A recipe to #ToastAFarmer on #WorldFoodDay – a gold and green fall salad from Alberta family farms

Poplar Bluff Farms organic beets - photo - Karen Anderson
Poplar Bluff Farms organic beets – photo – Karen Anderson

It’s World Food Day.

Family Farms: feeding the world and caring for the earth is the theme of World Food Day as the United Nations is celebrating 2014 as the International Year of the Family Farm.

In this post I’m going to give a recipe for a Gold and Green Salad to celebrate the bounty of produce we can access from Alberta family farms but first I’m going to talk a bit about what World Food Day is really all about – ending hunger.

Blessed with bounty photo - Karen Anderson
Blessed with bounty
photo – Karen Anderson

Today is a day to take action against world hunger. 840 million people in the world are hungry today. They’re hungry a lot of days. They’re hungry most days.

My husband is the kind of person who can go days without eating. He just sort of turns off a button in his brain and functions. I can’t fathom that.

If I’m hungry my stomach growls, I salivate, I get a little headache and I know that if I don’t eat soon I’ll get irritable bordering on h-angry not just hungry. I eat every few hours. I carry nuts and fruit in my purse and car to avoid that gnawing, nauseating sink hole of a feeling that is hunger. When I think about eating less I can’t stop thinking about eating more.

Today, I’ve stopped to think about how desperate I would feel – all the time – if I had to live any day hungry, let alone most days of my life hungry.

Today, I’m feeling blessed to live with bounty in my life. I have access to an abundance of beautiful food here in Alberta. I’m grateful for the family farms that feed me and my family. I’m grateful to have the resources to eat well.

The actions I’m taking to celebrate and join with the United Nations goal of ending world hunger by 2030 are as follows:

I’ve joined the social media campaign to raise awareness for the work and importance of family farms here in Alberta and worldwide.

I’m toasting the Alberta farmers I know and love with the hashtag #ToastAFarmer

I’ve donated to an education fund for the next generation (missing generation) of Alberta farmers via Farmon.com

I wrote and broadcasted a segment for Alberta at Noon about World Food Day yesterday. I felt very privileged to do so.

I’m renewing my commitment to shopping for local produce first, last and always.

It’s been exactly three hours since I last ate and I’m caving. I feel yucky (not a brilliant word but my brain regresses when I’m hungry).

My stomach, mind and soul ache for the 840 million people in the world that can’t simply walk to their fridge and get something to eat. We can and we can fill that fridge with produce from our local family farms to keep them farming and ensure there will be a next generation of Alberta family farms.

Our own food security will depend on how we spend our dollars now.

Now onto a recipe to inspire you to go to a farmer’s market, farm gate or to just start reading labels to see how close to home you can buy your food.

the makings of a great pesto - photo - Karen Anderson
the makings of a great pesto – photo – Karen Anderson

Gold and Green Salad

I’ve used arugula, baby kale, spinach and parsley in the greens part of this salad – you can substitute other herbs and greens depending on what you have on hand.

3 lb bag of golden beets
2 cups baby arugula
2 cups baby kale
1 cup parsley
1 cup baby spinach
4 garlic cloves
½ cup cashews
½ cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
4 oz fresh goat cheese

Steam the beets by placing them in a shallow roasting pan and adding an inch of water, cover the pan with foil then place in a 350F oven for 1 – 2 hours until they are soft when pierced.
Trim and remove the skins of the beets using a paring knife and your hands and by dipping them into a bowl of chilled water. Set the cleaned beets aside.
Put the arugula, kale, parsley, spinach, garlic, cashews, olive oil and about a half teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a food processor and process to desired consistency adding more olive oil as needed.
Arrange the beets on a platter and drop teaspoons of the green pesto alternating with teaspoons of fresh goat cheese.
Drizzle with more olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
You can also arrange the beets, pesto and cheese on a bed of greens as an alternate way of serving this dish. With the bed of greens and a few roasted cashews tossed around the plate would be nice if you want to turn this into a main meal for lunch.

Golden beets with very green pesto and Noble Meadows soft goat cheese - photo - Karen Anderson
Golden beets with very green pesto and Noble Meadows soft goat cheese – photo – Karen Anderson

Thank you to my friend Penny Marshall for bringing me these beets from her garden at Highwood Crossing Farm in Aldersyde, Alberta.
Thank you to my friend Marianne Spoletini for teaching me to make this very green pesto which I made using Hotchkiss Farms arugula, kale and spinach from my friend Tilly Sanchez’s garden and parsley from my own herb garden.
Thank you to Carolyn Van Driesten at Noble Meadows for making her delicious goat’s cheeses.
Thank you to Anita And Ben Oudshoorn of Fairwinds Farm whose goat cheese I also love and frequently use.

Thank you to you for reading my blog.

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