Farm Update 
 

Hi Everyone,

      The New Year at the farm has been started with lots of new sprouts, transplanting, and high hopes for what the new year has in store. Three new varieties have been introduced into the JRF veggie lineup: Vates Kale, Green Copenhagen Cabbage (Heirloom variety), and Red Express Cabbage have all been planted and will be available in the spring. Lately I've been asking myself, is it really January? It's hard to believe that we are still in winter with all of the warm weather and sunshine we have been getting! It's been so hot The JRF team has even started working on our summer (farmer) tan. We are definitely spoiled living in beautiful San Diego but we are taking full advantage of it here at the farm. The veggies have really been enjoying the weather as well and have been growing a lot faster than they were just a short while ago.

      The farm expansion is progressing quite nicely as 10 of the 15 new boxes have been planted with seeds and transplants. Vertical frames have also been constructed on all of the new 15 boxes. I am very excited for the vertical frames because they will be used to grow different varieties of tomatoes, melons, cucumbers, zucchini, summer squash, and beans this summer. The vertical frames will help maximize grow space in our compact area by growing the plants upward instead of horizontally across the ground. Efforts are also underway to introduce herbs to the JRF lineup. Basil, Cilantro, Dill, and Oregano will all be integrated into the farm at some point in the near future.

      As a quick reminder, the website is updated each week with what is available at the farm. So if you have any questions on what veggies are ready you can always check out the website. Hopefully all of you had a nice New Years, and I wish you the best in the year ahead!

Health Focus 

True life is lived when tiny changes occur                              
                                                     -Leo Tolstoy

New Year, New You

      A lot of people begin the New Year by making resolutions. We’ve all been there. We take a vow to lose weight, exercise more or spend more time with our family. We start the year with great intentions, but then we quickly relapse into old habits. Why is it so hard to stick to those New Year’s resolutions?

Here are some ways you can make your intentions a reality this year:

  1. Write down your intentions and keep them in a visible place, like taped to your bedroom mirror or the dashboard of your car.
  2. Get to the source of whatever is keeping you in a rut. Are you in a stressful relationship that causes you to eat a pint of Ben & Jerry’s every night? Are you stressed at your job and feel too tired to exercise after work?  If you don’t tackle the root of the behavior, it will be much harder to accomplish your goal.
  3. Be clear about what your life would look like once you achieve your goal. If you resolve to go to the gym more, how will this benefit you? Get connected to the result of your action, and you will be more likely to stick with your plan.
  4. Share your resolutions with friends and family. Hold each other accountable for achieving your goals. If you want to go to the gym more, have a friend call you two or three times a week to check on you or invite them to join you.
  5. Reward yourself with every little accomplishment. If your intention is to lose weight and you lose 1 pound a week, pamper yourself with a massage.

Big changes do not require big leaps. Permanent change is more likely to happen gradually than through one big restrictive plan. Allow yourself to climb the ladder one rung at a time.

Happy New Year!
 

Food Focus: Kale

      I have had a lot of questions from customers regarding kale lately. Many people haven't heard a lot about kale or are just curious about how to eat it and its benefits. I want to take the time to give you a brief history on this wonderful leafy green and also discuss a few of its many health benefits. There are also two wonderful recipes on kale in the recipes section following this article.

      Kale used to be a very popular leafy green to eat, and until the end of the Middle Ages, kale was the most widely grown leafy green in all of Europe. It has been cultivated for over 2,000 years and is one of the oldest varieties within the Cruciferous plant family. In fact, kale is native to the Mediterranean and the Greeks and Romans grew it extensively as it was a common part of their diet. Kale is a very robust plant, and historically has been particularly important in colder regions due to its high resistance to frost.

      What kale offers in robustness it also offers in nutritional value. Kale is very high in beta-carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, manganese, and chlorophyll. It is also rich in calcium, iron, copper, phosphorous, and potassium. Beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin are all flavonoids that exhibit strong anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Additionally, beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A once inside the body where it plays an essential role in maintaining healthy mucus membranes, skin, and vision. The vitamin K and calcium in kale help maintain and build stronger bones. Individuals with low vitamin K levels tend to have low mineral density in their bones and experience more bone fractures. Kale is also a source of the potent anti-cancer property sulforaphane and additionally it is a source of Indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells. Di-indolyl-methane (DIM), a metabolite of indole-3-carbinol has been found to be an effective immune modulator, anti-bacterial, and an anti-viral agent.

Here is a simple summary of the benefits of eating kale:

  • Combats and helps prevent cancer
  • Protects and maintains healthy eyesight
  • Boosts and modulates the immune system
  • Anti-inflammation
  • Promotes healthy skin
  • Strengthens bones

Kale has all of these benefits and many more. It truly is a super leafy green!

  

Recipes

 

Kale Chips
Ingredients:
1 Bunch of Kale
                      1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
                      Sea Salt or Himalayan Salt, to taste
                      Garlic Powder or any herbs/spices that you enjoy

Cooking Instructions:
Preheat oven to 300°F. Rinse and dry kale, then remove the stems and tough center ribs. Cut or tear into large chip size pieces, toss with extra virgin olive oil in a bowl and sprinkle with salt, garlic powder, or preferred herbs/spices to taste. Arrange leaves in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Make sure the chips are not stacked on top of each other because this will cause uneven baking. You may want to line the baking sheet with parchment paper for an easy clean up. Bake for 20 minutes, or until crisp. Let chips cool and enjoy!

Sautéed Kale
Ingredients: 1 Bunch of Kale
                      1 yellow onion, sliced
                      1-2 cloves of garlic, minced or finely chopped
                      2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
                      Juice of 1/4 lemon
                      1/2 cup of vegetable broth (chicken broth is great too) or water 
                      Sea salt and pepper, to taste (or any herb/spice that you enjoy)

Cooking Instructions:
Warm olive oil over medium heat in a large pot or pan. Add sliced onion and cook for 3-5 minutes or until slightly translucent. Stir the onions around once in a while so that they don't get burnt. Add garlic and kale (de-stem the kale first) and mix them together with onions. Allow garlic, kale, and onions to cook for one minute, then add broth or water and cover pot or pan for 4-6 minutes. Check kale from time to time for tenderness. Once kale is tender, add sea salt (or any herb/spice you like) and just a few drops of lemon juice. Give it one last stir and serve. Be careful not to add too much lemon juice. Adding too much can turn the whole dish sour.

This dish goes great with brown rice or quinoa and wild salmon.

Health Links 

The following links are informative articles relating to personal health and current news within the natural health world.

USDA is set to approve new Agent Orange Corn

Taxes are being used to subsidize junk food

Breast screenings cause more harm than good

Obama quietly approves new genetically modified corn during Christmas break

Study finds that PSA screening does not prevent cancer deaths in men

PepsiCo admits Mountain Dew is corrosive enough to dissolve a mouse carcass

Forward to a Friend

It’s such a pleasure to help those closest to us become happier and healthier. Please forward this newsletter to friends, family members or colleagues who might be interested and inspired by it.