Switching to organic vegetables made me realize how much better they taste when you are eating them fresh and in season. -Stephanie Suire
Today, we’d like to introduce you to Stephanie Suire who picks up her co-op style produce at our Irving farm stand. Stephanie is a full-time career mom of two young kids and a part-time healthy living blogger. She joined Urban Acres at the beginning of 2011 and has called the farm store several times to figure out what new foods were in her bin. She is still scared to cook beets. After joining Urban Acres, her daughter decided that her new favorite snack food is kale chips.
Stephanie, tell us what inspired you to become a part of Urban Acres.
I noticed the Urban Acres flyer at Irving Bible Church (IBC) one Sunday. A few weeks later, my husband and I visited the Urban Acres farm stand location to find out more about the produce co-op. My main goal was to include a wider variety of fruits and vegetables in our family’s diet. Eating more local and seasonal foods also sounded good, but since I am not a native Texan, I was not familiar with what foods are in season. Becoming a part of Urban Acres encourages our family us to try new vegetables, teaches us about what foods are in season and allows us to us support local Texas farmers.
When and why did you decide to start eating real, wholesome food?
About a year ago, I got fed up with feeding my family fast food or ordering take-out for dinner all the time. As a family with two working parents, it can be easy to fall into these habits out of convenience. My husband and I decided that with two young children, it was our responsibility to start teaching them about nutrition and healthy food choices. Now we eat organic meat and produce, cook healthy meals at home and pack our own food on road trips so we do not have to stop for fast food. Several months ago, I started a blog called Food and Fitness 4 Real where I write about our journey towards healthy living. On my blog you will my food philosophy, fitness tips, and healthy recipes (using Urban Acres produce of course!)
What is your favorite part about the “co-op style” produce?
My daughter and I both look forward to discovering what is in the produce bin each week. We have been introduced many new (to us) vegetables like kale, collards, swiss chard, turnips and beets. My second favorite part is coming up with new recipes for the produce, especially kid-friendly recipes that both my 5 yr. old daughter and 2 yr. old son will eat.
What is your favorite fruit? Favorite veggie? Why?
Blueberries have become one of my favorite fruits since we joined Urban Acres. Not only is it high in antioxidants, but it is very versatile too! I put blueberries in my warm oatmeal for breakfast, layer them with Greek yogurt and granola for parfaits, bake them into muffins and bread, stir them into pancake batter, or just eat them plain as a sweet treat.
Since I can’t pick one, I am going to call it a tie between sweet potatoes and carrots. Switching to organic vegetables made me realize how much better they taste when you are eating them fresh and in season. Now my husband and daughter both enjoy broccoli, squash and zucchini where in the past they would pass on these vegetables at dinner.
Do you have any produce tips for our other members?
- Don’t be afraid to start with a half-bin or share a full bin with another family or friends. Yes, there will be vegetables that you don’t recognize in your bin so don’t be scared to contact Urban Acres and ask questions.
- Prepare new vegetables several different ways to experience different flavors (did you know that roasting vegetables brings out their natural sweetness?)
- Keep your membership for an entire year so you can learn to eat real, wholesome food every season.
Please share your current favorite “real food recipe” with us.
Two of my favorite and most requested recipes are featured on Food and Fitness 4 Real. The first one is Vegetable Lasagna with a rich tomato sauce loaded with fresh vegetables. Although this version is vegetarian, you could add ground turkey or low-fat ground beef to the sauce before you assemble the lasagna. My husband and kids loved these hearty, cheesy dish and the leftovers were gone in a flash!
Blueberry Banana Muffins features my favorite fruit and is an easy recipe to make with kids. Cooking and baking with children is a great way to encourage them to try new foods. Kids will almost always try any food that they help make! These muffins were extra moist from the mashed bananas in the batter and full of fresh blueberries.