LocalHarvest Newsletter, October 30, 2008

Welcome back to the LocalHarvest newsletter.

Last night as my husband was going through the mail, he held up a dozen political mailers from both parties and asked, "What if they just weren't allowed to out and out lie? It would be so much better if what they said was at least true." Indeed. In these final days before the election, we at LocalHarvest have ears for only two kinds of words: those that give shape to the hope we carry for the future, and those that shine a bright light on dark corners.

In this issue of the LocalHarvest newsletter, we offer you one example of each.

First, the hope. Good, honest food is making a comeback. Hallelujah. Beyond the table, we are seeing that food is central to many social ills. Pesticide abuse, food safety, obesity, immigration issues, climate change, gene patents, water quality – these issues and more are rooted in part in our collective approach to food. We know we can do better. The time has come to give voice to what a healthy food system would look like. Some of the finest minds in modern agriculture have carefully crafted a manifesto declaring just this. They call it the Food Declaration. It's meant to be used as a foundation for future agricultural policy, and a point of common agreement among food activists across the nation. The authors are looking to get a million individuals and organizations to endorse it. We think it's an excellent effort and well worth signing.

Now for the bright light on dark shadows. I have been wanting to write about dairy for a while now, but it keeps getting bumped down the list. Truth be told, one of the reasons for this desire was my discovery of Dexter dairy cows. They're miniature cows. Aren't they adorable? I want one for Christmas.

Anyway, back to the bright light. We know that all organic food is not the same, right? If it's grown on a vast scale, it carries many of the same problems as mega-scale conventional food. This goes double for dairy products. You've heard that despite organic rules, a few organic dairies milk thousands of cows held in confinement. So how are you supposed to know if the organic milk you're buying is really something you want to support? Thankfully, the Cornucopia Institute has made it easy. Their recently updated Organic Dairy Scorecard lists all the organic dairies in the country and gives each a rating, from one to five stars. The ratings criteria is described in their milk integrity report. Check it out, and stick to the good stuff if you can.

Read on for an update on our pricing survey, health info about the brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and their cousins) and a recipe.

As always, take good care, eat well and remember to vote!

Erin Barnett
Director, LocalHarvest

From the LocalHarvest Store:

It's late October, and still harvest time in many parts of the country. The cranberry harvest is in full swing, just in time to make a star appearance in Thanksgiving relish and holiday quick breads. Organic cranberries are hard to find, but we have plenty, thanks to our friends at Cranberry Hill.

The fall nut harvest is also upon us, so fresh walnuts , pistachios , chestnuts , pecans , and almonds are all ready for holiday snacking.

And of course, the Thanksgiving turkey! LocalHarvest turkeys are high quality, humanely treated birds for your family's holiday feast. Order yours today.

Pricing Survey Update

Many thanks to all 600+ of you who read about our pricing survey in our last newsletter and signed up to participate! We are collecting data until December 1. Please take time to gather and enter your data! If you would like to join the survey, you can read more about it here. Questions, send them here.

Nancy's Nutrition Corner: Beneficial Brassicas

Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts are all members of the botanical brassica family, more commonly known as the cruciferous vegetables. Epidemiological studies consistently show that diets high in cruciferous vegetables are associated with lower incidence of certain cancers. Now, most diets high in vegetables are associated with lower rates of cancer, so by itself, that's not remarkable. The interesting thing about the brassicas is that their anti-carcinogenic effect is not necessarily due to their high anti-oxidant content, but rather to their direct effect on the liver. Brassica vegetables actually push the liver's enzyme system to increase its detoxification abilities.
(Read on...)

Recipe Corner: Udon Noodles with Brussels Sprouts, Walnuts and Miso
By Lorna Sass

The poor brassica family - much maligned and generally ignored in the American kitchen.

The poor reputation of turnips and Brussels sprouts and the avoidance of such intriguing vegetables as kohlrabi are the result of either unfamiliarity or a disastrous tasting experience. Indeed, the taste and smell of overcooked cabbage or rutabaga is enough to discourage any cook from getting to know this large and fascinating botanical family.
(Recipes and More...)