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Let the good food movement roll on!

This last week, I came across a couple of good articles at Rodale Institute that I wanted to share with you.

Lupus, other autoimmune diseases linked to insecticide exposure

A recent study shows that women who use insecticides are at elevated risk for autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. The results of the yet unpublished study were presented October 2009 at the American College of Rheumatology annual meeting in Philadelphia, PA.

The study of 75,000 women shows that those who spray insecticides at least six times per year have almost two and a half times the risk of developing lupus and rheumatoid arthritis versus those who do not use insecticides. The risk doubles if insecticides were used in the home for 20 years or more.

“Our new results provide support for the idea that environmental factors may increase susceptibility or trigger the development of autoimmune diseases in some individuals,” said Dr. Christine G. Parks, PhD. She is an epidemiologist with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, N.C., one of the lead researchers who analyzed data from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) Observational

“The findings are fairly compelling” because they show the greater and longer the exposure, the greater the risk,” said Darcy Majka, MD, assistant professor of medicine at Northwestern University, who also analyzed the WHI data. Full story: Beyond Pesticides Daily News Blog

 

Herbicide-resistant pigweeds stop combines, make national TV

Cotton and soybean farmers in eastern Arkansas are interviewed in an ABC News story highlighting the potential harvest disruption caused by weeds that chemicals cannot kill. The reporter says that more than 1 million acres may be affected by the problem, long predicted by farmers and weed scientists who advocate for non-chemical weed management.

One farmer interviewed said he had spent $500,000 spraying chemicals this year, and lost the battle against pigweed. The resistant, persistent plant pest forms a hard, fibrous stalk that can be as thick as a baseball bat. A veteran extension agent says he has never seen such a weed threat.

While the coverage focuses on the current-year crisis—and highlights the fallacy of depending on herbicides for  long-term sustainability—glyphosate (the active ingredient in many widely used herbicides) has been losing its impact for years, as our background story illustrates. Full story: ABC News

Science initially came to the rescue to help farmers control  insects and weeds and now that their chemicals are no longer effective or are even causing autoimmune diseases, America is going to go running back to these companies to solve the problem they helped to create.  It sure looks like the fox (aka chemical companies) has the keys to the hen house (aka USDA).  This kind of information speaks loudly for the importance of Organic Agriculture.

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Oven-Roasted Parsnips

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs parsnips, peeled and julienned
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pinches cayenne, or paprika (to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (or more, to taste)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • Optional: 1 ½  teaspoon rosemary or thyme

Directions

  1. Position rack in the bottom of the oven, and preheat oven to 450-degrees.
  2. Place parsnips in a large bowl and sprinkle with olive oil, cayenne and sea salt, tossing well to ensure everything is coated well.
  3. Layer parsnips on baking sheet in single layer, and empty the remaining oil mixture on top of them.
  4. Roast 15 minutes in the oven, stirring occasionally.
  5. Remove baking sheet from oven and sprinkle with the garlic and optional rosemary or thyme and roast until well browned, about 15 minutes longer.
  6. Let cool slightly, adjust salt if necessary and serve.

Serves 4                         Adapted from  www.recipezaar.com/Oven-Roasted-Parsnips-17407

Posted on

Let the good food movement roll on!

This last week, I came across a couple of good articles at Rodale Institute that I wanted to share with you.

 

Lupus, other autoimmune diseases linked to insecticide exposure

A recent study shows that women who use insecticides are at elevated risk for autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. The results of the yet unpublished study were presented October 2009 at the American College of Rheumatology annual meeting in Philadelphia, PA.

The study of 75,000 women shows that those who spray insecticides at least six times per year have almost two and a half times the risk of developing lupus and rheumatoid arthritis versus those who do not use insecticides. The risk doubles if insecticides were used in the home for 20 years or more.

“Our new results provide support for the idea that environmental factors may increase susceptibility or trigger the development of autoimmune diseases in some individuals,” said Dr. Christine G. Parks, PhD. She is an epidemiologist with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, N.C., one of the lead researchers who analyzed data from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) Observational

“The findings are fairly compelling” because they show the greater and longer the exposure, the greater the risk,” said Darcy Majka, MD, assistant professor of medicine at Northwestern University, who also analyzed the WHI data. Full story: Beyond Pesticides Daily News Blog

 

Herbicide-resistant pigweeds stop combines, make national TV

Cotton and soybean farmers in eastern Arkansas are interviewed in an ABC News story highlighting the potential harvest disruption caused by weeds that chemicals cannot kill. The reporter says that more than 1 million acres may be affected by the problem, long predicted by farmers and weed scientists who advocate for non-chemical weed management.

One farmer interviewed said he had spent $500,000 spraying chemicals this year, and lost the battle against pigweed. The resistant, persistent plant pest forms a hard, fibrous stalk that can be as thick as a baseball bat. A veteran extension agent says he has never seen such a weed threat.

While the coverage focuses on the current-year crisis—and highlights the fallacy of depending on herbicides for  long-term sustainability—glyphosate (the active ingredient in many widely used herbicides) has been losing its impact for years, as our background story illustrates. Full story: ABC News

 

Science initially came to the rescue to help farmers control  insects and weeds and now that their chemicals are no longer effective or are even causing autoimmune diseases, America is going to go running back to these companies to solve the problem they helped to create.  It sure looks like the fox (aka chemical companies) has the keys to the hen house (aka USDA).  This kind of information speaks loudly for the importance of Organic Agriculture.

Posted on

Enjoying the Holiday Meals

Enjoying the Holiday Meals

Are you rushing around yet? It’s the season for holiday plans, schedules, trying to find and give that perfect gift, and entertaining friends and family. It’s also a time of dietary excess, increased stress, and let’s not forget colds and flu. Statistics show that December is the most stressful month of the year. That and the cold weather alone can wreak havoc on a person. Rest assured! There are things you can do to prepare yourself for the holidays, and prevent certain discomforts that can accompany this season.

Growing up, in my family, it was considered impolite to not sample food being offered, especially if Grandma made it. We would eat and eat, sometimes having three to four holiday meals in one day! Some of you can no doubt identify with this situation. To help you avoid overeating during the holidays, here are some tips. First, avoid starving yourself early in the day to “save room” for the holiday meal. The easiest way to overeat is to create maximum hunger this way. Small frequent meals are always better. Second, remember to drink plenty of water. This will prevent you from serving and eating a huge portion which you will “have to finish,” since you “don’t want it to go to waste.” Third, decide on a maximum and reasonable portion size for the meal and stick to it. After eating, drink some hot herbal tea to promote relaxation.

With too much good food comes heartburn. To decrease your chance of getting the discomfort and pain of heartburn, start the meal with apple cider vinegar. This helps increase digestive enzymes and break down foods faster. Another way to avoid stomach upset is to use deglycyrrhized licorice (abbreviated DGL). Licorice is an herb that stimulates the cells lining your digestive tract to produce mucus. The mucus, in turn, protects the stomach and esophagus from digestive acid. DGL can help tremendously with heartburn, or excess stomach acid, when it’s food related or if you have esophageal reflux (backflow of stomach acid). A typical prescription is to chew and swallow two 400mg tablets 10 minutes before each meal to help keep your digestive tract in order. Talk to your ND to find out what’s best for you.

by Rebecca Dirks, N.D.

Associate Physician, NW Center for Optimal Health

Marysville, 360-651-9355

Producer & Co-Host, Healthy Living, KSER FM 90.7

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It's November and… 11/17/09

Flooding is something that valley farmers contend with.  We get use to it, sort of, we work around it and sometimes in it, and mostly, hope that the river decides to stay within its banks.  This first flood of the year appears to be mostly benign and for that I am thankful.  I am also thankful that last March, Joelle and I made a choice to move our processing and packing facility off our farm and up to a high spot in Warm Beach.  That choice has provided a significant amount of peace in our lives.  We loved having our operation on the farm, but we had out grown our facilities and needed more space for, both, the actual farming operation and the home delivery business.

In the past we would have two flood fights, as they are called, on our hands.  One, getting our farm equipment, barns and house ready for the River, and two, getting our home delivery business situated and potentially moved to a temporary location. 

I am thankful today that we are only getting our farm prepared for the flood and I am really thankful that it appears to be a minor flood.

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Roasted Yams

A delightfully simple and delicious way to prepare yams without using extra sweetening. Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 large yams, cut into 1/4 inch thick rounds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or melted butter

Directions

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a baking sheet or shallow baking dish with aluminum foil OR parchment paper.
  • 2. Arrange the slices of yams in the prepared pan so they are overlapping slightly. Season with salt and pepper and then drizzle olive oil or melted butter over them as evenly as possible.
  • 3. Bake in the preheated oven until potatoes are tender and have begun to wrinkle around the edges, about 30 minutes.

from www.allrecipes.com

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Local farmland: How important is it? 11/06/09

As a farmer, I tend to interact with a lot of other farmers.  We see each other at various meetings and driving between fields.  As a rule farmers tend to be pretty stable folk, we recognize that no matter who is President  of America or Snohomish County Executive we are going to have to plow the fields or milk the cows.  The very nature of farming requires us to be more deliberate. We prune in February, plow in the spring, weed all summer and harvest when the crop is ready. 

Way back in the 50’s, 60’s or even as recent as the 70’s, there never was any doubt that a child or neighbor would take over the farm and keep farming.  Times have changed!  The Average age of farmers is now 57 years old.  And a lot farmland is controlled by this group of farmers and for the most part there aren’t children in the picture to carry on the farm.  Even more troubling is the recent survey of farmers, over the last 10 years, where the number of farmers under 25 years old decreased by 35% and the number of farmers over 75 increased by 25%. Why is this an issue for America, for Snohomish County? It is important because most farmers are older than younger (average 57 years old), they are looking towards retirement and “exploring” their options for the land they own. 

The options at retirement are really limited at this time:

1.  Stop farming, sell the equipment and keep the land to rent to other farmers. (best for society)

2.  Stop farming, sell the equipment and keep the land and not rent it to other farmers. (okay for society)

3.  Stop farming, sell the equipment and the land. (okay for society)

4.  Stop farming, sell the equipment and build houses on the land. (best for the farmer)

5.  Farm till you die and let someone else deal with the issue. (not a solution)

This group controls thousands of acres of farmland in Snohomish County and America and the pressure to develop is going to increase, exponentially, as they look towards retirement.  I suspect that if we, society collectively, do not propose a good alternative to development for these farmers they will become developers by necessity. 

I am working on some ideas that will encourage farmer’s to not develop their land and ensure that there will be land locally to farm for many generations to come.  This is a complex issue and is deeply rooted in property rights and land use issues. 

But right now you, as consumers of the Klesick family farm, are making a huge impact on this issue.  Your support, your purchases send a clear and encouraging message to local farmers.  Keep eating locally and it helps your local farmland remain in farming.

 

Thanks