Tag Archives: organic

Profile: Cedar Rush Farm

Cedar  Rush Farm

Two first-generation farmers find a place to pursue their passions

Written by Hayleigh Worgan

Soil health and community are at the heart of Cedar Rush Farm. The two first-generation farmers, Fain and Kyle, may be new to the farming business, but they are eager to learn about sustainable practices. From honeybees to low-till methods, they are not only concerned with production, but also with their long-term impact on the environment. 

Their mutual love and respect for the land has helped create a place where both farmers’ dreams can flourish. Kyle, who grew up in Craig County, attended culinary school, but always knew he wanted to do something with the four acres of his family’s land that were not being used. Until recently, he wasn’t sure when or if starting the farm was possible. Then, a few years ago, he met Fain while working at an outdoor adventure camp. Fain had just switched jobs, and found that combining her love of working with people with a physically demanding routine suited her better than her previous role in the mental health field. Soon after, Kyle and Fain decided to merge their passions for food and inspiring joy and wellness in others to create Cedar Rush Farm.

“I really enjoy adding back to the earth and the soil,” explains Fain. “That should be the basis of any farming and you can do it most with regenerative practices. I did an apprenticeship at an organic market garden in North Carolina last year, and then we plunged into it.”

One of Fain’s main goals is to reconnect people with nature and their food source. She requests feedback from customers, and enjoys sharing information with both families and restaurants regarding seasonal availability, new vegetables, and more.

“Knowledge is power, and we want to empower people to ask questions, get to know us, and know where their food comes from” says Fain. “We would both love for this to be our full-time career. Coming to the market even when the weather is poor or signing up for our Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) share will be a huge support for us.”

“It’s hard, because all these big farms have access to farm loans, but we just don’t have the experience. Getting that experience is hard without the tools we need. It’s kind of like when you graduate college without any experience, and you need a job to get the experience, but you need experience to get the job,” she adds.

You can support Cedar Rush Farm by visiting them at the Salem Farmers Market every Saturday morning until November. They are also at the West End Community Market on Tuesdays from 3-6pm. Their CSA program is a great way to pick up vegetables during the week if you can’t make it to one of their market times. 

For up-to-date information on their location, and how to sign up for a CSA, visit their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/cedarrushfarm. Tell them Bella sent you!

 

Hayleigh is a freelance writer, independent author, and writing consultant. In 2017, she published her first novel, The Huntsman: A modern retelling of Red Riding Hood. She spends a lot of time traveling and exploring new regions for inspiration, but Roanoke will always be her home. www.hayleighworgan.com.

Earth Girl Wellness – What’s a GMO?

What’s a GMO?

Written by Tina Hatcher, Earth Girl Wellness

Food manufacturers praise their products as Non-GMO. A television commercial portrays Triscuits as “Nongenemodiscuit.” So what’s with the Non-GMO trend? Is it worth our interest since most food marketing departments have long tried to lure us in with fancy wording to entice us to buy their product? Especially since many of these marketing ploys are only vain attempts to make a product inaccurately sound healthier? Earth Girl thinks the Non-GMO marketing trend is worth the added effort.

GMOs are “Genetically Modified Organisms.” Essentially natural food items (fruits and vegetables) have their genetic material altered to create a newer, “healthier” version of the food. Take corn for example. One species of corn has a piece of its genetic material taken and inserted into another species of corn to make it more resistant to drought, torrential rain, bugs, or undernourished soil. The new version of corn is then easier to grow in harsh conditions, creating higher crop production and lowering cost. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Cross-breeding of crops has been done for centuries to create similar results. So what’s so bad about that? Cross-breeding is a naturally occurring event. A farmer can put two similar breeds of corn together to make a new breed. Genetically modifying the corn is a scientific process occurring in a laboratory; two unrelated species are forced to combine. Think of it like this: You can create a new breed of dog by allowing natural puppy love to occur or you can create a “Frankenpup” by taking an eye from one and a leg from another.

As a point of debate, most of these new species are created to help bolster food supplies in challenging environments. Unfortunately, food executives have also used the technology to make a maximum amount of profit from their products. Most of the products containing GMO ingredients are of such poor quality, we shouldn’t eat them. But let’s push the point a little bit. What other ramifications can come from GMO products? Not a single GMO product can be labeled as organic and can’t really attest to the health of the nutrition or the potential harshness of the product to the land. There is not a single long term study which can validate the safety of these products. GMOs may not have dramatic effects on the current generation but can side effects show up in our children or our children’s children? Additionally, GMOs can ultimately eradicate normally occurring species of many fruits or vegetables. Cross pollination can occur across GMO farm and organic farms that are literally miles apart.

So how can you know if your food is safely free from GMOs? The most commonly genetically modified crops today are corn and soy. These are found in virtually every packaged product on the supermarket shelf! Earth Girl highly recommends putting any GMO product back on the shelf. Look for the Non-GMO Verified Green Seal of Approval and buy organic when possible. For more information on GMOs, go to The Non-GMO Project at www.nongmoproject.org.

For more info about Earth Girl Wellness, visit here.

Meet the Makers: Brigit True Organics

Organic skin products were scarce in the early 2000s. However, even then, Brigitte Rau had a vision of these becoming the new age of skin care. In 2001, Rau created Brigit True Organics (BOT), based in Charlottesville, Virginia. Through this venture, she creates and sells natural body care containing organic olive oil for sensitive skin.

IMG_7155Brigitte, co-owner and founding partner of BOT, understood that not many products were helping the global community with ingredient impact. With this in mind, she stood by creating products that didn’t leave a “footprint” on our planet. All of her skin care products are 100% natural and 74-99% organic. They are great for your skin, and great for the environment too! Even the packaging is green and sustainable to pair with the products.

“As the formulator, my primary goal has always been to find the purest materials and highest quality organic ingredients available”, says Brigitte. “We have followed organic practices since we began in 2001, and are grateful for our loyal customers who appreciate our commitment to quality and purity standards.”

IMG_7157The company offers body lotion, soap, lip balm, skin balm, baby product, and even laundry and cleaning supplies. All of these are now USDA National Organic Program certified. These products can be used for any skin type since they are gentle enough for the most sensitive skin.

“We are recognized as one of the very few true organic body care producers,” explains Brigitte.

The ultimate goal of Brigit True Organics is to create a skin care line that can be worn by every skin and can produce little waste for the environment. This means that BOT’s philosophy goes beyond the life of their products. By supporting sustainable agriculture and green production methods, they join a growing movement of people and companies committed to putting Earth first.

IMG_8038Brigit True Organics’ products can be found at www.brigittrueorganics.com.

P.S. We are giving away a really cool prize pack over on our Facebook page! Check it out!

 

Written by Stacy Shrader

Giving Back: REBBL Beverages

REBBL Elixirs & Tonics are making waves in the nutrition community, having recently earned the title of 2015’s Best Functional Beverage. Even the name itself, REBBL, stands for plant­based nutrition; Roots, Extracts, Berries, Bark, and Leaves. All of their beverages are Certified Organic Products (meaning no GMOs or pesticides). However, that’s not the only reason why the name is so fitting. The company stands for many economic and environmental issues globally, and isn’t afraid to ‘rebel’ by putting their money ­ and efforts ­ where their mouth is, so to speak.
s6Many global resources derive from people who live on the impoverished side of the economy, and REBBL provides such people with medical care, housing, and clean water products. Furthermore, the organization sources their organic, ‘super­herbs’ and ingredients from these communities. Also, REBBL proudly believes in efficiency, as to not waste any of “nature’s invaluable, treasured ingredients.”
The REBBL website lists the variety of flavors for their ‘elixirs and tonics’, like the Maca Mocha (made with the maca root) or Hibiscus Mint (which is made with Cat’s Claw, a plant that boosts immunity). Rather than simply listing complicated­ ingredients like many other companies, REBBL also provides explanations for the unique ‘super­herb’ in each drink ­ along with any other ingredients ­ and the community from which it is derived.

Written by Madison Correiro

Bella Loves: Plum Deluxe Tea Blends!

During the winter days filled with blistering winds and icy chills, a hot drink can go a long way! Treat yourself to quality and delicious choices from Plum Deluxe. Their tea is organic and GMO-free, with no sulfites or artificial chemicals! They also list all of their ingredients online and on the packaging, so you know exactly what you’re putting into your body.
chocolate-hazelnut-477x477Plum Deluxe emphasizes the importance of “making moments that matter,” and sells around 14 different blends that help achieve that including Mindful Morning (Earl Grey), Chocolate Hazelnut, and a Self­ Care Tea Blend (elderberry & apricot). Currently, their most popular blend is the Reading Nook Blend, a combination of black tea, lavender, rose, and chamomile. With Valentine’s Day arriving soon, the company is even selling Raspberry Cocoa Truffle Tea for the month of February!
Although you can buy a signature blend of your choice, Plum Deluxe also offers ­ for $10 a month ­ a membership with the Organic Tea of the Month club. Each month you would receive an ounce (around 15 to 20 cups) of the monthly tea, along with a sample of another artisan tea, an invitation to their private tea lover’s community online, and free shipping. If you’re not sure you want to commit, try the Tea Tasting Flight for $4, in which you receive two to three samples of blends of your choosing!
In addition, Plum Deluxe runs a blog called The Blend, ­and sells various tea accessories including Orange Blossom Honey Sticks to put in your tea, a Heart & Soul Tea Infuser, and even a Herbal Bath Sachet for relaxation!

Written by Madison Correiro

Product Spotlight: D’s Naturals Protein Bars

Daniel Katz of Blue Ash, Ohio is creating quite a stir in the organic food industry. At just 18 years old, Katz has created a company called D’s Naturals that, in his words, “redefines the word natural.” They use only healthy ingredients so customers can believe in what they eat and feel good about the choices they make.

His unique version of the standard protein bar, the “No Cow Bar,” contains natural, plant-based foods and leaves out harmful ingredients. Choose from three flavors: Blueberry Cobbler, Mint Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter Cookie.

2032092_setHe has also created a delicious treat called Fluffbutter. This comes in two flavors including Chocolate Fudge Cake Batter and Vanilla Maple.
There are many ways to enjoy Fluffbutter– including melting it into fondue.

These items are dairy free, soy free, gluten free, and vegan-friendly. Visit Katz’ website to celebrate his accomplishments and try his products!

 

Written by Lani Maddox

Product Spotlight: Eos Chocolates

Catherine von Ruden, the creator of Eos Chocolates, integrates her passion for all things sweet into her chocolate creations. She grew up in Switzerland and developed an interest in Greek Mythology. This interest inspired Catherine to name her company Eos, after the Goddess of Dawn, which is fitting because the product is meant to satisfy chocolate lovers bite-by-bite. She describes her brand as “guiltless pleasure,” which sets her apart from the rest, since dark chocolate is typically the only type of chocolate consumers consider to be healthy.

IMG_1011_B_CROP_largeEos Chocolates represent four different lines of indulgence, including Chocolate Spreads ($11.5), Energy Bars ($2.5), Nibbles ($8), and their signature piece Eos Chocolate Man ($7-10). Each is fair-trade, organic or contains sustainably farmed ingredients.

Nibbles and spreads are made of 70% cocoa to ensure the perfect amount of sweetness while leaving out the unneeded sugar, which leaves you UN-satisfied post indulgence. Energy bars are sweetened with honey and coconut sugar, and also contain organic rolled oats, 100% cocoa nibs, and hemp seeds, which is not only good, but also good for you! As far as the Chocolate Man goes, he comes in dark, milk, and white; and also, he can be enjoyed solid, filled with fruit or creamy ganache. Yum!

Visit www.eoschocolates.com for more information on Catherine and her delightful creations!

Written by Lani Maddox

Homesweet Homegrown

Homesweet Homegrown, a successful hot sauce company based out of Kutztown, Pennsylvania, began in part of an incident following a book tour.

Screen_Shot_2014-07-18_at_12.08.06_AM_largeRobyn Jasko and husband Paul David traded in their urban lifestyle to become farmers who, little did they know, would create a product that would change the look of store bought hot sauce.

This tear-jerking hot sauce was dubbed Homesweet Homegrown in part of Robyn’s first book’s title that was published in 2012, and also it was the product of her successful blog, Grow Indie. Robyn and friend, Jennifer Biggs, Amtrak-ed their way across the country on a book tour and gave little thought to the habaneros, ghost peppers, and lemon drop chili peppers that they left behind; and so, when they made their way back to PA they were in for a little surprise, which resulted in pounds of peppers. That’s where their journey as Homesweet Homegrown began.

ghost_pepper_kit_largeAll of their peppers are organically grown on their farm. They are big on the idea of healthy, so they throw in superfood ingredients like chia seeds, and leave out additives, colors, and GMOSs pesticides and preservatives (which many of the competitors contain!).

 

3_pack_grande_a9b463c6-2335-473e-a85a-be84501a4012_largeIn part of their “beyond organic” methods, they have hit the shelves in over 140+ stores and are sold in every Whole Foods location in the surrounding areas of NY, NJ, CT, and Philly. They have three signature flavors that are unique to their company: Punch Drunk Ghost Pepper Hot Sauce (the hottest!), Aramingo Mango Pineapple Habanero Hot Sauce, and Orange Crush Habanero Pepper Hot Sauce. They are sold separately in 5 Oz bottles that run about $6 a pop, and also you can buy them in a variety of gift sets. If you want a little more of what Homesweet Homegrown has to offer then you can look into their Grow Kits and their Salts + Spices.

Take the challenge and see how far you can go in a taste test of Homesweet Homegrown Hot Sauce!

 

Written by Lani Maddox