Serves You Right

By Margie Mansure (

Article Published: May. 1 | Modified: May. 1
Serves You Right

The Watauga County Farmers’ Market opens for the season this Saturday in Boone.

Photo by Anna Oakes

This Saturday, the Watauga County Farmers’ Market is up and running for the season, offering delicious baked goods, fresh roasted coffee, meat, eggs and beautiful handmade arts and crafts.

Since the High Country growing season begins later than at lower elevations, cold-tolerant greens will dominate the produce scene.

Instead of longing for heirloom tomatoes, consider the benefits of eating more leafy greens. Consuming greens in place of more calorically dense food will help you obtain your optimal summer physique. A cup of lettuce contains 10 calories, raw kale 33 calories and a cup of raw Swiss chard only seven calories.

People who eat merely three to five cups each week have been found to have a lower incidence of a variety of cancers. If you’ve ever been through or seen a loved one go through cancer treatment, you know that a few cups of greens a week are definitely worth a pound of cure.

The greens that smell sulfur-like when you cook them are members of the Brassica family and include kale, collards, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. They contain organosulfur compounds that lessen the occurrence of cancers up to 44 percent. These beneficial compounds signal our genes to increase production of enzymes involved in detoxification, the cleansing process where our bodies eliminate harmful compounds.

Greens contain beta-carotene and vitamin C, which are both antioxidants that protect cells from damage, reducing our chances of developing cataracts and lowering our risk of skin cancer. Vitamin C is vital for proper function of the immune system, which keeps us healthy.

Leafy greens also taste great. Enjoy this recipe with locally produced sausage and kale:

Fettuccine with Sausage & Kale

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound pork sausage, casings discarded and sausage crumbled
1 pound kale, tough stems and center ribs discarded and leaves coarsely chopped
1/2 pound dried egg fettuccine
2/3 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
½ cup finely grated Pecorino Romano plus additional for serving
2 cloves of garlic
2 onions, chopped
2 red peppers and 1 green sweet pepper, chopped

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook sausage, breaking up any lumps with a spoon, until browned, 5 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, blanch kale in a 6-quart pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, 5 minutes. Remove kale with a large sieve and drain. Return cooking water in pot to a boil, then cook pasta in boiling water, uncovered, until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta-cooking water, then drain pasta in a colander.

While pasta cooks, add kale, peppers and onions to sausage in skillet and sauté, stirring frequently, until just tender, about 5 minutes. Add broth, stirring and scraping up any brown bits from bottom of skillet, then add pasta and 1/2 cup reserved cooking water to skillet, tossing until combined. Stir in cheese and thin with additional cooking water if desired.

Serve immediately, with additional cheese on the side.

Adapted from

Margie Mansure, M.S., R.D. is a registered dietitian/nutritionist and extension agent with N.C. Cooperative Extension. She offers personalized classes to improve the health of citizens in Watauga County through worksites, schools and community groups and is the local food coordinator for Watauga County. For more information, email, or call (828) 264-3061.

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