“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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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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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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10 Farmers Market Facts

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  1. Creating Greater Opportunity: Farmers markets provide one of the only low-barrier entry points for new farmers, ranchers, and food entrepreneurs allowing them to start small and test new products.
  2. Local Farming is not a dying trend: There are 3.5 times as many U.S. farmers over the age of 65 as there are under 35.
  3. Direct Producer to Consumer: According to the USDA, of the $3 billion in direct to-consumer sales in 2015, on-farm stores and farmers markets accounted for $2 billion, or 67 percent.
  4. Help the Environment: 4 in 5 market farmers use soil health practices like composting.
  5. Competitive Prices: Farmers Market unaffordable? Studies show comparable or lower prices than at supermarkets.
  6. Building Healthier Communities: The American Fitness Index includes the number of farmers markets per capita as a factor contributing to community health, using it as an indicator for community members’ access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
  7. Greater Access: 818k low-income seniors got fresh local produce at Farmers Markets through Senior FMNP in 2015
  8. Healthful Education: Farmers markets serve as invaluable educational sites and a rare bridge between urban and rural communities.  According to a study conducted by the American Farm Bureau, 72% of consumers know “nothing” or “very little” about farming or ranching.
  9. Strengthening the Economy: Farmers & ranchers get only 15.6 cents on the dollar. At the farmers market they get the whole hog!
  10. Creating Jobs: Growers selling local create 13 farm jobs per $1 mil in revenue. Those not selling local create three.

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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Cucumbers… or maybe you did

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  1. Cucumbers originated from Ancient India where they grew in the wild. Around 2-3 millennia BC, early Indian civilization managed to domesticate cucumbers and start infusing them into their rich cuisine. As time went by, manufacturing capabilities expanded, and they began to trade them with Middle Eastern civilization and Europe.
  2. Cucumbers contain multiple B vitamins, including vitamin B1, vitamin B5, and vitamin B7 (biotin). B vitamins are known to help ease feelings of anxiety and buffer some of the damaging effects of stress.
  3. Cucumbers have have three main varieties –
    • “slicing” – grown to eat fresh and are mainly eaten in the unripe green form, since the ripe yellow form normally becomes bitter and sour. In North America, they are generally longer, smoother, more uniform in color, and have a much tougher skin.
    • “pickling” – are shorter, blockier and perfect for the pickle jar as well as the sandwich. Pickling cucumber plants yield heavy crops of fruit just over a few weeks.  They are never waxed. Color can vary from creamy yellow to pale or dark green.
    • “burpless” – are sweeter and have a thinner skin than other varieties of cucumber, and are reputed to be easy to digest and to have a pleasant taste. They can grow as long as 2 feet (0.61 m). They are nearly seedless.
  4. During 18th century, expansion of cucumbers across North America suddenly stopped when several medicinal journals started reporting that cucumbers and all similar vegetables that were not cooked represented serious health risk. Discouraged by those misconceptions, cucumber use plummeted across the continent, which was reversed only in 19th century.
  5. Placing a cucumber slice on the roof of your mouth may help to rid your mouth of odor-causing bacteria. Some say, eating cucumbers may also help to release excess heat in your stomach, which is said to be a primary cause of bad breath.

Discover delicious recipes and new ways to enjoy cucumbers this season.  We love the inspiration Bon Appetit shared here.

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Sip on this…

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Pour Jo Coffee makes a strong case for great coffee with delicious drinks and their friendly family-run business.  You may know the crew at Pour Jo Coffee for their truck, offering a full espresso bar along with hot and iced coffee and teas. However, do you know just how strong that drink is for the community?

 

Pour Jo Coffee exemplifies forward-thinking retailers who are increasingly keen to engage in true partnerships with their local suppliers.  Their truck and menu boasts a range of local purveyors you can’t resist.

 

You can find the coffee crew shopping around the Market first thing in the morning to grab fresh fruits, Absolutely Delightful honey or Iconic Co. flavors to spice up their drinks.  With coffee locally roasted from Provision Coffee, milk delivered from Danzeisen Dairy and tea blends from Maya Tea company you can be sure you’re enjoying a true local collaboration full of flavor and hard work!  Even their snack offerings come from local company Nut Sack.

 

Pour Jo has definitely proven they are committed to sourcing ingredients from other locals.  Even the plants featured on the truck come from ConCreate Cactus and their tunes to keep the energy up and the drinks flowing… well they blast those from Diamond Boxx Co speakers.

 

The economic tendrils of this movement reach deeper than anyone might imagine.  Read more about the impacts of building strong local food systems here. So the next time you are picking up your coffee on Saturday morning from Pour Jo, think of the blend of local entrepreneurship and community building that goes into each cup.

 

Pour Jo’s Local Purveyors:

Absolutely Delightful Honey
Concreate Cactus
Danzeisen Dairy
Diamond Boxx Co
Iconic Cocktail Co.
Maya Tea
Nut Sack
Provision Coffee

Workshop: Harvesting Carob

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Join us this Saturday, October 22nd at 9am for this free workshop.
Andrew ‘Green Man’ Pisher, is certified in Urban Farming and continually studying Nutrition in order to teach anyone to grow and connect with the right plants for their health and well-being.
In Saturday’s workshop, Green Man will talk about the potential in foraging for a certain super food that grows very well here in the desert. There is a tree that grows a delicious bean that is packed with high levels of essential vitamins, minerals and especially healthy fiber and fats. This tree originally from the Mediterranean area of the world and has been an important food source for humans since the days of the Egyptians. The Carob tree, or Locust Bean tree is not well known in the United States due to the fact that this lovely shade tree only grows in certain climates where temperatures rarely reach below 42 degrees.
Let Green Man show you how to identify the Carob tree so you can find one in your neighborhood. He will teach you how to harvest the pods, remove the seeds and turn into a powder form that you can use in many ways, including: in breads, on oatmeal, in shakes, baked goods, as a chocolate flavor substitute (without added sugar), on cereal and other uses.
Register here for this FREE workshop so we know you will be attending.

Workshop: Raising Goats

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Raising Goats Workshop

Celia Peterson has shared her life with goats for 38 years.  As an infant, goat milk  saved her life.  She was raised on it!  She has made soap and cheese for Farmers Markets for over 10 years.  Celia shares her passion for goats and raising goats with cients and other lovers of this grand species.  Celia lives on Chile Acres Farm with her goat and other critters.

Learn from Celia about goat housing, fencing, feeding, grooming, health issues, natural care of goats, breeding, kidding/birthing, raising kids, disubdding, milking, trimming hooves, sanitation, breeds of goats, and resources (books, internet sources).

You will actually get to watch Celia milk a goat!

Workshop: Growing Healthy Fruit Trees

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Join us for this free workshop at the market on September 10th at 9am. Be sure to pre-register here so we know you are attending.

Greg’s favorite plants to nurture at the Urban Farm are the fruit trees. They appeal to the lazy gardener, as planting a fruit tree once reaps a bounty for many years to come. The selection of fruit trees that you can grow is vast – peaches, apples, apricots, plums, pears, citrus and more – discovering just what works and how to pick a perfect fruit tree for your yard can be perplexing.

Join Greg Peterson as he walks you through the three most important things to know about growing fruit trees in your yard. It REALLY is quite simple. You will learn:
  • The single biggest thing that you need to know when growing fruit trees in the desert
  • Why nurseries of all kinds sell you fruit trees that will never make fruit
  • How to spread out your fruit tree harvest over months rather than weeks
  • A watering technique that virtually guarantees success