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January: New Beginnings

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New Year, new thinking

By Farmer Arzeena

Ah January, the month of new beginnings and new resolutions. If a cleaner diet is high up on your list of to-dos, here’s a quick tip to help cut through the plethora of diet advice. Cook from scratch for yourself and your family. The more your take back control of what goes into your body, the fewer “nasties” that will enter it.

 

But doesn’t our government protect our food system? In a short, no they do not. Basically, Health Canada approves whatever the USDA does and the USDA has a revolving door between itself and companies like Monsanto and Bayer. So, it’s really up to you to make informed choices.

 

And it certainly is possible. Eliminating herbicides, insecticides, genetically engineered (GE) organisms and antibiotics from your food supply can make a huge difference in how you and your family feel after a meal. More and more, we are finding that the gut microbiome, is critical for helping to not only your digest food, but also produce important brain hormones like serotonin.

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When this internal ecosystem is out of balance because of poor diet or eating foods laced with antibiotics, all kinds of reactions can happen from irritable bowel syndrome to eczema to even depression. Probably the biggest culprit for is the prevalence of glyphosate, also known as Roundup. This herbicide is in large-scale wheat, barley & oat farms as well as in GMO crops like canola, feed corn, and soybeans.

 

So how do you eat cleaner? Choose whole fruits and vegetables and wherever possible, purchase organic. In Canada, there is no other labeling system other than certified organic that can ensure food isn’t grown without pesticides or antibiotics. Luckily, in the Comox Valley, there a number of certified organic vegetable, chicken and beef farmers. Check them out at the Farmer’s Market. Get to know your grower. They’re your first line of defense for a healthier you.

 

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If you want to make a commitment to local organic food all summer, consider joining our weekly veggie box program through our CSA . For more info click here!

 

End of CSA Season

I’m so glad we had this time together…

For those of you old enough to remember Carol Burnett, that song was always bittersweet.  It meant the end of something good and the wait for next time.

As we pack our final box for you all, we pause to catch our breath, reflect on the year & look forward to the opportunity to grow more food for our amazing community.

We would like to invite you to join us for a cup of hot apple cider at your last pick up of the season and share some good cheer.  If you pick up at Amara,  you can also meet our newest grower to join our team.  Farmer Jay, will be there to tell you their stories of growing in Victoria and moving up to our valley to grow with Merville Organics.  I’m  sure you will appreciate the tale of the pigs wrecking best laid plans.

As the winter progresses we will still be at the Market on Saturday, if you miss us and want to have a visit.  We would love to see you.

Also, we will keep in touch, on occasion, and let you know about some upcoming events.  Amara Farm is being featured in a film at the One World Film Festival and we know you wouldn’t want to miss that!

Farmer Mariette

IMG_2312(1)meet Jay, our newest MO Member!

Winter To Do List

Nov:   Pack away CSA supplies
Coop Meetings & Planning
Nap and Watch Netflix
Winter Crops & Animals

Dec:   Crop planning
Coop Meetings & Planning
ORDER SEEDS (Yay)
Winter Crops & Animals

Jan:     Organize Supplies
Coop Meetings & Planning
Order More Seeds
Winter Crops & Animals

Feb:     Start seeds and begin again!

2012-10-20-08Futsu Pumpkin, little powerhouse of taste, available this week. These personal sized delights are described as being a cross between a chestnut and a pumpkin

What’s in your Box?

In an effort to help you with your planning we will let you know a few days in advance what you are getting, your grocery list.  Be aware that the best laid plans don’t always turn out.  Veg can come out of the ground not looking as we had hoped or other produce might just be bursting and need to be harvested.  We do our best to get you what we promised.

The Grocery List:
Garlic
Squash
Carrots
3 Choices:
  1) Brussels Sprouts, Greens or Spinach
  2) Frisse or Kale
  3) Salad Turnip or Parsnip 

Frisse is about the most beautiful salad green on the planet in my book and Scott at Amara farm has nursed these through snow and frost to bring them to your table.   So I would like to suggest:  Salad Lyonnaise

This beautiful salad can only be made with Frisse, in my book, as the leaf holds the lightly acid flavours of the dressing with the creamy richness of the egg so perfectly… and then, of course, there is the bacon.  This is the perfect brunch meal but we love it for our dinner meal.

Alongside regular garlic, you will also have access to some “inglorious garlic”.  This is garlic that is not pretty but tastes just as delicious.  Be sure to use it first as it won’t store as long as the garlic with papers.  I would suggest using it to make yourself some yummy garlic bread.   Farmer Kira just made some for us with bread from the new organic bakery in town, True Grain.  (Yum!)

Kira is a whiz in the kitchen and she simply chopped up fresh garlic very fine, melted salted butter and spread both on slices of bread, popped it in the oven on a cookie tray and broiled for just a couple of minutes, keeping an eye on it the whole time.

A quick word to the Brussels Sprouts haters. I feel you. I, too, was forced to eat just one over cooked sulfurous sprout every holiday. I would never eat them as an adult.

Then one day, I was eating in a tasty eatery in Canmore AB, lets just say I had enjoyed a few aperitif’s when my meal arrived.  I ate with gusto tasting this new and delicious little leaf vegetable. I was dumbfounded. I had not encountered it before. I could not identify it at all. My husband, with great glee informed me that they were Brussels Sprouts, simply peeled and sauteed.  A life changing moment.  I am such a convert that I now grow them.  My fav is raw in salad but here are some other suggestions. I still over cook a few for my mother but I will never force that on anyone!

Happy eating folks!
If you have any recipes to share with the rest of the CSA let us know on Facebook, we would love to hear from you!