Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Aromatherapy…The Which

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

If All Else Fails

grocery delivery

So what to do if your attempts at container gardening are an epic fail…or while you wait to see if the plants that you do plant actually turn out successful…or if you simply don’t want to go to the trouble of planting your own….or if you don’t have the space to even attempt to grow your own fruits and vegetables….or if you can’t make it to your farmer’s market’s Saturday-morning-only hours…or if you are looking for more variety than what you yourself would even attempt to grow.

Thankfully there are large-scale online organic grocery delivery services and subscription boxes that you can join that will deliver an assortment of organic fruits and veggies to your door to fill in these gaps by sending organic, all-natural produce and products right to your door.

What a convenience, right?!

The only problem perhaps with joining one of these subscriptions if that unfortunately you won’t be able to choose which fruits and vegetables you end up getting…(it’s their choice, not yours…so you can’t be picky)…

But here is a list of a few to consider…

 

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Boxed Greens

boxed greensGoal…to provide fresh fruits and vegetables from farms local to Phoenix, AZ

Options include…

  • The Essential Family…basic produce for four people
  • The Family Gourmand…same as The Essential Family, but comes with a few more unusual fruits or vegetables
  • The Juicemaker
  • The Breakfast Box…seasonal fruits and fresh granola

Reach…offers weekly delivery to Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale, Mesa, and other areas in Arizona…as well overnight delivery both to other areas in Arizone and  nationwide

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Door to Door Organics

door to door organics
Goal…to stock their boxes with pesticide-free produce primarily from local sources…even though they resort to getting produce from warmer climates and international organic farms during the winter months

Reach…several locations across the country, including Colorado, Kansas City, Chicago, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware

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Green Polka Dot Box

green polka dot

What…an online grocery store and buying collective that offers lower prices on brands such as Newman’s Own, Annie’s, Sprout, Tom’s of Maine, and more

Goal…to bring not only organic fruits and vegetables…but also other organic and natural products—including snacks, condiments, baking supplies, and more

How…either a $50-annual Club Membership or a $125-annual Rewards Membership

 

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SPUD-–Sustainable Produce Urban Delivery
spud logo
Reach…the northern West Coast: Seattle, San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles and Orange County, Vancouver, Van Island, and Calgary

 

How…you design your own Harvest Box by choosing…

  • how frequently you want to get groceries delivered
  • how much you want to spend
  • whether you want to buy local goods only…local goods over a variety of items…or variety over source
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urban organic logo
Reach…New York Tri-State area…imncluding New Jersey, Long Island, and Connecticut
Options…offers four box sizes, ranging from The Little Box to the Extra-Value Box
Contents…changes every week…but includes produce such as carrots, greens, broccoli, apples, tomatoes, grapefruit, and tangerines
Juicing Box…also offers a Juicing Box designed for DIY juice and smoothies…which comes with carrots, beets, parsely, celery, ginger, apples, pears, dark greens, and cucumbers

Groceries…also sells canned goods, baby food, sustainably-raised meat and household supplies such as organic cat food and cleaning spray

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Container Gardening…The Which

 

 

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Basil

 
Pistou basil

Basil is known for its tiny aromatic leaves and is great for outlining the perimeters of large planters.

There are over eighty varieties of basil available, but since I will be growing these in containers, I want to limit myself to the “miniature” types designed for small-scale gardens, such as the Pistou. the tiniest form of sweet basil.

I am looking forward to using fresh basil in pesto and salad dressings all summer long…(look for recipes)…

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Eggplant

 

Ping Tung Long eggplant from High Mowing Organic SeedsEggplants,, especially Oriental eggplants, are another good choice for pots and planters.

Among the different varieties of eggplant, the heirloom variety known as Gwenael Engelskirchen are the best eggplants are the best eggplants for container gardening, because this plant produces the most eggplants in the least amount of space.

If you are planning on growing these eggplants, you must first  start the  seed inside by either using some sory of grow light, such as one of these from Burpee or setting a seeding tray on top of the fridge…and then transplant to pots and planters when the weather gets warmer.

 

 

 

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Peppers

Black Hungarian pepperB

 

Hot peppers, such as Black Hungarian peppers or the Patio Fire peppers are a colorful addition for your container  garden.

This long-lasting plant, with its purple flowers and emerald-green foliage, is a fun addition to your garden because it is fun to watch the peppers start out green…and then turn to black…and finally turn out red.

You must also start these seeds indoors before transplanting them to pots and planters when warm weather arrives.

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Tomatoes

 

Cherry Cascade tomato

 

Cherry tomatoes, such as Cherry Cascade, can be grown in hanging baskets or containers without being so long or heavy that they reach low to the ground,

This fast-growing type of tomato grows from the size of a marble up to a golf ball.

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Mesclun Mixes

The word mesclun means miscellaneous greens, attributed to wild weeds once foraged by peasants in Europe to supplement their limited diets. Many of the mixtures found today are made up of quick-growing arugula and mustards, and are not ideal for containers. However, you can create your own container-friendly mesclun. Consider Italian endives and escaroles, which can be harvested leaf by leaf. Or, try purslane, which has unusual, succulent leaves that are high in omega 3 fatty acids. Seed companies offer mixes that are suited to the season, so you can start with a spring mix. After harvest, replant with a blend that can withstand summer heat, followed by a third planting of fall greens, such as cold-tolerant kale and collards.

Mesclun

 

Mesclun mixes, such as Wrinkled Crinkled Crumpled Cress and Purple Rapa Pop Mix, are yet another good choice.

Mesclum mix is a blend of assorted small young salad greens that may include any of the following…

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making a List…Checking It Twice

 

The D. Landreth Seed Company catalog

I hate shopping….and I hate spending alot of money not sure that it will be worth it or not.

And at this point in my gardening dreams, I want to be able to get as many creative ideas and as much inspiration as possible without spending a single penny that I don’t have to.

 

 

 

Plants can be expensive at your local nursery or greenhouse…

 

So I’m glad to learn that ordering seeds can make it cheaper to start your garden off with than plants I would be spending at least $10 per plant for if I were to buy them already sprouted.

 

Hopefully to get me inspired to seriously pursue this gardening thing that I’ve said that I would start now for how many decades of married life, I have just ordered seed catalogs from the following seed companies or bookmarked their websites for future reference…

 

 

 

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds…rareseeds.com.

 

Burpee & Co…burpee.com

 

John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds…kitchengardenseeds.com.

 

 

Johnny’s Selected Seeds…johnnyseeds.com

 

Kitazawa Seed Company…kitazawaseed.com

 

Park’s Seeds…parkseed.com

 

Seeds from Italy,..growitalian.com.

 

Tomato Grower’s Supply Co…tomatogrowers.com

 

Vermont Bean Seed Co…vermontbean.com

 

Wood Prairie Farm Maine Potato Catalog,..woodprairie.com.

 

 

 

If nothing else, I can simply spend quality couch time poring over these pages and websites…dreaming and debating over which vegetable and flower seeds to order

And if all else fails, I can resort to cutting out the pictures in the catalogs and laminating them and sticking the pictures in my garden with stakes…pretending that my garden was actually a success…and hoping for better luck next year.

Just like generations and generations of gardeners and garden wannabes have been doing for hundreds of years.

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Finding the Perfect Pot to Pea In

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Farmer Brown Went to Town

 

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Cream of the Crop…Fruit

Cherries

Even though organic cherries can be quite expensive, it’s important to that you buy organic cherries because cherries maintain an average of five pesticides, including iprodione, a chemical that may cause cancer.

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Grapes

Since grapes contain such high levels of pesticides, you should also assume that non-organic wine will expose you to these high levels of pesticides also…and not only that,organic wines contain fewer sulfites, chemical preservatives that can trigger asthma-like symptoms.

Because grapes tend to mold, attract insects and ripen too quickly,, farmers typically use pesticides on their grapes.

And because grapes are so simple to grab right out of the bag and munch on without taking the time to wash them, not only are you munching down on the grape, but also an average of five pesticides per grape.

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Nectarines

Nectarines are another fruit that you should always buy organic.

Nectarines, especially imported nectarines, contain a high level of contaminants. In fact, studies havce shown that about 94% of the nectarines in a given sample contained anywhere from two to fifteen different pesticides.

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Peaches

 

Peaches are known to contain high levels of pesticides….in fact more than 99% of non-organic peaches have been shown to contain detectable pesticide residues, typically of four different pesticides.

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Strawberries

Of all the fruits found in your local grocery store or farmers market, strawberrie are the most important fruit to buy in organic form…in fact, if you can’t find organic strawberries, don’t buy any at all.

This is because strawberries are probably the most pesticide-contaminated food out there.

The Environmental Working Group has found that over 99% of strawberries contain at least two or more pesticides…many of them containing up to forty different pesticides.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Organic or Not…Here I Come

While two of my main goals lately have been to start eating healthier and to stop eating so much processed food, I also don’t want to blow my budget.

And when looking at my budget, one of my major expenses is Groceries.

And as if I wasn’t already forking over enough money on groceries, now that we’re trying to get healthier, I’m expected to spend even more by buying only organic products, right?

 

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What does organic even mean?

We’ve all been taught that buying organic foods is important. Buying organic can protect you and your family from any pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides, toxins, antibiotics and other chemicals  used during the growing practices.

But what does “organic” really mean?

Although what’s considered “organic” varies from country to country, it’s typically required that In order for a food to be considered organic, it must be produced without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), sewage sludge and ionizing radiation.

 

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What does being classified as “organic” require?

Let’s look at a few of the requirements necessary for products to be  considered “certified organic.”

In order for animal products to be classified as organic, the animals cannot take antibiotics or growth hormones, must be fed only organic feed, must spend time outdoors and must have enough space to live comfortably.

Multi-ingredient foods, such as packaged and jarred foods, must contain 95% organic ingredients.

 

 

 

 

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But buying organic can be SO expensive.

Thankfully everything that you put into your cart doesn’t necessarily have to be organic.

There are foods that you should always buy “organic” and other foods you can save money on buying the other stuff.

And thankfully someone else has done this homework for you.

Each year the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization,..working with three organizations—the United States Department of Agriculture, the USDA’s Pesticide Testing Program, and the Food and Drug Administration…conducts tests to determine what are known as the “Clean Fifteen,” a list of the fifteen fruits and vegetables containing the least traces of pesticides, and the “Dirty Dozen,” a list of the twelve fruits and vegetables contain the most. These tests are known as the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.

 

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Let’s Go Shopping

Now that we know…thank goodness…that buying organic is not required all across the board…and that someone else has already compiled this list for you, let’s take a look at which items you absolutely should be buying organic and which items you can get by without going organic…so that you can prioritize your shopping and still have the peace of mind that you’re limiting your family’s pesticide exposure…. hopefully saving us all some green when buying our greens.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Great Advice for Buying Grapes

When shopping for grapes, there are three questions that you should ask yourself…

  • 1.  Are the grapes organic?
  • 2.  Are the grapes fully ripe? How can I tell?
  • 3.  What color are the grapes? What’s the difference?

 

 

 

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1.  Are the grapes organic?

One of my goals in adopting a healthier lifestyle and learning how to take care of my newly-diagnosed type 2 diabetic husband is has been to stop eating so much processed foods…

I am slowly realizing that paying the little bit more for organic produce is almost like paying for a more premium grade of gas whenever at the gas pump…you may not be able to tell the difference now…but once the differences start showing up, oh my, my!!!

Buying organic foods lessen your likelihood of exposure to contaminants—such as pesticides and heavy metals.

When shopping for produce and other products that are organic, look for the USDA organic logo.

 

 

 

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2.  Are the grapes fully ripe? How can I tell?

Fully ripened grapes taste the best and have the highest concentration of antioxidants. You can tell if grapes are fully ripe or not by checking to see if the grapes are…

  • firmly attached to a healthy looking stem
  • free from wrinkles
  • intact
  • not leaking juice
  • plump

 

 

 

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3.  What color are the grapes? What’s the difference?

The color of the grape is important for two reasons—first of all, the taste…and then, the antioxidant content.

As far as taste,

  • blue-black grapes are the least sweet…these grapes should be deep and rich in color
  • green grapes are medium sweet…look for green grapes that have a slight yellowish hue
  • red grapes are very sweet…these grapes should be mostly red
  • As far as antioxidants, choose red grapes.

Be sure that the area around the attachment is the same color as the rest of the grape.

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Baked Cod

Ever since my husband was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, I have tried not only to add antioxidants to our diet, but also choose foods that supposedly are diabetic-friendly.

The perfect baked cod is has a mild taste and is smothered with with the perfect amounts of butter and lemon juice,

 

 

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Ingredients

  • ¼C melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 4 slices lemon
  • 4 portions cod fish
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon basil

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Prepping to Cook

Preheat oven to 400. Lightly grease a baking dish.

 

 

 

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Seasoning the Fish

Combine melted butter, Parmesan, flour, garlic, basil,  onion powder, Dijon mustard, and lemon juice in a bowl.

In another bowl combine flour, spices, salt and pepper.
Pat fish fillet dry.

 

Dip fish in the lemon juice mixture…and then in the flour mixture.

Shake off excess flour.
Lay fish in prepared dish.
Top each piece of fish with a slice of lemon,

 

 

 

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Baking the Fish