Monday, September 24, 2012

SOL Food Festival

The 3rd Annual SOL Food Festival is one of the biggest events in Santa Barbara County supporting a seasonal, organic and local food culture. On Saturday, September 29th from 10-6pm come out and join the festivities as farmers, chefs, holistic practitioners, and health minded individuals make there way to this educational event.

The event is child friendly and will feature educational resources for your children to learn about farming and food as well. Locally owned restaurants will be serving their favorite dishes featuring fresh produce from local farms. There will be hands-on kitchen workshops, food demonstrations, lectures and more! Whether you can only briefly stop by or make a day out of it, this is an event that you don't want to miss.

You can be sure to find me browsing vendors all afternoon and then from 5-6pm I will be giving a lecture on Eating for Healing v. Eating for Health. While many don't realize there is even a difference between the two, I will give my personal story from sickness to health and teach on four different levels of eating I have learned about while studying at Bauman College.

Don't forget that your Saturday farmer's market will still be going on, conveniently located right next to SOL Food!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Farmer's Market: Tips and Tours

Farmer's Markets are growing all over country and are becoming increasingly popular. In a society where we have become so disconnected from our food, I find it's amazing that people are choosing to get right back to the source: the farm. Understanding food, where it comes from, how it's produced, and why it rightfully costs what it does is the start to changing how we not only eat but how we look at food in this country.

The farm is the foundation of food production and the effort that real farmers put into their work is to be greatly valued. Farmers who treat their animals with care and the soil with the respect it deserves are bringing back traditional practices and honoring the principles of sustainability. Without such practices, food won't exist as it does today for the generation of tomorrow. We are already suffering from a lack of this in the food brought to our tables today. The nutrient values of fruits and vegetables grown conventionally can be 40-60% less than that of organically grown vegetables.  An apple today has less than 40% of the Vitamin A it contained in the 60's while a serving of collard greens has lost more than 80% of the calcium it once contained. These are key nutrients that support our everyday health and keep our bodily systems functioning optimally. With effort, they can be restored but without they will only continue diminishing.

Don't assume that every vendor at your farmer's market is organic because often they are conventionally raising their crops using synthetic, chemical fertilizers and spraying with pesticides, herbicides or fungicides. Today more than 2.5 million tons of pesticides are applied to the major food crops in the United States. This is a tragedy for farming and for health. Always ask questions and most importantly get to know your farmer.

As a Nutrition Educator and farmer's market vendor myself, I understand the incredible value of local, organic and seasonal foods. One of my favorite services that I offer is a thorough  Farmer's Market Tour with tips and tricks for making it your choice for shopping. I provide a brief introduction to my favorite local farms and why I love them so much. I show my clients how to save money and shop on a budget while providing real food for a family. The tour is highly recommended for anyone who is interested in taking the next step in their health journey as the farmer's market is the best place to purchase your weekly produce and other food items. In Santa Barbara County we are lucky enough to have 8 markets, 6 days a week. There is a market for everyone's busy schedule.

There is hidden joy in coming back to the farm, to food from its closest source. Cooking becomes an adventure as you try new foods and recommendations from your local farmer. Eating becomes exciting when you understand the work that went into the meal you're enjoying, when you know your every dollar was well spent. The Farmer's Market is invaluable to me and my practices in restoring health to the family and the community. Please contact me at for more information on my tours and how they might benefit you and your family. You can also read more about this topic on my Wholesome Shopping page.
Photo Courtesy of Israel Cohen

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Fermented Salsa

Why ferment salsa? Because it's easy as ever and you get tons of gut-friendly probiotics! These healthy bacteria fuel your immune system and I can not emphasize enough how important they are to have daily! Learn more about cultured and fermented foods here. Fermenting your salsa will also create an abundance of B vitamins and Vitamin C. B vitamins are necessary for proper cell metabolism while Vitamin C is the one of the most potent antioxidants whose job is to protect your body from disease! Who would ever eat regular salsa again?

All you need is salsa, plus a starter culture, a clean mason jar, warm weather and three days later you can enjoy this delicious and remarkably healthy condiment. Salsa is easy enough to make yourself but you could purchase a high quality, fresh salsa and simply add your starter. My recommendation: purchase some ripe, juicy, heirloom tomatoes from your local farmer's market and whip up your own salsa creation! Add spicy, sweet or mild peppers, onions, garlic, lemons or lime, plenty of cilantro, and even corn.

There are couple options for starter cultures. I chose to use some juice from my home-made sauerkraut. Store bought sauerkraut will most likely either be pasteurized or have been sitting too long to contain healthy enough live bacteria to ferment the salsa, unless of course you know your getting it from a reliable source. You can use whey as well which makes this a lacto-fermented salsa or you can use a purchased vegetable culture packet.

5-7 medium tomatoes
1 green bell pepper
1/2 sweet onion
1 bunch cilantro
2-4 cloves garlic
1 lime
sea salt
starter culture
Step 1: Cut tomatoes, bell pepper, onion and garlic into large chunks.
Step 2: Remove cilantro leaves from stems. Discard stems and chop cilantro.
Step 3: Add to a food processor with the juice from the lime.
Step 4: Blend to your desired preference and sea salt to your taste. I left mine somewhat chunky like pico de gallo.
Step 5: Add your starter culture and mix thoroughly. If you're using juice from sauerkraut 1-2T is good. If you're using whey 1/2C is good. Use directions on your starter culture packet if choosing that option.
Step 6: Pour into clean mason jars. This recipe will make about 1 quart give or take. I divided mine into two 16oz mason jars. Close the lids on tightly and leave sitting at room temperature for 2-3 days.

Do I even need to suggest ways to enjoy this salsa? Trust me, make a couple batches.