Bravo-cado

Why on Earth are these little fruits (wait, fruits?) so darn good, and so darn good for you?

Cultivated in South America, avocados can be traced back anywhere between 8,000 to 15,000 years ago. The Persea Americana is thought to have originated in the Tehuacan Valley in Puebla, Mexico. Avocados thrive in humid, tropical air, calling South America, Asia, parts of Europe, and Africa home – and evolving several different cultivars humans consume today, each unique to their regions.

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Look how beautiful they are.

Avocados came to California in the 19th century. They became a huge cash crop, producing most of the United State’s avocados. And people wonder why Californians are so obsessed…

Avocados have a unique history. They’ve been around for quite some time. They are versatile and provide wonderful benefits to the body (and taste buds).

“Avocados offer nearly 20 vitamins and minerals in every serving, including potassium (which helps control blood pressure), lutein (which is good for your eyes), and folate (which is crucial for cell repair and during pregnancy).

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Avocados are a good source of B vitamins, which help you fight off disease and infection. They also give you vitamins C and E, plus natural plant chemicals that may help prevent cancer.

Avocados are high in fat. But it’s monounsaturated fat, which is a “good” fat that helps lower bad cholesterol, as long as you eat them in moderation.

Avocados are low in sugar. And they contain fiber, which helps you feel full longer. In one study, people who added a fresh avocado half to their lunch were less interested in eating during the next three hours.” Thank you WebMD.

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Avocados may be the greatest gift from the Earth. They are full of nutrients, vitamins, and have several health benefits. No wonder the ancient people of South America took a liking to them. They’re so awesome even Pearl Jam included them on their 2006 studio album, Pearl Jam, aka the Avocado Album. So bravo, avocado!

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A Vegan Bowl of Heaven

Our Community Organizer, Janie, really admires a gal named Angela Liddon. She’s the creator of Oh She Glows, “an award-winning plant-based recipe website” featuring vegan recipes galore. Here’s one of our favorites: The Big Vegan Bowl. A quick, easy, and rather filling meal – perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato, chopped into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (about 1.5 cups)
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 large carrot, peeled & julienned
  • purple cabbage or vegetable of choice, shredded
  • couple handfuls of greens for the base (optional)
  • lots of hummus
  • sliced avocado
  • hulled hemp seeds.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Spread out the chopped sweet potato on one sheet. Drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon of oil or so and toss the potatoes until coated. Sprinkle with fine grain sea salt.
  3. For the roasted chickpeas: Drain and rinse the chickpeas and then place on a large tea towel and pat until completely dry. Discard any skins that fall off. Transfer the chickpeas to the baking sheet and drizzle with 1/2 teaspoon oil. Rub them around with your hands until lightly coated. Generously sprinkle with fine grain sea salt and your favourite spices. I like to use garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, and salt. Toss gently to combine.
  4. Place both the sweet potato and chickpeas into the preheated oven. Roast for 15 minutes at 400F and then remove both. Flip the sweet potatoes and gently roll around the chickpeas. Place back in the oven for another 15 minutes or so, watching closely during the last 5 minutes. When the chickpeas are golden and the sweet potatoes are lightly browned on the bottom and fork tender, they are ready to come out.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the quinoa while the roasting is going on. In a fine mesh sieve, rinse the quinoa and then place in a medium pot. Add in 1.5 cups of water and stir. Bring the mixture to a low boil and then reduce the heat to low/medium and cover with lid. Simmer, covered, for about 14-17 minutes (you can check after 13 minutes), until all of the water is absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy. Remove from heat and leave the lid on to steam for another 5-10 minutes or longer if needed. Fluff with fork.
  6. Assemble the bowl: Add a couple handfuls of greens into a large shallow bowl. I had some leftover Best Kale Salad so I used that for my base. When the roasted veggies and chickpeas are done, allow the chickpeas to cool for 5 minutes and then add them on the salad followed by the sliced avocado, hummus, shredded veggies, and hemp seeds. See picture for how I plated it.
  7. Serve immediately and enjoy! You can use dressing if you’d like, but I don’t usually bother. If you have leftover sweet potato and roasted chickpeas, you can place them in the fridge. Reheat in the oven at 400F for about 5-10 minutes.

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Out of Reach

the fight for food: a collection of stories from the community

 

When I was a child my dad often took us kids to dumpster dive. He was a country singer, and my mom was receiving state aid. We would be out of food near the end of each month. We got to know the days that most of the grocery stores through out certain foods. Some times there were employees who would bag up the best of the veggies, or day old breads, and leave them beside the dumpster so we didn’t have to get inside. These days I am on a very strict budget. My son is autistic. Since I have changed his diet to non-GMO foods, which also include foods that are not processed, no MSG, dyes, BTH, nitrates, or gluten….it has become increasingly more expensive. Thank God for dollar stores. I tend to not eat as well, since I need to make sure he is eating what he needs. I had surgery on both wrist and have not been able to work. So it is also hard making a trip to the store. My oldest son is in the Air Force and has been paying most of our bills, I am thankful every day that we are better off than most.

Brandy B., California

 

I was living with my husband and our then almost two year old. I had joined Teach for America and they placed us in a very rural town in North Carolina. Aside from the extremely limited access to stores…My salary was just barely enough for the three of us to live. Then the winters hit and our heating bill was more than our rent. Every time I would spend even $50 at the store we would have panic attacks. We had to eat a lot of pasta and frozen meats, canned goods. Nothing was really fresh ever. Shortly after, my son was born who had a kidney issue from birth and had 9 surgeries by 18 months old. I was very fortunate in that my co-workers donated their vacation time to me so that I could take off work and be with my son after my maternity leave was up, and still get paid. Had they not done that we wouldn’t have made it monetarily. It was a very stressful time in our lives and I still suffer from it despite being in a better place financially today. I cannot login to my online banking without panicking and I’ve set everything up on auto pay or online billing so that I don’t have to open an envelope.

Courtney S., Florida

 

Growing up, my dad worked incredibly hard to provide for us in rural Alaska, but the prices were always outrageous. A bag of grapes in my hometown now goes for $9.50 a pound. Half a gallon of milk is close to $6 for even the generic stuff.

When I was in college, it was incredibly difficult to afford food, especially anything other than the fried, processed, and/or mass-produced offerings of a university dining facility. It’s hard to get away from that ramen mentality in school.

Now, I’m lucky enough to be stationed back in Alaska, although I live in a larger city and have more choices and a lower cost of living. My partner and I both have a comfortable income, but food can still be expensive up here. Produce has to be shipped in along with meat, so it’s often already going bad by the time it makes it to the shelf or picked before ripe to make the journey. We can afford food, but we can’t shell out the extra cost for organic or ethical foods. We usually have to go to several different stores to get decent prices on certain items and food is a massive line item in our budget.

Kaitlin H., Alaska

 

My family deals with this constantly after it got to the point to where I could not work and there is a great chance that I will never be able to work again. I have always worked after I turned 15. I have always had problems with my back. Three years ago, I finally went to the doctor about my constant back pain. Found out that I needed to have back surgery. I put that surgery off as long as I could. My first back surgery was back in Sept. 2016. I was released to go back to work and ended up having to have surgery again in the same spot. That was April this year and then the 6th of this month [July], I had to go in for a hernia repair.

My back has not got any better. I am not able to work and my husband is disabled. His check he gets once a month barely covers the bills. We get food stamps but the food only last two weeks no matter how we buy. I always by the cheapest thing there is and I know it is not healthy but I don’t have a choice. I remember the first time I walked into the neurosurgeon office. He asked me why was I not drawing disability. I have been fighting for my disability after the first surgery. Sorry getting a little teary.

Our car went down almost 2 and half months ago. Found out that it is going to cost the same amount for me to go out and buy another car that was a lot nicer than what I had. My mother, god rest her soul, she co-signed with my husband to get a car. She is helping us with the payments on it. Even if that did not happen, she could only spare enough money for use to eat for two or three days. It has been very rough and hard over the past three years but worse after I left my last job because I was having surgery. Now it is a constant struggle for food right at the end of the month and we have to spend bill money to buy food. There is a lot of times we do without because we cannot afford it. I am praying that my disability is approved because it would be a major help. I have went days without eating and my husband more than me because he wants me to eat first. So, I know what it means to struggle and my family is struggling now.

Jennifer C., Georgia

 

The memories of hunger are so vivid as a child and teenager. We had only rice and beans to eat. When we did not have that, we did not eat. I still remember going to bed hungry and how my stomach hurt at night. Whenever I got invited to party’s or BBQ I would always ask for a to go plate so I can take food home to my brother and sister. To this day I cannot have an empty fridge or pantry, I go into panic mode and tend to overbuy food.

Rose K., California

 

I currently live in a part of Delaware with no buses, no train station, no greyhound, no municipal airport, no Uber or Lyft. One overpriced cab driver, we have no Starbucks and only Walmart for groceries.

Michelle F., Delaware

 

I’m disabled and my husband is a disabled veteran fighting for his benefits. We have 4 teenagers, 3 of which are special needs with one having to use a wheelchair part of the time. We only get $45 a month in food stamps. How is anyone to survive, I know before anyone says anything, food stamps are a supplement, but when all your money goes to pay rent, car, car insurance and utilities and there is barely any left for food, it’s hard to get by let alone eat healthy.

Alicia S., Kentucky

How to Design for Infinite Access

Tessa Newell from FoodBeast talks with CEO Founder, Chai Mishra on the industry, supply chain, and an infinitely accessible world.

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Why don’t you start by telling us a little bit about how you grew up, Chai.

I grew up in Northern India and moved to Berkley, California when I was 17. From a young age, I was always obsessed with the idea of how stuff gets made and how it gets to market, so it made sense for me to study engineering at the University of California. I ended up leaving school to work at startups all over the world, mainly working as a supply chain guy.

It couldn’t be more clear that reinventing how we get our groceries is your passion. Were you always fascinated by supermarkets and the food industry?

My dad (and my grandfather, too, actually) was an engineer. He owned a trading business which helped third world countries acquire machinery and he was always taking me to the warehouses where he worked. I really think this sparked my curiosity for industrial processes. Getting this behind-the-scenes look at such a young age always had me thinking, “What happens between dreaming up a product and getting it on someone’s doorstep?”

So when I started traveling the world, working for various startups in places like China and Estonia, I was always drawn to the operations aspect of the process, in all different types of industries.

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Was the idea for Movebutter inspired or informed by your experiences with those startups?

Oh, absolutely. I worked for a start-up coffee company in Germany; they invented a machine that lets you roast, grind, and brew your own beans at home. My job was to work with coffee farmers in 50 countries, trying to find a way to get raw, green coffee beans to customers in 40-45 different countries.

One of the hardest parts of the job was seeing the unfairness of the industry. These farmers are paid $0.07 for their crops, but the company then turns around and sells those crops for $15 a bag. Not only that, but the standing methods for getting the product from the supplier to the customer is SO inefficient. It was a serious eye-opener for me.

Can you give us an overview of how Movebutter works? How will this e-grocery store fix the problems you saw in Germany?

Simply put, Movebutter is making high-quality food products more accessible and affordable for everyone. We build relationships with suppliers all over the country who ship their fantastic products to our warehouse in San Francisco. The products are packaged, labeled, and sent out that day to customers in all 50 states of the U.S.

Within the next two months, we’re actually going to be opening up warehouses in New Jersey and Texas. Yeah, we could feasibly do everything out of our San Francisco location, but these two new warehouses are going to cut down delivery times for customers not on the West Coast.

That’s a fantastic improvement to an already fantastic infrastructure.

We’re always trying to improve, especially when it comes to customer experience! We’re always trying to get more out of ourselves. Can we cut down the delivery time to within the hour? Can we make our products 30% more affordable? These are the questions we have to ask.

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What foods do you hold, always?

All your typical, stock groceries! Movebutter holds all different kinds of meats, dairy, produce, pasta, sauce, etc. The great thing is, we hold a variety of high-quality products across the board, so customers have a lot of great options for everything they need.

That’s a great approach. Did you always know Movebutter would be such a democratic company?

Yes, we knew it needed to be democratic from the beginning. When you go into the store you have to buy what they have stocked, but we believe you should be able to say “This granola needs to be sweeter” or “I need a smaller option for milk because I don’t need a whole gallon.” What we didn’t know was if people would WANT to be this involved, but the response has been insane.

What are a few examples of Movebutter’s democratic practices? 

A great example are the non-food items we were talking about. The people said they wanted soap, so we found a natural soap supplier in Montana that offers 10 varieties. We’ll have them vote on which type of soap we should hold from this supplier and the winner is what we’ll stock.

We also do something weekly called a “taste test.” Basically, we send out the items we’re planning on holding to a handful of customers each week and give them a score card to record their thoughts on taste, texture, etc. They’re encouraged to post their thoughts into the Facebook group – then we use that data to make the products better.

Truthfully, this is our biggest advantage in the industry: we can democratize food and other products. We can give our company and our consumers the economic advantage, based on how the public votes.

At other big e-commerce companies, who’s listening to consumer requests, some intern? We’ve literally cut out the need for a sales department – it’s product people handling these requests and concerns. I’m online all the time! I get into conversations with grandmas and college students about how they’ll use our honey and it always makes my day.

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What kinds of populations are you hoping Movebutter will impact?

Right now our customers tend to skew female in their early 20s to late 30s, and they mostly live in urban areas. However, we really are a company for everyone. Small towns, especially in middle America, are also represented. These people often live in what we call “food deserts,” where they don’t have a store within five miles of them in all directions.

Our customer base is very much America in the sense that we run the gamut of races, cultures, backgrounds and political views. This connects to the core idea of who we are; we sell high-quality versions of everyday products, all centered around community.

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You were quoted saying that Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods is a “step back for the consumer.” Can you explain why you feel the consumer will suffer?

Grocery was always offline, but we’ve been seeing it transitioning more and more to the online market. This WAS moving the industry towards more ethical practices and affordable food products by cutting out the middle man. But this acquisition is a huge step back from all that. Amazon selling Whole Food’s inventory online doesn’t solve the problem; there’s still the incurred cost from the 400+ Whole Foods locations the consumer has to pay. I firmly feel that this move slowed down the progress the industry was making. Who is this helping? It is a step forward for Whole Foods, but it’s a step back for Amazon as well as the consumer.

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How will Movebutter fill the gap this acquisition may have made in the industry?

This is an important opportunity for us to step up our game in the wake of Amazon’s mistake. Ironically, this business move has effectively cleared the field below and above us in our industry. We’re looking around and seeing that we’re the last company standing in this new wave of digital. It’s troubling, but it’s also the greatest opportunity that’s come along since we started this company.

We’ve been getting non-stop calls from grocery stores and investors, because they’re realizing they need to move to e-commerce. So it’s now up to us to move the industry in the right direction.

We’re going to continue to pursue the idea of the “infinitely accessible grocery store.” For us, that means finding the greatest food out there, finding a way to bring it down to price points that anyone can afford, and then distributing it so everyone can get it. We’ll start with food (because that’s most pressing) and then move this idea out so it can apply to everything.

Walmart and Amazon can fight it out among themselves. Meanwhile, we’ll be building a better store for everything, quite literally the retail store of the future.

 

12 Foods You Should Always Buy Organic

The Dirty Dozen: 12 Foods You Should Eat Organic.

The Environmental Working Group puts out a list of foods that, when possible, you should buy organic. Due to the high levels of pesticide use, in combination with the very nature of the item’s anatomy, organic is a much safer way of consumption.

Included are 10 more foods that have far less toxins when organic than their conventional counterparts.

 

Apples

 Strawberries

 Grapes

 Celery

 Peaches

 Spinach

 Sweet Bell Peppers

 Nectarines

 Cucumbers

 Cherry Tomatoes

 Potatoes

 Hot Peppers

 Kale

 Collard Greens

 Zucchini

 Lettuce

 Blueberries

 Fatty Meats

 Milk

 Coffee

 Wine

 Chocolate

 

With thanks to goodhousekeeping.com.

The Story of Sushi

Sushi. California rolls, sashimi, miso soup, and tempura. Don’t forget the sake.

It wasn’t until the 1970s when Americans started embracing sushi. This classic Japanese food has been a staple for date nights and GNOs for our entire lives. But where did sushi originate? And how much has it changed?

There is an old wive’s tale to be told here. Sushi was said to have been discovered by an elderly woman who was trying to hide her pots of rice from thieves. She discovered that pieces of fish mixed in with the rice. The rice was fermented around the fish, resembling what we know as modern sushi.

As with many cuisines of the world, it takes several decades for a dish to turn up in a commercial setting. Sushi dates back to the 9th century. In a PBS article, author Tori Avey explains the rise of sushi consumption.

In 1606, Tokugawa Ieyasu, a Japanese military dictator, moved the capital of Japan from Kyoto to Edo. Edo seemed to undergo an overnight transformation. With the help of the rising merchant class, the city quickly turned into a hub of Japanese nightlife. By the 19th century, Edo had become one of the world’s largest cities, both in terms of land size and population.

“In Edo, sushi makers used a fermentation process developed in the mid-1700s, placing a layer of cooked rice seasoned with rice vinegar alongside a layer of fish. The layers were compressed in a small wooden box for two hours, then sliced into serving pieces. This new method greatly reduced the preparation time for sushi… and thanks to a Japanese entrepreneur, the whole process was about to get even faster.”

In the 1820s, and man named Hanaya Yohei stumbled into Edo, in search of opportunity. He opened up the very first sushi stall in the Ryogoku district. He used freshly caught fish from the bay, so he didn’t need to use old fermentation processes that dragged out eating the sushi for months.

In the 1920s, hundreds of stalls were propped up throughout the city. After a major earthquake hit the area, buildings became a lot cheaper to rent. Many stall owners moved their stuff inside, marking the first step towards modern sushi.

Los Angeles was the first city in America to successfully embrace sushi. In 1966, a man named Noritoshi Kanai and his Jewish business partner, Harry Wolff, opened Kawafuku Restaurant in Little Tokyo. Kawafuku was the first to offer traditional nigiri sushi to American patrons. The sushi bar was successful with Japanese businessmen, who then introduced it to their American colleagues. In 1970, the first sushi bar outside of Little Tokyo, Osho, opened in Hollywood and catered to celebrities. This gave sushi the final push it needed to reach American success.

The story of sushi. From the 9th century to the 21st, humans have been innovating food and finding ways to do sushi. What you consume now has some similarities to what the Japanese ate long ago. With each bite, remember the history and the culture behind your California Roll.

The Best Coffee Table Books for the Modern Foodie

Our friends over at POPSUGAR developed a comprehensive list of the best coffee table books for foodies.

Here are 27 books and reasons why you should get a coffee table.

View original article here.

 

pc: contemporaryfoodlab.com