Easing into August in a Sustainable Manner

ProfessorHard to believe that the market will be half way through the season this Thursday August 1, especially when the produce is just getting into the full swing of things!  Come out for more of a sustainable market day with a couple of business/organizations helping you to learn more ways of conserving energy and resources we have around us.

New at the Market this Week:

  • Independence Renewable Energy will be coming out to explain what they do and have Professor Norm answer your questions when it comes to renewable energies and what you can do around your home and work!
  • Habitat for Humanity’s Restore will also be present showing how you can donate, recycle your electronics, and but gently used items at their store on route 31 to keep our landfills clear!
  • CORE Project dancers will be performing 10am – noon around the market!GW07
  • Guitarist/Singer Greg Wheaton will be performing as well between 10am – noon.
  • New vendor Early Bird Farm will be out at the market this week with their pork products and the famous Mirai corn from Twin Garden Farms in Harvard, IL.

The Usual But Fantastic Suspects at the Market:

  • ABHS Logo New Tag.pdf20+ Vendors who’s products are in full swing! Go to our vendor tab to see who they are and where they come from!
  • Alexan Brothers Health Systems and Maximized Living/Judge Family Chiropractic will be doing various FREE health screenings to check up on your health!
  • Davey Tree Expert Company will have their Arborist on hand to answer your questions and let you know what services their company provides.
  • Shared Harvest – Elgin Food Cooperative will be out letting you know of their Shared Harvest_Logo_FullColor_Tagvision for a local foods grocery store and are also selling shares to get this store on the move!
  • Rainbowland: Adventures at the Market kids program will be starting at noon with their three various stations run this week by the Centre of Elgin, Greater Elgin Family Care Center, and Chef Quincy Owens with NIU assistants.
  • AFAlogocompleteArt at the Market is still present with Art for All and Side Street Studio Arts – who also help with the kids program!
  • And when they can the Elgin Fire Department usually comes out for an hour or two to show their trucks and latest equipment.


I love avocados. It amazes me how versatile the fruit can be in regards to delicious recipes and health benefits. You could use it as a spread for burgers or sandwiches rather than the usual condiments, such as mayonnaise. For example, CC Angus Beef, LLC has some wonderful ground chuck patties that would go nicely with a few slices of avocado. Or you could make a delicious turkey or chicken sandwich with pasture-raised meat from Naturally Naked and spread some creamy avocado on whole wheat bread from Breadsmith. For a flavorful salad, try heading over to Trogg’s Hollow and purchase your favorite leafy greens, such as arugula or spinach, and add sliced avocado into the mix. avocado

Some also enjoy their avocados in smoothie or milkshake form. A simple smoothie recipe that I would suggest for you to try is to blend one avocado with a cup of milk, half a cup of vanilla yogurt, three tablespoons of Reader’s Apiaries’ locally produced honey, and about two cups of ice cubes. Another trick is to try adjusting your favorite fruit smoothie or milkshake with the use of an avocado. Say you have a soft spot for raspberry smoothies. I would suggest on heading over to Grace Farm Studios and purchasing their organically grown raspberries. Take about half a cup of the raspberries and freeze them by following a certain procedure, which is easily searchable online. Just look up “how to freeze raspberries whole” and you will receive several similar results. When the raspberries are completely frozen, take one whole peeled and pitted avocado and puree it with ¾ of a cup of orange juice, ¾ of a cup of raspberry juice, the frozen raspberries, and voilà! You have yourself a delicious, mouthwatering raspberry-avocado smoothie!

guacamoleThen there is the typical use of avocados that I am sure many of you are familiar with, guacamole. To get the best ingredients for your guacamole recipe, I would suggest purchasing your spices, such as cayenne pepper and cumin, from our vendors Let’s Spice it Up! Not only will you be getting a good deal on a greater quantity, but you will be receiving a product that has not been sitting on aisle shelves for quite as long. As for Windy Acres Farm and Stojan’s Vegetables, tomatoes seem be one their top-sellers, so definitely look to one them for that ingredient in your guacamole recipe.

Now, let’s switch gears and talk about the health benefits that avocados have to offer. There are over 20 nutritional benefits that have been researched and proven. For instance, avocados provide several nutrients such as fiber, vitamin K, folic acid, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin E, niacin, and riboflavin. Vitamin B5, or pantothenic acid, is extremely beneficial in that it assists in breaking down carbohydrates. Furthermore, consuming avocados with other foods will enhance the absorption of nutrients such as carotenoids alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, which are precursors for vitamin A. Vitamin A is beneficial in the maintenance of vision, the immune system, bones, and skin.

Avocados also allow for better absorption of an antioxidant called lutein, which plays an essential role in skin and eye health. Most importantly, avocados are one of the very few foods that are a natural, healthy source of fats. This source of “good” fats help to maintain healthy cholesterol and blood glucose levels. As a result, by consuming avocados regularly, one could lower their risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. There has been research done to prove that monounsaturated fat in avocados are beneficial in reducing the chance of cancer on the basis of its assistance in absorbing carotenoids. Its anti-inflammatory properties may even suggest that it has the ability to fight liver damage, as proposed by a study conducted in Japan.

It may come as no surprise that avocados can indeed be referred to as a “super fruit”. Just to clarify, avocados are in season for several months from spring through fall. When selecting an avocado, it is important to understand that this fruit ripens quickly, in a matter of a few days. So, if you are purchasing avocados and are not planning to make use of them immediately, I would suggest that you select the hard, unripe avocados. However, a trick that I like to do after purchasing more avocados than I can use in a few days is to stick them in the refrigerator. This helps to preserve the avocado from becoming overripe. When I plan on having one for the day, I take it out of the fridge a few hours prior to eating it.

As of now, none of the vendors of Downtown Elgin Harvest Market sell avocados. As a matter of fact, most of the avocados sold in the U.S. come from California. Actually, many articles that I have read state that because of the avocado’s tough exterior, it is not necessary to purchase organic avocados. Despite it not being sold at the market, I believe it is crucial to enlighten my readers on how avocados enhance the absorption of nutrients when consumed in addition to the healthful products that you are purchasing at the market. So, now that I’ve shared my little burst of enthusiasm over my favorite fruit, I want you to head over to the market this Thursday and purchase a couple ingredients that you could use to put together a delicious and nutritious avocado recipe!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

-Sarah De Ocampo, Food & Nutrition Associate







How You Help The Earth! Sustainability and the Elgin Harvest Market

By Sustainability & Marketing Associate Zoe Clemmons

ZoeWhile many of you shop at the Harvest Market simply to find healthy fresh food, you may not even realize that as an added bonus you are letting our planet breathe a sigh of relief! There are many added benefits to shopping at your local farmer’s market and personally for me, lowering my carbon footprint is just one of them. Let’s take a look at the ways the Earth is giving you thanks for purchasing the many delicious goods at the Elgin Harvest Market.

Food Miles

Being at the Harvest Market, you are lucky enough to receive produce from nearby farms. However, the majority of the fruits and vegetables you purchase in the grocery food milesstore travel from either Florida or California. These vegetables you may buy may travel as many as 1500 miles! This requires an incredible amount of energy and the carbon dioxide released influences pollution. Trucking the food all over also means that our precious fossil fuels (petroleum people) are getting used up much quicker. Time is of the essence when delivering food, and unfortunately this means using more energy.

Also, the fact that the food is staying the trucks for so long means that they are losing their freshness quickly. Vegetables in these grocery stores on average lose 45% of their nutrients! Next time you eat a tomato, compare the difference between one from the grocery store and one from the Harvest Market. Local = tastier and healthier!

Eating Seasonally

During the summer months it’s easy to pick up your groceries at the Harvest Market each week. The vegetables you get aren’t mass produced corn or other veggies either! Many mass produced veggies are coated with more preservatives, especially during winter months so they can travel lovegetablesnger distances. Local farmers do not need to use preservatives on their food because they are selling their produce closer to home. Many sometimes use organic farming tactics which means they use natural fertilizers.
The other good part about eating in season is you are working in sync with farmers. You are able to get food at its peak point of freshness while also receiving produce that food miles. Small farmers are able to produce a wide variety of crops, not a mass single crop that damages soil. Thinking it might be impossible to get fresh seasonal produce in the winter? Check out the Elgin Winter Market or the Geneva Community Winter Market during the colder months.

Maintaining Green Space

Driving through Kane County there is no doubt that suburbanization has taken over the land once heavily laden with green pastures. This means that it is hard for family owned farms to not be bought up by big developments.
When you purchase produce from the Harvest Market, you are helping maintain these vast acres thatgreen space supply us with the local food we need! Green space accounts for many benefits to our environment including the reduction of soil erosion, water pollution, and even the decrease of air temperature. Many of these farms are surrounded by native plants and animals that are vital to the biodiversity of local ecosystems. Having green pastures can maintain much larger communities of insects and other animals than asphalt. When you buy local, you help family farms and our natural ecosystems of Illinois!

These are just a few of the reasons the Harvest Market and YOU are providing us with a greener, more sustainable future. So go ahead and thank the family farms that make this possible, and the acres of fertile farmland that should be so very common to Illinois. I’m sure that they certainly thank you too!

(Pictures by: CoolClimate.Berkeley.edu, Samantha Quill, and Kane County Farm Bureau)