There’s nothing quite like Summer in Minnesota... Hombres of lush greens are everywhere, and in my backyard garden, there is so much colorful food popping up. I’m lucky to raise boys, chickens, vegetables, flowers, fruit trees, and bushes and run farmers markets while experimenting with other suburban homesteading projects in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.
I have loved gardening since I was a little girl, especially helping my family pick raspberries from our field. Admittedly, I’ve had to cultivate my appreciation for weeding. 😉 But, for me the amazement of watching seeds turn in to food keeps growing with each new season. I find helping nature feed my family satisfies something in me that nothing else can. Being able to share the process with my kids makes it all the better, and of course, more challenging.
If Covid-19 has taught us anything, it’s that challenges can be where the joy is hiding. As high summer hits and there are literally pounds of food coming in from my garden every day, it can be overwhelming figuring out how to use it all. I know I’m not alone in wondering how I’m supposed to come up with Dinner. Every. Night. Especially when I’m feeding two kids, a meat and potatoes kind of husband, and a veggie-heavy eater like myself.
I will attest that my kids 100% eat more veggies if they grow them themselves. We all know how much better a homegrown tomato tastes or fresh picked strawberries, green beans, cucumbers… I could go on. And I do...on my blog Forks in the Dirt, I write about my two favorite subjects: growing your own and knowing your farmer. Combining these two puzzle pieces helps us eat local and healthy all year long.
I love growing my own and am lucky enough to have the yard space to grow lots of different food. But I understand not all of us want to garden, so I also love sharing ways to get to know your farmer. I’ve interviewed lots of local farmers, give tips on shopping farmers markets, how to decide if (and which) CSA is right for you, and of course, talk about the farmers markets I manage in our neck of the woods.
So, when I spend this much time and energy growing my own food or buying from local family farmers, I’m sure not going to mess it up with some kind of fake sauce or dressing. Yes, this is where Salad Girl comes in! I love knowing that whichever dressing of theirs I use, they are good for my family and the environment. And, they don't cover up the flavors of the veggies I’ve grown but enhance them.
I do make a killer strawberry vinaigrette of my own, and I can make a tasty Asian dressing with soy garlic and ginger, but the variety of flavors Salad Girl offers is way beyond me.
Right now, with all the summer garden bounty rolling in – and wanting to do all the beaching/camping/hiking/biking/exploring that we can - it can be a sanity saver to have an easy way to make the third night in a row of green beans taste amazing. Am I right!?! p.s. I’ve tried almost all of the Salad Girl vinaigrettes on beans and they are all 100% kid certified.
One of my tricks to making veggies fun all summer long is simply changing up the shape. Using a veggie peeler to make carrot or zucchini ribbons, a mandolin to shred or shave, or of course, a spiralizer to make those zoodles. This usually decreases or eliminates the need to cook the veggies too! My kids would not be eating grilled zucchini now if I hadn’t introduced spiralized zucchini noodles first. Starting with fresh, local, and organic produce sets you up for making it easy to eat your veggies!
For more easy ideas from a gardening mom on how to get your kids on the veggie train, check out a blog post all about this titled, Tips for Getting Your Family to Eat More Veggies.
Just remember, Food is Fun!
Looking forward to sharing more gardening, family, and easy cooking in the farm kitchen tips off and on with Salad Girl. Thanks for visiting, and Enjoy Summer!
Here are a few of the ways I’ve used Salad Girl so far this season:
Fennel, Arugula, Parm + Salad Girl Crisp Apple Maple
Three Bean Salad + Salad Girl Citrus Splash
And, of course, Salad Girl Dude Ranch on everything for my kids…