Small Space Gardening

Container gardens are a great way to use a small space to grow your own vegetables.  When selecting what crops you will grow, consideration must be given to the amount of space More »

What’s Better Than Fresh Food? Fresh and Free Food!

Caleb Philips and Ethan Welty have launched an interactive map last month that identifies more than a half-million locations across the globe where fruits and veggies are free for the taking. The More »

Oh So Sweet Stevia!

Sweet, sweet stevia!  This natural, no calorie, sweetener sounds too good to be true. So, we’re very excited because we just planted some stevia plants in our raised bed garden and stevia More »

Radishes are Rad

One of the easiest and fastest growing vegetable is the radish.  We recommend planting in early spring so you can savor your harvest in about 4-6 weeks. Radish greens are also edible More »

Growing Hemp is Legal in Kentucky

As big fans of hemp for so many reasons but especially using it for an extremely nutritious food, we are so happy to see this moving forward.  Kentucky will be the first More »

 

Glean SLO

Glean SLO

We had an opportunity to support a worthy cause recently that helps support the local food pantries of San Luis Obispo County.

GleanSLO is a collaborative program of the San Luis Obispo Food Bank Coalition.  Their mission is to rescue (harvest) excess crops that cannot be harvested due to economics or weather conditions.  This is a win win situation for everyone involved; the volunteers can create partnerships and create harvesting events to support their community, the farmer’s excess produce goes to good use, and the food banks benefit from receiving the crops so that needy families are supported.  The program has recovered about 90,000 pounds of local, fresh produce over the last two years.

What Foods are Most Susceptible to Food Fraud? (Infograph)

Food Fraud

Just when you thought you knew what you were eating.  You do all your research, you check the back of the carton and still, you may have no idea.  This year there were 800 new cases of “food fraud” added to the national food fraud database.  That’s 60% more than last year!  You might think it’s complicated, processed food, with a thousand ingredients that are being reported, but it’s actually some of the most common food in our diets… milk, honey, olive oil and even tea.  Noooo, not the pure sanctity of tea!

DIY Dry Organic Herbs

Dry-herbs

We at Cambria Soup Company enjoy “do-it-yourself” projects because it allows you to appreciate the things that “magically” ens up in grocery stores today. So, rather than purchasing your next batch of dry organic herbs, perhaps you can try  making our own organic herbs at home.

Fortunately, drying your own organic herbs is easy.  Herbs have very little water content so you can start drying your herbs as soon as you buy or harvest them.  Your fresh dried herbs will also taste better because they will not have been stored on a shelf for several weeks (although you could do that too and they would still be fresher than the store bought version).

You can tell when your herbs are ready to be store when your herbs can easily crumble.  We recommend leaving some of the dried herbs whole to benefit from their essential oils and flavors.  Store in airtight jars and away from direct light or heat.

 

How the Monsanto Protection Act snuck into law

Good Seeds

Chalk it up to politics.  The Monsanto Protection Act has been signed into law by President Obama, which protects genetically modified seeds from litigation in the face of health risks.  How did it pass?

Our Friend Sorrel

Sorrel

We discovered sorrel a few years ago when we saw an organic variety at a local farm store and we planted it in our garden.  It is related to rhubarb and contains the same biological compounds that give it its tanginess.

The variety we grow is lemon raspberry and it so fresh and delicious it brightens any salad or other dish that calls for greens.  It is so hearty, it even weathered the recent frost here on the central coast.

If you add fresh shredded sorrel to a salad, it can replace the need for lemon or salad dressing.  When cooked, sorrel can be used in soups and sauces, even sorbet with fruit (strawberries would be good).

Gardening the Alternative Route

Garden

One of the great things about growing and using organic crops is not using pesticides and chemicals.  In our herb and vegetable garden we try to find alternative ways to control our little hungry pests.

We use natural homemade sprays  made with  garlic, cayenne, and vinegar. (Basically anything natural with potent aromas that can deter anything with an acute sense of smell.) We also use beneficial insects such as lady bugs for natural pest control.

To attract beneficial insects to your yard and (the hardest part) keep them there, you can also plant certain flowering plants and herbs.  Some of these include plants in the daisy family and herbs such as cilantro, dill, fennel, mint and parsley.

So next time you’re gardening, perhaps you can keep these alternative ways of pesticides in mind.

Winter’s Super Fruit: Cranberries

Cranberry Heart

A number of recent studies have shown that cranberries are packed with antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber and other nutrients.  Eating whole cranberries protects the cardiovascular system, the liver, and aids in digestion.  Over the past several years, an increasing number of mechanisms have been discovered that help explain the anti-cancer properties of cranberries.

Here are a few recipes using fresh cranberries that can included in your next meal…