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"We have multiple varieties of different cooking greens," he said. But it wasn't long ago when greens were squeezed out of American diets. "Mainstream diets and certainly the diets of the past 20 years didn't have a whole lot of cooking greens in them," said Littman. "I think people are worse for wear for that. It's just such a vital part of the healthy diet."

Besides age related macular degeneration, those carotenoids also help prevent cataracts. With their love for leafy greens on high display, it's easy to wonder if southerners have unusually sharp eyesight.

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Additionally, she said, greens are packed with the nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids that filter harmful high energy blue wavelengths of light.

According to Dupree, some people claim to clean their dirty greens in the washing machine, wrapped in a pillow case. That's perhaps going a bit far another alternative is to soak dirty greens repeatedly in multiple changes of cold water.

Littman thinks greens came off the table about the time the art of keeping a home garden fell out of routine. "I think also that the American diet went away from that for a long time, Converse Heels Wedge

Ivy Creek Farms' list of greens is extensive: spicy braising greens (a mix of tender mustard and kale), lettuce, spring mix, pea shoots, Swiss chard, bok choy, escarole and Napa cabbage. Besides local restaurants, they're also available at the French Broad Food Co op, as well as at the North Asheville and Weaverville tailgate markets.

up, old style."

According to Paul Littman, who owns Ivy Creek Family Farm in Barnardsville, greens fill the shoulder season between the cold of winter and the first ripe tomatoes, a time when farmers markets shoppers clamor for fresh produce.

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Leah McGrath, corporate dietitian for Ingles grocery stores, said greens have more benefits than their slim waisted fan club might think.

Indeed, in Dupree's cookbook, "New Southern Cooking," she writes, "Both collard and turnip greens . have always been an important staple and source of calcium in our diets. And, since they like poor soil, they're often found growing alongside a road or in a hilly, rocky place where nothing else will grow. We just stop the car, get out, and fill up Converse Low Cut Men

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"For this time of year, there's a large demand at tailgates for fresh food, and also Converse White Sneakers For Men a large demand from chefs," said Littman, who sells produce to restaurants such as Crate and Plant. "We're just growing what's appropriate to grow in season and it's so nutritious," he said.

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"There's several reasons they're good for you," said McGrath. "When we were kids, it was all about spinach and Popeye, but now we also know that green vegetables have fiber and beta carotene," she said.

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because people weren't connected to the land," he said.

"Carotenoids prevent vision issues caused by oxidative damage from things like cigarette smoke and UV rays," McGrath explained. "They provide natural sunglasses. People who have a higher diet of dark leafy greens tend to have their vision protected as they age."

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Fiber, not fad

"The South has always been way ahead as far as the dark green leafies," said McGrath, though she agreed that many greens south of the Mason Dixon come gilded with bacon fat. "There were a lot of collards and kale and cabbage, especially in the mountain communities."

Now, greens like kale are nearly faddish, with celebrities sharing recipes for kale smoothies on their wellness blogs. "I think the reason why they're coming back into fashion is that people are eating seasonally and locally," said Littman, who added that people are trying to take better care of themselves."

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´╗┐Greens are growing in Asheville

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