Top produce you should buy organic

•June 9, 2009 • Leave a Comment

pesticides1

Something I am trying to reconcile is the monetary cost of organics…but more and more I am understanding it all…because the extra money you spend is going towards better farm practices, preventative healthcare and a better wage for the workers who use sustainable practices. In my mind it is money well spent. But if you feel like you can’t justify the cost of buying chemically free food– at least consider the following foods. These foods when tested are found to soak the most pesticides in.

Peaches
Apples
Sweet bell peppers
Celery
Nectarines
Strawberries
Cherries
Lettuce
Grapes (imported)
Pears
Spinach
Potatoes

The cows keep me alive

•June 4, 2009 • Leave a Comment

DSC_0064

DSC_0047

DSC_0051

DSC_0086

Wild about you- Foraging Dinner

A while back we ventured south to Ralph Lentz Farm near Lake Pepin in MN. I heard about the “Wild about you- Foraging dinner” through the organization Slow Foods MN. They strive to have a focus “on food and always have an educational component. They provide an opportunity for conversation with others who are interested in sustainably produced food. Our members are farmers, home cooks, vintners, chefs, wine lovers, moms and dads, grocers, brewers, writers, nutritionists, students, bakers, miscellaneous foodies . . . united in our concern about the quality of what we eat.” They are a branch of Slow Foods international which is a group that formed in opposition to McDonalds opening a restaurant in Rome.

It was a beautiful day. We got to go out among the grass fed cattle and hear from the farmer himself about the value of feeding grass to cows– for the health of the cows and for the health of the environment. They don’t have to use fertilizers because the manure naturally makes the grass (as you can see in the photo above) super lush. It’s the most beautiful grass I’ve ever seen. They rotate the cows through 4 different sections of land and rest each section for certain amounts of time.

What struck Darren and I as very interesting was the fact that the farmer is very old and most older farmers were trained in big Ag methods. He was not because he was an Ag teacher for most of his life and then became a farmer. The way he talked about everything was so simple and so natural, but at the same time so foreign. We are so used to big farm, monocrop production of food that is so quietly destructive. Another guy that lead a tour about the health of the streams on the farm made a good point saying we have focused so much on the how’s of food production (gps systems on tractors, etc.) and haven’t spent nearly enough time on the why’s of food production.

Last point…the food we ate at the end of the day was AMAZING. The picture doesn’t quite do it justice. It was braised elk, huge asparagus, ramps (some species of onion), nettle/dandelion/green mixture, wild rice mix and a whole host of homemade desserts.

Oh…and the cutest thing that the farmer said was that “the cows keep him alive”…he thinks he would die if he decided to “retire” and move into the city.

Great recipe! Gorgonzola Chicken pasta

•June 2, 2009 • 1 Comment

1 pound rotini pasta
1 pound diced chicken
2 tablespoons canola oil
¼ pound spinach, sliced
½ red onion, diced
1 apple, sliced and halved
½ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
¼ pound gorgonzola cheese crumbled
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ tablespoon salt
¼ tablespoon black pepper
½ teaspoon garlic

Cook pasta al dente.
Cut apples and toss with lemon juice
Saute chicken in canola oil, add garlic, salt, and pepper.
Prepare dressing; combine olive oil and red wine vinegar. Toss pasta with apples, chicken, dressing, and remaining ingredients.

Food, Inc.

•May 6, 2009 • 2 Comments

5104_fd36

food-inc

foodinc2_jpg_595x325_crop_upscale_q85

We saw Food, Inc. at the Mpls/St.Paul Film Fest a few weeks ago. Leah Engelhart told us about, so we all went together. It was a fascinating film full of things the commercial food industry doesn’t want us all to know. I frantically wrote a bunch of notes in the darkness of the theatre on the back of Leah’s digital converter box coupon! I thought I would share some of these random notes.

- Most of the meat we buy has imagery on the packaging that makes us think meat is from farms- and NOT factories. They use images of days gone by, so we think the meat is really pure, cultivated by farmers.

- The goal of Tyson, Cargill and Swift is uniformity, conformity and cheapness.

- America/the world has never had food companies this big

- Chickens are now re-designed to have bigger white breasts since Americans generally don’t like dark meat

- We buy into an illusion of diversity with our foods- but most of it is made out of clever re-arrangements of corn

- Ketchup, jelly, syrup, diapers, commercially harvested fish, salad dressing, sorbitol, xanthan gum are all made from corn…especially BEEF!

- Cheap corn has driven the price of meat down

- Our desire for cheaper calories has heavily subsidized wheat, corn and soy

- Obesity is highly linked with income level

- We complain about organic eggs but will easily pay .75 for a can of pop

- Thousands of different cattle make up the a single burger at most fast food places (because of how the beef is processed)

What I took from the film is that if you can afford organic food you should buy it and not feel like you are spending your money unwisely. It will drive down the prices for those who want it but can’t afford it. Supporting free-range, cage free, grass fed farmers like the one above in the photo, is saying that you care about the “why’s” and not just the “how’s” of how food gets to your table.

2009 CSA Fair

•April 26, 2009 • Leave a Comment

turnip-rock

The photo above is of the farm where I will be eating my vegetables from this summer. Beautiful, eh? Billy, Marta, Darren and I checked out the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Fair at the Seward Co-op this weekend. We interviewed all the different farms/farmers about the cost of a share of their CSA, their location, drop off locations, etc. It was a fun process talking with these healthy, sun-kissed farmers. I wanted them to take me with them back to their farms and lifestyle.

The CSA we decided to go with is the Turnip Rock Farm out of New Auburn, WI. A young couple runs it and has a great philosophy/vision for the food they grow. We hope to make a few trips out there this summer for the purpose of seeing the beautiful farm, learning from them and helping with whatever needs they may have.

I am excited about this new endeavor and I suppose a little nervous. I don’t want to be wasteful with these vegetables, but hopefully with the recipes they supply I won’t have to be. I will make some updates on this later in the season once we have had a few boxes of the vegetables. They drop off the veggies once a week June- Sept.

http://www.turniprock.com

lovely quote

•April 25, 2009 • Leave a Comment

“Wake up now, look alive, for here is a day off work just to praise Creation: the turkey, the squash and the corn, these things that ate and drank the sunshine, grass, mud, and rain, and then in the shortening days laid down their lives for our welfare and onward resolve. There’s the miracle for you, the absolute sacrifice that still holds back seeds: a germ of promise to do the whole thing again, another time.” – Barbara Kingsolver

Some recent thoughts

•April 17, 2009 • 2 Comments

kitchen

So I haven’t posted on this blog in like a million years (in the blogosphere world). I guess I was focused on other things. But lately (well for the last few months) I have been thinking about all sorts of things related to food. I am currently reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. It is a very interesting read, and I have learned a lot from it. She and her family decide to live off of local food for a year, much of that food being the food that they grow- including poultry. It has got me thinking a lot about how American marketing dollars that swirl through the American food system have a lot of us pretty deceived. I know I for one have been deceived. Why is it that we never hear about feedlots, food being trucked in all over the world so we can have fruit in the winter or the rampant use of pesticides on our crops? I think like in all things it boils down to money. So, I have decided to become more educated about all these things related to food.

It really is a bummer that organic food is expensive and that the whole world doesn’t have the funds to access it. It is definitely a dilemma. But it’s expensive because of the labor involved and because of the predominately small farms it comes from. Since it is so expensive, I have made the choice to just buy produce and meat at our natural foods co-op. The rest I will buy at the local grocery store.

Cancer and other common deadly diseases are so pervasive and I am no longer surprised by most of them. Sure there are probably a lot of environmental and genetic factors that play into it all…but I just think the biggest thing has to be what we actually put in and on our bodies. Our American food supply is so toxic, laden with pesticides, fertilizers, hormones and antibiotics. Our cosmetics and lotions are just as full of chemicals. I see so many “healthy” people that eat regular (non-organic) fruits and veggies like crazy and I can’t help but think to myself — those people aren’t really healthy.

I am currently on the search for a cream/lotion that is natural…one that doesn’t absorb too quickly and that will actually moisturize my dry skin. It’s been a thorn in my flesh lately…nothing seems to work right. Let me know if you know of any good ones!

peace out

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.