1) Locally grown food tastes and looks better. The crops are picked at their peak, and farmstead products like cheeses and are hand-crafted for best flavor. Livestock products are processed in nearby facilities and typically the farmer has direct relationship with processors, overseeing quality - unlike animals processed in large industrial facilities.
2) Local food is better for you. The shorter the time between the farm and your table, the less likely it is that nutrients will be lost from fresh food. Food imported from far away is older and has traveled on trucks or planes, and sat in warehouses before it gets to you. EWWWWW! (no offense)
3) Local food preserves genetic diversity. In the modern agricultural system, plant varieties are chosen for their ability to ripen uniformly, withstand harvesting, survive packing and last a long time on the shelf, so there is limited genetic diversity in large-scale production. Smaller local farms, in contrast, often grow many different varieties of crops to provide a long harvest season, an array of colors, and the best flavors.
4) Local food is safe. There's a unique kind of assurance that comes from shopping at Ava’s because Ava’s sources produce from Local Farms. Watsonville, CA, to be exact! J Have you ever driven by the fields where your food comes from? Watsonville is only 51 Miles from Ava’s Downtown Market & Deli! Local farmers aren't anonymous and they take their responsibility to the consumer seriously.
5) Local food supports local families. The wholesale prices that farmers get for their products are low, often near the cost of production. Local farmers who sell direct to consumers cut out the middleman and get full retail price for their food - which helps farm families stay on the land.
6) Local food builds community. When you Ava’s Produce Buyer buys direct from a farmer, he is engaging in a time-honored connection between eater and grower. Knowing the farmer gives insight into the seasons, the land, and your food. In many cases, it gives you access to a place where your children and grandchildren can go to learn about nature and agriculture.
7) Local food preserves open space. When farmers get paid more for their products by marketing locally, they're less likely to sell farmland for development. When you buy locally grown food, you're doing something proactive to preserve our working landscape. That landscape is an essential ingredient to other economic activity in the state, such as tourism and recreation.
8) Local food keeps taxes down. According to several studies by the American Farmland Trust, farms contribute more in taxes than they require in services, whereas most development contributes less in taxes than the cost of required services. Cows don’t go to school, tomatoes don’t dial 911.
9) Local food benefits the environment and wildlife. Well-managed farms provide ecosystem services: they conserve fertile soil, protect water sources, and sequester carbon from the atmosphere. The farm environment is a patchwork of fields, meadows, woods, ponds and buildings that provide habitat for wildlife in our communities.
10) Local food is an investment in the future. By supporting local farmers today, you are helping to ensure that there will be farms in your community tomorrow. That is a matter of importance for food security, especially in light of an uncertain energy future and our current reliance on fossil fuels to produce, package, distribute and store food.
BECOME A LOCAVORE! Shop @ Ava’s!
Please support Ava’s Downtown Market & Deli!
And tell your NEIGHBORS.
We need our community, in order to be SUSTAINABLE!
Ava’s Downtown Market & Deli was born in 2011. We’re a family owned and operated business, just down the street at 340 Castro Street. Juan and I decided to purchase the failing Mountain View Market and transform it into a community market that offers quality goods, for its neighbors. It sure has been a struggle to stay alive in this bustling town. Our biggest struggle is to attract and retain customers within a 1 mile radius. If we could get you to change your habits and shop locally, we will be able to continue to provide quality, local, organic, natural, gluten-free, wild-caught, imported, low glycemic index, etc., foods to YOU!
Juan and I have over 28 years (combined) in grocery experience. Juan is the Grocery, Produce, Dairy, Wine & Beer and Deli buyer. In other words, he knows every facet of the store and can answer any question that you have. Please accept this invitation to shop at Ava’s. Below are some coupons for you. We’d love for you to check-out every department of our store and if you have any suggestions, then please let them be known.
Thank you for stopping at our table and thank you RedHat for this opportunity!
by Deb Keller
Why go organic? In a word, pesticides. The President’s Cancer Panel recommends avoiding pesticides to reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases. Another reason beyond your health, is the health of the planet since pesticides aren’t good for Mother Earth either.
The Dirty Dozen
The good news is that organic produce is becoming more and more price competitive. In fact, at Ava’s I have noted that organic is often very close in price and occasionally even cheaper than conventional. Today I checked russet potatoes, and organic and conventional are the same price.
But when there’s a significant spread in prices between organic and conventional, I hit the pause button.
A list called “the dirty dozen” can help us prioritize when we’re pausing to consider if the price is worth it. The USDA checks pesticides on conventionally grown produce once a year, and their data is then crunched by an organization called The Environmental Working Group, which publishes a list of the the dirty dozen for shoppers. It should be pointed out that produce is washed using high-pressure water systems before testing, so just thinking you can wash off pesticides isn’t going to work.
Topping the list as the dirtiest in 2012 is apples. The price for apples at Ava’s varies quite a bit, so it’s worthwhile to check these frequently. Ava’s had some delicious organic Jazz apples at $2.29/lb. (Jazz are kind of like Honey Crisp, my favorite.) There was also an organic apple called Autumn Glory that sold for just $.99/lb. Juan also now has some gigantic organic Fuji apples at just $1.39/lb. Compare this to the Farmer’s Market, which sells apples at $2.00/lb.
Peppers sit at #3, which is a bummer, because I really like ‘em, and they do tend to be pricier.
Blueberries almost always make "the dirty dozen." When organic are pricey, check out Natural Directions blueberries in the freezer case.
Blueberries sits at #9. Juan has recently been getting some very good organic blueberries from Chile, most recently selling at $6 for 3 6-oz packs (many fruits are coming from warmer climes this time of year). Also check out the Natural Directions blueberries in the freezer case. They are $5.49 for 12 oz so pretty much at what you get them on sale. And even though that’s pricier for frozen blueberries than at Trader Joe’s, they’re far superior in taste.
Surprising to me are potatoes at #10. As I noted above, Ava’s organic russet potatoes are the same price as conventional today. Ava’s also carries organic Yukon gold potatoes.
Kale makes the list at #11, and Ava’s organic kale is very competitive to commercial, and also with organic kale at the Farmer’s Market.
by Deb Keller
When I grew up in the Midwest, there was no such thing as kale. Course, there weren’t a lot of other things back then in the Midwest either. Like tacos. Arugula. Organic foods were not invented yet either. Later, though, when I moved to California, I noticed kale as an ornamental plant at the Stanford Shopping Center, planted around the trees over by Schaub’s meat market.
So I was surprised when I saw people actually buying kale at the Mountain View Farmer’s market. Being semi-adventurous, I thought I’d try it. It was tough and bitter, so I knew it was something that was probably good for me, but I didn’t like it.
Now at Ava’s I see people buying it all the time. I ask them how they prepare it, and a lot of customers juice it. And all of these customers look very healthy. This prompted me to look into nutritional value of kale, and this was the thing that really motivated me to give kale another chance.
The Meat of Vegetables
First of all, kale is the meat of vegetables. In 4 cups of raw kale, you get an astounding 9 grams of protein. (More later on how you can eat 4 cups at a sitting.) What’s interesting too, is that the protein is mostly complete, getting a 92 out of 100, where 100 is complete protein.
It’s also high in Omega-3s (484 mg) and Omega-6′s (370 mg), and at the right balance. (For omegas, you try to get between a 1:1 and 2.3:1 ratio, so kale comes in well at 1.3:1).
More Good News
Kale has a rating of 257, which makes it strongly anti-inflammatory. Inflammation causes all kinds of problems, and in fact doctors now think that inflammation may be a stronger indicator of heart disease than cholesterol. It’s also loaded with vitamins K, A, and C, calcium and potassium.
So maybe I’ve convinced some doubters to try 4 cups of kale. But here’s the rub: how do you eat that much?
After experimenting with many recipes I hit on baked kale, and this is the thing that gets me eating literally a bunch, or about 4 cups, of kale. Organic kale at Ava’s is very price competitive with conventionally grown so buy that. What you do is wash the kale and then spin it super dry. Strip off the leaf from the main tough stem, and toss it with 1-2 TBS of olive oil and 1/2 tsp of salt. Place it in a baking pan in a single layer and bake for about 20 minutes at 300 degrees. Keep your eye on it, and midway I usually toss it, because some of the pan will be getting done faster. You can also use parmesan cheese instead of salt, and I also make an Asian one with peanut butter, soy sauce, ginger and garlic.
Too busy to make it? Ava’s also carries prepared kale in the aisle by the crackers: Brad’s Baked Kale.
Source for nutrition (multiplied X 4 for 4 cups of kale).
by Deb Keller
I’ve always liked lentils, but it wasn’t until I started looking at the nutrition information on the package that I began to LOVE them.
Consider: 1 cup of cooked lentils gives you a whopping 18 grams of protein, or 36% of your daily needs.
But it gets better. It’s a little tough to get sufficient iron in your diet, and with a cup of cooked lentils, you get 37% of your requirement. Dietary fiber? No problem. A cup of lentils supplies 67% of your daily needs.
Like all beans, lentils have a low glycemic index of 13, so they’re good if you’re watching blood sugar.
And you get all of this for only about 50 cents.
Ava’s carries Natural Directions Organic lentils and Bob’s Red Mill red lentils. The orange smaller ones cook down into sort of like a yellow mush. For ready-made lentils, try Amy’s Lentil Soup, Natural Directions Organics, or Westbrae Organics, and Progresso Lentils.
Lentils are super easy to make. I usually saute an onion until translucent, add lentils and water or stock and boil for 20 minutes. Skim off any foam, and then add a can of tomatoes and spices. I put cumin in everything. Curry is great too. Top with Straus whole milk yogurt (or for a real treat try the Crème fraîche from Ava’s) and chopped cilantro. Pair the soup with some Hamati’s whole wheat pita bread from Ava’s.
Let’s hear what your favorite lentil recipes are.
Source for nutrition facts.