Vinegar

Posted by on 2/7/2018

There are vinegar's and then there are

‘Our Vinegar’

 

There is the alcohol based vinegar that is mainly used in commercial production of pickles, ketchup and salad dressings. It also is used for cleaning purposes.

There are the fruit based vinegars, many are imported from China and other countries and are relative cheap.  Most are filtered and pasteurized.

And then there are our Apple Cider Vinegars, the REAL ones, non-pasteurized, non-filtered, and made with the ‘mother’.   Our Apple Cider Vinegars are made from apples harvested at our own orchards in the Snohomish Valley in Western Washington.  The apples are first pressed into Sweet Cider and then fermented for at least 6 months or longer until a 5% acidity is achieved.

What is the difference?

Filtering vinegar leaves clear amber-colored vinegar without any sediment or mother, while non filtered vinegar is usually somewhat cloudy and contains particles of the ‘mother’ and some sediment!  This is where the real difference exists between filtered and non filtered vinegars.   The ‘mother’ is a living organism that creates vinegar from alcohol and can be found in the vinegars as a wispy string of whitish material. This type of Vinegar is appreciated by people as the REAL thing, not only for the organic part and the tastier experience when sipping vinegar, but also for its reported positive effects on people’s health. Many people believe that by sipping a small amount every day is generally good for a healthy life style. It is known to prevent colds, to lower cholesterol, to prevent heartburn and to reduce weight.  Some people drink it because it is made from REAL fresh apple cider.

Two decades ago the United States had a healthy apple juice industry but due to the Chinese apple juice imports that have flooded the US markets this is no longer true. In the eighties the Chinese farmers were encouraged to diversity their incomes by planting lots of apple trees.  Soon the demand of the Chinese apple market was met because the apples grown were not the varieties that people liked and the prices dropped.  Foreign business in combination with the Chinese government began building a juice processing industry that absorbed the glut of apples and started the export of cheap apple juice.  Since apple juice is not a typical juice for the Chinese they had to rely on export.  More than 70 % of the apple juice consumed in the US has been imported from China and a lot has been written about the contamination of arsenic and lead in products that use apple juice imported from China.  The Chinese officials seem to have a hard time controlling the safe process of making cider and vinegars.

In 2014 the Consumer Report brought out the continuing concern of the high levels of arsenic in imported juices, as well as in rice and beer.  The Consumer Report had been advocating a three parts per billion arsenic levels as an acceptable risk.  Below are some excerpts of the report:

 The FDA stated that the 10 ppb guidance to industry “will help keep out of the food supply even the occasional lot of apple juice” containing arsenic above that level. But the fact that most of the apple-juice samples the FDA tested already had inorganic arsenic levels below 10 ppb is one reason Consumer Reports’ safety experts concluded that the agency’s proposed guidance doesn’t sufficiently protect public health. In written comments submitted to the FDA after thoroughly reviewing the rationale behind its proposal, they urged the agency to set a tougher level that “creates an incentive for the marketplace to reduce levels of inorganic arsenic in apple juice and thereby reduce risk—not simply maintain the status quo.”

and

“In calculating the risks of arsenic exposure from apple juice, the FDA also appears to have significantly underestimated how much juice children drink. A Consumer Reports survey of parents conducted in 2011 found that on the day before the survey, more than 25 percent of children under age 6 consumed more than 8 ounces of apple juice, which was the highest daily consumption estimate used by the FDA, and 12 percent drank 16 ounces or more”.

 

To make a long story short:                                                                                                    Vinegars produced from apples grown in the US are a better choice for consumers and their children as well as for the US farmers!

How to Roast Green Coffee Beans

Posted by on 2/7/2018
Roast your own coffee beans at home!  Don't have a roaster? Did you know you can roast green beans in your oven, in a skillet, in a popcorn popper?   Whatever method you use, you will be on your way to drinking a much better cup of coffee!

The basic process is simple:  using heat to turn green unroasted coffee into brown roasted coffee.  Measure out your coffee beans, you want enough in the skillet so that it is easy to stir them.  For pots and skillets start out small, perhaps 3-4 ounces of green coffee beans, leaving room for the beans to expand three times their original size, and not more than three layers deep to roast evenly.  Preheat your pan over medium heat (the exact temperature setting will depend on your stove) you want the pan nice and hot, about 500F.  Pour in the beans and start stirring with wooden spoon.

This may take up to 15-20 minutes depending how dark you like your coffee.  Roasting can produce smoke especially with darker roasts.   During the roasting procedure the beans will make a cracking sound.  When the beans appear to be the color you prefer - remove from heat.  Cool in colander or roasting pan.   Place cooled beans in container that has room for expansion (ziploc bag)  and allow gas to escape but keep that air out for at least 4-8 hours before grinding the beans.

A home coffee roaster will automate the roasting process, but more importantly they help you to accurately reproduce a roast profile with very little practice.  However, the process is essentially the same regardless of the roaster used.  Outcomes will vary by coffee and numerous variables.  Either way you can achieve superb tasting gourment coffee by roasting fresh green beans with very little practice. 

Tropical Fruit Story

Posted by on 2/6/2018

OUR DRIED TROPICAL FRUITS

 

‘The difference’

Our dried tropical fruit is different than what other suppliers are offering and promising you. When we say they are totally natural, they are as natural as when they came off the trees.  Our fruit comes from our own farm in Belize and has been dried at our drying facility (inspected and approved by the USDA) and shipped to our farm in the State of Washington, where we repack and ship, out of a controlled environment.

 A lot of the dried fruit that is offered on the internet comes from China, Thailand, Philippines and other far eastern countries. The general practice in those countries is to add preservatives, sugar dips, salt and dyes to their product to preserve the fruit under less than ideal circumstances, so that they can still be called organic.  Most are treated with high sugar content solution to improve shelf life or are treated with sulfur dioxide.  Bananas are treated with an 80 % sugar solutions and 2,000 ppm SO2, which will give them a nice white appearance. (Our bananas look brown).  Mango and Papaya fruit is dipped in a solution of 60 – 80-% sugar and 8,000 ppm of Sulfur dioxide for 2-4 hours before drying.  Sometimes salt is added.  Some people are allergic to sulfites and dried fruits from these countries may also be contaminated with Fungi and Toxins.                                    

The difference is pretty obvious with our completely organic products - nothing added, no preservatives and dried naturally - versus the osmotic dehydration by others, using high concentration of sugar or salt. Last year the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) issued an alert about imports of dried fruit that were contaminated with unapproved additives.  The full FDA Alert 21-4 report is printed below.

Our dried fruit does not have any sulphites or other preservatives like salt, sugar or anything else.  Naturally grown, harvested, dried, stored and shipped by us.  We have complete control of the entire process which very few shippers and supplier can claim.

On the positive side dried fruit has many wonderful things going for it.  It is healthy, loaded with many micronutrients and anti-oxidants.   It’s a great source of fiber and very nutritious since dried fruit contains about the same amount of nutrients as fresh fruit, but it has been condensed in a much smaller package.  One piece of dried fruit contains by weight about one third of the amount of fiber and micro nutrients than fresh fruit.  To enjoy the best health benefits from dried fruit, stay away from the ‘Candied Fruit’ and carefully read the labels and information on the product.

Eat dried fruit in moderation along with other nutritious foods that can supply most daily vitamin needs except for vitamin C.

           Great to use as snacks between meals.  (Beats chips any time)

           Can be turned into powder for use in shakes and juices

           Use in breakfast cereals

           Boost for antioxidants

           Hydrate and use in salads

           Can be preserved for a long time

           Ideal for camping trips

 

Import Alert # 21-04 - Published Date: 02/24/2017

Analysis of these samples revealed non-permitted or undeclared color additives and non-nutritive sweeteners, a problem that appears to be pervasive in the industry. Dried, preserved fruits from Taiwan were found to contain non-nutritive sweeteners (saccharin and/or cyclamates, and one contained dulcin) and unapproved and/or undeclared color additives such as FD&C Yellow #5 (C.I. No. 19140 - tartrazine) FD&C Red #3 (C.I. No. 45430 - Erythrosine), and Carmoisine (C.I. No. 14720 - former ext. D&C Red #10)”.

Reason for Alert:

NOTE: The revision to this import alert dated 04/4/2013 updates the import alert format/language, modifies the reason for alert and guidance sections, transfers the firms/products on the Red List to the applicable Import Alert (either 45-02 or 45-07), removes the filth charge, clarifies the applicable charges and updates the general product codes for the Peoples Republic of China, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) and Taiwan. Changes are noted and bracketed by three asterisks (***).

FDA conducted an import targeting project for preserved fruits in which samples of preserved, sweetened, dehydrated, candied, dried and/or salted fruits from Southeast Asian countries/areas were collected. Analysis of these samples revealed non-permitted or undeclared color additives and non-nutritive sweeteners, a problem that appears to be pervasive in the industry.

Dried, preserved fruits from Taiwan were found to contain non-nutritive sweeteners (saccharin and/or cyclamates, and one contained dulcin) and unapproved and/or undeclared color additives such as FD&C Yellow #5 (C.I. No. 19140 - tartrazine) FD&C Red #3 (C.I. No. 45430 - Erythrosine), and Carmoisine (C.I. No. 14720 - former ext. D&C Red #10).

Dried fruit that has not been treated with sweeteners or salt as a preservative are not subject to detention without physical examination under this alert.

Note: Dried, preserved fruits from countries/areas other than Hong Kong SAR, the Peoples Republic of China and Taiwan subject to detention without physical examination due to undeclared and/or non-permitted sweeteners are addressed in Import Alert #45-07, Detention Without Physical Examination of Food Products Containing Illegal Undeclared Sweeteners and undeclared and/or non-permitted colors are addressed in Import Alert #45-02 Detention Without Physical Examination and Guidance of Foods Containing Illegal and/or Undeclared Colors.

Dried Herbs

Posted by on 2/6/2018

Do you know where your dried Culinary Herbs are coming from?

 

Amazingly most are coming from Europe, Asia and China and only very few from the US.              Just to mention a few: Basil and Winter Thyme come from Spain; Oregano and Rosemary from Italy; Beet Root from Germany; Marjoram from Egypt; Horseradish from China; Stevia from India and Bay Leaf from Turkey.  China supplies 17 other dried culinary herbs; India 10; Egypt 8 and the US supplies 10. 

In 2013 the Food and Drug Administration issued a 192 page report discussing the fact that 80 % of the Dried Spices consumed in America are imported.

In the Consumer Report on Health in March 2014 the concern was expressed about contamination of these products.

Cooking with spices is a great way to add flavor without calories and sodium. Plus some may have serious health benefits, but reports of contamination in batches of imported dried spices over the last year may have you worried about what's in your spice rack.

Specifically, the Food and Drug Administration last fall issued a worrisome report that said 12 percent of imported dried spices contained “filth” such as insect fragments and rodent hairs. And about 7 percent of seasonings, most commonly leaf-based ones such as basil and oregano, contained bacteria including salmonella, which can cause illness. That’s a concern, because the U.S. imports more than 80 percent of its spices (and we eat a lot of them: 3.6 pounds annually per person, on average)

The FDA report was based on tests of 2,844 shipments of imported spices between 2007 and 2009. Those from Mexico and India had the highest rates of salmonella contamination overall. The presence of filth was attributed to unsanitary storage conditions and inadequate oversight of suppliers.”

 

Our Herbs

All our herbs are produced on our farm in Snohomish, Washington, where they are harvested, cut, dried, stored and packed under controlled conditions. Since we ship throughout the US, we can claim to be “local” in the context of the massive global imports. We can see no reason why most of the herbs are not being produced by US farmers and supplied to the US market.

If you can not be sure where your dried herbs are coming from, you may want to support any local efforts to increase the demand for local farm products to make it to your table in a safe manner.

Currently we ship the following dried herbs in powder and/or leaf form.

Basel, Beets, Bay Laurel, Dill, Catnip, Horseradish, Lavender, Marjoram, Oregano, Parsley, Pineapple Mint, Purple Onions, Rosemary, Sage, Spearmint Stevia, Winter Thyme.

Our Apple Story

Posted by on 2/6/2018

Our Apple Story

 Why our dried Apple Fries are different and healthier than other dried apples


Background:

We call our dried apples ‘Apple Fries’ since they look like the small Mc Donald French fries that are left after you eat all the big ones.   But … our ‘fries’ are super healthy and taste really good.  Apple Fries differ from the traditional apple rings not just in shape but more importantly they are healthier because they are produced with the peel of the apple attached and everybody knows that most of the fiber, vitamins, phytonutrients, antioxidants and flavonoids are in the peel.  ‘An apple a day, keeps the doctor away’ is still a saying that rings true, but it should include the peel!  This is what other suppliers do not offer.  And you can save money on shipping cost because our apple fries pack almost three times better than apple rings, especially in small packages. We do not add anything to the natural product, no sulfites, no preservatives, just the way it was picked from the tree.  These apples are harvested from our own orchards in the lush Snohomish Valley in Western Washington.  It is a fact that 58 % of the apple production in the United States is grown in State of Washington. According to the US Department of Agriculture, China is the largest apple producer in the world and in 2014 they exported $300 million worth of apple juice to the US as well as $12 million of preserved apples and $7.7 million worth of dried apples.  Only 3 percent of these imports are inspected by the USDA. From time to time reports have surfaced that due to the lack of regulation and oversight in China, imported apple products and other food products are contaminated and endangers the food safety in the US.  All the more reasons to buy local and directly from US farmers who grow their own apples.

 

Apples are considered one of the top ten Super Foods and for good reasons. According to the USDA national nutrient data base, one medium, unpeeled apple has nearly double the fiber, 25 % more potassium and 40 more vitamin A than a peeled apple,  just to choose a few important nutrients.  That's a significant fiber loss compared to an apple with the skin.  Eating plenty of fiber keeps your digestive system working right. Apples with skin have further nutritional assets such as more Iron, more Vitamin A, B6, E and K in comparison with peeled apples.

 

Eating one ounce of our Apple Fries is the equivalent of eating one half pound of apples and it provides 20% of the recommended daily value of dietary fiber, with no fat, no sodium and no cholesterol!  The USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating 2 cups of fruit each day.  One large apple is the equivalent of two cups of fruit. In addition to the larger doses of vitamins and nutrients, eating the apple skin still has other health advantages as well.

 

According to a Cornell University report, eating the apple skin might reduce your risk of certain types of cancer, including liver, breast and colon cancer. The peel contains certain compounds that have the power to destroy cancer cells, as well as preventing new cancerous cells from developing.  These are lots of reasons to eat apples with the peel attached.


 Apple Nutrition Facts:  

Serving Size: one large apple or 1 oz.  of dried apple with skin

Amount per serving:   130 calories

Fat                       0  gram           Protein  -  1 gram      

Saturated Fat     0  gram            Potassium - 260mg - 7% DV

Trans fat             0  gram           Carbohydrate - 34 gram - 11%DV

Cholesterol         0  gram            Sugar - 25 gram 

Sodium                0  gram           Dietary Fiber - 5  gram - 20% DV

 

Vitamin A - 2 %;  Vitamin C - 8 %;  Calcium - 2 %;  Iron - 4 %

 

When using dried apples in recipes, you can re hydrate as follows:

Use equal parts of volume, cup for cup, or other quantity of dried apples and boiling water.

Pour boiling water over apples and wait at least 5 minutes before using them in recipes for baking or cooking, then treat them just like you do fresh apples.  Keep in mind that 1 oz. of dried fruit may end up to be half a pound after re hydration.

 

Dried apple will preserve a long time and can be used as snacks or as emergency supply. 

Store in air tight plastic bags or containers, no refrigeration is necessary, but keep at regular room temperature or colder.

 

We currently offer the following apple varieties:

Jonagold, Elstar, Liberty, Honey Crisp, Fuji and Apple Fries mix

 

Our dried apples and ‘Apple Fries’ come in packages of 2½ oz., 6 oz. and 10 oz.   

If interested in bulk purchases, please contact our office.

 

To lower the cost of shipping, orders of Apple Fries can be combined with orders from our dried Tropical fruit listings and from the dried Culinary Herb powders and leaves and the ground Pepper.


Welcome to our online store

Posted by on 6/4/2014 to News
Welcome to our online store! Our team is proud to announce that we're now open for business, and we look forward to serving you all in the future. If you have any questions about this store or the products found within, please don't hesitate to contact us any time. Our website has been carefully designed to provide you with an amazingly flexible online shopping experience, and its ease of navigation is something we think you'll grow to depend on and appreciate. Feel free to browse our entire product catalog, and let us know if you have any questions, comments or concerns about the items housed within. Our team is always ready and willing to assist our customers, and we are happy for your visit.