Are you involved with Grow Appalachia? What is your favorite aspect of the program? One of my favorite parts of Grow Appalachia is how the program takes a holistic view of improving the health of the region.
One way Grow Appalachia seeks to improve the area is through education. Of course, Grow Appalachia seeks to improve the region by improving the “growing.” They provide many lessons and materials to improve the production for local farmers and gardeners.
However, another way in which Grow Appalachia seeks to improve the region is the inclusion of instruction on preparation of foods. Each year, each program site includes a heart healthy teaching session in their curriculum.
On Monday, June 10th, the Magoffin County Extension Service included their heart healthy class at their Grow Appalachia meeting. Cathy Sparks, Family and Consumer Science Agent, led the meeting. Cathy shared with the group many helpful insights on how to prepare heart healthy foods. In addition to the insight on how to prepare heart healthy food, Cathy shared the “American Heart Association Guidelines” which are included in the picture section of this article.
Cathy has experience preparing heart healthy foods for family members; therefore, she had helpful insights to share with the group. One of my favorites was for the preparation of fresh green beans. Cathy informed the group that cooking the beans in low sodium chicken broth, instead of jowl bacon or ham hock, would give that deep flavor we all enjoy when cooking fresh green beans. When I told my wife about Cathy’s advice, my wife said, “Yes, I know, that’s how I prepared those beans for our son’s wedding.” My wife cooked several large cans of beans for the wedding. They were delicious.
In addition to the information Cathy shared with the group, Amanda Howard, who works in the Extension Program Assistant Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education department of Extension services, prepared for the group a heart healthy pizza smorgasbord. This smorgasbord included several different types of pizzas. One pizza included a crust made from cauliflower. Another was a Zucchini Rosemary Pizza. These delicious entree pizzas encouraged the Magoffin County Grow Appalachia group that you can prepare heart healthy foods which are delicious too.
I encourage you to be active in your local Grow Appalachia group. They will teach you how to grow you food, and eat it too!