Category Archives: Health and Wellness

Jamie Oliver can cook anything from zombie brains and alien heads to Chernobyl vegetables

What’s the name of this vegetable? Don’t peek.

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It’s a celeriac. I’ve been told it looks like an alien’s head, a zombie brain, a Chernobyl vegetable and “the thing that was stuck to Spock’s back.” The celeriac was part of our fall organic vegetable delivery a few weeks ago. Someone gave me a Jamie Oliver recipe to try cooking this unique veggie. The recipe rocked and everyone enjoyed eating zombie brains for Thanksgiving. It tastes like celery and cooked, has the texture of a potato. Celeriac is rich in potassium and vitamins C and B-6. Here’s the Jamie Oliver recipe, just in time for Halloween. Let me know how it works out for you.

 

Dinner thanks largely to organic- vegetable delivery service

Dinner was so spectacular last night that I just have to share.

Every other Thursday, we head to a grocery-store parking lot and pick up our order of organic vegetables grown on a nearby farm. This is what the farmer gave us this week!

 

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And this is what we did with the string beans, onions, zucchini and tomatoes.

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The veggies were sautéd (the beans, par-boiled first) in butter and pepper, to which we added organic trout broiled with BBQ spices and more tomatoes. Oh and wine. My husband doesn’t even like string beans but he said it was better than dinner in a nice restaurant. I love string beans and I agree.

 

 

Organic-vegetable delivery getting bountiful

Eight weeks ago, when this experiment started, I thought I had a lot of fresh organic vegetables to content with every week, but really, it turned out to be a small amount. Now that summer is in full swing, my bi-weekly delivery of organic vegetables is humongous!

How is a family of three supposed to eat all this in a week? That was my first thought. Thankfully, we signed up for a bi-weekly service so we have two weeks to eat all this!

 

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Name that vegetable

We had fun trying to identify a vegetable and a herb included in our farmer’s produce basket delivered recently. We turned to Facebook and our friends came through for us. Can you name the vegetables on the table and the herb in my hand?

Don’t peek, the answer is below the photos.

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Kohlrabi and garlic scape.

That’s part of the fun of picking up a farmer’s vegetable basket every other week. We never know what to expect. I found myself sautéing chopped turnips last week and my son told me he liked the new way I made the potatoes. Oh honey, they’re not potatoes. Should I tell him?

So how much does it cost to buy organic produce in grocery stores anyway?

My second delivered organic-produce basket looked so good it should have been in a food magazine photo spread. It tasted just as good as it looked too.

img_0361All this rapture over fresh, colourful greens got me thinking; how much would it cost to buy this amount of organic vegetables at my local grocery store? It turns out, plenty. Not only in terms of cash but in time.

I had to drive to four local grocery stores (IGA, Metro, Provigo le marché and Tau) in order to find and price all the fresh, organic produce in my farmer’s basket this week. Many organic vegetables were grown in Quebec but an equal number of them were imported, despite being seasonally available in Quebec.

My farmer’s basket included: arugula, carrots, green onions, spring garlic, radish, turnips, mesclun lettuce mix (washed), basil, kale and asparagus. The quantity was enough to keep my family of three eating veggies for a week. The retail value of the basket was a surprising $33.

The highs and lows were: $4.99 for organic arugula at IGA, same for a mesclun salad mix and $1.79 for turnips at Metro and .99 cents for a bunch of radishes at Tau.

If I bought organic produce at grocery stores each week, assuming I spent the same each week, the cost over the same 11-week organic basket-delivery period would be $363 not including gas to drive around town. It’s slightly less expensive than what we paid for the Ferme Tourne Sol delivery service ($392) but doesn’t include the 5 fruit baskets included in the farm price.

In the end, I may not save money but it’s quicker, more environmentally friendly and my family helps a small local business.

 

Making organic, locally grown fruits and vegetables accessible

Eating fresh fruits and vegetables grown without pesticides and produced locally is a goal for many families including mine but it’s also a challenge. We don’t want to spend a fortune or become urban farmers. This summer, my family is one step closer to realizing our goal without having to resort to either of those choices.

img_0309Recently, we signed up online for a bi-weekly summer fruit and vegetable basket delivered by an organic farm in the region. The drop-off is at the parking lot of a local grocery store. There’s also a weekly option but we’re neophytes and didn’t want to over-commit. In late May, we collected our first basket from Tourne-Sol Cooperative Farm in Les Cèdres. The farm is part of the équiterre network of farms committed to ecological and equitable farming-practices.

I didn’t know what to expect but I received an email from the farm a few days before delivery telling me what would be in the basket that week. I brought my own bags and optimistically drove the 1 km to the grocery-store parking lot. I spotted the van and once my name was checked-off the list, I began packing my own bags. A sign indicated exactly how much of what vegetable I was entitled to.

The delivery schedule for the summer is emailed to you and you receive either weekly or bi-weekly email reminders of the delivery dates. The cost varies depending on the number of baskets chosen and start at around $340 for 11-weeks. The farm claims this is about 15-20 per cent less than store prices. Time will tell.

img_0312The first week I got: A bunch of asparagus, rhubarb, chives, kale, mesclun, bok choy and a basil plant.

I used all the vegetables, even the bok choy, for which I had to Google a recipe. Turns out you can sauté it like spinach. It was delicious and easy. I froze the rhubarb because I wanted to make a strawberry-rhubarb pie and I had no strawberries. I re-potted the basil and it’s on the deck growing well. I’ve used a handful leaves in a recipe already.

IMG_0313This is the first meal I cooked with vegetables from the market; grilled asparagus and sautéed kale with store-bought wild salmon and couscous.

I’ll receive seasonal fruit in the next delivery and I’m hoping it includes strawberries.

So far, the only caveat is that you don’t get to choose your vegetables and you may get stuck with something you don’t eat. You can always barter with other clients or like me, try a new recipe and broaden your horizons!

I’ll post updates throughout the summer.

Staying Healthy

FluSeasonAhead_LrgeImageTwenty-fifteen couldn’t have come any sooner.  Our usual festive season was curtailed by the flu. Here’s two takes on the 2014 flu: Twelve year-old boy gets the flu on the first night of Christmas break. Muscle aches, fever, vomiting; the works. Less than 36 hours later, his head is in the fridge scarfing down whatever he can get his hands on. He says he’s “starving” and will “die” if he doesn’t eat “right now.”  It was 11:30 at night. Flu, what flu? Forty-six year-old man gets the flu and is down for the count for a full eight days. It hurts to move. The forty-something year-old woman who cared for them both crosses her fingers and hopes she’s spared. Couldn’t have said good-bye to 2014 fast enough. Hello 2015!