Where’s the beef? At the Athens Farmers Market!
While the market is plentiful with local vegetables and fruits, it is also home to various kinds of protein, including local beef. Buying from local beef farmers not only supports the local economy, but is also a healthier option when it comes to consuming red meat.
If you are looking to make the healthiest beef selection, look for meat that is both organic and comes from 100 percent grass-fed cows. Grass is the cow’s natural diet. Unfortunately, a lot of beef sold in grocery stores comes from cows that are raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs). In many cases, CAFOs raise hundreds or thousands of animals in a small area, feeding them grain-based genetically modified food that contains hormones and antibiotics to boost rapid growth.
This is bad for the animals, the humans who consume them and the environment.
Grass-fed beef is higher in nutrients like vitamins, antioxidants and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is a beneficial fat that is linked to improved immunity and anti-inflammatory properties. To be 100 percent grass-fed means that cows are only fed their mother’s milk, grass and other greens natural to their diet.
Grass-fed does not always mean organic, and organic does not always mean grass-fed. To be considered organic, cows must not be treated with antibiotics or hormones and must be given access to the outside and fed organic vegetarian feed. However, vegetarian feed can include grains.
The great thing about buying beef at the Athens Farmers Market is that you can talk to the farmers directly and ask about their beef production methods prior to purchasing.
Slow cooker beef vegetable stew
1-1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 cups water
1-1/2 cups fresh baby carrots
1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed tomato soup, undiluted
1 medium onion, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon browning sauce, optional
2 teaspoons beef bouillon granules
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup cold water
2 cups frozen peas, thawed
Place the beef, potatoes, water, carrots, soup, onion, celery, Worcestershire sauce, browning sauce if desired, bouillon granules, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper in a 5- or 6-qt. slow cooker. Cover and cook on low until meat is tender, 6-8 hours. Combine cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl until smooth; gradually stir into stew. Cover and cook on high until thickened, 30 minutes. Stir in peas; heat through.
The Athens Farmers Market Café is a collaboration between the Athens Farmers Market, OU COMCorps, a local Americorps program, and Athens County Children Services. Athens Farmers Market hours are Wednesdays (April-December) and Saturdays (year round), 9 a.m. to noon at The Market on State parking lot, 1000 E. State St., Athens.
To help increase fresh food consumption, the Athens Farmers Market vendors proudly participate in the following social service programs: the USDA Food Assistance Program, SNAP/EBT (food stamps), WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program. Participants can stop by the table at the southeast corner of the market to get SNAP tokens to spend at the market.