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Posts Tagged ‘vegetables’

I’ve always said it doesn’t take all that much to make me happy, so if I can drive to my local farmstand, buy wonderful fresh produce, and photograph it as well? Hey, that makes me happy. Hope these photographs taken at Phillips Farms in nearby Holland make you happy, too.

Plants, herbs and usually fresh flowers are for sale

Oscar keeps an eye on the stand and promotes the whole “Jersey Fresh” concept. I’ve suggested they try him at the edge of the road to promote business, but really, you either know where the farmstand is or you don’t. Located on a typical 2-lane blacktop in the middle of a variety of farms, it’s not the most highly traveled road.

Tomatoes of every kind. They had some Brandywine tomatoes; I don’t know what they are, but I got home and wondered why hadn’t I gotten some to find out? There’s always a next time, and tomatoes are still coming in. In fact, early Gala apples were already in.

Beautiful produce of every kind plus berries and greens in the nearby fridge. If only I had a parallel life I could just cook and bake with all this fabulous stuff. Although I didn’t photograph the peaches, I did buy enough to make something delicious over the weekend.

Corn! Today they had bi-color, which as long as it’s sweet makes no matter to me.

Hope this inspires you to go find or visit a farmstand by you this weekend and enjoy what nature has to offer while it’s still summer. Before you know it, it’ll be fall and the apples, squash and pumpkins will be in!

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Salad and I haven’t really been talking much of late. In fact, we’ve been on the outs.

Although it’s been a warm winter out this way, soup, veggie pizza and many other vegetable concoctions have really been hogging the conversation. Salad just didn’t seem to have much to say.

It’s not like Salad and I don’t get along. We go way back. But as of late? Salad’s mind seemed somewhere else and so did mine. I started to wonder if it was really over. You know … OVER.

But then while food shopping this past weekend, Salad caught my eye in some half-pleading, half-come-hither kind of way. Next thing you know, some veggies I hadn’t entertained in my cart in a while were along for the ride. And on their way home with me.

And then, fellow blogger D. LaSauce, featured this beautifully plated salad yesterday. It felt like a conspiracy, but Salad was somehow working the magic behind the scenes.

Lunch today? Salad totally had me. Called my name and I waltzed to the kitchen helplessly in thrall and put together the tasty organic dish you see above. That’s Spring baby greens, red onion, cucumber, orange bell pepper, and feta cheese tossed with light salt and pepper, extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice.

That Salad’s a pretty clever one, eh?
Being back together is always sweet and Salad knows it.

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Are you looking to make some healthier changes in the way you eat? Here’s one way – lower your intake of pesticides. The timing is perfect as yummy fresh produce is making its way to local merchants of all kinds.

The Dirty Dozen is a list of produce which carries the highest pesticide load of any fruits and vegetables in the U.S. This list has been publicized by many including Dr. Andrew Weil, Martha Stewart, Prevention Magazine, Oprah, the Environmental Working Group and more, yet this information still seems to not have reached a great deal of the general public. Pesticides, particularly organophosphates, which are the most widely used, can harm the nervous system and are stored in tissues. The developing brains of young children and festuses are at the highest risk. Organophosphates are also used to make nerve gas, and often remain present even after washing and peeling. What to do? Don’t be discouraged … just make better choices.

The Dirty Dozen Рit is recommended that these 12 fruits and vegetables be purchased as 100% organic** and that baby food including these 12 be also purchased as 100% organic. Here are the Dirty Dozen Рapples, celery, peaches, strawberries*, spinach,  nectarines (imported), grapes (imported), sweet bell peppers, potatoes, blueberries (domestic), lettuce and kale/collard greens. (Prevention Magazine Рsee link above Рcovers this more broadly and includes how pesticides are also found along the food chain in meat, dairy, etc.)

The Clean Fifteen – and now the good news – the following fifteen fruits and vegetables carry the lowest pesticide load and can be eaten safely: onions, sweet corn, (this is one of the most common GMO crops in the U.S. — if a concern, buy organic), pineapples, avocado, asparagus, sweet peas, mango, eggplant, cantaloupe (domestic), kiwi, cabbage, watermelon, sweet potatoes, grapefruit and mushrooms.

It is always recommended that we eat a good variety of fruits and vegetable to assure we are not taking in particular pesticides to excess.

*According to Prevention Magazine – “Strawberries are the crop that is most heavily dosed with pesticides in America. On average, 300 pounds of pesticides are applied to every acre of strawberries (compared to an average of 25 pounds per acre for other foods). Thirty-six different pesticides are commonly used on strawberries, and 90% of strawberries tested register pesticide contamination above safe levels.”

* *Here’s more good news. With the arrival of Spring, farmer’s markets and roadside stands are popping up and selling fabulous fresh produce. Ask your local farmer about how he uses pesticides. Increasing numbers of farmers may be growing organically but not going through the costly, (as I understand), process of being certified, or are growing their food sustainably with a minimum of pesticides. Don’t be shy … ask! They’ll usually be happy to share what they do, and you can make more informed, safe and delicious choices.

(Note: Although this is not generally the subject matter of this blog, I thought I would share this information due to the timeliness and the season.)

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