Fresh is best! 

  
There’s nothing better than reaping fresh vegetables from your garden, especially broccoli. Broccoli is one of those vegetables that needs to be eaten right away because it losses the nutrients after it’s been picked. Whether you enjoy your broccoli raw or cooked, harvesting from your garden or buying from the farmers market is your best option. Don’t rely on the store-bought versions.  They’re soft and almost limp. Here I am displaying my harvest above, and I ate some raw and cooked that very same day. There’s a huge difference in the taste.  This crucifer was crisp, subtly sweet and utterly tender. 

Broccoli is a good source of the carotenoids lutein, vitamins C, A, K, folate, and fiber, and a very good source of manganese, tryptophan, potassium, b-vitamins, magnesium, omega 3’s, iron, calcium, zinc, and vitamin E.  All of which are important for cancer prevention and other degenerative diseases. 

Last year, I planted broccoli for the first time but I was not successful.  My timing was way off.  I sowed the seeds too late and by the time the plants matured, snow came. This year, I purchased six seedlings from my farmers market and transplanted them mid-spring. I harvested one already last week, so this is my second harvest thus far.    

Here’s a before picture. That’s my uncles hand there. The plant is humongous. The bigger you space them from one another, the bigger the broccoli heads basically. It’s amazing and very rewarding growing your own vegetables. The benefits are endless.  I’ve already started on my fall crops, and I’m including cauliflowers this year. 

Wish me luck!

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Supporting Local Food and Farms



Support your local farmers market by going and purchasing fresh organic produce, grass-fed meats, pastured raised chickens/eggs, and dairy products.  These simple actions are vital to our nations history and our existence.  Without high-quality farmland we are wasting one of the world’s most important resources.  

The 2007 National Resources Inventory reported, America is loosing more than an acre of farmland per minute. It’s due to rapid modern developments.  According to the American Farmland Trust, these working lands keep our taxes down and maintain the legacy of our agricultural heritage.  We as American have a responsibility to protect this most valuae resources for future generations. Shopping in a supermarket with cold freezers and processed foods have become our norm. It’s time to go back to our heritage and buy farm fresh foods. 

Helping is simple and easy. Urge Congress to protect farmland conservation funding by sending letters to your Senators or Representatives, sign petitions, donate, and most importantly go shop at your local farmers market.  Make that commitment to buy locally and advocate for laws that help family farmers and their heirs — stay on their land. 

For more information visit: Farmland website to gather more information. 

Sign this petition to protect the farmland conservation funding.

Donate to save a family farm. 

Find out who your representers are here


Resources:

Seven Ways to Save Farmland

SustainAbility

Take Action

Malic Acid in Your Granny Smith Apples

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Granny Smith apples are a crisp, tart delicious apple. They contain more malic acid, which is responsible for their distinctive “sour” taste than any other apple. I think the Granny Smith’s are the best tasting apple to juice with. The tart flavor adds a wonderful dimension to juices, there’s also a slight hint of sweetness in them that’s perfect for green juices.

Granny Smith apples is a key ingredient in the Gerson Therapy because the acid is super beneficial, as it stimulates the metabolism and helps to detox heavy metals. Katheryn Alexander, a Gerson practitioner in Australia, also explains how tart apples enhance the other ingredients in the juices:

“Sour apples are higher in potassium malate and higher in pectin (good for chelating heavy metals), they can also extract higher amounts of nutrients from the pulped vegetables due to their higher acidity, so you end up with a more nutrient-rich juice.”


Granny Smith apples are also delicious in apple pies. They add an amazing tart and sweetish taste when combined with other sweet apples.

Resource:
Gerson Therapy
Vegan Apple Pie

Why Organic? My Top 5 Reasons

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I choose to buy and eat organic foods based on countless of studies showing them to be safer and nutritionally healthier than conventionally grown foods. A recent review of 41 published studies by certified nutrition specialist by Virginia Worthington, found that the nutritional value of organically grown fruits, vegetables, and grains had significantly more nutrients than conventional foods.

These included:
27% more vitamin C
21.1% more iron
29.3% more magnesium
13.6% more phosphorus.

In addition, organic products had 15.1% less nitrates than their conventional counterparts. Virginia also noted that five servings of organic vegetables (lettuce, spinach, carrots, potatoes and cabbage) provided the recommended daily intake of vitamin C for men and women, while their conventional counterparts did not. She said the results are consistent with known soil dynamics and plant physiology.

My Top Five Reasons

1. Plant-based organic foods, especially raw or non-processed, have higher levels of vitamins and minerals. A study conducted by Charles M. Benbrook, Xin Zhao, Jaime Yáñez, Neal Davies and Preston Andrews confirmed organic plant-based foods are, on average, more nutritious.

2. Organic foods are produced without the use of Generically Modified Organisms (GMO’s). These genetically modified foods are laboratory-made, using technology that is totally different from natural breeding methods, and pose different risks from non-GM crops.

3. Organic foods are safe and free from the use of toxic pesticides, antibiotics, and growth hormones. More than 400 chemical pesticides are routinely used in conventional farming and residues remain on non-organic food even after washing.

4. Organic foods and farming are climate-friendly. When farming organically, the use of fossil fuel is far less. Twenty-four billion pounds of chemical fertilizers applied on non-organic farms in the U.S. every year not only pollute our drinking water and create enormous dead zones in the oceans; but also release enormous amounts of nitrous oxide, a super potent, climate-destabilizing greenhouse gas.

5. Organic animals aren’t given drugs. Organic farming standards prohibit the use of antibiotics, growth hormones and genetically modified vaccines in farm animals. Hormone-laced beef and dairy consumption is correlated with increased rates of breast, testis and prostate cancers.

I highly recommend eating organically. Just based on the research that’s out their, organic is the way to go. Eat organic because the food is nutritiously healthier and safer for the environment.

Socrates said, “The only good is knowledge, the only evil is ignorance”

Resources:
Fruit and Soil Quality of Organic and Conventional Strawberry Agroecosystems – Abstract
Organic Trade Assiciation – Food Safety
New York Times Article – USDA to Start Program to Support…
“Nutritional Quality of Organic Versus Conventional Fruits, Vegetables, and Grains,” by Virginia Worthington

My Broccoli Seedlings

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Fall is approaching and this is the best time to start growing “Fall Vegetables”. These are vegetables that thrive best in cooler weather.

• Beets
• Broccoli
• Brussels sprouts
• Cabbage
• Carrots
• Collards
• Kale
• Kohlrabi
• Leeks
• Lettuce
• Mustard
• Swiss chard
• Turnips

I’m growing broccoli, carrots, and beets. In the two pots above are my broccoli seedlings. I started these indoors about a month ago, and now they’re ready to be transplanted. I planted the carrots and beets directly in the earth a few weeks ago, and I’ve also planted some carrots in a pot.

In New York, the weather is averaging between 75-82 degrees, and at night low 60’s, which by the way is perfect growing conditions for these plants. According to the broccoli seed package, the soil temperature should be between 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit, and maturation is 60-90 days. This is the best time to get these seedlings into the ground.

I love the Fall vegetables, especially broccoli, and my children love them too. Broccoli is extremely healthy for you. I read an article on Huffington Post titled, Broccoli Eaters Get More Out of Life, just the title alone intrigued me.

Well, researchers in New Zealand have found a link between eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, and linking it to eudaemonic well-being. Of course, I had to further research eudaemonic, which according to the dictionary, means happiness. I’m genuinely a happy person and I eat a fair amount of plant-based foods; nonetheless, I believe this is true. The original study is pretty interesting as well.

I’ll keep everyone updated on my broccoli journey. These just went into the earth this week. I think by early November they’ll be ready for harvesting. If there’s any frosting, I’ll have to cover them up with some agribon cloth. It’ll protect the plants from freezing. Wish me luck!

Growing Garlic is Super Easy

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I decided to grow a small patch of garlic last year, so I planted a bunch of organic garlic seeds in October 2013. I didn’t do much but, cleared a small area in the garden and planted the seeds. I harvested my tiny crop in July and was totally blown away.

At first, I was a little apprehensive about the outcome. I planted them in 2013, and it wasn’t until the middle of July when I uprooted the first one. It was perfect! Then the others were also perfect. My children and I were extremely ecstatic. We all were jumping up and down as if we won the lottery.

Growing garlic is super easy. If I could do it, anyone can. I couldn’t believe these little suckers survived the whole cold and snowy winter. Of course, when the weather finally warmed up, all sorts of weeds were growing all around the garlic plants. It wasn’t until early May when I finally got down and dirty. Weeding is not my favorite task to do in the garden; nonetheless, it had to be done in order for the garlic to get the proper nutrients from the soil. I also added some organic compost, chicken manure, and organic liquid kelp to fertilize the soil.

Here’s a picture I took after I uprooted the weeds.

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I bought the seeds from Filaree Garlic Farm. I searched online for organic seed companies, and I came across Filaree. They seemed like the perfect choice at the time. Well, based on the name alone, it sounded great. After some further research, Filaree Farm had over 25 years in the business, and their main business is organic garlic farming. They also plant and sell potatoes and shallots. I contacted Filaree about some literature on growing garlic, and they were extremely friendly and helpful.

The garlic variety I planted are called Hardnecks Porcelain and Rocambole. I chose Rocambole because they have large easy to peel cloves, and Porcelain because they have the highest allicin content of the garlic varieties. Garlics are super healthy. According to whfoods.com, garlic encompasses amazing cardiovascular health benefits, anti-inflammatory benefits, antibacterial and antiviral benefits, and cancer prevention.

Check these out! Not bad for my first time…

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I’m already excited about planting again this coming Fall.

Fruit Fact: Grapefruits Fight Free Radicals

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Free radicals causes cells in our bodies to breakdown, and foods that are high in vitamin C can significantly reduce and prevent oxidative stress on our cells. Thus grapefruits, carrots, oranges and tomatoes to name a few, are exceptionally high in vitamin C.

Oxidative stress is now thought to make a significant contribution to all inflammatory diseases (arthritis, vasculitis, glomerulonephritis, lupus erythematous, adult respiratory diseases syndrome), ischemic diseases (heart diseases, stroke, intestinal ischema), hemochromatosis, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, emphysema, organ transplantation, gastric ulcers, hypertension and preeclampsia, neurological disorder (Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy), alcoholism, smoking-related diseases, and many others.

An excess of oxidative stress can lead to the oxidation of lipids and proteins, which is associated with changes in their structure and functions.

Oxidative stress also causes premature aging and wrinkles. If you don’t want to look old before your time, choose the right foods.

The foods we choose to eat contributes to the health of our cells. What we put in our bodies everyday significantly affects us on a cellular level. If you choose to smoke, drink alcohol and take drugs, your cells will be damaged. If you choose to eat processed foods and junk foods, your cells will be damaged. It’s easy science. Know the facts and make wiser choices.

To read more about oxidative stress and to obtain the article where I found this information click here.