THE ARTISTIC LIFE – Living the creative life in everything we do

Posts tagged ‘organic’

Healthy, Wealthy Olive Oil

As most of you probably know, olive oil is very good for you due to its polyphenols and antioxidants, has been used for thousands of years, and is part of a healthy diet. I suggest trying to find a good source of pure extra virgin olive oil as part of your lifestyle. Purchasing an inexpensive bottle of olive oil from your typical grocery store may not be as beneficial as you think.

We get our olive oil directly from an agriturismo we stayed at last year in Tuscany. They grow their own olives and press their own organic olive oil. We know these people and this is as much “old-world style” as you can get nowadays, short of having your Italian great-grandma hand-pressing your olives…

First of all, olive oil is better stored in a dark bottle. Otherwise, even a high quality olive oil’s taste and health benefits will diminish as light damages the oil. If you do buy your olive oil in a clear bottle, at least try to store it in a dark part of your pantry, or keep it in an opaque or dark bottle at home.

You may or may not be aware that there are frauds and conspiracies pertaining to olive oil manufacturing. Italy and other olive oil producing countries are aware that the pure oil is in high demand, especially by Americans, and is big business. There has been fraudulent activity where manufacturers substitute or dilute this high quality oil with canola, soybean, or sunflower oil and color it with chlorophyll to give it that olive oil color. Even a quick read on Wikipedia can tell you that we need to be careful with our olive oil purchases, if we’re relying on it for healthy eating. To read more about this, check out this New Yorker article or this NPR interview.

As the Wikipedia article states at the bottom, there are a couple home tests that one can perform to “test” the purity of your olive oil. The easiest one seems to be to put it in your fridge, and see if the oil becomes thicker or more viscous after a while. If it doesn’t, I would become suspicious and shop around for a better olive oil.

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Turkey for You, Turkey for Me…

The holidays are upon us. In fact, it is time to pick up my Thanksgiving turkey at Full Quiver Farm on Saturday morning. We put a deposit on this fresh pastured turkey months ago, so it is exciting to actually see the goods. The pickup day is an event at the farm – with tours of the farm and the opportunity to buy other fresh farm items. It will be my first time visiting this particular farm (our CSA farm is a closer one, only located 5 minutes away from us). It is forecasted to be a beautiful Fall weekend, with many bright leaves still on the trees in Southeastern Virginia, chilly air, and sunshine. That, I think, is the perfect weather for visiting a farm. I’m ready to get on a heavy sweater and boots, and head over!

Benefits of a Pastured Turkey, as opposed to a typical turkey from the grocery store:

– The turkeys are fed naturally on a pasture, producing a low-stress healthy bird that contains higher amounts of Omega 3s, Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), and vitamins. All are necessary for a healthy body, and fight against inflammation and cancer. Pasture raised turkeys are also lower in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol.

– No antibiotics or hormones are added to the poultry, providing healthier meat that doesn’t mess with one’s hormones, digestive systems, immune system, etc.

– They are supposed to have a richer more flavorful taste (I guess we’ll find out on Thanksgiving – I’ll let you know!)

– They are produced in an environmentally conscious manner, using only manure and compost as fertilizer, not harsh chemicals that get into the land and the water supply. Turkeys aren’t then shipped hundreds or thousands of miles on a diesel truck, thus being even more environmentally friendly.

– They help promote our local agriculture and ecomony

It’s a win-win! We get a healthy, tasty bird and we keep the local farmers in business!

I am THANKFUL for the opportunity to try a different type of bird this Thanksgiving! And if anyone has any suggestions for brining/cooking this turkey, let me know!

Hayrides and Sunshine at the Farm

Sunday was the Meet and Greet for this year’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) members at Batten Bay Farm in Carrollton, VA. This organic growing farm is in a beautiful location on Batten Bay, near the James River. The family has even been named the Farm Family of the Year 2011 by the local Chamber of Commerce.

We were blessed with warm sunshine for this Meet and Greet event. It included sampling some recipes using their farm ingredients, listening to a presentation about how the CSA works, introducing ourselves to the group, and a tour of the farm via hayride (OK, I secretly admit I enjoyed the hayride just as much as the preschoolers did). They have an amazing assortment of vegetable varieties, some of which I’ve never even heard of (and I consider myself a reasonably educated foodie about such things). It seemed like a fun group – this sort of thing seems to attract many like-minded people and families.

June 1st is the first day for pickup. I wonder what is in store for us!

Local Organic Veggies

We put down our payment for our 2011 share in local Batten Bay Farm. This is what they call Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), where locals can purchase a partial or full share in the vegetables that get produced each year. Every week from June through November, we get to pick up a selection of produce that’s ready for that week. I’m excited about this…it’s supporting our local economy and will encourage healthy organic eating throughout the year (will certainly help with my cholesterol-lowering diet and that will make my doctor happy!). We receive our first veggies in the beginning of June and I plan on taking pictures of our selections as well as providing you all with some healthy recipe ideas.

If any of you have this opportunity, try seeking out any local farms to see  if they offer this…it’s a win-win for you, the locals and the farmers!

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