Matoaka’s Healthy Lifestyle Committee partnered with Kelrae Farms this year to offer fresh, locally grown vegetables during selected school lunches. The program, which is part of a Local Produce Initiative started by the School Health Initiative Program (SHIP), and supported by the Matoaka PTA, parent volunteers, and the Matoaka cafeteria staff, has featured fresh kale, squash, sweet potatoes and many others this school year. Children have had the opportunity to sample vegetable dishes and learn about everything from local farms and farmers, gardening and healthy eating.
Thursday, May 3rd 2012 was Local Produce Day. Fresh, locally grown asparagus was offered as an option to the children purchasing a school lunch.
One serving of green asparagus provides an excellent source of Vitamin K, folate, Vitamin C and antioxidants. In fact, asparagus contains more glutathione than any other fruit or vegetable. This antioxidant plays an important role in the prevention of certain cancers and diseases, nutrient metabolism and regulating DNA and protein synthesis. Asparagus has the highest content of folate of any vegetable per one-half cup serving.
Asparagus cooks fast and grows fast! In the right conditions, asparagus can grow as much as one inch per hour — up to 12 inches in one day.
Recipe: Simple, Zesty Asparagus
* 1 bunch of medium sized asparagus, about 1 lb
* 2 Tbsp of the most exquisite extra virgin olive oil
* 2 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
* 1 teaspoon lemon zest – freshly grated lemon rind
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Prepare the asparagus by rinsing them thoroughly, break off any tough, white bottoms and discard. Cut into 1 to 2 inch sections, slicing the asparagus at a slight diagonal.
2. Fill a medium sized saucepan half way with water, bring to a boil. Add the asparagus and reduce heat slightly to a simmer. Parboil the asparagus for exactly 2 minutes. Drain the hot water. While the asparagus are still hot, toss them in a bowl with the olive oil, Parmesan, and lemon rind. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or room temperature.