Tag Archives: organic

Organic Unrefined and Unbleached Sugar

11 Feb

I keep hearing on the Food Network that the brown sugar available in the US is indeed refined white sugar mixed in with molasses. That statement gave me the creeps. I keep urging you to use brown sugar instead of refined white sugar and the product I am recommending is not as good as I thought it is.

The brown sugar that sells in Puerto Rico comes mostly from the Dominican Republic where, according to my limited research, is indeed less refined sugar to which the molasses were never taken out to begin with. But that may not be the case with other regular commercial brown sugars available in the US.

This is why I have moved myself to buy sugars that are indeed less refined than the commercials brown sugars you find yet they are still available in your regular supermarket or health food store. For the last few years, I am buying at home mostly turbinado or muscovado or organic brown sugars. But my new love is Rapadura Unbleached and Unrefined Sugar.

organic_whole_cane_sugar

I had bought this sugar a few years ago… I kept it in my fridge because it’s so dark that it kept darkening every smoothie or dish I used it in. I have not gotten used to its taste. It tastes more toasty and caramel –ly than your regular average brown sugar. At the end of last year I was in a mission to stop buying stuff I already have at home… and one of these things was sugar. I use it mostly to sweeten a bit my morning smoothies or my hot cereals; most rarely to make desserts.

I fell in love with this sugar the second time around… it’s certainly more expensive, but you use much less quantity than you would use regular white or even brown sugar. The bag lasted me for a couple of months at least using it almost daily in my breakfast smoothies.

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My recommendation to you is to search in your supermarket and purchase the sugar product that is as natural and less refined as possible within your budget. It’s hard to understand why something that’s as natural and the least processed costs more in our neck of the woods, but remember, what we don’t spend in good food and nutrition on the front end… we’ll eventually need to find the funds to take care of illnesses in the future. I am putting my money on the front end and trying to eat as natural and healthily as my budget allow me to.

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Siembra Tres Vidas – Puerto Rico’s first CSA Farm

7 May

I recently joined a CSA…  a community supported agriculture farm.  Not only that, it’s ORGANIC too!!

I can’t really remember how I found out about it… but I was doing a search on the internet and it showed me that in Puerto Rico there was a weekly organic farmer’s market in Rincón at a vegetarian restaurant.  We also have one in San Juan at la Placita Roosevelt, but it’s only 2 weekend a month and if I do not write it down in my calendar I usually forget. 

Back to our story…  I wrote the people at the vegetarian restaurant in Rincon to ask them if they knew of any CSA’s in Puerto Rico.  They immediately directed me to Silka and Siembra Tres Vidas. Silka runs, what we believe to be, the first organic CSA farm in Puerto Rico.      

LOGO_UNIDO

The cool thing about joining a CSA program is it brings together community members and farmers in a seasonal relationship of mutual support. Community members pay the farmer a seasonal fee to cover cost of production. As a benefit to their sponsorship, community members receive an equal share of the weekly harvest during each season. This mutually beneficial arrangement provides the community member of the freshest, sustainable produce and assures financial support to the farmer.

The SIEMBRA TRES VIDAS Mission is to use farming methods that work with nature to produce healthy food and improve the quality of the soil with which we have been entrusted. Neither chemical pesticides nor fertilizers are used on the land or the crops. They grow food to enhance people’s health, and the health of our land and our planet, hoping to set an example to other local farmers and farmers-to-be on the island.

grownSiembra Tres Vidas is located in Aibonito and offered their crops at the farmer’s market in Rincón, which is basically 3 hours away from San Juan, where I live.  The travel time was definitely not attractive…  STV started coming to the Placita Orgánica Roosevelt in San Juan and I kept reassuring Silka she would have great success with a route in San Juan, which finally started last March.

I get a box each week for a period of 12 weeks.  Each week I get the seasonal crops.  As you can see here, we’ve been getting lettuces (arugula, romaine, “lechugas del pais”, Japanese Mizuna, mesclun greens, among others), carrots, radishes, cabbages, fennel bulbs, broccoli…  This week we received for the first time French green beans (haricots vert), grapefruits and cucumbers.  I also get some complimentary herbs – like basil, tarragon, flat leaf parsley, lemongrass, cilantro, among others.

CSA 1     CSA 2

 

CSA - Brocoli    CSA - Zanahorias       CSA - Tarragon

 

What’s cool about this project is that:

  • I am seeking inspiration from the seasons to develop recipes for me (and ultimately you, KarmaFree readers)
  • I am eating more organic produce than before – it’s not as readily available in most supermarkets here
  • I get a full box of produce “almost delivered” to my door –  can literally walk to where I pick up my box each week
  • I get to share the bounty with our YOGA center as a karma yoga act – they now benefit from weekly organic produce which is sometimes too expensive when we donate groceries each week
  • I am contributing to the local agriculture community and ultimately to the local economy, supporting the small business owner
  • I am also contributing to a greener environment by eating both locally and organic

 

In the weeks to come, I will be sharing some of the dishes I have created based on the bounties of my CSA basket each week.  It will become a series titled – FROM MY CSA BASKET…

A few of the recipes I have done already are:

Mashed Potatoes with Broccoli

Chunky Tomato Sauce

Silka is always in search of crop-sharing sponsors who will gain satisfaction from knowing they are part of our small effort to minimize global warming thru local sustainable agriculture in Puerto Rico.  If you would like more information about Siembra Tres Vidas, you can contact them at:

siembratresvidas@gmail.com

And you can also get their produce at these Organic Markets in Puerto Rico

Mercado Orgánico Madre Tierra
La Placita Roosevelt, Hato Rey, San Juan, 8 am – 1pm – all year.
1st & 3rd Sunday of month

Mercado Agro-Ecológico de Rincón
Town square, Rincón, 8 am – 1 pm
1st & 3rd Sunday of month. We participate from October thru March.

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