Saturday, April 5, 2008

Chard with Beets: seasonal food has less pesticides

Raymond from the organic Calderon Farm table at the farmer's market has very good looking chard, beets and celery this time of year.

One bunch chard and one bunch beet leaves chopped into one inch strips and then soaked and rinsed in cold water to remove any mud.

Layer in the 6” oval roaster with
remaining stalks cut fine.
One stalk celery cut fine.
One crushed garlic,
salt to taste,
two tablespoons hot new mexico chilli powder.

Rinse and peel the beets and then cut into 1/ 8” slices and add to layers.

Cook in the winter position with the reflector, for 1.5 hours. Mix with two tablespoons white wine vinegar and one tablespoon olive oil before serving.

Use the rinse water on your plants!

Where our food is grown makes a big difference. There are trace amounts of pesticide in organic food from surrounding farms in a process called pesticide drift. The pattern of residues found in organic foods tested by the PDP, a Congress funded USDA program from 1991 called the “Pesticide Data Program”, differs markedly from the pattern in conventional samples. Conventional fruits are 3.6 times more likely to contain residues than organic fruit samples and conventional vegetables are 6.8 times more likely to have one or more detectable residue.

Compared to organic produce, conventional samples also contain multiple residues. Imported foods consistently contain more residues than domestic samples, regardless of market claim. "A few pro-pesticide activists have gone to great lengths to convince consumers that pesticide residues in organic foods are as risky as those in conventional foods. Fortunately, these claims do not pass the laugh test."

Conventional agriculture is addicted to toxic death. Sprayed from the sky these toxins spread with capriciousness of the wind god. The government, in the pocket book of large corporate farmers, does nothing. So an NGO developed a reporting system for farmers to report drift.
And Panna has developed a drift catcher to help in reporting.

And Organic Consumer has asked for new rules to protect consumers in this article by Larry Jacobs who grows organic Del Cabo tomatoes at a coop in Cabo San Lucas and Santa Cruz and which are available at most grocery stores around here.

But we have the power to choose our food wisely. Buying organic and local has relevance to what kind of pesticides we consume. In Did your shopping list kill a songbird? BRIDGET STUTCHBURY notes that the imported fruits and vegetables found in our shopping carts in winter and early spring are grown with types and amounts of pesticides that would often be illegal in the United States. Leonard Doyle reaches the same conclusion: The number of migratory songbirds returning to North America has gone into sharp decline due to the unregulated use of highly toxic pesticides and other chemicals across Latin America. Ornithologists blame the demand for out-of-season fruit and vegetables and other crops in North America and Europe for the destruction of tens of millions of passerine birds.

Learning how to eat seasonally from the farmers market is an important skill in planetary preservation.

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