Why Rainbows are Important

Spare a thought for your poor old liver, who might have had a hard time this Christmas. It’s your biggest detoxifying organ, and to do its job properly it needs a solid supply of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants to function well.

You don’t need to go on a major detox diet after Christmas to start feeling better – just by eating organically you’re helping your body jumpstart into doing what it does best – keeping you healthy, happy and balanced.

One way of ensuring that you’re giving your body everything that it needs is to remember this golden rule – always put a rainbow on your plate.  Coloured vegetables contain different nutrients, all of which are important to your  body. By including vegetables of every colour in to your meals, you’re ensuring that you’re giving your body everything it needs to be at it’s best.

Instead of resorting to the same recipes or choosing the same ‘safe’ fruits and vegetables this January, why not start to experiment with the fresh produce that you’re eating? Below are a list of key colours and vegetables, along with their health benefits, to get you on your way.

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Green Veg

Why not try… Broccoli, leafy greens such as spinach, kale and chard, celery, cabbage, avocado, kiwi fruit, romanesco cauliflower, leeks, runner beans or peas?

Health benefits:  Green veg is great for your skin and hair!  Vegetables such leafies (especially kale) are rich in calcium, which ensures strong teeth and bones. Antioxidants such as vitamin C and lutein are great for maintaining healthy eyes and sight, as well as aiding in preventing muscular degeneration.

 

Red and Purple Veg

Why not try… Tomatoes, red peppers, cherries, beetroot, purple cabbage, purple kale, purple sprouting broccoli, aubergine, red onion, purple carrots or strawberries?

Health Benefits:  Red wine is said to be good for your heart because it contains an antioxidant, called resveratrol, which can boost your health. The purple pigment in all of these fruits and vegetables contains resveratrol and flavonoids which can help decrease blood pressure by helping to relax the arterial walls, thereby decreasing the pressure in the arteries and allowing better circulation.

In addition to reducing heart disease risk, antioxidants in foods like those listed above can reduce the risk of certain cancers, like colon and prostate cancer.

 

Yellows and Orange Veg

Why not try…Squash, bananas, swede, carrots, apples and pears, citrus fruits, yellow and orange peppers or golden beetroot?

Health benefits: Citrus is probably best-known for containing Vitamin C, which boosts the immune system and can protect your body from disease. But that’s not all that the vitamin is good for—it also promotes healthy skin and vision, and protects against heart disease and prenatal health problems. They also contain beta-carotene, which is excellent for maintaining eyesight.

 

White Veg

Why not try…Potatoes, garlic, mushrooms, white cabbage, celeriac, turnips, cauliflower, bok choy or onions?

Health benefits: When making the rainbow on your plate, don’t forget the more neutral shades! White coloured vegetables are nutritional powerhouses, containing nutrients like magnesium, fibre and potassium that are often lacking in many of our diets.

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There are so many vegetables out there for you to try – as long as you reach for the rainbow, you can try every combination under the sun and still get everything that your body needs to perform at its best! Experimenting with new foods and cooking techniques can be extremely rewarding, especially if you know that the end result is a far healthier lifestyle for you and your family.

To see the full rainbow range of organic vegetables that we have on offer at the moment, please visit our website!

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Greener Greens at GO! Organic

GO! Organic festival is looming! We’re really busy building our stand, which will be entirely recycled and reused after the event. It’s all going up to a farm shop which is opening in Suffolk very soon after!

Throughout the weekend of the 8th and 9th of September the world of ethical and organic will be taking over Battersea Park to bring you an amazing couple of days of fantastic entertainment, insight, education and inspiration. Speak to producers & suppliers, eat wonderful organic food and drink, meet the farmers and hear about how living in the city doesn’t mean you can’t be organic!
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You’ll have the opportunity to buy sustainable products , enjoy live music, hear talks, see chefs in the Organic Kitchen and take part in lots of awesome activities & workshops for adults and kids.

We will be there with our fully themed and prop-heavy stand to shout about the quality of our food, the independent growers that we’re lucky enough to buy from (you’ll have the opportunity to meet some of our farmers too), and to launch our new 100% environmentally friendly and reusable box
es – in which all of the packaging is biodegradable or compostable, and the boxes are all recycled or FSC approved.

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We’ll also be launching a new product – UK grown pulses, beans and grains. They’re supplied by the wonderful independent business Hodmedod, which is the UK’s only supplier of organic beans, grans and pulses that are grown here.

 

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So, if you’re interested in coming along then we’ve got an exclusive discount code which will give you 1/3 off the price of a ticket! Just enter code ‘Greener33‘ at the checkout on the GO! Organic website to redeem this offer.

“I Can Get This Cheaper at Sainsbury’s”

This weekend two things happened – firstly, Tesco announced that it was going to merge with French supermarket chain Carrefour as part of a ‘strategic alliance’ to cut prices and become more of a force when buying from global producers. Secondly, the French organisation The Food Assembly sent an email to its UK members to let us know that they were pulling out of the United Kingdom to focus on their more successful assemblies across Europe.

These two occurrences are on entirely separate scales in terms of size – and for that reason the connection between the two may not be all that obvious. But the connection is there, and it is becoming increasingly common to hear of the big businesses and corporations going from strength to strength whilst small independents and high streets seem to be operating at an ever-worsening decline.

In July 2014  The Food Assembly launched in the UK, enabling the general public to purchase high-quality food while supporting small-scale producers who create jobs and foster social well-being.  Each Food Assembly is an independent and local project while remaining part of The Food Assembly collective. It is the local farmers and foodmakers and a unique community spirit that keeps the network alive.

Unfortunately, The Food Assembly business model that works so well across the rest of Europe just doesn’t work here. In fact, when the UK opened more Food Assemblies we actually bought down the average business volume per collection. Basically, we just didn’t have enough public interest in our Food Assemblies.
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There are many contributing factors to this. The main one is that small businesses just can’t compete with the cheap prices that supermarkets can offer. Small independent businesses like Greener Greens buy their ingredients, produce and stock at a fair price from reliable and ethical growers whilst supermarkets can squeeze farmers and suppliers as much as they like to get their prices lower and lower. Despite the fact that these prices cripple growers and producers, customers still buy into the lie of cheap food. As a small independent business who sell fresh produce that has been bought at a fair price, we see this first hand. All too often at markets we are asked “why is this so expensive?” or told that “I can get this cheaper at Sainsbury’s”.   Supermarkets are all too happy to sacrifice their growers and suppliers to ensure that people still buy their products – all too often compromising quality for cost. For as long as this happens, organisations that focus on community will never be able to thrive. The reason why the Food Assembly works so well in the rest of Europe is because many European countries recognise the importance of their local farmers and their community. Even supermarkets in Europe tend to sell local produce in each of their stores – because that’s what the consumers want.

 

So, as Tesco and Carrefour try to use their joint buying power to cut costs and offer lower prices to customers (as a reaction to Sainsbury’s and Asda merging to do the same thing to their suppliers), please remember that there are consequences to these actions.  Growers will continue to suffer, organisations like the Food Assembly will continue to disappear. Without local businesses and organisations there isn’t a community, and without community we really don’t have very much at all.

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We’d like to thank Jane of Woking & Guildford Food Assemblies for all of the enthusiasm and passion, not to mention the hard work, that she has put into organising and running both events. We at Greener Greens have had a wonderful experience with the Food Assembly, and hope to be able to keep providing their members with organic fresh produce in the future.

A Surrey Kitchen Recipe: Chicken and Mange Tout Stir Fry

We recently got in touch with Emma, a fabulous set-taught chef who runs the blog Surrey Kitchen. We asked her to create a recipe for the summer from some produce that we sent her. We were lucky enough to get two recipes back! The last one was a gorgeous vegetarian asparagus frittata.
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This time we’ve got a great recipe for a chicken stir-fry. Remember, if you’re vegetarian you can replace the chicken with soya products or go on ahead without it.  This recipe is wonderfully quick, making it a perfect one for a manic work or school night.

Chicken and Mange Tout Stir Fry

 

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Emma says:

“Chicken stir-fry is very quick, healthy, easy to make and relatively low cost.  The  beautiful Magetout or snow pea/snap pea from Greener Greens are low calorie, high in vitamin C, Vitamin A and K and prevents against a host of diseases from cancer to heart disease and even depression.  Carrots are a wonderful source of beta-carotene, fibre, vitamin K, potassium and antioxidants.  A perfect dish to enjoy this summer in your garden with a glass of something cold.”
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Serves 2-3

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ teaspoon fresh ginger

2 tablespoons oyster sauce

A splash soy sauce

Salt and pepper

2 chicken breasts

2 carrots sliced into thin strips

200g mangetout

1 large Portobello mushroom chopped

Coriander to garnish

 

Preparation Method:

 

1) Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the chicken for 5-6 minutes or until browned.

2) Add the onion, carrot, mangetout and mushrooms and fry for a further 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3) Add the chopped garlic, soy sauce, oyster sauce and season with salt and pepper.

 

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That’s it, simple yet incredibly effective. Please let us know what you think, and for more recipes visit Emma’s blog – Surrey Kitchen.

 

Our New Grower: Sunshine and Green

Yesterday we went to visit Greg at Peacocks Farm in Wickhambrook. He is the latest small, independent farmer to supply us at Organics for All and we’re really quite excited about it.

Sunshine and Green grow a wide range of vegetables and fruit using totally Organic techniques, (as Greg says – “in a nut shell means that we feed the soil, rather then the plant”).  Soil health is the most important thing, because if the soil is healthy, then so are the crops. This means they can be strong and defend themselves from disease and pests.

 

We visited the poly tunnels and saw the gorgeous salad leaves, beetroot and leafies being grown and were immediately sold to the whole ethos of Sunshine and Greens. Greg uses a ‘no-dig’ method of organic farming – where the land is covered in sheeting for a few months before crops are planted, to kill any weeds. Tilling the soil releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, as well as exposes a very delicate ecosystem to the air which dries it out.  The soil loses a lot of its nutrients as well as some of its organic matter, and as a consequence, does not retain water as well. The delicate soil structure is destroyed, compaction of soil occurs, leading to hardpan formation, and reduced water infiltration in the soil, and more surface runoff, which increases soil erosion.

 

Judging by the quality of the leafies we saw growing yesterday, the soil is very much enjoying this method, as is Gregg. He’s clearly very proud of the produce that he is growing at the moment, and if you take a look you can see why:

 

At the moment,  Sunshine and Green are able to supply freshly harvested fruit and vegetables to the surrounding towns, villages, pubs and shops. It is important to Greg that his market stays local so that he can retain the quality standards of the produce and ensure it is delivered fresh as fresh be can with shortest distances travelled from field to kitchen.

Like us at Organics for All, Sunshine and Green are passionate about their wildlife. The farm already plays hosts to some iconic birds, like buzzards and barn owls, and over the coming years they will be expanding the range of habitats for wildlife. They plan to plant areas of trees and hedging that will provide home and food for animals, as well as growing wild flowers and native meadow land. For every project undertaken on the farm, they’re always mindful of what impact it will have on the wild inhabitants of the farm.

 

We’re very excited to be working with Sunshine and Green and genuinely can’t wait to see what happens next  – because of growers like Sunshine and Green the future of food production in Suffolk is looking pretty great!

This week we have gorgeous mixed leaves from Sunshine & Green. Be sure to add them as an extra to your box.

 

 

National Vegetarian Week: A Rather Special Recipe

To celebrate National Vegetarian Week, over the next four weeks we will be collating recipes from a variety of talented cooks and chefs. All of the recipes have been inspired and created by the produce that we have provided. Our aim is to prove that – whether you’re a Michelin starred chef, a baker or simply somebody that enjoys cooking, organic and vegetarian food is for everybody.  We’re really curious to see the different ways that our selection of produce is going to be used!

This week, we have teamed up with Javier Lopez – Chief Food Evangelist for the Winton Group. By combining our beautiful, independently grown produce and his exquisite culinary technique, a truly stunning recipe has been created. This recipe is perfect for special events and dinner parties, or for somebody who just wants to try something different. Read on to find out how to make this fabulous starter – and remember – all of this produce can be sourced locally by us, which will make it taste even better!

 

 

Chard, Spinach and Wild Garlic Millefeuille

 

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Ingredients for 4 portions, as starter:

2 duck eggs

50g Maldon salt

30g coconut sugar

25g fennel pollen

100g goat’s butter

50g fermented wild garlic

50g chard

50g perpetual spinach

40g wild garlic

Flowering shoots to garnish

 

Method:

  • You will need to cure your eggs a day in advance; combine 50g of salt, 30g of sugar and 25g of fennel pollen in a bowl, place half of it on a flat tray or container and make a small well with the back of a spoon, place the duck egg yolk (ensuring no egg white remains) in the well and cover with the rest of the cure mixture. Refrigerate for 24hours.

 

  • Clarify (skim the surface of the liquid as it is heated to remove impurities) 100g of goat’s butter, saving the milk solids for other use, add 200g of fermented wild garlic leaves, buds and flowers and a leaf of raw wild garlic. Puree until very smooth and add a little fennel salt.

 

  • Blanch (scald in boiling water and remove after a brief  interval) the fresh chard, spinach and wild garlic leaves in salted water and immediately refresh in iced water, quickly drain and dry.

 

  • Layer the leaves one by one brushing a little fermented wild garlic butter in between each layer, build it up until is around 3cm tall and refrigerate. Once cold, portion it by timing into rectangular pieces.

 

To Serve:

  • Get the yolks out of their cure and lightly rinse in cold water. Set aside.

 

  • Place the vegetable millefeuille onto a plate and wrap it with clingfilm, place the plate on top of a simmering pan with water and let it warm for 5-6 minutes.

 

  • Gently remove the millefeuille of the plate and place onto your serving plate or bowl, cut the egg yolks in half and place half of it on top on the millefeuille. Garnish with a raw shoot and its flower (you can use peas, wild garlic, nasturtium, chickweed, etc)

 

Recipe by Javier Lopez, Chief Food Evangelist.

 

Keep checking back for our follow up recipe posts! In the meantime – enjoy this one!

Gleaner Greens: The Day I Went Gleaning

Last Saturday I spent the day gleaning on a lovely farm in Kent.

It was a last minute thing – a post came up on my social media from Feedback calling for volunteers for the next day. Feedback is an environmental organisation that campaigns to end food waste at every level of the food system. They fight for change – from local communities to governments and global organisations. Their aim is to change society’s attitude toward wasting food. As we at Greener Greens do, Feedback understand that food waste is a symptom of our broken food system.  By scaling back farming intensity and by eliminating the significant inputs that go into crop growing we can drastically reduce the amount of food that we waste.

The purpose of the glean on Saturday was to rescue as much as possible of the 1000’s of potatoes, purple sprouting broccoli and spring greens which could not make it to the market and would otherwise have been wasted.  These particular greens were potentially going to waste because of the recent weather speeding up the growth cycle. The farm would not have been able to harvest and sell them in time before they flowered and spoilt. The potatoes were going to waste because they were cosmetic outgrades- too big or too small for commercial market.

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We started by picking purple sprouting broccoli from a field that was due to be ploughed over the following day.  This particular field had already been harvested by the farm, but there was plenty left for us.

We then did a stint with some potatoes dividing them into sacks.  The best bit for me though was being given a bushcraft knife and the task of cutting the remaining spring green cabbages from the fields. I saw a red-legged pheasant for the first time too!

 

 

The veg will be passed on to various organisations, including The Felix Project, UK Harvest as well as various other local organisations, where they will be put to good use: feeding people who need them the most. Many projects such as homeless hostels, breakfast clubs, womens’ refuge centres, and services for the elderly will be flooded with delicious food.

Do have a look at Feedback  and the work that they do. They’re a brilliant organisation who have the same core values as we do.  They do have organised gleans that you can help with too – see their website for more information and to sign up. I’d recommend it – it was a brilliant thing to do, and I got to spend the day on a farm!

 

 

Our New Website & Online Ordering are Here!

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

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We’ve just launched our new website – complete with online ordering! It’s never been easier to get organic, fresh produce grown by local independent farmers delivered directly to your door!  With this in mind, it’s time to talk about your overall health and wellbeing….

It can sometimes feel quite overwhelming to really invest in your own health and adopt positive life changes, especially when it comes to changing your eating habits. It’s an investment well worth taking though – what you eat directly impacts how you feel, both in your body and in your mind. You wouldn’t fill a car with dirty petrol, so why fuel your own body with anything other than the cleanest and most natural of foods? Up until the beginning of the 20th century, good diet and physical well-being was the foundation of all medical treatment. Unfortunately, overtime, this basic knowledge that our ancestors had acquired about the importance of the nutritional benefits in the foods that were available to them.

We at Greener Greens think that it’s about time that we rediscover what our ancestors once knew and reconnected with our food. Our seasonal boxes contain the fresh produce that your body needs to maintain its health and vitality and is free from chemicals. Trust in nature! It knows best when it comes to growing our food. According to the changing seasons, our bodies need different nutrients to maintain great health. Nature has provided a range of produce that contains exactly what we need to ensure that we’re at our best all year round – both in our bodies and our minds.

Greener Greens offers a quality organic range of fruit and vegetables, grown by certified organic, independent growers, delivered to your door every week. Your first steps towards being healthy and making a positive lifestyle choice starts here!

Visit our website and make your first order today!

Bake With Jack: A Delicious Collaboration

Bake with Jack is run by chef Jack Sturgess, who is passionate –  not only about baking – but about spreading the message that anyone can make their own bread from home. He runs workshops, demonstrations and classes across Surrey to prove that ANYONE can make their own, and that it’s not scary!

He says that he started Bake with Jack because:

Modern bread in the UK is awful (my personal opinion). It is laced with processing aids and artificial additives. In my opinion the structure and texture of it alone is enough to give us a dodgy tum!

Because bread making shouldn’t be a confusing, scary process. Let’s keep it simple because you can do it.

Homemade bread is delicious, and all the more delicious because the flavour is elevated by the pride you feel for having made it yourself! With your hands and your heart.

We wholeheartedly agree with this, and were intrigued to see whether we could collaborate with him in any way. So a couple of weeks ago we sent Jack one of our seasonal veg boxes to see what he could make of it. We were delighted to see that, not only did he make these gorgeous looking pumpkin doughnuts, he also gave us a recipe for a beetroot and spelt focaccia!

We’re sharing the recipe with you – please, please remember that this method is expertly put together to make it simple and enjoyable enough for you to try at home! So please do – try it with your children this weekend, or stay out of the pub and in the kitchen one cold evening this week and treat yourself!

Here’s the recipe – enjoy. And thank you to Jack for sharing this with us, we are really excited that you’ve come up with something so gorgeous!

 

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Beetroot and Spelt Focaccia

So, thanks to some deliciously earthy and sweet beetroots from Greener Greens I have developed a focaccia to celebrate their beautiful colour and delicate flavour.

Spelt is an ancient grain, and this recipe used quite a large proportion of wholemeal spelt flour to make a real comforting and wholesome bread. To get the best flavour and colour from the beetroots, I wrapped one yellow and one purple individually in tin foil and baked in the oven at for an hour, until a knife can be easily pushed into the centre.

Wait a while before peeling, but keep them in the tin foil. When they are cool enough to handle, squeeze them out of the tin foil leaving their skins behind, then rub off any bits that are still there.

This recipe will make one focaccia.

 

Difficulty: Easy

3 hours

 

Ingredients

For the dough

350g       Wholemeal Spelt Flour

150g       Strong White Bread Flour

10g          Salt

12g          Fresh Yeast or 1 x 7g sachet of dry easy bake yeast

330g       Room Temperature Water

20g          Olive oil

 

For the topping

2 cooked beetroots (see above)

4tbsp     Olive Oil

4 sprigs of rosemary, leaves picked

Maldon sea salt flakes

 

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Method

  1. Place a large bowl on your scales and weigh out your white flour. Zero the scales and weigh your wholemeal flour on top, and then do the same with the salt.
  2. Weigh your room temperature water into a jug. If you are using fresh yeast, pop it into the water to dissolve before moving on to step 4. Or, your 7g sachet of dry yeast can be popped into the bowl with the flour.
  3. Pour the yeasty liquid into the bowl, add the olive oil and use a dough scraper to mix everything together. When it all comes together into a relatively firm dough, turn it out onto the table.
  4. Knead the dough for 8 minutes on a clean surface, without dusting with any flour. If the dough makes a mess on the table, bring everything back together with the flat side of your dough scraper as you go along.
  5. Next, with the slightest dusting of flour on the table, shape the dough into a ball, and place it back into the bowl. Dust the dough’s surface lightly, and cover the bowl with a clean cloth. Allow 60-90 minutes for your dough to rest and rise, developing flavour and texture.
  6. While your dough rests you can get to work making your topping. Slice your beetroots into rounds about 3mm thick. If you’re using one purple and one yellow beetroot like I did, slice them into separate bowls. Drizzle the olive oil over the top of each, chop your rosemary leaves roughly and sprinkle them over too. Mix up each bowl and leave to marinade.
  7. Prepare yourself a tray for the next part. You’ll need one that’s roughly 35cm by 25cm, lined with a piece of parchment paper and drizzled with olive oil.
  8. When your dough has puffed up nicely, transfer the dough ball onto your oiled tray. Press with your fingertips to spread the dough out really well.
  9. Now arrange your beetroot all over the top, pushing pieces down into the dough with your fingertips, and pour the remaining herb oil over the top.
  10. Rest the dough, uncovered for 45-60 minutes, and at some point during this time, preheat the oven to 180°C Fan/Gas Mark 5 with an empty deep tray in the bottom
  11. When you are ready to bake, boil a kettle of water, and sprinkle your sea salt over the top or your dough.
  12. Carefully place your focaccia into the oven, pour about 1cm deep of water from the kettle into the hot tray and shut the oven door. Bake for 30 minutes.
  13. Slide a knife underneath the focaccia and tip it up to peep underneath. When the focaccia is golden all over the base it is ready. If it’s still a little pale in the centre, bake for longer, 5 minutes extra at a time until it’s done.
  14. Transfer the focaccia to a wire rack, and drizzle well with olive oil. Leave to cool before tucking in!

 

 

You can find out more about Jack and what he does on his website, as well as getting more tips, recipes and advice – and we’d thoroughly recommend that you do!