June 4th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
On Tuesday, I shared the CDC’s top fruit and vegetable picks for the month. These produce choices are selected based on easy availability; the list no way implies they are the only fruit and veggie picks that should find their way to your plate.
At my neighborhood farmers’ market, vendors’ organic and locally grown offerings are incredibly beautiful, fresh and colorful. In the summer, I stock up on many seasonal fruits and vegetables that didn’t make the CDC’s list: Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, garlic, leeks, peas, blackberries, apricots, watermelons and cherries, to name some favorites. Also available are gorgeous flowers, delicious almonds and hazelnuts, freshly popped kettle corn and artisan breads.
If you haven’t visited your local farmers’ market for some time, you’re really missing out on an opportunity to see just-picked produce that’s much tastier than supermarket fare. Take advantage of the summer’s bounty. You’ll thank me!
Click here to find a farmers’ market near you.
Read More:Farmers’ Market Finds
May 28th, 2009 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
Bananas, squash, sunflowers and other fruits and vegetables just got a little safer. The Environmental Protection Agency will no longer tolerate any carbofuran pesticide residue on foods.
Carbofuran may or may not be harmful to humans, but a single granule of the chemical can kill an adult bird.
The EPA has moved to ban all pesticide residues on food, so the mandate on carbofuran will also involve crops grown outside of the United States.
In addition to bananas, squash and sunflowers, other fruits and vegetables, including wheat, raisins, rice, grapes, melon, pumpkin, peppers and even coffee beans, will now be carbofuran residue-free.
Prior to this, the EPA tried to cancel the pesticide’s registration in 2006. This would have stopped its use in the U.S., but the manufacturer lobbied the zany Bush Administration for help. Go figure!
The main driver behind the EPA’s ban of carbofuran is the potential risks to pregnant mothers and their developing children.
Via The Daily Green.
Read More:Carbofuran Pesticide Gets the Axe…
April 23rd, 2009 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
Organic foods are great, especially fruits and vegetables, but let’s face it. Buying them is more expensive. Just go to the supermarket, you’ll see. More often than not organics are pricier than the normal produce.
You can guess why. Maybe organic farms aren’t as big as conventional farms, so that drives cost up. I don’t know.
A new study in the Agronomy Journal aims to figure out if organic farming techniques can actually be as profitable as conventional agriculture practices:
“In our study we found that diversified systems were more profitable than monocropping,” explains Joshua Posner, University of Wisconsin.
With feed grade premiums the organic systems were more profitable than the Midwestern standards of continuous corn, no-till corn and soybeans, and intensively managed alfalfa.
Rotational grazing of dairy heifers was as profitable as the organic systems. And to our surprise, including risk premiums into the evaluation did not change the ranking of the systems. This study indicates that governmental policy that supports mono-culture systems is outdated and support should be shifted to programs that promote crop rotations and organic farming practices.
In related news, other reports have claimed current organic food standards may put people at risk and according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture pre-sliced organic fruits and veggies cannot be given to school children because they are considered processed foods.
Read More:Can Organic Farming Be As Profitable As Conventional Farming?
April 3rd, 2009 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
In the 1800s the second president of the United States John Adams, planted the very first garden at the White House, so that he and his family could enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables. Then in the 1940s Eleanor Roosevelt brought it back, calling them “Victory Gardens” to support the war effort during World War II, but soon after the garden was scrapped again.
But current First Lady Michelle Obama recently broke ground for the new the “first garden” that will grow a bunch of different fruits, vegetables and herbs to be harvested and used in the White House kitchen. Expect no beets. President Obama thinks they’re icky.
Now, for a brief history on the most power garden in the world, check out this uplifting video The Garden of Eatin’: A Short History of America’s Garden.
Read More:The White House Garden a Short History
March 4th, 2009 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
It’s going to take time, but slowly our country is getting greener. And last month, Kathleen Merrigan was nominated as Deputy Secretary of Agriculture for the United States Department of Agriculture and will work under current Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.
Merrigan, an assistant professor at Tufts University, is a staunch advocate of organic food and previously served as a board member and chair of the of The Organic Center’s Science and Technical Advisory Council, an organization devoted to the conversion of farming to organic methods and environmental compassion.
Her appointment triggers excitement amongst organic foodies. As chair of the Technical Advisory Council, Merrigan advised universities and researchers throughout the United States on the benefits of organic agriculture and products; via CureZone.
At Tufts, she was involved with numerous eco-friendly endeavors, such as the Garden-based Learning Initiative, Green Roof Collaborative, New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, and the Food Agriculture Organization Organic Research Proposal. Congrats and good luck Kathleen!
In related news, two U.S. senators are petitioning USDA chief Tom Vilsack to amend legislation prohibiting local farm from supplying schools with fresh fruits and vegetables.
Read More:Organic Foodie Named Deputy Secretary of Agriculture