Eating Healthy and Local – Meet the farmers market managers

0011Kari Dunn, manager of the Rochester Farmers Market, learned about the benefits of using fresh produce, grains and legumes years ago when she was a vegetarian and pursued learning to cook for nutritional value and flavor.

    Staples in her diet include vegetables and herbs sautéed in olive oil and piled on quinoa, basmati brown rice, polenta or whole wheat pasta. She leans toward fresh veggies rather than animal products, but meats from pasture-raised animals prepared in almost any ethnic dish are runner-up favorites.

    Whole grains are important to Kari and she rarely eats breads or desserts made with white flour and sugar. Berries, a big fat warm tomato right out of the garden, fresh-picked green beans with balsamic vinegar and steamed beets with a bit of butter, lemon and pepper contribute to pleasurable eating.

    After more than 30 years of conscious eating, “working at” good nutrition is no longer an issue. Her motivation comes from feeling better by eating  health-giving food. “I have more energy to get through my day, it’s easier to smile and be content with whatever comes my way, and my body doesn’t seem to resist ‘good’ food as it does processed/junk food.”

You are what you eat

As the Rochester Downtown Farmers Market expands, Kari is joined by David Kotsonas, assistant market manager. David strives to lead a healthy lifestyle, including proper nutrition.

    His favorite foods? “Stirfry loaded with broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. I love salad and carrot juice. Carrot juice gives me super powers!”

    David’s family has cut out added salt, fast food and high fructose corn syrup. They eat fewer processed foods, focus on local foods, and eat more veggies and less meat.

    Whether advising his son, school-age children or others, his message is unfaltering: Read the label. “Your body can’t perform at maximum levels if you fill it with low-grade fuels. You are what you eat, so don’t
eat garbage.”

    David enjoys eating at the Good Food Store’s Back Room Deli.
“Their specials are always great. My favorite ‘regular’ is the spicy spelt burger. I can trust that all the food on their menu is of top quality. I also like to go to Newt’s for burgers. I’ve heard that they use local meats and grind their own burger meat.” Even in a restaurant setting you can ask where the food comes from.

Community partnerships, gathering

The producers/vendors at market have interesting stories and perspectives, too. Jodeen Wink has been a vendor since 2007 when she went into partnership with native plant grower Virginia Wright Peterson. Jodeen developed her property into an urban garden, complete with its own small greenhouse (a transformed one-car
garage) and specialized in herbs.

    “Farmers markets nourish their communities with fresh, minimally packaged foods with a minimal carbon footprint,” says Jodeen. “They also contribute to the community’s health by creating a space where people can come out, socialize with each other, trade knowledge, ideas, skills and news.”

    The pork roast recipe that follows is one of Kari Dunn’s favorite summer dishes. Main ingredients can be found at the Rochester Downtown Farmers Market in July and August, when peppers are at their peak. Kari recommends a combination of 3 large jalapenos and 6 poblano chiles. Poblanos are mild and flavorful, and the jalapenos add a bit of heat.

Food editor Margo Stich thanks Jodeen Wink for use of her “urban” space, complete with greenhouse, where photos were taken for this article.