T’is the Season for Spring Mix

spring mixThe growing season is ramping up, and you know what that means: spring mix! Each year around this time, we see our first delicious harvest of this delicious crop. The variety of fresh tastes and textures are welcome after a long and cold winter. But just what is spring mix? And where does it come from?

Believe it or not, spring mix is a relatively new creation. It originated in Provence, France in the early 70’s under the name ‘Mesclun.’ (Europeans still refer to it as such, as do many American chefs). Traditional blends consist of chervil, arugula, dandelion, and endive. The term comes from the Provencal, ‘mesclar’ which means ‘mixture’. Farmers around Nice would each bring their own unique blend to local farmer’s markets, where they would be sold to the public.

In North America, Mesclun first appeared at farm stands back in the early 1980s. Here, the mix is generally comprised of baby lettuces and herbs, including red and green oak leaf, romaine, frisee, tatsoi, box choy, arugula, spinach, mizuna, mustard, or more.

At Blue Moon Acres, we use romaine, kale, mizuna, mustards, and chards in our spring mix. It’s a delicate, flavorful, colorful, and dynamic blend that not only makes for a delicious salad, but also goes great with sandwiches and wraps.

Full beds of lettuces that go into our Spring MixBut don’t take my word for it—swing by one of our markets today and try some for yourself!

By | May 22nd, 2015|News|0 Comments

What are Phytonutrients?

imagesSpend enough time reading health blogs and you’ll probably come across the word, ‘phytonutrients’. It’s a term that’s often used in conjunction with physical fitness and nutritional health. But what are phytonutrients? How do they work? And why should you care?

Phytonutrients are actually a little difficult to pin down. Google defines them as ‘a substance found in certain plants which is believed to be beneficial to human health and help prevent various diseases.’  Other websites describe them merely as nutrients that have been scientifically proven to provide health benefits. What is known about phytonutrients is that they are not related to fats, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, or minerals, and they provide huge health benefits.

Plant foods can contain more than 25,000 phytonutrients. Carotenoids, ellagic acid, flavonoids, resveratrol, glucosinolates, and phytoestrogens are just a few of the better known ones. Some act as antioxidants, some aid in immunity and eye health, some protect against cancer, some reduce risk of asthma and heart disease, and some have anti-inflammatory and neuro-protective properties.

Nearly all plant foods contain phytonutrients, but some contain more than others. Fruits and veggies that have a deep, rich color—blueberries, blackberries, red cabbage, collards, and spinach—are good sources. But so too are certain off-white vegetables: garlic, onions, and leeks have loads of phytonutrients. As do red and pink fruits and veggies—tomatoes, guava, and watermelon.

images (1)To increase your uptake of these important nutrients, add extra fruits and vegetables to your salads, stews, pot roasts, and chili. Drinking a green smoothie with kale, cherries, spinach and almond milk also helps. As does the regular consumption of plant-based protein shakes mixed with blueberries.

The bottom line is this: the more phytonutrients you consume, the healthier you’ll be and feel!

By | May 8th, 2015|News|0 Comments