Boulder serves up ‘earth-friendly eating’ as fall begins
With snow in the forecast, now is the perfect time to head to a local neighborhood’s natural grocer or the Boulder County Farmers’ Market to get that last taste of fresh, summertime produce.
A sign at the Farmers’ Market this week announces, “There are more varieties of fruits and vegetables at the market at this time of year than any other time of the year.”
Whether you live on-campus or off, Boulder offers great choices for more earth-friendly eating. CU Dining Services began serving natural and organic food almost a year ago in response to student pressure. Its first dining center geared specifically toward sustainable eating, Piazanos, is serving four times as many meals each day as originally predicted, said Amy Beckstrom, assistant director of dining services.
If the parking lot at Whole Foods at 2905 Pearl St. is any indication, organic food is just as popular with the off-campus set.
In order for food to be certified organic by the USDA, it must be grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms and irradiation, and antibiotics and hormones in animals. Livestock must be given access to outdoor pasture and be fed 100 percent organic feed. Organic farms must also employ positive soil building, conservation, manure management and crop rotation practices.
Although eating organically seems to be the most popular way of eating more sustainably, “it’s not the end all, be all,” said Professor Owen Murphy, who teaches a nutrition class. He encourages a more well rounded approach to eating sustainably, including buying locally and eating seasonally.
“If you can’t find it locally, you probably don’t need it,” Murphy said. “Don’t expect tomatoes in the middle of winter.”
CU Dining Services gets some of its organic produce from local producers if it is available seasonally, Beckstrom said.
Robin Dudley, manager at Whole Foods, said that the store is always trying to increase the number of local products but that local farmers can’t keep up with the demand.
“We try to help out wherever we can in the community,” Dudley said.
Sustainable eating advocates encourage consumers to look beyond natural and organic labeling when making food choices.
“It’s more environmentally sound to buy a conventional peach grown around Colorado than an organic one shipped from Chile,” Murphy said.
Many consumers buy organic for health reasons. And while it is true that organic food can be more nutritious than conventional, it ultimately depends on soil quality.
“More vitamins and minerals in the soil mean a more nutritious crop,” Murphy said. “So if you mono-crop organic, the nutrition can be just as poor.”
CU students Colleen Walker, a sophomore integrative physiology major, and Cassidy Tawse-garcia, a sophomore pre-journalism major, enjoy the Boulder County Farmers’ Market because the whole atmosphere is sustainable and the food is “so much healthier.”
“I’m really passionate that what you put into your body, you get out,” said Walker. She also likes the “face time you get with the person growing your food” at the Farmers’ Market.
Tawse said it’s often cheaper to buy produce at the Farmers’ Market, “and you know exactly where it’s coming from.”
CU Dining Services hosts an annual festival to promote more sustainable eating. The Harvest Fest will be held during Parents’ Weekend this fall and will include live entertainment and free samples for students.
Curried Butternut Squash Soup
This soup is excellent made with any type of winter squash, pumpkin or almost any other vegetable available at this time of year, like carrots or broccoli.
Prepared with conventional ingredients: $10.20
Prepared with organic ingredients: $14
4 tablespoons butter
4 large shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 1?2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
Salt and pepper
1?4 cup heavy cream (optional)
Melt the butter is a large, heavy pot over medium-low heat. Add the shallots, onion, garlic and curry powder. Cook for three minutes, stirring constantly. Add the squash and combine well. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender, about 15 minutes.
Add the broth to the squash mixture. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, until the squash is tender. Cool, then pur