Monthly Archives: June 2010

Local Delicious Strawberries Have Arrived!

The brief but bountiful BC strawberry season has arrived and an exceptional crop is expected. Now is the time to enjoy one of our most fresh flavourful and healthy local harvests! The June/ July bearing strawberries will be available only for a few weeks, but some growers have everbearing ones that will be available until September.  You can find local strawberries from the Eastern to Western Fraser Valley – from Chilliwack to Delta.

A great day out with the kids is to visit a strawberry farm and pick your own.  To find a local pick your own strawberry farm click here

It is also worth paying that little bit extra at your local farmers market or grocer for B.C. strawberries rather than cheaper California strawberries as our local starwberry farmers are under threat.  Cheaper imports, labour shortages and viruses and pathogens are all squeezing BC’s strawberry growers, who have seen their industry reduced to a tenth of the size it was 10 years ago.

“We need big support from locals to keep our industry alive,” says Jeff Gill, the owner of Gill Farms (the largest strawberry grower in BC) and a director of the Fraser Valley Strawberry Growers Association. “The season is only a month long, and if everyone knew that and supported our local producers, it would go a long way.”

Gill points out that strawberry growers are often pressured to convert their operations to blueberry farms, as blueberries require less labour to grow and pick and are sturdier than strawberries, which must be picked by hand and are more susceptible to root disease and viruses. These and other factors account for the disappearance of many Lower Mainland strawberry farms. There are now only half a dozen farms growing strawberries that are sold fresh and another half dozen growing strawberries for use in jam and food products.

Unlike their Californian counterparts – which are picked unripe – BC strawberries are handpicked at the height of ripeness to ensure they are sweet and bursting with flavour. So the best way to eat them is right away!


Easy Guacamole Recipe

Here is a favorite dip for all the family.  And with avocado as a base it has nearly 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins and folic acid.  Great for after school snacks, pre dinner nibbles or even a sandwich spread.

This secret recipe has been very generously shared with us by Mike Fox, our Head Chef at Rocky Mountain Flatbread, Canmore. I only had to bribe him with about 10 big smiles, 4 hugs and about 5 gushy praises before he broke!  Enjoy!


2 ripe avocados

1 cup of small diced red onions

¼ cup of roasted garlic chopped

¼ cup of fresh cilantro chopped

¼ cup of fresh diced mango

1 fresh jalapeno diced (use less if desired)

2 TBSP honey

Juice of one lime

Add sea salts to taste and fresh ground pepper


Mash ingredients together in a bowl with fork.  Serve with tortilla chips, rice chips, oven roasted flatbread or as a sandwich spread!

Recipe by: Mike Fox, Head Chef of Rocky Mountain Flatbread, Canmore

Cooking With Garlic Scapes

Suz loves garlic scapes – I love looking at them grow in my garden (they are groovy looking), snipping them and baking or frying with them to add a little kick to my chard, spinach, cabbages, potatoes and any other veggie you can think of .  Here is a little summary on garlic scapes: “what they are”, “where to get them” and “ideas of how to cook with them”.

What Is It?

Garlic scape is the flowering stem which rises from the roots or crown of a plant. A garlic scape has a mild garlic flavor without the bite of too much garlic and they are in season for a few weeks in June/ July.

Where Do I Get My Supply?

To get your supply simply snip them off the tops of garlic growing in your garden or pick a bunch up at your local farmers’ markets

How Do I Cook With It?

To cook with garlic scapes try annointing them with some olive oil and grill them just like you do asparagus. They can also be chopped thick or thin and added to salads and stir-fries.

Here is  a link to a great blog for a  delicious garlic scape pesto recipe.

Tomato Blight Comes Early To Vancouver

Sharon says tomato plants are already showing blight this spring, throw them out immediately!

Last year, my garden remained blight-free. One reason: choosing tomato varieties that produce early—mostly small tomatoes—and, well, who knows? Maybe it was just luck; last year was particularly hot and dry. Not so this summer.

This just in: Some tomatoes are already showing symptoms of blight this spring. The picture above shows the discoloured, brownish-gray areas on the stem and wilted/yellowing leaves.

These poor Roma II plants were bought at Choices on 16th Avenue a couple of weeks ago, but it’s likely the plants were infected in the nursery. One Sungold I had in the greenhouse was also affected, probably because it was sitting beside the Roma IIs. Not sure. I will be speaking to the folks at Choices and letting them know.

One tomato grower (who does not supply Choices Markets, by the way) commented that late blight did affect some of their tomatoes very early this year while still seedlings, in the greenhouses.

And in fact, though we generally associate blight with rain and moist conditions in late summer, it actually can occur any time. Our spring weather this year has been super conducive for these diseases to flourish: warm and then cool, moist and humid.

So, if you notice a browning on the stem and a slight wilting of leaves on your tomatoes, throw them out immediately. Please do not put them in your home compost (never put any part of tomato plants in compost) or even in the city compost. Best to put them in the garbage.

Read more:

12 Tips to Healthier Eating

Nutrition Tips with Julia O’Loughlin, RHN

  • Eat natural foods in their whole form – Honour the synergistic combinations of vitamins and minerals that naturally occur in whole foods
  • Eat organic foods – to avoid herbacides and pesticides
  • Eat seasonal foods – These foods are fresh, local and appropriate for seasonal requirements of the body
  • Eat fresh foods – nutrient levels peak at the time of harvest; fresher foods are more nutrient-rich
  • Eat a variety of foods and rotate them – to ensure all nutrients are acquired
  • Eat in moderation – smaller meals more frequently are preferable to 3 large meals per day as this is easier on the digestive system and increases metabolism
  • Don’t eat rushed, under stressful conditions, or in front of the television – we do not properly digest food under stressful conditions and thus, nutrients are not sufficiently absorbed
  • Participate in the preparation of your food as much as possible – get acquainted with the food you eat and connect with it
  • Avoid processed, refined, and “enriched” foods – these foods are nutrient deficient and lead to nutrient debt
  • Avoid foods cooked at very high temperatures (BBQ) – damages the nutrient quality of foods and produces free radicals
  • Use plenty of beneficial oils and avoid hazardous oils – Consume organic, cold-pressed, unrefined oils (coconut, olive, and flax are particularly useful), and avoid processed, hydrogenated oils, particularly those that have been heated at high temperatures (deep fried foods).  (Never heat polyunsaturated oils – flax oil, borage oil, corn oil, safflower oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil, and evening primrose oil)
  • Chew food thoroughly – digestion for carbohydrates begins in the mouth

Love your Liver!!

Nutrition Tips with Julia O’Loughlin, RHN

Did you know that the liver performs over 500 metabolic functions? Some of it’s most important functions include: processing digested food from the intestines,controlling levels of fats, amino acids and glucose in the blood , combating infections in the body, clearing the blood of particles and infections including bacteria, neutralizing and destroying drugs and toxins, manufacturing bile, storing iron, vitamins and other essential chemicals, breaking down food and turning it into energy,  manufacturing, breaking down and regulating numerous hormones including sex hormones, and making enzymes and proteins which are responsible for most chemical reactions in the body, for example those involved in blood clotting and repair of damaged tissues.

Be good to your liver by eating the following foods that help to cleanse, strengthen and tonnify this amazing organ:

Alfalfa, Amaranth, Apple, Artichoke, Asparagus, Beets, Blueberry, Cabbage, Carrot, Cayenne, Celery, Chicory, Chlorella, Cinnamon, Citrus (lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange), Dandelion greens, Ginger, Green beans, Kale, Leeks, Legumes, Lettuce, Lima beans, Olives and olive oil, Onion, Parsnip, Peas, Peppers, Plums, Quinoa, Raspberry, Rhubarb, Rutabaga, Sorrel, Spirulina, Strawberry, Turmeric, and Apple Cider Vinegar.

Truth in Labeling? Hidden MSG Ingredients

Nutrition Tips with Julia O’Loughlin, RHN
Did you know that there are over 30 names for MSG? Most people don’t, which is no coincidence! Manufacturers have become acutely aware that the preference of most consumers is to not have MSG in their food. The overwhelming response to this preference has unfortunately not been to remove it, but, rather, to hide it in a label that contains only ingredient names consumers will not recognize as containing MSG. Using this technique, products that do in fact contain MSG, can “legitimately” advertise “No MSG” or “No MSG Added.” See below for a list of MSG containing ingredients and read all labels before purchasing your food, even those that claim to be organic!

Food label names that always contain some MSG:

  • monosodium glutamate
  • hydrolyzed protein
  • monopotassium glutamate
  • textured protein
  • glutamate
  • hydrolyzed oat flour
  • glutamic acid
  • yeast nutrient
  • gelatin
  • autolyzed yeast
  • calcium caseinate
  • yeast extract
  • sodium caseinate
  • yeast food
  • natural flavouring