Farm-to-table yoga event

My birthday was not too long ago and my wonderful friend SH gave me one of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten.  She bought a seat for me at Yogarden’s Farm-to-Table & Yoga events held at Green Row Farms and I went with my other friend GS.  GS & I stopped on the way at Sweet Home Waimanalo to get some lemonade and then we made our way into the back roads of Waimanalo. When you show up, you get a farm tour and learn about permaculture design methods, do yoga outside looking at the Ko’olau mountains to live music, and then eat a delicious plant-based meal with community. The theme for this dinner was Cajun/Creole and my friend Jennifer Hee was one of the people preparing the meal for about 40 people. Since we were dining by starlight & candles only, it was too dark to get any food photos, but an example of one of the farm-to-table dishes was corn that was grown, dried, and then milled in Waihole and then cooked for us at this event into polenta. Yummy! Since I’ve been working a lot, it was truly inspiring and rejuvenating for the soul.

My Madre Chocolate Farm Tour

I chose Madre Chocolate to include in my Vegan Mexican Pop-up Dinner after learning all about how they make the chocolate bean to bar. They are very supportive of fair and clean food from the farmers to their own production. I’m so excited to use their Xoconusco chocolate in my mole sauce!

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Vanilla beans

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A cacao tree on the Windward side

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Another cacao tree on the same farm

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Dave was telling us about lilikoi which they also use in their chocolate

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Cacao seeds are purple on the inside before they are fermented and roasted.

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Dave was explaining about the roasting process

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Here’s a close-up of the cacao pod, roasted beans, vanilla, and cocoa butter.

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Some of the finished product on display for sale in their Kailua shop.

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Grinding the cacao takes days!

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Dave, pouring the chocolate into molds

Learn more about the dinner on my EVENT PAGE

Eventbrite - Mexican Pop-Up Dinner

Hidden Costs of Eating “Cheap Food”

Health

  • Scientific studies are now starting to implicate genetically modified foods to infertility
  • Studies show conventionally grown food has lower nutrient value
  • High fat and sugar diets lead to obesity, hypoglycemia and diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, digestive distress, among many other common lifestyle related illnesses (Plant-based diets prevent and reverse the same ailments.)
  • There are about 5,000 deaths each year from food-borne illnesses like e-coli
  • Someone else is controlling your food source! There’s a definite lack of information about what’s actually in the food.  Corporations do not often trace back to producers from places like China and it’s nearly impossible for consumers to get this information about all the ingredients in food items.

What’s the cost of getting a serious illness? Besides the financial cost, the emotional cost seems quite high.

Studies have shown that fruits and vegetables are more satiating–they make you feel fuller than junk food even though they have fewer calories.

Environmental

  • Pesticides poison farm workers, the water system, and those who eat the foods
  • Eroding soil
  • Lost marine life due to soil run-off
  • Loss of plant diversity from use of genetically modified seeds and produce
  • Risk of extinction to many marine species from overfishing
  • Use of machines to plant, harvest, refrigerate, and transport food uses fossil fuels that pollute the environment.

Economic

  • Small farmers going out of business
  • Resources are diverted to purchasing stimulants, depressants, sleeping pills, pain killers, and various other medications to alleviate symptoms
  • Use of machines to plant, harvest, refrigerate, and transport food uses expensive fossil fuels

 

Today’s Inspiration

Monday wasn’t the best day for me, but my father always says, “Get a good night’s sleep. Things will look different the following day.”  Hearing his voice, I went to bed early and when I got up on Tuesday and went outside, the first thing I saw was my orchid had bloomed in triplicate!  So beautiful!  It really was a great way to start the day.

Other simple pleasures of the day came from a phone call from two people who were  updating me about their lives, expressing their happiness, growth, and changes.  The personal connection and time spent sharing stories as well as celebration of another person’s success was very healing.

Later, I went  grocery shopping to restock on staple items and things to cook with this week. For some reason, I’ve been thinking about Turkey, a country I’ve never been to yet, but would really love to see at some point.  While I was grocery shopping, I was thinking about Mediterranean food, so picked up a variety of things that sounded good such as olives, capers, sun-dried tomatoes, local cucumbers and tomatoes, and artisan quality fig walnut bread.

These were transformed into “mezze” for my meal, and for dessert, some lilikoi that a friend shared with me from her garden along with a little bit of dark chocolate.  She gave me baby plants that popped up out of her yard, and at long last they are fruiting, so my own will be ripe very soon.

All of the small stuff brightened my day!

 

Healing Foods: Parsley

If you’ve been to my cooking classes,  you probably know how much I love parsley! Here are the reasons why:

Parsley’s volatile oils qualify it as a “chemoprotective” food, and in particular, a food that can help neutralize particular types of carcinogens (like the benzopyrenes that are part of cigarette smoke and charcoal grill smoke). In addition to its volatile oils and flavonoids, parsley is an excellent source of two vital nutrients that are also important for the prevention of many diseases: vitamin C and vitamin A (notably through its concentration of the pro-vitamin A carotenoid, beta-carotene). Some studies indicate that vitamin C-rich foods, such as parsley, provide humans with protection against inflammatory polyarthritis, a form of rheumatoid arthritis involving two or more joints.

 

Enjoying Local Organic Farm Tours

I was very lucky to return last week to Reppun Farm  a place that seems somewhat like heaven on earth (land which is stewarded by the Reppun brothers, who are much more than local organic farmers)!

I was there learning about the chocolate making process with Dave of Madre Chocolate.  It was wonderful to gulp in all the fresh air while simultaneously marveling at the 70+ types of fruit growing there.  The chocolate making process is fascinating.  Check it out some time!

Getting out in nature is just a fabulous thing to do to restore one’s natural balance and learning from others is truly so much fun.

And here are a few more photos from my recent trip:

For more amazing photo’s and info about Reppun Farm, here’s a post that I wrote when I went two years ago:

Windward Farm Tour July 24, 2010

Learn how to cook with local, organic produce: [CSA BOX CLASS]

 

 

 

My Trip to Waikiki Worm Company

I’ve dabbled in composting before, but I was told that I wasn’t doing it quite right. I had a spinning composter, but worms don’t like to get tossed around. When I changed living arrangements, I sold my spinning composter and took a hiatus from the whole endeavor.

Throwing vegetable scraps away just didn’t feel right, and after attending the recent agriculture conference, I committed to seriously getting back into composting. I made my visit to the Waikiki Worm Company this afternoon and purchased all my new composting items. Here is the store owner getting my worms ready for me.

Mindy explained to me how to set up my system. First, I have to shred paper and place it into my composting bin.
Then, I take the pile of worms and separate it from the vermicast, sprinkling the vermicast onto the paper to make a nice bed for the earthworms. It’s important to water it so that it stays moist.
From there I take the ball of earthworms and place them onto the bed and let them wriggle their way into their bed of paper and vermicast.

Now I can begin to feed them, so I grabbed some alfalfa sprouts that I had leftover from a cooking class and sprinkled them in.

Finally, it’s important to cover the food with more paper, and then wet everything down, and place on the lid.

My system is now operational! I’m heading back to her shop on Saturday to pick up some compost tea to spray on the foilage of my plants.

I’m really seriously working on getting a big container garden going. Here is my kale, basil, thyme, chives, parsley, and Maui onions…. (hard to see but they are all in there!).

Cilantro and arugula are sprouting in some other containers…