03/07/12 — Aaron

From the Farmer's Perspective Last month, we had a lot of rain here in Austin.  In fact, February is now being reported as the 9th wettest on record for the area since 1942.  While all this rain is great news for us and drought ridden Central Texas, it significantly slowed down our Spring planting schedule.  Over the past few days, though, we've done a lot of catching up.  On Monday, we received some unexpected (and much needed!)  help from a group of travelers looking to volunteer on a farm.  Originally from different places including Oregon, Wyoming, Montana, Austria, and New Zealand, they all met in New Orleans and decided to join Travis Stanton and Swix Morgan, founders of EcoJaunt, on a farm-centered trip to Austin.  Travis and Swix started EcoJaunt to,  "take our cameras and explore and learn sustainable tactics being implemented throughout the country and create fun, inspirational, and educational how-to style videos and interviews."  Lucky for us, they selected JBG as one of their stops.  EcoJaunt's website details Travis and Swix's travels and highlights what they've learned.  They write, "the website is a place where people can search through videos and how-to projects to learn about sustainable ideas and practices; or view our adventures as episodic entertainment that will spark ideas that they can implement."  To read more, click here or go to http://ecojaunt.blogspot.com/.  They're also in the middle of a Kickstarter fundraiser - click here or go to http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ecojaunt/ecojaunt-learn-teach-grow if you'd like to help further their mission.  I would like to thank Travis and Swix - as well as all of our volunteers this week - for all of the hard work they put into transplanting at River Road.  Your help really made a big difference at this critical planting time. Given all the people who came to our Annual Organic Transplant Sale this past Saturday,  it's clear we aren't the only ones doing a lot of planting right now.  Soon, we hope the transplants sold this weekend will make their way into backyard gardens all over Austin.  Thank you to everyone who stopped by and made this sale a big success.   If you weren't able to make it, you can still order JBG organic transplants for your garden online by clicking here or going to http://www.jbgorganic.com/transplants.  CSA members who order transplants online can have them delivered to their pickup sites, and the general community can schedule a pickup here at the farm.  Our photographer, Scott David Gordon, captured these great images of the plant sale on Saturday: 1) Farm News * Week of March 6th CSA Box Photo & Contents List * The Nitty Gritty: Shakeology: Nutrition Simplified? 2) Updates, Meetings, and Events * Pickling with Kate Payne: Waterbath Canning Beets * Kids Farm Camp at Green Gate has spots available! * JBG Hosts Annual Citrus Sale * Give Fresh Organic Produce to Children in Need 3) Recipes by Dishalicious * in the DISH kitchen: A Quick Lesson in Supremes 1) Farm News Week of March 6th CSA Box Contents Arugula Scallions Chard Beets Spinach Carrots Lettuce Kohlrabi Citrus Shakeology: Nutrition Simplified? Shakeology is nutrition simplified. The words stare at me as the ad flashes across the screen at the end of my DVD workout program. Nutrition simplified? I was skeptical. The suffix "ology" is apparently meant to suggest that research went into making this beverage. Or at least this is what the manufacturer wants me to believe. But do I have to understand all the complexities of nutrition myself? Of course not. The researchers have simplified it all and transformed them into a convenient shake powder. How nice, I don't have to understand nutrition. I can just buy their product and not worry about it. Take one shake a day to help you lose weight, build energy and get healthy. Boy, those scientists must have made some breakthroughs! I've always lived under the assumption that to lose weight you must burn more energy than you consume. This is commonly achieved through lifestyle choices, like exercise and eating vegetable-rich, reasonably portioned meals. Yet we all know that committing to exercise and good food is hard. Could getting healthy really be as easy as just mixing up a shake? To match the nutrition of one serving of Shakeology, you would need to eat: 1 bowl of exotic fruit, including goji and acai 4 C of raw broccoli 7 whole carrots 10 C of raw cauliflower 3 C of Romaine lettuce 4 C of uncooked mushrooms 3 raw onions 1 C of peas 4 C of red radishes 4 C of non-fat yogurt plus a shot of wheatgrass Wow, that's a lot of food, nearly 40 cups worth in a single serving! The ad seems to focus significantly on raw ingredients, yet the product is a dry powder. Is this to set its product apart from processed food, which is commonly considered the great evil? The distinction seems illusional though since how much processing, energy and waste is required to convert 40 C of raw vegetables into a shake powder? Once packaging and national shipping is considered, the idea of raw seems to get lost. But are raw vegetables always more nutritious than cooked ones anyway? It's true that some nutrients break down in cooking. Others, though, only become available through cooking, for example those in carrots when cooked in oil. Others only become digestible through the cooking process, such as eggplant and potato. Some only taste good when cooked, such as onions. Furthermore, what about the other things in vegetables besides nutrients? How much fiber is contained in Shakeology's powder? What's not mentioned is how and where the vegetables are produced. Are they organic? Are they shipped in from California? These issues too have a lot to do with health---mine as well as that of my local economy, the farm workers' and the earth, air and water that make it possible. Certainly a lot of research went into marketing the drink. But who am I asking all these questions, trying to think? I am not supposed to think. Nutrition is too complicated, they suggest. All I need to understand is that their drink is good for me and I must buy it. Shakeology, the healthiest meal of the day. Thanks, but I think I'll stick with my CSA box! To watch the ad, follow this link (http://www.heychubby.com/shakeology.html). 2) Updates, Meetings, and Events Pickling with Kate Payne: Waterbath Canning Beets Kate Payne of The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking will be teaching a class on the method and process for making sweet, tangy beets that are delicious on their own or as an accompaniment in salads, with appetizer/cheese plates or even added to main dishes.  The method we’ll cover in class is very similar to the process of pickling peaches and watermelon rinds, or any other sweet pickles. Participants will learn how to seal the jars for room-temp, shelf storage (in the waterbath canner pot) and learn alternative storage methods, like refrigerator pickling. Each participant will also leave with 3lbs of Johnson’s Backyard Garden local organic beets to get a jumpstart on using your new home canning skills! Light snacks will be served. When: Thursday, March 29, 2012 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM (CT) Where: Natural Epicurean of Culinary Arts 1700 S. Lamar Suite 316 Austin, TX 78704 For more information and to reserve your spot, click here or go to http://katepaynepicklesbeets.eventbrite.com/ Kids Farm Camp at Green Gate has spots available! Green Gate Farms' Farm Camp has room for a few more campers during its Spring Break session (March 12-16). At this award-winning farm camp children ages 6-14 learn firsthand where their food comes from. Activities include planting and harvesting, taking care of newborn sheep and goats, cooking classes, helping set up the farm stand, swap blanket and plenty of time to relax and explore this historic farm just 8 miles east of downtown Austin.  See www.greengatefarms.net JBG Hosts Annual Citrus Sale JBG is now hosting its annual bulk citrus sale. Organic oranges and grapefruit are available for purchase at a cost of $10 per 10 lb bag.  These delicious oranges and grapefruit are grown in the Rio Grande Valley by G & S Groves, a certified organic grower in McAllen, Texas.  To order, please click here . Give Fresh Organic Produce to Children in Need Thanks to the support of CSA members, we have been able to deliver fresh produce to the children at the Settlement Home on a weekly basis. We need your help to keep this great program going! Each week, JBG delivers fresh produce to the Settlement Home for Children, a wonderful local non-profit and residential program that cares for and promotes the healing of abused and neglected children.  With the organic produce they receive from JBG, the Settlement Home provides nutritious meals and teaches the girls how to cook with all of these different kinds of vegetables. To donate, click here or go to http://www.jbgorganic.com/settlementhome.  Participation at any level is greatly appreciated. 3) Recipes by Dishalicious A Quick Lesson in Supremes by Louis Singh | photos by Jeff Stocktondishalicious.com Google supremes (soo-prems) and you’ll probably get a picture of Diana Ross & The Supremes.  Both are sweet & sexy, but we’re talking about the French term that refers to segments of citrus with all of the pith & seeds removed. This is a great technique to stash in your repertoire because, like all cooking techniques, it’s versatile and has lots of uses for all different kinds of recipes. Here’s how: Start by cutting the poles off the fruit, down until you can see the flesh.  Now you have a flat surface and it won’t roll away from you.  Then trim off the skin and pith, following the natural shape of the fruit.  (This is a handy technique for removing the skin from all kinds of round fruits/vegetables, like watermelon, jicama, potatoes, etc…) Follow the pith lines closely, and you should be able to remove most of skin without getting too much flesh of the fruit. Working over a bowl to catch the juices, hold the fruit in your hand and follow the pith lines again.  Run your knife down one side of the segment… And repeat on the other side of the citrus segment. After cutting down each side, you should have a beautiful little supreme.  You may have to twist your knife gently to pop it out. Repeat for the rest of the segments, and that’s it.  Squeeze out the juice from the center when you’re done, and store the segments in the juice for up to five days in the fridge. Now you have them handy for yogurt in the morning, on top of salads for lunch, mixed with avocado for a grilled chicken garnish, mixed with beets & chevre for a tasty side dish…..get creative and get cooking! Any cooking quandaries you’d like us to tackle?  Let us know at DISHALICIOUS.COM