Cleansing for a Happy & Healthy 2014!

Post By Irv Cernauskas
Jan. 02. 2014
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It's the NEW YEAR and you know what that means... maybe a few less cookies and it's time to cleanse! Here at Fresh Picks, we support and promote healthy eating every day. But from our personal experience, cleansing and eliminating certain foods from your diet for a few weeks can leave you feeling light and energetic, with reduced craving for those less healthy fats and sweets. Our Fresh Picks Cleanse Box provides all the best fruits and vegetables needed for a proper cleanse, including sweet potatoes, bananas, greens, avocados, pears, broccoli, cabbage, beets, onions, parsley, ginger, garlic, and more. Join us for a healthy kick-off to the year and see our tips and recipes below!

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Ten Reasons Why Local Is Better

Post By Shelly
Mar. 13. 2013
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March 13th marks National Local Food Awareness Day!  Local food, in part, means food grown on small-scale farms, planted and grown sustainably without chemicals, pesticides, GMO's, antibiotics, or hormones, and harvested to supply the demands of the region of which it grows.  Supporting and growing our local food system has countless benefits and is at the heart of what we do at Fresh Picks every day. Here's our top ten reasons why local is better:


1. Locally grown food has more flavor and higher nutrients .  Local produce is picked at its peak making it healthier and more flavorful than produce that is not. Conventional foods grown across country are typically picked weeks before they should be and loose most of their flavor and nutrients even before it reaches grocery store shelves.


2.  Local food stays fresher longer . The shorter distance that the food has to travel means that the food upholds its quality longer. Plus, local  suppliers have closer relationships with their buyers and can have a tighter eye on quality control than larger facilities.


3.  Local food preserves genetic diversity.  Our modern, large-scale agricultural  system has farmers choosing plant varieties based on how well they ripen uniformly, withstand the packing and shipping for long distances, and maintain freshness in the store. Small, local farms plant a variety of crops in different sizes and colors to expand the growing season.


4. Local food is honest and safe. There is something special about having a relationship with your farmer and knowing where your food comes from.  We can trust our farmers practices and judgements.  We are reassured that nothing has touched our food besides the soil it grew in, the water that nourished it, and the hands that harvested it. We can't say the same about food grown thousands of miles away in giant factory farms or breeding facilities.


5. Buying local means you are supporting your local growing and farming communities. This is especially significant during hard economic times. Dollars spent on local crops are cycled right back into your own community to support the livelihoods of your neighboring farming  families.  And a single dollar can mean more to them that a dollar spent at a mass-producing food chain.


6. More local food equates to fewer food miles.  The distance your food travels from the farm to your table is computed into food miles and when you support local growers you are also reducing the gas emissions, waste, materials and energy that goes into packing, loading, distributing, and stocking food from long distances.


7. Eating local protects the environment. Not only are your food miles fewer, but farmers that supply to a local audience follow certain practices that maintain the integrity of the land. Fewer if any pesticides are used, chemicals are not washed away into our water supply, and the air isn't polluted with as many fumes. Typically, local growers have been working their land for generations and have its best interest in mind so they may continue farming on it as long as possible.


8. Committing to local foods means that you eat with the seasons, as people did many years ago. We've grown accustom to having any fruit and vegetable available at our disposal and despite the changing seasons and regardless of its bland taste,  we want our strawberries in January and our tomatoes in February.  When we eat with the seasons, we are consuming a diverse assortment of produce and enjoying the freshest foods full of the most flavor and nutrients.


9. Supporting the local growing community preserves open land. Farmers are less likely to sell off their farmland for development to gain additional income. Plus, growers can stay put growing more vegetables when they don't have to spend time traveling long distances to ensure their products get sold.


10. Buy local and you invest in the future.   Supporting these farms today means they are more likely to still be here tomorrow. This is crucial to maintain our food system in general, but especially important given that people are  making more conscious food choices so that they can eat healthier and live better lives.

Kale is King!

Post By Shelly
Jan. 23. 2013
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Kale is king of the vegetable kingdom and reigns supreme amongst all hearty greens. Only in the last few years has kale become all the rage. And for good reason.  The benefits of kale are nearly endless, recipes can turn the coarse green into a delicious dish, and it's an affordable vegetable that grows locally almost all year long (Sadly, after extreme temperatures hit our Wisconsin farmers at Growing Power, their kale crop unexpectedly froze. Our local supply is not available at the moment but we're looking forward to its return! We will have non-local kale available in the interim).


Simply put, eating kale makes me sing and dance!


Why We Heart Kale 


1. Kale is a superfood, meaning that it has high levels of all the essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that you want to nourish your body with everyday.  Just one cup contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, 15% of our daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6, 40% magnesium, 180% vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K.  And if that's not enough, kale is also loaded with copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. Wow.


2. The amount of fiber and sulfur in kale makes it a great detoxifier and aids in weight loss, making us feel full and satisfied with just a small amount.


3. High levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in kale translates to strong hair and nails and a clear complexion that maintains a youthful appearance with age. Did you know kale also acts as a natural sunscreen, protecting your skin from UV rays?


4. Kale is rich in calcium, vitamin A and D, which means you will see clearly and stand strong with just 1 cup of kale incorporated into your diet on a regular basis.


5. Kale is a superhero when it comes to fighting off and preventing diseases. It's an anti-inflammatory and has been known to fend off a long list of cancers and serious diseases by assisting the body in releasing toxins that gradually build up.  The vitamin K in kale helps to prevent Alzheimer's disease and the folic acid and B6 lend cardiovascular support to the body.




Now that you're in the know about the health benefits of kale, here's a few of our favorite ways to prepare it:


- Chop your kale into bite size pieces, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper before roasting in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, or until crispy.  Top your kale chips with grated parmesan cheese or ground cayenne pepper.


- Blanch your kale to loosen the texture of the leaves by placing it in a pot of boiling water for 1-2 minutes and quickly transferring it to a water bath to stop the cooking. You don't want limp kale so be sure not to overcook it. Dry the leaves, chop and toss with your favorite salad dressing and use in place of traditional lettuce. Top with sliced veggies, crumbled cheese, or chopped nuts.


- Chop your kale and add to a soup or stew about 8-10 minutes before the soup is ready to be served. A white bean soup with carrots, celery, white beans, garlic, and stock pairs nicely with kale as does any tomato based soup.



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