Friday, May 10, 2013

The Good Earth Garden Party

Last Spring I started working at The Good Earth Organic Gardening Center in Hope, RI. A beautiful place just outside of Providence (but seemingly much farther) that carries an enormous range of organically grown plants and gardening supplies. They also farm organic vegetables and have a small CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).

I had never worked at a garden center or farm before, but I wanted to learn about how food is grown from the ground up! In order to achieve this I went to Farm Fresh RI's job fair and met Joyce and John of The Good Earth, who were interested in my willingness to learn despite my lack of experience.

A year later and I still have a lot to learn about organic farming and gardening, but its been great fun so far!

If you have never visited The Good Earth before, stop by tomorrow for The Good Earth Garden Party! In addition to their usual abundance of organic vegetable plants, perennials, annuals, and tropicals there will be free demonstrations on gardening and cooking, live music, kids activities, and a huge range of amazing artwork!

My friend Brett Mayette, a wild foods chef and cooking instructor with Conscious Cuisine, will be giving free cooking demonstrations and food samples of foraged foods! He will share cooking techniques, nutritional tips, and food samples, applying his culinary creativity to organic produce from The Good Earth as well as a variety of wild foods and herbs. Brett will teach you how to prepare roasted wild root vegetables, scrambled eggs with nettles, a wild greens salad, as well as fried dandelion flowers! Learn the health benefits of wild foods and herbs and how to incorporate them into your diet.

Screenprint on organic cotton t-shirt
In case you need another reason to attend, my friends at Process Initiative will be screenprinting on-site!!! Bring a t-shirt, tote bag, or even just a piece of fabric and get it screen printed with this awesome design! We will also have printed shirts available on organic cotton.

Click here for a schedule of events and more details.

1800 Scituate Ave. Hope, RI 02831
10am to 5pm

See you at the party!!!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Herbal Root Stew

A couple of months ago I made an herbal root stew for my Farmacy Herbs "graduation potluck". Everyone really liked it and one of my classmates asked me if I could post the recipe. Replying with an astounding "yes!", I made a mental note to share the recipe soon.

I see this particular person nearly every Saturday at the Pawtucket Wintertime Farmer's Market and it is only then that I think to myself, "Gosh darn it, I keep forgetting to post that soup recipe!" We'll this week I remembered on a Friday and I hope that I see this person tomorrow so that I can finally say that its here!

Herbal Root Stew  

A few tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 ounces of ginger
2 yellow onions
about 6 ounces of burdock root (I used 3 pieces, each about 1 foot long)
2 pounds carrots
2 pounds parsnips
2 pounds sweet potatoes
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 can of chick peas
6 cups vegetable stock* + 6 cups water
1/4 cup dried nettles
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 cup fresh thyme

*I made the vegetable stock beforehand by simmering a collection of vegetable scraps that I had saved in the freezer. It included primarily sweet potato skins, mushroom stems, carrot scraps, onion scraps, garlic skins, and some stems of greens. You can read more about that process here.

In a large saucepan, saute onions in a few tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil for 5 minutes or so. Add ginger and burdock root, saute for a few more minutes, then add the carrots, parsnips, chick peas, garlic, and sweet potatoes. Cook vegetables in pan for about 10 minutes then add approximately 6 cups of vegetable stock and 6 cups of water. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender, but not too soft. Add nettles and fresh thyme, turn off heat and let sit covered for 10 minutes or so. Add the juice of half a lemon.


Monday, April 15, 2013


Organic garlic at The Good Earth Organic Gardening Center
I am admittedly obsessed with garlic. I usually double or triple the recommended amount in cooking recipes and I also love to eat it raw (in salads, with poached eggs, or even juiced!). I have no reservations about smelling like garlic; my close friends can attest to this...

Garlic is also extremely healthy! It has a ton of antioxidants, vitamins, enzymes, and minerals. Specifically, it contains many polysulfides (constituents that contain sulfer), which have been shown to increase cardiovascular health, reduce risk of cancers, as well as promote healthy skin. It is a very detoxifying food as well as anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory!

Whenever I prepare food with garlic, whether cooking it or eating it raw, I always crush and mince the garlic and let it rest for a few minutes before. This is because some of the healthy polysulfides in garlic become available only after crushing the cloves. If introduced to heat or acid too soon, these healthy constituents will be lost, but letting the garlic rest for a few minutes allows the polysulfides to develop and remain intact through food preparation.

Garlic growing in my garden!
Garlic is different from other crops in that it gets planted in the fall. This past fall I planted 3 rows of garlic cloves (yes, its true, you just stick some cloves in the ground a couple inches down!) and I am happy to see that they are already coming up! In early summer I will be able to harvest the garlic scapes, then late summer I will dig up the garlic bulbs!

Garlic scapes from last years harvest. These are from The Good Earth Organic Gardening Center. Delicious sauteed, grilled, or made into a pesto!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Caulifower and Parsnip Whipped Dip!

Cauliflower and Parsnip Dip with cucumbers, carrots, and celery

I am the one at the holiday family dinners who pushes the "weird" food on my mainstream minded relatives. I try not to be toooo pushy... fortunately my family members, though traditional in their meals, are usually open to my unfamiliar flavors and funny looking vegetables.

One of my contributions to this year's Easter feast was a whipped cauliflower and parsnip dip! I wanted to make something similar to a hummus, but with vegetables rather than beans. I was quite pleased with the results- it had a great texture for dipping and subtle, pleasant flavors! (This was a true feat for me since I always season boldly!) It also worked nicely as an appetizer for a big feast because it was fairly light. Pair with sliced vegetables and you have a healthy, texturally pleasing snack!


- 1 head of caulifower
- 1 large parsnip
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Enough to coat vegetables for roasting, plus a couple tablespoons for the dip)
- Juice from half a lemon
- Salt and black pepper to taste


1. Chop cauliflower into florets. Chop parsnip into one inch cubes.
2. Place cauliflower, parsnip, and garlic coves (peeled, whole) into a roasting pan. Coat with olive oil.
3. Roast at 350 degrees for approximately half an hour, until vegetables are tender.
4. Place roasted vegetables in a food processor and process until smooth.
5. Add turmeric, a couple tablespoons of olive oil, juice from half a lemon, salt, and black pepper to taste. Process until all ingredients are combined.
6. Enjoy immediately or serve chilled!

Pairs nicely with sliced vegetables, fruit, bread, and crackers! Would also work well as a side dish.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Herb Balls!

Immune Boosting Herb Balls

I recently made some immune boosting herb balls for a brunch potluck and got rave reviews! They are very easy to make and, in my opinion, are the most delicious way of ingesting herbs! (Though this is really only the case for ground roots and powders- don't want any leaves sticking out of them!)

Here's what's in them:

16 oz nut butter (I used sunflower seed butter)
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1.5 teaspoons Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus)
.5 teaspoon ground Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
1.5 teaspoons Cat's claw (Uncaria tomentosa)
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum)
2 Tablespoons molasses
1 cup honey
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (plus 1/2 cup for rolling balls in)
3/4 cup chopped almonds
1 cup raisins
2 Tablespoons coconut oil

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, then form into balls and roll in coconut flakes!

I decided to focus on immune boosting herbs for these since there is a lot of illness going around, but there are a wide range of herbs that can be used! They are a really great way to get some healthy ingredients in kid's bellies too.

Tip: Make for an event or function because they are dangerously delicious!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Catnip, Not just for Cats!

I haven't shared some herbal info in a little while, so here I go with an overview of Catnip:

Catnip is not just for cats! In fact it affects humans in quite the opposite way. A part of the mint family, it has a pleasant taste and is most well known for promoting restful sleep. It is an extremely safe herb, so it can be taken regularly without fear of toxicity or unpleasant side effects.

It is believed to have insect repelling constituents, so it is sometimes used as an ingredient in all natural insect repellants. The plant itself attracts butterflies and bees and is also deer resistant!

Latin Name: Nepeta cataria
Common name: Catnip

Parts of the Plant Used: Leaves and flowers.

Extraction Methods: Tea or tincture. Can also be used in cooking.

Habitat/Bioregion: Catnip grows in the United States as well as other temperate bioregions. As one can imagine, it is often cultivated for our furry feline friends.

Actions: Carminative (expels gas), lowers fever, aids digestions, promotes sleep, relieves stress, stimulates appetite, treats inflammation, pain, stress, colds & flu.
Body Systems Supported: Digestive system, nervous system, immune system.

Additional Information: Catnip is mild in nature and has no toxicity, so it is safe to give to children!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Levelling up!

Me and Mary Blue, owner of Farmacy Herbs

Last night was the last day of my Level 1 HEAT Class (Herbal Education and Training) at Farmacy Herbs! We each presented our final projects: an herb chart detailing 19 different herbs- their actions, body systems they support, where they grow, how they are prepared, their contraindications, and what they are used to treat.
We also had a delicious potluck! I thought it most appropriate to include some herbs in my dish so I made an herbal root stew with burdock root, parsnips, carrots, sweet potatoes, garlic, ginger, chick peas, nettles, and white sage!
I also received my certificate of completion for the Level 1 course!  I will definitely be continuing my herbal studies personally and I am hoping to further my studies at Farmacy Herbs this summer! If you are interested in learning about herbalism and herbal preparations, I highly recommend their courses! This summer they have both Level 1 HEAT class offerings as well as a summer intensive course for those with some herbal knowledge. The summer intensive is held on the Farmacy farm in West Greenwich and includes guest lectures from some really amazing and well-practiced herbalists! To learn more, read about their class offering on the Farmacy Herbs website.