NEWS for North Dakotans
Agriculture Communication, North Dakota State University
7 Morrill Hall, Fargo, ND 58105-5665

September 9, 1999

Prairie Fare: These Brothers Grimm and 5 A Day

Folklore decrees that carrots improve eyesight, but can eating fruits and vegetables make a person smarter? I can't answer that question with certainty, but I am convinced by recent experience that the pursuit of vegetable recipes can increase a person's knowledge.

Case in point: I went to the 5 A Day Web site looking for recipes to include in this column. Just in case you haven't been paying attention, 5 A Day is the nation's largest public/private nutrition education program, a key supporter of which is the National Cancer Institute. This year National 5 A Day Week runs from Sept. 12 through Sept.18.

Most of that 5 A Day stuff, I knew. What I didn't know when I surfed the Web site was anything about Grimmway Farms, which has provided an interesting recipe. It seems that Grimmway Farms, located in Lamont, Calif., and founded by the brothers Rod and Bob Grimm, is the world's largest carrot producer.

At least that's the claim the company makes on its Web site, which also provides these facts about the 31-year-old firm: California produces 80 percent of the nation's carrots, and Grimmway Farms processes 40,000 of California's 75,000 acres of carrots. On an average day, Grimmway Farms processes 10 million pounds of carrots--enough to fill a line of trucks 2.5 miles long.

According to an article published in the Bakersfield Californian, the Grimms got started by selling (from a roadside stand) sweet corn, which they grew on five acres of their grandfather's farm near Anaheim. Today, Grimmway Farms is a $300 million operation that employs 3,600 workers. Given North Dakota's ongoing evolution as a vegetable-producing state, I think this brothers Grimm story qualifies for placement under the heading "food for thought."

What follows is that Grimmway Farms recipe, which I've adapted. The original is available via the Internet at

Zesty Veggies
Yield: 4 servings (about 2 cups)

4 medium unpeeled red potatoes, sliced -inch thick
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into -inch diagonal slices
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 tablespoon honey-Dijon mustard
teaspoon caraway seed, crushed
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Bring water to boil in a 4-quart saucepan, add potatoes and simmer for about five minutes. Reduce heat slightly, add carrots, cover and continue cooking until vegetables are just tender, about seven to 10 minutes longer. After adding the carrots, combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Place the cooked vegetables in a serving bowl, add the remaining ingredients, toss gently to coat, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary, and serve immediately. This dish complements the flavor of roast beef or pork. If serving roast pork, an apple salad would make a nice accompaniment.

What's Your Take on This, Julie?

Once upon a time your mom or another adult probably had to remind you to eat your vegetables. It's no fairy tale that vegetables and fruits are good for us. It's taken years of lab research for scientists to discover what moms intuitively believed, and there are new discoveries almost every day.

According to some recent research, eating ample fruits and vegetables, along with calcium-rich dairy foods, may even help guard against osteoporosis, a thinning of the bones. Dairy products, as well as some types of fruits and vegetables, contain potassium and magnesium, which also play a role in reducing the risk of osteoporosis. After analyzing data from more than 900 research participants, researchers at a USDA Agricultural Research Service center in Boston and at Harvard Medical School reported that people who ate more fruits and vegetables had stronger bones.

Eating fruits and vegetables also can reduce our risk of certain types of cancers and heart disease due to the fiber, folic acid and wide variety of plant chemicals (phytochemicals) they contain. Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, along with oranges, are good sources of folic acid, as are legumes and fortified cereals. Pregnant women who don't take in enough folic acid either from their diets or from supplements--especially during the first trimester--are at greater risk of delivering children with neural tube defects such as spina bifida.

If you're falling short of the recommendations for at least two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables a day, use National 5-A-Day week as an incentive to increase your fruit and vegetable intake. First, figure out how many servings of fruits and vegetables you eat on a "usual" day. A serving of fruit or vegetables consists of cup of juice, cup of frozen, fresh or canned fruit, 1 cup of salad greens, or one medium whole fruit such as an apple or an orange.

You'll be well on your way to eating healthfully ever after if you use some of these strategies to eat more fruits and vegetables:

And, consider trying a serving of this week's Zesty Veggies, which contains 120 calories, 3.3 grams of fat, 20 percent of the daily recommended vitamin C and more than a full day's supply of vitamin A (as beta carotene).


Sources: Dean Hulse (701) 231-6136
Julie Garden-Robinson (701) 231-7187

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