My journey with food started with eating at famous restaurants in New York with my sisters and going home to try and recreate the meal. Forty years of practice gave me a solid foundation in food that led me to re-opening B Street Market in Mountainair and finishing (next spring) a Master’s degree in Nutrition from the University of New Mexico.

This column marks the first of a series in The Independent, where we’ll explore different aspects of food, nutrition and growing. If you have suggestions for a future column, we’d like to hear from you.

I have always been an avid gardener and my partner and I grow a large market garden for B Street. This year we planted many varieties of traditional and non-traditional vegetables, many from Ukraine because they have been developed over time not only for taste but for short season growing and long keeping.

Our garden looks like the rainbow so it is easy to translate to a plate with multi -colored vegetables and edible flowers. An accepted practice is that your plate should look like a rainbow for maximum health benefits. Colorful vegetables and fruits contain specific micronutrients that support your health and combat biological stress with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory molecules. An extra benefit is that an array of colorful vegetables is beautiful, and we eat first with our eyes.

An easy way to cook greens and vegetables is to stir fry them. Assemble your favorite mix—I like red bell pepper, zucchini, spinach, rainbow chard, any variety of cabbage and nasturtium or calendula flowers.

Start with a few tablespoons olive oil in a pan on medium heat. Chop and add aromatics first (onions, garlic, chives or any combination of these). Sauté them for 4-5 minutes then add the firmest vegetables which in my mix would be red pepper, zucchini and the stems of the chard, cabbage and spinach sliced about ¼ inch, cook for another 5-6 minutes. While they are cooking rough chop the leaves of the rest of the greens. At this point I like to add a tablespoon of butter, salt, cayenne pepper. You can add whatever spices or oil you like that won’t overpower the taste of the mix of vegetables.

Add the chopped leafy greens and stir while cooking for another 3-4 minutes, and it is done. At this point you can serve and eat them or fold into an omelet as in the photo. There is no limit other than your imagination as to what can be added. Try cheese, nuts or coconut milk for different tastes. When adding new ingredients, simmer another 4-5 minutes to blend the flavors. I like to add fresh edible flowers like squash, calendula or nasturtium when they are in season before serving for extra color and nutritional benefits. Enjoy!

Nancy Fay McCloud lives in Mountainair where she owns the B Street Market, maintains a flock of Navajo Churro sheep, 60 chickens, two horses, four dogs, one cat, one parrot, and a large market garden at Happy Bee Farm. Reach her at