Farmer’s Market for a Better Mid Afternoon Snack

Produce from the farmer's market

I nailed the nutrition element of my prep for my first ever baseball broadcast tonight.

I spent Saturday morning at a farmers’ market in downtown Cincinnati. The produce was bountiful, and I acquired the most exceptionally tasty tomato in existence. I walked away with a hell of an appreciation for the friendly food growers of the Midwest’s Queen City.

I travelled east from California to provide color for my initial leap into the television baseball broadcast world. Alongside Thom Brennaman, I called the Reds versus the Cardinals, which taught me a great deal. Being a rookie at anything is a challenge. Sometimes you swing and miss, but you get to work, dig in and expect to hit a home run.  I definitely crushed a bullet into the gap with my visit to the Findlay Farmer’s Market. I chatted with farmers and smelled, tasted and became visually stimulated by fresh local and organic produce.

My walk back to the hotel found me laden with bags of kale, a large cucumber, radishes, black bean hummus and the aforementioned perfect (ironically, about the size of a baseball) tomato. I took the time between my visit to the market and my trip to the ballpark to wash off my bounty.

Prior to my visit with the managers of each team, Bryan Price and Mike Matheny, I ate the kale and snacked on the cucumber dipped in hummus. My veggies were sweet, cool, crisp and refreshing, with the hummus adding a spicy and creamy note. I loved that the hummus only featured black beans, extra virgin olive oil, local hot peppers, garlic and sea salt.

My midafternoon snack left me feeling calm and alert during my meetings, a far cry from the 3 pm crash most of us experience when we’ve fueled up with questionable nutrition. That really isn’t the most notable part of my experience.

That tomato. I’m still thinking of it now. It produced (see what I did there?) an out of body experience. I have never bitten into such a firm, juicy, sweet, tangy beauty. I took a bite, put it back in my bag and found myself drawn back to it. Now, that’s normal with a bag of chips or some other similarly addictive, “you can’t eat just one” food item. But a tomato? C’mon. I went back three or so times and this bad boy was ghost (that’s gone, for you anti-slang folk).

Is the soil better in the farms in the Midwest? Or was my body in need of the nutrients after traveling west to east? From whfoods.com:

Tomatoes are a treasure of riches when it comes to their antioxidant benefits. In terms of conventional antioxidants, tomatoes provide an excellent amount of vitamin C and beta-carotene; a very good amount of the mineral manganese; and a good amount of vitamin E. In terms of phytonutrients, tomatoes are basically off the chart…Specific antioxidant nutrients found in tomatoes, whole tomato extracts, and overall dietary intake of tomatoes have all been associated with antioxidant protection. Sometimes this protection comes in the form of reduced lipid peroxidation (oxygen damage to fats in cell membranes or in the bloodstream). Sometimes this protection comes in the form of better antioxidant enzyme function (for example, better function of the enzymes catalase or superoxide dismustase). Better antioxidant protection has also been shown using broad measurements of oxidative stress in different body systems. We’ve seen studies involving tomato and specific antioxidant protection of the bones, liver, kidneys, and bloodstream.

I’m guessing my vessel was craving something that only that tomato could provide, but I’m also not putting it past those ‘Nati farmers to be slightly more savvy than their Malibu counterparts.

Either way, I’m glad I didn’t order room service. My memories of this weekend are more diverse and vivid as a result.

Just wanted to share,

Kap

Comments

    • says

      Yup, They were sometimes called “love-apples,” and were considered purely ornamental for a long time after being introduced to Europe, and that attitude continued in the American colonies even into the 18th century.

  1. Ed H says

    “…..a far cry from the 3 pm crash most of us experience.”

    It’s amazing how under appreciated simple, good nutrition is for sustaining a productive, well focused day. Even going further, how sharp and healthy we can all be too. I know I haven’t been sick at all in 2014 and probably sleep better than ever (including needing a bit less sleep to be sharp.

  2. says

    Living outside of Phoenix, we have been eating fresh tomatoes from our backyard for a while now. Just wonderful. Made my own black bean hummus today – thanks for the inspiration.

  3. Gavin says

    Great stuff. Love the Farmer’s Market. Probably at my local FM at same time you were at the ‘Nati FM. You are a man on his way to perfect enlightenment when you have tasted life as you have been able to, yet still finds magnificence in a single tomato.

    An interesting topic for further study is the relationship of our enjoyment of a particular food and the setting where consumed, or our knowledge of that food’s production. Are ballpark hot dogs really that much better than ones at home? Or is it the setting? Also, when traveling you’re forced to eat some junk that you wouldn’t have consumed if home. How much more do we value/appreciate the healthy stuff if sandwiched between some less healthy ones? Not saying that the tomato was only great in your mind. But framing is definitely one of life’s undervalued assets.

    • Gabe Kapler says

      Gavin,

      Thank you for this thoughtful feedback. I’ll be turning this thought into a post.

      Great stuff,
      Kap

  4. Jill D. says

    We have a great farmer’s market every Saturday morning about a mile’s lovely walk from the house. This is my husband’s and my weekly let’s-actually-walk-together-with-the-dog routine, loading up on veggies for the next few days. There’s also a couple of farmers with local grass-fed beef available, haven’t tried that yet, but may now.

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