Posts Tagged ‘produce’

I know I have waxed ecstatic periodically about the joys of having so many wonderful farmstands dotting the backroads of my county (the highest agricultural county in this state, BTW), so at the risk of perhaps repeating myself …

Look at this gorgeous produce I picked up yesterday! On the way home from food shopping at the supermarket in the afternoon I stopped at Phillips Farms to pick up a few fresh items, and as I approached the little red “house”, I heard one of the staff talking to a customer about Black Velvet Tomatoes. I was all ears! She pointed out the darker tomatoes above, and described them as much sweeter that the average field tomato, and therefore, great for salads, but could take over in a sandwich.

Don’t you love it when people know their stuff? So I picked up a few. Now as an artist, I also found them quite interesting, as I did when that yellow summer squash caught my eye. I’d never seen one with dark green ends, and was told they were really good, too. So with my black velvet tomatoes, field tomatoes for sandwiches, and a summer squash for I-don’t-know-what, my food shopping was complete for the week.

Once again, I am so grateful that fresh, beautiful produce is available to me from spring’s first asparagus to fall’s last apples and pumpkins. ¬†And that it’s no more than 10 minutes away, or at any number of farmstands brightening my drives as I go.

Yesterday wasn’t a corn run, but I suspect that will be on the agenda before long!

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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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