Going Green with Bok Choy

Spotlight on Farmers:  Vang Family Farms

Vang Family Farms Produce

Nestled in a large parking lot in Playa Vista, California is a family and dog friendly certified farmers market, open every Saturday from 9 AM to 2 PM.   Vang Family Farms is one of 30 vendors that exhibit in Playa Vista.  Mark Anderson, Market Manager shares that farmers make up at least 50% of their vendors.

 

Playa Vista Certified Farmers Market

The Playa Vista Certified Farmers Market is a convenient spot to purchase locally sourced produce, offering a free doggie valet at the entrance for the first half hour, kid activities, musical entertainment, food and craft vendors, and more.   Sprouts of Promise is the non-profit organization that operates this Playa Vista market and four other certified farmers markets in Los Angeles and Orange counties.  Mark explains, “We promote healthy eating with the farmers markets as a platform.”

Farmers Mai Vang and Houamoua Vang

I had the chance to speak with Houamoua Vang and her daughter Mai from Vang Family Farms based out of Fresno, California.  Houamoua has been farming all her life, and at Vang Family Farms for nearly 16 years.  They grow cabbage, bok choy, kale, Chinese broccoli, and other Asian produce.  Vang Family Farms also exhibits in farmers markets in Santa Monica and Beverly Hills.

Houamoua shares a few quick tips for bok choy (also known as leafy Chinese cabbage).  It has a white thick stem and edible green leaves.  Bok choy can also be eaten fresh, and is very low in calories and rich in nutrients.

 

Preparing Bok Choy

Storing Tips

  • Do not rinse bok choy until ready to use, this shorten life span of these greens.
  • Keep bok choy dry by wrapping with paper towels in a bag.  It can extend the life by 2-3 weeks.

Cooking Tips

  • Rinse well, slice off root end below the white stem (Houamoua says this is optional as she eat it all!), and cut bok choy.
  • Pan fry bok choy for less than five minutes with olive oil, a teaspoon of oyster sauce for flavor, and salt to taste.  She suggests eating it alone or adding beef, or adding rice to make it a meal.

Get Creative

Bok Choy with Cashews and Oyster Sauce

Using Houamoua’s tips you can keep bok choy fresh longer, and easily create your own version of a healthy stir fry as nosh or a meal.  I followed her advice and also decided to add cashews for that extra crunch.  To make my mid-afternoon treat, I heated up two tablespoons of olive oil in a saute pan adding 1/3 cup of cashews, and a teaspoon of oyster sauce.  I used three heads of this leafy green, split each bok choy in half lengthwise, then cut horizontally.  Then under medium-high heat, I cooked the white stems for the first few minutes.  I added the leaves for the last two minutes as they cook quickly and can wilt.  I stirred the bok choy throughout the process to coat everything well and sprinkled sea salt to taste.   A very simple and delicious way to cook this nutritious veggie–it is a healthy option to satisfy my salt cravings!

For more information on Vang Family Farms and Playa Vista Farmers Market log on to http://www.playavistafm.com/ or follow them on Twitter @PlayaVistaFM.

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