Many of you, our customers, are fabulous cooks. How do we know? Well, over the years, we’ve all exchanged recipes and cooking ideas and they’ve been great. So, to celebrate warmer weather, we’re holding a cooking contest!
We’re treating everyone on Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22nd, to two seed balls (SEEDBALLZ). One will be bachelor buttons, and the other basil. “Growing was never easier,” says the company. These multi-seeded balls are rich with organic soils and clay for cluster growing. They contain non-GMO seeds and hand-rolled by people with special needs in the USA. Here’s to Mother Earth, and here’s to all of our efforts to help her live to a ripe old age!
We arrived home safe and sound from Natural Products Expo West. You’ll be seeing some new products in the store over the next few months. One of the things that excited me was Desert Farms organic, grass-fed camel’s milk! We have made contact with the young man whose idea this was, and we hope to have some for you to taste shortly. There was a Japanese sushi barley that was fantastic, iSprout eco friendly timepieces, which I understand have just arrived in the store. Cindy and I loved fava bean “nuts” and sun-dried hibiscus blooms and an hibiscus vinegar. We found natural food colors, just in time for Easter (we hope), and found whole grain dinner rolls, like we used to have.
We had a great run with Benbow’s Coffee Roasters out of Maine. And we’re still going to keep many of the old flavors in bags for you die-hard fans. But we’re switching to Dean’s for our bulk bins because:
- Dean’s supports Fair Trade and social justice like nobody’s business
- Dean himself gave an awesome speech at the MA state house in favor of mandatory GMO labeling.
- Dean’s roasts locally in Orange, MA.
- Dean’s is revolutionizing bulk packaging with new flavor-seal compostable bags
…and the big one: Dean’s was our staff favorite, solely based on taste, beating out its closest competitor by about two-to-one
Cultured veggies are sort of like pickled veggies, except better and more delicious. Instead of preserving vegetables by pickling them in vinegar, culturing involves live healthy bacteria – sort of like the bacteria that turn milk into yogurt. They help digestion and they help immunity AND instead of just trying to preserve the healthiness of the vegetables with vinegar, they enhance they healthiness of the veggies! The Farmhouse Culture brand, which is new in our store, says, “Happy Kraut, Happy You.”
Dukka comes from the Arabic, and it means to pound. Since we’re not pounding, but using the food processor, this is quick and easy to make. Traditional dukka in the Middle East, is like our Mrs. Dash, and goes on everything!
Do use whole, brown sesame seeds so you get twelve times more calcium than you do from hulled, white sesame seeds. The whole, brown sesame seeds you find in our bulk bins are also a fraction of the cost of those little packages of the white ones you find in supermarkets.
How do I use dukka? I may coat fish, chicken or tofu with dukka and roast my dish in the oven, or sprinkle dukka on food like scallops or beans after I’ve stir-fried them. I love this mixture to jazz up a baked potato, or on sunny-side up eggs, or shashouka. Dukka is great on sautéed veggies, winter squash, or sprinkled on salads. The easiest way to use dukka is to simply add some to extra-virgin olive oil in a little bowl to make a wonderful dipping oil.
January is national soup and national oatmeal month. Two of my favorite comforting foods in the dark of winter. And because a darker version of something is almost always better for you than its lighter cousin, it’s wonderful that we’re getting black beans, orange sweet potatoes, green veggies.
We call sweet potatoes “yams” (i.e. red garnet yams), but actually sweet potatoes and yams are different plants, and what we grow here are really sweet potatoes. Yams, grown primarily in the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, and Latin America are tougher, drier and not as sweet as sweet potatoes.
Should you use organic ingredients? You’ll get more bang for your buck, more nutrition if you do. So start by scrubbing your sweet potatoes. Don’t peel them because there are vites in the skin! Nutritional yeast? Gives a slight cheesy flavor, is rich in the B vitamins (nerve and stress vitamins), and helps prevent the breakdown of collagen.
An oldie but goodie from 2005 by Debra
In the old days, people used to fast at the change of the seasons to rid themselves of internal pollutants that feed into everything from Candida, fatigue, allergies and damaged immune systems. Fasting is one of the oldest therapeutic methods known to man or woman.
Because it takes energy to process what we eat, when we don’t eat, or when we eat lightly, the body has energy left over to detox, to rid itself of junk we have inside that may be causing little and not-so-little problems. The body can concentrate on fighting illness instead. Fasting gives our most overworked organ, the liver, the chance to rest and do its job better.
I like to think that fasting can do for our bodies and for our liver what an oil change can do for our cars.
The foods will be different, but they'll taste the same. Sound too good to be true? Read on…
1. DON'T JUST EAT FOR YOUR OWN HEALTH, BUT EVERYONE ELSE'S HEALTH, TOO.
Compare a chocolate bar from fairly-traded cocoa, to an "identical" chocolate bar, made from the "same" chocolate harvested by child slaves. It may or may not be better for you, but it's definitely better. We’re talking about Fair Trade here, and it’s important where you can get it, but it's especially important with coffee, tea, chocolate, sugar, and bananas. Fair Trade is only one of many ways we can eat “better.” We can buy food from a farmer we know treats her land well. We can buy from a kitchen we know treats their staff well. By making the right choices here, you preserve land, support communities, and encourage meaningful lives. (Yes, really!)
And then, there are organics… While scientists still debate the value of organics for the consumer (I'll get into that later), no sensible person should debate the value of organics to the environment, and to the farmers raising the crop.