The economy is always a big topic of discussion. How do we continue to grow our economy, and keep profits growing in our local economy? Money is like our blood we need it to continuously be circulating, buying and profiting. If we want to keep money in our local environment, the solution is quite simple. Buy Local. Support your local community by buying at farm stands, farmers’ markets, local boutiques, and local restaurants. By consuming at these outlets, you are consuming at least 95% American made goods. Spend the extra money to help your neighbor and keep profits close to home. In the end the extra dollar you spend just grows your community, which increases your property value and your prosperity.
Now as a Massachusetts native, how can we make a difference in Massachusetts and increase our local economy? I propose we only consume local foods. What would it take to only consume locally grown food from Massachusetts farms and fisheries? Could we consume only Massachusetts produced food year-round and have a healthy sustainable diet?
For a healthy diet we must consume from the 5 food groups; vegetables, fruit, grains, protein, and dairy. Massachusetts produces food for all 5 food groups. So, it is possible to consume a daily diet by only eating local sourced food. In Massachusetts there are many dairy farmers producing milk for our various dairy products. We have farmers and fisherman who produce protein for us such as meat, chicken, eggs, turkey, and seafood. We have few farms in that grow grain, but many farms that grow potatoes which is a starch and can be substitute for grains. Massachusetts produces an abundance of fruit and vegetables; they specialize in cranberries, sweet corn, and apples.
Is it possible to do this year-round? Massachusetts has four seasons climate. Which means fruit and vegetables can only be produced seasonally. Therefore, it would be nearly impossible to consume a healthy sustainable diet, eating all 5 food groups with only consuming Massachusetts food in the off season. One could survive with consuming only locally sourced food year-round, but they would be lacking essential vitamins and minerals that we get from our fruit and vegetables that keep us healthy.
Are you up for the challenge to help grow our local economy? Try some of our recipes using only locally sourced food from Massachusetts.
|APPLE GOUDA STUFFED CHICKEN BREASTS WITH SMOKY ROASTED SWEET POTATOES
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (mine were 10 ounces each – shoot for 4-6 ounces per serving)
1.5 ounces gouda cheese, thinly sliced
1/2 large apple, thinly sliced (I used Honeycrisp – any firm apple will work)
1 teaspoon olive oil for chicken
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, more as desired for garnish
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 fresh ground pepper
For Sweet Potatoes:
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Spray a large baking dish or sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray. Split each chicken breast across but not through and open like a book (be careful, you can easily cut yourself doing this!). This is also known as butterflying. On one side of the chicken, lay out 7-8 thin apple slices followed by 4-5 slices of cheese. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme. Fold over and drizzle with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
3. Place the chicken breast on sheet pan and top with another sprig of fresh thyme if desired.
4. In a bowl, mix diced sweet potatoes with olive oil, smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon thyme leaves and sea salt until evenly coated. Arrange sweet potatoes in a single layer around chicken breasts.
5. Bake for 20 minutes and then stir sweet potatoes.
6. Continue to bake until the juices run clear from chicken and internal temperature of chicken registers at 165 degrees, about 10 additional minutes. Sweet potatoes should be fork tender.
|New England Clam Chowder
· 8-10 bacon strips, divided
· 2 Tbsp. butter
· 2 celery ribs, chopped
· 1 leek, finely chopped
· 1 large onion, chopped
· 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
· 3-4 small potatoes, peeled and cubed
· 1 cup broth (chicken or vegetable)
· 1 bottle (8 ounces) clam juice
· 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
· 1/2 teaspoon salt
· 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
· 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
· 2 cups half-and-half, divided
· 3 cans (6-1/2 ounces each) of whole clams, chopped into chunky pieces, drained
· Bay leaf
· Chopped fresh chives or green onions, for garnish
1. In a Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towels to drain; set aside. Add butter to the drippings (you can spoon out some of the drippings if you don’t want to uses that much); saute celery, leek, and onion until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the potatoes, broth, clam juice, salt, pepper and thyme. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
2. In a small bowl, combine flour and 1 cup half-and-half until smooth. Gradually stir into the soup. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened.
3. Stir in (drained) clams and remaining half-and-half; heat through (do not boil); turn down to low heat; add the bay leaf. Cook for additional 2-3 minutes on low heat. Add in 4 strips of crumbled bacon.
4. Crumble the reserved 2 strips of bacon. Garnish chowder with crumbled bacon and fresh chopped chives.
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