Tag Archives: Nature’s Market

Fresh Herbed Goat Cheese


If you’re looking for a party appetizer and you’re allergic to cow dairy products, like Bill is, this recipe is an easy, tasty suggestion. What I made for a party tonight was inspired by Laura Klein’s Fresh Herbed Goat Cheese recipe from OrganicAuthority.com

Since two of the guys at the party don’t care for cilantro, and parsley is in the cilantro family, I substituted rosemary for parsley. And, because the lavender buds just popped out this weekend, I thought lavender would be a nice touch. All the herbs came from my yard: 





 Here are the herbs on the cutting board before chopping: 


And here’s the local chevre I used from Dancing Goat Creamery


First, I chopped the thyme, rosemary, and chives. Then, I simply pulled the buds off the lavender and added them to the mix. 


After a touch of black pepper, I rolled the cheese in the mixture and put it in plastic wrap. (You could use wax paper as an earth-friendly substitute, which I will do in the future once my plastic wrap is gone!) Then I stuck it in the fridge until party time! 


For those with gluten and corn allergies, you might enjoy Sami’s Bakery Millet & Flax chips as an accompaniment. You can pick these up at local health food stores (such as Nature’s Market and Harvest Health Foods in West Michigan). 


Buying Local Produce in Winter Climates

Today was the last day of the Holland Farmers’ Market. As I loaded up on what I thought were the last local veggies available to me this season, I was thrilled when Cindy Visser of Visser Farms said, “Come visit us during the winter!” It really made my day.
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Happy Chickens Make Happy Eggs


One of my favorite things to have for breakfast is fried eggs, which Bill makes for us about once a week. And nothing’s better than eggs from chickens that range freely on organic grass.

Ever since The Year of Food began, I’ve been on a quest to find the best happy local food. So this summer, Bill and I began buying eggs from Grassfields at the Holland farmer’s market.

A fifth generation, family-owned farm, Grassfields has been in operation since 1882 and certified organic since 2007. In addition to fresh eggs from grazing chickens, they offer organic cheeses and natural meats in their on-farm retail cheese shop.

Run by the Meerman family, Grassfields is located near Coopersville, Michigan–definitely a hike from Holland–which means we won’t be dropping in to pick up eggs on a frequent basis. Luckily, they sell to many stores in Michigan, including Nature’s Market in Holland and Harvest Health in Hudsonville, both places where we frequently shop, so we’ll have options for getting our eggs after the farmers’ market is done for the season.

Nonetheless, we thought it was time for a visit to the farm because it’s so important to see where your food comes from.

The Meermans own 200 acres, where they raise poultry, cows, sheep, and pigs. All the animals have access to certified organic grass. The meat chickens, ducks, and turkeys are raised in movable pens of varying sizes which are moved to new grass about once a week or when otherwise needed. And the laying hens lay their eggs in semi-permanent buildings, but range freely around the buildings. Eggs are hand gathered, hand washed, and hand packed once a day.

Here are some of the happy sites from our visit to Grassfields:

Happy chickens!

Happy chickens!

Happy pigs!

Happy pigs!

Happy calves!

Happy calves!

Happy cows!

Happy cows!

We’re glad to have a local farm that provides such healthy food!

Happy Cows Make Happy Milk

Organic, grassfed milk from Hilhof Dairy

Organic, grassfed milk from Hilhof Dairy

I’ve always been a milk drinker. Nothing beats a tall, cold glass of milk with a brownie, peanut butter on toast, or a chocolate chip cookie.

When I was a kid, we drank skim milk but as I became a coffee drinker, I switched to whole or two percent. For most of my adult life I don’t think I’ve been able to put less than two percent milk in my coffee until the past year, and it was really tough to get used to. When it comes to coffee (and I like mine good and strong with lots of milk), I’ll drink it black rather than put skim milk in it.

A few years ago, I switched to organic milk when I switched to other organic foods. But after reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma, I realized organic milk does not necessarily mean happy milk. The cows may still be living in a factory environment, eating grain instead of grass. That’s when Bill noticed the glass bottles of milk from Hilhof Dairy  at Nature’s Market in Holland. (Harvest Health Foods carries them as well.)

Hilhof Dairy is located in Hersey, Michigan–96 miles from Holland. You pay a deposit on their bottle, just like in the old days. Hilhof offers skim milk, two percent milk, whole milk, and cream. According to a brochure I picked up at Summertime Market, none of their products are homogenized. And, “when cream is left in its natural state…it is more easily digestible.” Plus, as everyone knows, organic grassfed milk is higher in omega 3’s than non-organic milk. (More about this from Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food at a later date.)

According to farmers William and Connie Straathof, their philosophy is “that healthy soil produces healthy food, and healthy food produces healthy animals and people.” Michael Pollan himself couldn’t have said it better.

Cheers to Hilhof Dairy for delivering dairy products 96 miles away so we can enjoy organic milk from 100% grassfed cows.

Oatmeal with Nuts and Berries

Organic oatmeal with nuts and berries

Organic oatmeal with nuts and berries

I know, it’s kind of cliche, but I think oatmeal is one of the best breakfast meals ever. With raspberries and blueberries still in season at the Holland Farmers’ Market, I can have a pretty filling breakfast.

On weekdays when I’m in a hurry to get to work, I admit I make instant (organic) oatmeal. But on the days I work at home, or weekends, Bill and I enjoy the real stuff together.

Bill makes oatmeal from organic, fast-cooking oats we buy in bulk at one of our favorite health food stores, Nature’s Market or Harvest Health Foods. I add a little brown sugar when it’s ready, then throw some walnuts in while it’s hot to soften them slightly. Top with berries and add a little soy milk or organic milk to reduce the thickness, and it’s yummy.