Category Archives: Notes from the farm

Develop Healthy Soil For Healthy Food Supplies

Today’s chemical agriculture is destroying our planet’s soils at a disturbing pace—soils that took hundreds, even thousands of years to develop. A food system based on monoculture, genetically engineered foods, and toxic agrichemicals is decimating to the soil, which is a living, breathing ecosystem.

Despite what industry purports, biotechnology is not the answer to world hunger, nor is it sustainable. The rate at which we are using up fuel, water, and soil does not bode well for the longevity of our species, especially in light of the latest world population estimates.

New predictions, based on revised algorithms described to be far more accurate, predict the world population will reach 11 billion by the end of the 21st Century.2, 3 Feeding this many people requires a VASTLY different approach than the present system.

The rate at which soils are disappearing from our globe is alarming. If you visit Worldometers,4 you can view a real-time clock that tracks the area of land lost to soil erosion, along with other environmental statistics. As of my last check, the area of land lost to soil erosion so far this year amounted to 4,987,477 hectares—and of course, the year isn’t over yet.

The focus of our food system should not be on growing food, but rather on developing healthy soil, which should be a priority if we want to survive as a species.


Seasonal Superfoods

Sweet or tart, apples are satisfying eaten raw or baked into a delicious dish. Just be sure to eat the skin—it contains hearty-healthy flavonoids. Health benefits include:• Full of antioxidants • 4 grams of dietary fiber per serving
Harvest season: August-November
Brussels sprouts
Made the correct way, these veggies taste divine. They have a mild, somewhat bitter taste, so combine them with tangy or savory sauces, like balsamic vinegar. Health benefits include: • 1/2 cup contains more than your DRI of vitamin K • Very good source of folate • Good source of iron
Harvest season: September–March
Though these veggies may resemble carrots, they have a lighter color and sweeter, almost nutty flavor. Use them to flavor rice and potatoes or puree them into soups and sauces. Health benefits include: • Rich in potassium • Good source of fiber
Harvest season: October–April
The sweet and juicy taste makes this fruit a crowd-pleaser. Cooking can really bring out their fabulous flavor, so try them baked or poached. Health benefits include: • Good source of vitamin C and copper • 4 grams of fiber per serving
Harvest season: August–February
The sweet, slightly nutty flavor of cauliflower is perfect for winter side dishes. It’s wonderful steamed, but it can also be blended to create a mashed potato-like texture or pureed into soup. Health benefits include: • Compounds that may help to prevent cancer • Phytonutrients may lower cholesterol” “Excellent source of vitamin C
Harvest season: September–June
Unlike summer squash, winter squash has a fine texture and a slightly sweet flavor. Because of its thick skin, it can be stored for months. It tastes best with other fall flavorings, like cinnamon and ginger. Health benefits include: • Contains omega-3 fatty acids • Excellent source of vitamin A
Harvest season: October–February
A type of winter squash, pumpkin can be used for much more than jack-o’-lanterns. Its sweet taste and moist texture make it ideal for pies, cakes, and even pudding! Health benefits include: • Rich in potassium • More than 20% of your DRI of fiber • Good source of B vitamins
Harvest season: October–February
Sweet potatoes
These veggies are for much more than Thanksgiving casseroles. More nutritionally dense than their white-potato counterparts, try roasting them—they’ll taste delicious, and you may maintain more vitamins than boiling. Health benefits include: • Excellent source of vitamin A • Good source of iron • Anti-inflammatory benefits
Harvest season: September–December
This slightly sour fruit has gotten a lot of press as an antioxidant powerhouse. The juice provides a tangy base for marinades, and the seeds can be tossed into salads to amp up the flavor. Health benefits include: • A UCLA study showed pomegranate juice has higher antioxidant levels than red wine • Good source of vitamin C and folate
Harvest season: August–December
This Middle Eastern favorite is a sweet fruit that is perfect braised in stews, chopped up in desserts, or stuffed with cream cheese or almonds. Health benefits include: • Low in fat • Good source of fiber • Good source of potassium
Harvest season: September–December
Use this sweet fruit to add a tropical flavor to your recipes. It’s great mixed with strawberries, cantaloupe, or oranges and can be combined with pineapple to make a tangy chutney. Health benefits include: • More vitamin C than an orange • Good source of potassium and copper
Harvest season: September–March
The signature tartness of grapefruit provides a contrast to other citrus fruit. Add it to mixed greens, combine it with avocado and shrimp, or enjoy a fresh glass of its antioxidant-rich juice. Health benefits include: • More than 75% of your daily recommended intake (DRI) of vitamin C • Good source of lycopene • Contains pectin, which has been shown to lower cholesterol
Harvest season: September–April
The small and sweet citrus fruits are positively refreshing for fall recipes. Our favorite flavor combos include almonds, dates, and honey. Juice them with oil, vinegar, and ginger for a to-die-for dressing. Health benefits include: • Good source of vitamin C • Good source of beta-carotene
Harvest season: November–April

Seasonal Eating and How It Feeds Your Body

Chances are, you’ve never worn that comfy, cozy wool cardigan to the beach in the summer, or those metallic flip-flops to a Christmas party. You adjust your wardrobe with the seasons — your diet should be no different, especially because adjusting your diet in this way can benefit your body’s health. As seasonal shifts affect your body, the foods you eat can help you accommodate — or counteract — the changes.


As the weather turns cold, our activity levels tend to drop off and we burn fewer calories. That can lead to weight gain. Extra weight and other winter-related factors, such as declines in levels of vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin), have been associated with increases in blood pressure and cholesterol. Researchers have also noticed that in the cold months, our brains produce less serotonin, a “feel-good” chemical. This may be one reason we often feel so darn depressed in winter and try to cheer up by eating cookies and other high-carbohydrate snacks. Your body knows what it needs (even if your brain doesn’t always make the best choices): As it happens, carbohydrates trigger serotonin production.

Your winter challenge: Eat healthful carbs, such as sweet potatoes and whole-grain pasta, to help your blood pressure, cholesterol and mood. Just stick with smart portions that won’t break the calorie bank. You should also make sure to drink low-fat milk and eat low-fat cheese — both are rich in vitamin D.

Fix it with food: Potatoes, in season in the winter, are loaded with two blood pressure–lowering compounds: the mineral potassium and chemicals called kukoamines. Just remember that one serving of potato shouldn’t resemble a football — it’s around the size of a computer mouse. And stay away from frying or mounds of butter and sour cream. For healthful oven frites, cut a medium potato (try it with a sweet potato for extra health benefits) into thin wedges, drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt and roast until golden brown. Another serotonin-boosting choice: winter squash, such as butternut and acorn. It gives you a good carb fix along with a shot of potassium, which boots energy and protects the heart. For a quick meal, poke holes in a medium squash and microwave until soft; cut in half and scoop out seeds. Fill with your favorite greens, such as baby spinach (they’ll wilt from the heat), and sprinkle with a handful of walnuts.


Turning to pills to fight the watery eyes and sniffles of a seasonal allergy? Food may do the trick. Researchers have found that children who ate a Mediterranean diet — centered on produce, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats like olive oil and nuts — were significantly less likely to have nasal allergies than kids who ate a standard American diet. The reason: The Mediterranean eating style cuts down on inflammation in the body, a main player in allergy symptoms.

Fix it with food: Fresh fruits and vegetables are Mediterranean mainstays — and fresh asparagus is a sign of spring. Try it steamed, with a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Artichokes are another great choice, one of the first spring vegetables to appear in the market after a long winter. They’re delicious just steamed — plop them into a large pot with water and simmer for 20 to 35 minutes, depending on the size of the ’choke. For a Mediterranean flair, tuck slivers of garlic into the leaves, add lemon slices to the water and dip the artichoke meat (including the luscious heart) into olive oil before eating.


Staying hydrated and protected from the sun are key during the dog days — and what you eat has more to do with both than you think. “Food usually accounts for around 20 percent of our fluid intake,” says says Mira Ilic, MS, RD, LD, a nutritionist at the Cleveland Clinic. We need around 11 to 15 cups of fluid per day, according to the Institute of Medicine, including what we get from water-rich foods like peaches and, yes, watermelon. Summer fruits and vegetables are also loaded with vitamins, especially C and E, which protect skin from sun damage. (But sunblock is still a must!) Fish such as salmon and tuna also may protect skin. People who ate around five ounces of fatty fish a week developed 30 percent fewer precancerous lesions, according to a recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers say the omega-3s in the fish may act as a shield, protecting skin cells from changes caused by molecules called free radicals.

Fix it with food: Top a piece of fresh grilled fish with cantaloupe-avocado salsa — you’ll get omega-3s from the fish, vitamin C and hydration from the melon (it’s 90 percent water — and in season in summer) and vitamin E from the avocado (April through November is California avocado season).


Marching into autumn with the right foods on your plate can help you stave off the flu (the flu season usually begins in November). Foods rich in quercetin, an antioxidant in  onions, grapes and apples, may reduce susceptibility to the flu virus. And foods that contain the antioxidant allicin — such as garlic, onions and chives — also pack antiviral properties. Just be sure to crush garlic and let it sit for five minutes or so before using, or chop and eat raw in a salad to maximize its disease-fighting potential, says Ilic.

Fix it with food: Give your recipe repertoire a health (and flavor) kick by adding extra garlic and onions. And load up on the season’s bounty of freshly picked apples — just don’t peel them. Quercetin is housed primarily in apples’ skin.

Eating Healthy Season By Season

If you’ve never swooned over asparagus or gone gaga over a tomato, then you’ve probably never waited all year for the season’s first crop. Building your diet around foods as they become abundant locally can get you excited about good-for-you ingredients and nudge you — painlessly! — toward a healthier diet. “I’ve seen seasonal eating help people fall in love with cooking and look forward to eating their fruits and veggies, instead of feeling obligated to do so,” says New York-based nutritionist Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD.

How does eating seasonally improve your diet? For starters, in-season produce is much more flavorful than fruits and vegetables shipped from across the country — or the world — so you’re more likely to choose them over processed and less nutritious options. The taste can be a revelation. Take spinach, for example: Because sugar doesn’t freeze, the spinach plant produces extra sugar to protect itself against the cold. Which means a fresh winter spinach salad can be pretty sweet and truly delicious.

Eating with the seasons also brings variety to your diet — and that helps you get the full complement of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that nature offers. Rather than start every morning with, say, half a grapefruit (a winter fruit), you might switch to pomegranates in late fall and blueberries in summer. One study found that women who ate a diet rich in fruits and vegetables from 18 different plant families (including cruciferous vegetables from the Brassicaceae family, such as cabbage, cauliflower and brussels sprouts) had significantly less damage to their genetic material than women who limited themselves to five plant families. This probably reflects the tens of thousands of years that our genes evolved in concert with the environment as our ancestors gathered food from a wide variety of sources. This diverse array of nutrients from the plants we eat (phytonutrients) work together like a symphony to support our body and the way it works in an optimal way.

In-season fruits and veggies are harvested just as they’ve developed abundant nutrients. In contrast, fruits and veggies transported from far away are picked before they’re ripe and nutritionally mature. This allows the produce to survive days or weeks in a truck, but it doesn’t do your body any favors. To go back to spinach again — eating it in season provides up to three times more vitamin C than eating it out of season.

Eating with the Season

A tart, crunchy apple on a brisk fall day…the juice of a ripe early-summer peach trickling down your chin…the amazing sweetness of just-picked corn: Is anything more delicious than eating foods in season?

Seasonal eating is in vogue, thanks to the White House kitchen garden and best-selling books such asThe Omnivore’s Dilemma. But it’s hardly a new trend. Eating foods when nature produces them is what people the world over have done naturally through most of history, before mega-supermarkets dotted the landscape and processed foods became ubiquitous. Seasonal eating is also a cornerstone of several ancient and holistic medical traditions, which view it as integral to good health and emotional balance.

Seasonal eating means two things, really: building meals around foods that have just been harvested at their peak and adjusting your diet to meet the particular health challenges of winter, spring, summer and fall. While it may seem like a luxury to have any food we want, anytime we want it, eating foods in season offers many benefits.

For starters, it connects us to the calendar and often to one another, reminding us of simple joys — apple picking on a clear autumn day, slicing a juicy red tomato in the heat of summer, celebrating winter holidays with belly-warming fare. Secondly, produce picked and eaten at its peak generally has more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than foods harvested before they’re ripe and then shipped long distances.

Eating seasonally often means eating locally grown foods, so it’s good for the environment too: It supports small and midsize local farmers, cuts down on pollution from shipping and trucking food and reduces your carbon footprint. And if all that’s not enough to get you to make some simple switches in your diet, consider this: In-season foods save you money.

Eating REAL FOOD is Key for Your Optimal Health

That means food grown in accordance to the laws of nature, free of as many chemicals and additives as possible. To make sure you’re getting the highest quality nutrient dense food, your best bet is to grow your own food by converting your lawn into a garden. If that is not possible consider growing sunflower seed sprouts.

Additionally or alternatively it would be wise to know your local farmer or rancher — what their philosophy is and how they raise their food.

Dr. Mercola

Vote With Your Pocketbook to Support the Production of Real Food

You can assist the process of converting conventional chemical-based agriculture into a system that relies on regenerative practices in a number of ways, but voting with your pocketbook is one of the most potent ways to support farmers who have transitioned, or are transitioning, to sustainable practices.

At present, less than two percent of the US population is engaged in growing sustainable food. So in terms of government policy, they have but a tiny voice. This is particularly true for farmers practicing regenerative agriculture, who make up just one-tenth of one percent of the entire US population.

They need the broader, stronger voice of consumers — not just by purchasing these products, but also by supporting policies from the USDA, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and others that would help further support regenerative agricultural practices. And, of course, by voting against policies that are detrimental to regenerative farmers.

Dr. Mercola

Understanding How Your Food Is Grown Is Essential for Optimal Health

Alzheimer’s and Lyme disease are two very different diseases.

What they have in common is that they’re both promoted by human ignorance about the symbiotic relationship between each creature in the food chain, starting with the microbes in the soil, and ending with us. The realities currently facing us clearly demonstrate that we cannot outsmart nature.

We can take shortcuts, and we can come up with a wide variety of unnatural but cheaper shortcuts — such as feeding cows grains, artificial sweeteners (which are also neurotoxic), and animal byproducts rather than grass — and for a while it will seem to work. But eventually, it will fail miserably with unintended and unexpected consequences.

This is precisely why I’m so passionate about regenerative agriculture, as it encompasses and addresses the ecosystem in its entirety. Humans are but one part of a vast ecosystem that works as an undivided whole.

Dr. Mercola

Here at Seabreeze, we are also passionate about how we treat our soil and grow our food.

Sign up for a 4-delivery trial anytime in November, and we’ll add a $10 Green Store credit to your account!

Symbiotic Existence of Everything Within the Food Chain…

The more we learn about the symbiotic existence of everything within the food chain, the more apparent it becomes that mankind has no one to blame but itself for the emergence of some of our most challenging health trends.

Alzheimer’s disease, a severe form of neurodegenerative brain disorder that now claims over half a million American lives each year, making it the third leading cause of death in the US, right behind heart disease and cancer.

Compared to heart disease and cancer it is also the most expensive. The average cost of care for a dementia patient during the last five years of life is over $287,000, with an out-of-pocket expense of more than $61,500 for those on Medicare.

Dr. Mercola

This is why you should only eat organically grown food – 12

Create Healthier Working Environments for Farmworkers and Rural Neighbors.

Farming is second only to mining on the list of the most hazardous occupations.

Unless great care is exercised, exposures to toxic pesticides, caustic fertilizers, and other chemicals will pose risks for many people working on or living near farms. Organic farmers simply do not use high-risk chemical materials and so workers, and rural neighbors, have one less health risk to worry about