I wish we had the ability to share aromas online. Today we are fresh grinding our USDA Organic, USA Grown Ginger and Turmeric from our Savannah Organic farm for a batch of Ginger Turmeric Green Tea that will be produced this week in our Organic kitchens in Atlanta, GA.
But back to how it smells. I can't share the aroma, but let me try and describe it.
Our USDA Organic spices, including Ginger and Turmeric, are grown in sandy loams near the coast. They have that terroir. We grow over nine varieties of Ginger and four varieties of Turmeric (and several varieties of Galangal) and each has a unique flavor profile.
Careful processing does not mean low tech. Once harvested and washed, the spices are sliced and carefully raw food dehydrated in atmospheric-controlled rooms. They are then ground in air flow, all designed to minimize heat and maximize the existing essential oils, polyphenols, phytochemicals and other nutrients and functional products. The assault on your senses comes in no small part due to the careful way we prepare the ingredients. At Verdant Kitchen® we believe strongly that the end product can never be better than the ingredients used to make it. Take this concept and walk backward through the process. You come back to the soil, the farm, the seedlings, the irrigation, the harvest, and worry and work to make it the best it can be at every step.
The Ginger - intense citrus, but much more complex. Perhaps a reminder of Bergamot in a morning cup of Earl Grey. Sweet like a Hungarian Pepper. Something complex underneath, something that makes you feel happy, but what is it? Your mouth waters, ginger has that effect. Suddenly you feel it more than smell it. The essential oils are being absorbed and connecting with your brain. You almost sneeze and smile.
The Turmeric - carrots, is it carrots? No not carrots, but perhaps carrots mixed with butternut squash and something else. Savory, similar to the sea breeze from the marsh near the fields. Fresh pepper, a hint of camphor like your Grandma's old cupboard. Something familiar and friendly.
The Green Tea - grassy, fresh a little bitter. We speak a lot about the benefits of Ginger and Turmeric, but Green Tea especially when consumed several times a day has well proven positive impact including clinical research on the reduction of the development of Prostate Cancer. Here is a link to our blog and video on Green Tea and Prostate Cancer.
Together they are a potent blend of antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and polyphenols that can provide joy and wellness benefits across a broad range of critical body functions.
Making a cup of this tea could not be simpler. Here is a video where I have used our office Keurig. Use really hot water and let it steep for a few minutes. Some of the active ingredients, especially in the Turmeric, have limited solubility in cold water. The hot water will extract the oils and essential chemicals and provide you with enhanced bioavailability.
Ginger and Turmeric under the Live Oaks - Verdant Kitchen USDA Organic Farm Savannah, GA.
A lot has been said about the trend in warming weather. You can choose to call it climate change or not, but what is fact is that we have seen warming average temperatures for the last 30 years.
Looking across the US we can see this trend as increases in average mean temperatures by state.
You can customize you information at this NOAA site
If seems like every other person I have met in the last week has a cold of some sort. Changing temperature profiles changes disease spread. To focus on immunity and recovery, see FightBack5
We will hear a lot more about climate change and sometimes it seems a bit abstract and difficult to apply to your daily lives. On the farm it is only too obvious. Planting and harvest times are keyed to last frost, first frost and average temperatures. The temperatures and associated rainfall drives insect emergence, which has a very direct impact on quality and yield. Crops that have never been grown in a region suddenly become possible, while long-term staple crops become uneconomic.
Last week in mid-February on the farms at Verdant Kitchen in Savannah GA, the camellias were finishing their flowering. The azaleas were finishing a big bloom. It was 79 F. The weed seeds had shot and clover was 6 inches high and lush.
Farms worry about lots of things, but above all they worry about uncertainty. Uncertainty generally means reduced yields and increased costs. These are costs that in the end are borne by the consumer. We should understand climate change and all do our part to reduce the impact. The consequences of changing climate will hit our pockets and our environment.
We can watch our graphs and first and last frost almanac dates - but just go stand by a flowering shrub. The bees will tell you when it's spring.
Green Tea contains high levels of polyphenols that have been shown in research to contribute to anti-cancer impacts. Prostate Cancer remains one of the leading causes of death in the USA, and up to 30% of men 30-40 years show precancerous lesions. Can Green Tea help to reduce rates of death from Prostate Cancer? We will look to see what the research shows. Click here for products included.
In 60 seconds or less, you can brew a delicious cup of USDA Organic tea. If you only do one thing today to step toward wellness - make a cup of green tea. The process of steeping tea in hot water goes back thousands of years. The gentle and enjoyable process helps release the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals in this blend of natural products in a way that is easy for our bodies to absorb.
#1 in a 4 part-series of discussion on "A Question of Balance - Healthy and Unhealthy Inflammation," See also a presentation by Verdant Kitchen CEO Ross Harding at National Health Policy and Clinical Practices conference March 2016
A few weeks ago I was in Los Angeles and one perfect spring morning I walked the 10 miles from pier to pier and back along Venice beach. I felt great. The next morning my right ankle was a mess. Swollen, hot and sore.
I didn't remember doing anything to it, but my body knew much better. My immune and repair system, a subconscious biochemical wonder of sensors, receptors, transmitters and regulators had gone into action. Overnight, a series of cascading chemical reactions had caused increased blood flow to my ankle, the muscles had become more porous allowing blood to better penetrate the region. Macrophage cells had been called to and concentrated there, pumping out a chemical cocktail of enzymes to dissolve, consume, reform, nourish and repair. The cascade of reactions had continued. An acute inflammatory response, designed to repair damage and neutralize infection.
Over the next week the inflammation reduced, my ankle felt better. My body had healed itself. The soup of breakdown products had been carried away, processed by my liver and expelled into bile and by my kidneys. New nutrients from my diet were used to reassemble and replace the chemicals and cells needed and ready for the next fight while I slept.
A healthy inflammatory response is critical to our wellness. Without it we would die, quickly being overwhelmed by muscle damage and infection.
Our lives are truly in the balance. Unregulated Inflammation is now better understood as perhaps the central problem affecting our quality of life. Once the natural cycle of healing inflammation becomes chronic, long-term damage results. Asthma, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Alzheimer's, Crohn's Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus. . .all unregulated, out-of-control inflammatory responses. The most common diseases afflicting our societies and robbing people of joyful and productive years include heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer; all have unregulated and chronic inflammation at their core. The National Institutes of Health in 2015 identified Inflammation and alleviating chronic pain as a research area of special focus.
The central questions remains. What causes our healthy inflammatory cycle to become chronic and out of control? What can we do?
I remember as an undergraduate, standing in the hall outside my biochemistry lab looking at a portion of the Krebs Cycle (the pathway in our bodies that convert fuel to energy). I was struck then and still am now by the overwhelming complexity of our chemical self. There are hundreds perhaps thousands of complex reactions. Each one with feedback loops, regulating chemicals, chemicals to catalyze reactions, chemicals to mop up, bind to and expel products.
My point is that there is a lot that can go wrong. Each of us share similar chemical pathways but each of us is unique and unique in time. Our chemical self at 20 is different than at 40 and at 60. Stress, lifestyle, environment, diet and environmental exposure can and do affect these delicate cycles and can cause them to go wrong. The cycles can be overwhelmed with reactive (free radical) compounds.
The answer is as simple in concept as it is complex to implement in our modern lives. It is a question of balance.
Reduce the things that cause inflammation and increase the things that help regulate inflammation.
Sounds simple right? Part of the answer is naturally complex nutrition™. There is positive news and there is a great deal that we can do.
We are what we eat and so much more.
Perhaps there is nothing more important than we can do, than teach our children about their environment, the soil and how their food is grown.
We recently hosted at our farm, the 1st Grade class from St Andrew's School in Savannah GA. The class and their teacher Ms Adams helped us plant turmeric in the rich coastal loams that we are blessed with on the farm.
Sure it is fun to get your hands in the soil, especially if you are 6 and your teacher Ms Adams lets you leave the classroom and go wander around with dogs, sticks and worms. Better still if you know that you will get to come back and see the young shoots come out of the soil, perhaps get to pull out a weed. That is part of the lesson, perhaps the main lesson, that there is pleasure in being outdoors, to have your hands in the soil. The mystery of planting a seed or in this case a rhizome and seeing it grow, being part of the creation and regeneration of something, is a special feeling.
There are many lesson that we need to teach our children. A love of growing things is a foundation class for life.