A yummy, festive wellness drink (and the new farm listing)

We’ve been behind the scenes of the internet for some time now, adding a new feature to The Organic Adventurer! The top local-food-related question people ask us is, “Where are the farmers markets?” So we’ve had a listing of those for some time now, complete with market name, day, time, what you can find there, a link to contact the market or find more information, and even a map showing the approximate location of the markets. Check that out on the Jax Farmers Markets tab.

Helpful signage at one of Jacksonville’s farmers markets

But the second most popular local-food-related question is from people looking for a specific product like honey or blueberries: “Where is a local farm where I can buy…?” We’re lucky here in northeast Florida to have access to a staggering number (and variety) of farms—a growing number, in fact, due to the renaissance of the small farm. It’s a slow and quiet return to the local food system, and we’re thrilled to see it happen. In an effort to support these local farms and connect citizens of our region (and visitors to it) to fresh, local, delicious, healthy food, we bring you the Jax Farms listing!

The listing includes the farm name, a brief description of what the farmer grows or produces, where the farm is located, where to find the farm’s products (other than the farm itself; some farms do on-site sales, some don’t) and a link to contact the farmer or to find more information about the farm.

Pest management hard at work at a St. Augustine organic farm

We were very careful in choosing farms for the listing. First, they had to be more or less within 50 miles of Jacksonville. One hundred miles is generally the ideal for “local” food, since you could technically make the round-trip in a day, but most folks aren’t going to want to drive three hours to visit a farm. Keeping it at 100 miles or less for the whole trip makes it about an hour and a half drive, which is more doable in terms of time limitations, gas and all sorts of other factors.

Available at our Shop tab under “Books” (click image to view)

We did make one or two exceptions for farms that bring their products to local markets themselves and that offer something otherwise hard to find or exceptional in some way. For example, Fullwood Farms’ pesticide-free corn products come from South Carolina, but they only process corn, no glutinous grains, so it’s great for the gluten-free crowd. Second, you can tell by looking at the listing that we favor organic, pesticide-free, sustainable…you get the point. Again, there may be the rare exception included, but in general there’s no point to resurrecting the local foodshed if you’re just bringing all the bad practices of factory farming back with it. There were a bunch more considerations, but after all, The Organic Adventurer thinks hard about these things so you don’t have to! So enjoy exploring (and supporting) the farms of our local food system, and if you know of a farm you think should be included, please contact us with the details you see in the table. Bookmark the page and check back often; it’s just a baby, so there will surely be lots of changes and additions! Oh, and farms, please check your listing and use the contact link to send updates, additions, corrections, etc. Finally, we’ve also added some helpful new items and a Food/Supplements category for you to the Shop tab.

The new Foods/Supplements tab in the store (click to view)

Okay, on to the recipe. Some of you may be familiar with the ayurvedic practice of drinking hot lemon water in the morning. It’s awesome for many reasons, not the least of which are the digestive and immune benefits, but can get a little…ho hum. So we decided to make it more “ho, ho, holy cow, that’s tasty!” This version adds tons more immune system-boosting antioxidants to fight the sniffles brought on by holiday stresses. It also tastes exactly like a spiced cider, without the sugar bomb, so it’s nice and festive.

DrinkEdit

The Organic Adventurer’s Holiday Spice Wellness Drink

  • 1 mug hot water
  • ½ tbsp. olive leaf extract (Barlean’s Organic Peppermint Flavor adds even more “holiday” to your cup. Check it out under our new Foods/Supplements page in the Shop tab.)
  • ½ tbsp. lemon juice
  • 3 dashes of cinnamon
  • 1 dash of ground clove or mace
  • Sweetener of choice, to taste (optional)

Mix olive leaf extract through sweetener into hot water. Drink and be merry…and well!

Have any comments or questions about the farm listing or want to share your own wellness recipe? Comment below!

How to Celebrate National Food Day

Merry, Happy, Good National Food Day! What’s that? You’re so busy getting ready for Halloween that you almost forgot about this day meant to “inspire Americans to change their diets and our food policies”? Horrors!

Image courtesy of hyena reality at freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of hyena reality at freedigitalphotos.net

Well, no worries! While the Food Day website has plenty of general ideas on how to celebrate this national event, The Organic Adventurer is here with some very specific things you can do…today, tomorrow, all year long!

Give your input to the FDA on the new FSMA rules: It’s mid-term election season, and you’re already thinking about casting your vote and having your voice heard. Well, here’s another opportunity to do that! The FDA recently revised parts of these proposed rules and is asking for feedback from farmers and consumers before the rules are finalized. Give it to ‘em! You can read the full text of the draft rules here. There is some interesting background provided here, and there is guidance and analysis provided here.

Take a look at what your child’s school serves for lunch: Our friend over at Florida Coastal Cooking has been! Take a look at her Facebook page to see what she’s found. Don’t like what you see? Check out celeb. chef Jamie Oliver’s campaign to change school lunches. Meanwhile, resolve to pack a healthy lunch for your child to take at least three times a week. Check out Florida Coastal Cooking’s recipes for easy, packable lunch ideas like crustless sandwich rounds (the comparison between the commercial version and her own, homemade version will blow your mind!) and collard sushi.

Join a local CSA: ‘Tis the farming season in Florida, so get healthy and strong by supporting a healthy, strong local food system. If you’re local, check out Down to Earth Farm’s CSA or KYV Farm’s CSA. There are also bunches of other local food producers, co-ops, farmers markets and more, so contact us to start your local food adventure. If you’re a remote reader, try localharvest.org or contact us for help with finding local food in your area.

The KYV farming family

The KYV farming family

Plant a pot of cool-season veggies: It doesn’t get more local than your backyard, rooftop, sunny window sill, porch or balcony. If you have a sliver of sun, you can grow something great to eat! We highly recommend kale. It grows great in containers that can be set out in the sun during the day and moved indoors if you live where it’s already getting near freezing at night (although some varieties are very cold hardy). Kale is also easy to care for and lasts a long time. Harvest the mature outer leaves and the small inner leaves will continue to grow! Sow True Seed (Southeast/Mid-Atlantic) Sustainable Seed Company (West) and Seed Savers Exchange (Mid-West) are great places to get your seeds. Here’s a tip: If you have just a few containers or a small garden, go in on a seed order with a friend or six. It’s a great way to cut costs and not have a bunch of extra seeds to store. Plus, it’s fun to plan your gardens and seed orders together! Give us a shout if you’d like some help starting your grow-your-own adventure.

Grow a little or a lot…just grow!

Buy a ticket for a foodie fundraiser: Show your support for local food producers (and some great organizations) by attending events like the Farm to San Marco dinner happening tomorrow (October 25) at 3:30 p.m. in Jacksonville’s Whatley Park. Proceeds from this farm-to-table dinner, presented by GastroJax Inc. and the San Marco Preservation Society, benefit Berry Good Farms at the North Florida School of Special Education and the San Marco Preservation Society. Check out Facebook, your community events calendars and the websites of your favorite organizations to find a farm-to-table event, community picnic or similar event near you.

How do you celebrate real food? Comment and let us know what ideas you have for creating and sustaining a delicious American food culture!