My First Christmas Tree

This year I bought my first Christmas tree and like everything I do, it had to be sustainable. It was surprisingly easy. I found a company at the local farmers market that rents out living trees. They deliver it in a big pot (with dirt and all) and pick it up after the New Year. It was bit pricey at $80.

Next we bought red berries ($5) and baby sprouts ($3) from the flower vendor at the farmers market. A little red and white to trim the tree. Some pine cones from a hike a few weeks back. A wreath for the door ($15). And then all the ornaments we could scrounge.

The hardest item to find was a proper tree skirt. The selection and quality from the online stores was scary bad. The big box stores all had factory stamped expensive skirts ($100+). I was looking for a little holiday style and so I headed to the Renegade Craft Fair and found the perfect skirt for $48.

Add a few presents and it’s the perfect Christmas tree – supported by local artisans, farmers, and startups.

Some photos of the journey.

living christmas tree just delivered
Our living tree was just delivered – you can see the dirt on the pot.

 

final version of the christmas tree 2013
The final version of the tree with all the trimmings.

 

christmas tree skirt renegade craft fair 2013
Our Christmas tree skirt at the Renegade Craft Fair.

 

 

top of the christmas tree
Close-up of the top of the tree – you can see the red Brazil berries and the white baby sprouts.

 

wreath on our door
And our natural wreath on our front door – purchased at the farmers market.

 

A travel guide for farmers markets

I’ve always wanted to write a book about the best farmers markets in the America. A travel guide for foodies and locavores that would be part travelogue – because I do plan my travel around farmers markets – and part guide-book for those needing basic details, facts, and photos.

I would cover the biggest market in every city, and there is always one big market. A place that draws all the attention and energy of the city, which includes live music, civic issues and crafts, kids and petting zoos. These are typically on weekends and draw huge crowds, like a bustling bazaar in the Middle East.

Of course that always leaves room for the little market that could. Which draws few crowds and even fewer farmers. But it is the right assortment of farmers just enough overlap to make sure you get what you need. For some shoppers these smaller, quieter markets are greatly preferred to the frenetic energy of the great markets.

I’m just getting started on this idea but I do have a few great markets that I’ve visited. They are some of my favorite places on Earth:

  • Madison Farmers Market – Madison, WI
  • Dupont Market – Washington D.C.
  • Little Italy Mercato – San Diego, CA
  • Irvine Farmers Market – Orange County, CA
  • Santa Monica Downtown Market (Wednesday) – Los Angeles, CA
  • Heart of the City Farmers Market – San Francisco, CA
  • Union Square Greenmarket – NYC
  • Pike Place Market – Seattle, WA

If you’re ever in these cities, try to visit these markets. There is no better way to hear the heartbeat of a city than through its market. Sample the local favorites and gourmet specialties, learn about the ethnic farmers in the area, and watch the rich and poor of the city as they mingle and haggle.

2011 DC Farmers Markets

We love our DC farmers markets. We love our VA farmers markets.

The DC metro area has an incredible amount of markets and has one of the highest people/markets ratios. This means their plenty of them available to you every day (except Monday) and they are open in the mornings, during your lunch break, or in the evenings.

DC Farmers Markets

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Fridays

USDA People’s Garden – 10-2pm – Jun to Oct
12th/Independence Ave – Smithsonian Metro

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Saturdays

14th & U St – 9-1pm – May to Nov
14th/U St – U St/Cardozo Metro

Glover Park – 9-1pm – May to Oct
Hardy Middle School – Wisconsin/34th St

Ward 8 – 9-2pm – Jun to Nov
THEARC – 1901 Mississippi Ave SE

Adams Morgan – 9-1pm – Apr to Dec
18th/Columbia, NW

Silver Spring – 9-1pm – Apr to Dec
951 Ellsworth Dr – Silver Spring Metro

H Street – 9-12pm – Apr to Nov
625 H St, NE – Union Station Metro, (5 blocks away)

Chevy Chase – 9-1pm – Apr to Nov
Broad Branch Rd/N Hampton St, NW

Bethesda – 9-1pm – May to Oct
Norfolk Ave at Veteran’s Park, Bethesda Station Metro

Eastern Market – 7-6pm – all year
225 7th ST, SE – Eastern Market Metro

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Sundays

Dupont - 8:30-1pm – all year
1500 20th St – Dupont Metro

Eastern Market – 9-5pm – all year
225 7th ST, SE – Eastern Market Metro

Bloomingdale – 10-2pm – May to Nov
1st/R St, NW – Shaw/NY Metro

Takoma Park – 10-2pm – all year
Carroll/Laurel Ave – Takoma Park Metro

-

Mondays

None

-

Tuesdays

New Morning – 4-8pm – Jun to Sep
36th/Alton Place – Sheridan School

-

Wednesdays

Foggy Bottom – 3-7pm – Apr to Nov
Foggy Bottom Metro – 2400 I St/New Hampshire

Health and Human Services – 11-2pm – May to Oct
200 Independence Ave, SW – Federal Center Metro

Crossroads – 3-7pm – May to Oct
7676 New Hampshire Ave, NW, Takoma Park

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Thursdays

Penn Quarter – 3-7pm – Mar to Dec
8th St, NW, between D/E St – Chinatown Metro

White House – 3-7pm – May to Oct
810 Vermont Ave, NW – McPherson Sq Metro

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VA Farmers Markets

-

Fridays

McLean - 8-12pm – May to Nov
1659 Chain Bridge Rd – Lewinsville Pk

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Saturdays

Arlington Market at Courthouse – 8-12pm – all year
Courthouse Metro (1 block south)

Old Town Alexandria – 5-11am – all year
Market Square/City Hall, 301 King St
*(free parking in Market Sq garage during market)

Del Ray Alexandria – 8-12pm – all year
East Oxford & Mount Vernon Ave

Vienna – 8-12pm – May to Oct
131 Church St

-

Sundays

West End Alexandria – 9-1pm – May to Nov
4800 Brenman Park Drive

Columbia Pike – 9-1pm – all year
Pike Park in front of Rite Aid, South Walter Reed/Columbia Pike

Mondays

None

-

Tuesdays

Crystal City – 3-7pm – May to Nov
Crystal Drive – 18 to 20th St

-

Wednesdays

King Street Alexandria – 3-7pm – May to Oct
1806 King Street, King St Metro

Clarendon – 3-7pm – all year
Clarendon Metro

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Thursdays

Rosslyn – 11-3pm – May to Oct
Wilson Blvd/N. Oak St – Rosslyn Metro

Ballston – 3-7pm – May to Oct
Wellburn Square, 9th/N. Stuart, 1 block south Ballston Metro

**photo by Clara S.**

Winter Farmers Markets for DC, VA, MD

It’s the end of November and all my favorite markets are closing!

As we say goodbye to our favorite vendors it’s time to prep for Winter. Here is a brand new list of Winter markets, updated from last year, and now including our local coops and organic markets (bottom half of the page).

Also, this is the time of year when Dupont becomes the best market around, less crowds and better vendors, it’s my favorite winter market.

—-

DC


Sunday

Dupont Circle — 10 -1 pm — 20th and Q St NW

Palisades — 9 -1 pm — 48th Place NW and MacArthur Blvd

Eastern Market (outdoor market only) — 7 -4 pm — 225 Seventh St SE

Saturday

Silver Spring Market — 10 -1 pm — Ellsworth Dr (Fenton St and Georgia Ave) (Silver Spring Metro)

Sheridan School — 9 -1 pm — 4400 36th Street NW (36th and Alton)

Eastern Market (outdoor market only)  — 225 Seventh St SE

Friday

Horace Mann — 3:30-6:30 pm — 4430 Newark St NW (by American Univ)

—-

MD


Saturday

Great Frederick — 8 -2 pm — 797 East Patrick St (fairgrounds)

Kensington — 8 -12pm — Howard Ave (Kensington train station parking lot)

Twin Springs Fruit at Bethesda United Church — 10 -2 pm — Fernwood Rd and Democracy Blvd

Sunday

Bethesda Central — 9 -1 pm — Bethesda Ln between Elm St and Bethesda Ave

Takoma Park — 10 -2 pm — Laurel Ave between Eastern and Carroll

Wednesday

Twin Springs Fruit at Concord St. Andrew’s Church — 10 -2 pm — Goldsboro/River Rd

Thursday

Twin Springs Fruit at Goddard Space Flight Center — 10 -2 pm

—-

VA


Saturday

Old Town Alexandria — 5:30 -11 am — 301 King St (City Hall)

Arlington Market — 8 -12pm — North Courthouse Rd and 14th St (courthouse parking lot)

Del Ray Alexandria — 8 -12pm — East Oxford and Mount Vernon

Falls Church — 9 -12pm — 300 Park Ave, City Hall parking lot

Leesburg — 9 – 12pm — Virginia Village Shopping Center, Catoctin Circle

Oakton — 10 -2 pm — Unity Church of Fairfax, 2854 Hunter Mill Rd

Sunday

Columbia Pike — 10 -1 pm — Columbia Pike and S. Walter Reed Dr (in front of the Rite Aid)

Wednesday

Clarendon — 3 -7 pm — Wilson Blvd and N. Highland St, Arlington (Clarendon Metro station)

George Mason Univeristy — 11 -2 pm — Southside Plaza

—-

Coops!

Takoma Park – Silver Spring Coop

Two Locations both open 9am – 9pm everyday

Silver Spring

8309 Grubb Road, Silver Spring, MD 20910

Takoma Park

201 Ethan Allen Avenue, Takoma Park, MD 20912

—-

Bethesda Coop

6500 Seven Locks Rd – Cabin John, MD 20818

8:30am – 9pm (sun open till 8pm)

—-

Glut Food Coop

4005 34th Street, Mt. Rainier, Md. 20722

Opens at 9am daily, closes at 8pm on Tue-Fri, and 7pm on Sat-Mon

—-

Maryland Food Collective

B0203 Stamp Student Union, College Park MD 20742

M-F 7:30am – 3pm, Sat 10:30am – 5pm, Sun 12-6pm

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MOM’s Organic Markets

*the only organic markets that commits to buying local and quality*

All stores open 9am -9pm, except Sun 10am – 8pm

Alexandria

3831 Mt. Vernon Ave, Alexandria, VA 22305

Bowie

6824 Race Track Rd, Bowie, MD 20715

Frederick

5273 Buckeystown Pike, Frederick, MD 21703

Jessup

7351 Assateague Dr. #190, Jessup, MD 20794

Rockville

11711 B Parklawn Drive, Rockville, MD 20852

College Park

9827 Rhode Island Ave, College Park, MD 20740

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Photo by Andrew Bossi

Tips for the Farmers Market Diet

It’s farmers market season and everyone is feeling the pull toward the street markets. Shopping at them can be confusing and overwhelming. To help you get through the season happier, healthier, and with more money in your pocket, here are some tips.

Cost

Every newbie to the markets talks about cost. I call it the supermarket hangover. They have trouble understanding why they should pay more. Isn’t food at the supermarket and the farmers market the same?

Definitely not. The supermarket food is priced correctly, cheap because it is cheap food. It has low levels of nutrients, vitamins, and other essential health elements. Which results in shoppers buying 2-3 times more than they need to and all of the weight problems associated with it.

Farmers markets food is high quality, or it can be. The point of these markets is to get you food when it is of the highest quality (fresh, in season, ripe). If done right you will find yourself eating much less food and the smaller amounts should help your budget and your waistline!

Fake Farmers Markets

I always try to warn folks about the fake farmers markets. You can easily spot a fake market by looking for the fruit and vegetable stands. The best markets have a good assortment of fruit/vegetables compared to everything else (bakers, cheese, meat). The worst markets have a surplus of dessert vendors and folks selling meat, bread, and cheese.

Now I have nothing against meat, bread, and cheese. I buy my fair share at the market. The problem is with markets who make no effort to balance their offerings. Folks need to be able to find healthy delicious fruits and vegetables, beyond the loaves of bread and steaks.

Foggy-Bottom-Farmers-Market-brocolli-radish-DCAnother type of fake farmers markets are those with no standards. Places that allow folks to buy from supermarkets or wholesalers and offer them at the market for a mark-up. Places like this really make me angry since they are using the market prestige to swindle customers.

Typical markets are “producer only” which means that farmers can only sell what they grow. To figure out if your market is producer only you can look it up on their website, ask the market manager or the vendors, look for/read their signs. In fact, you want to shop at the places with more signs and more transparency. A good rule is that if they aren’t telling you then don’t trust them.

The Back-up Store

You love farmers markets but it’s monday and no markets are open on monday. Stayed late at work or slept in. It happens to the best of us. Here are a few options for supplementing your farmers market diet.

Get to know the bulk foods in the bins at your local health food stores. They are often the freshest, cheapest, and healthiest items in the whole store. I regularly buy rice, beans, and nuts at my local store.

Another, but more limited option, is the local food at supermarkets. Stores like Whole Foods and Mom’s Organic Market tend to carry a few local items. Usually greens and mushrooms. Which can make for a great salad especially after a slight saute and some balsamic vinegar. They also offer local eggs and milk.

Finally, look around for your local food coop. These are community formed grocery stores that allow you to choose what they stock. Many of them are locavore havens but not all. If you happen to have one close, join-up, get the member discount, and make sure they know how much you love local foods!

PS – my local coop is the TPSS coop :)

photo by mastermaq

Silver Diner Offers Local Food, Claims Farm To Table

Silver Diner, a restaurant chain serving Virginia and Maryland, recently decided to offer “fresh and local” food. When I heard this I excitedly ventured out to our closest diner with a group of colleagues. We were ready for some good old fashioned home cooking and jukebox heroes (yes they do have them!). Trouble was not far away though…

The first thing one notices at the new Silver Diner are the advertisements all over the diner for the new local food. The host and server make sure to mention it. The menus is similarly plastered with the words local, fresh, farm. The marketing was a little over the top but at least it got the job done.

The next step was looking into the food. Are they really committing to this or just jumping on the local bandwagon (like Harris Teeter is doing). They appear to be doing both.

The food is local, fresh, and from the farm. They are buying local wine and coffee from a local roaster. These are amazing steps that contribute greatly to local business and can even spur these local industries to greater heights. I think it is important to recognize these steps and even say “thank you”.

Thank you Silver Diner for committing to local, fresh, and farm to table.

With that being said here are some points to improve upon. Transparency is sorely lacking. The menu is more marketing than information. I was forced to ask the server for more details (which she barely knew). Of the two farms listed both were in Pennsylvania, which seems not local at all since farms and cooperatives exist in Virginia and Maryland offering meat, eggs, and dairy. The farms they do mention have only basic websites and do not even list certifications like organic or certified naturally grown.

I was forced to google for information and found that one of them was linked to being a CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation). I didn’t want to believe that Silver Diner could have overlooked this huge problem but found that the farm in question lists on its website a herd of 2,000 cows in a gigantic indoor facility, a sort of half-CAFO. Without more information and more transparency, what am I to think of this?

Further, the main reason I would continue coming back is for the vegetables and fruits. The menu and the website only state “produce from local farms”. A method to fix this, since produce is perishable and seasonal, is to list the farms that you regularly buy from or an extra menu listing farm, season, and offerings (provided upon request).

Another issue is standards. Just what are you committing to? The local roaster, Arlington based Greenberry, does not seem to believe in Fair Trade, which is a way to ensure that coffee farmers are not being exploited as cheap labor. If you’re going to offer hormone free meat, then why no offer antibiotic free as well? Also, no mention is made of organic or certified naturally grown, or any other standard that covers pesticide use?

Overall I am impressed by the moves Silver Diner has made. They are good first steps and probably necessary to build local food relationships. It does takes time to establish the operations of delivery and scheduling in bulk quantities. If they can continue their new efforts and build on them I will definitely be a frequent customer.

How To Choose a Good Nutritionist?

Choosing a nutritionist can be a tough decision to make. With all of the diet advice and vitamin choices it gets confusing real fast. To help you decide here are two simple things to remember when choosing your diet yogi.

Bumpy Ride

Any good nutritionist will tell you right away that food science is shaky at best. We are in a period of unprecedented period diet related diseases including the leading killers in America. The obesity and diabetes epidemics are raging across the country. There is definitely something wrong and it may just be “the latest study shows” lifestyle we have become accustomed to.

For example, take a look at these two images from David McCandless who took the time to research and compare a large portion of the studies on nutrition.

The first image shows vitamins, minerals, nutrients of no proven value.

Every single item in this picture has no evidence proving its value for health. Now, I’m not saying this is definitive or I am an expert, I’m just saying food science is shaky. Take a look at the next picture to see the ones with conflicting evidence:

There are so many on this list that many would consider absolutely essential to health and yet the studies have not shown that yet. The question is then, where we getting this proof from, is it social proof, marketing proof?

One better make sure to ask any nutritionist about this before making major changes.

It’s the Food, Stupid!

Like the Bill Clinton’s ringing catchphrase, it’s about the economy, stupid! In the world of nutrition its all about the food and no amount of pills, supplements, or working out can replace it. The right nutritionist will make sure to talk with you about this and ask you to focus on the quality of the food you are eating.

Quality is an essential element to food, but many would have you believe that selection is more important. All to often the advice will be to eat less meat and more vegetables. Or, you have a deficiency of XX so you should eat more of YY. This can be extremely problematic especially if one is always selecting low quality food.

A good nutritionist will provide expert advice on how to find quality food. They will tell you about the difference between supermarket vegetables and farmers market vegetables (I have yet to find one doing this). With the difference being extreme, sometimes as much as three times worse for you. Supermarket vegetables are grown for hardiness and long lasting at the expense of nutrition. Whereas farmers market vegetables are grown from high quality seeds (called heritage seeds), grown in specific seasons to maximize nutritional value and sold as fresh as possible to capitalize on the vitamins/minerals before they degrade.

The same type of story can be told for fruits, nuts, meats, cheese; for everything you eat. Eating quality food can often make or break a health routine. After all quality food not only tastes better but provides more nutrition per ounce. This means that you will need to eat less to feel full and meet your nutritional needs (i.e. lose weight).

Further, studies are showing that seasonal, fresh, and high quality food contains not only more nutrients but extra ones too. It might be possible that one can get all the calcium they need from fresh, seasonal broccoli and avoid the need for all those calcium pills, soy cartons, and expensive seafood.

Make sure to choose a nutritionist who understands food quality and makes it an important part of their advice.

Conclusion

I’m not a doctor nor a nutritionist but I have spent the past year studying these issues for my own personal health and for this non-profit. I have talked to hundreds of people, including doctors and nutritionists. Only a handful of them even consider what I wrote about in this post, even though they seem like common sense.

These issues are common sense to me and I hope they help you to choose the right nutritionist.

Images pulled from Snake Oil? Scientific Evidence For Health Supplements

Alexandria Farmers Markets

We love our Alexandria Farmers Markets.

Alexandria, Virginia has two Saturday markets, one Sunday market, and a Wednesday evening market. The Old Town market is an institution in front of City Hall open all year round. While the Del Ray market is quintessential Alexandria located in a nestle of local shops, cute little houses, and plenty of locals walking around.

If you looking for more markets Arlington has six more that are not too far away with some open during the week (tues, thurs). You can find those lower on the page along with the DC markets and our Farmers Market Brochure.

-

Alexandria Farmers Markets

-

Fridays

none

-

Saturdays

Old Town Alexandria – 5-10:30am – all year
Market Square/City Hall, 301 King Street

Del Ray Alexandria – 8-12pm – till dec
East Oxford & Mount Vernon Ave

-

Sundays

West End Alexandria – 9-1pm – May to Nov
4800 Brenman Park Drive

-

Mondays

None

-

Tuesdays

none

-

Wednesdays

King Street Alexandria – 3-7pm – May to Oct
1806 King Street, King St Metro

-

Thursdays

none

-

Arlington Farmers Markets

-

Fridays

none

-

Saturdays

Arlington Market at Courthouse – 8-12pm – Year Round
Courthouse Metro (1 block south)

-

Sundays

Columbia Pike – 9-1pm – Year Round
S. Walter Reed Dr at Columbia Pike

Mondays

None

-

Tuesdays

Crystal City – 3-7pm – May to Oct
Crystal Drive – 18 to 20th St

-

Wednesdays

Clarendon – 2-7pm – Year Round
Clarendon Metro

-

Thursdays

Rosslyn – 11-3pm – May to Oct
Wilson Blvd/N. Oak St- Rosslyn Metro

Ballston – 3-7pm – May to Oct
Wellburn Square, 9th/N. Stuart, 1 block south Ballston Metro

-

DC Farmers Markets

-

Fridays

USDA People’s Garden – 10-2pm – Jun to Oct
12th/Independence Ave – Smithsonian Metro

-

Saturdays

Eastern Market – 7-6pm – Year Round
225 7th ST, SE – Eastern Market Metro

14th & U St – 9-1pm – May to Nov
14th/U St – U St/Cardozo Metro

Adams Morgan – 8-1pm – Apr to Dec
18th/Columbia, NW

Silver Spring – 9-1pm – Apr to Dec
951 Ellsworth Dr – Silver Spring Metro

H Street – 9-12pm – May to Nov
625 H St, NE – Union Station Metro, (5 blocks away)

Chevy Chase – 9-1pm – Apr to Nov
Broad Branch Rd/N Hampton St, NW

Bethesda – 9-1pm – Jun to Oct
Norfolk Ave at Veteran’s Park, Bethesda Station Metro

-

Sundays

Dupont - 9-1pm – Year Round
1500 20th St – Dupont Metro

Eastern Market – 9-5pm – Year Round
225 7th ST, SE – Eastern Market Metro

Bloomingdale – 10-2pm – May to Nov
1st/R St, NW – Shaw/NY Metro

Takoma Park – 10-2pm – Year Round
Carroll/Laurel Ave – Takoma Park Metro

-

Mondays

None

-

Tuesdays

New Morning – 4-8pm – Jun to Sep
36th/Alton Place – Sheridan School

-

Wednesdays

Foggy Bottom – 2:30-7pm – Apr to Nov
Foggy Bottom Metro – 2400 I St/New Hampshire

Health and Human Services – 2:30-6:30pm – Jun to Oct
200 Independence Ave, SW – Federal Center Metro

Crossroads – 3-7pm – Jun to Oct
Holton Lane/New Hampshire (Takoma Park)

-

Thursdays

Penn Quarter – 3-7pm – Apr to Dec
450 8th St, NW – Chinatown/Archives Metro

White House – 3-7pm – May to Nov
810 Vermont Ave, NW – McPherson Square Metro

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Farmers Market Brochure

To help you find all these markets A Clean Life offers a brochure (link below) listing them by day/hour/metro.

Lower on the page you will find a comprehensive list of all markets in the DC metro region.

Untitled 2pdf of brochure for download —-  high res screenshot

Foraging for Chives in Arlington

This Spring’s bounty was a whole sheaf of chives foraged from my local creek. Just that statement would make you think I live in some picturesque countryside, but no I live in a major city.

It turns that their are a ton of foods growing wild in every city just waiting to be picked. They can be wild mint which grows incredibly fast, onions like the wild ramps and leeks, and of course basic herbs and spices like chives.

The key to being a forager is jumpstarting your hunter gathering brain. We all have a built-in ability to smell, spot, taste, and remember plants growing in the wild. My story began on a visit to Mary Fletcher Jones to film a video. Before we started the interview she gave me a tour of her beautiful flowers and herbs. The tallest of her herbs were the chives and she even let me pick some.

Hint: Chives are a lighter shade of green and can be spotted among green growth by their pale green color and tall, thin and circular, often bent stalks.

The following day I was walking the dog in the park and spotted chives. I don’t know how I did it, my eye just looked at them and my brain said “yep, definitely chives”. Upon which I freaked out. You are not supposed to pick wild things! You could die!!

After a brief moment of panic I walked over and picked some. Yep it tasted and smelled like chives. I then got all bold and decided to put it in my dinner salad. I didn’t die too.

So the next day I picked more. The following day even more and so on. Until I had extra chives laying all around the kitchen prompting my girlfriend to revolt. You can’t just have all these smelly onions in our place?! Apparently her nose is particularly tuned to all things onion and this chive scent was overpoweringly appalling.

Not to worry, I thought, I will dry them and create a spice to use for later. Well this just made things worse. The baking of chives causes them to release so much more onion stink/sweetness that our place was being fumigated with onions. She couldn’t stand it and made me stop.

Eventually, while she was away on vacation, I did get them all baked and dried. They cracked and disintegrated into the perfect size for spicing. I put them into a nice jar and went away satisfied at my foraging ability.

I even went back and harvested a whole new group to double my winnings. They were tasty just long enough until my girlfriend sampled them a few times. Turns out she loves them and within a few days they were all gone!

So goes my first foraging attempt. The chives are still out there growing right now just waiting for me to forage. What a beautiful thing nature is!

photo by It’s Greg

The Nearly Vegetarian Diet

I have been struggling with this post for a few days now. How to tell the story of the nearly vegetarian diet?

Should I start with protein fear? Studies show that vegetarians get just as much protein as meat eaters. In fact, they get their protein in a far superior way, without all the added fat, cholesterol, heart health issues, and possibly even cancer. Despite these well established and respected facts the protein fear lingers.

Maybe I should focus on the government corruption angle. Did you know that the Food Pyramid and Farm Bill directly cater to meat and dairy? The Pyramid tells us all to eat 3 hamburgers a day and drink 3 glasses of milk every day. Seriously, the government recommends that half of our diet consist of meat and dairy.

The Farm Bill, one of our most important pieces of legislation, directly subsidizes that meat and dairy, to the tune of billions of dollars. Explains how a cheeseburger can cost $.99 while a carrot will be $1.50. The situation in Washington DC is so bad that only recently did fruits, vegetables, and nuts make it into the Farm Bill under the category, “specialty foods”.

Another angle that just makes me angry are the ad jingles. Have you heard of “Got Milk” or “Where’s the Beef” or any of the 100s of other marketing slogans? These have been so successful that they are now accepted as truth. A quick look at recent studies show that drinking milk can actually remove calcium from the body and eating meat every day can cause serious health issues. I am really not sure how to help everyone break through the cloud of ad jingles that now hangs over us.

I guess the most important thing I to say is that eating a vegetarian diet is far superior in every way to any other diet on the planet. It is an undisputed fact based on health, nutrition, and scientific research. Heck, its even better for the environment, preventing pollution and helping to stop climate change. Even more, one could switch over to vegetarianism and spend less money of food while getting a perfect body. Again, these are undisputed facts, which often makes me stop and wonder why are so many avoiding this diet?

Even with that said I still eat some meat, because I’m a nearly vegetarian. I like eating meat and sometimes I crave it. Studies explain this through a vitamin called B-12 that is only found in animal products. We need just a bit of it every once in a while.

I think that neatly explains my diet. I eat a little bit of meat every once in a while. The rest of the time I love eating fruits, vegetables, and reap the wonderous health benefits they provide.

So why isn’t everyone else doing so?

photo by Manjith Kaini