On our farm website, the first statement on the welcome page is “we’re a small, 10 acre farm in Northeast Ohio that believes locally grown, real foods are important” – but just why is locally grown food important?
It’s Fresher – locally grown foods are usually purchased by the consumer within 24 hours of harvest. Produce shipped across the country isn’t nearly that fresh.
Taste – locally grown food can be harvested at its peak; and produce picked and consumed at the height of ripeness tastes so much better!
Nutrition – nutritional values start declining in food immediately after harvest, so locally grown food is more nutritional because it’s fresh. The nutritional [...]
Continue reading Reasons to Buy Food Locally
The Better Hens and Gardens proclaimed focus is “Self Reliance – Real Foods – Sustainable Living”; but what does the “Real Foods” part of that really mean? I’ve been pondering that a lot lately, probably because of what I recently learned about raw milk and beverages. It turns out that you can’t sell raw milk in Ohio (or in many other states) and; in fact, there are very few beverages that aren’t pasteurized by law today – supposedly making them fit for human consumption but also destroying beneficial organisms and vitamins.
Is pasteurized milk, vegetable juice, apple cider, almond milk, etc. [...]
Continue reading What’s Real Food?
This year, we’re going to concentrate on growing more of the things we enjoy eating every day; and one of those things is baby carrots – but as I was investigating how baby carrots are grown and marketed, I was surprised to learn what the baby carrots we typically buy in the grocery store really are.
Most of the carrots sold in the store as babies are really full-size carrots that were rejected because they were crooked, deformed, or too small. These unacceptable full-size carrots are cut down to look baby-size, and then peeled. Since much of a carrots nutritional value lies in the skin, these pseudo-baby carrots [...]
Continue reading Baby Carrots – Well, Not Exactly
In the US today, we’re being offered more and more choices in food quality; and it’s because many of us are demanding locally grown foods that are antibiotic, hormone, and pesticide free. In terms of eggs quality, it’s not clear sometimes what the choices mean – here’s a rundown on the different types of eggs:
Commercial or “Factory Farmed” Eggs
These are the standard grocery store eggs; and unfortunately, the “farms” that produce these eggs are typically poultry houses where the hens are housed indoors in tiny metal cages. They’re routinely debeaked (part of their beaks are cut [...]
Continue reading Choices in Egg Quality
This year I planned to grow only heirloom tomatoes (Brandywine, Green Zebra, and Eggyolk), but in a crazed moment (what if the heirlooms don’t produce this year?) I picked up some Early Girl transplants at the garden center. So, I have two orange tomatoes ripening in the garden right now, Brandywine and Early Girl.
The Early Girl tomatoes (picture on the right) look beautiful – deep orange, blemish-free, uniformly round, and you expect they’ll be delicious. The Brandywine tomatoes are not so pretty (the picture on the left). They’re deeply ribbed, often cracked, and randomly shaped. Folks that haven’t experienced heirloom tomatoes go straight for the Early Girls.
But beauty doesn’t create a great [...]
Continue reading A Tale of Two Tomatoes
When I think about “real” food, I mean food that doesn’t contain artificial ingredients, hasn’t been fed antibiotics or growth hormones, wasn’t genetically modified, isn’t covered with pesticides, and most importantly, tastes great. It can be hard to find “real” food today, and the pesticides used on much of the produce in grocery stores contribute to the problem.
There is a growing consensus that small doses of pesticides can adversely affect human health, and eating the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables will expose a person to about 15 pesticides per day, on average. But we can lower our pesticide exposure [...]
Continue reading Produce & Pesticides