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home delivery during coronavirus pandemic

Home delivery for healthcare heroes and you — this is why we do it

You tell us home delivery is making a difference. That’s all we Veggie Fairies need to know to keep going strong !

By the Veggie Fairy Team

Home delivery is really helpful even in the best of times. Right now, in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, home delivery may literally be a lifesaver. For us Veggie Fairies, just knowing that is enough to make all our hard work worthwhile.

But as we make our rounds wearing our personal protective equipment and maintaining social distancing, you — our wonderful members old and new — have been going out of your way to cheer us on. You’ve been sending us emails, texts, social media shout outs, and even handwritten notes.

home delivery of fresh local food

Well, right back at’cha! We really appreciate you, too! For starters, you’ve donated thousands of dollars to help us deliver free fresh local food to our healthcare heroes.

Thank you for continuing to deliver during these trying times. Also TY for adding the give-back to healthcare professionals fund. I was so happy to be able to donate to that when I placed my order. ❤️
— Janelle

HOME DELIVERY HELPS HEALTHCARE HEROES

These are the healthcare professionals Seasonal Roots wonderful members have nominated for their selfless work. They’re on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronoavirus. At the end of a long shift, it can be hard for them to find the time and energy to get to a grocery store.

Those heroes are telling us things like this:

I really appreciate it. I’m currently taking care of covid19 patients and having food delivered really means the world to me. Takes off some stress, much needed.
— Katie

I got my first box through the healthcare program and I can’t say thank you enough!! These are some great looking veggies and they taste so good! I will definitely stick around and become a customer after my healthcare trial is done! Thank you!!!!!!!!
— Megan

home delivery during coronavirus pandemic

So to all of you who’ve donated and nominated — thank you for helping us do this good work!

HELPING VEGGIE FAIRIES?

Yep, our members have been helping US, too! Sometimes y’all just make us go, “Aaawww….”

home delivery during coronavirus pandemic

Hope you guys are all safe and healthy! Thanks for still providing your service to us!
— Paige

Thank you for still delivering! I just love ya’ll even more for doing that for the community. I hope that you stay healthy and safe!
-Jess

THANK YOU 🙏🏼 for today’s delivery!! This is such an amazing service — even more so now 😘
— Bev

Thank you for still keeping everything running. Very much appreciated.
— An Appreciative Member

I’m so proud of Seasonal Roots adapting to this unique environment. Great job to all of you!
— Debbie

HOME DELIVERY IS HELPING MORE LOCAL FAMILIES STAY HOME

We’ve also heard from new members of our local food community…

home delivery of fresh local food

We can’t wait for our first order this week!! Thank you for providing this amazing service!
— A New Member

Just signed up this week and referred a friend who also signed up! We are so excited to support local and get yummy food delivered Wednesday!
— Kar

Received our first delivery today. I am impressed and for someone trying to stay home, fresh veggies and fruits are wonderful. Thank you.”
— Teresa

We just joined last week. I just want to thank you so much for continuing to deliver the fresh food each week! We have always wanted to support this type of service, but it took this to make us take the jump. We couldn’t be happier. We love meal planning around the delivery and look forward to continuing for years to come. Thank you!
— Kimberly

And then there was this, from a military family going through a doubly tough time:

I can’t tell you how much we are enjoying our time as members of Seasonal Roots already, my children are enjoying their vegetables. YES I SAID ENJOYING… they are eating them and happy about it. The surprise and variety the boxes brought them was amazing and they dived into helping me prepare food this week and devoured their meals.
Thank you for not just keeping us fed during this trying time, but also bringing some joy and calm to my children and me. We were already not enjoying this year as it contains a very long deployment for my husband, and with everything on top of it, it’s just been a very heavy time.
I am so glad I just jumped at the chance to join Seasonal Roots when I had the chance. Thanks again.
— Mary

To Mary and everyone who has joined recently, we’re so glad we can help lighten the load!

HOME DELIVERY HELPS LOCAL FARMERS & FOOD ARTISANS, TOO

Home delivery of local food is a real win-win these days:

My neighbors and I are so appreciative of Seasonal Roots, especially during these times. Helps us stay home and rely on your service while supporting regional and local farmers!
— Jina

home delivery during coronavirus pandemic

Thanks ya’ll for sourcing from our network of remarkable producers – 100% pasture-raised outdoors on small family farms.
— Firsthand Foods

In addition to helping farmers and artisans get through this, their local food is helping families stay healthy… and even rediscovering the joys of fresh food!

The collards last week were the most beautiful and delicious I’ve ever had. We look forward to our box every week. Thank you!!! 💜
— Michelle

My @seasonal_roots box came with the largest carrots I’ve ever seen! I roasted some up with bell peppers and paired them with baked tofu for tonight’s dinner.
— A Big Carrot, Pepper & Tofu Fan

Thank you for the beautiful produce! Strawberries have already been devoured by everyone. 😊
— Evelyn

We appreciate you! Such a beautiful delivery this week!
— Pamela

If you need a little more joy in the kitchen, check out this joyful story from a Seasonal Roots member and small business owner.

home delivery during coronavirus pandemic

Thanks, everybody! We’ll get through this… TOGETHER!

ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, eggs, grass-fed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.

join our team - williamsburg

Join our team: Help deliver healthy eating to your neighbors!

Work with good people and do good work for the planet when you join our team

By Lindsey C, Veggie Fairy & neighborhood Market Manager

Join our team become a Seasonal Roots Veggie Fairy

Join our team!

No two Veggie Fairies are alike, but they all have wings as far as the Seasonal Roots family is concerned. And we are hiring smiling faces and sunny attitudes to join our team. Seasonal Roots neighborhood Market Managers hand-deliver locally sourced goodness on Wednesday and Thursday mornings. Have kids? Bring them along! Can’t commit to a weekly Market Manager gig? Sign on as a substitute!⁠ Looking for a little more responsibility? From time to time we have openings for Area Managers, too.⁠

⁠⁠Contact Jamila for Wednesday openings in NOVA and Montgomery County, MD.⁠ ⁠⁠Contact Sherri for Thursday openings in RVA, Tidewater, Williamsburg, and Virginia Beach areas.

Join our team help deliver healthy eating

That first delivery day…

I will never forget my first morning of deliveries for Seasonal Roots. I loaded my van up with three sleepy kids and drove to my first party stop. The early morning air felt good on my face as I walked towards the truck full of local produce.

I watched two ladies pull boxes from the truck and move around each other in perfect sync. They stacked and went through boxes, making sure to help each other out where they could. Where one lacked, the other would come in and pick up the slack.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I was being introduced to a special kind of work environment that makes delivery days run smooth. After working with these girls for a few weeks I quickly realized that the three of us could not be more different. Where one is super organized, the other goes with the flow. Where one thinks about doing things a certain way, the other will think the complete opposite every time. It is strange, but it works for us as a team.

My fellow Veggie Fairies

join our team - williamsburg

The Williamsburg Veggie Fairy Team: Emily, Lindsey & Corina

First, there is Corina, our fearless leader. If I had to come up with one word to describe Corina her word would be loyal. She has a special way of making you feel like she has your back no matter what happens. Plus, she never asks anything of her team that she herself is not willing to do. This woman works hard at keeping us in between the lines. She’s a mom to 4 kiddos, a pharmacy technician during the week, and our Williamsburg Area Manager.

Next, we have Emily. She is incredibly creative and brings a sense of calm to our group. For example, over the summer she designed a bag that helps keep the glass milk bottles from exploding during the hot summer months. A day without unexploded milk bottles is a day worth celebrating! She owns her own business, HarsaGirl, making beautiful things for babies and kids in celebration of motherhood. She, too, is a mom, an entrepreneur, and delivers produce to your door every Thursday morning.

Then there’s me. I’m a military wife and a stay-at-home mom to three small children. I enjoy writing and run a Facebook Page, Love, Faith, and Tons of Grace. So, aside from being completely lost the first few months on the job, I have done my best to bring a little extra humor to the group.

All for one and one for all!

Our Williamsburg team is small but hardworking. We work together to get the job done. And no one leaves the party stop until we are all finished. I am thankful for these girls who welcomed me to the team and I look forward to our year ahead!

Meet another Veggie Fairy, who dishes about helping her kids eat veggies.

Take a tour of THE HUB where we pack up all our local goodies for delivery.

ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

Seasonal Roots is much more than an online market — we’re a community of farmers, artisans, and members. We’re all dedicated to eating healthy, buying local, protecting the environment, raising animals sustainably and humanely, and spreading joy to our friends, family, and neighbors.

Since 2011, we’ve been empowering our members to live better by eating better. That means more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. Every week, we provide you with hand-picked local produce, sustainable meat and dairy, and hand-crafted artisan goods — all hand-delivered direct from Dirt to Doorstep®.

healthy breakfast foods local berries

Healthy breakfast foods: 7 local foods to start your day off right

Healthy breakfast foods for every taste

By the Veggie Fairy Team

Stock up on healthy breakfast foods, because a good day starts with a good, healthy breakfast. That means different things to different people, depending on what each individual’s body needs to comfortably break the night’s fast.

For some of us, a good breakfast consists of a hearty combination of eggs, toast, and fruit. But for others, it may be a simple cup of coffee.

Whatever your personal power breakfast may be, you’ll get more out of it when you get your ingredients from a local source you trust — you can be sure it’ll be fresher and richer in both flavor and nutrients.

So let’s take a closer look at seven of the best things you can eat when you roll out of bed.

pasture-raised eggs

#1 PASTURE-RAISED EGGS

We Veggie Fairies get our pasture-raised eggs from Authenticity Farms in Amelia, Va., where the hens spend their days in the sunshine foraging for grass, seeds, and bugs — all the things chickens naturally eat. Thanks to their own healthy diet, they produce eggs that are healthier for us too – and sooo delicious!

(Read more about Authenticity Farms humane farming practices and their pasture-raised eggs.)

A pasture-raised egg looks different from an industrial farmed egg (even if it’s labeled “cage-free” or “free-range”). The yolk of a pasture-raised egg is deep orange and is surrounded by a thick, milky white. On top of having more flavor, pasture-raised eggs contain higher amounts of vitamin A, D, E, K2, B-12, folate, riboflavin, zinc, calcium, beta carotene, and choline, as well as omega 3 fatty acids, including DHA, EPA, ALA, and AA.

Pasture-raised eggs offer the highest quality protein, too, second only to the lactalbumin protein that’s found in a human mother’s milk. Eating eggs for breakfast increases your feeling of fullness, so you’ll eat fewer calories for lunch and even out your blood sugar and insulin levels.

Many studies have shown that a pasture-raised egg isn’t just a healthy breakfast food — it’s a true superfood. This study found that compared to industrial farmed eggs, pasture-raised eggs may contain:

  • 2/3 more vitamin A
  • 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
  • 3 times more vitamin E
  • 7 times more beta carotene
  • 3-6 times more vitamin D (thanks to hanging out in all that sunshine!)
  • More K2, B12, folate, riboflavin, zinc, and calcium
  • More antioxidants that help prevent eye trouble like cataracts, according to this study and this study
  • More choline your brain and liver depend on to stay healthy
  • 1/4 less saturated fat
  • 1/3 less cholesterol – that said, eggs don’t actually raise cholesterol levels in most of us. On the contrary, eggs may reduce your risk of heart disease risk by modifying the shape of “bad” LDL cholesterol, increasing “good” HDL cholesterol, and improving insulin sensitivity.
  • healthy breakfast foods whole grains

    #2 WHOLE GRAIN BREAD

    Enjoy your eggs with whole grain toast – your online farmers market has a variety of healthful breads to suit your taste buds. According to the Cleveland Clinic, a number of studies have shown that incorporating whole grain foods in an overall healthy diet may help lower your risk for many diseases, including stroke, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, and colorectal cancer.

    Whole grains are also rich in protein, fiber, B vitamins and many other nutrients that help to lower blood pressure, reduce gum disease, strengthen the immune system, and control weight. (If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, be sure to go for gluten-free options.)

    So in the morning, sit down to toast and eggs cooked any way you like them, or grab a couple of hard-boiled eggs for a portable breakfast on the go.

    local granola

    3. OATS
    4. NUTS
    5. YOGURT

    Combine the first two of these healthy breakfast foods and they add up to… granola! Our granola is made in small batches by Hudson Henry Baking Co. in Palmyra, Va.

    Oats contain a unique fiber called oat beta-glucan which, among other things, reduces cholesterol. Thanks to this fiber, oats make you feel full, like eggs. Oats are also rich in antioxidants that may boost your heart health and lower your blood pressure. (While oats don’t have gluten, they’re often contaminated with it from being processed with other grains. So if gluten’s an issue, look for oats that are certified gluten-free.)

    The nuts in granola are filling and help prevent weight gain. Nuts are high in magnesium, potassium, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. They’ve been shown to improve heart disease risk factors, lower blood sugar and cholesterol, and decrease inflammation. Yeah, they’re high in calories, but scientists have tested almonds and found that you don’t absorb all the fat – in the case of a one-ounce serving, your body only absorbs about 129 calories.

    To boost the protein content of a nice nutty granola breakfast, toss a few handfuls on top of yogurt. We get our yogurt from sustainable artisans like Mountain View Farm in Fairfield, Va. In addition to leaving you feeling satisfied, full-fat yogurt contains conjugated linoleic acid, which may increase fat loss and decrease breast cancer risk.

    All together, oats, nuts, and yogurt add up to a breakfast of healthy champions!

    local berries

    6. FRUIT, FRESH OR FROZEN

    Fresh fruits are arguably the healthiest of all the healthy breakfast foods. All fruits contain vitamins, potassium, and fiber, and they’re relatively low in calories.

    To get your daily dose of vitamin C, savor one large Florida-grown orange while they’re in our winter-time market. It’ll give you more than 100% of the recommended daily intake for vitamin C.

    A cup of strawberries also contains the recommended daily intake of vitamin C. In fact, all berries are mini superfoods. They’re packed with antioxidants, including anthocyanins that protect your heart and may help you age better. They reduce inflammation, too.

    To keep you supplied with fresh-picked berries during berry season, we rely on local farmers like the Geyer family of Agriberry Farm in Hanover, Va.

    local coffee

    7. COFFEE

    Believe it or not, that cup of Joe is a healthy breakfast food — not to mention an excellent way to jumpstart your day. And it’s not just the caffeine – a 2005 study found that, believe it or not, coffee is the number-one source of antioxidants in the U.S. diet. That’s because we drink so much of it. Doctors say it’s actually best if you get most of your antioxidants from things like berries.

    But the antioxidants in coffee are icing on the cake. And combined with caffeine, coffee is surprisingly good for you. Coffee drinking has been linked to a lower risk of diseases such as diabetes and prostate cancer, and it may even help you live longer. It reduces inflammation, protects the cells lining your blood vessels, and decreases liver disease risk.

    Sipping on some caffeine has been shown to improve mood, alertness, and mental performance. In addition to waking you up, caffeine also increases your metabolic rate and fat burning. Just 100 mg of caffeine can help you burn an extra 79–150 calories in a day.

    Even the little bit you get in decaf can offer health benefits. An analysis of 41 studies reported that you can maximize the benefits while limiting the side effects if you get 38–400 mg per day (18). Depending on the strength of the coffee, that’s about one-third of a cup to four cups of caffeinated coffee per day.

    We Veggie Fairies like our coffee with a conscience. So we get our caffeine fix from local roasters like Mobjack Bay Coffee Roasters in Gloucester, Va. Celeste and Jo source their beans from small plantations that they’ve personally vetted, and they continuously give back to their community, with a focus on keeping the Chesapeake Bay clean and healthy. Read their story here.
    *
    So to get your day off to a great start, make one or all of these seven great local healthy breakfast foods part of your morning routine!

    ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

    Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, eggs, grass-fed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.

    find joy with local food

    Find joy with local food

    After work, this local business owner actually finds joy in the kitchen

    By Sherri B, Veggie Fairy & Area Manager

    It’s a joyful story that starts with vintage aprons…

    So, I heard that one of our Seasonal Roots members collects vintage aprons. I couldn’t wait to see for myself on the next delivery day. Little did I know it would lead me to a new discovery about how to find joy with local food.

    When delivery day rolled around this week, Richmond business owner Melissa Barlow of Your Joyful Space was sporting one of her aprons. She was busy cooking up some joy when I delivered her Family Basket at the wellness co-working site, Balance RVA.

    While I was there, I got to ask Melissa about her unique collection.

    find joy with local food

    Why aprons?

    Melissa explains, “Everyday at my business, Your Joyful Space, I am committed to helping my clients find the joy in their homes and businesses. We do it by sorting and creating a space that works for them.

    “After work, I focus on my own home. And cooking in my kitchen is a big part of expressing joy for me. When I get in my kitchen with fresh ingredients to cook a meal for my daughter, I put on one of my vintage aprons.

    “It makes me feel strengthened by all the women that wore it before me. It also helps me enjoy my time in my kitchen and adds comfort to the end of my day.”

    Why find joy with local food?

    According to Melissa, “I cook with Seasonal Roots produce because it’s fresh and food tastes better when it’s fresh.

    “As a local business owner myself, weekly deliveries make sure my fridge is stocked. That way I’m ready to throw on an apron and put a quick, healthy meal together.

    “This week, I kept dinner simple by roasting leeks, white sweet potatoes, and beets together and added chicken.”

    find joy with local food

    A happy ending

    If you’re cooking for kids, too, like Melissa, check out 7 ways to help kids eat veggies & fruits here on the Veggie Fairy Blog.

    The way Melissa uses local food and vintage aprons to find joy really brightened my day. How do you use local food to find joy?

    ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

    Seasonal Roots is much more than an online market — we’re a community of farmers, artisans, and members. We’re all dedicated to eating healthy, buying local, protecting the environment, raising animals sustainably and humanely, and spreading joy to our friends, family, and neighbors.

    Since 2011, we’ve been empowering our members to live better by eating better. That means more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. Every week, we provide you with hand-picked local produce, sustainable meat and dairy, and hand-crafted artisan goods — all hand-delivered direct from Dirt to Doorstep®.

    heart-healthy local food for American Heart Month

    American Heart Month & heart-healthy local food

    This American Heart Month, show your heart some love!

    By the Veggie Fairy Team

    While Valentines are nice, a healthy ticker is even better! February is American Heart Month, the perfect time to get in the habit of keeping heart-healthy foods on hand.

    We’ve rounded up our top 10 heart-healthy, local foods. They’re all recommended by the American Heart Association, the National Institutes of Health, and the Cleveland Clinic. Some of these items are available year-round, and some are seasonal. So keep an eye out when you’re browsing our online farmers market. If you put a few of the foods on this list in your Seasonal Roots basket each week (not just during American Heart Month!) your heart will love you for it!!!

    heart healthy leafy greens

    #1 Dark leafy greens

    Leafy greens are a great source of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that contribute to heart health. Examples include kale, spinach, Swiss chard, arugula, and watercress. These tasty greens are grown locally all year round and can be used in a wide variety of recipes. Try using these greens in sandwiches instead of lettuce, or mix them up for a heart-healthy salad. We’ve got more ideas on how to cook greens, plus kale recipes for kids of all ages!

    heart healthy whole grains

    #2 Whole grain items

    Opt for whole grains when you can. This applies to items such as pasta, breads, cereals, and crackers. In their original, unprocessed state, whole grains still have the outer layers that contain healthy vitamins, minerals, and fiber, plus carbohydrates, protein, and healthy, unsaturated fats. So grains like whole wheat, oats, and kasha provide more heart-healthy fiber than white flour. Bonus: They’re more filling too!

    heart healthy tomatoes

    #3 Tomatoes

    This versatile fruit masquerading as a vegetable can be added to most savory dishes — think salads, pastas, eggs, and sandwiches. In addition to antioxidants, tomatoes are high in potassium, which can help control high blood pressure.

    heart healthy acorn squash

    #4 Red, yellow, and orange veggies

    Many studies show that carrots, sweet potatoes, red peppers, and acorn squash are packed with carotenoids, fiber, and vitamins. These are all beneficial for your heart. So cook with color and eat the rainbow!

    heart healthy legumes hummus

    #5 Hummus

    Legumes in general are great for your circulation, and hummus is chock-full of chickpeas. Chickpeas are also known as garbanzo beans, and they’re a type of legume. The olive oil in hummus is good for your heart, too! A study compared eating legumes once a week to eating legumes four times a week. The result: eating legumes four times a week was associated with a 22% lower risk of coronary heart disease.

    heart healthy berries

    #6 Berries

    Everybody loves berries, and local berry season is coming soon! Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are rich in fiber and antioxidants. This is especially true when you eat them in season — at their flavorful and nutritional peak. There’s evidence that getting your antioxidant vitamins from food is much more effective and beneficial than getting them from supplements. So go ahead and grab another helping of berries!

    heart healthy tofu

    #7 Tofu

    If you’ve never cooked with tofu, don’t be intimidated! Try tofu in a flavorful stir-fry with fresh veggies for a heart-healthy lunch or dinner. Research indicates that including more soy foods like tofu in your diet may have cardiovascular benefits, like lowering blood pressure. The prepared vegan meals in your online farmers market are a super-easy and tasty way to get your tofu. So go for it, whether your a tofu newbie or a tofu super fan.

    heart healthy asparagus

    #8 Asparagus

    According to the NIH, asparagus is filled with mighty nutrients such as beta-carotene, folate, and fiber. This tender, sweet vegetable is delicious when roasted and drizzled with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. Plus, asparagus only has 25 calories per cup (or about 5 calories per large spear) – win-win!

    heart healthy broccoli

    #9 Broccoli

    Crisp, fresh broccoli florets dipped in hummus are an extra powerful snack with a whopping list of heart-healthy nutrients. The list includes vitamins C and E, potassium, folate, and soluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps lower total and LDL cholesterol levels by binding to bile in the gut (which is made up of cholesterol). Then it gets removed from the body along with the body’s waste.

    heart healthy chocolate red wine

    #10 Dark chocolate & red wine

    Since this is Cupid’s month, we veggie fairies are happy to report that dark chocolate and red wine are both good for your heart! (Based on personal experience, there are definitely some days when wine and chocolate are really good for mental health, too. Just sayin’…!) The Cleveland Clinic put dark chocolate up against red wine to see if one is better for you than the other. Find out which one was the winner here!

    SO IN CONCLUSION…
    Make American Heart Month last all year long. By eating these foods locally when they’re freshly made or in season, you’re maximizing the nutritional benefits for your heart. Other heart-healthy staples to keep on hand include nuts like almonds and walnuts, extra virgin olive oil, canned or dried legumes, and quinoa (a grain that’s a great source of protein and rich in fiber). So with a clink of our glasses of red wine we say: Here’s to your heart!

    ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

    Seasonal Roots is much more than an online market — we’re a community of farmers, artisans, and members. We’re all dedicated to eating healthy, buying local, protecting the environment, raising animals sustainably and humanely, and spreading joy to our friends, family, and neighbors.

    Since 2011, we’ve been empowering our members to live better by eating better. That means more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. Every week, we provide you with hand-picked local produce, sustainable meat and dairy, and hand-crafted artisan goods — all hand-delivered direct from Dirt to Doorstep®.

    eat local deer run farm

    Eat local and you’re eating the results of local weather

    Hey, where did all the local green beans go?!

    – By the Veggie Fairy Team

    If you like green beans, yet have no green beans on your plate this Thanksgiving, that’s good news. It’s a sign that you’ve chosen to eat local food – the freshest, most nutritious and flavorful food you can get.

    Right now there are no locally grown green beans to be had. Our Farmer Connector Sam searched all over Virginia. No luck. So there were no green beans for Thanksgiving in our home-delivered farmers market, as you may have noticed. You also may have noticed a lot of rain this year. Those two things are connected.

    In parts of Virginia, 2018 has been the wettest year on record. Check out the photo at the top of this post. That was the scene at Deer Run Farm in Hanover, Va., after a heavy spring rain. Not much sun and too much mud!

    Some plants love to hydrate. Others, like green beans, not so much. Bean plants prefer their soil evenly moist to max out their growth and bean production. Drying out stunts them. If it doesn’t rain enough to keep the soil moist, that’s easy to fix with a drip hose.

    It’s much harder to do anything about too much rain. Excess water deforms plants or makes them prone to disease, covered in yucky fungal growth. And downpours can wash away soil nutrients before the roots have time to absorb them.

    So when you sit down at your Thanksgiving table this week, give thanks for the beanless proof that you’re eating the healthiest food you can get… fresh, locally grown veggies.

    And here’s hoping next year brings good green bean weather!

    ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

    Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, pastured eggs, grassfed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.

    free home delivery

    Free home delivery of local food to the rescue!

    A new member tells her story

    – By Faye D, Seasonal Roots member

    On February 9, I broke my leg. For two weeks I couldn’t put any weight on it at all and for eight weeks I was dependent on a wheel chair, a walker, crutches and finally a cane. Needless to say I couldn’t cook or buy groceries.

    Although my husband is not comfortable in the kitchen and only a little more comfortable in a grocery store, he did pitch in to do his best at cooking and the shopping. Still, it was a very difficult time for us both.

    Online ordering with free home delivery saves the day

    The best thing ever was that just before the accident I had signed up for Seasonal Roots. (In fact, I took that photo of my first home-delivered box of local food.)

    What a life-saver! It was easy for me to go online and order the vegetables we needed. They always arrived on time, fresh and plenty to last the entire week. That was something I could count on.

    The icing on top: Vegan options

    Because we both follow a vegan diet, vegetables are a central and necessary part of our diet, and because of Seasonal Roots having good fresh vegetables to eat, that was one thing I didn’t have to worry about. I loved that. My husband loved getting his favorite vegan cinnamon buns!

    Then this week, Margo, one of Seasonal Roots’ market managers, even brought the box in for me and put it in the kitchen since I’m still using a cane. Thanks, Seasonal Roots…

    VEGGIE FAIRY EDITOR’S NOTE:
    Many thanks to Faye for sharing her story – we’re so glad our free home delivery was a help. And a big shout out to Tracy at Yummvees for her vegan-licious buns and other vegan treats and meals!

    Also, like a lot of Seasonal Roots members, Faye’s first box of local food inspired her to snap a photo. We love it when members post their veggie pix on our Facebook page!

    ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

    Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, eggs, grass-fed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.

    Schuyler Greens mushroom health benefits

    Secret mushroom health benefits

    Plus surprising new things they’re making out of mushrooms!

    – By the Veggie Fairy Team

    In American culture, there’s a stigma attached to mushrooms. They are, after all, a fungus. They’re funny looking. They have a reputation for growing in manure, which isn’t exactly appetizing. And when it comes to wild mushrooms, most parents tell their kids, “Don’t touch them, you’ll die!”

    That may be why, until relatively recently, most mainstream grocery stores just carried those bland, clean-looking white button mushrooms. There are so many mushroom varieties — portabello, shitake, enoki, morel, and on and on… but it takes a certain sense of adventure to move beyond those white buttons to a mushroom that looks like, say, an oyster.

    It’s an adventure that rewards you with an amazing array of flavors, nutrients, and a surprisingly long list of health benefits. But wait! There’s more! Creative engineers are using mushrooms to make animal-free leather, and Ikea is starting to use mushroom-based biodegradable packaging for its furniture.

    Turns out mushrooms are pretty magical, which is right up our fairy alley. So we turned to our Seasonal Roots mushroom farmer to find out more. Mike M’s oyster mushrooms come to us through Schuyler Greens, the company his brother founded for growing greens, herbs, microgreens, and specialty crops.

    Mike definitely has a sense of adventure. He’s been foraging in the woods for years around his family farm, Magnolia Farm in Esmont, Va. To him, the woods are a world of wonder. Hunting for wild treats like pawpaws, a native fruit that shyly hides among the leaves, was like a treasure hunt.

    One day he came across a cluster of wild oyster mushrooms on a dead tree, like the ones his daughters are holding in the photo.

    Mike was fascinated, started reading about them, and discovered they have all kinds of health benefits. He told us that because of the mushroom stigma, scientists didn’t study them much until recently. Now we’re learning lots of new things about mushrooms. Modern-day scientists are rediscovering what the ancients knew from living close to nature. For example, there are elements in mushrooms that may help inhibit the growth of cancer cells. (Read the study here.)

    Oyster mushrooms in particular are used in traditional medicine to treat infections, diabetes, cancer, and to lower cholesterol. They support the immune system. Laboratory experiments and studies done in mice have shown that oyster mushrooms do indeed have antitumor, antifungal, and cholesterol-lowering properties. A study of children with upper respiratory tract infections showed that oyster mushrooms have anti-allergic effects, too. They have even been shown to lower glucose levels and increase insulin levels in patients with type 2 diabetes, though more studies are needed to confirm that. The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center has details on oyster mushroom health benefits here.

    VEGGIE FAIRY:

    Why are mushrooms so good for us?

    MIKE:

    Well, one reason is that they don’t have skin to protect them from bacteria. Their cell walls are their exterior, so they’re programmed to fight off bacteria. We get some of that anti-bacterial benefit when we eat them. Scientists and engineers are also using the mycelium — the vegetative tissue of mushrooms — as a filter in water treatment to make contaminated water drinkable. Mushrooms are so adaptable and they grow exponentially. Because of that you can train them to do things like break down diesel fuel and other petrochemicals to treat contaminated soils in a process called mycoremediation.

    VEGGIE FAIRY:

    The oyster mushrooms you sell for eating — do you gather them from the wild or do you grow them yourself?

    MIKE:

    We grow them. We started doing it for fun. We have cattle, sheep, and so on, but we’ve got two little daughters and growing mushrooms is something we can do as a family. It’s not dangerous like working with animals or equipment can be. And mushrooms are fascinating. I’ve got the kids doing all this really great science with mushrooms. We have petri dishes with all these different strains growing in our bedroom — my wife is very patient. Anyway, it’s turned into a family thing.

    VEGGIE FAIRY:

    Okay, so be honest. Do they really grow in, um, manure?

    MIKE:

    Some do. But oyster mushrooms grow on cellulose, like wood or straw. That’s why out in the woods you find them on logs or dead trees. They help break down the wood as it decomposes. But we grow them indoors where we can control the elements. For example, a change in temperature will change the color a little. The cellulose in straw grows excellent mushrooms but straw has a lot of variability when you pack a big bag. It’s hard to be consistent and predict what you’re going to produce and that makes it hard to fill orders. So we’re trying sawdust now, which is more uniform. Everything’s an experiment. Each tweak you make changes the yields.

    Schuyler Greens oyster mushrooms health benefits

    VEGGIE FAIRY:

    So what do you do — like, plant seeds in the straw?

    MIKE:

    Sort of. The mushroom equivalent of seeds is called “spawn.” You mix the spawn in with the sawdust and incubate it in the bag at a certain temperature. It takes a few weeks to colonize the substrate. Shitake mushrooms trigger with water. With oyster mushrooms, you cut a hole in the bag and the surge of oxygen tells the mycelium that it’s time to fruit. In the woods, the mycelium grows inside the log. When it reaches the outer edges it runs out of food and hits oxygen. Then when humidity and rain come that’s when the fruiting happens. That’s the magic of the woods. Every time it rains there’s something new and exciting to find.

    *

    So the next time you go for a walk in the woods, keep your eyes peeled — you’ll probably spot some fabulous fungi. But — at the risk of sounding like your mother — unless you are an experienced mycologist like Mike, do not eat any of the mushrooms you find growing wild! Many poisonous species look very similar to the edible ones. Best bet is to place an order for Mike’s magically delicious, nutritious, farm-grown beauties, then sit back and enjoy all those mushroom health benefits with yummy peace of mind.

    ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

    Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, eggs, grass-fed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.

    Mobjack Bay fair trade coffee

    This is how Fair Trade coffee helps the Chesapeake Bay

    Fair Trade coffee’s good for rainforests and people, too!

    By the Veggie Fairy Team

    Celeste was a professional ballet dancer. Jo was a corporate IT guy. But they had always dreamed of running their own business together. And they both loved the waters of the Chesapeake Bay near their home in Virginia. Back in 2007, they’d talk about it over coffee.

    “Our morning ritual has always been having our first cup of coffee together,” Celeste says. “We wanted to wake up in the morning knowing that we were working to make a difference in the world.” They decided to launch Mobjack Bay Coffee Roasters… and make it eco-friendly.

    The business combines their love of coffee, family, and the water: The coffee beans are roasted right in the shop… Celeste’s father helps in the retail store while a close friend is the master roaster… and a portion of every coffee bag sold benefits the Chesapeake Bay. (Learn more about efforts to save the Bay and the challenges it faces.)

    Their focus on doing good didn’t end there. As Celeste and Jo gained experience in the coffee industry, they learned coffee was the cornerstone of life for families and communities in many countries.

    “We realize that it would be self-serving to only think of our front yard, the Bay, without considering our backyard, the source of our beans,” Celeste says. “So we have structured our business as a model that also supports our interests in environmental protection.”

    Mobjack Bay Coffee Roasters has chosen to focus on beans grown by socially responsible farmers who follow Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance guidelines. These are two very challenging certifications.

    “At times, we must be understanding of the difficulty and length of time it takes to become certified,” Celeste explains. “In these cases, we learn about the plantations’ processes so we can make our own decisions regarding responsible purchasing. This assures us that we are thinking globally while acting locally.”

    What does “Rainforest Alliance Certified” mean?

    The Rainforest Alliance works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices, and consumer behavior.

    In the 1970’s coffee farmers were introduced to modern farming techniques. Forests were cleared, agrochemicals were sprayed, and yields were increased. Simultaneously, the shaded canopies of traditional coffee farms vanished. Birds and all types of animals were displaced while rivers were choked with silt and pollutants. In 1993 the Rainforest Alliance partnered with Sustainable Agricultural Network to demonstrate that traditional, forested coffee farms were the only choice for sustainable farming in harmony with nature. The Alliance helps its farmers survive the erratic global market by improving farm management and accessing premium markets.

    The Rainforest Alliance Certified seal is a guarantee that coffee is grown on farms where forests are protected, and rivers, soils and wildlife conserved. Workers are treated with respect, paid decent wages, properly equipped, and given access to education and medical care. Forested coffee farms are critically important to serve as migration stopovers for birds traveling from as far away as Canada and Alaska. In areas where deforestation is rampant, these coffee farms may be the only habitat available to provide shelter and food for weary birds.

    Is Fair Trade certification different?

    Fair Trade coffee is a different way of achieving the same goal. We Americans are the number one consumers of coffee in the world. In the race to offer competitive pricing, the losers in the economic equation are often the people who work the hardest — the farmers who grow and pick the coffee. This forces them into cycles of poverty and debt.

    Fair Trade pays farmers a fair minimum price for their coffee. Importers that are certified Fair Trade have met stringent international criteria, pay a guaranteed minimum price per pound of coffee, and empower farmers to grow sustainably. Successful sustainable farms lead to stronger communities, better health care and education, and improved stewardship of the environment. Fair Trade plants seeds of hope.

    So that’s why all the beans roasted at Mobjack Bay Coffee Roasters are either source certified Fair Trade or Rainforest Alliance.

    Meanwhile, Celeste and Jo also continue to support grassroots efforts to restore and protect the Chesapeake Bay. Along with their three children, they spend many days in the tributary waters that feed the Chesapeake Bay and out on the Bay itself — Jo especially, who is an avid sportsman and outdoor enthusiast.

    Whole bean or ground?

    In the Seasonal Roots online farmers market, Mobjack’s whole bean coffee is available in the Extras section. Plus, for the first time ever, members can swap up to two single-pot packets of ground coffee into their baskets! It’s so delicious (thanks to Mobjack’s all-American-made San Franciscan Roaster), and best of all, with every cup of joe you’re helping make the world a better place, right here at home… and far away, too.

    If you’re in the area, stop by Mobjack Bay Coffee Roasters at 7060-A Woodsville Rd. in Hayes, Va., and check out their tasting room! It’s open Fridays 10-5 and Saturdays 9-4.

    ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

    Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, eggs, grass-fed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.

    riley shaia spinach health benefits

    Spinach is good for your brain, too …

    EAT BETTER LIVE BETTER NEWSLETTER / March 28,2018

    Tips, hacks, recipes, stories, and the weekly special all help you eat better live better with fresh local food!

    ...AND OTHER COOL SPINACH FACTS

    Vintage cartoon fans can probably quote Popeye the Sailor Man’s famous line from memory: “I’m good to the finn-ich cause I eat my spinach!” A whole generation of kids grew up thinking they would be stronger if they ate spinach.

    Spinach offers amazing health benefits. It’s rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These good things are associated with boosting immunity, lowering blood pressure, fighting the causes of cancer, reducing inflammation, easing constipation and ulcers, and supporting good vision, healthier skin, and stronger bones. It may even ...

    Find out more from Riley about spinach storage, history and benefit below, or view this issue as a printable PDF with clickable links.

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    newsletter 2018-03-28 pg2