I spent my university years in Santa Cruz, California, the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. How blessed I feel to have been able to call that wonderful gem land my home for nearly 5 years. Never before had I lived in a place for which I was consciously grateful every single day. The landscape of Santa Cruz is awesome, in the fullest sense of the word. Not only do you have the majestic ocean waves crashing up against the wondrous cliffs, the truly enchanting redwood forest, and the magnificent mountains. The beauty of Santa Cruz transcends nature and carries into the culture and society of the region. Santa Cruz is a hub for counterculture. Walking through the sweet little town feels like a time warp back to the Summer of Love. The community is socially and politically progressive, with a laid-back bohemian, beachy vibe. Basically, it’s a hippie haven.
Part of that wonderful hippie culture is a love and appreciation for fresh, local, handgrown, nourishing food. Farms and produce gardens take the place of flowers and lawns in many homes, and a visit to the local farmers market is community-wide activity. Many of the grocery stores even embrace this spirit of fair trade and sustainability by carrying goods from local farmers and craftsmen. One of my favorites was New Leaf Community Market.
This phenomenal neighborhood food market really lives up to its title. Aside from always providing cool, delicious products, the store’s atmosphere was always incredibly welcoming and inspiring, with creative seasonal recipes in the newsletter, exclusively organic produce, and an overall environmentally conscious, friendly and pro-sustainability aura. New Leaf even donates a portion of its profits to help fund nonprofits (Homeless Garden Project, Save Our Shores, Clean Ocean Project, Save the Frogs, etc.) in the surrounding local community. It was this hippie-foodie mashup that got me hooked on New Leaf markets. And then there was the Coastal Kale Salad, which kept me always coming back for more. This prepared salad is one of those meals that make you feel clean inside. You know you’re getting what your body needs with nutrient-packed Kale, the seeds provide you with the protein that will keep you going strong, and the citrusy dressing brings a level of freshness that uplifts you.
- 10 ounces precut kale/1 bunch curly kale, stripped and cut into bite-size pieces.
- 1/2 red onion-julienne cut
- 1 oz. sunflower sprouts (optional, if you can find them)
- 1/4 C. sunflower seeds-already shelled
- 1/4 C. pumpkin seeds
- 1/8 C. sesame seeds
- 3 tablespoons Bragg Liquid Aminos
- juice of 1 lemon
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
-Toss all ingredients in a gallon Ziploc bag.
-Close tightly and shake well to combine ingredients.
-You can massage the kale to tenderize it more quickly.