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real fresh vs fake fresh

Real fresh vs fake fresh

EAT BETTER LIVE BETTER NEWSLETTER / April 25,2018

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

REAL FRESH vs FAKE FRESH
3 Things that make local food truly fresh + more nutritious, flavorful

The external appearance of modern produce tells you very little about what’s inside.

Big Corporate Agriculture grows its produce all over the world, usually wherever they can get the job done the cheapest. So the produce has to be able to survive at least a week, and sometimes months, of travel and storage before it gets to a grocery store.

The result: Big Ag has focused on developing produce varieties that have a long shelf life and are tough enough to withstand lots of the rough handling. Nutrition and flavor are not Big Ag’s priority, even when the label says...

Read the rest of the newsletter below, or view this issue as a printable PDF with clickable links.

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real fresh vs fake fresh

Real fresh vs fake fresh

3 things that make local food truly fresh + more nutritious, flavorful

By the Veggie Fairy Team:

The external appearance of modern produce tells you very little about what’s inside.

Big Corporate Agriculture grows its produce all over the world, usually wherever they can get the job done the cheapest. That means the produce has to be able to survive at least a week, and sometimes months, of travel and storage before it gets to a grocery store.

The result: Big Ag has focused on developing varieties of produce that have a long shelf life and are tough enough to withstand the rough handling that’s part of industrial agriculture. Nutrition and flavor are not Big Ag’s priority, even when the label says organic.

If there isn’t much in the way of nutrients and flavor on the inside, all you’ve got left is the outside. So fragile fruits like berries get sprayed with preservatives and veggies get waxed. Anything that looks less than perfect gets tossed. It’s all about appearances. Sure, that grocery store produce looks fresh. But it’s fake fresh.

So here’s what our local farmers do to provide you with truly fresh food:

1. Make flavor a priority

Our local farmers choose to grow produce varieties that are known for their flavor, not their shelf life. If it happens to look pretty too, that’s just icing on the cake. But since they don’t rely on pesticides, sometimes there are signs that a bug has sampled it first.

2. Pick at the peak of ripeness

Our farmers let their produce grow until the day it reaches its ripe, nutritional peak. They don’t pick it early in preparation for a long trip (which cuts short its nutrients and flavor, even though it may have technically “ripened” by the time it reaches its destination.)

3. No tricks or preservatives

IN SPRINGTIME, WHEN TEMPS CAN SUDDENLY SWING BETWEEN HOT AND COLD, GREENS MAY WILT WORE QUICKLY AFTER THEY’RE HARVESTED. But we don’t douse anything in preservatives or wax to make it look like something it’s not. We simply chill it and deliver it to you quickly, while it’s still really and truly fresh – which we can do because we’re local. If it wilts, you can easily and naturally perk it back up by putting it in water for 20-25 minutes to rehydrate it. The photo with this post comes from Seasonal Roots member Michelle M, who perked up her chives by popping them into a vase full of water, and then told us she noticed an added benefit: “They look beautiful waiting to be used!”

Fresh = perishable . . . and if it perishes, we want to know!

The fact is, real fresh food is very perishable. That’s why we check and double check each item before it reaches you. If something falls through the cracks we want to know! Report it the next time you order.

Here’s how:

  • After you make your choices and click “Save And Review My Order”, scroll to the bottom of the page. Click on “Report Issue With Last Order” then follow the directions. Be sure to click on the green “Submit Issue” button when you’re done!
  • Or sign in anytime and hover over the purple gear icon in the upper right corner. From the drop down menu, select “Report An Issue”, then follow those directions.
  • If the item came in your basket, we’ll replace it. If it was an Extra, we’ll issue a credit. We always stand behind the quality of our fresh, local food!

    How do you keep fresh food fresh?

    The best way to get the full benefit of all the nutrients and flavor in fresh food is to eat it right away. Of course, that’s not always possible, so check out our series on how to make your fresh food last longer.

    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.

    sustainable farmers compost

    4 Reasons to support sustainable farmers

    EAT BETTER LIVE BETTER NEWSLETTER / February 21,2018

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

    ALL 4 REASONS MAKE YOUR LIFE BETTER!

    Sustainable farmers give you four excellent reasons to support them:
    #1 More nutritious food
    #2 A safer environment
    #3 Happier animals
    #4 Healthier communities

    But what is sustainable farming and how does it produce all those happy, healthy results? Well, the USDA defines sustainable agriculture as...

    Continue learning about sustainable farming below, or view this issue as a printable PDF with clickable links.

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    fight food waste eat raw food

    Why you should eat raw food & keep it on hand…

    …even if sometimes it goes bad before you can eat it!

    By the Veggie Fairy Team

    Your body needs the live enzymes found in fresh fruits and vegetables. Enzymes activate and carry out all your body’s biological processes, including digestion and nerve impulses – and it’s theorized that those enzymes need to be replenished regularly for you to stay healthy.

    So what’s the #1 way to replenish enzymes?

    Eat raw food.

    Actually, for overall good health, you should eat a mix of raw and cooked food — cooking makes some nutrients more accessible to our bodies while killing other nutrients. Spinach is good example of the unexpected pros and cons. So a mix of raw and cooked covers all your bases.

    Anyway, keeping fresh fruits and vegetables on hand is worth it for the live enzymes, not to mention antioxidants, vitamins, and other fragile things that are good for us… even if those fruits and veggies go bad occasionally before you can eat them all.

    Still, why let any fresh produce go to waste?

    To avoid wasting produce, prioritize it. Eat the stuff that goes bad the fastest first, like salad greens or green beans. Once they’re eaten, the more long-lived produce will be waiting for you, with most of the nutrients still intact. Asian pears, for example, store well: 2-3 weeks at room temp, several months in the fridge. That should give you plenty of time to:

  • Serve Asian pears on a cheese platter (skip the crackers).
  • Add thin slices to sandwiches.
  • Add chunks to salads.
  • Make Asian pear slaw. (Scroll down to the bottom of the link for the recipe.)
  • Fight food waste and save money… and the world!

    When you don’t waste food, you’re saving yourself some money. But you’re also helping change our world for the better — you’re blooming where you’re planted. Because the fact is, in America we throw away 40% of our food supply every year!

    We’ve talked about ugly food before, and why we love it (as long as it’s fresh and local!) — it just tastes better. For example, in the peak of the season, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has tomatoes of all shapes and sizes and colors because they’re grown for their nuanced flavors, not their looks. Grocery store tomatoes, on the other hand, are grown by Industrial Agriculture with a list of other characteristics in mind – good looking is one, tough enough to travel is another. (Flavor’s not on the list.) Tomatoes that aren’t pretty enough for the industrial system are thrown away.

    In a country where many go hungry, it’s unconscionable to discard nutritious food simply because it isn’t cute enough. It’s a crazy system that needs to change. As a Member of Seasonal Roots, you’re already helping to bring sanity to our nation’s food system.

    But even so, this time of year it’s easy to wind up with more fresh local tomatoes than you can eat raw all at once, even if they are loaded with live enzymes and other good things.

    More ways to fight food waste

    Here’s how you can get those fresh local tomatoes (and other veggies) eaten, with most of their nutritious benefits still intact:

  • Drizzle with olive oil, roast, and use them to top a salad, bruschetta, or pasta.
  • Simmer into sauce and can or freeze. (Check out our 3-part series on maxing nutritional value by freezing, along with other tricks.
  • Skin, seed, and simmer to a paste.
  • Bake into a tomato pie or tart.
  • Make tomato jam.
  • Add to fruit salad.
  • Bottom line: Eat fresh and local

    So… eat ugly food. Eat raw food. Eat cooked food. Just make sure it’s fresh local food! If it’s fresh and local, it’s so good for you that it’s worth it to always have plenty on hand… even if it goes bad now and then.

    But there’s no need to let that happen. If you can’t eat it all fast enough, just throw it in the freezer. When you defrost it later, if it’s not as appetizing to eat raw, it’ll still be great cooked… and just about as nutritious as it would have been if you’d cooked it instead of freezing it in the first place.

    Parts of this post were adapted from Sherri Brooks Vinton’s EcoCentric blog post “Taste it, don’t waste it: Tomatoes”.

    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.

    avoid junk food shop local food

    Use this simple trick to avoid junk food

    The solution is online

    By the Veggie Fairy Team

    That candy in the checkout line – is it calling to you? Do those processed foods in the supermarket aisles have the power to turn your good intentions to mush?

    Apparently, the best way to stay strong, reduce impulse purchases, and keep junk food out of your life is to shop online.

    Impulsive much?

    In a new study, 60 college students filled out questionnaires that assessed their levels of impulsiveness. The questionnaires also probed how they respond to the presence of food.

    Previous research had shown that people who are more impulsive may be less healthy than less impulsive people. In a grocery store, impulsiveness could lead to a shopping cart filled with junk food.

    So after filling out the questionnaires, the students were told they had $48.50 for grocery shopping, and were asked to fill an online shopping cart with nutritious, affordable, and tasty foods.

    When they were done, researchers calculated the nutritional value of all the food in each student’s online shopping cart. The result: There was no link between the foods a student chose and how impulsive the student was.

    But if they’d been shopping in a grocery store, the impulsive students probably would have gone home with more junk food than they’d planned on. Shopping online seemed to help them make better choices.

    The findings are preliminary, and more research is needed to confirm the results, but the study suggests that online grocery shopping can help you stick to a healthy diet.

    Not all online shopping is created equal

    Shopping at your online farmers market boosts the health benefit even more. That’s because local food is fresher than the produce you can typically get from supermarkets and grocery stores, whether you’re shopping those supermarkets in person or online.

    The grocery store system takes at least a week to deliver produce from the farm to the store. The Seasonal Roots system takes just a couple days from Dirt to Doorstep®. The fresher the food, the more nutrients (and flavor) it still has. When it comes to healthy eating, you just can’t beat it! Get more details here.

    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.

    National Farmers Market Week

    National Farmers Market Week: What’s in it for you?

    5 reasons why markets are worth celebrating every week!

    By the Veggie Fairy Team

    National Farmers Market Week is all about the markets that serve as a bridge between farmers and families. Whether they’re in-person farmers markets or online farmers markets like Seasonal Roots, local farmers markets…

    farmers markets increase access to nutritious food

    #1 Increase access to nutritious food

    Online markets use today’s technology to restore an old school connection to our food. 91% of market shoppers use mobile applications, the most convenient way to build bridges between families and farmers, and save time, too. Seasonal Roots home-delivers affordable local food within about 48 hours from Dirt to Doorstep(R), compared to a week or more at grocery stores. And the more fresh it is, the more nutritious it is!

    farmers markets support healthy communities

    #2 Support healthy communities

    Proximity to farmers markets is associated with lower body mass index. Shopping at a farmers market produces healthier eating habits. Shoppers know it from experience. Leslie M posted about it on Facebook, writing, “I absolutely love receiving my fresh, local produce deliveries each week from Seasonal Roots. The selection and options and the amount of produce you get is just fantastic. We eat so much healthier with these fruits, veggies, eggs, etc., arriving at our door each week.”

    farmers markets promote sustainability

    #3 Promote sustainability

    Locally or regionally sourced produce typically travels 27 times less far than grocery store produce. All Seasonal Roots farmers rely on sustainable farming practices like integrated pest management, low- or no-spray, cover crops, crop and livestock rotation, reduced tillage, on-site composting, and reduced water consumption. Nationally, 81% of farmers market vendors do the same.

    National Farmers Market Week

    #4 Stimulate local economies

    Growers selling locally create 13 full time jobs per $1 million in revenue earned. Those not selling locally create only 3. Locally owned retailers, such as farmers markets, return more than 3 times as much of their sales to the local economy compared to chain competitors. Seasonal Roots provides work for more than 100 people and supports dozens of local farmers and food artisans.

    farmers markets preserve farmland

    #5 Preserve farmland and rural livelihoods

    The US loses an acre of farmland to development every minute of the day. The market is the sole source of income for 25% of farmers market vendors. Farmers markets provide one of the only low-barrier entry points for new farmers, allowing them to start small as they learn and test the market.

    View this post as an infographic.

    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.

    industrial agriculture drought vs fresh local food

    Industrial agriculture vs fresh local food

    What happens when the water runs out?

    By Duane Slyder, Head Veggie Fairy & founder of Seasonal Roots:

    A few years ago, I visited California’s Tulare County (pictured) with the Northern Neck Growers Association and 21 of Virginia’s finest farmers. We toured fields full of almond trees, sweet potatoes, lettuce, radicchio, and more.

    Tulare County is the top agricultural producing county in the U.S., even though its natural state is desert-like. Average rainfall is just 7 inches. When intensive farming started there 50 years ago, farmers relied on snowfall in the surrounding Sierra Nevada mountains to provide water for their summer crops. But then came years of severe drought. There was little snow to be seen when I was there.

    Industrial agriculture has its limits

    So we were walking with one of Tanimura & Antle’s field managers, Rob, in a 1500-acre field of mixed lettuce. I suddenly realized that I had actually bought some of their heads at a Virginia Kroger during our winter holiday hiatus that year – small world! Rob said with the drought, he and other farmers had been denied access to the mountain water they’d always relied on. They were forced to get all their water from wells, which were drying up. With so little experience on the land, they don’t know what they’re going to do in the long term.

    California’s long drought was a warning: In the future, America may not be able to rely on far away places like Tulare County to provide so much of the nation’s produce. Experts say California will be short of water forever.

    Farmer Joe Step came with us on that trip. His family has been farming their 120 acres in Virginia – growing broccoli, barley, and cucumbers – for 130 years. He plans to keep on farming. His family knows how to survive droughts and grow produce sustainably with the future in mind. Because he’s local, we can then deliver his produce to you within a couple of days, Dirt to Doorstep(R), while it’s still full of nutrients and flavor.

    Support local farmers today… so they’ll be here when we need them tomorrow

    This is why we founded Seasonal Roots: To make sure farmers like Joe, who know how to feed us, can keep on farming… so you can keep on getting the freshest food possible. That’s only possible when it’s local. When it comes to maximizing nutrients and flavor, industrial agriculture just can’t deliver. Thank you for making this important local food mission part of your life!

    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.

    fresh local food - sustainable agriculture - lettuce

    This is why fresh local food is better for you

    The most delicious way to take your vitamins

    By the Veggie Fairy Team:

    What’s the most delicious way to take your vitamins? Eating fresh local food direct from local farmers! It’s not just more delicious — it’s also better for you than trying to get your vitamins from supplements or even grocery store produce. Here’s why.

    Fresh local produce is whole food

    According to the Mayo Clinic, whole foods like the farm-fresh produce you get from Seasonal Roots give you three things that dietary supplements can’t:

    1. More nutrition. Whole foods are complex. That means they have a variety of the micronutrients your body needs — not just one. Take leafy greens, for example, like the lettuce pictured here, grown by Gerardo Flores and his son Omar on Virginia’s Northern Neck. It’s got vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B-6, plus thiamine, riboflavins, beta carotene, folates, zeaxanthin, iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Whew! Scientists think all these compounds probably work together to help your body process those nutrients and get the most out of them. A lot of the vitamin content in a pill is wasted without the supportive team of natural compounds your body needs to absorb it.

    2. Essential fiber. Whole foods, which include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes, give you dietary fiber. Fiber does more than keep you regular. Most high-fiber foods are also packed with other essential nutrients. Studies show that when your healthy eating includes fiber, it helps prevent diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

    3. Nature’s body armor. Fruits and vegetables contain naturally occurring substances called phytochemicals. These little guys may help protect you against cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Many of them also protect you with antioxidants, which slow down oxidation — a natural process that leads to cell and tissue damage. That kind of damage is associated with aging and cancer.

    But oxidation isn’t just your enemy. Vitamins have enemies, too. Which brings us to grocery stores.

    Local + fresh = more vitamins

    A fresh-picked peach is a sweet, delicious way to get 11% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamins C and A, and 5% of the RDA for vitamin E… that is, IF you eat it while it’s still fresh.

    Vitamins are more vulnerable to oxidation than almost any other nutrient. Air, light, and heat are part of the oxidation process. As soon as a fruit or vegetable is picked, those three things start doing their best to kill the vitamins in the produce. It’s a race against time.

    So the fresher your produce is, the more vitamins it still has. That’s why the produce you get direct from local farmers is better for you than produce from the grocery store. Store-bought produce travels at least a week to get there, on average… and often longer. By then those fragile vitamins are fading away, along with the flavor.

    The local produce at Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market comes to you straight from the fields of our family farmers. No middlemen, no storage, no long distance travel. So when you take your first bite, it’s still fresh and vitamin-rich – not to mention full of delicious flavor, too.

    WHEN it’s picked makes a difference

    Our farmers wait until their produce is fully ripe before they pick it. This allows the sun and rain to maximize the flavor and vitamins inside every fruit and vegetable.

    That stuff in the grocery store from California, Mexico, or beyond — conventional and organic alike — it was all picked early ahead of its long journey. By the time it gets to you, it may look ripe. But it’s an empty shell compared to the amount of flavor and vitamins in field-ripened produce.

    Fresh local food is Grandma’s healthy eating

    Modern varieties of produce have been developed to meet the storage and rough handling needs of industrial agriculture — at a price. Modern produce looks good but it’s short on nutrients.

    Since our farmers’ produce doesn’t have to endure long, rough trips, they can grow old-fashioned heirloom varieties that have still got all the flavor and nutrition of yesteryear. The old-school broccoli your grandmother ate was much better for her than the broccoli you’ll find in grocery stores today. With fresh local food, you can go back in time and eat that healthful broccoli too.

    Sustainability gives you a vitamin boost, too!

    All our local family farmers are committed to using sustainable farming practices. Not only does that lower our carbon footprint. It also adds to the benefits of healthy eating that you get from fresh local food. That’s because sustainability includes:

  • Low- or no-spray. Our farmers work with nature instead of against it to manage pests.
  • Healthy soil. Our farmers use crop rotation, cover crops, reduced tillage, careful water management, and more to enrich the soil naturally instead of relying on chemicals. You can see some of those methods demonstrated in Gerardo’s lettuce crop, pictured above.

    Bottom line: Healthy eating starts with fresh local food!

    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.

  • organic vs sustainable humane

    Which one is organic?

    Here’s an easy way to find out if your food is good for you and the planet

    By the Veggie Fairy Team:

    Which image do you think shows an organic egg-producing farm approved by the USDA?

    The top image is from a multi-generational family farmstead in the rolling hills outside Richmond, Va. Their hens spend their days in open pastures, foraging and engaging in natural behaviors like dust baths and flying short distances.

    The bottom image is from a complex of 9 big barns crowded with 1.6 million hens up in Michigan. The closest those hens come to being outside is in a “porch” attached to their barn that’s screened on one side.

    So which operation has been certified organic by the USDA? If you guessed the top one, you’d be wrong.

    Most of us would assume that a label that says “organic” would be the easiest way to make sure you’re getting the best food for your money. Completely understandable! But that’s just not the case.

    Herbruck Poultry Ranch in Saranac, Michigan, (the bottom image), is USDA organic and was featured recently in The Washington Post. The article explains how big, industrial farming operations like Herbruck are using the government’s official organic certification process to their advantage.

    At Avery’s Branch Farms in the rolling hills of Amelia Court House, Va., (the top image), the Alexander family live and work there alongside their chickens, turkeys, ducks, pigs, and cows, using sustainable, pasture-based farming methods to produce nutritious, delicious food.

    Pasture-based: The real gold standard

    The Alexanders and their animals live close to the land. In the woodlands, the pigs root around for acorns and other piggy goodies the way they were meant to. Out in the pastures, the cows graze on a diverse mixture of grasses, their natural diet. During daylight hours, the flocks forage in the pastures, too, under the watchful eyes of the family’s Great Pyrenees guard dogs, who protect them from predators. At night, the birds nest safely inside their hen houses.

    By the way, those hen houses are on wheels so they can be moved from pasture to pasture, following behind the cows. The hens’ low-stress, healthy, natural lifestyle is great for the girls… and their eggs, which are much more nutritious and flavorful than commercial factory-farmed eggs.

    For example, their pastured eggs are up to twice as rich in vitamin E, and two to six times richer in beta-carotene! You can see it for yourself in the egg yolks. Crack an egg from a pasture-raised hen into a pan and then next to it crack an egg from any other kind of hen — conventional or so-called free-range or cage-free, organic or not. The pastured egg will be a deeper, brighter yellow. The others? Much paler.

    (Discover the difference between pastured eggs vs cage-free, free-range and organic eggs — there’s no contest!!!)

    The Alexanders’ animals are raised from start to finish on lush pasture. They’re fed no hormones, antibiotics, or synthetic chemicals. This is the old school definition of organic, before Big Industrial Agriculture got hold of it. Not only does the old-fashioned way produce more nutritious food, it’s also much more humane for the animals and better for the environment — the farmer is working with nature instead of against it.

    “It’s our goal to provide the community with the most nourishing products possible, while also protecting the land,” the Alexanders explain. “We have never used any chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides on our farm.”

    So how can you know if your food is genuinely good for you and the planet?

    Okay, so the organic label is no guarantee. Cracking open eggs and comparing them is eye-opening, but you waste a lot of eggs that way.

    The best way to find out if your food is any good is to get to know each farmer and food artisan who produces the things you eat. That sounds hard and time-consuming, and it is if you do it yourself. But it’s easy if you have someone you can trust to do it for you.

    At Seasonal Roots, that someone is Sam, our Farmer Connector, backed up by Duane, our founder and Head Veggie Fairy. Sam researches and gets to know everyone who makes the food we home-deliver to our members, including the Alexanders. You can get to know them, too. Next to every item on our menu is a small image of the farmer or food artisan who provided it. Click on that image, and you can read their story and find out what you need to know.

    Eating fresh local food from people you know and trust is the easiest way to live your values — whether that’s a healthy diet, a low carbon footprint, supporting local farmers and your local community, protecting the local environment… or all of the above. As a Seasonal Roots member, you’re supporting sustainable local agriculture and making a difference for yourself, our community, and the planet!

    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.

    ugly food fresh local sustainable

    We love ugly food!

    What does truly fresh produce look like?

    By the Veggie Fairy Team:

    The external appearance of modern produce tells you very little about what’s inside.

    Big Corporate Agriculture grows its produce all over the world, usually wherever they can get the job done the cheapest. That means the produce has to be able to survive at least a week, and sometimes months, of travel and storage before it gets to a grocery store.

    So Big Ag has focused on developing varieties of produce that have a long shelf life and are tough enough to withstand the rough handling that’s part of industrial agriculture. Nutrition and flavor are not Big Ag’s priority, even when the label says organic.

    If there isn’t much in the way of nutrients and flavor on the inside, all you’ve got left is the outside. So fragile fruits like berries get sprayed with perservatives and veggies get waxed. Anything that looks less than perfect gets tossed. It’s all about appearances. Sure, that grocery store produce looks fresh. But it’s fake fresh.

    Our local farmers choose to grow produce varieties that are known for their flavor, not their shelf life. If it happens to look pretty too, that’s just icing on the cake. But since they don’t rely on pesticides, sometimes there are signs that a bug has sampled it first.

    Plus, our farmers let their produce grow until the day it reaches its ripe, nutritional peak. They don’t pick it early in preparation for a long trip (which cuts short its nutrients and flavor, even though it may have technically “ripened” by the time it reaches its destination.)

    After our farmers harvest it, we don’t douse it in preservatives or wax. We simply chill it and deliver it to you quickly, while it’s still really and truly fresh – which we can do because we’re local.

    So that’s why we love ugly food. If it’s ugly, nibbled, or oddly shaped, that’s just proof that it’s good for the planet and good for us!

    Fresh = perishable . . . and if it perishes, we want to know!

    The fact is, real fresh food is very perishable. That’s why we check and double check each item before it reaches you. If something falls through the cracks we want to know! Report it the next time you order.

    Here’s how:

  • After you make your choices and click “Save And Review My Order”, scroll to the bottom of the page. Click on “Report Issue With Last Order” then follow the directions. Be sure to click on the green “Submit Issue” button when you’re done!
  • Or sign in anytime and hover over the purple gear icon in the upper right corner. From the drop down menu, select “Report An Issue”, then follow those directions.
  • If the item came in your basket, we’ll replace it. If it was an Extra, we’ll issue a credit. We always stand behind the quality of our fresh, local food!

    How do you keep fresh food fresh?

    Pretty or ugly, the best way to get the full benefit of all the nutrients and flavor in fresh food is to eat it right away. Of course, that’s not always possible, so check out our series on how to make your fresh food last longer.

    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.