Updated: Aug 29, 2019
On a sunny Saturday morning, Second Harvest’s Nutrition Services team was out at the High Point Farmers Market with a small crowd gathered around their table.
“Would you like to give it a try?” asks Kina Charles as she sets out small cups of fruit salsa. A little boy cautiously takes the cup and dips a cinnamon chip into the fruit mixture.
His face lights up as he tastes the tangy, fresh mixture. Mouth still full, he grabs the recipe sheet and hands it to his mother. “Let’s make this at home!” he says.
This is exactly the response that Kina is looking for. Kina Charles is the Nutrition Services Manager at the food bank, and she and her team seek out recipes that are healthy, low-cost and easy to make and share at Second Harvest food tastings such as this one. She packs up her flyers and portable stove top, red checked table cloth and all the ingredients she could possibly need and heads out to food pantries, community fairs, farmers markets, and food distributions to spread her gospel of nutrition and food security.
Kina will often go through the large cooler rooms back at the Second Harvest’s centrally located warehouses in Winston-Salem and look through the produce on hand to determine what recipes she might create and share out in the community. Currently, there are grapes, mushrooms, asparagus, and yogurt all donated by Walmart’s distribution center in Mebane, North Carolina. The grapes would be a welcome addition to the fruit salsa.
The work of Kina and her team is making the connection between hunger and health which is the focus of the food bank’s work. At Second Harvest we know that that families and communities impacted by food insecurity are not only hungry, they are at a greater risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other diet-related illnesses.
Food insecurity is not solely about a lack of food: it is also frequently about a lack of access to quality, wholesome and nutritious foods. As working families try to cover basic needs such as housing, utilities, transportation, and childcare, they increasingly find that less and less of their incomes are left over to purchase food. To provide enough meals, they are often left with no choice but to choose calories and quantity over quality, nutritious food.
That is one reason why Kina and her team head out nearly every day across the 18 counties that Second Harvest serves to teach healthy cooking classes, lead grocery store tours and present food tastings such as this one. As the families we encounter are balancing precarious budgets, we want them to be able to make the healthiest choices possible for what they feed their families.
Here is the recipe for Tangy Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Chips:
Cinnamon Chips: 1 tablespoon sugar ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon 4 flour tortillas
Salsa: 1 cup fresh strawberries 2 peaches, peeled and chopped 2 kiwifruit, peeled, sliced and quartered ½ cup grapes, halved 1 teaspoon lime zest (optional) 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice 1 teaspoon sugar (optional; if using canned peaches not necessary)
DIRECTIONS: 1. For cinnamon chips, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine sugar and cinnamon. Lightly spray tortillas with canola oil and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Cut each tortilla into 8 wedges, place in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp. Remove from oven and cool completely.
2. Meanwhile, for the salsa, place strawberries, peaches, grapes, and kiwi in a bowl. Add lime juice and zest. Combine all salsa ingredients in a bowl and mix gently. Serve with cinnamon chips.