July 2009

This past Saturday you may have noticed a few flats of sprouted purple & green spindly little stems for sale on the lagniappe table. Those tiny little sprouts were purple radish and arugula microgreens which are easy to grow, highly nutritious,  great flavor intensity and are always served raw either in salads or as garnish; think: steak with the side of horseradish sauce garnished with purple radish microgreens for that extra kick of both nutrition and flavor punch.

Microgreens are grown right here in city by Nature’s Greenhouse, off of Magazine St., which also grows sprouts, shouts, and is also a landscaping business. Microgreens are the smallest possible versions of  salad greens (arugula, spinach, etc.), Herbs (fennel), edible flowers (chrysanthemum), and leafy veggies (beets). For the best ways to use microgreens check Green Cuisine for what flavors work with your main dish.

To grow your own micro-garden or sprouts/shoots check out this site to get your grow on.

Recipe: Simple Pea Salad


Hollygrove Market & Farm is now selling a small but growing line of pastured meats available for purchase every Saturday. We have condensed some info borrowed the eatwild.com and a few magazines. Eatwild.com  is a national listserve of pastured meats. To be able to sell meats through their listserve you have to commit to their awesome set of guidelines as pledge to only provide an environment that produces healthy happy cows and eventually a tasty steak. Ethical meats is a new catch phrase flying around lately but really what it means is the standard of meat production before the 1940’s where livestock and their life cycle were dependant upon nature, namely, the cycle of grasses.

Part of food security besides providing access to healthy vine-ripened fresh fruits & veggies also means access to healthy pastured livestock who don’t spend their lives in confined feedlots or in a constant state of discomfort.

Listed below are a few points about pastured meats that will be featured in its entirety for the next newsletter on July 21st:

Definition:  animals that were raised outdoors. No feedlots, barns (on a full time regular basis), cages. No unnecessary antibiotics or growth hormones.

Pastured: currently no federal laws regulating labeling. Usually this means most in practices, which are the natural practices of 50 plus years ago, are to have pastured animals that are finished on grain after the grasses start to die back. Generally this method is beneficial for both land & animal.
•  Grass-Fed: is federally regulated and require that pastured animals be a on 100% diet of grass and other forage. No grain and must have “access to pasture.”
Why buy pastured meats?

Benefits for animals: healthy naturally pastured poultry, pork, or beef produces healthy meat. Pastured animals are less susceptible to disease and discomfort.  Humane slaughter by the ranchers themselves or small-independent facilities often means safer practices, which means less risk of food born illness. Most importantly it is nature on its own normal cycle.

Benefits for  environment: requires less fossil fuel to maintain healthy well-fed pastured animals. Well managed grazing removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as compared to feedlots, ungrazed pasture, & forestland.
Why? Proper waste/methane management through rotational grazing methods work because each rotation of cows to chickens and the animals’ excretion provides the perfect nutrient ratio to the grass, which maintains healthy soil. Feedlots compact as well as deplete the soil of nutrients & the land becomes unusable for development of almost any nature due to it is high level of surface water and soil toxins.

Benefits to Consumers:
Nutritional Value: pastured meats have been shown to fewer have bad fat and more good fats as compared to conventional. For example: a 3 oz filet of pastured beef has the same amount of omega-3’s as a 3 oz filet of fish.

They are also higher in antioxidants: vitamins C & E, as well as beta carotene; this includes all of other products that pastured animals produce such as: eggs, cheeses, butter, milk, & yogurt usually increase Omega-3, vitamin D, and have less cholesterol.

Recipe: Stuffed Peppers

Master Gardeners
of Greater New Orleans
Noon TO 4:30 P.M.
East Bank Regional Library – Napoleon Room
4747 W. Napoleon Avenue
Metairie, LA 70001
Learn how to garden in harmony with nature by practicing environmentally friendly and
sustainable gardening techniques appropriate for our New Orleans climate. Join LSU
AgCenter horticultural experts for an afternoon of learning about this popular trend in
home gardening. Sustainable Gardening Educator and Master Gardener, Anne Baker,
will lead a panel discussion following our speaker presentations.

Dan Gill “Edible Flowers” – Flowers are most often treasured for the beauty
they bring to our gardens and lives with their bright colors and fragrances. But,
flowers can also play a culinary role. Dan will cover a number of edible flowers
we can grow here, including information on growing and harvesting.

Dr. David Himelrick “The Edible Landscape” – Edible landscaping offers an
alternative to conventional residential landscapes that are designed solely for
ornamental purposes. Using food-producing plants in the residential landscape
combines fruit and nut trees, berry bushes, vegetables, herbs, edible flowers and
ornamental plants into aesthetically pleasing designs.

Dr. Dale Pollet “Beneficials: Who They Are and How They Function” – The
environmental concerns about pesticide misuse and the effectiveness of any kind
of control or management program hinge on correctly identifying the insect. Learn
how to identify beneficial insects and how they function in a pest management
system to help reduce pesticide use.
Admission is free. Registration is required.
To confirm your registration, please call 504-838-1170 or e-mail:
mggno@agcenter.lsu.edu with subject line “Symposium Registration.” Please provide
your name, address and e-mail when submitting your registration by phone or e-mail.
Our Mission: To increase the public’s love and knowledge of gardening and responsible
stewardship of the environment.
Master Gardeners of Greater New Orleans
Symposium on
Sustainable Gardening
Hosted by Master Gardeners of Greater New Orleans and LSU AgCenter

hand & vine.imgWhile the summer heats up to nearly unbearable levels there a few foodstuffs that produce heavily the hotter it becomes such as: okra, eggplant (to some extent), all types of mild to super hot peppers. The appearance of okra, eggplant, and peppers will be plentiful until the heat subsides. Tomatoes, corn, potatoes, & beans most certainly will disappear for a little while and reappear early in the fall giving us one last taste of summer before all things green appear during the winter months.

Lately the only thing green in the boxes have been the okra and a few sweet roasting peppers.  Okra is as essential to New Orleans as the 3:oo pm rains on a July afternoon. While there is some debate over where okra originated, most believe that had to started out growing on the Ethiopian highlands and no one is really quite sure how it arrived in India, the Middle East, & parts of the Mediterranean. Now that okra has been cultivated and traveled to the Caribbean, South America and eventually the United States around the 18th century one thing hasn’t changed — it has always been found in or as the main ingredient in soups. In India it is in a sweet curry with other savory spices, in the Middle East it may be served in gravy, and finally you can find it in the Caribbean to thicken soups that often are made with chicken or seafood.

Okra has been cultivated for centuries because of its abilities to adapt in harsh climates where it becomes prolific during the hottest, driest parts of the year. It is easily maintained and has a high nutritional content for Folate, Magnesium, Calcium and a bit of Vitamin C, therefore, it is food security and agriculturally sustainable.

In today’s economy it is hard to take the long view when buying fresh foods especially when the prices seem to have no limits. It’s hard too to want or even find the time to prepare fresh from scratch meals all time but the rewards are great in the long run. There several misconceptions that fresh produce is expensive especially at farmers’ market and through CSAs. One of the biggest misconceptions is the these models are not economically competitive which is not true when you think about how your dollar spent at the farmers’ market or a CSA goes directly to the farmer and helps your local economy and local foods to continue to flourish. There are the hidden costs of that can seem to make these type of models expensive, for example, access to new or unusual varieties might mean that you end up not getting a chance to use those items because its not always easy to figure out just what to do with heirloom tomatoes or a white eggplant. That’s where your farmers’ market & your CSA’s come in to help you make the best of your food budget buying directly from the farm means that you have access to a lexicon of recipes, growing tips if you’re the home gardener type, or you simply just have the chance to connect with the person who grows the food and feeds you. So it should come as no surprise that the American Farm Land Trust wants you to vote for your favorite farmers’ market. Everyday we lose hundreds of acres of land to urban developments and while the website doesn’t seem to have all the farmers’ markets you most certainly can add yours and vote for the future of food.

Recipe: Roasted Potato Summer Salad

Week 38 Produce: