Saturday, January 30, 2010

Fantastic News From Target !

I'm really excited about this. Seems that national retailer Target will only be selling Alaskan caught wild salmon in it's stores. From The Daily Green:
This announcement includes Target-owned brands -- Archer Farms and Market Pantry -- as well as national brands. According to a press release, all salmon sold under Target-owned brands will now be wild-caught Alaskan salmon. Sushi featuring farm-raised salmon will be wild-caught salmon by the end of 2010. "In consultation with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Target is taking this important step to ensure that its salmon offerings are sourced in a sustainable way that helps to preserve abundance, species health and doesn't harm local habitats," according to the release.
This is awesome news. There are many environmental pitfalls to farming salmon, as well as damage it may do to your body. In a 2004 issue of Science Journal it stated that farmed salmon contains 10 times the PCBs than Alaskan salmon. PCBs are stored in the fat of the salmon and farmed salmon tend to be fatter. In case you don't know, PCBs (Polychlorinated biphenyls) used to be used as coolants and insulation fluids but were banned in 1979. Their effects on humans can range from Cancer, as well as a myriad of other negative health effects. Here is a link to the EPA's website discussing the heath effects of PCBs. And if this wasn't a good enough reason to shun farmed salmon, try the environmental effects. More from The Daily Green:
Many salmon farms have earned criticism for damaging fragile coastal areas, polluting waterways with waste and antibiotics and spreading parasites to native fish. Penned salmon also frequently escape, where they breed with wild populations and dilute their genes
Wild caught salmon also is better for you. There are more Omega-3's in wild salmon due to it's diet. Salmon is naturally red because of the crustaceans or other fish with small crustaceans in their digestive system that salmon eat. These crustaceans contain carotenoids which contain these Omega 3's. You are what you eat and so is the salmon. However, farmed salmon eat fish meal that have carotenoids added which dyes the fish red. Yummy.
So great job Target! Keep on going and prove that big business and environmental stewardship don't have to be mutually exclusive.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Top 12 Least Ethical Companies (Guess who is number 1?)

This week, the Swiss research firm Covalence released its annual ranking of the overall ethical performance of multinational corporations. Take a guess who is number 1.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

And Even More Rounds...

Pollan on Oprah

Michael Pollan Making the Rounds

Michael Pollan, offer of Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food, has a new book out - Food Rules. It's more of a handbook than an actual book with tips to help you and your family eat "Real Food" as opposed to the laboratory created crap that lines the shelves of your local super market. Most of the book is just one page tips that can be easily committed to memory for the next time you find yourself in the market, wondering what to buy. With so much conflicting information out there concerning what you should eat and what you shouldn't, Pollan breaks it down to it's simplest form. I actually purchased the book yesterday and have been plowing through it and will be sharing some of the tips with you all periodically. Here is Michael Pollan on Good Morning America promoting his latest work of food genius.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

It's Been A While

Howdy out there in Philly Food Feed land. Should I say, what's left of you. I have been really really lazy lately and well, I guess it is less lazy and more due to circumstances. I recently broke my leg going down some steps and when I went to the hospital and found out I suffer from Type 2 Diabetes. Hoorah! Years of the Industrial food chain have caught up with me! Well, probably not just that but it wouldn't be the Philly Food Feed without the rantings of the left-wing foodie. So now I sit, two incomes become one, I can't walk, and I have to begin monitoring my blood sugar and pay attention to what I eat more closely.

So now with all that being said, my first "outing" was this past Saturday at The Piazza at Schmidt's,(2nd and Hamilton, Northern Liberties) where I attended the opening day of Philadelphia's newest farmers' market. From the Piazza's website -
[The Piazza is] a beautifully landscaped, 80,000 square foot open-air plaza with free events year-round, surrounded by three new buildings including 35 artist’s studios and boutiques, four new restaurants, 500 apartments and 50,000 square feet of office space in the Northern Liberties neighborhood
So there we were, Sarah, Ethan and I. I was on crutches and after about 10 minutes it became obvious that my other leg was not going to cooperate for the long haul. All of my girth on one leg = pain! So with the haste of a one-legged man at an ass-kicking contest, we looked around long enough to say hello to a couple of old friends and make some new ones.

First, I made a B-line to Mark Skinner at Natural Meadows Farm. It has been too long since I enjoyed some burgers made from pastured ground beef and Natural Meadows is my place to go. Not to mention the pastured organic eggs that we constantly purchase from the Farm. If you have never had these eggs, you really have nveer had eggs. The eggs from corn-fed chickens cannot compare to the ones that feed off of grass. Not only is the taste better, but pastured eggs contain more healthy Oomega 3's. Nothing too good for baby Ethan. Speaking of which, Ethan has been needing some more protein in his diet lately and last night we made burgers from some of the pastured meat we purchased. If I said he inhaled the burgers, I wouldn't be doing justice to his eating prowess. YUM! Looks like I'll be back next week to visit Mark.

We also saw Tom Cullen, our friend from the Headhouse Farmers' Market. Tom specializes in organic and heirloom produce. Tom is an interesting guy who is very knowledgeable about what he grows. If you have never met him, go to the Piazza next week and say hello. You will walk away with some delicious vegetables and some smarts about produce to boot.

While I was resting on a bench, Sarah and Ethan paid a visit to Highland Orchards, a farm out of West Chester, PA. Talk about local. Sarah bought some onions, tomatoes, a huge green pepper, and some of their delicious Apple Cider Dougnuts (I can only take her word for it regarding the deliciousness, damn Diabetes). We used the onion in the aforementioned burgers last night. MMMMMMM MMMMMMM MMMMMM

So there you have it. We will be returning to the Piazza in the near future as well as some of the other year round markets. Look for me if you go, I'm the guy on the crutches.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

New Year Round Farmers' Market

From Farm to Philly

A new YEAR-ROUND Farmers Market featuring locally produced items will launch on 1/16 at the Piazza at Schmidts’ (North 2Nd Street And Germantown Avenue) and continue every Saturday from 10:00am-2:00pm. Grass Fed Beef, Naturally-Raised Pork and Duck, Free Range Chicken, Naturally-Raised Lamb, Cage Free-Pastured Eggs, Artisan Cheese, Breads and Baked Goods, Organic Vegetables/Produce, Honey, Preserves, Fair Trade Coffee and even all natural Dog Treats! Over 20 vendors to choose from and FREE PARKING in the designated lot across from the Piazza.

There are other local farmer’s markets open throughout the Winter at:

Fitler Square Farmers’ Market
23rd St. & Pine St.
Saturdays 9 am - 2 pm; Year round

Rittenhouse Farmers’ Market
Walnut St. at 18th St.
Saturdays 9:30 am to 3 pm; Year round

Clark Park Farmers’ Market (accepts SNAP cards)
43rd St. & Baltimore Ave.
Saturdays 10 am - 2 pm; Year round

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

More Great News from Monsanto!

From the Huffington Post -

In a study released by the International Journal of Biological Sciences, analyzing the effects of genetically modified foods on mammalian health, researchers found that agricultural giant Monsanto's GM corn is linked to organ damage in rats.

According to the study, which was summarized by Adam Shake at Twilight Earth, "Three varieties of Monsanto's GM corn - Mon 863, insecticide-producing Mon 810, and Roundup® herbicide-absorbing NK 603 - were approved for consumption by US, European and several other national food safety authorities."

Monsanto gathered its own crude statistical data after conducting a 90-day study, even though chronic problems can rarely be found after 90 days, and concluded that the corn was safe for consumption. The stamp of approval may have been premature, however.

In the conclusion of the IJBS study, researchers wrote:

"Effects were mostly concentrated in kidney and liver function, the two major diet detoxification organs, but in detail differed with each GM type. In addition, some effects on heart, adrenal, spleen and blood cells were also frequently noted. As there normally exists sex differences in liver and kidney metabolism, the highly statistically significant disturbances in the function of these organs, seen between male and female rats, cannot be dismissed as biologically insignificant as has been proposed by others. We therefore conclude that our data strongly suggests that these GM maize varieties induce a state of hepatorenal toxicity....These substances have never before been an integral part of the human or animal diet and therefore their health consequences for those who consume them, especially over long time periods are currently unknown."

Monsanto has immediately responded to the study, stating that the research is "based on faulty analytical methods and reasoning and do not call into question the safety findings for these products."

The IJBS study's author Gilles-Eric Séralini responded to the Monsanto statement on the blog, Food Freedom, "Our study contradicts Monsanto conclusions because Monsanto systematically neglects significant health effects in mammals that are different in males and females eating GMOs, or not proportional to the dose. This is a very serious mistake, dramatic for public health. This is the major conclusion revealed by our work, the only careful reanalysis of Monsanto crude statistical data."

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Reusable Bags: The Eco Friendly Way To Shop

While you are waiting for your favorite Farmer's Markets to reopen and provide you with great local produce I want to remind you that you can still make great choices while shopping for food that help to reduce your carbon footprint. I am of course referring to those ubiquitous reusable bags we see everywhere. Back in the late 80's and early 90's when a lot of us were in elementary or middle school our Eco conscious minds were being aroused by talk of Earth Day. We planted small gardens at our schools and told our parents to shop using canvas bags. Around the same time we urged our parents to choose paper instead of plastic due to the fact that those convenient bags take up a lot of landfill space. When we tried to convince our elders to make wiser packaging choices we probably heard the argument that canvas bags were expensive or hard to find.

These days the same excuses no longer hold water, or groceries, as it is easy to find reusable bags. The picture up top showcases one from Target. Every store seems to carry them and at very reasonable prices. Last year I even got a slew for free at ShopRite when they ran a promotion. Target has been known to do the same as well. Supermarkets are not the only places where you can find these bags and apparently they aren't just for groceries any more. Even your local Toys R Us carries them now in a variety of pleasing and colorful patterns at just under $2. I have chosen whenever possible to buy those bags and fill them with toys for gifts instead of the standard gift bag that we all know rips easily and gets tossed. I have even encouraged my friends to reuse them to store toys or to give gifts in as well.

Another excuse to do away with is the old, "Oh drat, I'm at the store and I forgot my bags." These bags from re-nest ($15), which fold up small enough to fit in a purse cure you of ever forgetting a bag again. For those of you like me who never carry a purse they shove just fine into a pocket. Better yet, make your significant other shove them in their pockets. These bags will forever do away with your excuse not to use eco friendly bags. Don't be like me last Summer at Head House Farmer's Market and get caught without a bag. Imagine my chagrin after I saw Ben and countless others stowing away their purchases in reusable bags and realizing I had 10 at home. After all, we shop local and buy fresh produce because we want to make smarter choices. Asking the vendor to provide you with a plastic bag kind of cancels out your intentions.