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Cooking with Karina: Farmers' Market Haul

Karina Arnold
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For Karina Arnold, Saturday mornings mean farmers market shopping. She bought these ingredients to make a refreshing Gazpacho recipe.

Karina Arnold is a rising junior at the University of Oklahoma who’s passionate about healthy cooking. She provides creative, healthy recipes and tips on clean eating.

To most people, a Saturday morning means finally sleeping in. For me, Saturday mornings mean farmers market shopping. Most Saturdays that I am in Houston, I walk the Memorial Villages Farmers Market gravel lot to see what food goodies are in season. Rain or shine, I can count on leaving with bags of fresh produce, jams and grains.

The best part of farmers markets is not what I buy, but being able to hand my money directly to the hand that picked the berries I bought. When shopping local, you are able to meet the man who jars your pickles, or the teens that harvest your carrots, or the grandma that slices your lamb. When shopping local, you meet, eat and greet local.

Local not only benefits your community, but also help the environment. Local farming involves less transportation or “less food miles” between goods to consumer. Food, meats, and animal-by products need less preservatives to prolong freshness. As a result, local farms produce less CO2 emissions from automobile transportation and fresher produce.


Gazpacho (Photo: Karina Arnold) 

After one of my many market visits, I used vibrant, colorful produce to make this Hydrating Gazpacho. Each vegetable contains more than 92 percent of water and are full of anti-inflammatory nutrients. Tomatoes and cucumbers reduce skin irritation and reduce swelling with their water-rich nutrients. The red onion and bell peppers are saturated with vitamins and minerals beneficial to sustaining a healthy heart and preventing cancer. All these ingredients plus the garlic flights germs and boosts immunity. I love dipping this gazpacho in sourdough or scooping with sea-salt pita chips.

The greatness of Gazpacho is being able to experiment with ingredients. Every time I visit my local markets, I am bombarded with produce in different shapes, sizes, colors and scents. The brighter the market, the better! Vegetable pigments, or carotenoids, contain antioxidants essential to maintaining health. I suggest trying different seasonings or fruits and vegetables in your Gazpacho.

Locally grown also means grown by locals, for locals. Farmer market shopping is better for your health, community and environment. Check out the farmers’ markets near you in our Farmers Market Round Up. What are your favorite famer market finds? Comment below! 

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