One if the best things about Community Supported Agriculture is the support of a community — that is, a group of people with a wide range of experience and expertise who come together over a fundamental endeavor, like eating. This post comes from a member of our CSA community who knows a lot about how different people react to different foods — and how to avoid problematic reactions. Our thanks to Nicole Seevers for sharing her expertise; we encourage other members to share theirs as well.
Got Allergies? Eat Real Food.
By Nicole Seevers, www.colesmoveablefeast.com
My family has been visiting Great Country Farms for nearly ten years. We love everything about it: the rope swings, the goats, pick-your-own! A few years ago I decided to take the next step and sign up for a CSA share. We love getting our box of ripe local produce every week, and my kids especially love taste tests . . . our CSA cantaloupe vs. the grocery store cantaloupe that was picked 2000 miles away before it was ripe. You can guess which one wins.
Eating real, locally-grown food became important to me when we realized our son Cole is allergic to dairy, eggs, nuts, buckwheat, sesame and shellfish. While Cole’s allergies were obvious, many people suffer from hidden food allergies that over time affect their health and leave them feeling exhausted. The eight most common food allergies identified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are dairy, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans. Sesame seeds are right on their heels as number nine. If you suspect you have an allergy or intolerance, listen to your body (or your child’s complaints). Pay attention to dark circles under your eyes, chronic congestion, unexplained stomach or head pain, and find a good allergist. Then: eat real food. It’s that simple. I spent many years trying to find allergy-free everything for Cole, and found myself feeding him overpriced, over-processed “food.” Sometimes he would react to a food for no apparent reason, because I didn’t realize “seasoning” or “natural flavors” could contain allergens. While the FDA requires labeling of the eight most common food allergens, there are often risks of mislabeling, cross-contamination from shared equipment and the like.
So I started baking … and it eventually led me to launch Cole’s Moveable Feast, a bakery for people with food allergies. Nothing off the grocery store shelf beats a homemade cake or cookie made with real ingredients. And when you can throw some of your CSA goodies in, it’s even better! Here is one of my favorite summer recipes ~ pick up some locally-grown fruit and enjoy!
Peach Blackberry Cobbler:
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 ½ c. granulated sugar, divided
1 t. baking powder
½ t. salt
6 T. cold butter (or non-dairy margarine like Earth Balance Buttery Sticks or Fleischmann’s)
¼ c. boiling water
2 T. cornstarch
scant ¼ c. cold water
1 T. lemon juice
2 c. fresh blackberries, rinsed and drained
2 c. peeled sliced peaches
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Whisk together flour, ½ c. sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter or margarine until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in ¼ c. boiling water.
In a cast iron skillet, dissolve the cornstarch in cold water. Mix in remaining cup of sugar, lemon juice, peaches and blackberries. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Spoon dough onto fruit mixture. Place skillet on foil-lined baking sheet and bake 25 minutes until dough is golden brown.