Category Archives: Get To Know Your Food

Caprese Salad

By Judy Delperdang
With Farmers Market week just behind us, the Clear Lake Farmers Market is hitting its stride.
And if you’re a produce person, you’re in luck. So many things are in season now – beans, zucchini, cucumbers, carrots, onions, sweet corn and more. There’s nothing better than garden-fresh produce.
Cherry tomatoes are my favorite. And tomatoes are so good for you, no matter what variety you prefer.
A 5-ounce serving packs a punch, with 25 percent of the RDA of vitamin A, 32 percent of vitamin C, 15 percent of vitamin K, 10 percent of potassium, 8 percent of manganese, and 6 percent of B6 and B9. They contain smaller amounts of other vitamins and minerals, including other B-complex
vitamins, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc, with less than 27 calories and 6 carbs per serving.
Antioxidants like lycopene are higher in cooked tomatoes, but the fruit has many benefits whether cooked or raw.
According to, tomatoes help lower cholesterol and
triglyceride levels, promote weight loss, reduce the risk of cancer, and reduce inflammation. They can also increase the production of serotonin, which helps regulate mood, pain management and digestion.
For this Caprese salad recipe from Cookie and Kate, I used cherry
tomatoes, fresh mozzarella from Lost Lake Farms (at the market once a month), and paired it with Steve’s Sweet Corn. Visit us at the Surf Ballroom parking lot, 9 am to noon Saturdays, at and on Facebook.
Heirloom Caprese Salad
2 pounds ripe tomatoes
8-ounce ball of fresh mozzarella
Fresh basil leaves (handful)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon flaky sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
With a serrated knife, cut the tomatoes into ¼″ thick slices. Arrange on large serving platter, overlapping edges. Cut mozzarella into ¼″ slices, and tuck around tomatoes. Sprinkle basil over the salad, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. For best flavor, let rest for 30 minutes. Refrigerate leftovers up to 3 days.

Eating Local

By Judy Delperdang

Now is the perfect time to explore eating local.
One of the best ways to eat local is to create your own garden. Start small with a little plot or even a few containers. It’s not too late, and there are plenty of people willing to help. Focus on vegetables or herbs that you love and know you will eat.
Another great place is your local farmers market. Learn when fruits and vegetables are in season by visiting Not only can you eat what’s in season now, but you can stock up for the winter. You can often buy large quantities of produce like tomatoes, peppers, beans, peas, corn, blueberries or aronia berries very inexpensively. Freezing is an easy way to preserve them for later. Items like squash, potatoes, onions, carrots and beets have a long shelf life, so buy in late summer/early fall and save them for winter. A Preservation Celebration is planned for Sunday, Sept. 15, at Central Gardens of North Iowa, where you can learn about food preservation from a variety of vendors and food artisans. There will also be a tasting table loaded with pickles, preserves, breads and more.
Local meat, egg, honey producers often have products available year round, at farmers markets, specialty stores like Simply Nourished in Clear Lake, and directly from the
A great local resource is Healthy Harvest of North Iowa, for information on everything from finding local producers to local food events. Visit their website at www.healthyharvestni.comor follow them on Facebook. Local food is also available through North Iowa Fresh, which offers a CSA-style “Bounty Box” and partners with producers and vendors to get local food in restaurants and stores. You can find them at and on Facebook.
As always, we hope to see you at the Clear Lake Farmers Market from 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays through Oct. 19. We’re located in the parking lot at the Surf Ballroom and Museum. For information, visit and follow us on Facebook.

Local Food and the Local Economy

By Marissa Fichter

Clear Lake. It is a wonderful place to live. One of the most endearing
parts about Clear Lake has been its ability to help small, locally-owned
businesses thrive.

However, even with a great local variety of products, we regularly
choose the convenience of driving to a big-box store for routine
purchases. There, we can expect to find a blemish-free tomato and
perfectly sized zucchini. In doing so, we exchange a chance to impact the
local economy for the convenience of a one-stop shop, losing the valuable
relationship with those who produce our food.

Somewhere in our minds, I truly think we desire that relationship. We
also desire to play a part in something bigger, like impacting the number
of local jobs and revenue.

Even so, some think that the idea of a community supporting its local
agricultural system is out of reach. Ultimately, it starts with each one
of us. We can make that impact together.

In fact, a 2013 study conducted by Iowa State University (Enderton,
Bregendahl 2013) comprehensively showed the impact of the local food
economy. It showed that across the state, if the 74 food buyers who
participated in the data collection increased their local food buying from
9 percent to 30 percent of their total food budget, Iowa’’s economy would
gain $21.5 million in one year. That number blows me away. Only 74 people.
When that money is circulating locally, it is more likely to generate
economic growth as well.

It is beneficial in more ways than simply growing Iowa’s economy. When
we purchase locally, we can also be sure that a larger fraction of the
money we spend goes directly to the person who grew and put in the work to
create a beautiful product.

In my opinion, buying local is a great way to show appreciation for the
talents and gifts of others in our community. This simple act also allows
us to know our community deeper. The more faces we recognize and know, the
more we make this little vacation town a “home.”

I encourage you to begin your journey by knowing your farmer. Begin
recognizing the North Iowa Fresh (NIF) labels, the deep red strawberries
from Red Shed Gardens (Forest City), the familiar, sweet flavor of carrots
from One Step at a Time Gardens (Kanawha), and the crunchy sunflower
shoots from Twisted River Farm (Mitchell). Does the sticker on your
butternut squash say it is imported or traveled a long way to make it to
the grocery store, or is the “sticker” a clump of dirt from a
freshly-picked fruit?

It would be nearly impossible for this vision to become a reality if
local goods were only available during a three-hour window every Saturday
morning through the summer. This is why it is necessary that businesses in
the area share the responsibility to support local. It is great getting to
see crops from familiar farms and faces popping up all around North

Those who cannot make it to the Clear Lake Farmer’s Market are not out
of luck. Instead, the same local products and produce are currently
available in multiple locations. One of the largest catalysts making this
possible is North Iowa Fresh. The staff at NIF have worked incredibly hard
making local produce accessible at larger grocery stores like HyVee. NIF
has also sought out smaller businesses like Simply Nourished (local,
organic grocery stocking exclusively chemical-free produce) to sell local
produce as well as restaurants like Fieldhouse (Clear Lake) and Cafe Mir

This cross-marketing of local produce is allowing local food to make an
appearance in a typical Iowan’s life. The more places this food is
available, the more normal it becomes to buy local over imported.

A huge thank you to the vendors who attend Clear Lake Farmer’s Market
and to other contributors helping to grow the local food market beyond
Saturday mornings. We look forward to the continued growth of a
sustainable, local agricultural economy.

Local Honey – Sweet and Healthy

By Judy Delperdang

Satisfy your sweet tooth – and feed your health – with honey from the
Clear Lake Farmers Market.

“If you’’re looking for a sweet treat, there’s nothing better,” said Riley
Finer of Finer Honey Farms.

And honey is good for you.

“The benefits for allergies is what I promote with our customers,” said
Tammy Fuller of Honey Dome Farms. A teaspoon a day “ will help build the
immunity to the allergies that most people have reactions to.”
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Local Meat Options At Market

This year at the Clear Lake Farmers Market we are fortunate enough to have a variety of meat and eggs available.  Several of our vendors offer farm fresh eggs and duck eggs are available every other week.  Whole chickens can also be preordered.  We have 4 producers this year who offer cuts of either grass fed or corn fed beef and 2 of those also offer custom processed pork by the whole or half.  To see which vendors will be at market with meat and eggs each week you can visit our website where we have an interactive market directory:

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To All The Newbies

To All The Newbies
By James Eilders, Clear Lake Farmers Market Board Member
As a first year board member, and a city boy I was a little worried to come to market. I knew that the people at market spoke a different language. Words like microgreens, artisan, and heirloom are foreign to me. I was afraid that I would be in over my head and everyone would know I don’t belong.

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Gazpacho – guhspah-choh

by Andrea Evelsizer

You may have noticed the exciting new food cart that has been serving up tasty samples at local farmers markets this year. The Clear Lake Farmers Market has partnered with Healthy Harvest of North Iowa to bring cooking demos and tasting events to you each month. This month we will be sampling Gazpacho – a delightful, cold soup made with fresh raw vegetables.

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‘Popover’ and check out the home baked goodness…….

I’m sure the first thing you think of when you think of a farmers market is the bounty of brightly colored fruits and vegetables available, but did you know that you can find some delicious, homemade breads and other baked goods as well.  The Clear Lake Farmers Market offers several vendors that showcase a variety of their ‘made with love’, delectable treats. We have everything from sweet and savory breads, to pies, cookies, cupcakes, bars and more. And of course, you can’t forget the oooey, gooey cinnamon and caramel rolls that are just begging to be served with a great cup of coffee.

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All About Chickens and Eggs

I’ve had more than one non-farmer friend ask me about eggs recently and if every egg can become a baby chicken.  They think this is a silly question to ask but its one, I’m guessing, many don’t know the answer to.  The answer is that eggs you find in the grocery store mostly come from large farms where hens are kept without any roosters around.  Those eggs are not fertilized and cannot become a baby chicken.  On our farm, like many other small farms, the roosters (male chickens) and hens (female chickens) live together so the eggs are fertilized and could, under the right conditions, develop into a chick. Continue reading