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June, 2011

Produce: The Perfect Picnic Partner

By Mark Mulcahy

Is it finally here? Summer that is. Well if not, it sure feels like it. And the nicer weather turns our thoughts to Father’s Day, baseball, camping, swimming and, of course, picnics and outdoor eating; which is why Melissa’s organic produce is your perfect picnic partner
.

It wouldn’t be a picnic without some sort of potato or pasta salad right? So let’s start with Melissa’s organic potatoes. For many of us, potato salad can seem like a pretty basic picnic side dish, but it can also be as elaborate as the work you want to put into it.

Potatoes
The first thing you have to do is choose the right potato. While Melissa’s organic russets are great for baking and fries, it isn’t the best potato for making into salads. The best salad comes from potatoes with high moisture content, otherwise known as waxy potatoes. Melissa’s Organic Red, Yellow Finn or Yukon Gold potatoes all fit into this category. Any of these should be great, as they are all being freshly dug and harvested right now. While many of us think fondly of potato salad because it tastes so good, it can also be good for you as well. After all, potatoes contain 45% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C, and 18% of the potassium that you need daily as well. The celery most of us add to this summer salad is 94% water, which means it also has a high amount of potassium, along with vitamins A and C, calcium, iron and fiber.

And if you put Melissa’s Organic Green Onions in your salad, you can count on getting a good source of B vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, and an excellent source of fiber, vitamins A & C, calcium, iron and potassium. How about pasta salad? If you add Melissa’s Organic Corn and Organic Cherry Tomatoes, they give you a lot for your money as well. Check this out: 1 cup of cherry tomatoes has 25% of your daily vitamin A and 32% of your vitamin C. Not bad for a little tomato that you can pop in your mouth while making dinner.

Cucumbers
Having burgers or hot dogs with your picnic? Top them off with some Melissa’s Organic Cucumber slices, tomatoes and sweet onion and you can cash in on the fact that cucumbers are rich in silicon, an element needed in our connective tissue. Interestingly enough, a lack of silicon reduces normal growth and inhibits repair of the skin, hair and nails. Perhaps Dad needs a few more cukes if he’s getting thin on top! Sweet onions contain less water than traditional onions so they don’t have as much sulfur, but they are still known for their ability to clean arteries, reduce clotting, and even lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Melissa’s Organic Slicing Tomatoes have vitamin A and C like cherry tomatoes, and are also a good source of vitamin E (alpha tocopherol), thiamine, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, magnesium, phosphorus and copper, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin K, potassium and manganese. So tell your dad and grads to pile on the extra veggies!

Sliced organic melons or tasty ripe organic peaches are a healthy choice that rounds out any warm weather meal. Take cantaloupes for example, which may be helpful to people with heart disease, because they contain an anticoagulant called adenosine. They are also very high in beta carotene, which ranks them highly as an anticarcinogenic food. With peaches’ yellow-colored flesh, it comes as no surprise that they are high in vitamin A and a good source of vitamin C.

Zucchini
If you’re grilling, then these other favorites have a lot to offer as well: zucchini, like most vegetables, is low in calories, but is also high in vitamin C and a good source of vitamin A. Portobello and crimini mushrooms are a good source of the antioxidant ergothioneine.

The list goes on and on, so whatever you choose for your picnic or cookout you know that the produce you include in the menu is going to be good for you and good tasting. The great part about this time of year is that you can’t go wrong no matter what Melissa’s produce item you choose in the produce department. And what better treat is there than a tasty and healthy summer meal with family and friends?

Quick Potato Salad

from http://allrecipes.com
This salad only takes 20 minutes to prepare and 5 minutes to cook.

INGREDIENTS
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
3 hard boiled eggs, peeled and diced
1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced
1 tomato, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1/4 onion, diced
1/4 cup green onion, chopped
3/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until soft, 6 to 8 minutes; drain and rinse with cold water. Combine the potatoes, eggs, cucumber, tomato, celery, onion, green onion, mayonnaise, and mustard in a large bowl; stir until evenly combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.