Stephanie Mandel
Special to The Union

Thankful for the food we eat

You wouldn’t expect to hear this from someone who works at a grocery store, but there’s more to Thanksgiving than food and being grateful for it.

Those turkeys, potatoes and cranberries don’t appear in the store by magic — an incredible amount of organization and toil makes it happen. So our thanks also are owed to the people who grow the food and for the soil and land that are the ultimate source.

Here in Nevada County, we can get disconnected from where food really comes from. Many of our farms are hidden from road view by our lovely trees and hills. These people are our closest connection to the food we eat and our key to better understanding of whole, nutritious food.

So as you plan, shop, cook and eat your Thanksgiving meal, save some room for being thankful for the farmers.

Our thank-you list includes 100 local and regional farms that bring in their fresh and healthful vegetables, meats, eggs, dairy products, grains, olive oil, wines and more. This year, we give thanks to:

— Weimar Farm, for the bounty of sweet potatoes and what must be the last slicing tomatoes of the season.

— Side Hill Citrus and Johansen Ranch, for the sweet Satsuma mandarins that cheer us like bright little orange suns.

— Shared Abundance Organic Farm, for the kiwis, full of vitamin C.

— Smit Ranch and Weimar Farm for the apples — Pink Lady, Fuji and Gold Delicious varieties.

— Riverhill Farm, Indian Springs Organic Farm and Johansen Ranch for the pumpkins and squash.

— Felix Gillet Institute, for the chestnuts.

— Bevitori Farm, for the sunchokes.

— Diestel Family Turkey Ranch, Mary’s, and BN Ranch for the turkeys.

— Johansen Ranch and Natural Trading Company, for the persimmons.

If you aren’t yet a persimmon person, here’s a quick review of this quintessentially fall fruit. There are two types that you’re likely to see, and it’s absolutely critical to know which type of persimmon you’re dealing with. Hachiyas have a pointy end and are only ripe when completely soft and even gooey. Eat one too soon, and you’ll be more careful next time. Persimmon cookies and breads are favorite ways use these fascinating fruits.

Fuyus are squatter in shape and ready to eat even when quite hard on the outside, like an apple. They can be sliced for salads, garnishes or a sweet snack.

Persimmon Cookies

Yield: 40 1-inch cookies

Prep time: 1 hour

1/3 cup organic butter

1/2 cup Sucanat

Egg

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup persimmon pulp (about 3 medium-size persimmons)

1 cup chopped nuts

1 cup dates, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine butter and sugar. Add egg and beat until well blended. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in persimmon pulp. Add flour mixture alternately with the persimmon mixture to the butter, sugar and egg. Fold in nuts and dates. Drop by teaspoon onto lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Recipe by Alicia Guy, PCC Cooks instructor. Source: PCC Sound Consumer December 200

Stephanie Mandel is marketing director at BriarPatch Co-op.


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The Union Updated Nov 26, 2013 10:14PM Published Nov 26, 2013 10:14PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.