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Playing with Produce

Image of Organic Fruits and Vegetables Display
Every year for the past 20 years, I have been creating a produce display on the main stage of Merrill Hall at the Ecological Farming Conference in Pacific Grove, CA, using organic produce from the growers and distributors who attend. Each year we come up with a new idea and spend several weeks doing R&D and prototyping to make sure it will hold up for four days during the conference. Over the years, our display has taken many forms, from one that occupied the entire stage front to this year’s comparatively compact 4’x3’!

This year we decided to do something light and fun for people to engage with during the conference and hopefully bring a smile to their day.

The organic produce on offer this time around included:
Interested in seeing some of our past displays? You can check them out on my website — scroll to the bottom for the slide show!
Image of Organic Fruits and Vegetables Display (Sheep)
If this has inspired you to play with your produce, Melissa’s has everything we used (except the pumpkin) available right now. (We saved an heirloom pumpkin from our front porch fall display for the flames on the hot tub.)
Image of Organic Produce Display (Sheep)
Working on the display got me thinking about different recipes for using our extra cauliflower, parsley and radishes.

The first thing I came up with was parsley pesto, which I then tossed with cauliflower florets and roasted— and oh my goodness, this simple combination allowed me to mix and match so many different meal options for the week! If you want to try your hand at roasting cauliflower without using homemade pesto, here’s a very simple recipe from Melissa’s to get you started.

If you want to make sure you are selecting the best cauliflower heads, look for white, firm, compact heads that are heavy for their size. How much should you buy? To serve 4 to 6 people, you’ll need a head approximately 6 inches in diameter, which should weigh about 2 pounds.

Next, I tried Chef Andrew Faulkner’s Parsley Root and Puréed Potatoes. Yum yum! This would be a perfect addition to any meal you are planning this month.

Finally, I decided to dive into the remaining chayote squash leftover from the frog creation. So, I checked out Melissa’s website and found this very tasty Chayote Slaw. I now have a new favorite for my March Madness gatherings!

As you can see, playing with your food can take many forms. Enjoy your playtime— I’m going to finish juicing some organic Minneola tangelos for brunch tomorrow.
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