Make Mine Organic 

OAK Consumer News 

Supporting Farmers & Local Food Community During COVID-19

It’s hard to imagine who is not affected by the coronavirus pandemic, but with such a global problem it is helpful to start thinking locally about ways to get through these hard times. In the wake of restaurant, retail, and school closings many traditional market opportunities are uncertain for local family farms. Now more than ever it is important to support Kentucky farms and small businesses. Rest easier by sourcing food closer to home and knowing it is not affected by a global supply chain, is handled less, and that the FDA states food produced in the United States is not seen as a risk for COVID-19 transmission. Here are a few ways to stay stocked with healthy foods, avoid crowds and ma

Notes from A Seed Saver

Home gardeners are the largest market for Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, a Virginia company that sells certified organic and non-hybrid seeds that thrive in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast -- varieties like Alston Everlasting tomatoes, which tolerates the heat, or Even’ Star collards, which tolerates the cold. “We want farmers and gardeners to have the freedom to save their own seed,” says Ira Wallace, organic grower, author, and worker/owner of the cooperatively managed seed company, and keynote speaker at OAK’s annual conference on March 6th. Saving seed is great because: It’s free! You can grow unusual varieties that might be unavailable at stores. We’re looking at you Cossack Pineapple

In the Garden: Starting Tomatoes

Starting seeds indoors allows you extra time to get seeds in the ground, allows you to grow the specific varieties you like that are often not widely available and, if you’re disciplined, can be cheaper than buying started plants. For a primer on growing seeds indoors, including a planting calendar, you can’t do better than the Old Farmer’s Almanac. If you have tomatoes on your mind, take this advice from OAK keynote speaker Ira Wallace, author, seed saver, organic gardener and worker/owner of the cooperatively-owned Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. She recommends planting a workhorse tomato, a gourmet tomato, and a sauce tomato if your garden space allows. Paste/sauce varieties and smaller

Simple Recipes: Easy Oven-Cooked Polenta

Lumps and stirring - that’s what we hear about polenta. And the exacting technique is infamous -- bringing the water to a boil, adding cornmeal in a thin, steady stream (lumps!) while whisking (stirring!). Mediterranean cooking expert Paula Wolfert wrote about a much easier way to make polenta in 2003: cook it in the oven, stir once. And done. Ingredients: 1 cup medium-coarse or coarse cornmeal, preferably stone-ground 4 to 5 cups water, see notes 1 cup milk 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste ¼ cup freshly-grated hard cheese (Parmesan, Romano, asiago etc) Directions: Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a large ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven. Pour in the cornm

Organic Favorites: Imagine Chicken Broth

Organic chicken broths are widely available in supermarkets these days and vary widely in their flavor profiles. Imagine chicken broth, made with lots of vegetables, has good chicken flavor and a great clean label. For a quick recipe, combine white beans, frozen, chopped greens and browned pork sausage in a pan and simmer with chicken broth until broth reduces and turns into a sauce. Imagine broths and soups are available at a variety of large retailers, including some but perhaps not all Kroger, Walmart, Meijer, and Target stores. And, of course, Amazon. --Sarah Fritschner, MMO Editor

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