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The Organic Alternative

In 2001 scientists studying pesticide residues discovered that all of the 96 children in their research group had measurable levels of organophosphate metabolites in their urine, except for one child, as reported in Environmental Health Perspectives. Upon questioning this child’s parents, they discovered that the family bought exclusively organic produce.

Two years later, these same researchers found that pesticide concentrations in urine samples of children on conventional diets were approximately six times higher than in children on organic diets.

“Consumption of organic produce appears to provide a relatively simple way for parents to reduce their children’s exposure to organophosphate pesticides,” the researchers concluded.

Publishing in the same journal, another team found similar results. Median concentrations of metabolites for two neurotoxic pesticides, one of them chlorpyrifos, decreased to “nondetectable” levels immediately after the children were switched to an organic diet.

More research on the links between neurotoxin residues on foods and neurological diseases is needed. But while we wait for science to catch up with common sense, we have a healthy alternative, thanks to the farmers who choose organic production.
USDA certified organic foods repeatedly show up “clean,” except for the long-living breakdown products of organochlorines like DDT, which have even been found in the tissue of mammals in Antarctica.

This is a reminder that we are still paying for the mistakes made by our parents and grandparents who, decades ago, trusted the chemical companies’ promises. We do not yet know how my son’s generation will pay for today’s hubris. We only know that, somehow, they will.

We should think of every conventional food as bearing the label, “Warning: May Contain Traces of Pesticides That Can Harm Your Child,” just as food produced near nuts bears a similar warning. If it’s not organic, it could lead to long-term health consequences we are only beginning to understand. It is time for preschools, in addition to banning nuts, to start prohibiting the conventional foods that may contain traces of neurological toxins harmful to our children.

—Vallaeys, Charlotte. “School

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Kiwi Salsa

The following recipe suggests using kiwis the way one might use a raw tomato, in that they are both acidic and sweet, and suggests making salsa with them. Brilliant! Here is a lovely spicy seasonal salsa using a few kiwi fruit, with some pomegranate seeds for added color and sweetness, and avocado to balance out the acidity of the kiwifruit. Serve with tacos or steak.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3-4 ripe kiwifruit, peeled, carefully chopped
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds (arils)
  • 1/2 avocado, peeled and chopped (see how to cut and peel an avocado)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon thinly sliced green onion
  • 1 tablespoon (adjust to taste) of chopped fresh or pickled jalapeño chili peppers (no seeds)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

Place the kiwifruit, pomegranate seeds, avocado, green onion and olive oil in a medium sized bowl. Starting with just a teaspoon of chopped jalapeño, gently fold in and add more to your desired level of heat. Add cilantro. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

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That was a dinner party!

I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to introduce my team of employees and team of farmers to our customers. Together we have an incredible community of folks and together we can do an incredible amount of good. The Comcast Arena at Everett was the perfect place to host our 2nd Annual Dinner Party. Chef Larry Fontaine and his team did an incredible job of dazzling our taste buds with culinary delights and magnificent service.  I was ultra excited about the standing ovation given to our farmers and later to Chef Larry’s team that served us. Growers, cooks, servers, and consumers all sharing a common theme from farm to fork: a celebration of real food.

At one point, Joane from the Rents Due Ranch shared during the farmer panel that organic farming practices can feed the world. That it was no longer pie in the sky rhetoric, but proven scientifically. She is absolutely right!

This week we have an opportunity to drive this point home in Washington State.  There are currently two bills working their way through the Senate and the House.  These two bills will require Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) to be labeled in Washington State. I am a huge proponent of GMO labeling and will be contacting my legislators about these bills.

This is going to be a fight, especially from the farming community and the biotech lobbyists.  They will be crying that the world will starve or that GMO labeling will put Washington farms at a competitive disadvantage.  Yes, it will put Washington farms on a different playing field, but this could be a good thing. Yes, a good thing, because it will make Washington a state where companies that want non-GMO ingredients for processing first in line, and there are plenty of countries around the world that have already restricted the sale/use of GMOs, further expanding the market potential.

Usually, I am more of a proponent of letting the market choose, but the GMO side has been using legislation to, dare I say, shove GMOs down our throat, and it is time use the legislative process to make them come clean and label their GMO products so the consumer has the right to choose.

Please join me and contact your Washington State legislators this week in support of these two bills: HB 2637 and SB 6298

To learn more about these two proposed bills, please visit http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07e5hef8bfd71360f1&llr=h4hsqkiab 

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Green Bean, Potato and Leek Salad

INGREDIENTS

8 medium-small red potatoes
1 pound green beans, trimmed, halved crosswise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
4 leeks (white part only), halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
Chopped fresh parsley
3 hard-boiled eggs, shelled, quartered (optional)
PREPARATION
Boil or steam potatoes and green beans separately until tender but not mushy. Drain or remove from steamer. Cut each potato into eighths. Place in salad bowl. Add green beans. Blend Dijon mustard and vinegar in small bowl. Whisk in vegetable oil in thin stream. Pour over potatoes and beans and mix gently to coat. Season salad to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and sauté until tender and lightly browned, about 7 minutes.

Divide potato and green bean mixture among salad plates. Top each with sautéed leeks. Sprinkle salads with chopped fresh parsley. Garnish each salad with 2 hard-boiled egg quarters, if desired, and serve.

NOTE: Add grilled chicken strips and used the eggs crushed with a fork and sprinkled on the salad as a garnish for a different presentation!

Original recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Green-Bean-Potato-and-Leek-Salad-2490#ixzz1jjMWRrpN

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All Natural Lamb & Pork for Sale

Our friends, Ken and Kathryn at Horse Drawn Produce on Lopez Island, have again offered to make their premium family-raised all natural grass-fed lamb and non-GMO pork available to our customers! We are really excited to be able to offer these quality locally raised products. Ken and Kathryn are excellent farmers, but even more important to us is their sincere commitment to sustainable, healthy farming. It is their way of life, not their job.

The reason I am willing to offer Ken and Kathryn’s lamb is because it is grass-fed and their pork because it is only given organic feed. Every other farm that markets their animals as natural or whatever and does not specify them as organically fed, has actually fed them GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) corn, soybeans and canola—and hogs, in particular, eat a lot of grain. And lastly, hogs are one of the farm animals that are getting a lot of genetic modification research and I want to support real hogfarming on real family-friendly farms. If you are interested in supporting some local hog farming, here is your opportunity.  The hogs are sold by the half and whole shares and will be available in mid June. The lamb is available only as a whole share, so smaller portions will not be available.

For more information or to place your order for lamb and pork, either give our office a call or visit the Meat category under the Products page of our website.

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Five Ways to Eat Green Beans

Green beans are a workhorse vegetable: nothing flashy, rarely the star, but always dependable in a supporting role. They’re versatile, too—they’ll work well with just about any cuisine.

To prove their versatility, here are five out-of-the-ordinary ideas for cooking with green beans, each from a different culture:

1. Southern. Bacon grease “brings out the best in folks—and beans,” writes Christy Jordan on her Southern Plate blog, in a recipe for sweet and sour green beans that also includes vinegar and sugar. Unless you’re a stickler for authenticity, you don’t even have to “cook the living mess” out of them, as Jordan explains that Southerners are wont to do.

2. Greek. Ask three Greeks how to cook green beans and you’ll get three different fasolakia recipes, as recounted in an amusing tale at the site Mama’s Taverna. Most of them (including this one) involve stewing the beans in tomatoes, onions, and sometimes potatoes until sweet and tender.

3. Persian. In Iran, a kuku (or kookoo) is a popular frittata-like egg dish, packed with herbs and/or green vegetables. The Persian food blog Turmeric and Saffron uses those signature spices in a recipe for green bean kookoo.

4. Indian. The Book of Yum compiles gluten-free vegetarian recipes from around the globe. But an Indian-inspired dish of “ambrosial green beans,” with a spiced cashew-yogurt sauce, would appeal to even those without dietary restrictions.

5. Chinese. Dry-fried green beans or long beans are a common feature on Chinese restaurant menus. The cooking method results in ultra-flavorful beans that retain their snap— Cooking with Amy explains how to make them at home.

Source: http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/food/2011/07/five-ways-to-eat-green-beans/

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Face to Face

I often find myself appreciating the fact that I am alive now. I mean now, as in 2012. The technology available to us today, I never could have imagined would even be a possibility. Back in the 90s, when my dad installed a 12” long “car phone” in his silver Jeep, I thought we had arrived. Now, I find myself explaining to my children that the square shaped object with the circular cord on the desk in our hotel room is actually a phone. All they know are iPhones, and they think nothing of the fact that in an instant we can be talking to Grandma and Grandpa’s face on a 3” screen and then moments later they can return to their game on the same device as if what had just happened was really no big deal at all.

I utilize technology in order to help out with the task of managing a family of five. I often get groceries and produce delivered to my door. Now I realize deliveries have been occurring for centuries but Grandma never placed her order online at midnight only to have her groceries waiting for her when she woke up the next morning.

On an evening where I simply don’t feel like cooking I reach for the computer, tell it what I want and in under an hour dinner is at our door. I have even managed to build a social network around technology, creating deep friendships with many and some whom I’ve yet to meet.

I’m so grateful for many modern conveniences, as they’ve helped ease my burden in many areas of my life. But then I find myself in a room with real people – people who are more than just a ¼” avatar that shows me who I am talking to on Twitter. I see their expressions, I hear their inflections, I feel their touch, and I am reminded that there is never a replacement for the real thing.

Last year, Gabe and I had the pleasure of attending the 1st annual Farm to Fork dinner hosted by Klesick Family Farm. The room was ripe with conversation and studded with beautiful produce. Having had the privilege of sharing with you all for quite some time now through this newsletter, it was such an honor to meet many of you face to face and not just on Facebook.

To hear some of you say that you’ve made the recipes and enjoyed them made me smile for weeks after. To be able to come out from behind the computer and meet the farmers who tirelessly work to grow the produce that I, and I’m sure you as well, enjoy cooking with on a daily basis. It was an honor.

Technology is a blessing and has the ability to do great things, but it can never recreate the real life. I am so excited to be able to have the opportunity to attend the 2nd annual dinner. I’m eager to hear your favorite ways to use fennel and what vegetable you enjoyed for the first time this year. What recipe you can’t make often enough and what you are anxious to try. Most of all, I’m excited to meet more of you, face to face.

by Ashley Rodriguez
www.notwithoutsalt.com
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From Farm to Fork – A Celebration of Real Food

You are Invited to our Second Annual Dinner Party!

Welcome to 2012!  I can’t speak for you, but it is time for me to take a deep breath after racing through the Holiday season! Youknow—to stop and enjoy some quiet time before the farming starts to demand my attention again.

I have been watching Cinderella with my little ones, and I have to admit, I am enamored with Cinderella’s pumpkin. So much so, that I plant them every year. Last year, I called up Osborne Seed in Mt. Vernon and ordered my Cinderella pumpkin seed. And Ada, bless her heart, asked me, “Which type of Cinderella pumpkin seed?” In my naiveté I didn’t realize that Cinderella had her own personal line of pumpkins. Of course, being a purist and true to Disney’s original Cinderella, I order the Rouge de Estampes (French) variety—the beautiful flat reddish orange type. Their taste is rich and they are so beautiful.

Klesick Family Farm is bringing a little of that Disney wonder and excitement to our From Farm to Fork dinner party on the 20th of this month. We are going to be having Cinderella Pumpkin Bisque soup. And while Chef Larry Fontaine and his team aren’t using magic wands to transform these Cinderella pumpkins from my farm to your plate, he is using his repertoire of culinary skills to delight our palettes.

Please join Joelle and I at Comcast Arena at Everett for an elegantly catered evening connecting with KFF team members, farmers, vendors, and other customers. This is a great opportunity to converse in an adult-only venue while savoring organic, non-GMO culinary masterpieces prepared by Chef Fontaine.

This year we will enjoy appetizers and a four-course meal with your choice of Crab Stuffed Wild American Shrimp or a Garlic Herb Grilled Vegetable Stuffed Portabella. There will also be a cash organic wine and beer bar.

We will also have a panel of farmers so that each of you will have the opportunity to connect with those who make our boxes of good taste so incredible!

Last year we sold out quickly, so order your tickets early! This is going to be an amazing evening.

We look forward to sharing the evening with you!