Hearty, lemony and fresh as Spring, this Creamy Farro with Pesto Asparagus and Peas recipe can be served warm or chilled. vegetarian or vegan
The pesto I made last week… I want to put it in/on everything and so far, I’ve put it on pizza, and now in this Creamy, Lemony Farro with Pesto, Asparagus, and Peas. It’s delicious warm or chilled and makes a nourishing main dish or side. I’ve already made 4 batches of pesto; two of which are in the freezer, you know, for safekeeping, else a spoon easily finds its way into the jar.
I’m heading back out to the farm this afternoon to pick up this week’s share, so I’m looking forward to more scapes; this makes me happy!
Happy, because the personal benefits of buying direct from farms are many. However, supporting sustainable agriculture reaches far beyond personal benefit alone.
The scapes from last week’s pesto recipe were grown by the farmers of Prairie Bottom. This is the farm Rob and I purchased our CSA share from. In the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing more about the farm but today, I’m sharing my top 10 reasons to support local, sustainable agriculture, whenever possible.
—– My Top 10 Reasons To Buy Local, Sustainable Food —-
1. Fresh produce lose nutrients quickly. Buying direct ensures fresher and tastier produce because the produce is ripe when picked. Although some produce naturally ripens after being picked, others must be picked before ripening due to the distance traveled between grower and retailer. Also, to control when ripening occurs, some produce is gassed to force ripening.
2. Knowing where our food comes from and how it is grown builds connection with farmers and surrounding community (think farmers markets).
3. Buying direct from small farms supports land preservation and open spaces.
4. Money spent on food goes directly to the farmer, thereby cutting out the middleman.
5. A variety of vegetables are planted on small farms as opposed to monoculture plantings (like corn or palm oil). Variety supports diversity of beneficial insects, pollinators and soil health.
6. Sustainable agriculture supports healthy populations of pollinators, such as bees, by not relying on herbicides or pesticides for pest management. Bees are in sharp decline, something we all need to be concerned about because they are an indicator species; an indicator of the overall health of our environment. Bees are also responsible for one out of every three bites we eat. We know pesticides are a major factor in their decline. At Prairie Bottom Farm, weeds are hand-pulled and they use organic methods for pest control, when necessary. No chemical herbicides or pesticides are used.
7. In our industrialized agriculture system, plants are chosen and bred for their ability to withstand heavy handling and farm equipment. This is not the focus of small family farms as harvesting is not mechanized. GMO-free, these farms support seed preservation and heirloom variety plants. This fosters genetic diversity which produces healthy, robust plants.
8. Considering the average distance farm to plate is 1500 miles, buying local reduces individual carbon foot-print because the food has a shorter distance to travel from farm-to-plate. This also reduces air pollution.
9. Joining Community Supported Agriculture allows one to access a wide array of food that may not otherwise be chosen, thereby increasing the variety of foods consumed. I had no idea what kohlrabi or garlic scape was until a few years ago.
10. Some CSA farms offer classes on canning, composting, and seed preservation, for example. Also, they may provide unique opportunities to do a bit of work on the farm, like cleaning garlic when the crop comes in, and shelling beans. Prairie Bottom holds an annual Farm Feast for its shareholders! This is another way to connect with neighbors and foster community connections.
To find the closest farm or farmers market to you, visit Local Harvest.
If you’re already supporting your local food system, share what you love about it in the comments. If you’re considering buying local, but haven’t taken the plunge, share your concerns and/or barriers.
Coming up next week, more about the farm and summertime deliciousness! Y’all have a beautiful weekend!
Creamy Farro with Pesto Asparagus and Peas
Creamy, lemony and packed with Spring flavors, this dish makes a hearty main or nourishing side. Serve it warm or chilled. vegetarian or vegan
- 1 1/4 C Farro 250g
- 3 1/2 C Water 560g
- 4 Tbs Pesto* (for vegan option, see note) I use garlic scape pesto, but your favorite pesto will be delicious! 66g
- 3 Tbs Fresh Curly Parsley finely chopped and divided
- 1 Lemon zested and juiced, divided
- 1/2 tsp + 1/4 tsp Sea Salt divided
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper ground, divided
- 1 lb Fresh Asparagus cut into 1" pieces, woody ends discarded, 454g
- 1 C Peas shelled if fresh, (fresh or frozen will work here), 136g
- 2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil 28g
- 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 Tbs Fresh Chives finely chopped
- Chive Flowers if available
- Rinse the Farro under running water. In a medium saucepan add the Farro and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. It will begin to thicken and become creamy.
- To the cooked Farro, stir in the pesto, 2 Tbs of parsley, 1/2 the lemon zest and juice, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp ground black pepper. Stir well, taste for seasoning adjustment and set aside with lid on to keep warm.
- For the veggies, fill a medium sauce pot or saute' pan with about 1/8" of water. Heat until little boiling bubbles appear around the edge of the pan. Turn heat to medium-low. Toss in the asparagus and peas. Give the pan a good shake, put a lid on it and set a timer for 4 minutes. The veggies will steam during this time and become tender-crisp. Drain immediately. Sprinkle veggies with 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, olive oil, red pepper flakes, and remaining lemon zest and juice. Give it a good stir. Taste for seasoning adjustment.
- To plate, serve the veggies on top of the Farro, garnish with remaining parsley, chives and chive flowers. Serve warm, or chilled.
- Refrigerate leftovers in the fridge for up to two days.
*For a vegan option, try my Vegan Garlic Scape Pesto.