Examining Fertility

No, no, this article has nothing to do with sex, reproductive issues, and human fertility (well, not human egg and sperm fertility, per se).

Fertile fields at  Birdsfoot Farm , Canton, NY

Fertile fields at Birdsfoot Farm, Canton, NY

What are these two farmers sitting and squatting on?

Come on, guess....

It is soil.  Fertile soil makes the world go round. Dirt is one of the earth's most precious resources, period.

How so you ask?

Read on my friend!

Fertile soil grows food that is intact, whole. I am always talking about how important it is to eat a 100% whole food diet. That whole food diet starts in whole soil; soil that is rich in nutrients and life, loamy, and fertile.

The fertility of the soil is the fertility of your body... and not just your reproductive fertility. Your body cells reproduce every day. Cellular health in reproducing vibrant, new cells is dependent on what feeds the parent cell. Read on for some soil and cell enhancing wisdom.

Soil is one of the foundations of all food, life, on this earth.

Healthy Soil = Healthy Food!

Soil + Sun + Water (and a seed or two!) = Food / Life!

Gratitude to: http://www.lappolis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Sun-Soil-Water.jpg

Gratitude to: http://www.lappolis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Sun-Soil-Water.jpg

 

When we pay attention to soil, maybe that plot of garden where we grow herbs or veggies, we see a microcosm that is teeming with life.  Healthy soil is a living, breathing, dynamic organism: sand, silt, clay, air, water, minerals and organic matter crawling with earthworms, moles, grubs, centipedes, millipedes, snails, slugs, beetles, ants, fungi, insect larvae, bacteria, mushrooms, and many other organisms and micro-organisms. The sum of the whole, all parts working in synergy, is a well-orchestrated symphony. Nature is truly poetry in motion and that very poetry is what contributes to the heath and wholesomeness of the food you eat.

Your food is only as healthy as the soil it grows in. Your animal based foods? Only as healthy as the soil supporting the plants that the animals are free-range grazing on.

Farmers who understand and live / work in harmony with this soil symphony are amazing people contributing to your whole health.

I have always loved dirt: playing in it, smelling it (dirt in your yard smells different than dirt in the woods...), smelling dirt after a warm summer rain. You know... when you go outside and all you smell is that damp, musky, wet dirt smell? That is a smell that always makes me smile.

Learn more about the dirt that grows your food.

Know your soil.

Know your farmer.

How does your farmer(s) interact with the soil they grow food in and on? Do they compost, rotate crops and animal in the fields, use cover crops to feed the soil... what are the soil nourishing habits your farmer uses to grow your food?

Rich soil, teeming with life and inorganic matter, grows food rich in vitamins, minerals, phyto-nutrients, and anti-oxidants. Get into your dirt. Study the dirt that supports your health and life! Find a farmer who makes soil care a top priority. (Consumer demand for good farmers, real farmers, will create better food, better soil, and a better world!) Thank your farmer for caring for the soil.

Please, share your dirt loving stories below!

Looking for some interesting reading on Dirt?  This is one of my favorite books. I read it when it first was published and it is a book I keep in my "loved" book collection.

The below kid's book on dirt was one of my favorites to read to my kids. Not sure they were so enamored with the life in our soil but I was!

 

 

Today... & Rethinking Winter Veggies

today

Rethinking Winter Veggies:

Here are two questioning comments I hear often around changing the diet to a whole food and seasonally based one:

  1. There are no vegetables that grow in Northern NY in the winter time. I have to purchase kale, cucumbers, tomatoes, and other vegetables that are grown in Florida and California. Otherwise, what would I eat?
  2. OK, so I am getting to know the local vegetables that are available in late fall and winter but what do I do with them?
My root veggie picture,     inspiring me from the kitchen wall!

My root veggie picture,

inspiring me from the kitchen wall!

A list of winter storage vegetables available in Northern NY:

  • cabbage: red and green
  • winter, hard squash (there are many varieties)
  • beets
  • carrots
  • turnips
  • rutabaga
  • celeriac
  • radish
  • salsify
  • burdock parsley root
  • parsnip
  • potato
  • onion
  • garlic

Farms and stores to purchase local (winter) vegetables in Northern NY: (I am certain this is not an all-inclusive list; investigate and find a farmer who grows good food near you!)

CSA Farms for Winter Veggies: (Again, not an all-inclusive list BUT to find more, go to www.gardenshare.com, Gardenshare's Local Food Guide and find a farmer near you who offers what you are looking for.)

 

OK, now for the cooking part. I am not going to put recipes here. I am more in favor of people learning to improvise in the kitchen: grab what you have and be creative based upon time honored methods of cooking and seasoning. Trust me, it is easy. Take a deep breath and just relax and let the cooking flow!

  1. Mashed potatoes are yummy! Try any of these root veggies in the mashed version, adding milk and butter. Try several root veggies steamed up and mashed together. Hint: When you steam, simmer, or boil the root veggie: use the least amount of water necessary and simmer gently. Maybe an inch of water in the pot, depending on the pot size and the amount of veggies. (Do not "rolling boil" them to death; it kills the flavor and the nutrients. As you boil off the nutrients you are boiling away the flavor!)  Pour the "simmer" water off into a coffee mug and drink it. There will be just a little bit of water left by conservatively adding water and simmering gently.
  2. Roast any or all of the root veggies. Chop into bite size chunks, coat with your favorite oil sturdy enough to handle the oven heat, and roast for 35-45 minutes. Stir every 10 to 15 minutes and stab with a fork after 30 to test for tenderness. You want to create crunchy, cooked veggies, not mushy veggies.
  3. Soups, stews, stir fries are always good options.
  4. Squash, well... it is squash, roast it up. Steam them if you are short on time. Oven roasting can take 1 hour or more, steaming takes 20 minutes. A butternut squash, raw, grates up nicely into a winter veggie slaw. Just add chucks of apples, maybe a few raisins, and an olive oil - apple cider vinegar dressing seasoned with cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and nutmeg.
  5. Cabbage is yummy in soups, stews, and stir fries. Saute' a pan of onions, potatoes, and cabbage and serve with your favorite protein.
  6. Make cabbage and grated root veggie slaws. (If you click that link back there, you will get one recipe from me! But... it is one I have given you many times!) This is my nightly favorite to add a "raw" salad to the winter meal fare: good fiber, good nutrients, and good enzymes from raw foods!

The above slaw is grated: red and green cabbage, celeriac, purple and orange carrots, and a Braeburn apple. The apple was so juicy I only added a bit of olive oil, a dash of cinnamon, and called it "dressed!"