Making Your Garden a Buffet for Bees

The Best Gardening Tips to Make Your Landscape Irresistible to Bees
Article By Guest Contributor Christy Erikson, Saving Our Bees

Bees are our most beneficial pollinators. You can create a bee-friendly environment whether you tend a patio garden, are involved with a community garden, or plant a backyard habitat. Get started with these great gardening tips.

bee-1575236_1280 Image courtesy of Pixabay

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Ready for Radishes

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The season is changing which means we’ll be seeing some of our favorite cool weather produce making their appearance at the Market over the next few weeks, including the radish.  So, we’re sharing our ten favorite ways to enjoy radishes this season.

Perhaps radish isn’t the first thing on your grocery list or you’ve never considered it a snack option. However, radishes were once so valued in Greece, that gold statues were fashioned in their image. There are so many varieties of radishes you’ll be able to find this season at the Market including watermelon, peppermint and even black radish! No matter which radish is your favorite all of them are packed with health benefits. Discover more fun facts we shared about the radish here.
Shop them at the Market all winter season and try new ways to prepare and serve this crunchy treat.

Roasted with Green Onions, Diced In Potato Salad, Sliced in Slaw

Radish Risotto, Tossed with Arugula, Splashed with Citrus, Baked on top Pizza

Perfectly Pickled, Turned into Tacos, Topping Egg Toast

Some Like it Raw

Walking the farmers market can be a very inspiring journey. In each aisle, shoppers might find a fruit they’ve never tasted, maybe a condiment they’ve never thought of, or perhaps even a dog on a skateboard scooting by. For Kenny Hadley, the market inspired a total lifestyle change.

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Kenny has been a volunteer at the Community Exchange Table (CET) for nine years. Now, Kenny is known as the booth manager. His family, of Hadley Farmship, helped start the club through a local permaculture group. The operation is run completely by volunteers, and featured neighborhood growers and makers keep 80% or 90% of their profits (depending on the market they’re selling at).

The CET lately features the Orchard Community Learning Center, Sundown Ranch, two independent neighborhood locals who grow fruit and make all-natural beauty products, as well as Hadley Farmship. Growers and makers set their own prices. The Hadley’s also produce “Mom’s Tortillas.” Produce ranges from the exotic non-edibles that will catch shoppers’ eyes, such as loofah and pine-cones, to the all-familiar basil (bags of which they famously sell for just $1). Often, heritage seeds are sold next to the fruit they produce. Kenny recalls seeing huge stalks of sugarcane for sale at one market, but maintains that tart and sweet mulberries from their table are still the best thing he’s ever eaten in Phoenix.

Kenny’s perspective on produce in Phoenix is especially viable due to the fact that he has been eating exclusively raw vegan foods for five years this October. After watching “Food Inc.” in 2008, he had worked to cut “bad” foods from his diet progressively until 2012. At that point, Kenny was inspired to attempt a 10-day all-raw challenge by a fellow vendor at the market after hearing how great much it improved their overall well-being. His 10-day challenge became a life challenge.

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The Benefits of Butternut

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As cooler temperatures roll in, we’re getting excited for a whole new season of fresh produce for fall and winter.  Butternut Squash is a favorite winter squash variety to cook with because of it’s slightly sweet flavors and creaminess.  Chop and roast for an easy side dish or simmer for soup, but we challenge you to think outside the box and add this colorful veggie into a variety of meals.  This season cook up everything from creamy risotto to crispy fries.  Tag us in your favorite recipes @phxpublicmarket

Low in fat, butternut squash delivers an ample dose of dietary fiber, making it an exceptionally heart-friendly choice. It provides significant amounts of potassium, important for bone health, and vitamin B6, essential for the proper functioning of both the nervous and immune systems.

Discover more reasons to eat this super food online here.

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This week’s Taste of the Market, C-CAP Arizona and 9 Degrees North Catering chefs will show us how to select, prepare and store squash.  Learn how to make creamy Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce and pick up ingredients like handmade pasta from Decio Pasta, mix in extra veggies and power up the protein by adding your favorite meat.

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“Slow the Fork Down”

slow foodThe Phoenix Division of the Slow Food Movement is gaining traction in our community, where the focus is placed on local culinary heritage and social justice. The Slow Food Movement, globally and nationally, aims to deepen the public’s awareness surrounding our food systems and how they affect just about every aspect of our livelihood on this planet. A daunting task, surely, so let’s start with lunch.

Slow Food Phoenix’s most recent project is entitled “Feeding the Future,” during which attendees will sample diverse dishes made by a bold lineup of beloved chefs, including Charleen Badman of Scottsdale’s FnB and Eddie Hantas of East Valley favorite Hummus Xpress. There’s a twist to this sampling event, though: each chef’s budget will reflect the current National School Lunch Program (NSLP) budget, and will be served in the style of an American school lunch.

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Eating Seasonal

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As the weather changes across the globe so does the fresh produce that is available. Each season offers an array of beautiful fresh produce, this is a great time to start experimenting and trying new recipes or reworking those old ones to incorporate more seasonal fruits and vegetables. Not only will your palate be impressed but there are health benefits too.

Here are the many benefits to eating seasonally!

  1. Tastes Better
  2. Cheaper
  3. Fresher with Higher Nutritional Value
  4. Avoids Overseas Contaminants
  5. Supports Your Body’s Natural Nutritional Needs
  6. More Environmentally-Friendly

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EWG’s Guide to Shopping Produce

Environmental Working Group’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™, ranks pesticide contamination of 48 popular fruits and vegetables.  Every day, consumers rely on EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to help them make the best choices for their families and reduce their exposures to toxic pesticides.

One major benefit of shopping at the Open Air Market is talking to the growers directly about their produce and practices so you can make the most informed decision.  Use EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to help you navigate your purchases and direct your questions to know more about the fruits and vegetables you are buying.  Our growers use a variety of techniques and alternatives to pesticides.  Learn for yourself by visiting your local farm stands this Saturday at the Market.

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What’s In Season: Late Summer

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As August winds down and we move into September, farmers are busy cleaning up their fields and preparing to plant fall crops.  September finds us in transition between summer produce and waiting for cooler weather fall vegetables.

So what can you anticipate to find at the Market in late summer? 

September is a peak for many crops right here in the Valley such as chiles, okra and summer squash.   In addition, areas outside of the Valley are coming into high season.  You will see apples, tomatoes, corn, melons and peaches coming to us from areas like Prescott, Flagstaff and Wilcox area.

Apples
Arugula
Basil
Black-eyed peas
Chard
Chiles
Corn
Cucumbers
Eggplant
Figs (late crop)
Green Beans
Herbs
Melons
Okra
Peaches
Peppers
Potatoes
Pumpkins
Summer Squash (and blossoms)
Tomatoes
Winter Squash (Spaghetti, Acorn, Butternut)
Zucchini

 

Bees, Food, and You

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Bees, Food, and You: What You Need to Know to Protect Pollinators

There’s no getting around it: If you like to eat, you need to care about bees.

Bees don’t just pollinate the wildflowers that dot the landscape. They’re also responsible for pollinating nearly 100 crops that humans rely on. From tomatoes to cotton, bees pollinate the crops that sustain us. Without bees visiting their crops, farmers wouldn’t be able to produce as much food with their land. This would lead to big price increases at the grocery store and farmers market and a dwindling selection of fresh food. Some crops might disappear completely, including watermelons, almonds, squash, and avocados. Even coffee relies on bees to increase its yield through pollination.

Bees’ impact isn’t limited to fruits and vegetables: Livestock production relies on bees to pollinate alfalfa, buckwheat, and other animal fodder, and the rangelands used to graze pastured cows and sheep provide foraging and nesting habitat for bees.

It’s clear that humans have a vested interest in saving bees. But how can the average person make a difference? Here are a few changes you can make today to protect the environment for tomorrow:

1. Stop Using Pesticides

Pesticides are a major contributor to declining bee populations. Not only do some insecticides kill bees directly, but other pesticides can interfere with bees’ ability to forage and reproduce. While the most attention has been paid to conventional pesticides like neonicotinoids, even some organic products are toxic to bees. Instead of spraying around the home or garden, opt for bee-friendly pest control methods.

2. Choose Food Grown Without Pesticides

In addition to stopping pesticide use in your own home, start buying food grown without synthetic or organic pesticides. Unfortunately, there’s no labeling standard to make buying pesticide-free food easy; while organic food has its benefits, many large-scale certified organic growers still use pesticides. Buying directly from a local farmer whose growing methods you know and trust is the best way to ensure your food is truly pesticide-free.

3. Buy Pastured Meat

When rangeland isn’t overgrazed, it serves as an important habitat for bees. Bees dine alongside cattle, swine, and sheep in fields filled with forage grasses, and pithy plant stems and bare ground provide homes to cavity-nesting and ground-nesting native bees. That means that when you buy pastured meat instead of meat from animals raised in concentrated animal feeding operations, also known as factory farms, you’re supporting bee health.

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The Power of Purslane

PurslaneFeaturePurslane — also known as duckweed, fatweed, pursley, pussley, verdolagas and wild portulaca — is the most frequently reported “weed” species in the world. It can grow anywhere that has at least a two-month growing season, but little is known in North American kitchens about this delicious and nutritious food.

Purslane is somewhat crunchy and has a slight lemony taste. Some people liken it to watercress or spinach, and it can substitute for spinach in many recipes. Young, raw leaves and stems are tender and are good in salads and sandwiches. They can also be lightly steamed or stir-fried. Purslane’s high level of pectin (known to lower cholesterol) thickens soups and stews.

Here’s a few good reasons to eat this power packed food:

  • This wonderful green leafy vegetable is very low in calories and fats; nonetheless, it is rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
  • High in Vitamin E and an essential omega-3 fatty acids, in fact it provides provides six times more vitamin E than spinach.
  • Purlane provides seven times more beta carotene than carrots.
  • It is an excellent source of Vitamin-A, one of the highest among green leafy vegetables.
  • Purslane is also a rich source of vitamin-C, and some B-complex vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine and carotenoids, as well as dietary minerals, such as iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and manganese.
  • Furthermore, present in purslane are two types of betalain alkaloid pigments, which are potent antioxidants and have been found to have antimutagenic properties in laboratory studies.