Talk of 'local food' is everywhere. In fact Indiana has designated the week of Sept. 2-8 as "Going Local Week." 'Local' is shorthand for an idea rather than a firm definition. Unlike organic standards, which entail specific legal definitions, inspection processes, and labels, local means different things to different people, depending on where they live, the growing season and the products of interest.
Indiana has an abundance of local foods. We have great produce, honey, wine, meats, and poultry. In Indiana there are now more than 100 communities that host farmers' markets. We are fortunate to have more than one market in Putnam County.
I enjoy getting to the Farmer's Market as often as I can, and have even joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) group this year. I know that many of you look forward to visiting the market too and that sometimes it almost feels like a party when those coming to shop also get to visit with friends, purchase and sample tasty treats, buy locally crafted gifts (for ourselves and others) and even listen to live music.
Our area Farmer's Markets have been in full swing for many weeks and though it has been an unusually challenging year for growers, we've still seen a nice variety of locally grown meats and produce throughout the summer. We may not have all gotten the quantities of sweet corn and green beans that we are used to this summer, but there is still a lot of nice fresh produce to be had and we should continue to find great locally grown food for weeks to come, so make a point of visiting a Farmers' Market and support our local farmers.
Here is an easy and tasty recipe that I enjoyed making recently that uses fresh eggplant, tomatoes, and onions.
Mediterranean Chicken with Eggplant
3 eggplants, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
3 tablespoons, olive oil
6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 onion diced
1-cup tomato diced
˝ cup water
2 teaspoons dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Place eggplant in a big pot of lightly salted water and soak for 30 minutes (this will improve the taste; they will leave a brown color in the pot).
2. Remove eggplant from pot and brush lightly with olive oil. Sauté' or grill until lightly browned and place in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Set aside.
3. Sauté' diced chicken and onion in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in tomatoes and water, cover skillet, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 400 degree Fahrenheit
5. Pour chicken/tomato mixture over eggplant. Season with oregano, salt and pepper and cover with aluminum foil. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
Visit our homepage at www.extension.pur-due.edu/putnam or you can contact the local Purdue Extension Office by calling 653-8411 for more information regarding this week's column topic or to RSVP for upcoming events. It is always best to call first to assure items are ready when you arrive and to RSVP for programs. While many publications are free, some do have a fee. All times listed are Eastern Time.
September 8 -- Junior Leader Completion Activity, A N' J Bowl, 5-9 p.m.
September 10 -- Extension Homemakers Leader Lesson "Helping Your Brain Work for You" 7 p.m. Extension Office
September 11 -- Putnam County Health Coalition 10 a.m. at Extension Office
September 13 -- Extension Homemakers County Council Meeting 7 p.m. at Extension Office
September 9-30 -- TSC Paper Clover Campaign
September 27 -- Extension Homemakers Achievement Night 6:30 p.m. at the Fairgrounds
October 1 -- Extension Homemakers Leader Lesson "Good Grief" 7 p.m. at the Extension Office
October 3-4 -- Bridges Out of Poverty Program, Prindle Institute (DePauw) pre-register by Sept. 26