Archive for Local Food Resources

Health Starts Here in the New Year!

Happy New Years! I wish everyone a happy and healthy 2012, and hope that many good things happen this year! Everybody wants to start off the new year on the right foot, and new years resolutions are a very common way to make a commitment to yourself. However, many choose to make extravagant resolutions, such as losing 50 pounds, going completely vegan, or exercising 6 days a week. Although these are wonderful ideas, they can soon become overwhelming and the goal is never achieved. The best way to accomplish a new lifestyle change is to conquer several smaller goals along the way. For instance, instead of immediately exercising 6 days per week, try going for a jog after work 2 days a week. Once you have accomplished that goal and feel comfortable keeping that in your schedule, you can add onto your workout regimen.

Are you ready to make a few simple dietary changes for lifelong health? Whether you’re just getting started on a healthy eating journey or have been on this path for several years, there are a few basic principles or goals to accomplish along the way. Whole Foods actually has a great list of healthy eating pillars that can help guide your journey, so be sure to check out their page called “Health Starts Here.”

1. Eat whole, unprocessed foods- food in its purest state is the best tasting and most nutritious food available

2. Be “plant strong”- eat a colorful variety of plants, and have the majority of each meal come from veggies, fruits, legumes, beans, and whole grains.

3. Eat healthy fats- get your fat from whole plant sources, such as nuts, seeds, and avocados. Limit your amount consumed from extracted oils and processed foods.

4. Eat nutrient-dense foods- these are foods that are the richest in vitamins and minerals when compared to their calorie content. To locate the nutrient density scores of your favorite foods, check out Whole Food’s ANDI Scoring System. 

5. Eat local foods- support your local farmers by buying and consuming fresh, local produce. Produce that is grown in season is fresher and filled with more nutrients that your body needs. Eating local foods helps to benefit your body as well as your environment! For more information on local foods, please visit

What are your new years resolutions? Share them here!


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10 Thoughts on Whole Living

I am a big fan of Genna Gerngross’ healthy living blog, “Diary of a Food Runner.” I went to high school with Genna in the Philadelphia area, and she has recently moved to North Carolina to pursue a culinary arts degree. She has come up with some fabulous vegan and vegetarian meal ideas that I cannot wait to try! One day while pursuing through her recipes, I stumbled upon a post she entitled “10 Thoughts on Whole Living.” Because the purpose of this blog is to provide healthy, local, and sustainable information to the community, this list was right up my alley to review and post.

I have to say that I couldn’t have discovered this list at a more important time in my life. Through all of the newfound changes that have occurred in my life, this list has reassured me in so many ways. I found the list so amazing, honest, and true to life that I had to continue to pass this list on to you all! Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions!

10 Thoughts on Whole Living

1. A meal shared with family and friends sustains you in more ways than one.

2. Gratitude cannot always change circumstances, but it can help you see beyond them.

3. With rejection comes decision: you can either turn back or find a new way forward.

4. Feeling restless may be a sign that you haven’t sat still long enough.

5. Stop seeing life as a problem to be solved and, instead, as a mystery to be enjoyed.

6. Sometimes you have to travel to a new place to rediscover the old you.

7. To make the best use of your intuition, think less and listen more.

8. Give above and beyond what you think will help.

9. Rather than worry about how your body should look, focus on how you want it to feel.

10. Virtuous and delicious aren’t mutually exclusive; the most nourishing foods can also be the most delightful.



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Donate to the Interfaith Food Shuttle!


The holidays are a time for giving, sharing, and helping others in need. I am obviously a big promoter of health and nutrition, and in my opinion, access to healthy food should be a basic human right. This year, I have decided to donate food to the Interfaith Food Shuttle (IFFS) located in Raleigh, NC. This organization has really grown over the years, and collects food donations from the community, local restaurants, and farmers markets. They also participate in a wide variety of nutrition, gardening, and farming programs and are truly a great resource for nutrition education. For example, Interfaith Food Shuttle runs a “Backback Buddies” program, where they provide children in need with enough healthy snacks to last them through the weekend. In addition, they offer a “Cooking Matters” class, which teaches participants how to get the most nutrition out of their limited budget. The IFFS is always looking for enthusiastic volunteers and people to donate food to their pantry.

I have decided this year to donate a bag of groceries to the Interfaith Food Shuttle to help them through the holiday season, and I hope you will too! Katherine Andrew is a Registered Dietitian and the Director o Nutrition, Farms, and Gardens at IFFS. She recommends to drop off food donations at their Centennial Drive location, across the street from the State Farmers Market. They are open from 8am-4pm Monday-Saturday, and they are closed on Sundays.

The Interfaith Food Shuttle accepts both perishable (fresh fruits and vegetables, breads, etc) and non-perishable items to help out families in need. I strongly urge you to donate HEALTHY food items to their pantry, and items that you would find acceptable to feed your own friends and family. Too often we find ourselves cleaning out our own pantries only to donate the less nutritious and expired food items to the food bank. It is important to donate healthy food items not only too keep our community healthy, but to respect everyone’s right to access nutritious foods.

Here are some healthy food donation ideas:

  • Canned tuna, chicken, or salmon in water
  • No salt added canned vegetables
  • No sugar added canned fruits
  • Whole wheat pasta or bread
  • Brown rice
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Dry cereal (Kashi, Cheerios, Fiber One, etc)
  • Canister of oatmeal
  • Low sodium canned soup or broths
  • Natural peanut butter, almond butter
  • Low sugar or sugar-free jelly
  • Dried or low-sodium canned beans and peas

Every little bit helps!

For more information about how to volunteer or donate food, please visit:

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Are You Ready for Turkey Day?

Free-range turkeys can roam throughout the farmland, increasing their health, diet, and overall quality of life compared to factory-raised turkeys.

Last year, Dr. Fisher, one of my professors at Meredith College, was describing to her students her annual turkey day traditions, one of which included reserving a free-range heritage turkey. Since I did not grow up in this area, I have never heard of reserving a turkey at a local farm. In fact, I thought that all Thanksgiving Day turkeys were always frozen, wrapped in white plastic and made from Butterball brand! That is all I have ever seen in my lifetime, so I was especially intrigued to look further into purchasing a free-range heritage turkey. Here is what I have found, and I hope you consider purchasing a free-range turkey for your holidays this year. You’ll get richer flavor, better nutrition, and the satisfaction of supporting a local poultry farmer!

Happy heritage turkey farmers!

Nutrition Know-How: Heritage versus Factory Farmed Turkeys

  • Pasture raised turkeys are higher in omega-3 fatty acids than grain-fed turkeys that are raised in factory farms. They are also much lower in omega-6 fatty acids, which are pro-inflammatory.
  • Pasture-raised turkeys do no require antibiotics and hormones necessary to raise turkeys until the crowded conditions of factory farms. This essentially keeps the meat cleaner and safer for you to eat.
  • Factory farm turkeys tend to be dry and tasteless, so they’re often injected with a saline solution and additives to enhance their overall taste.
  • Turkeys processed by farmers instead of large processing facilities are much less likely to be exposed to contaminated and harmful bacteria, reducing your risk of food-bourne illness.
  • Turkeys are a great source of protein, Vitamin B6, Selenium, Zinc, and Phosphorus. It is best to receive these beneficial nutrients in a farm-raised turkey!

The classic roasted turkey is always a favorite, however there are many ways to prepare your turkey for your guests!

Quick and Easy Turkey Recipes:
Have leftover turkey during the holidays? Or, are you looking to prepare a new turkey dish for your friends and family this year? Look no further! Here are four delicious recipes that will tantalize your taste buds!
  1. Asian Turkey Cole Slaw- mix shredded turkey into your favorite slaw mix. Toss with tahini dressing and sesame vinaigrette, then add green onions and toasted slivered almonds for a zesty crunch.
  2. Turkey Avocado Wrap- on a whole grain wrap, spread cranberry mustard. Add shredded napa cabbage, sliced avocado, shredded turkey meat, and sliced strips of red bell pepper. Roll up the wrap and enjoy!
  3. Turkey Chili- mix up your favorite batch of chili. In the last five minutes of cooking, toss in a hearty helping of chopped cooked turkey meat. Top with a dollop of tangy greek yogurt and chopped green onions. Add a pinch of cayenne or red chili pepper for extra spice, and fresh cilantro for color and scent.
  4. Cubed Turkey on Salads- top your salads with leftover turkey and add your favorite seasonal ingredients, such as diced pears, apples, dried cranberries and toasted pecans (I have tried this before and it is not only healthy, but delicious!)
Have you purchased a free-range heritage turkey before for the holidays? Do you have a unique turkey recipe that you prepare for your friends and family? If so, share your thoughts here! 

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America’s 20 Best Farmers Markets

Promote Farmers Markets in Your State

The news is out! Researchers have finally started to be more concerned about local and seasonal foods in our county, and have gathered some statistical data about farmer’s markets in our country. According to this article, “figures released from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in early August revealed that the number of markets in the U.S. has grown 17 percent, with some states seeing up to 46 percent more farmer’s markets this year than last.” This is wonderful news! Not only are people being more conscious about their eating habits, but this is a great boost to our local economy.

Unfortunately, North Carolina did not make the top 20 market rankings this year. Which quite honestly, I don’t understand why…we have some pretty amazing farmer’s markets and CSA programs here! Anyways, you can check out the results here:

Another great resource that this article referred to was On this website, you can actually vote for your favorite farmer’s market, and check out what the top 5 farmer’s markets are in your state. According to this website, the Durham Farmer’s Market is the most popular market in North Carolina. You can also register for a free “No Foods, No Farms” bumper sticker on this website as well!

For more information, check out:

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Check out Healthy Living Blogs!

Are you looking for some new found inspiration related to any aspect of health, including nutrition, weight loss, fitness, mind/body/spririt, or all of the above? Well look no further! I strongly recommend you check out “Healthy Living Blogs.” This is a “mega” blog that was designed to enhance the positive community of the healthy living blog world. There are so many bloggers from all over the world that are linked onto this website, and they write about many aspects of health and fitness. Bloggers and readers can explore the site and find more blogs to love, fellow bloggers in their area, and forums to deepen healthy discussion and support. I am happy to announce that “Fresh From the Farm” has recently been added on Healthy Living Blogs! (You can find me under the Raleigh, NC location tab).

For more information, check out this link:

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Bringing It To The Table: Part 2

I will continue my discussion on Wendell Berry’s book, “Bringing It To The Table,” which I have been reading as part of my Food and Society class curriculum. I was so excited to read this book, as it relates perfectly to the content of my blog!

Wendell Berry explains that people in modern society need to “eat responsibly.” This term can mean many things to different people, however, Berry states that to eat responsibly is to understand and enact, so far as one can, the complex relationship between man and food. As confusing as this sounds, he has provided a simple list that everyone can do to be more responsible with their food:

1. Participate in food production to the extent that you can. If you have a yard or even just a porch box or a pot in a window, grow something to eat in it. Therefore, you will appreciate the food fully, having known it all its life.

2. Prepare your own foods. You will be able to instill “quality control” and have some knowledge of what has bee added to the food you are eating.

3. Learn the origins of the food you buy, and buy the food that is produced closest to your home. In other words, EAT FRESH AND LOCAL FOODS!

4. Whenever possible, deal directly with a local farmer, gardener, or orchardist. So, know your farmer, know your food. Maximize your use of CSA boxes and farmer’s markets!

5. Learn as much as you can of the economy and technology of industrial food prodution. For instance what has been added to the foods you are eating?

6. Learn what is involved in the best types of farming and gardening.

7. Learn as much as you can, through direct observation and experience, of the life histories of the food species.

(Excerpt taken from pg. 232)

What are your thoughts on this current passage? Are there any additional tips that should be added to this list? If so, share them here!


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