After writing and posting to the blog last week, I took a drive first to the store and then out to the farm. The farm sends a weekly email to their subscribers of what they’re pulling from the fields and will be offering at the farm stand. This helps me plan accordingly so I know what to pick up at the store.
When I got to the produce section of the store, I couldn’t believe what I saw. On the organic section of the produce case were six laminated sheets of paper with very detailed information on them. As I got closer, I could see words like local, organic, and pesticides. I leaned in to read more.
I was so excited to find this information here simply because I’ve never seen a grocery store attempt to educate its shoppers on organic food. I find some people I talk to say buying organic isn’t worth it. My argument is, we’re not just talking about humans here, the ones that have created this unsustainable way of conventional farming. Last I checked, we share this planet with some 8.7 million species.
Anyway, buying organic IS worth it because everything we do to the planet, (ie spray pesticides, plant GMOs, degrade the soils, clearcut rain-forests) we are doing to ourselves and every other living thing. Pesticides are poison. Period. Not something I want to encourage or support.
Back to those signs, or fact sheets, at the grocery store. One read: Why Does Organic Cost More?
Something brought to my attention last year when I interviewed our local farmers, and was affirmed on this fact sheet, was small family farms and organic farm production is not subsidized by government unlike some larger conventional crops. Also, organic farming is often more labor- and management-intensive. Our local farmers hand-weed instead of relying on mechanized spraying, for example. The cost of organic food often reflects the true cost of food.
Speaking of true cost, the price of conventional food does not reflect the cost of environmental damages and/or cleanup from polluting factory and conventional farms we pay for through our tax dollars, and yet cleanups are not always effective. The Gulf of Mexico’s dead zone is one example of such damage.
So, back to costing more. Organic food can cost more, but this is not always the case. Take purchasing a share from your local farm. Like I mentioned in my last post, Rob and I get a week’s worth of veggies (a 3/4 share), and sometimes eggs, for 22 weeks at just $18 per week straight from the farm. This costs less than buying from the grocery and is reasonable. Buying from the source ensures a better price. There’s no middleman and there’s less or no packaging.
Additional Resources: For eating organic on a budget, see page 16 of Beyond Pesticides for a review. Also, Environmental Working Group has a list of the top conventional foods to stay away from in their dirty dozen. For my top ten reasons to buy local and a fabulous Spring recipe, click here. And you know one of my favorite resources is Local Harvest to find local CSAs and/or farmers markets!
I’ll be writing more on this next week, but until then, on to Crudité with Garlicky Kale and Quinoa Yogurt Dip….
So after leaving the store, I stopped by the farm to pick up a few veggies. The carrots and beets were giant. Huge! So I picked up a few of each along with some of the most beautiful Brussels sprouts. Do you see the little purple ones? I was overwhelmed with all the beautiful color and wanted to enjoy these veggies simply and together as to admire their beautiful colors.
Don’t let the fancy name crudité deter you. It simply means a plate-full of fresh veggies are heading your way with a mouth-watering vinaigrette or creamy dip. Serve at gatherings where finger foods are a must. Get creative with cutting the veggies so their beautiful colors are highlighted. Arrange in a rainbow of colors or toss together. You are the artist and the veggies are your palette.
This dip is versatile in that it can be used as a condiment, slather it on a sandwich or dip it with vehicle of choice. It is delicious with crisp veggies, naan or pita. I was particularly craving naan so I used Asha’s recipe, a quick naan (no yeast), and made my own.
I’m curious to know if you’ve ever seen fact sheets about organic food at your grocery store. Could this be a new trend? Next week I’ll be sharing more about those fact sheets I found.
Y’all have a good weekend and enjoy those gorgeous Spring blossoms!
Crudité with Garlicky Kale and Quinoa Yogurt Dip
For the Dip:
- Chioggia Beets creates that dramatic stripe
- Brussels Sprouts
- Red Bell Pepper
- Or Any Other Seasonal Veggie - Cucumber and radish would be delicious
- Naan or Pita
For the Dip:
- Line a fine mesh sieve with cheese cloth or a coffee filter. Spoon the yogurt into the filter and set aside in the fridge to drain while prepping the other ingredients.
- In a small sauce pot, add the quinoa and water. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside for 5 minutes. Drain any residual water, fluff with a fork and pop in the refrigerator.
- Into a bowl, add the strained yogurt, chilled quinoa, chopped kale, garlic, lemon juice, salt and optional harissa.
- Let set for at least one hour before serving. Overnight is even better.
For the Veggies:
- Be sure to prep the veggies just prior to serving. Or place the cut veggies in cold water to keep crisp. Cut veggies like carrots, celery and beets tend to dry shortly after being cut. Cut the carrots and beets into thin chips or sticks using the mandoline. Cut the bell pepper into thin strips.
- I blanch the Brussels sprouts, just to soften, for 30 seconds. This can also be done with other veggies such as cauliflower and broccoli. To do this, you'll need to prepare an ice bath. Blanching is optional, but I find it brings out their flavor and softens them a bit. If blanching, bring a pot of water to a boil, cut the Brussels in half, plunge the Brussels in the boiling water for no more than 30 seconds, remove from water then plunge into an ice bath. Remove and pat dry.
- If serving with naan or pita, warm in a 350F (180C) oven for 10 minutes.
- Arrange veggies and bread on a serving tray. Serve dip cold.
- Dip may be stored in a covered container for up to four days in the refrigerator.