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farmer jo 
TACKLES zucchini
by Joanna Piatek | 1 2 3 4

It has recently been determined that my dad is allergic to food. That’s right, food. Processed foods that are so full of chemicals and additives that they cause him to become sick. This is a difficult discovery, not only as it effects the health and comfort of my dad, but also because it brings up the question: WHAT THE HELL IS IN MY FOOD!!??

So, lately I have been trying to get back to grass roots eating. No, not literally, you won’t see me chomping on grass, but I am starting to cook from scratch, using only fresh ingredients and avoiding prepackaged foods. I love to cook, so this is more of a pleasure than a chore. Unfortunately, this can be an expensive way to eat, especially on a freshly-out-of-college, quasi-adult budget. My saving grace has been farmer’s markets.

Nearly every city has one, and here in Portland, there’s a market in nearly every neighborhood all summer long. Here local farmers display piles of rosy tomatoes, fragrant herbs, glistening berries, pink cheeked peaches, and crispy greens, all at terrific prices. Music from local bands enlivens the scene, and tastes from local bakeries and shops keep your energy up as you peruse the booths. As an added bonus most of the produce is grown pesticide free — making it extra good for you and the Earth. The end of my shopping trip finds me weighed down with bags overflowing with fruits, vegetables and fresh bread.

Last Saturday I noticed a box filled with oversized zucchini with a sign over the top that said "Stop World Hunger, Plant Zucchini". They were free for the taking; how could I say no?

In August, zucchini tend to take on a life of their own. Whether you have vines threatening to overrun your yard or overly generous neighbors who leave baseball bat sized zucchini on your doorstep while you’re sleeping, there’s a good chance that you actually have a zucchini or two in your kitchen right now. The great thing about these lovely green summer squashes is that you can do almost anything with them. Slice ‘em, grate ‘em, grill ‘em, or sauté them. They taste great. Well, unless your zucchini is the aforementioned baseball bat size. The bigger they are, the more bitter they tend to be, but there’s no need to toss out those monster-size zucchini. Hollow them out to bake in them, use as a soup tureen, or get a little creative and carve yourself a sculpture to use as a lovely centerpiece.

more zucchini goodness this way!


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