Tag Archives: organic
As the gardens are producing their final batches of fruits and vegetables, everyone is enjoying the benefits of their love and hard work that has been put in all summer. I am certainly no exception to this rule. However, I am celebrating the fruit of others’ labor this year. Not having a garden of my own here in the city, I’m lucky enough to get some good veggies elsewhere. I worked at the Brookhaven Farmers Market a couple of weekends ago. Andrew, from Noring Farms in Covington, had some beautiful heirloom peppers. The colors were so gorgeous- a light lime green, deep purple, and a soft, light yellow. I bought three pounds.
A few days later, I went home to Summerville to see my parents and spend some time at the property. After visiting with my neighbor, Mr. Evans, I came home with an abundance of peppers- bells, jabaneros, and cayennes. So, at that point, I had a huge amount of peppers and had to figure out what to do with them.
I started with a batch of pepper jelly. The color was a glassy light green and so pretty. Bad news- it didn’t set. Re-cooked it and still no luck. 0 for 1 and batch thrown out. The next decision was to make a pepper and onion relish. Vidalias are peaking right now and I figured I couldn’t go wrong. After chopping veggies for 2 solid hours, I was on a roll.
Through this process, I decided it was time to buy another canning pot. This amount of peppers was almost too much for my standard pot to handle.
This was the first time that I had made a pepper-onion relish. It turned out nicely. I would have liked a little more heat, but wanted to stick to the original recipe to start with. The colors are good, the texture still has a bit of a crunch and the flavor is mild. I can’t wait to try it over a dog with some fresh buns from Bakeshop.
Noring Farms 200 Glass Springs Rd Covington, GA 30014
Last week, I went by Bakeshop to see my friend Jonathan. He wasn’t there, but as fate would have it, I met a pretty cool girl. Lauren Janis, owner and baker of Big Daddy Buiscuits was there working away on some organic doggie mints. Yes, I said mints. They will freshen your dog’s breath with mint, parsley, and activated charcoal. They smelled delicious.
Lauren makes all kinds of dog treats, all by hand and all with love. Inspired by her resuced dog, Big Daddy, she made a buisiness out of her love for him and other animals. I admire what she’s doing. Her work isn’t just about making money. It’s about animal care, sustaining the environment and supporting other local producers. All of her products are made with organic ingredients and she recycles her containers. Johnston Milk comes from Newborn, GA. Eggs come from Little Red Hen Farm in Concord, GA and her activated charcoal was bought at Sevananda Market in Little Five Points.
I like what she’s doing and wanted to share. Check out Big Daddy Biscuits for yourself and look for her all around the Atlanta area. Her locations and schedule are listed on her site. firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s the time of year for all those yummy veggies to be sprouting! As I mentioned in my previous blog about eating organically on a budget, you should look for farmers markets around town. As luck would have it, I’ve gotten some information this morning and had a fun sighting!
11 Alive in Atlanta reported this morning on the return of the Marietta Square Farmers Market. It starts today and will be held on Saturdays from 9-12 until mid November! Link to Marietta Square Farmers Market.
Look what I saw when I went to the bank today! How cool is this? Farm Mobile! Its an organic market on wheels. They have meats, breads, produce. What a novel idea.
Follow them on Twitter @grassfedcow.
Do you have markets popping up where you are? Tell me about them! What are you buying? Send me some pics!
Happy Saturday and happy eating.
For those that love herbs, the uses are endless- in foods, teas, flower arrangements, medicinally, decoratively. Having an herb garden in my yard has been one of the most rewarding aspects of gardening for me. However, there are lots of people that do not have the luxury of having an outdoor garden. In that case, I will give you some help on growing herbs indoors so that you can reap the benefits of these plants as well.
In considering your indoor herbs, here are some points to think about:
What type of herbs do you want to grow? Are you going to cook with them? Are basil, dill, chives, thyme, oregano, and rosemary coming to mind? Maybe you want them in a tea as a healing herb. Some of these would be lavender, yarrow, chamomile, etc. When you figure out what type you want to grow, it is important to see what kind of space you have. Some herbs will require a larger container. So, will you condense them all in the same area or will you distribute them around your house like houseplants?
Placement will depend not only on the space you have available, but on the amount of light you have. If growing by sunlight, it is important to have the herbs in a south- facing window. This way the plant can reap as much sun as possible from east to west. Most herbs require about six or more hours of sunlight every day. If in a window sill, be sure to rotate the herbs occasionally so that they get equal light for uniform growth. Another option for light will be fluorescent lighting. Placing the plants under a cool 40 watt bulb (about 6-12 inches away) for 14-16 hours at a time will mimic the natural light.
Temperatures should be kept around 65-70 degrees in the daytime and preferably no lower than 50 degrees for night time. Also, a decent amount of humidity must be kept for the plants. You can aid this by grouping the plants together or providing a light mist with a spray bottle.
The pots should be prepared for good drainage, including a hole in the bottom. It is not necessary to water them every day. You will know when it is time to water when you put your finger in the soil and it is dry to almost dry to the touch.
Be careful in fertilizing herbs. They are tender and need very little. My first choice would be to plant the herbs in compost. If that is not available, then a water soluble fertilizer will be sufficient. Follow the manufacturer’s instruction, but do not fertilize more than every two weeks.
Use the plants regularly. Keeping them trimmed and keeping them from flowering will increase the longevity of the plant.
Look around in a market these days, there is such an abundance of products. Everything we need is at our fingertips. The days of searching or waiting for something are almost a thing of the past. Look at the quality of products available- fresher, bigger, and longer lasting than ever before. What makes these products so much more than before? Chemicals, fertilizers, hormones, genetic altering, hybridization, technology, and more efficient farming give us what we see today. While it is surprising and interesting to see the bell pepper that’s bigger than a grapefruit or a scallop that rivals the size of a golf ball, we have to wonder if what made them so big will affect us when we eat them. So, what to do if you don’t feel comfortable eating these products that have been grown with these new techniques? Eat organically. Organic? Isn’t that expensive? How can I afford to eat organically on a budget?
Here are some ideas to help with that.
First of all, check your options. If you live in a place with multiple grocery stores, see what each one carries. They will carry different brands and also produce from different areas. Prices will vary from store to store. If you are in a smaller town, your options will be more limited, but you are still likely to find some organic products. If you don’t see what you want, just ask the manager to order what you like.
Secondly, buy on sale. Organic products go on sale just like regular products. I have a few grocery stores near my house here in Atlanta, but the Kroger grocery always has one brand of organic milk on sale. Out of the three brands, it’s the one I buy. Check the sale paper when you walk in the store. Everything on sale is listed there.
If something is on sale, buy it in bulk or buy multiples. Are you going to making chili tonight for dinner? Those canned tomatoes are on sale, thank goodness. So double up on your purchase and money will be saved for next time you use them. The more you buy, typically the lower the price.
So, you found some produce on sale and you bought a lot of it. What will you do with the extra before it spoils? Lots- Preserve it. Freeze it, can it, dry it. Just save it so it doesn’t go to waste. Freeze extra blueberries and toss a few into some waffles later on. Too many onions in the bag? Make a batch of onion marmalade and spread it on burgers down the line. If you didn’t finish that bag of apples, you can make a pie or dry some rings for a great snack. (Put the scraps out for the birds- they love fruit!) This is a gateway to a whole different article. I will revisit preserving later on.
Do you have a farmers market nearby? That will definitely save you some money. Look for local product sales that occur once a week. There is a trade ground where I grew up that opens up twice a week. There is always an abundance of locals selling their produce and wares. The prices are much less there than in a grocery and the products are grown locally. Also, in the early fall when all the crops are coming in, there is a group that sets up right in the middle of town to sell their produce. Here in Atlanta, I sometimes go to the Morningside farmers market. http://www.morningsidemarket.com/ They have produce, flowers, homemade items and goods. It is small, but really has a lot of variety. Cut out the middle man=less cost to consumer. You save money and support locals. It’s a win-win.
Do you have friends or neighbors that want to eat organically and save money just as you do? Why not share the wealth with each other? If there is a large quantity of something-meat maybe? Why not split or share it? What about a special ingredient that is pricey? Maybe they can use some, too. Split the cost, trade, share- it feels good and you help each other out. You can’t go wrong.
Finally, one of the best ways to know what you are eating and not spend a great deal is to grow it yourself. Having lived in the country and in the city, I realize that not everyone has the space to do this. However, you can grow plenty of things in small spaces-herbs, tomatoes in pots, the list goes on. Just know there are options. If you are growing your own food, you know exactly what is in it and what is making it grow. The cost is minimal and the rewards are great.
Eating organically on a budget takes a little more work, but can be done. Shop around, share what you have, and preserve. This will help stretch your dollar and ultimately be healthier.
The following is a link to a wonderful farm in northeast Alabama. These are very good friends of my family and their farm produces excellent quality meat. In addition, it is a beautiful place to see. sweetseasonsfarm.com