Last week I bought a flat of fresh strawberries from the farmer's market, along with some beautiful rainbow chard, broccoli, and sugar snap peas! We enjoyed having such quality and delicious produce to experiment with, and it got me thinking about some ethical food issues that I've been mulling over lately: eating local and eating food that is in season.
There are a host of benefits to eating locally and seasonally. It's fresh, healthy, and sustainable. But there are a few downfalls too, mainly having to do with cost. There is just no getting around the fact that it costs more to shop at a Farmer's Market and other local sources then to go to Superior's, Winco, or Food4Less (my main sources for cheap food). For Barry and I, operating on a very tight budget, it's hard to make the leap.
We haven't decided to convert 100% to eating local and in season - we're just not to that point yet. But we are much more conscious about where our food comes from. It feels (and tastes!) so much better to pay extra in support of local farmers than to have our produce shipped all the way up from Mexico, where they sprayed it with who knows what. And when it does arrive, it is covered in wax and far from fresh.
So for now, we've made a few changes to our food budget. We haven't increased it, but we have allocated more funds to a Farmer's Market trip once a month. We'll continue to reassess as time passes and make changes as needed. It's a step in the right direction, and I'm excited to see how it goes!
Now, back to the point: Fresh Strawberry Tarts! There's nothing quite like the simple joy of biting into a freshly made strawberry tart! It's strawberry season right now, and I'm planning to make the most of it!
Fresh Strawberry Tarts
Makes 4-5 small tarts
Makes 4-5 small tarts
Crust9 graham crackers, crushed4 Tbsp margarine, meltedHint: Usually I use a mixture of blended nuts for my crust. It's delicious and requires no added fat. If you run out of graham crackers or don't have any, blend 1-2 cups of nuts and skip the butter. You can also use a combination of nuts and graham crackers. That tastes splendid also!
Creamy Filling2 blocks tofu4 oz Cream Cheese (that happened to be the amount I had left. Use whatever you've got or not at all. If you skip the cream cheese, add extra vanilla flavoring.)Scant 1/4 cup sugarJuice of 1/2 a meyer lemon1/2 tsp vanilla flavoringStrawberry Sauce1 cup strawberries, washed and hulledSugar, to tasteJuice from 1/2 a meyer lemon
GarnishSliced strawberriesMint leaves
- Mix crushed graham crackers and butter in a bowl and press into small tart pans to create a firm crust.
- Blend tofu, cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla in blender until smooth. Pour into prepared tart crusts. Smooth with spatula or spoon.
- Blend strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a blender until smooth. Pour over top of the creamy filling in the tarts.
- Garnish with sliced strawberries and mint leaves.
- Chill & enjoy!