Spring is a great time to enjoy some of the best vegetables there are on the CDC’s Powerhouse List of Fruits and Vegetables. Our Powerhouse vegetable box is the perfect way to enjoy the best powerhouse vegetables of the season.
What are Powerhouse Vegetables?
In 2014 the CDC published a study called “Defining Powerhouse Fruits and Vegetables: A Nutrient Density Approach” where the author used the content of 17 different nutrients (potassium, fiber, protein, calcium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, zinc, and vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E, and K) to calculate a nutrient density score for 47 different fruits and vegetables. There were 41 of the initial 47 fruits and vegetables that met the Powerhouse criteria of providing 10% or more of the daily value (%DV) of 17 nutrients. It is important to point out that the powerhouse criteria do not take into consideration phytonutrients.
A Few of Our Favorites
- You can’t even talk about Powerhouse vegetables without talking about watercress, because it is #1 on the the list. It is packed full of vitamins and minerals including those which support bone health like calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorous. Watercress is often found near streams in the spring and is a wonderful addition to spring green salads or to make a spring greens pesto. Watercress has a lightly peppery flavor that comes from one of the phytonutrient categories it contains, glucosinolates. Glucosinolates may be helpful for cancer prevention. Chewing watercress thoroughly helps to activate the glucosinolates so that they have the most benefit in your body.
- Dandelion greens are a delicacy in the spring if you ask me and they’re towards the top of the list for nutrient density. They are so versatile and wonderfully bitter. I enjoy using dandelion greens to make pesto which I put on pizza with grilled green onions and asparagus or dress zucchini noodles with dandelion green pesto. It does not have to be all or nothing either, it is great to even incorporate a few dandelion leaves (to your liking) into pesto, salads, etc. you will hardly notice them as they help support healthy digestion with their bitter flavor and add more nutrient density to your meal.
- Besides being a vibrant “rainbow” of green, orange, yellow, and pinkish reds swiss chard is near the top of the list of Powerhouse vegetables. I love to lightly sauté our rainbow chard sliced thin in ribbons (I leave the colorful rib in the middle, it adds color and crunch) in butter or olive oil with salt, pepper, and garlic to taste. It makes a wonderful side dish or can be incorporated into pasta to brighten it up and add more nutrients.
- Microgreens are a great way to get the most nutrients from a plant. Gram for gram microgreens have more nutrients than their full-grown counterparts. Picking my favorite microgreen is like picking my favorite child, so I usually go with a blend. Our superfood blend often contains watercress, bulls blood, parsley, mustard, arugula, dandelion, and chive microgreens all of which are on the Powerhouse list and delicious in the Spring. Microgreens are so versatile and full of flavor.
- Although not really a Spring vegetable, as I walked through one of our greenhouses yesterday I saw the first little green tomato just starting and lots of yellow blooms (soon to be tomatoes)! Tomatoes come in so many different colors, sizes, and shapes, they offer a world of possibilities and contain nutrients like lycopene which is an antioxidant that may help protect your skin from sun damage, help support cardiovascular health, and can help support eye health. Colorful cherry tomatoes of different sizes and shapes are a great snack for children and our family even enjoys cooking with green tomatoes before they ripen up.
Food as Medicine
At The Chef’s Garden, we farm regeneratively, meaning that we are farming in harmony with nature, caring for our soil, and consciously farming in a way that puts nutrients back into the soil. Our on-site nutrient testing lab has found that our vegetables often have higher levels of minerals than the USDA average as are on a journey to grow the absolute best Food as Medicine possible. Food as Medicine to us is about the ability to receive the nourishment that your body needs to stay optimally healthy from food that is satisfying and enjoyable to you. The Powerhouse Box is a great way to know that you are receiving the vital nutrients your body needs in a colorful, flavorful, and enjoyable experience without having to rely on supplementation.
Delivered Right to Your Door
The Powerhouse Box comes in two sizes (small and large) to accommodate the needs of your family. The contents change regularly based on what is looking best here on the farm. We harvest our vegetables to order, meaning they are harvested then shipped to your home the very next day. This means you are receiving the freshest, most tasty, nutrient-dense vegetables possible. We hope that you will give our Powerhouse Vegetable Box a try and would love to see what you make with it. Tag us @farmerjonesfarm and join our Farmacy at The Chef's Garden Facebook group.