First Lady Michelle Obama shops for fresh produce with Assistant White House Chef Sam Kass at a Washington, DC, farmers market. Phtograph by Win McNamee/Getty Images.
It’s an honor to shake the hands of the person who grew your food.
This back to basics notion, proffered by the sagacious author Michael Pollan makes the case for the bustling farmers’ market movement. Even before Michelle Obama’s White House garden, the consciousness has been rising around going to the roots, the soil and the ground for sustenance and goodness. Whole food is more than a market. And organic can begin with you—with a patch of backyard vegetables or potted window plants. With epidemic rates of obesity and related illness, we all should exploit the waning days of summer by paying homage to farmers markets and roadside produce stands. Go whole. Be healthy. Plants are the key to life. To find farmers markets near you, head to Local Harvest.
I savor my daily forays into my own patch of ground, risking bumble bee and mosquito assaults to pick a variety of hot and sweet peppers, red juicy tomatoes and fragrant basil. The rewards, more than an exquisite bowl of gazpacho or sumptuous pesto pasta salad, is the embodiment of the call to arms that I am what I eat. But more pointedly, I reap what I grow!
I leave you with my Garden Gazpacho Recipe (Note: I don’t measure but just go with the flow of what I picked).
Gwen's Garden Gazpacho ©
- 4 – 6 plump ripe tomatoes
- 1 large cucumber
- Garden peppers of any and all varieties (jalapeno, habanera, sweet bell – whatever you grow or your pallet can handle)
- 4 garlic gloves
- Bunch of basil (large leaves without stems)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
- Sea salt to taste
Blend first five ingredients in food processor until well pureed. Slowly add olive oil, continue blending and follow with vinegar. Gazpacho will have a deep, smooth, creamy color that tastes even better than it looks and smells. Chill and enjoy!
By Gwen McKinney
President and Founder of McKinney & Associates
Gwen is responsible for translating the vision of public relations with a conscience into a sustained and tested suite of communications services and activities. She blends strategic savvy with an unparalleled commitment to social justice and public policy for change.
She has provided strategic planning and public relations counsel to leaders and organizations working on issues ranging from adult literacy to tobacco control and health equity, childhood obesity and environmental justice. In the early days of her communications career, Gwen worked with the United Nations Council on Namibia and designed an international public education campaign supporting independence of Namibia. She also worked closely with the US antiapartheid movement and helped promote Nelson Mandela’s first state visit.