Farmers Market Update: Halloween

by | Oct 31, 2010
Hanging Pomegranates

Hanging Pomegranates

It’s Halloween weekend, always one of my favorite times to visit the beautiful San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.

Baby Pumpkins

Baby Pumpkins

Crazy Farmer

Crazy Farmer

I can’t tell you how anxious I was to get to the market this weekend. I’ve been traveling a lot and haven’t been around on a weekend in what feels like forever.

At this point I’ve come to terms with the fact that summer is over and I’m completely ready to embrace autumn. Today I stocked up on some of my favorite autumn veggies like Delicata squash and Brussels sprouts.

Brussels Sprouts Stalk

Brussels Sprouts Stalk

Delicata Squash

Delicata Squash

I was also excited to get my hands on some apples today. The Arkansas black apple I tried may have been the best apple I’ve ever had in my life. It was crisp, slightly sweet and had distinctive notes of cinnamon. Mind blowing. But the star fruits right now are the pomegranates. It’s also a great time for grapes and Fuyu persimmons.

Cut Pomegranate

Cut Pomegranate

This is a particularly interesting time of year for California produce. Some of the unusual items I found today include heirloom tobacco leaves and dried sunflower seeds. The tobacco wasn’t cured, so is not yet smokable.

Dried Sunflower Seeds

Dried Sunflower Seeds

Dried Heirloom Tobacco

Dried Heirloom Tobacco

You can also find an assortment of root vegetables. Carrots and scarlet turnips were particularly beautiful this week. Carrots have been turning up on a lot of menus around the city lately.

Scarlet Turnips

Scarlet Turnips

Carrots

Carrots.

The onions and sunchokes are also remarkable.

Sunchokes

Sunchokes

Spanish Onions

Spanish Onions

But despite the new arrivals, we still have a terrific selection of late summer vegetables like peppers, eggplant and tomatoes.

Assorted Eggplant

Assorted Eggplant

Shishito Peppers

Shishito Peppers

Some final notes: Dates are on their way out (get them while you can) and Meyer lemons are on their way in.

First Meyer Lemons

First Meyer Lemons

Dates

Dates

Today’s purchases:

What did you find at the market this week?

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For The Love Of Food

by | Oct 29, 2010

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

Extra fructose in soda and a lack of sucrose (real sugar) in Mexican Coke is more than enough BS for me this week. Also see how a kid’s diet is linked to ADHD and what might be causing fertility problems in men.

I read many more wonderful articles than I post here each week. If you’d like to see more or just don’t want to wait until Friday, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@summertomato) or the Summer Tomato Facebook fan page. For a complete reading list join me on Digg. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you.

Links of the week

What inspired you this week?

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Farmers Market Update: Tokyo

by | Oct 24, 2010
Shisikaikai

Shisikaikai

I’ve always wanted to go to Tokyo, and this seals the deal. Huge thanks to Joan for giving us a glimpse of the local food movement direct from Japan.

Joan Lambert Bailey lives, farms, and gardens in Tokyo. Follow her from seed to harvest to market at Popcorn Homestead and Everyday Gardens, as well as greenz.

Follow Joan on Twitter @JoanLBailey

Farmers Market Update: Tokyo

by Joan Lambert Bailey

First thoughts of Tokyo usually do not include farmer’s markets. Yet, this megalopolis balances its abundance of concrete, neon, and skyscrapers with a healthy dose of green spaces large and small that in the last few years have begun to include a handful of western-style farmers markets. A burgeoning local food movement fueled by food safety concerns as well as a cultural penchant for local, seasonal foods draw growers, producers, and eaters together in ever-increasing numbers to mix and mingle over tables brimming with seasonal fare.

Fruit Stall

Fruit Stall

Ryohei Watanabe Farm

Ryohei Watanabe Farm

Heading down to the weekly United Nations University Farmers Market is to enter one of the city’s larger hives of fresh, local foods. An easy (albeit slightly uphill) walk from hopping Shibuya, the market attracts growers and producers from literally all over the country. (“Local” here often means not only the city or region the market is located in, but Japan itself.) On our most recent trip we met vendors from the northernmost island of Hokkaido, as far south as the island of Kyushu, mountainous Nagano, and the Izu-Hanto Peninsula. Many also come from as close as Chiba, a fantastically beautiful growing area just southwest of Tokyo, as famous for its rice and vegetables as it is for it’s surfing.

Edamame

Edamame

Kaki

Kaki

The day we went a spell of cool rainy weather had just broken and bursts of sunshine seemed to sprout shoppers in every corner of the market. Lined up two deep at nearly each of the more than seventy stalls arrayed under white awnings in front of the university, the atmosphere buzzed with good food shopping. Vendors offered up a mix of the last of the summer – eggplants, okra, nashi (Japanese pear) and edamame – alongside the first tastes of fall and winter – kaki (persimmon), chestnuts, apples, sweet potatoes and early winter greens. The first of this year’s rice harvest as well as new miso, honey, jam, green yuzu, grapes, and satoimo (taro) helped fill out the days selection, too. It’s easy to find enough ingredients for a week’s worth of meals. (I confess that I usually overdo because I can’t resist a good-looking vegetable!)

Baskets

Baskets

Satoimo

Satoimo

On our first turn about to see what was on offer I stopped to visit Ryohei Watanabe of Farm Campus, a new CSA where members purchase a cross-section of rows of assorted seasonal vegetables with the option to work the fields themselves. Along with brochures about his CSA, Ryohei offered up moroheya – a tasty and nutritious leafy green, lovely winter squash in all sizes, Chinese greens, okra, green peppers, and eggplant. He’s toying with the idea of planting late season sweet corn, an experiment I’m anxious to hear (and taste) the results of when the time comes. Meanwhile, I couldn’t resist the squash, and so a medium Yukigesyo was the first purchase to land in my bag.

Down the lane a bit, just past a beautiful display of blue, red, and yellow potatoes from Hokkaido, I ran into KOGA Ecological Club. A student group from Kokugakuin University, KOGA members work with aging farmers in a shiraku (hamlet) in Chiba. Learning farming from preparing fields for harvest to selling the harvest at market, they offered chestnuts, samples of newly harvested boiled peanuts, as well as kodaimai, an heirloom rice distinctive for its easy growing as well as its red coloring, and togarashi (Japanese hot peppers). Clearly enjoying themselves, this table drew in a bevy of customers for their infectious enthusiasm as much as their tasty wares. Caught up in it myself, I added chestnuts, kodaimai, and togarashi to our upcoming menu.

Kodaimai

Kodaimai

Swinging around to the other side of the market past stalls selling rock salt, mushroom spore filled logs for home growing, and fresh bread, I stopped to sample the steamed buns filled with sweet potato from Shikisaisai in Fukushima. An all organic farm run by a young couple, they alone could have filled our larder for the week. Reasonably priced bags of newly harvested brown rice and big shapely sweet potatoes dug just the day before joined the usual combination of later summer and early winter vegetables. This first taste of the year’s limited sweet potato harvest (high heat paired with drought conditions are making for a very limited supply of this signature fall crop) made it inevitable that two of them would get added to our menu for steaming with that evening’s rice.

Just next to Shikisaisai, the Sunny Products booth offered up a myriad of vegetables along with some tasty looking eringi, one of the many seasonal mushrooms swinging into their peak just now and considerably cheaper than the famous matsutake. Like a handful of other vendors at this particular market, Sunny Products is a distributor rather than a grower. Carefully labeled items let customers know the name of the farm and its location, and staff are able to discuss a particular grower as well as share recipes. It’s perhaps no surprise to learn that the eringi journeyed home to our table, too.

Circling back around, I ventured over to a particularly nice looking display of kaki (persimmon) near Farm Campus’ stall. Perhaps the fruit of the season in Japan, kaki trees can be found in urban and suburban areas as well as outlying areas heavy with fruit. This booth served up three varieties from Aichi and Fukuoka Prefectures – long and chubby, round and fat, and square and stout – with slightly differing levels of sweetness. Tasty fresh, dried, or even soaked in sake for extended periods of time, the kaki never disappoints. I came away with one of each to compare for myself and for a colorful dessert option.

Read more about How to pick a persimmon

What we bought:

  • Yukigesyo Winter Squash
  • Chestnuts
  • Kodaimai Heirloom Rice
  • Togarashi
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Eringi Mushrooms
  • Kaki

Tips and Insights

  • The UN University Market runs every weekend on both Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm. Most vendors come both days, but not all. It’s worth the effort to try and come both days or switch back and forth from week to week.
  • Every third Friday of the month a Night Market is held. Food vendors, live music, and farmers make for a unique evening out in the city. Even on the chilliest of evenings it’s not to be missed!
  • Not all vendors, of course, speak English, but smiles, a general show of interest and a sincere “Arigato!” (thank you) at the end all go a long way for a positive food shopping experience.
  • Not all vendors are organic or necessarily farmers. Some are distributors, like Sunny Products, and others are Tokyo relatives of the growers. Asking where the food comes from and how it got to Tokyo is fine, and the majority of vendors will have brochures or business cards with a website listed, too.
  • Bring an extra shopping bag as well as a small notebook. If you’re like me, you end up buying more than you thought, and it’s easier to remember the name of a new fruit or vegetable if you can jot it down. Plus, a recipe often follows, and you’ll get so many good ones you should be prepared.
  • Plenty of interesting food carts are on hand, too, selling everything from coffee and pastries to full meals – vegetarian, organic, and meaty – with accompanying tables and chairs.
  • A few craft vendors are also present selling beautiful handmade goods that make excellent gifts for anyone (including yourself!) on your list.
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For The Love Of Food

by | Oct 22, 2010

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

Before we get started, I’ve been collecting feedback from readers on what you do and don’t like about Summer Tomato and how I can make it better moving forward. If you have 2 minutes, please go to my 7 question survey and let me know what you think.

Summer Tomato survey

Thanks in advance for your time. I’ll be sending out a newsletter next week with answers to commonly asked questions and requests.

On the web this week I found a simple shopping technique that can help you make healthier choices and the best cooking and recipe iPhone apps. I also explored the mysterious case of the missing mango and learned how and why to get more exercise without breaking a sweat.

I read many more wonderful articles than I post here each week. If you’d like to see more or just don’t want to wait until Friday, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@summertomato) or the Summer Tomato Facebook fan page. For a complete reading list join me on Digg. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you.

Links of the week

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9 Tips To Avoid Weight Gain While Vacation Traveling

by | Oct 18, 2010
Whole Roasted Pig

Whole Roasted Pig

Vacation and travel is tricky business for someone looking to live a healthy lifestyle. While your time away is meant to be a break from your regular daily restrictions, most of us would rather not return home with extra luggage around our waists.

So how do you find the balance?

In my experience, despite eating slightly worse on vacation than I do at home, weight gain is pretty easy (even fun) to avoid. In fact, the more extended my break, the more likely I am to actually lose weight during my vacation. And it doesn’t require any sacrifices in relaxation or enjoyment.

Here are my tricks for staying thin while traveling.

9 Tips To Avoid Weight Gain While Vacation Traveling

1. Relax

You can’t expect to eat like a saint during your entire vacation, and I would argue that you shouldn’t even try to. But don’t sweat it, if you follow the rest of the advice below there should be plenty of room for fun and indulgence in your travels.

2. Eat before heading to the airport.

Airport food is horrid, and the food on flight is even worse. Even if you’re rushing around packing before your trip, budget time for a healthy meal as close to takeoff as possible. If your flight is less than 6 hours you can probably get through it without eating (or finishing) whatever the airline is serving. Also consider packing nuts or fruit in your carry on luggage for an inflight snack. But don’t forget to eat it before getting off the plane if you’re heading somewhere with agricultural restrictions.

3. Bring sturdy shoes and shorts.

When you’re active your body can be very forgiving with an occasional dessert or heavier meal. To encourage yourself to get moving on your trip, bring a pair or older running shoes. Though these will allow you to use the hotel gym if necessary, they’re even more useful for longer hikes and walks where you can explore the local scenery. Your shoes might get destroyed in the process though, so you probably don’t want to bring your newest pair.

4. Do stuff.

Chilling on the beach is awesome, but don’t spend all your time lounging around. Vacation settings tend to be filled with fun activities that can be surprisingly effective at burning calories. For instance, I wouldn’t have expected an hour on a jet ski to be particularly strenuous (and it was crazy fun), but the next day I had aches in muscles it feels like I haven’t used in years. Have some fun and earn yourself some extra calories in the evening. Hikes, sports, and even a sunset stroll is likely to be more activity than you’d be getting in front of the TV at home.

5. Take advantage of traditional, local specialties.

The big, sugary waffles and french toast can be tempting, but you can get stuff like that anywhere. Traditional foods tend to have long local histories and therefore have fewer processed ingredients than usual indulgence foods. Explore the regional culture and look for foods that emphasize fresh, local ingredients.

6. Eat small portions.

When you’re not in your hometown you’re likely to be eating every single meal in a restaurant, and restaurant portions are huge. While on vacation, get in the habit of not finishing your food. Eat half your sandwich, split entrees with your travel partner and order meals off the appetizer menu. Desserts are often less tasty than you’d expect, so limiting these to a few bites (assume you’re getting 50-100 calories per bite) can help tremendously. Trust me, you won’t go hungry.

7. Watch your drinking.

If you’re anything like me vacations mean lots of drinking, and it often starts very early in the day. Therefore to avoid overdoing it you need to monitor yourself by spacing out your drinks as much as possible and making sure you get plenty of water. Get in the habit of making every other or every third drink order a water or sparkling water with citrus. This will both slow you down and keep you hydrated, encouraging fewer hangovers and more fun all around.

8. Watch your sugar.

When ordering drinks and food on vacation, a little sugar every now and then won’t kill you—particularly if you’re very active. But if you’re having 3 or more drinks per day, margaritas, mojitos and beer are probably not the best choices. I recommend finding a drink or two that you’re happy drinking that has relatively low sugar. I’m partial to Salty Dogs (vodka and grapefruit juice with a salted rim), which have no added sugar and natural fruit juice. I also enjoy champagne, but find whatever works for you. Avoid foods with honey or sugar-based glazes (teriyaki, BBQ, honey-based salad dressings, etc.) and again, eat desserts in sample mode.

9. Aim for eating healthy-ish twice per day.

Even on vacation, you’re probably only going to face one heavy, not so healthy meal per day. The rest of the time it’s a good idea to eat as healthy as possible. Local foods can be helpful for this (e.g. the poke in Hawaii is very healthy and tasty), but even simple salads, fish tacos, fruit plates, oatmeal, etc. can be useful when you just need a few calories to get by until the next meal.

Vacations are for enjoyment, but you don’t need to gain weight in the process.

What are your tricks for eating healthy on vacation?

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Farmers Market Update: Charlotte

by | Oct 17, 2010
Charlotte Farmers Market Pumpkins

Charlotte Farmers Market Pumpkins

Pardon the delay in getting this post up today, there was some scheduling confusion. But I’m thrilled to have Stephen Wise share his insights of the farmers market in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Stephen Wise is the creator of TeaHacker.com & founder of Utopian Tea, a modern-style online only tea store. If you’re interested in discovering insights of tea on a molecular level or life hacks for the tea-drinker’s lifestyle, Tea Hacker offers exactly that, as well as tips & experiments geared for healthy living and anyone interested in tea. For more discussion, follow @TeaHacker on Twitter.

Farmers Market Update: Charlotte

by Stephen Wise

Changing seasons is the perfect time to hit up your local farmers market as this is when you’ll come across the latest rewards nature brings us yearly. As you see the leaves changing colors and feel the crisp Autumn air, the tipping point of feeling a connection to the new season is experiencing the flavors of foods you haven’t had in far too many months. Discovering the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market this weekend was the perfect way to actively kick off that Autumn ‘mood’ I get every year, and these local providers went all out with this theme in mind. Arriving at a presentation of hundreds of pumpkins spread across bails of hay, I knew this trip would double as a chance at snagging some great food along with some serious pumpkin hunting.

Autumn Harvest Decorative Baskets

Autumn Harvest Decorative Baskets

White Mini Pumpkins

White Mini Pumpkins

Most of the providers seemed to be local families, and they had it all! Next to the pumpkins were varying groups selling home-made pumpkin pies, Autumn corn, colorful giant gourds, and even pumpkin butter. It was fascinating to find out that they would even go out of their way to create a custom Autumn-style decorative art basket made of mini pumpkins, corn, odd shaped gourds, and similar crops (some of which I couldn’t even identify) of your choice. With prices for good-sized pumpkins at just $5, I highly recommend checking your own farmers market if you want to save a great deal of money prepping for jack-o-lanterns this Halloween, as most stand-alone commercialized pumpkin patches hike their prices for decent pumpkins up to $25 for the exact same thing.

Autumn Corn

Autumn Corn

Homemade Pumpkin Pies

Homemade Pumpkin Pies

On the other side of the lot, I found things to be compromised of a huge span of general staples from Charlotte and the surrounding area. Of course there was all of the expected fresh greens & fruits of the world, but I couldn’t help but notice there was an abundance of sweet potatoes. Every vendor had their share, it seemed, pricing baskets of nearly a dozen for just $3. Sweet-corn, giant carrots, blackberries, and several types of squash were also found all over. Interestingly enough, goat cheese was also a hit, showing they’ve got diary fans covered as well.

Red Kapps - Autumn Beans

Red Kapps - Autumn Beans

Sweet Potato Baskets

Sweet Potato Baskets

The diversity of the people in charge of their own sections here was incredible. Every nationality & age had a part in coming together to put a ton of effort into making this farmers market a success. This also shown through to the actual product-side of things. I met a woman there who had what seemed like years worth of clothing & hats she knits and sells herself, showing this farmers market definitely welcomes local arts along with food. She explained how she’s only missed two days during the past twenty years of ongoing attendance. Right across from her area, was the vendor with the longest line, Red Kapps, who decided to go all out with the biggest assortment of all kinds of apples I’ve ever seen in one place. Seriously, these guys went crazy with Fuji, Arkansas Black, Red Delicious, Jona Gold apples, and more. Also, they were the only ones to have Autumn beans, which are new to me. Red Kapps has gained a reputation as probably the most friendly and well-rounded farmers here, so be sure to swing by their section, ask what’s new, and they’ll be more than happy to share their latest recipe ideas.

Pumpkin Butter

Pumpkin Butter

Knitted Caps

Knitted Caps

Tips & Insights:

  • If you want to enjoy the full potential of Charlotte’s Regional Farmer’s Market, be sure to arrive early. Market opens at 8am, but shopping starts taking place moments before. Fresh eggs & local meats are the first to go, and I heard rumor of ‘The Mushroom Dude’ who sells exactly what his name suggests, and apparently sells out fast. I arrived later, and was told I had just missed him.
  • Some vendors accept credit card, but remember to bring cash. If you decide to use credit card, just be aware that they usually have a $10 minimum here.
  • Ask questions & look at labels. If you’re looking for local goods, keep your guard up. Some of the vendors here are obviously resellers, selling crops shipped in from thousands of miles away or from Harris Teeter distribution plants. I was told that if you go during the weekdays, the market is slower and a lot of what you’ll see are basically resellers. You can recognize many local farms by Slow Food Charlotte giving them banners that say NC Farmer or SC Farmer, or just ask them.
  • Need to buy flowers? This is the place to do it, with incredible looking fresh bouquets of flowers for just $10! The flower selection during Spring months is said to be the most impressive.
  • If you’re curious about some kind of food, some farmers will go ahead and let you try a sample. Just be sure to ask, first.

Today’s Purchases:

  • -Medium Orange Pumpkin
  • -Mini multi-colored pumpkin
  • -Homemade Pumpkin Pie
  • -Large Pears
  • -Blackberries
  • -Fresh Honey w/ Honey Comb (Great used as a tea sweetener)
  • -Avocado
  • -Sweet Corn
  • -Fennel
  • -Carolina BBQ Sauce
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My first article at KQED

by | Oct 15, 2010
Kona Sunset

Kona Sunset

I’m still on vacation, so did not spend my week reading food and health stories. But I wanted to share my first article published at the KQED science blog QUEST, where I will be contributing weekly.

Have a great weekend!

Alice Waters’ School Lunch Initiative Effective At Instilling Healthy Habits In Children

by Darya Pino

A recent report issued by scientists from the Atkins Center for Weight and Health at UC Berkeley examined the impact of the School Lunch Initiative (SLI) on the eating behaviors of children transitioning from elementary school to middle school. The SLI is sponsored by the Chez Panisse Foundation, founded in 1996 by Alice Waters.

The SLI is a system-wide program that includes cooking and gardening classes, integration of school lunch with food and nutrition curriculum, and improvements in campus food and dining services. The report examined the eating behavior of children at schools enriched with the SLI compared with children at schools with similar foods but without the program. The research followed fourth and fifth graders for three years to see the effects of the program during the transition from elementary school to middle school, since this is a time when healthy eating often deteriorates in children.

According to the report, SLI may have the potential to reverse the deterioration of healthy eating habits that children typically exhibit as they transition to adolescence. Compared with children in control schools, kids at schools with the SLI ate more vegetables, fruits and demonstrated greater knowledge of nutrition and health. Students in the SLI also showed greater preference for vegetables, particularly green leafy vegetables. Over the same period, children in schools without the SLI decreased their intake of fruits and vegetables both in and out of school. These trends were still apparent one year after completion of the SLI, when the students were in seventh grade.

The report is the first examination of the effectiveness of integrated school lunch programs on the healthy eating behaviors of children over an extended period. With the growing epidemic of childhood obesity, comprehensive school lunch programs have tremendous potential to improve the health and habits of developing children.

Though body mass index (BMI) improvements were not found in the current study, small sample size and measurement limitations may have made changes statistically undetectable. Since the trends observed in the eating habits of children in the SLI would predict a decreased risk for obesity, further studies are warranted to pursue the value of the program for improving health and body weight.

With the recent attention on the importance of school lunch programs (October 11-15 has been declared National School Lunch Week by the USDA), data on programs like SLI will be critical and could serve as a model for more broad government programs to improve nutrition at schools.

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My first article at SFWeekly

by | Oct 13, 2010
Kona

Kona

I’m on vacation in Hawaii this week, but thought I’d share with you my first article at SFWeekly (actually their food blog SFoodie) where I will be contributing a few times per month. My beat will be hunting down the most exciting new ingredients of the season and discovering what local chefs and business are doing with them. If you have any tips feel free to send them my way.

This week’s story is about a new product at one of my favorite food companies, Scream Sorbet. Their Macadamia Vanilla flavor made from California macadamia nuts is amazing and, somehow, vegan. It’s like the perfect vanilla ice cream, but with a hint of Honey Nut Cheerios. Trust me, it’s amazing.

Scream’s Macadamia Nut Sorbet Is Surprisingly Locavore

by Darya Pino​

For an ingredient as exotic as macadamia nuts, the word “local” may require a little loosening here in the Bay Area. But the fact that Emeryville-based Scream Sorbet found a California macadamia producer at all is surprising, especially considering their first experiments required sourcing organic nuts from Kenya.

For Scream’s latest macadamia vanilla sorbet, owners Nathan Kurz, Noah Goldner, and Stephanie Lao turned to MnM’s Nuthouse, a macadamia nut grower in Fallbrook, Calif., a quiet farming town in northern San Diego County.

Anyone who has tried them will tell you MnM’s nuts are special. Farmer Mark Marchese attributes much of that exceptional flavor to the nuts’ freshness. Delicate Omega-3 fatty acids quickly turn rancid during shipping at nonoptimal temperatures. With California-grown macadamias you can actually taste the freshness.

According to Marchese, the raw food movement may have also impacted the taste of MnM’s macadamias. To meet the demands of raw foodies they’ve altered their roasting process, reducing the temperature from 104°-110° F to 90°-100°. This requires longer roasting, but preserves both the nutrients and flavor of the nut in its natural state.​But there are other factors, too. California macadamia varietals ― cultivars developed by farmers returning from Hawaii after World War II ― are themselves unique. The flavor and texture of California macadamias are slightly different from those sourced from Africa, Australia, and even Hawaii itself.

MnM’s Nuthouse is not certified organic, but this reflects the realities and costs of growing a specialty crop rather than growing practices at the farm. Marchese says they would easily qualify for certification, since growing such a small-yield crop means they couldn’t afford to buy chemical fertilizers even if they wanted to. Mineral supplements are in the form of dust sourced at a local granite quarry. That goes into chicken feed, which MnM’s ultimately uses as tree fertilizer. The cost of organic certification is also a barrier, says Marchese. Macadamias are already so expensive to produce that any added cost would make them pricey enough to shrink demand.

Fortunately, MnM’s is now producing enough nuts to make Kurz, Goldner, and Lao hopeful that macadamia vanilla will become a mainstay. The nuts’ naturally high level of saturated fat, combined with the smoothness Scream achieves via the Pacojet, makes the nut-based sorbet almost indistinguishable from ice cream. Add to that the buttery, nuanced flavor of macadamias and whole vanilla beans (infusions aren’t necessary with the Pacojet) and Scream has created something that should make both vegans and omnivores rejoice.

Scream Sorbet appears at various Bay Area farmers’ markets, including Thu. at Ferry Plaza, Sun. at Fort Mason Center (ends Oct. 31), and Wed. at Castro and Upper Haight (both end Oct. 27). The Scream shop in Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood is expected to open in late October.

It would be awesome if you’d head over to the article or give it a Digg.

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Healthstyle Milestones: What Are Your Health Goals?

by | Oct 11, 2010
By woodleywonderworks

By woodleywonderworks

Abandoning the idea of “going on a diet” is one of the most difficult and important adjustments to make when you are trying to lose weight and improve your health. To achieve and maintain your fitness goals, learning to think in the long-term instead of the short-term is a necessity.

We’ve been conditioned to think about our health as a temporary endeavor. When we find ourselves getting a bit out of shape we assume we need to start a new diet plan and maybe join a gym or cardio class.

“But, you know, things are busy right now and I’ll get to it in a couple weeks when I have more time.”

Even if we do start the plan and lose some weight, how long will it be before we slip back into our old routine and the pounds creep back on?

If you learn only one thing from Summer Tomato I hope it’s that diets don’t work. Calorie restriction in any form can induce temporary weight loss, but the vast majority of people emerge worse off than before they subjected themselves to the difficult and demoralizing task of losing weight and inevitably gaining it (plus a little extra) back.

The science is painfully clear that only long-term and consistent healthy lifestyle choices result in permanent weight loss and improved health.

To really win this war you need to shift your focus from short-term diets and weight loss goals to lifelong habits that promote good nutrition and a healthy metabolism–changes that, in my opinion, should be welcome and enjoyable.

It is never too late (or too early) to get started on your upgrade.

But once you’ve made the commitment to a better healthstyle, how do you know you are making progress without the specific goals and endpoints you get from a temporary diet plan?

This is an excellent question and something worth taking a minute to think about. The answer will be different for everyone and depend substantially on where you start and how you define success.

An example of a fantastic healthstyle goal would be getting off cholesterol, blood pressure or diabetes medication, something attainable by the majority of people taking them. For others the goal may be avoiding meds in the first place by reaching a healthy body mass index (BMI). Health goals like these are obviously a first priority for anyone facing them.

But healthstyle is not just for people with serious health problems. After all, the “normal” BMI range is pretty lenient and you may still have the goal of fitting back into a certain pant size or reaching a specific body fat percentage. These are certainly reasonable goals, especially when you are not approaching them from an all-or-none, feast or famine mentality.

But in my experience, specific number-oriented goals have little stay power when health is your top priority.

When you focus on eating delicious, healthy foods and getting regular exercise (in any form), as the months and years pass goals like reaching a certain body weight or jeans size start to feel a bit contrived. This isn’t because physical appearance or achievements aren’t important, but as your metabolism changes and your body gets healthier it becomes clear that you can feel and look a lot better than you ever really imagined.

What exactly defines the perfect weight or size anyway?

I am not trying to trivialize specific fitness goals nor the effort required to attain them. If you’ve read my diet history you know that I am not immune to aspirations like these. But over time feeling good becomes a more meaningful and satisfying goal than fitting into your jeans. And in my experience, the more energy I put into being healthy and living well, the smaller my jeans get anyway.

For awhile now my healthstyle goals have had little to do with body weight. Instead I choose to focus on habits I can develop that will improve my life and health overall. These include cultivating my cooking skills, learning to eat mindfully and figuring out the best lunch for an awesome afternoon workout.

Here are some of my recent healthstyle goals, which are changing constantly.

This article was originally published Oct 26, 2009, and I have left the original goals intact. However I have added my new list of 2010 goals below so you can see how my healthstyle has evolved. I’m happy to see that I’ve made progress on many of my goals from last year, and most of my new goals reflect bigger life changes that have occurred in the past year.

Healthstyle Goals 2009

  • Experiment with new vegetables
  • Recreate favorite restaurant dishes at home
  • Get enough sleep
  • Try new spices
  • Eat slowly and mindfully
  • Find great foodie resources in my neighborhood
  • Get away from my computer at least twice per day
  • Make friends with farmers
  • Seek new challenges at the gym
  • Take the stairs even when I don’t feel like it
  • Learn new cooking techniques
  • Get new pans
  • Discover fabulous restaurants
  • Recognize and avoid overeating cues
  • Take advantage of seasonal produce
  • Eat more legumes
  • Prevent food cravings with good nutrition
  • Eat more fish
  • Take more walks
  • Use usual ingredients in unusual ways
  • Eat better when out of town
  • Cook more ethnic cuisines
  • Get more sun
  • Develop a taste for my least favorite foods
  • Make more soup
  • Cook more for friends
  • Eat out less than twice per week

Healthstyle Goals 2010

  • Adjust to more frequent dining out
  • Cook more at home (this is harder these days)
  • Improve at cooking for two
  • Buy more cookbooks
  • Drink less alcohol
  • Get better sleep
  • Explore tea
  • Cook more soup
  • Eat slowly, even when very hungry
  • Optimize food storage
  • Practice meditation
  • Cook more for friends
  • Eat well and exercise while traveling
  • Share great food discoveries
  • Make friends with more farmers

What are your healthstyle goals?

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Farmers Market Update: Fleet Week

by | Oct 10, 2010
Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco is a zoo this weekend, but it’s awesome. It’s Fleet Week, which means we have the Blue Angels buzzing over our heads several times a day. And the weather couldn’t be better to hang out on rooftops and watch the action.

Because we are in the middle of changing seasons, the farmers market is a new adventure every week. As summer produce wanes, autumn produce is ramping up. Some of the new items will last all winter, and others are only around a few weeks during the interim.

Pumpkins and Tomatoes

Pumpkins and Tomatoes

White pomegranates are a special treat only around for a couple weeks this time of year. They are sweeter and their pink, translucent seeds are softer than the more typical red pomegranates. Definitely try one if you get the opportunity.

Shin Li Asian Pears

Shin Li Asian Pears

White Pomegranates

White Pomegranates

Asian pears are another temporary item at the market. They’re delicate, watery flesh and subtle flavor make them easy to over look, but it’s fun to bring a few different varietals home and experiment with their unique flavors while you have the chance.

Organic Quince

Organic Quince

Fresh Chestnuts

Fresh Chestnuts

Chestnuts and quince will also be around for a short time and are fun to experiment with. I also saw persimmons for the first time this week.

Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes

First Persimmons

First Persimmons

At this time of year though, my favorite foods are still the late summer produce. I can’t get enough tomatoes and peppers. I adore them. And they pair so beautifully with fresh herbs and almost anything.

Fresh Herbs

Fresh Herbs

Hot Peppers

Hot Peppers

And let’s not forget about vegetables. It’s last call on winter squash and eggplant. But you can also find fall favorites like brussels sprouts and artichokes.

Artichokes

Artichokes

Baby Brussels Sprouts

Baby Brussels Sprouts

Also notable is that Warren pears are now available at Frog Hollow, and you can pick up some fresh whole wheat tortillas at Massa Organics.

Whole Wheat Tortillas

Whole Wheat Tortillas

Warren Pears

Warren Pears

I’m leaving for Hawaii early this week so I only picked up some white pomegranates and padron peppers.

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