Monday, September 14, 2009

Would you like some pesticide with that produce?

I have just returned from a weekend ladies' retreat with my church where I might have broken every dietary rule. Somehow, when you load up the car with six friends and set out on a road trip, you feel entitled to eat whatever you want. For the fleeting pleasure the junk food gave me, I brought home 3 extra pounds and a disgruntled digestive tract. Maybe I would have done better if I hadn't stopped at Tom's Farms on the way there and the trip home!

We have constructed what I lovingly refer to as the "monster chicken fence." This 8 foot barrier has protected my young garden from my young chickens. They tried to find a way in at first but seem to have resumed their previous jobs of picking through the compost pile and leaving "presents" on my pool deck. It will all be worth it when they laying eggs in a few months.

My cookbook for grass fed beef has arrived and I have successfully prepared two of the recipes. One of the secrets to a tender steak is marinading it in unfiltered organic extra-virgin olive oil. Apparently, when olive oil is unfiltered it contains enzymes that tenderize the meat. I was amazed that I could even find such an obscure ingredient but they actually had three different kinds at Whole Foods. It has a great aroma and seems slightly thicker than regular olive oil.

I also received my first order from U.S. Wellness Meats which included free-range chicken breasts, pastured butter, ground beef and a couple of skirt steaks. The pastured butter is supposed to taste better and is the recommended fat to cook the grass fed beef in. The taste reminded me of butter that I used to have when I was a kid. I was almost out of the ground beef from my last order with Grassroots Meats so I purchased 5 pounds from them to supplement because I am not ready to place a full order yet. The author of the cookbook claims that grass fed beef's flavor changes with where the cows are from. For example, cattle raised in Colorado will taste different than cattle raised in Missouri. Since the animals exclusively eat the plants that are available where they are pastured, their varied diet creates different flavors in the beef. I haven't cooked it yet but I am curious to see if it is true.

I believe it goes without saying that the healthier food cost more and yet here I am saying it again! Since I started this, it has gotten easier to pay more and buy less but if you are not interested in a radical food makeover and need some baby steps to change your family's eating habits, check out this slide show which exhibits the foods that contain the most pesticides and chemicals and the ones that are safe to eat when they are conventionally grown. There are many naysayers that will tell you that it is impossible for organic produce to be completely organic and that it is a scam. Since our soils have been saturated with chemicals from conventional farming it may be true but at least these farmers have changed their methods to make fruits and vegetables more nutritious and less artificial. Organic produce has not been genetically modified, takes longer to grow (which allows it to draw more nutrients from the soil), and does not have chemical fertilizers or pesticide residues. If you are wondering if these compounds are safe for you, read the warning labels on these products at your local nursery. These are diluted compared to the industrial-grade versions. Up until about 60 years ago, food was grown with healthier methods but corporate farming has corrupted the system and our food supply has been compromised in exchange for higher crop yields and more profits. Whenever you are able, send a message by purchasing "real food."


  1. I am catching up on reading your blog a few posts at a time...thanks for posting the slideshow - very informative!

  2. Oh, and I hope you had a great retreat! The stop(s) at Tom's Farm was always a highlight of my weekend :) Feeling a little jealous over here....


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