Never Miss a Monday: Go Halfway!

GohalfwayOkay, so this is not a tagline that is going to go viral. I realize it doesn’t quite have the oomph of “Go big or go home!” but what it lacks in cheerleaderness (pretty sure I just made that word up by the way), it more then makes up for in reality.   When it comes to improving the way we eat, which is usually decreasing a bad habit or increasing a good habit (or both!), it can be intimidating to make the change if we think it’s all or nothing.

In addition, from a strictly physiological point of view, we have the ability to change our taste preferences but it doesn’t happen overnight. Even though it is only making a change halfway, it is likely your taste buds will still notice. I promise that if you give it a bit of time, your palate will acclimate and you’ll get to the point that you can’t believe you once preferred such a sugary coffee or such bland sandwich bread.

Below are three areas where everyone can usually use some improvement…pick one from each list (or make your own half-sie!) and start to “Go halfway!” (add in pom-poms here…)

Increase Fiber:

  • Make one slice of your sandwich bread 100% whole wheat
  • Go all Seinfeld on your cereal and combine a high fiber cereal (ideally 5g+ fiber per serving) with your current go to cereal.
  • Substitute half of your white flour in baking with white whole wheat flour (this is just as healthy as regular whole wheat flour but milder tasting)

Reduce Sugar:

  • Cut your soda/sports drink/juice with half soda water (try a non-sugar flavored one to add a fun taste twist, like Poland Black Cherry…you just made yourself a cherry coke!)
  • Split your flavored oatmeal packet in half, and add in 2+ tablespoons of rolled oats before cooking.
  • Ask your favorite barista to only add in half the amount of flavoring to your coffee.
  • Mix ½ plain greek yogurt with ½ of your favorite flavored yogurt.

Increase Vegetables:

  • Get on the kale train…when you sauté up baby spinach, make half kale. Or better yet, mix it up and make 1/3 baby spinach, 1/3 kale, 1/3 swiss chard.
  • Can’t do a whole salad for lunch…then just make it half your lunch and add a small salad to your plate. Handful of greens and a drizzle of oil is all you need!
  • Double the amount of veggies for any recipe, especially soups and stews.

Meet Your Farmer – Langwater Farm, Easton MA

langwaterLovely Langwater Farm, located in Easton Massachusetts, is one of our local farm partners who provide us with a wide variety of the farm fresh foods we enjoy throughout the year as members of Nourish to Flourish.

In the early 1900′s, Langwater Farm was famous for its Guernsey cows and Clydesdale horses. Later, the farm had been mowed for hay until the Ames family decided to seek out a farmer to begin a community farm for the town of Easton. Working with a non-profit organization, the Ames Realty Trust collected proposals from farmers and ultimately chose the O’Dwyer’s to farm the beautiful land at Langwater Farm. 2010 marked the first growing season at Langwater Farm which is named as a nod to the rich history of the land.

Langwater Farm is 80 acres total with half of the land wooded and the other half tilled for crops. Interestingly, part of the property was originally designed by landscape architect Fredrick Law Olmsted, the creator of Central Park. The picturesque farmland includes fields gently curving against woods, surrounded by stone walls, dirt roads snaking through the woods and fields, all bordered by Langwater Pond to the west.

Before starting Langwater Farm, Kevin O’Dwyer was the head grower at Wards Berry Farm, a 150 acre diversified fruit and vegetable farm in Sharon, MA. He started working summers there as field crew at age 14, and continued working there through high school and college before being hired on full time. He is most passionate about growing tomatoes and has enjoyed developing his carpentry skills and planning and creating the infrastructure as his farm grows. Kate O’Dwyer met Kevin at UMass, Amherst where they both attended college. They live in Easton and have two daughters, Madison and Rachel. Kate left her career in social work in 2012 to join Kevin on the farm full time.

Beginning in 2014, they announced that they will be expanding to produce delicious, Certified Organic vegetables on another historic piece of farmland here in Easton. In addition to the 30 acres at Langwater Farm, they will be leasing an additional 26 acres in a partnership with the Town of Easton at the Wheaton Farm on Bay Road. With this new piece of farmland, they will be able to expand production of local, organic veggies by close to 50% over the next few years. Langwater Farm grows a diverse mix of Certified Organic vegetables, fruits, flowers, herbs, berries and pumpkins using organic growing practices and methods.

We are so fortunate to Langwater Farm and the many local farms in our network because they are truly devoted to sustainable agriculture and preserving our stunning landscapes. Your support as a member ensures our farmers remain here, thrive and prosper. Many thanks to you, our Nourish to Flourish members, and our dedicated farmers. Together we make a difference.

Public Hearing for GMO Labeling in Boston 9/22/15

Right to knowBy Pamela Denholm

We have covered the issue of GMO’s in our newsletter rather extensively over the years. In genetic engineering (GE), technicians extract genes from one form of life and insert them into another (they can put fish genes into a strawberry). In doing so, GE can create totally new organisms which will pass these genetic changes on to their offspring. We have covered how genetic engineering to create genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) can impact our environment, and our health.

On September 22, 2015 at 1pm in the Gardner Auditorium at the Massachusetts State House, the Agriculture Committee will hear arguments for and against transparency in GMO food labeling. This is an absolutely critical opportunity to make your voice heard and to send a strong message to state legislators! More than just needing to know what we’re eating, for me this fight is for the right to choose! You should be able to tell if a product you are purchasing contains GMO’s, they are labeled in other countries, and there is no good reason the information should be withheld from you if you ask for it. And there really isn’t a good reason why these products shouldn’t be labeled. I can’t think of one. So we need the legislature to pass mandatory GMO labeling THIS SESSION! We are not fighting for a label, we are fighting for access to information pertaining to our food, and the right to choose. So here are the details of the hearing if you are inspired and would like to take action:

“Special Pre-Hearing Event” at 12 noon at the State House (TBA)

Public Hearing begins at 1p.

The Massachusetts GMO labeling bill (H.3242) is the most popular bill in the State House, with over 75% of the legislature signed on as co-sponsors. We could soon join with Connecticut, Maine and Vermont in setting the standard for national mandatory GMO labeling. But if it’s going to come up for a vote this session, we need to turn out with undeniable energy and make this a priority for legislators this year. With 30 new GMO crops in the pipeline and Monsanto working to pass the federal DARK Act, we don’t have time to waste.

Please help us fill up the hearing room with GMO labeling supporters. MA Right to Know GMOs is a statewide network of safe food and consumer advocates supporting mandatory GMO labeling. We invite you to join us and make your voice heard.

You can RSVP for the hearing on the website below. We also invite you to submit written testimony in support of GMO labeling, even if you can’t attend in person. If you want to speak at the hearing, you’re welcome to do so, but having your presence there is just as important.

What you can do right now:

RSVP for the hearing (website below)!

Submit written testimony before the hearing

Share the event on Facebook:  Massachusetts Right to Know GMOs

Spread the word with fliers and posters:

Donate $25 to pay for someone else’s bus ride to the hearing:

Curious what to expect at the public hearing? Here’s a detailed guide to what the day will be like and how you can be part of it!

Please feel free to ask any questions at info@marighttoknow.

To RSVP, submit testimony, or find more information visit:

Our New Office Fruit Boxes Are Here!

fruit box heartNourish to Flourish now offers fruit boxes for your office or club to share!  A box chock full of sustainably grown seasonal fruits can be delivered along with your weekly green bags.

Check out our 2 options below:

Large Box
– $55 – serves approx. 30 people
Small Box – $40 – serves approx. 20 people

Here’s how is works:

  • Email and let us know what size box and how many boxes you would like for your office.
  • The Office Fruit Box will be delivered right alongside your weekly N2F delivery in a sturdy, reusable box. (Be sure to leave out your previous week’s empty box so we can take it back with us and fill it up again with all the fresh goodies!)
  • Your employees/members will now have easy access to fresh grab n’ go fruits like apples, pears, bananas, peaches, etc, all week long!
  • Payment is processed on company credit cards, which means it is the least fussy thing on your to do list.

Teach Your Teen Nutrition

teachteenWhen it comes to healthy eating and teenagers, I often hear parents lament the fact that they are “going to eat what they want, when they want”. There is a feeling that their current eating behaviors are set into adulthood and as parents we just have to make the meals, stock up on their preferred snacks, and hope for the best. Alas, all is not lost my fellow parents-in-arms. Use this newfound independence to give your teens the tools they need to make healthy eating choices. And there is no better tool to start with then the nutrition label, which they’ll see on every package of food they come across. Yes, it would be best if they always grabbed a piece of fruit for a snack or a salad for lunch, and many do, but reality is they are still going to be faced with the decision to choose something that comes in a box/wrap/bottle, etc.

The below graphic is a short and sweet way to show them quickly the key items of the label. Here are some tips you can offer to them:

  • 400 or more calories per serving of a single food is high and 100 calories or less is moderate.
  • Teenagers should look for foods high in DV% of potassium, vitamins A & C, iron, and calcium.
  • Higher fiber is best, at least 3 grams or more per serving
  • Look for less than 3 grams of fat or less for every 100 calories in a serving.
  • Keep sodium low, teenagers need 1,500 max for the day
  • The less sugar the better. Point out that sometimes foods will have a label as low fat, but then the sugar amount is high.
  • The shorter the ingredients list the better, aim for 5 or less.

Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 10.09.29 PM

Once you’ve done your label review with your teen, a great way to incorporate this into everyday life is to make them responsible for some of the grocery shopping. Early teens could take half the grocery list at the store and fill their own cart. They can meet you at checkout so you can do a quick perusal.  For older teens that drive, they could be responsible for a quick top off of groceries each week. They’ll love the confidence you show in them that they are “adult enough” to make these healthy choices for themselves and the family!

Be Well,


10 Steps in Shiitake Log Cultivation

from Edible South Shore & South Coast Magazine’s blog post titled ‘Gifting My MushroomsMistakes: Reflections of a Novice Farmer by Kohei Ishihara

We’ve learned how to make compost, and start a worm farm, now it’s time to learn how to grow your own shiitake mushrooms and avoid mistakes new mushroom growers inevitably make:

  1. Identify the site that will host your shiitake logs. Find a place that will retain moisture – it should be shaded (under evergreens is ideal), and it should not be too windy. I found a shaded plot on a hill under a bunch of fir trees only to later realize that this hill was one of the windiest places on the farm.
  2. Cut down oak trees, or find newly cut down oak trees, during the winter when the tree is dormant. The best trees are young, which have the highest amount of carbohydrates and will serve as a strong food supply for your mushrooms. Young trees with diameters of less than 8 inches will also be lighter and much easier to transport.
  3. Cut your logs into lengths no greater than 4 feet. The shorter you cut, the lighter your logs will be. Then use a grill brush to scrape off lichens, debris, and other growth while being careful not to rip off the bark which is needed as a protective layer of insulation and also serves as a barrier to pests and disease. Then, a week before you inoculate, soak your logs in water for up to 48 hours.
  4. Inoculate your logs. Using a drill with a 5/16th inch bit, drill holes every 6-8 inches in a row. For the second row, off-center the holes so that they are staggered. By now you should have already ordered shiitake mushroom dowel spawn (I recommend ordering from Field & Forest). Pound in the wooden dowels using a hammer or rubber mallet.
  5. Melt wax to seal inoculant. Once you are done inoculating logs, melt wax until it starts to smoke. Wax that has reached this temperature will not only seal better, but it will also ensure that it kills any harmful bacteria. Using a paint brush, cover each hole with enough wax to seal it. The wax keeps out harmful insects, bacteria, and competing fungi, and keeps in the moisture,
  6. Stack your logs like you would stack firewood, so there is minimal wind exposure. This will ensure that your logs stay moist. You can also water your logs or cover them with tarp. Keeping your logs very moist is extremely important for the first 3 months
  7. Wait! Now you can sit back and relax. It will take 12 – 18 months until your logs show traces of white mycelium growth on the cambium layers on the edges of your logs. Once you see this growth it means that the mycelium has fully colonized the log, and that your log is ready for forced fruiting.
  8. Force your logs to fruit or you can wait, and let nature takes its course. If left alone, natural changes in temperature will naturally force a flushing of mushrooms, most likely once in the spring and once in the fall. To force fruit your logs, you must soak your logs in water that is 20 degrees colder than the air temperature for 24 hours. Soak each log and then re-stack and you should start seeing a flush of mushrooms within two weeks. To get a continuous supply of mushrooms don’t force fruit all your logs at once.
  9. Let your logs rest – after force fruiting a log and harvesting mushrooms, let your logs rest at least two months before forcing another fruiting.
  10. Lastly, protect your logs from predators. This goes for growing anything nutritious and delicious. Insects, squirrels, and even deer will find shiitakes just as delicious as you do.
  11. Shiitake beckons us to be patient. It takes two years until your logs yield a maximum flush of mushrooms. Kohei Ishihara envisions networks of transformative people, organizations, and social movements that are empowered by a deep connection to land, community, and food. Kohei earned a degree in Ethnic Studies from Brown University and helped build a youth activist organization in Providence, RI. He currently works at Freedom Food Farm in Raynham.