at no additional charge. Baskets include produce primarily from their farm, but sometimes reach out to neighbor Pioneer Farms to make sure members always receive a diverse offering. Find other surprise goodies and well as recipes tailored to the items of the week. Basket deliveries start on April 29.

Get ready for the harvest seasons by signing up today for a CSA basket and take advantage of the sensational seasonal produce in northern Nevada.

Visit the NevadaGrown website and read about all of Nevada’s different CSA programs to find your perfect fit.

 

 

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Become a Member of the NevadaGrown Community—Reap the Benefits!

By at January 14, 2015 | 12:23 pm | 0 Comment

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With the eat local effort in full swing, it’s no surprise that more and more of Nevada’s best restaurants have been partnering up with NevadaGrown. Food conscious consumers are increasingly seeking restaurants to dine at that are cooking with local produce in order to show their support for farmers and the environment. This trend has truly benefited everyone in the restaurant supply chain— the farmer, restaurant owner, chef and diner. By signing up on NevadaGrown.com, your restaurant can become apart of the movement!

Once registered, your restaurant is entitled to all the perks! Since NevadaGrown has become the hub for people seeking establishments using fresh local ingredients, this listing will act as your public stamp of approval showcasing that your kitchen uses local food.

If this isn’t enough of an attraction, NevadaGrown restaurants are also mentioned in the media! The non-profit corporation features restaurant chefs on a regular basis on local TV interviews, the NevadaGrown website, and links these restaurants to its Facebook page under #NevadaGrown to keep followers in the know. With such a strong fan base of local eatery lovers, why not flaunt your use of local produce to all of Nevada?

You can sign up your restaurant on NevadaGrown.com today for free by simply taking a few minutes to add a listing.

News , Uncategorized

Trending in 2015: Sustainable, Local Food

By at December 29, 2014 | 4:47 pm | 0 Comment

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The local food movement was huge this year, and it’s not going away! Consuming local foodstuff continues to be popular across the country.

Consumers are opting to eat healthier triggering healthy food options to increase on menus across the nation year after year. Conscientious dining has triggered the movement of people seeking local food because it’s not only healthy for themselves, but also the environment around them. Minimizing impact through less waste, less travel gas and more money in local economy tops the laundry list of reasons why U.S. consumers are striving to eat locally.

So what does this mean for Nevada? A more connected relationship between local farmers and restaurants, ranchers and chefs, wineries and bartenders, and more in 2015.

Placing local food into your restaurant or business starts with a visit to NevadaGrown’s producers page and ends with happier, healthier guests. Get ahead on the 2015 trend, and call a Nevada farmer, rancher or producer.

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Food Industry Professionals Mingle At Greets & Eats

By at November 25, 2014 | 9:36 am | 0 Comment

greets_eats_final_logo_cropped

NevadaGrown launches Greets & Eats, monthly networking events to strengthen and increase awareness of northern Nevada’s local food system.

The mixers are held from 6 – 8 p.m. on the second Thursday of every month.

The debut mixer on November 13 successfully brought more than 100 food industry professionals together to learn about getting more local food into local business. Thanks to everyone who came out!

The next mixer is December 11 at Reno Provisions, Mark Estee’s newest business that is part restaurant, part gourmet grocery store, and part bakery and butcher shop. Food system professionals and advocates are encouraged to attend, including farmers, ranchers, chefs, restaurateurs, institutional buyers, food entrepreneurs and community members. Cost is $10 per person and includes appetizers and one drink.

The Dec. mixer at Reno Provisions features appetizers made with local food from Alpine Ranch, Glorious Garlic and Mewaldt Organics. Come out and meet the farmers behind the food!

Purchase your tickets here.

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About Nevada Grown

NevadaGrown is a nonprofit Nevada corporation whose mission is to foster the success of sustainable agriculture and to encourage healthy eating for Nevada's communities through education, support and promotion.

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