GOING NUTS!

Approximately 4,000 California walnut growers produce over 600,000 short tons of walnuts annually.  Right here in El Dorado County, 205 walnut trees on 10 acres at Perry Creek Walnut Farm are budding out that delicious fruit at a steady pace.  A rainy season promises a bumper crop of organic English walnuts for the farm in Somerset, say proprietors Betty Allen and Bob DaCosta.

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sign Betty Allen moved from New York to Somerset in 2010 and never looked back. Although she advertises on a regular basis with her New York business network, Betty also sells to locals and internet customers.   Betty and Bob do all the harvesting, drying, shelling, packing and shipping the old fashioned way—by hand. The walnuts are harvested in October   Whole and shelled walnuts are available in all sizes from 1 to 10 pounds, plus shipping. Twenty pounds in the shell brings you an additional two free pounds.

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Well known in the community, Perry Creek FLAV-R-ROASTED Fancy Mixed Nuts and sugar and spice and candied walnut packages are available at the farm stand out front. You will also find homemade items such as 3-Berry Jam, Apple Butter, Organic Pasta Sauce, farm fresh organic eggs and vegetables in season . Community involvement includes fostering animals, Pioneer Firefighters Association and Farm Bureau as well as El Dorado County Farm Trails Association.nutmachinebettys-farm-stand

 

*In 2011, Walnuts were certified by the American Heart Association as a heart healthy food. Researchers include walnuts in superfood lists to help you

Initial findings from the Walnuts and Healthy Aging (WAHA) study presented at Experimental Biology 2016 (EB) indicate that daily walnut consumption positively impacts blood cholesterol levels without adverse effects on body weight among older adults.1 The WAHA study is a dual site two-year clinical trial conducted by researchers from the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona and Loma Linda University and is aimed at determining the effect of walnuts on age-related health issues.

A USDA Ag Research Service study results show that daily consumption of 1.5 ounces of walnuts significantly affects the bacteria in the human gut in a way that is favorable to decreasing inflammation and cholesterol, which are two known indicators of heart health.

Researchers from the University of Georgia have found walnuts to be a great option for getting more polyunsaturated fat into the diet, with 13 grams per ounce.

Walnuts are unique among nuts in that they are primarily composed of polyunsaturated fat (13 grams per ounce), which includes alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid. They are the only nut to contain a significant amount of ALA with 2.5 grams per one ounce serving.

http://www.morningagclips.com/category/national/western_states/california/

90% of the phenols in walnuts are found in the skin. The form of vitamin E found in walnuts is in the form of gamma-tocopherol, found to provide significant heart health protection.

94.5% of U.S. adults consume no tree nuts whatsoever. Researchers find that nut eaters take in 5 grams more fiber, 260 mg. more potassium, 73 more mg. of calcium, 95 more mg. of magnesium, 3.7 mg. more E and 157 mg. less sodium.

California produces 90% of the 38% of all walnuts grown in the U.S.

Quinone juglone, a rare and valuable antioxidant/anti inflammatory in walnuts, is found in virtually no other commonly-eaten foods. http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=newtip&dbid=278&utm_source=daily_click&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_email

Most walnut trees are grown on black walnut rootstock these days, so it is interesting that a particular toxin called “juglone” from the roots, buds, leaves and nut hulls seeps into the soil and may turn susceptible plants nearby yellow or cause them to wilt and die. It is important to keep the highest concentration of the toxin that exists around the canopy of the tree raked clear.
Field crops like alfalfa, crimson clover and tobacco are especially sensitive to black walnut tree toxicity as are vegetables like asparagus, cabbage, eggplant, pepper, potato, rhubarb and tomato. Susceptible fruits are apple, blackberry blueberry, and pear.

Purdue University has informal lists of plants that tolerate juglone and those that are sensitive to it, and planting, according to the University of Wisconsin, can be up to 50’-80’ from the trunk. Naturally you need to consider the sun and shade requirements of the plants, as well. For more information: The go-to book for anyone growing nut and fruit trees in California is the UC Davis publication, The Home Orchard.

 

Q&A about Nitrates

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Image Source: Pixabay

Q: How can I make nutritional sense of all the different brands and types of hot dogs and lunch meats for my children?

A: I hate to start answering a question with a question, but where are you shopping? Most large supermarkets carry what has a selling history: big business and others continue to include MSG and chemical preservatives like nitrates and nitrites in their goods. On the other hand, some manufacturers like manufacture goods with nitrates as well as “Natural” goods without harmful chemicals and with natural preservatives such as celery. (note: “natural” is not the same as “organic”).

Since I’m an experienced product demonstrator, I find that many parents today freely give their children samples of food and if it tastes good to them, they buy it without ever reading the label. Other parents, looking at label ingredients, decide to forego the product and head for the natural foods section. Uncured turkey hot dogs are just as tasty they say, and don’t carry the health risk of preservatives. Slowly, slowly, will we ever learn to eat for health, not just taste?

One elder recently was convinced that cooking the foods to a high temperature killed the preservatives. Perhaps at most the harmful bacteria, but the preservatives are still there to play havoc with your hormonal and other body systems.

Image source: Pixabay

Celebrate Spring with Asparagus

ASPARAGUS! The spring veggie loved by many, or few?

We Italians love them every which way, especially found wild and wrapped up in some farm fresh eggs as a frittata. You can roast them, sauté them, put them in a pie, use in a cheese fondue. I’ve found them on a pizza, in a salad, wrapped in prosciutto, speared through a hot dog or sausage and toasted on the grill. If you want to really appreciate asparagus wild, take a look at Anne Robichaud’s article from Italian Notebook.

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Asparagus with Quinoa

Saute two sliced shallots in 1 T each butter and olive oil until softened. Add a bunch of asparagus sliced on the diagonal and season as desired. Cook on lowered heat, covered, until softened, but still firm to the bite.

To serve, portion over cooked quinoa with a squeeze of lemon. Drizzle with bacon bits, or Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Asparagus and Spinach Frittata*

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Ingredients:
1 lb each spinach and fresh asparagus, washed, drained, tough ends discarded
8 eggs
3 T whipping cream or water
s/p to taste
¼ c Parmesan or Romano cheese
4 T olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced

Cut asparagus into 1-inch lengths, cook in boiling, salted water until tender to pierce, about 3 minutes. Drain, immerse in cold water and drain again. Cook spinach in a covered pan until wilted, stirring. Drain, cool, coarsely chop. Set aside.

Beat eggs, cream, salt and pepper, cheese. Set aside.

In a large on-stick skillet, place olive oil, and garlic cloves over medium heat until just beginning to brown, do not scorch! Add spinach and asparagus, and sauté 2 minutes. Pour egg mixture over asparagus and cook until eggs begin to set. Sprinkle with cheese and reduce heat to medium-low. When almost set, place skillet under broiler until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Let frittata stand 4 minutes before loosening, and sliding onto a plate.

*Optional ingredients

  1. Omit spinach, add 1 seeded, diced tomato and Fontina cheese instead of Parmesan.
  2. Use spring onions in addition to or instead of garlic, and Gruyere or Swiss cheese.
  3. Cut unpeeled red potatoes 1/8” thick and sauté w/green onions 6-8 minutes, covered, then uncover, brown well another 7-8 minutes. Add to asparagus/egg mixture.