Apr 242012
Earth Day was also the Slow Food First Coast Tour de Farm where all the local farms open their doors for samples, tours and lots of fun. I, of course, was at KYVFarm all day!
 There were fresh eggs and lots of veggies for sale at the market.  From noon through the rest of the day people were lining up.

Slow food First Coast organized four volunteers to help with veggie prep, traffic and questions. Heather has also been a KYV CSA member since the very beginning!
I arrived at 10AM and started working on the veggies along with other friends and neighbors.

Shannon and Vivian worked the tables all day!

Minorcan Datil Pepper products were up for sale.

Pie in the Sky was selling fresh pies.

Veronica, also my photographer for the day, scored a coconut cream pie.
Chefs Genie and Jeff from the Floridian made a creamy rutabaga salad, kohlrabi slaw and marinated green beans. 
Chef David Scalisse from Sawgrass made a lemony bean salad.

My photojournalist and her sister Viviana.


The children loved getting involved.

The animals got lots of love.

Francisco’s hard work has really paid off.  Many thanks for all the work that you and Vivian do to provide healthy and delicious food for our families!

 And thanks to Veronica for being my most excellent photographer. 

 Posted by at 2:00 am
Apr 172012
Food Summit, this Saturday, April 21st.

On April 21, the Duval County Food Policy Council, an organization dedicated to improving community health, is hosting the first-ever Duval County Food Summit . Bringing key players within the food system together for the first time in a public conversation, we’ll work together to improve the quality and accessibility of healthy food in our community.
Recognizing that access to fresh and affordable food is a vital component to building a healthy and thriving community; please join in this important conversation. Your participation is the first step in a community-based effort to ensure a quality food system leading to better health for all people throughout Duval County . The program will feature Dr. Oran Hesterman, President of the Fair Food Network, Eric Olsen, VP government relations Feeding America , and our hometown Naval Hospital Director of Public Health Dr. Joseph McQuade, who will guide us in:

- Uncovering the challenges and opportunities to bringing healthy food to all members of our community
- Learning how to advocate for greater access to fresh and healthy food
- Discovering how simple, tasty and affordable eating healthy can be
- Exchanging tips and resources to incorporate healthy food into everyday routine
- Children’s nutrition and “what is eating our children”.
Duval County Food Summit, Saturday, April 21, from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at the Schultz Center . You are welcome to join for a little bit or stay all day. Enter FOOD 2012 in the scholarship field during registration to receive free admission! 6 CEUs are available. Breakfast and lunch will be prepared and provided by American Culinary Federation chefs! For questions about the Summit , please contact Laureen Husband at Laureen_Husband@doh.state.fl.us.
For the flyer please click here.

 Posted by at 9:04 am
Apr 142012

Happy Saturday all! Sorry for the repost but due to technical difficulties, the info didn’t save in the body of my update. 


The Tour De Farm next Sunday the 22nd is where local farms in Northeast Florida will throw open their doors to the public to explore and taste.  Please come visit me at KYV farm where I am volunteering and meet the farmers Vivian and Francisco.  I hope to meet you soon!

“This tour is for anyone who wants to learn about local food production – where the food comes from, and the people who produce it. Families, individuals, groups of friends, cyclists, all are welcome!

You can attend an educational farm workshop, meet great chefs, taste produce right from the field, take a walking tour of the farm, and lots more.

Please take the time to look over our TOUR TIPS [on the link below] to help plan your trip. Suggested tours will help you make the most of your day!

Visitors are welcome from 12 noon to 5 pm – farms will not be ready for you before noon.”
Please click here for the Tour De Farm info.

 Posted by at 10:32 am
Mar 112012
Yesterday was the KVY Canning and Preservation Workshop.

We learned about some great resources – books and websites.
This is the one I want to buy.  I’ll add this to my Shop as well as some of these others.

Member Melanie Harris graciously allowed us to use her canning kitchen to host our workshop.  Many thanks to Melanie!

Member Karin demonstrates one method of placing the jars into the hot water bath.

Melanie shows us some of the gadgets for making jellies, jams, sauces and sauerkraut.
And my favorite part…the tasting!  We got to sample all of these delicious canned, pickled and fermented foods.

 Posted by at 10:50 am
Mar 092012

Vivian – farmer extraordinair, hostess with the mostess, master hair stylist, and seasoned chef – shared this idea with me and I had one of those, EUREKA, moments.  Why didn’t I think of this?

She tells me, “Nothing is wasted.” With my War on Waste, I was very excited about this idea.Simply save all the clean veggie scraps in a covered “scrap container” with a paper towel in it in the refrigerator or freezer.  The scrap container can be any reusable container with a lid.

Since I recently saw organic veggie broth for almost four dollars per carton this will save you tons; this method makes probably two cartons.   Additionally, when vegetables are boiled, a lot of the nutrients end up in the water.  When we discard that water we send all the good stuff down the drain!  This is a great way to add some additional nutrients into your diet.  Just be sure to keep the broth refrigerated for a few days and then freeze until ready to use.

Use the broth when you cook beans, make soup, cook rice and even pasta.

Vivian’s Vivacious Organic Vegetable Broth
Vegan, Gluten Free, Salt Free


Any clean veggie scraps you have, enough to fill about a gallon ”scrap container” - use the ribs of kale or collards, the stems of broccoli, ends of onions – whatever!
A few garlic cloves (optional)
Water to cover the veggie scraps in a large Dutch oven or stock pot


1. Put the veggie scraps in the Dutch oven, cover with water; bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer about an hour.  Drain veggies from liquid, cool liquid and store in fridge or freeze in cubes.

 Posted by at 10:35 am
Mar 062012
Please check out my friend Anna’s new website – The Organic Adventurer.  She is taking the Meat Free March pledge along with me.  Will you join her?

She does green living consultation and shares this explanation of what that means.  “A green living consultant performs a “green audit” of your home, lifestyle, work environment, specific environmental concerns—whatever area of your life you’d like to make more environmentally friendly. The consultant then uses that information to identify up to 10 items that you can act on easily and immediately. All the research will be done for you. You will know exactly what to do, why it should be done and how to do it. You can even choose to leave out the “why,” if you like!”

Interested?  Contact her here!

She also writes amazing articles for EU Jacksonville – including lots about CSA, farmers markets and local farms!

 Posted by at 5:02 pm
Mar 032012
My secret to health and weight loss is one that isn’t mainstream….yet, but it’s slowly growing in popularity.  I still am amazed to find people every day that haven’t heard of it.
The wide variety I receive has enabled me to get more veggies into my plant based diet by keeping things interesting.  Broccoli, kohlrabi, onions, cauliflower, tomato, spinach, brussels, eggplant, beans, potatoes, cabbage, beets, Swiss chard, squash, collard greens and kale are just some of the veggies I have tried and loved.

There is no way I’d be able to eat just lettuce every day and not get bored.

For anyone that doesn’t know what this is, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.

A CSA farm share is where you pay your local farmer, before the start of a season or growing period, for a share of the crop. Yes there are risks to this, there could be a hot or cold snap that affects the crop, but the rewards far outweigh the risks.

Experience is the second reason I joined a CSA farm share.  I won’t get that in a random delivery farm bag where the veggies come from various places and I surely don’t get that from the grocery store.  In my busy world today – full time working mother, food blogger, yoga loving, camping nut -  a CSA allows me to take a break.  Get away from the electronics for a few minutes and visit the earth.  I bring my daughter to reconnect with nature and where real food comes from.  When I joined I became part of a like minded community that embraces health and nature.

Which is why you should join one too!
Whether you pick your veggies up from a drop off point or actually go to the farm, you are part of that family.  There are events-workshops, pot lucks, dinners; you can meet your farmers and occasionally get a chance to dig in the earth yourself and pull up some veggies.

When you visit the grocery store, those vegetables or fruits were picked by people you don’t know and shipped possibly from around the world.  We don’t know the conditions these farmers and workers work in, we don’t see the facility and we for sure don’t know the actual farmers.  In fact, the farms we think our food comes from is not typically the case.  Those idyllic pictures of a cow grazing and a red barn are just good marketing – that’s not where WalMart is getting it’s veggies, milk and meat.  You will only find that image is reality at a small local farm.  Agribusiness is big business. There is a lot of money being thrown around and the ones that benefit are the executives that pocket their fat bonus checks and their concern is only the bottom line.  Those folks may not have even stepped in the soil, yet they are making decisions about the food we put in our bodies.

Life for the small farmer is not easy and not glamorous.  It’s a up before dawn, home after dark, out in the elements, seven day a week job.  But they love every minute of it.  The small farmer is passionate.  They do it because they LOVE it.  And it shows (and tastes) in the food they produce.

I know that those times I have brought my daughter to pick up veggies and visit with their daughter Veronica, see the animals, and even pick beans or potatoes in the field, are times that she will never forget.  She will have these memories, and knowledge of where food comes from, for life.

Join a CSA and support your community, your farmer and your health and lose weight while you’re at it.  In the off season, support your local, small, natural food grocer.

If you want to try a share out for a shorter period, KYV is offering a mini share for the end of the season so this is the perfect time to check it out if you aren’t already a member.  Contact them at info@kyvfarm.com or email me and I’ll help you get all set up.  If you don’t know what the heck to do with one of the veggies, just contact me and I’ll walk you through it and send you some recipes.

This broccoli came from the farm so here is one to try. What is best about this recipe is the broccoli is raw so the flavor really comes through.  It’s sweet, tangy deliciousness!

Broccoli Raisin Apple Salad

with Creamy Honey Lemon Dressing
Inspired by Native Sun Deli
Serves 2
Vegetarian, Dairy Free, Gluten Free


1 small head broccoli, chopped
2 Tbsp raisins
1 apple
2 Tbsp chopped red onion
2 Tbsp reduced fat Vegenaise
Squeeze of lemon
2 Tbsp honey (or agave)
Sea salt and Fresh ground pepper


1. Mix the broccoli, raisins, apple and red onion in a medium bowl.  In a small bowl mix the Vegenaise, lemon, honey, salt and pepper.  Pour over broccoli mixture and toss.

(I’m trying to get the nutritional info in here but having weird
formatting problems so I will just give you the basics.)

Nutrition Info
2 Servings
Amount per Serving

Calories  135.5
Total Fat 3.1
Cholest   0.0mg
Sodium  126.0mg
Carbs     27.2g
Fiber      5.8g
Sugars    15.3g
Protein   4.8g

Vitamin A 47.5%
Vitamin C 241.40 %
Calcium    8%

Feb 292012

A few weeks ago I got a wonderful question/comment from a reader. (Once again, to anyone who comments or asks questions, thank you!)

What is inhumane about milk and cheese?

Here are my thoughts on this question as well as some info on why it’s not necessarily the healthiest choice.

We tend to think of only slaughterhouses when we think of the mistreatment of animals; however, large scale dairy farms can also be very inhumane. There are multiple stories of horrific abuse…..cows tethered by the nose and beaten, downed and lying in waste, prodded, infected udders bursting, udders being cut off. This parallels the issues I have with CAFOs or concentrated animal feeding operations in general. Picture a cow standing in a field of waste up to her knees all day, being fed corn she can’t digest, only to be faced with the kill chute at the end of her horrible life. Yes there absolutely are reputable dairy farmers; however, very few of us seek out a humane farmer and even meet them face to face.  Life is so busy that it’s easy to disassociate abuse with that cheap, white gallon jug in the refrigerated section of the grocery.
The second reason I am cutting out cow dairy goes back to health reasons. There are many studies I have come across, beginning with the China Study; an over 40 year study on the effects of animal protein ingestion, particularly dairy protein, that substantiates the fact that diets high in meat and dairy are the primary cause of heart disease and cancer, and that this protein is so powerful it can turn on and turn off cancer like a switch, depending on the levels of intake.
Government’s My Plate
I use a recent study from Harvard to back this decision up. The subject of their article in Nutrition Source, calcium and milk, is “Calcium is important. But milk isn’t the only, or even best, source.”   This flies in the face of everything the USDA tells us. In fact, Harvard revamped the USDA My Plate and put forth the Healthy Eating plate. Notice that the drink is water and not dairy.
Harvard’s Healthy Eating Plate
Harvard states that, counter intuitively, dairy that is high in saturated fat and retinols, such as the milk, cheese, butter and ice cream we all love, can actually weaken bones. They suggest the best non-dairy sources of calcium are fortified non-dairy milks, dark greens such as kale, collard greens and bok choy, as well as in some dried beans. Also important is  the intake of Vitamin D (the best source is limited exposure to sunlight), Vitamin K, from dark leafy greens, and weight bearing exercise.

As a side note, something I also found interesting was that spinach and swiss chard contain oxalic acid, which combines with calcium to form a chemical salt that makes the calcium less available to the body.  They are absolutely still healthy for vitamins K and A, however, it looks like we shouldn’t use them as our primary calcium source.
Look, I’ll be the first to admit I’ve had a few slip ups at restaurants that told me there was no dairy in the dish but I’m pretty sure there was, or a late night slice of pizza, but as a whole, I’m avoiding it and I’m actually thankful my daughter is allergic to it.  I keep in mind that the USDA has a lot of backing from the very powerful dairy and meat industry, so their guidance on food doesn’t necessarily have my best interest in mind.  The bottom line is always the mighty dollar.

Pin It

 Posted by at 10:30 am
Jan 292012
This weekend was the KYV Farm Know Your Vegetables workshop-what a great success!  With almost 30 people in attendance we all snuggled up, and since space was limited we unfortunately had to turn a few back-but don’t despair!  We will plan another soon.

Click here if you attended the workshop and need a copy of the workshop materials.

We shared how to wash and store some of the lesser known vegetables, tips and tricks, four great dishes, ways to get your kids to eat veggies, and lots of laughs. Thanks so much to everyone who participated!
Throughout the workshop the chickens kept peeking their heads in to see what the ruckus was.

Vivian graciously extended her kitchen to members and future-members-treating us all like family.

 My friend Jaclyn helpped with prep and serving.  Thanks so much Jaclyn!

 Vivian’s daughter, Veronica, helped set up this gorgeous spread with our handout, some great recipe books and fresh veggies from the farm.

The kids enjoyed the gorgeous day during the workshop.

Some of our fabulous attendees-You guys rocked!

Folks were still filing in and in the end we had people out the front door

I started working on the veggies to roast and the big pot o’ soup-veggies, beans, lentils and barley with home made veggie broth.  Come to the next workshop for that great tip! 

Here I am doing a quick taste test.

The hostesses

 Vivian discussing steaming.
Here I am probably yapping about the roasted veggies.

Jaclyn serving up the samples-first up was the soup.
It got very quiet in there for a while….

Giving the kale a nice massage. Even kale needs a spa day.

 My mom-the photographer-snapped this great photo of her plate…soup veggies, roasted veggies, sautéed collards and kale salad.
 Posted by at 1:39 am
Jan 282012
On January 31, family farmers will take part in the first phase of a court case filed to protect farmers from genetic trespass by Monsanto’s GMO seed, which contaminates organic and non-GMO farmer’s crops and opens them up to abusive lawsuits. In the past two decades, Monsanto’s seed monopoly has grown so powerful that they control the genetics of nearly 90% of five major commodity crops including corn, soybeans, cotton, canola and sugar beets.
In many cases farmers are forced to stop growing certain organic and conventional crops to avoid genetic contamination and potential lawsuits. Between 1997 and 2010, Monsanto admits to filing 144 lawsuits against America’s family farmers, while settling another 700 out of court for undisclosed amounts. Due to these aggressive lawsuits, Monsanto has created an atmosphere of fear in rural America and driven dozens of farmers into bankruptcy.
Farmers need your voice today. Please spread the word.
 Posted by at 9:23 pm