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 Fall 2014 Newsletter

WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH THE ORGANIC MOVEMENT?

BY MARY ANNE

Here we are in 2014 and the corporate farming of America is still spiraling out of control. This, in spite of the fact that the organic food movement is growing by 10-15% per year. Sales of organic food are said to reach $40 billion this year. Even though the sales of organic foods are growing five times faster than sales of conventional foods, organic food purchases only make up 5-10% of the average food bill. 50% of Americans say that they prefer to buy organic, and almost everyone buys some organic foods part of the time. When asked why they prefer organic, consumers state that they want to buy and eat food free from pesticides, synthetic hormones, antibiotic residues and genetically modified organisms. Consumers are generally educated enough to know that the conventional food industry is responsible for the deteriorating health of the public. They are becoming aware that the corporate farming model is the leading cause of water pollution, soil erosion, deforestation, wetland destruction, reduced biodiversity and climate-affecting greenhouse gases. Concerns also include animal welfare, farm workers and the sustainability of rural communities. The good news is that organic farming  and ranching is actually regenerative and can save us from the catastrophe of global climate change by reducing CO2 in the atmosphere, improving soil fertility, increasing plant health, animal health, and human health as well.  Why then is the organic revolution still struggling to reach into the life of the general economy?

 

The truth is that most people are still buying highly processed, chemically contaminated and factory-farmed food. Farmers continue to plant GMO crops and douse them with toxic chemicals. Junk-food addicted Americans spend almost half of their food dollars eating in fast-food and chain restaurants where factory-farmed food is the norm. Unfortunately, the Federal government fails to support farmers in the transition to organic while spending billions of dollars subsidizing chemically dependent and GMO operations. If organics got the same level of support, there would no doubt be a surge in organic farming.

 

What are some of the other problems be-setting the organic movement?

1.      Nutritional and culinary illiteracy. While many Americans claim that they want to eat better and cook more at home, most have no real knowledge of nutrition or the superiority of organic foods and many lack the basic culinary skills.

2.      Big Food and Big Ag have effectively brain-washed the public with the message that organic food is no healthier than chemically produced and GMO food. This undermines the consumer’s incentive to pay more for food when cheaper alternatives, many labelled “natural”, are prevalent in the marketplace.

3.      All fats are dangerous. We discussed this myth in our last newsletter. Most people are under the mistaken impression that all saturated fats cause heart disease and cancer. They are unaware that the elevated proportion of Omega 3’s in organic and grass fed meat, dairy, eggs, coconut, avocados and cooking oils are actually good for you and protective against heart disease. They instead opt for supposedly “low-fat” factory-farmed foods which are actually artery-clogging and conducive to obesity. The oils used in fast-food are especially toxic.

4.      Artificial sweeteners and low-calorie sodas are good for you. Another myth based on science which, at best, could be called outdated. The closer we stick to a diet of “real food” the better off we will be. Even on an organic diet sugars of all types should be limited. Anything artificial is not considered real food and is not healthy.

5.      Fraudulent marketing, advertising, and greenwashing in the marketplace. Marketing gimmicks abound for those Americans seeking healthier choices. Many consumers equate “natural” with organic. Fruits and vegetables are now commonly labeled “local” even when they are produced with toxic chemicals and pesticides. The same goes for meat and chicken which is still given antibiotics and is most-likely factory farmed. Many foods labeled “non-GMO” are still full of pesticide laden produce. Advertising wizards have perfected the art of turning our children into junk food addicts. Almost everyone is brainwashed by thousands of commercials and ad images, and food which is chemically mutated to trick our taste buds into believing that it tastes better than the “real deal”.

6.      Lack of money and time. Most Americans would argue that they would like to eat organically. Yet, although most Americans are suffering from obesity and diet-related health problems, they feel powerless to change their eating habits or sedentary lifestyle. Organic foods do cost more in the short term, but add up to reduced costs in health care. Like putting good gas in your car to keep it running smoothly, organic food keeps the body machine in good working condition. Other problems which prevent people from organic food include basic standard of living conditions in a country where the minimum wage is pitiful but the costs of rent, health care, higher education and transportation are extremely high. The man or woman that works full-time rarely has the time or energy to prepare a home-cooked meal or shop at the farmers market. Raising the standard of living and increasing nutritional awareness would do a lot for turning the public towards healthier foods.

 

Even though it’s discouragingly slow, the organic movement is still on the upswing. As more and more of the public become aware of the food culture in this country, the shift will began to occur on its own. Just in the past ten years, farm to food restaurants have become much more common and farmers markets are on the rise in every city. Consciousness about GMO foods is increasing as folks become more cognizant of the corporate take-over of American farming. It takes a long time to turn this massive ship around but I, for one, am confident that we are gradually making our way to a more sustainable future. Do not give up hope. 

 

Excerpted from Organic Consumers Association article, “What’s Holding Back the Organic Revolution” by Ronnie Cummins, August 20, 2014

 

 

OCTOBER IS NON-GMO MONTH

 

Just a reminder that October is Non-GMO month. We will be featuring and having sales on our certified non-GMO foods as a means of promoting their sale and consumption. The Organic Consumers Association is encouraging all of us to contribute financially to states who are trying to get GMO labeling passed in their states. They are up against incredible odds as Monsanto has already spent $27million on ad campaigns to defeat the measures. I find this interesting since they are not asking to ban or eliminate GMO foods, only requesting that they be labeled. Any corporation that feels so threatened by labeling definitely must have something to hide. This is the most money spent on any campaign to defeat a grassroots effort.  Scary.

 

 

PRODUCE IS A LABOR OF LOVE

BY MARY ANNE

 

As we approach the September Labor Day holiday we could take some time to honor the many people who work very hard to bring the produce to your table. Starting with the farmers who are suffering one of the worst droughts in history, to the farm laborers who sweat in the sweltering sun of summer to harvest and pack our food, to the warehouse workers pulling orders, to the drivers making the deliveries, to the produce stocking clerks in our local grocery stores making displays to present the produce in the best possible way, we thank you.  A lot of effort is put into growing, harvesting, shipping and selling. Produce is not an easy commodity to get from farm to shelf.  Being a living thing it is subject to all kinds of acts of nature, including drought, flooding, insect and disease infestations, hot spells and cold spells, and lack of laborers equipped to handle the grueling conditions in the field. So, when you purchase your produce this season, take a few minutes to honor the process that allows you to eat fruits and vegetables that are close to the finest in the world.

 

September is also harvest month in Mendocino County. Our local farmers are bringing in a plethora of excellent late summer fare, including tomatoes, melons, cucumbers, eggplants, and squash. We are also blessed to have local garlic, corn, and lettuce. Peppers will be coming. In this Mediterranean climate we are lucky to have a cornucopia of produce available for our consumption.

 

Stone fruit is slowing down as we move towards fall. There will still be some late season peaches, but nectarines will be dwindling down and be replaced by various pears and new crop apples. Lemons and avocados will continue to be pricey as stocks of these items are scarce at this time of year. Limes and Valencia oranges are in season now.  We are starting to receive some hard squashes and pumpkins. The hot dry summer has caused most produce to mature earlier than usual.  All of us are longing for early rains and an end to the breathing of dust and smoke.

 

Mariposa Market has just celebrated its 35th Anniversary. It’s hard to believe that the little fruit stand at 383 South Main actually morphed into the 8000 sq. ft. complete health-food grocery store at 500 South Main.   The passage of time has followed us from crazy idealistic “hippies” to the dedicated business members we are today (still holding on to those ideals though). We truly appreciate all our customers who have helped support the process through your willingness to stand by us in our commitment to healthier, fresher food that is good for the environment and good for our health.

 

 

PEA PROTEIN

BY MARY ANNE

 

Lately, I have been noticing that many protein supplements have replaced some of their ingredients with pea protein. The reason for this is that many people are allergic to soy or dairy, the once common protein source, or may not wish to include these substances in their diet. But, what is pea protein anyway? Although it has been around for many years, pea protein is gaining rapidly in popularity because it is non-GMO, can be sustainably grown, and provides an impressive nutritional profile. It is rich in potassium, fiber, folate vitamins, and, of course, protein.  Peas are especially high in lysine which improves bones, skin, and mood. And, there is evidence that pea protein may be helpful in controlling hunger hormones. The pea protein in supplements does not come from green peas, but from dried yellow peas, which are picked, rinsed, ground and added to water to isolate the protein where it is then used to fortify foods and beverages. Dried yellow peas themselves are an excellent addition to your diet.  ¼ cup of cooked peas has 12 grams of protein and 12 grams of fiber. They can be used in soups, salads, and hummus, or to make vegetarian meatballs. Here’s just another way to broaden you dietary profile.

 

 

CHILL DEPARTMENT UPDATE

BY CARRIE

 

Mariposa just about suffered a massive coronary when we were informed by Redwood Meats that they were being closed down and would not be able to provide us with our grass-fed beef. Fortunately, the issues were resolved (NOT A PUBLIC SAFETY ISSUE) and we are once again back in business. Many of our customers were as dismayed as we were. Thankfully, resuscitation was successful.

 

We have a new distributor for Niman Ranch products after several months of being without this product. Along with our usual selections of sausages and bacons, we now have some additional offerings which include Niman Ranch shelf-pack pastrami and sliced corned beef. The Ranch provided us with a huge selection of sausages which we demoed at our anniversary. They were an enormous hit!

 

Along with Niman Ranch and Applegate, we also have a very exciting guacamole from Ay Chiwa. Other items coming soon are Passione Pizza Crusts,( flour and gluten-free), Mt. Townsend Creamery cheeses, Cascade Fresh lamb, Annabel buffalo milk yogurt, and Sweet Earth single serve vegan cobblers.

 

By the end of October, the turkey sign-up sheets will go up. This year we will be offering Organic Mary’s turkeys, Mary’s free range, and Mary’s non-GMO turkeys and free range petites. Prices will range from $2.89/lb. for free range to $5.99/lb. for the Heritage bird. Please remember to sign up early to get the size and type that you want.

 

 

AN EVENING FOR THE CANCER RESOURCE CENTER

By Debbie Mac Innis

 

I recently volunteered to help at a wonderful event that is held in Mendocino County every year.  This year was the ten year celebration for Pure Mendocino.  Pure Mendocino is a benefit for the Cancer Resource centers of Mendocino.  It is a showcase of organic food and wine, held at Paul Dolan’s biodynamic Dark Horse Ranch with 100% of the proceeds benefitting the Cancer Resource Center.  Tickets are sold in advance and usually sell out before the event.  It begins with a wine/ food pairing featuring an array of local organic wines and food.  Next is a farm to table dinner that is served family style.  This year Chef Olan of Mendough’s Wood- Fired Catering  prepared an amazing feast, which included a slaw of savory cabbage, summer carrots, beets and golden potatoes, roasted pig stuffed with vegetables and herbs, and a salad with local lettuce and cheeses. The desert was apple blueberry cobbler prepared by Chef Jacquie Lee.  The evening includes a silent auction with an array of local craftsmen and local businesses donating their products. During dinner there are speakers who tell of their experience with cancer.  This year Paul Dolan spoke about how he runs his ranch, his

 biodynamic practices, and how he believes in caring for the health of the land and people who consume the products from the land.  He takes his mission a step further by giving back to the land so it can keep producing healthier, better tasting food.  It is wonderful to know that many vineyards and farmers in the area believe in organic and sustainable practices.  Susan O’Donnell, executive director of the Cancer Resource Center, explained what the center does and the services it provides.  The Cancer Resource Center, she explained, helps patients and their families facing cancer with everything from navigating the complicated medical system to taking people to appointments. They offer a wide variety of services which includes support groups. When someone is going through treatment, the Cancer Resource Center is invaluable. The Cancer Resource Center is a grassroots organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for those with cancer, as well as their families and friends.  Although there are other fundraisers to support the center, Pure Mendocino is definitely the biggest.  It is wonderful to see the food and wine producers work together with the Cancer Resource Center for such a good cause.

 

 

STEVIA: NATURE’S TRUE SWEETENER

By Mary Anne

 

Stevia,a plant that grows mainly in Paraguay, is known for its leaves which are reported to be 20-40 times sweeter than sugar but contain no calories and do not raise blood sugar levels. For years the FDA refused to approve this substance for use by the public, mainly because of pressure from artificial sweeteners like Sweet’n’Low and Equal, a billion dollar industry. It wasn’t until 2008 when Coca Cola patented Truvia, a chemicalized and highly processed form of stevia, that the government thought to approve the use of rebaudioside compounds for foods. The natural plant, due to some twisted government thinking, still remains an unapproved food additive.

 

The use of stevia has gone up remarkably in the past 10 years as availability and public knowledge has increased. Recently, I heard on NPR a news blurb about stevia, claiming that most stevias on the market contain an array of additives and chemicals designed to make it more palatable and easier to use. Even brands like Wholesome show “agave inulin” as the first ingredient in Organic Stevia. Some other common brands like Stevia in the Raw and Pure Via list dextrose as the first ingredient, making these brands neither raw nor pure. Natural flavors can also be added to stevia, which are made from synthesized materials that actually trick your mind into wanting more and more.

 

So how does one choose the right kind of stevia? It is possible to buy a stevia plant for your garden. I have mine in a pot in the greenhouse. It loses it leaves in the winter but promptly recovers come spring. Try to pick products sweetened with stevia that list “whole leaf stevia” on the ingredient label. Stevia can be ground in a spice grinder to make a powder that is easier to use when cooking. You can also make your own extract with alcohol or water (recipe follows this article). Liquid extracts are easier to use in coffee or tea or for sweetening drinks (including cocktails).

 

Extracts of stevia that appear as white powders can also be purchased at health food store, such as ours. The white powder extract we carry from NOW is organic and extracted without dangerous chemical processes. It can be bought in bulk or in packets or liquid extracts.  Remember that extracts are up to 200 times sweeter than sugar and should be used cautiously. I find 4-5 drops of the liquid per large glass more than enough for something like lemonade. Be sure to read labels carefully to make sure there are no other additives in your stevia.

 

The future of stevia is bright as long as the Stevia Rebaudiana species is preserved in Paraguay. Although its safety has been questioned, it has been used in other countries for centuries with no apparent side effects. Its health benefits are numerous as it is free of calories, has no effect on blood sugar, does not harm the teeth, and has a wide range of uses in foods and beverages. It really is Nature’s true sweetener.



 

 

IS HOT SAUCE GOOD FOR YOU?

By Kevin

 Since the day I worked with Adriano and saw him put tabasco on his burger and then, shockingly, into his large glass of coke, I have incorporated a little bit of “picante” into my gastronomic repertoire.  I like the heat and flavor it imparts to a variety of foods, but sometimes I wonder, “Is this hot stuff good for my body?” “Is it possible to have too much?” I did some online research and to my relief I could find nothing much to hinder me from continuing my hot sauce usage. To the contrary, there are many benefits.

 

Capsaicin, that which makes chilies and the sauces and salsas that contain them hot, is very beneficial.

For instance, every time you eat something hot, you release endorphins and endorphins are the natural "happy drug" that your body produces. Endorphins resemble opiates in how they work. They relieve pain and promote a sense of wellbeing. They're often called "natural pain killers" or "the runner's natural high." That endorphin rush makes capsaicin an effective remedy for other medical conditions as well, researchers say.

 

"The endorphins work to block the heat. The body produces them in response to the heat, which it senses as pain," said Paul Bosland, co-founder and director of New Mexico State University's Chile Pepper Institute. "It's used for all kinds of arthritis pain, as well as for neuropathic pain and dermatologic conditions that have a painful itch," said Dr. Ashwin Mehta, director of integrative medicine at the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine. Capsaicin is also used by people with the skin disease psoriasis to decrease itching and inflammation, according to the university. Research has also suggested that capsaicin can also help with appetite suppression, but there are not yet any solid data to determine what role, if any, the chemical plays in weight loss. Studies have also suggested that capsaicin may play a role in helping to kill off prostate cancer cells. "In test tubes, researchers found a correlation between increased cell death and capsaicin," said Mehta.

 

According to The Everything Hot Sauce Book by Angela Garbes, hot sauce is good for you because of the nutritional value in chilies, the sauce’s primary ingredient. Peppers contain lots of vitamins C and A, which can help prevent cancer, wrinkled skin, high blood pressure, common colds, and cataracts. Common wisdom tells us that carrots are the ultimate food for keeping eyesight sharp, but fresh red chilies contain just as much vitamin A. Chilies are also rich in vitamin E, potassium, and free radical-sopping antioxidants                

THERE’S MORE!

 

  Improved digestion: The spiciness in a hot sauce or a salsa stimulates stomach secretions. Sure, the old wives’ tale says that ulcer sufferers should avoid spicy foods, but it turns out that eating hot stuff stimulates blood flow to the stomach and increases its mucous lining. That may help heal ulcers.

   It doesn't pack on the calories: While certain condiments offer plentiful flavor, hot sauce does the same at a fraction of the calories. It varies from brand to brand, but most hot sauces only weigh in at approximately six calories per tablespoon.

   It kicks up your metabolism: Vitamin C and capsaicin have both been shown to assist in revving up your metabolism.

   It helps keep you satisfied: A little goes a long way with hot sauce! For your sodium level's sake, you definitely shouldn't douse all your food in it, but by keeping your food spicier, you'll need to chow down a little more slowly. Hot sauce is a great way to pace yourself if you tend to keep things harried when you're eating.

   Cold Cure: Hot sauce can also treat a cold. Ever eaten salsa while you've had a cold? The hot stuff can be used to clear the sinuses.

THE SCOVILLE SCALE

 

Lastly, how do you measure heat in a pepper? Back in early 20th century, Wilbur Scoville contemplated a question that has plagued all seekers of hot food: how do you measure heat? He developed a scale based on the Scoville heat unit, which allows you to compare the heat factor in peppers and hot pepper sauces.
Scoville developed the Scoville Organoleptic Test in 1912. Originally it did start out as a more subjective test than what we have today. Taste testers would partake of ground-up chilies that were increasingly diluted (and neutralized) by sugar water. The hotter the pepper, the more sugar water it took to quash the heat.
So, the amount of sugar-water necessary to entirely cancel the heat in the pepper is the modern-day Scoville heat unit. For example the hottest pepper recorded scored 577,000 Scoville heat units. This means it would take 577,000 cups of sugar water to neutralize the heat in 1 cup of that pepper.

Today, the Scoville heat unit is still the unit of measurement for heat and through advancing technology, it's much more scientific than what Wilbur originally devised. Today, instead of relying on the human palate, Scoville testing uses High Performance Liquid Chromatography or HPLC. During process, the capsaicinoids, which pack a pepper with heat, are extracted. They are then placed in the HPLC device and analyzed. The HPLC can read the amount of capsaicinoids in the pepper, as well as differentiate between individual varieties. This analysis is then converted into the better-known Scoville unit.

 

BON APETIT

 

 

Find Time Alone to Think

By Dan Oswald


You don't spend nearly enough time simply thinking. Before you take offense to that statement, consider how much time you spend talking, responding to e-mail, even reading—my guess is that you spend more time doing any one them than you do thinking.

Why do so many people claim they have had some stroke of genius while in the shower? It's because they're alone with their thoughts for about 10 minutes without a phone, computer, or book. And according to those who have achieved more from a shower than just cleansing their bodies, that's all it took for them to come up with a great idea that's going to make a difference. 10 minutes!

We're stuck in a society in which ADD has become the norm. We can't entirely focus on anything for more than short periods of time. We're self-described multitaskers. We don't do one thing at a time—we do two or three things at once. And we brag about it! We consider ourselves the models of efficiency.

We talk on the phone while we drive. We read a book while we exercise. We respond to e-mail while sitting in a meeting. We even play games on our phones while watching TV. We're connected to our devices 24/7.

I'm on a plane as I write this. It used to be that when you were on a plane, you could choose between reading, talking, sleeping, or thinking. Today we have our computers, tablets, and phones. We're disappointed, as I was this morning, when we discover our plane isn't equipped with Wi-Fi—how dare they get in the way of my efficiency?! I'm 30,000 feet in the air and upset that I can't check my incoming e-mail.

I have a colleague who thinks he could make a living helping executives disconnect from technology. My guess is he would have a hard time convincing businesspeople to give up their smartphones and computers—let alone pay him to do it. For many of us, it would be like having a limb amputated! But maybe, just maybe, this boot camp for the overly connected could be sold to their spouses and children as an intervention tool. Oh, that's right—those family members are all sitting at the dinner table with their own devices.

And what gets lost in all of this connectivity is the time to simply think or reflect. Each day we are confronted with an unbelievable amount of information. Got a question? No sense thinking about the answer. It's quicker to find it by conducting a Google search. The answer is right at your fingertips—literally!

So how much uninterrupted time do you spend each day simply thinking? I'm willing to bet it's not much and certainly not enough. You need time to digest all the information you access using that technology. You need to find a way to avoid those things—both self-inflicted and caused by others—that interrupt your ability to find quiet time to think.

Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Close the door to your office for 30 to 60 minutes each day. Turn your phone ringer off, shut down the computer, and turn off your cell phone. Don't sit at your desk because you'll be tempted to pick up a report or something else and start reading. Place an empty pad of paper and a pen in front of you, and just think about some of the issues you're facing. Pick one particularly perplexing problem and focus on it for the entire time, jotting down any ideas that come to you. If you don't have an office door, book a conference room. If you don't have a conference room, go for a walk. Anything that takes you away from all the things that distract you from the problem at hand.
  2. Don't multitask when you exercise. If you're on the treadmill, turn the TV off. If you're riding the stationary bike, don't read a book. If you're in the pool, leave the waterproof earphones behind. Years ago, when I was running a lot, I would go out by myself without any technology. It provided a fantastic opportunity to think through whatever issues I happened to be dealing with. It's great that you're exercising, but double the benefit by spending that time thinking instead of distracting yourself with something.
  3. Take 30 minutes either first thing in the morning or last thing at night to be alone with your thoughts. So often we busy ourselves with things to do from the minute we wake up in the morning until we turn off the lights at night. Most of us either watch TV or read in bed until the lights go out and we fall asleep. Then we wake up in the morning already on the run. How fast can you get showered, grab coffee, and get to the office where all those distractions are? Instead of rushing out the door to get to the office, how much could be accomplished by simply being alone with your thoughts. Or instead of watching late-night TV until you fall asleep, lie there and consider everything you've done and learned that day.

It really doesn't matter how or where you do it, but you must find ways to take the time to think. If not, you spend your entire day doing and reacting, without much thought to the value of those activities. Your actions should be intentional and purposeful. For that to happen, you must take the time to be alone with your thoughts, work through issues, and contemplate the best course of action. You need quiet time to allow that to happen.

 

FINGERLING POTATOES WITH BACON CREAM

4 LB. FINGERLING POTATOES, HALVED LENGTHWISE

1 MED. RED ONION, FINELY SLICED

2 TBSP. BUTTER, MELTED

2 TBSP. OLIVE OIL

1 TSP. SALT

½ TSP. PEPPER

¼ CUP EACH CRèME FRAICHE AND HEAVY CREAM

1 BUNCH CHOPPED CHIVES

8 OZ. BACON COOKED UNTIL CRISP AND CHOPPED

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put potatoes into boiling salted water and simmer until tender, 10-15 minutes. Drain and put in large bowl.  Sauté onions until soft. Put potatoes, onions, butter, oil, and 1 tsp.  salt and the ½ tsp.  pepper in large bowl and mix together. Place potato mix on baking sheet (you may need 2) and bake until potatoes are golden brown with a light crisp around the edges, about 25 minutes.  Transfer to shallow serving dish.

Beat crème fraiche and cream in a bowl with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Stir in chives, bacon, and remaining salt, plus 1/8 tsp. pepper. Top potatoes with this mixture and toss to coat.



 

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500 South Main Street
Willits, CA 95490
707-459-9630

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