Category Archives: Organic

Sustainable Farming for a Better Future

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What does “sustainable farming” mean to you? If you think of protection of the environment and conservation efforts when considering “sustainability”, you are on the right track.

Organic sustainable farming represents the “true” cost of production by considering all environmental factors. Sustainable agriculture techniques such as conservation tillage, crop rotation, and organic fertilization help to protect and enrich our ecosystems. By increasing the health of our environment, not only are we able to generate healthier food but we ultimately help the health of all living things. Continue reading Sustainable Farming for a Better Future

Why is Eating Seasonal Produce Important for You and Your Health?


Last week on the blog, we talked about what’s in season for fall. Foods like Artichokes, Delicata Squash, Muscadines, Pomegranates, and other fall varieties are what you should be shopping for! Learn more about seasonal picks for fall here.

Why should we make the conscious choice to only choose seasonal foods? According to scientists, researchers, and natural health experts, it is important to eat with the cycles of nature and only consume food that was grown at the time you are eating it. Eating seasonally is not only better for your health, it also promotes balance with both the earth’s resources and its life forms. The changing of the seasons is a source of natural diversity that should be embraced rather than combated.

Because of modern agriculture and food processing techniques, most foods are available year round. We forget that food availability changes with the seasons. So even though technology makes it possible for us to eat tomatoes in the dead of winter, that doesn’t mean we should do it. Modern food practices that do not follow the USDA’s guidelines for organic farming cause damage to our environment and communities. Eating organic is just as important as eating seasonally and they often go hand in hand. Learn more about the importance of choosing organic here.

What does research say?

According to research studies, nutrient content changes in foods depending on which seasons they were produced in. For example, in a study conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food  in London, England researchers found that nutrient content was different in milk harvested in the summer versus winter. Because of the change in the cow’s diet to less fresh plants in the summer, these cows produced nutritionally different milks.  Japanese researchers also found tremendous differences in the nutritional content of spinach harvested in summer versus winter. x

In order to preserve foods that are out of season, these produce items are often covered in pesticides, waxes, and preservatives in order to maintain their fresh appearance. Who wants to put that in their bodies? Science has shown that pesticides and preservatives are detrimental for our health. Also, the longer produce sits on the shelves, the more nutrients and antioxidants they seem to lose. According to research from the University of California, Davis, spinach and green beans lose two-thirds of their vitamin C within a week of harvest. Pair long transport times and sitting on the grocery store shelves and who knows how nutrient dense your produce really is.

By choosing organic seasonal foods, you are guaranteed to have food that was 1) grown closer to you so it doesn’t spoil during transport 2) harvested at the peak of freshness to ensure dense nutrient content and 3) sold during its season, before it spoils or is forced to undergo unnatural preservative processes. Seasonal fruits and vegetables retain more nutrients than their counterparts making them the better choice for your health.

Other benefits of eating seasonally:

  • Supports our local farmers who choose to farm sustainably.
  • Preserves the environment.
  • You have a broader variety of foods in your diet.
  • Saves your wallet! Seasonal foods are cheaper to produce and often cheaper to buy when they are in season as well.
  • You get the best, healthiest food available!

Eating foods that aren’t seasonal is a recent practice and although convenient, it has many downsides. Once upon a time, people only ate seasonally as this way of farming was their only way to survive. Choosing seasonal foods, even if we did not grow them ourselves, helps us reconnect with nature’s natural rhythms. So enjoy your summer peaches while you can! Soon it will be time for the abundance of hearty fall and winter picks that we all love.

Check out our fall seasonal produce guide.

What’s your favorite season to eat in? Please share your seasonal favorites in the comments below!


Check out our website to browse our selection of Certified Organic fall produce as well as pastured meats, coffee, tea, prepared foods, and more! www.naturesgardenexpress.com

If you have any  questions, please contact our customer service department. Office hours are Monday-Friday from 8:00am – 5:00pm and you can reach us at (770) 441-9976. We would love to hear from you!

Seasonal Fall Produce Picks

As the scorching Georgia summer comes to a close, we welcome cool weather, falling leaves, and fall produce. Although we are sad to see summer favorites like tomatoes and peaches dwindle, the changing autumn weather brings a new assortment of fruits and vegetables for us to enjoy.  Here are a few of our fall favorites that are already or will be available for delivery in the coming weeks: Continue reading Seasonal Fall Produce Picks

August 22nd Marks National Honey Bee Day

PHOTOGRAPH BY SCOTT LESLIE, MINDEN PICTURES/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

August 22nd, 2015 marks the day where bee keepers across the nation celebrate our mighty pollinating friends, Honey Bees! This national awareness day began as a grassroots movement to educate the public about the beekeeping community and business.

The 2015 National Honey Bee Day theme, “Ban Ignorance, not Honey Bees” is closely connected with the core value of NHBD: educating the public about beekeeping and helping people understand the importance and contributions that honey bees provide.

According to the NHBD website, there are many areas across the nation with prohibitive or outright bans on beekeeping. In the last few years, massive deaths of honey bee hives have been documented throughout the news. Because of certain farming practices that disturb natural habitats and forage that bees love, Honey Bees are in danger of completely disappearing from our environment.  

Many hive deaths have been caused by various parasites and it is only the treatment and care provided by beekeepers that is keeping colonies live. The majority of wild honey bee colonies have died out as a result of these diseases. Other foes bees face are caused by unsustainable agricultural practices, a direct consequence of human greed. Without bees, 1/3 of the food we eat would not be available. Pollination by bees is crucial for genetic sustainability and the continuation of organic agriculture and even backyard gardens.

Here is a great video that explains why bee populations are struggling.

How can you help our dear Honey Bee friends?

If you are interested in keeping bees yourself, check the local ordinances of your city to see if you are allowed to have hives. If your city does not permit beekeeping, join your nearest association and fight to make hives legal in your township!

Beekeepers are not just vital for large scale food production. Backyard beekeepers are vital for neighborhood pollination. And your local ecosystem of food production for wild animals and birds is dependent on this same pollination. Beekeepers fill the void with their honey bees. It is that simple.” ×

The Birds and the Bees As bees visit flowers to collect food, pollen from one flower sticks to the hairs on the bee’s body, and gets left behind at the next flower. This helps the plants reproduce. PHOTOGRAPH BY ANAND VARMA, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

You can also help the local wild bee populations by planting a variety of flowers. Here are a few that the bees seem to love:

  • Herbs: Lavender, Catmint, Sage, Cilantro, Thyme, Fennel, Borage
  • Perennials: Crocus, Buttercup, Aster, Hollyhocks, Anemone, Snowdrops, Geranium
  • Annuals: Calendula, Sweet Asylum, Poppy, Sunflower, Zinnia, Cleome, Heliotrope

Supporting local honey companies who are working hard to save our friendly pollinators is also a big help to the cause! We really love Hometown Honey and Georgia Honey Farm – you can find their products for sale on our website here. Eating local honey also has protective effects against allergies and helps boost overall health. Protecting honey bees is imperative to maintaining our food supply and even preserving our species.

To learn more about how you can help save the bees, please visit the National Honey Bee Day website here.

Save the Bees!

Cold-Pressed Juice Benefits + Meet the Team!

Last week we debuted our 100% Raw Organic Cold-Pressed Juice line and touched on the benefits of juice and the cold-pressed method.To read more, please click here.

For the last year, we have worked hard to create a flavorful, nutrient packed and consciously crafted line of cold-pressed juice using 100% organically grown fruits, vegetables and super-foods. Our goal was to come up with fresh and delicious flavor combinations that were nutritionally balanced.

With ten unique combinations, there is something for everyone! If you are just getting into juice, we highly recommend Greens with Benefits. This immune boosting and anti-inflammatory green juice is rich with vitamins and minerals. Apples offer a touch a sweetness while ginger gives it that extra zing.

If you’re looking for something a little sweeter, reach for Ruby Rose , Sourface Lemon, or Walter Melōne. These summer thirst quenchers are high in Vitamin C as well as beneficial antioxidants. All three juices also aid in digestion, boost the immune system, and help cleanse the body. We really love Sourface Lemon’s powerful punch of citrus that mellows into the calming taste of white mango pear green tea and finishes with a hint of mint. 

All of our juices have been designed to help you achieve optimum health! Below are their basic benefits:

Beet It: Rich in Vitamins & Minerals | Increases mood, mental clarity & alertness | Alkalizing & Cleansing | Anti-Inflammatory, Aids Digestion, Immune Boosting
Sunrise Supreme: High in Vitamin C & A | Anti-Inflammatory Tonic | Cancer Fighting | Feel-good Immune Booster
Sourface Lemon: High in Vitamins | Immune Booster | Anti-Bacterial | Aids Digestion
Piña Verde: Cooling | Alkalizing | High in Vitamin C, A, B | Enhances Weight Loss
Plant Powerful: Anti-Inflammatory | Rich in Antioxidants | Cooling & Alkalizing | Detoxifying
Greens with Benefits: Detoxifying | Alkalizing | Immune Boosting | Aids Digestion | Anti-Inflammatory
Cabbage Head: Anti-Inflammatory | Aids Digestion | Antioxidant | High in Vitamin C, A, Folic Acid & More
Walter Melōne: Vitamin & Mineral Rich | Immune Boosting | Antioxidants | Hydrating
Ruby Rose: Vitamin & Mineral Rich | Immune Booster | Aids in Healthy Digestion | Mood Enhancer | Respiratory System Tonic | Cleansing
Slightly Nuts:  Heart-Healthy | Vitamin & Mineral Rich | Mood-Boosting | Full of Satisfying Proteins + Fats

In the next few weeks, we will go into each juice’s nutritional profile and health benefits in depth. Stay tuned! All of our raw, cold pressed, organic juices are now available for online ordering! There are a variety of sizes and flavors that can be found under Beverages. Or try any combination with one of our Value Packs.

Welcome to the Juice Kitchen

JuiceBoys
From left to right, Tyler Persons, Michael Kirk – Founder of NGE, Scott Frishman – Founder of NGE, Chris Brooker – Juice Production Manager.

Meet the most important member of our team: our Goodnature X1. This cold-press juicer sets the standard for commercial juicers and produces the smoothest, tastiest juice possible. The X1 is a true hydraulic juice press that is able to produce up to 40 gallons per hour!

In order to make juice, the X1 uses a blade to titrate fruits and vegetables, breaking up the fibers into pulp so juice can be extracted. The pulp falls into a bag which is then squeezed by the hydraulic press resulting in perfectly fresh, vibrant, nutrient rich cold-pressed juice.

Team member Tyler is pictured above operating the X1 through all stages of juice preparation. Outside of the juice kitchen, Tyler enjoys DJ-ing and culinary arts. He feels that the best part of working here at NGE is the great people and access to great food! His favorite juice is one of our newest additions, Ruby Rose. Check out a video of Tyler pressing some fresh red cabbage juice below:

After we have pressed all of the fruits and vegetables through the X1, it’s time for Chris to work his magic with mixing. After all of our flavors have been combined, our juices are bottled and ready for you to drink!

Chris Booker has been with Nature’s Garden Express for the last year as Production Manager for our Cold-Pressed Juice Line. He is passionate about health and wellness, a master juice mixologist, and innovator in the kitchen as well as an accomplished musician and audio engineer. Chris loves to sip on Plant Powerful in between juice batches to keep him alert and fueled with energy.

Check out all of our juices online and try one in your next box! Let us know which flavors are you favorites and subscribe to the blog for more exciting news about Cold-Pressed by Nature’s Garden Express.

Drink Juice, Be Happy!

Have any questions? Please contact us at info@naturesgardencoldpressed.com or visitnaturesgardenexpress.com!

Nature’s Garden Now Offers 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Juices!

Nature's Garden Express Juices

For the last year, we have worked hard to create a flavorful, nutrient packed and consciously crafted line of cold-pressed juice using 100% organically grown fruits, vegetables and super-foods. Our goal was to come up with fresh and delicious flavor combinations that were nutritionally balanced.

You can now add our raw, cold pressed, organic juices to your delivery order! There are a variety of sizes and flavors that can be found under Beverages. Or try any combination with one of our Value Packs!

Our 100% Organic, Raw, Cold-Pressed Juice Flavors:

Beet It: Beet, Apple, Lemon, Celery, Kale, Spinach, Ginkgo Biloba
Sunrise Supreme: Orange, Carrot, Mint, Cherry, Turmeric, Lemon
Sourface Lemon: White Mango Pear Tea, Mint, Agave Nectar, Lemon, Orange
Piña Verde: Pineapple, Cucumber, Jalapeno, Lime, Granny Smith Apple, Cilantro
Plant Powerful: Cucumber, Spinach, Yellow Pepper, Aloe, Parsley, Apple, Celery, Alfalfa, Romaine, Lemon
Greens with Benefits: Kale, Lemon, Ginger, Apple, Honey, Spinach
Cabbage Head: Blueberries, Cabbage, Pineapple, Lime
Walter Melōne: Watermelon, Blueberries, Mint, Lemon
Ruby Rose: Grapefruit, Apple, Fennel, Rosemary, Lemon

What does Cold-Pressed mean?

Cold-pressed refers to the juicing method we use and literally means pressed while cold. Most traditional juices are made with a centrifugal juicer which applies friction, heat and oxidation to the produce leading to a lower nutrient content. It has been proven that heat damages nutrients and vital enzymes naturally occurring in fruits and vegetables…these nutrients and enzymes are the whole reason we want to drink juice!

Cold-pressed juicers use a blade that titrates the fruits and vegetables, breaking up the fibers into pulp so the juice can easily be extracted. This pulp falls into a finely woven bag which is squeezed by a powerful press. Every last drop is squeezed out of the pulp with this press, making this the least wasteful juicing method! Because the juice is never heated, the quality of the nutrients, amino acids, phytonutrients, trace minerals, and enzymes remain completely intact.

The Bottom Line: Cold-Pressed juice is hands down the highest quality, most nutrient dense, pristine, and flavorful juice known to man! 

Drink Juice Be Happy

Nature’s Garden Cold-Pressed, 100% Organic juices are some of the healthiest you can buy, and reflect our unwavering values towards health, community and sustainability.

Sit back and enjoy some happiness in a bottle!


Our Juices are also Available at:

 

Morningside Farmer’s Market
1393 N. Highland Ave
Atlanta, GA 30306
Every Saturday Morning Year Round
7:30am – 11:30am

Grant Park Farmer’s Market
Located in Grant Park at the corner of
Cherokee Ave. & Milledge Ave.
Every Sunday through December 20th
9:30am – 1:30pm

Alpharetta Farmer’s Market
2 S Main St.
Alpharetta, GA 30009
Saturdays 8:30am-1:00pm

We will also be opening a retail space in Krog Street Market towards the end of summer. Our shop will feature a juice bar with wheatgrass shots, smoothies, and juices as well as other artisanal goods and a CSA pickup location. For more information, check out this blog post! Please subscribe on the right hand side of this page to receive more updates on our juice line, recipes, news, and more.


Have any questions? Please contact us at info@naturesgardencoldpressed.com or visit naturesgardenexpress.com!

Easter Aches: Alternatives for Allergy Sufferers

Image Source: NY Daily News / Andrew Schwartz
Image Source: NY Daily News / Andrew Schwartz

Don’t let food allergies ruin you Easter festivities. Whether you are the host or the one who suffers from allergies, you’ll be glad you stumbled upon this article for ways to avoid your celebration being ruined. There are plenty of sweet treats for those with gluten, dairy, nut and food dye intolerances without losing any of the taste.

All it takes is a little planning to make sure you have the goods on hand a head of time. Did you know there are so many gluten free dessert options now? You can get them in the form of macarons, marshmallow chicks and more. It just takes a bit of research. Go nuts with nut-free Easter egg-shaped sugar cookies or get your faux chocolate fix with a vegan peanut butter Easter bunny. If you are the host, you can ask your guests ahead of time if they have allergies, but it is always a good idea to keep some of these items (especially gluten-free) on hand in case someone shows up with a plus one who has allergies.

If you are a guest with allergies, it isn’t impolite to show up with your own cookies, or dessert if you know you have a food allergy. Just make sure to let the host know why you aren’t having any of the cake she slaved away to make.

Food allergies affect nearly 15 million Americans according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and that number is on the rise. “Everyone knows the anticipation and pure bliss of digging through your Easter basket, but what if you were allergic to sugar, dairy or even chocolate? It wouldn’t make for a very festive holiday,” says Jodi Feinhor-Dennis, who started a confection company which specializes in dairy-free goodies that feature tasty flavor combinations from a mix of ingredients like coconut, almond, sea salt, mint lime and vanilla chai.

Happy Easter!

Podcast on Gluten-Free Eating

We discovered a terrific podcast that discusses the Gluten Free lifestyle from someone who actually suffers from Celiac disease, not someone who eats Gluten Free as a choice. Jennifer Harris who has been diagnosed with celiac disease for many years, is a gluten-free writer and consultant. In this podcast she discusses her journey to discovering she had celiac disease and the lifestyle changes she’s made.

Some of the other topics covered on this podcast are:

  • Being a niche food writer at media events
  • How do those who suffer from celiac disease feel about those who choose to eat gluten free as a fad diet
  • How the restaurant industry responds to those with celiac disease
  • How to find gluten free dining options when you are traveling

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Heritage Turkeys for Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we’ve got you covered with wild Heritage turkeys from Darby Farms. The pasture raised birds are given no antibiotics or hormones and naturally reproduce unlike their commercially produced counterparts. Which one do you think tastes better?

Today, over 99% of turkeys sold in the stores are the breed known as ‘Broad Breasted Whites’.  They were developed by large-scale commercial turkey farmers in the mid-1900’s, for the purpose of converting the minimum amount of feed into the maximum amount of white breast meat, in the shortest possible amount of time.

Broad Breasted Whites are not considered sustainable for many reasons.  Due to their breeding, diet, and the common practice of raising them crowded indoors, they are very susceptible to disease.  They actually need to be raised inside, because they can’t fly, and most are unable to even walk due to their disproportional breast size.  Broad Breasted Whites are also unable to reproduce on their own, so must be bread by artificial insemination.  The typical life cycle of a conventionally raised Broad Breasted White Turkey is only 16 weeks.

are historic wild breeds, that have now become almost extinct.  To be considered a heritage breed they must be able to naturally reproduce, have a slow to moderate growth rate (by feeding naturally on their own outdoors), and have a long and productive lifespan.  Heritage birds are all natural, given no antibiotics, and contain no additives, flavorings, or preservatives during packaging.  While heritage turkey breeds are generally smaller than commercial breeds, they are extremely beautiful birds and are also considered a healthier meat due to them being pasture raised. Heritage breeds of turkey have a higher level of omega 3 fatty acids which helps reduce the risk of heart diseases.  AND… experts around the world agree, they simply taste better!

are historic wild breeds, that have now become almost extinct.  To be considered a heritage breed they must be able to naturally reproduce, have a slow to moderate growth rate (by feeding naturally on their own outdoors), and have a long and productive lifespan.  Heritage birds are all natural, given no antibiotics, and contain no additives, flavorings, or preservatives during packaging.  While heritage turkey breeds are generally smaller than commercial breeds, they are extremely beautiful birds and are also considered a healthier meat due to them being pasture raised. Heritage breeds of turkey have a higher level of omega 3 fatty acids which helps reduce the risk of heart diseases.  AND… experts around the world agree, they simply taste better!

Heritage Turkeys are historic wild breeds, that have now become almost extinct.  To be considered a heritage breed they must be able to naturally reproduce, have a slow to moderate growth rate (by feeding naturally on their own outdoors), and have a long and productive lifespan.  Heritage birds are all natural, given no antibiotics, and contain no additives, flavorings, or preservatives during packaging.  While heritage turkey breeds are generally smaller than commercial breeds, they are extremely beautiful birds and are also considered a healthier meat due to them being pasture raised. Heritage breeds of turkey have a higher level of omega 3 fatty acids which helps reduce the risk of heart diseases.  AND… experts around the world agree, they simply taste better!

Darby Farms Turkeys

 

Cooking Heritage Turkeys

The differences in the way these birds are bred, raised, and processed results in some differences in cooking them.  Their smaller breasts create a better balance between the dark and white meat, which means roasting a bird to perfection can be much easier.  But be careful not to overcook and dry out the smaller breasts.  Faster cooking at higher temperatures is a preferred method over slow roasting.  Heritage birds are also allowed to reach a mature age, which allows them to to grow their natural subcutaneous fat layer, resulting in a self-basting property.

It is recommended to cook heritage turkeys at 425-450 degrees F until the internal temperature reaches 140-150 degrees F.  Butter or oil can be added under the breast skin to add flavor and moisture during roasting.

Heritage Turkeys from Darby Farms in Good Hope, GA can be found under Pastured Poultry! Which Turkey would you rather serve your Thanksgiving guests – a commercially processed turkey full or preservatives or an all natural Heritage turkey? Add one to  your order today!

A Toast to Tofu

As a meat eater, for years I turned up my nose to Tofu, before I’d ever tried it. Now that I’m older and wiser, I find tofu to be quite appealing. It isn’t something I would eat each day, but I find the texture likable and as far as the flavor, if you’ve never tried it, tofu is very malleable. By that, I mean, it acts like a sponge absorbing the flavor of anything added to it.

Tofu makes a great choice for curries or any sauce heavy dishes. But did you know you can also substitute tofu for cream or even eggs in some recipes?

Here’s some recipes we love courtesy of Shape Magazine:

Tofu Lasagne

Ingredients:
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 package (12.3 ounces) firm tofu, drained and crumbled
2 cups spinach
1/2 cup fresh basil
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 cup tomato sauce
1 eggplant, sliced length-wise very thinly
1 zucchini, sliced length-wise very thinly
1 package (16 ounces) lasagna noodles
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella vegan cheese

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour a thin layer of vegetable broth into a pan over medium heat (the entire time you cook tofu mixture, add broth as needed as it evaporates; you may not use the entire cup). Add onion and garlic and saute until onion is a bit transparent, about 5 minutes. Add Italian seasoning and tofu and cook for 5 minutes. Mix in spinach, basil, and nutritional yeast and cook another 5 minutes.
2. Pour a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of two loaf pans. Layer eggplant, zucchini, uncooked pasta, and tofu mixture. Starting with the sauce, repeat these layers again and top with vegan cheese. Cover dishes with tin foil and bake for 70 minutes. Let cool at least for 10 to 20 minutes before serving.

Pumpkin Mousse
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 can (14 ounces) organic pureed pumpkin
1 package (12.3 ounces) firm tofu, drained
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Granola (optional)

Directions:
Place all ingredients except granola in a blender and mix on high until everything is completely blended and smooth. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Serve sprinkled with your favorite granola, if desired.

Tip: Sometimes you’ll see recipes that require you to drain the tofu. To do this, place the block between two large plates and set a heavy pot top on the top plate and allow the liquid to drain for at least an hour.

Nature’s Garden has a full line of meat alternatives. Besides tofu, we have a line of veggie burgers as well as vegetarian sausages. Try them today and see how they compare to other meat alternatives you’ve tried in the past.