Pack local foods for back-to-school lunches

The school year is here. We don’t know how it happened, but somewhere in between waiting impatiently for peach season and being up to our ears in zucchini, June and July have flown by.

We are all about seasonality here at BCFM, and we love marking our calendars with “firsts”: first day of sweet corn, first day of CU orientation, first day of school and first chance to pack a local lunchbox or teacher appreciation gift. Maybe mid-August means you’re packing your kids’ lunches five days a week, or back to a 5 am commute to teach your classes, or spending more time cramming for exams.

Whatever the school year looks like for you, it’s the height of local produce season, and our farmers are here to make your busy schedule meal prep a little easier. Sure, your homemade pesto pasta with garlicky green beans might secretly feature instant ramen noodles. Your breakfast tacos with local eggs and chorizo ​​occasionally turns into a single small-batch kouign amann, snatched as you dash out the door. That’s still good eating! Add a peach, and it’s a balanced meal.

Here in Boulder County, with so much local produce available for so much of the year, eating fresh and local is not confined to the summer season. We want to make it as easy and convenient as possible to keep eating in the way that is the most delicious, nutritious and good for our community.

Be a hump day hero

For those weeks when making it to Wednesday feels like a herculean effort, come celebrate with a night off of cooking dinner at the Boulder Wednesday evening market. Bring the whole family after the workday is over and the kids have been collected from the soccer practice carpool. Bring your study group to the market for some relaxing in the park while you eat, instead of the bustle and fluorescent lighting of the dining hall.

You can also place an online order at BCFM.org to get all your groceries in one fell swoop when you don’t have time to wander the market or the grocery store. You can pick up on Wednesdays in Boulder, Thursdays in Lafayette, or Sundays in Longmont and Denver. A local bounty is available at the click of a button.

Local lunch boxes

When it comes to packing lunches for a child or yourself, they should be quick and able to withstand some temperature fluctuations. Sourcing your lunchbox favorites at markets will also mean it will be fun to eat and bring a midday smile to the eater.

With the peak of produce harvests in the late summer and early fall, the beginning of the school year is the perfect time to think outside the plastic lunchables box. We have a delicious recipe for muhammara, a red pepper dip that is nutty, sweet and perfect for veggie sticks and pita. And a recipe for pasta salad that will be a hit with all ages and can incorporate whatever local produce you picked up at the market or online.

Recipes two packs

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Muhammara

INGREDIENTS

2 red peppers (visit Honeyacre for gorgeous red bell peppers any time of the season, thanks to their greenhouses)

1 cup walnuts

2 garlic cloves

2 teaspoons red pepper paste

2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

1 cup breadcrumbs (Breadworks’ toasted bread cubes can be easily pulsed into crumbs)

¼ cup olive oil (we recommend extra-virgin from Healthy Harvest)

1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cumin

DIRECTIONS

Place all ingredients in a large food processor.

Pulse until the dip is smooth.

Serve with pita bread, pita chips/crackers or raw veggies.

— adapted from “Simply Lebanese”

Pasta salad

INGREDIENTS

Box of pasta (the fusilli from Pastificio made with Aspen Moon Farm’s heirloom wheat is stellar)

Bell pepper

Cherry tomatoes

Chopped fresh spinach

Mozzarella balls

Pepperoni or salami strips

2 parts olive oil to one part white balsamic vinegar

DIRECTIONS

Cook pasta.

Toss pasta with vegetables and add-ins. (Feel free to get creative!)

Drizzle with oil and vinegar.

— adapted from “Good Life Eats”

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