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Ripe Now! Beets

Sure the winter months don't have fresh and tantalizing tomatoes and crisp and juicy peaches, but what about a little earthy and crunchy root vegetable goodness? These winter months are a perfect time to incorporate some more root vegetables into our diet, and one of those vegetables that is abundant at the farmers' market is beets! Beets are a round root vegetable that has a leafy top. They were first cultivated in ancient Egypt, Rome, and Greece for their leafy greens. During the Roman era, they started to be cultivated for the root. The whole plant is edible and packed with vitamins and minerals, and affordable to boot! 

In ancient times, beets were used as a medicinal plant, and science has shown beets to reduce blood pressure and improve digestion, plus they are one of the highest dietary sources of antioxidants. The pigment in beets is called betalain, and it contains anti-inflammatory properties. This pigment may also cause about 10-15% of people who eat it to see a colorful surprise in the bathroom after they digest it! But don't worry it's no cause for concern. Beets range in color from yellow-orange to deep red to purple, depending on the variety. Fun fact: you can use beets in natural dyeing. They are a super versatile vegetable that can be eaten raw, roasted, cooked, juiced and pickled. 

You can get beets at all 3 of our Berkeley Farmers' Markets from these vendors: Golden Rule Organics, Oya Organics, Full Belly Farm, Avalos Farm, Riverdog Farm, Happy Boy Farms and Dirty Girl Produce

Easy Eating
Start your morning off with this hearty, beety breakfast of beet hash and eggs. Skip the meat and try this beet burger for lunch. Care for an afternoon pick-me-up? This beet juice recipe will revitalize you for the rest of the day. For dinner, this roasted beet salad will fill you up with goodness. Last but not least, these fudgy dark chocolate beet brownies will really make you fall in love with beets.  

Storage Tips
The best way to store beets is by cutting the greens off in order to keep flavor and firmness. Wash beets and put them in an open container with a wet towel on top, preferably in the fridge. Keep the greens in an airtight container with a little moisture.

Zero Waste
Don't throw away the tops (greens)! Beet greens are delicious and nutritious. They can be used just like chard or spinach. 
Recipe: Beet Borscht
From Full Moon Feast by Jessica Prentice 
Serves 4 

Ingredients
2 tablespoons butter, ghee, or olive oil
1 onion, sliced or chopped small
½ teaspoon (or more, to taste) caraway seeds (optional)
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 stalk celery or 1 parsley root, thinly sliced
1 small can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes or tomato puree, or 1 tablespoon tomato paste (optional)
1 bunch medium red beets (or one very large red beet), peeled and thinly sliced
1 quart beef stock or filtered water
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup beet kvass or rusell, ¼ cup brine from homemade pickles, or a teaspoon or apple cider vinegar, to taste
Sauerkraut, made from either red or green cabbage or add a handful of shredded fresh cabbage after the carrots
Crème fraîche, sour cream, or yogurt for garnish
Fresh dill, chives, or scallions for garnish (optional)


Directions
  1. Heat the butter or oil in a medium-sized soup pot. Add the onions with the caraway seeds and saute for a moment. Add the carrot and celery, and saute until soft. (If you are using the fresh cabbage instead or sauerkraut, add it now.)
  2. Add the tomato puree, or paste and heat through. 
  3. Add the beets and the stock or water. It is good to cover the vegetables with liquid by about ½ inch. You may need to add a bit more water or stock to make sure this is the case.
  4. Add the bay leaf and bring to a boil. 
  5. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until all is tender. 
  6. Turn off the heat and remove the bay leaf. 
  7. Add a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper to the pot. Taste the soup and adjust the seasonings by adding salt, pepper, and kvass, brine, or vinegar to taste. 
  8. Put a spoonful of sauerkraut in the middle of a shallow bowl and then ladle the soup over it. 
  9. Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche, sour cream, or yogurt and a sprinkling of fresh dill, chives, or scallions if desired. 

* Full Moon Feast by Jessica Prentice is available to loan or purchase at the Ecology Center Store 
  
This Week's Vendors

Tuesday South Berkeley
Thursday North Berkeley
Saturday Downtown Berkeley
Kaki Farms
Massa Organics
Oya Organics
Brokaw Ranch
Avalos Farm
Full Belly Farm
Flying Disc Ranch
Good Faith Farm
Blossom Bluff Orchards
Solano Mushroom
Dirty Girl Produce
Kashiwase Farm
Stepladder Creamery
Riverdog Farm
Smit Farms
Frog Hollow Farm
Little Fish Co.
Queen of Sheeba Honey
Phoenix Pastificio 
Three Stone Hearth
Soul Flower Farm
Base Camp Bakery
Bolani
Fruit Tree Smoothies
Tamales La Oaxaquena 
Andy's Thai
Donna's Tamales

Little Fish Co.
Happy Boy Farms
Green Thumb Organics
Massa Organics
Golden Rule Organics
Pomo Tierra Orchard
E&H Mushroom Farm
Riverdog Farm
Frog Hollow Farm
Kashiwase Farm
Phoenix Pastificio 
Big Little Bowl
Donna's Tamales
All Things Sharp
Morell's Bread
Upland Apiary


Brokaw Ranch
Avalos Farm
Kaki Farm
Good Faith Farm
Guru Ram Das Orchards
Golden Rule Organics
Lifefood Gardens
Flying Disc Ranch
Gattonelli
Achadinha Cheese Co.
Little Fish Co.
Kashiwase Farm 
Stepladder Creamery
Happy Boy Farms
Solano Mushroom
Riverdog Farm
Smit Farms
Four Sisters Farm
Frog Hollow Farm
Bariani Olive Oil
Soul Flower Farm
Pomo Tierra Orchard
Higher Land Coffee
Tony's Kettle Corn + Crepes
Andy's Thai
Tamales La Oaxaqueña
Cafe Zambala
All Things Sharp
Beber Almond Milk
Big Little Bowl
Your Way to Life Granola
Laguna Garden Bakery
Cultured Pickle Shop
Morell's Bread
Obour Hummus
Phoenix Pastificio
Bolani
Coracao
Primavera Tamales
Bun Bao
Bariani Olive Oil


Sourced from the Berkeley Farmers' Market, Powered by Local Youth

online by 9am Thursday for curbside pick up on Saturday at the Downtown Berkeley Farmers' Market.
Looking for a way to give back to your community in this challenging time?
Become a volunteer at the Berkeley Farmers' Markets! As an essential service, the Berkeley Farmers' Markets continue to provide fresh, healthy food for the community and a livelihood for small and mid-scale farmers. We have implemented extensive operational changes to protect customers, farmers, and staff, and to mitigate the spread of disease, and so volunteers are needed more than ever to help support staff in implementing these.
If you are healthy, not in the high risk category, and not living with high risk people, please consider volunteering at our three weekly farmers' markets.

Volunteer tasks include:
  • Supporting the development and execution of a curbside pickup or box-style produce pick-up program (in development)
  • Greeting customers at market entrance and providing them with info on the social distancing requirement
  • If needed, supporting staff in queueing customers at the market entrance, if the number of customers already in the market exceeds our maximum crowd count.
  • Hanging signage in the market
  • Monitoring vendor lines, helping customers know where to wait, and thanking customers for adhering to the social distancing guidelines
A short, virtual volunteer training will be scheduled prior to working at the market. Shifts start 30 minutes prior to market opening time, and length can be flexible depending on availability. Our three markets operate year-round, rain or shine:
  • Downtown Berkeley | Center Street @ M. L. King, Jr. Way, Saturdays 10 am - 3 pm
  • North Berkeley | Shattuck Avenue @ Vine Street, Thursdays 3 pm - 7 pm
  • South Berkeley | Adeline Street and 63rd Street, Tuesdays 2 pm - 6:30 pm
In addition to supporting the community in accessing healthy, farm-fresh food, the benefits of volunteering 5+ hours include an Ecology Center Membership. Contact mariana@ecologycenter.org to sign up!
11 Black climate activists you should know and support

"Throughout time, Black-led climate movements have demonstrated resilience, ingenuity, and grit in the face of adversity. It is important now, more than ever to elevate and support  Black leadership in the environmental sector, to implement climate solutions built upon those same values of resilience and equity. This Black History Month and beyond, we recognize and celebrate the efforts of 11 Black Environmental Activists (and so many more), working to make the world a better, healthier, and more just place".


Regenerative Agriculture: Join the Movement!

"Buying food is a direct democracy. In this way, food becomes a voting tool and we all have power, through our wallets and bellies to fight for and protect the environment and family farm agriculture"
- Guido Frosni, Ecology Center Farmers Market rancher

Meet Guido and Doniga Markegard, whose farm was featured in the recent Netflix Documentary "Kiss the Ground", as they share how their farming methods support the natural process of plants sequestering carbon in the soil and why they are uniquely situated to be a part of the global warming solution. Join the discussion and learn how you can support regenerative agriculture farmers and ranchers.

Thursday February 18, 2021
7 - 8:30PM
Online Event

Staying Safe

Wearing a face mask and social distancing are required to shop at the Berkeley Farmers' Markets per City of Berkeley COVID-19 safety guidelines. We enforce a limit on the maximum amount of customers in market at one time in order to ensure space for social distancing. This means we may have a line to get into our market at the entrances. If you are feeling sick or may have been exposed to COVID-19, please stay home. 



Farmers' Market Hours & Locations
EBT and WIC Fruit & Vegetable checks gladly accepted and Market Match incentives distributed at all markets.
South Berkeley
Tuesdays, 2 - 6:30 pm
Adeline St. at 63rd St., 
Berkeley
North Berkeley
Thursdays, 3 - 7 pm 
Shattuck Ave. at Rose St., Berkeley
Downtown Berkeley
Saturdays, 10 am - 3 pm
Center St. at MLK Jr. Way, Berkeley
[Photo credit: Berkeley Farmers' Market Staff]