Farm Fresh Foods throughout Florida

Archive for March, 2009

Farm Fresh Eggs

Friday, March 27th, 2009
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Written by Kenda Roberstson and Steve Moreau

Eggs are a nutrient powerhouse!  Better yet eggs from hens allowed to roam far and wide.  These types of eggs of course are becoming more available to us in the Orlando metro area.  As the demand increases so will the supply.  There is of course confusion with the terms so I below I wanted to give you some definitions:

Cage-Free: The idea here is that hens are allowed to move about unrestricted. However  this usually means that hundreds if not thousands of birds inside a building with artificial lights.  They can be feed the same genetically modified feed.  The same goes for organics cage free  except they get organic feed.   Hens should be out on grass, in natural sunlight, fighting for the bugs and other insects. Such an operation can happen here in Orlando with our sunshine year round.

Free-Range: This term is similar to the one above and the one most of us see in the local grocery store.  Like cage free, the USDA has no rules on what can be considered free-range or not.  It is presumed that free-range hens are allowed to roam outside, but that simply is a small fenced in area.  Again for truly free- range eggs seek out local farmers.

Pastured:  The is a very recent term and means the hens are allowed outside and forage on green grass, bugs  and supplemented with some feed.  The biggest dangers here are predators and farmers are always on the look out for them.  In the Florida sunshine these make some of the most nutrient dense foods available.

Farm eggs nutrients:

These are the nutrients  found in truly pastured eggs: Vitamin’s A,D and especially rich in the B vitamin choline.  The phyto-nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin have been found to be essential to prevent macular degeneration.  Finally, pastured eggs are excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids.

So remember in Orlando your local farmer is the bet source for local farm fresh eggs.

Local Food in Orlando

Saturday, March 21st, 2009

Written by Kenda Roberstson and Steve Moreau

As many of you might have already noticed, finding local sources of local farm fresh food is difficult.  The Orlando metro area, which once had thriving agricultural enterprises, instead is filled with urban sprawl.  Fortunately, the times are changing.  People in Orlando are searching high and low for free-range eggs, fresh milk, local organic produce, and much more.  Many have formed co-ops and bring in food from around the US.  While commendable, I’m of the opinion that we should support and source food from around Florida and Orlando as much as possible.  There some obvious obstacles of course, chief among them is the price of land.  Second we need suppliers of natural, non-toxic feed for the animals.  Third, we need laws to encourage the growth of local meat processing operations.  I do not mean the large slaughterhouses on an industrial scale but rather small mom and pop operations.  Smaller operations are easier to keep clean and you can build a personal relationship with them.  Can you imagine the return of your local butcher that offers grass-fed meat, lamb and truly pastured chickens?  So what can you do?  Buy local first.  Follow the 80-20 rule.  Try to buy a larger portion of your food locally and the remainder from conventional sources.  Second, write your local, state and federal representatives to make your voice heard.  In these economic troubles, buying locally will have an immediate positive impact.

Please visit these resources below to get started:

Click on Find Local Food


CLA- The good fat

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

Written by Kenda Roberstson and Steve Moreau

As we move in to the spring and summer months I thought a few words were needed about CLA.  What? You’ve not heard of this amazing fat?  CLA, or Conjugated linoleic acid, is a type of fat created by the bacteria in the digestive track of ruminant animals.  Research shows that it has significant anti-cancer properties and helps the body to lose weight and put on muscle. Yes you read that correctly!   Our obsession with the low-fat diet has caused us to overlook this particular nutrient and challenges conventional medicine notions of fat as dangerous.
Now here comes the good part.  Dr. Dhiman, a CLA researcher, has found cows who have grain as the predominant part of their diet (the kind whose beef and dairy you find in your grocery store) produce four times less CLA in their milk than cows eating their natural diet, rapidly growing green grass.  This also translated to the meat as well.
Perhaps we can start turning the corner on associating red meat with cancer and other ills and see it as a nutrient dense power house.  This is especially the case with Florida grass-fed beef, milk and butter.  Living in Orlando we can take advantage of the year round sunlight for our health needs.

Food Safety Bill and Florida Farm Foods

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

Written by Kenda Roberstson and Steve Moreau

HR 875, a food safety bill, has been introduced in Congress, and while a true need exists, this bill has real potential to limit your access to Florida farm foods.  As many of you are aware we have had a slew of food borne illness outbreaks.  This is all  the consequence of our industrial food system.  A food system that routinely keeps animals in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions.  A food system that in order to keep these animals alive uses  70% of all the antibiotics the US produces. We should not be surprised that these operations are the new breeding ground of mutating pathogens.  So what is the response to all these unsafe practices?…Do they proposed to curb antibiotic use? Perhaps regulators what to change the living conditions of these animals?  NO! The proposal is to institute far-reaching, potentially repressive laws that threaten your access to Florida farm foods.   Lets take a deeper look:

Definitions in Section 1, Section 3 of HR 875

CATEGORY 1 FOOD ESTABLISHMENT- The term `category 1 food establishment’ means a food establishment (other than a seafood processing establishment) that slaughters, for the purpose of producing food, animals that are not subject to inspection under the Federal Meat Inspection Act or poultry that are not subject to inspection under the Poultry Products Inspection Act. (This would include local  Florida farmers slaughtering for their families &/or friends & neighbors &/or those doing so at Farmer’s markets, etc. What they really mean is  “anyone not currently subject to inspection”….)

CATEGORY 3 FOOD ESTABLISHMENT- The term `category 3 food establishment’ means a food establishment (other than a category 1 or category 2 establishment) that processes cooked, pasteurized, or otherwise ready-to-eat seafood or other animal products, fresh produce in ready-to-eat raw form, or other products that pose a risk of hazardous contamination. They don’t say “sells”…only  “that processes…fresh produce in ready-to-eat raw form…” Once again this  would include those growing food for their own family’s consumption, food for consumption by their family &/or friends & neighbors, etc. as well as those selling at local farmer’s markets.)

Sec. 201 (a) (2) ensure that persons who produce, process, or distribute food meet their responsibility to prevent or minimize food safety hazards related to their products. (This is one of my favorites “…Persons?” Not companies, but “persons”…)

Raw milk, pastured eggs, local Florida beef, all these are in danger if our local small farmers are forced into this system.  They essentially would be priced out of the market.  I agree with greater oversight of the offenders and that is huge multinational big business.  So regulate the offenders not my local Florida farmers.  See the links below for more information:

Grass-fed foods growing popularity

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

Written by Kenda Roberstson and Steve Moreau

Americans are awakening to a grass-fed  foods like never before.   It’s growing popularity is due to it’s  nutritional profile.  Lets examine the benefits in depth:

Balanced Omega 3 to Omega 6:

Beef from animals grazing on grass have a very balanced nutritional profile.   New research  now concludes that we consume too much  Omega 6 oils which contribute to increased risks of modern degenerative diseases.  The industrial feed lot system feeds only grain to animals meant to eat grass and in so doing produces beef with a higher omega 6 to omega 3 ratio.  A balanced 1:1 ratio is ideal and the closer the better.  We now know that omega 3’s play a vital role in preventing heart disease, diabetes, arthritis  and the list goes on. Grass fed beef is shown to have 2-3 times more life saving omega 3’s than their grain fed counterparts.

Higher Levels of Vitamins:

These are the vitamins found in greater amount in grass fed animals Vitamins E, D.  New research is revealing the essential role each play in maintaining human health.  Vitamin E has earned it’s reputation as a powerful antioxidant.  This nutrient helps to prevent the inflammation that many researchers now believe to be the cause of our epidemic levels of “heart attacks”.  Vitamin D has gained much popularity as low blood levels are associated with increased risks of osteoporosis, prostate cancer and  multiple sclerosis.