The Holland Famer’s Market has been one of my favorite places in the world to visit, and especially in the fall when my daughter was young. The vendors were so impressed by her excitement to try fresh food that she would come away with fists full of radishes, carrot greens, and fruit for days! One of the best times to visit the market was on a weekday when we could easily arrive mid-morning, take our time walking up and past all the vendors on each side. In those moments, I would wish for my daughter to be bigger, thinking, “it would be easier then…” Suddenly, seasons turned into years, and now I’m staring down the days until my fresh-food loving girl turns 16! We rarely find time to enjoy the market like we used to; most weekends are spent driving her to and from events and friends. And, spoiler alert: there’s nothing easier about bigger kids :)
This past weekend, while she was away doing her own ‘thing,’ as teens tend to do, I was fortunate enough to teach a yoga class in the quiet town where we enjoyed living for a couple of years. Everything about being in this town is a little bit smaller and, also, bigger. When I finished teaching my class, it was still early enough to catch the weekly Farmer’s Market. While the market here is mostly seasonal, they’re blessed with a fantastic set up that includes a permanent cover and Artisan Fair. While the market usually consists of what appears to be only a few vendors, we left with bags brimming! We were able to haul away carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, celery and an incredible loaf of apple butter cinnamon bread. While it was easier to maneuver, I found myself lovingly watching the families with their little ones and found myself wishing for the past.
Maybe that’s why comfort food takes center stage in the fall? To help us feel okay knowing that the ‘next season’ is ever-closer. Maybe the certainty of the food helps us feel okay with the uncertainty of what’s next. Whether it be our children growing, our jobs changing or simply the seasonal shift, maybe comfort food is more about stability and security during these transitions. While we may never quite get this all figured out, I do know this: buying food that is locally grown makes our hearts happy; fueling one of our favorite places just feels right; and, knowing that our soon-to-be 16 year-old will love whatever comfort dish we make with these fresh grown veggies is even better!
While it’s hard, sometimes, to watch the kids grow up and the wrinkles move in, it’s moments like these when the air is brisk, and the vegetables are ripe, and the morning is young when it feels like it’s all going to be okay. And, when we do sit down to enjoy our root vegetable feast, we will be comforted to know that it is what’s around the table that gets us through each season.
These two slow cooked root vegetable dishes bring out satisfying sweetness like a cinnamon roll without the dreaded gut-rot, headache and bloat. Audrey and I recommend you try both of them at different times, but take note: The purple veggies bleed and will turn everything next to them a lovely shade of pinkish blue. It’s easy enough to cook them on their own pan or omit all-together if feasting with the eyes is part of the plan!
Rustic Roasted Roots
By Jane Robrahn
3 large sweet potatoes, peeled, chopped,
4 large carrots, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
4-5 parsnips, (depending on size) peeled and chopped
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
Sea Salt, to taste
Black pepper, fresh ground to taste
Add potatoes to the first of two large bowls. Place remaining vegetables in second large bowl. Over each bowl, pour over olive oil, salt and pepper then toss to coat evenly. Add to sheet pans(lined with parchment paper if desired). Roast at 425 for 35-45 min. or until fork tender. Once roasted, these can be added to anything!
“rustic” pot pie
Olive oil, to coat the pan
Roasted root veggies
3-5 sheets whole grain puff pastry
Organic, grass fed melted butter or ghee(optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a medium cast iron skillet with olive oil. Place sheets of puff pastry to cover the bottom. Fill with roasted veggies. Optional: sprinkle in roasted chicken or pork. Cover with another 3-5 sheets of dough. Brush top with oil, ghee or melted butter. Place skillet in 375 degree oven for 15 minutes or until pastry is lightly browned and crispy.
PS-veggie loving daughter gobbled this down in record time!
Garlic Baked Roots for a Crowd
By Audrey Byker Health Coach
15 cups of root vegetables:
-Sweet potatoes, scrubbed and chopped
-Carrots, scrubbed and chopped (try rainbow for something different)
-Red or yellow skin potatoes, chopped
-Beets, peeled and chopped
-Parsnips, scrubbed and chopped
Garlic, peeled and left whole, as many as you prefer
Olive oil, a generous drizzle
Black pepper, fresh ground
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, toss together vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper. Add to 9x13 pan then cover with foil. Bake in the oven for 30-40 min, setting timer to check and stir half-way. Continue to roast until vegetables are fork tender or reach desired consistency.