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Boucher Farm: Gore-Dawn-Zola

By Specialty Foods Manager  •  Monday, July 28th, 2014

goredawnzola

Check out the beautiful blue marbling!

For 14 generations the Boucher family has passed the Boucher Farm in Highgate, VT down from father to son.  Today brothers Dan and Denis, perform the daily operations and the milking of the 120 cows.  For the past 15 years, the Boucher Farm has made Green Mountain Blue Cheese. In rural Highgate in 1999 there were not a lot of opportunities, and no job on the farm for Daniel’s wife Dawn.   So Dawn decided to teach herself how to make cheese  using a small building next to the dairy to supplement the family income.

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Dawn at Green Mountain Blue

One morning a week she turns the warm milk into cheese.  Her cheeses are made without pasteurization or mechanization, and are aged in the cellar below the cheesehouse.  After years of practice Dawn has perfected her recipes and produces delightfully complex, high quality blue cheeses.  Production is currently at 8,000 lbs. each year. Wheels are sold to restaurants, and retailers along the East Coast.   We are proud to be one of those retailers that have Green Mountain Blue cheeses in our cheese case to share with our guests. We are offering the Gore-Dawn-Zola, on sale from 7/30/14 until 9/2/14 at $14.89lb.  That is a savings of $8.10lb!  This is a wonderful local blue to add to your next summer salad or cheese party!

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The Boucher Farm family tractor!

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Next Level Veggies: Fermentation for Everyone

By Produce Extraordinaire  •  Monday, July 28th, 2014

The craft ferments shared by our classmates were as varied as the bacteria present within the jars!

The craft ferments shared by our classmates were as varied as the bacteria present within the jars!

Whether you’re shopping in our produce department, at a farmers’ market, or eating out of your own garden this season, I’m sure you’ve noticed how abundant the harvest of fresh food is right now! Personally, I find it a little overwhelming (in the best way possible, of course). I want to eat everything all the time, and I can’t keep up! New things appear on our shelves every day, and each is better than the last. How can we keep enjoying our favorite staples, explore the ephemeral seasonal items, and keep some around for times of less abundance? I have an answer for you, and it’s a practice as old as agriculture itself. I’m talking about fermentation.

Yes, fermentation is an ancient alchemical process by which raw ingredients are combined in such a way that biological reactions take place and fresh perishable food is transformed into a mystic concoction that only gets better with time. In wild-fermented foods, the healthy bacteria inherently present in raw fruits and veggies are manipulated to transform these foods, introducing new intriguing flavors, preserving raw nutrients and unlocking vital minerals for our bodies to use.

Samples of Aqua Vitea Kombucha flowed freely

Samples of Aqua Vitea Kombucha flowed freely

Some lucky Healthy Living staff got the opportunity to learn about wild fermentation last week from the very man who wrote the book on this art, Sandor Katz. In his intensive, hands-on class, we took fruits and veggies grown by the same Vermont farms who supply Healthy Living and added nothing more than sugar and salt to them, and watched as before our eyes they were transformed into probiotic soda and lacto-fermented kraut. In a few days (or weeks, or months, depending on your taste), you can enjoy your next-level veggies as a savory, nutritious kraut, and your ripe berries as a delicious effervescent tonic—and you won’t believe how easy it is.

The vegetable versions most are familiar with are sauerkraut, simply cabbage and salt, and kimchi, a Korean-style kraut usually made with nappa cabbage, carrots, scallions, radishes, garlic, ginger and hot pepper as well as salt. In class, we made a hybrid ferment, using many of the ingredients of kimchi minus the chili pepper and ginger. This “kraut-chi” has the variety of kimchi with a milder flavor. If you don’t like some or any of these classic veggies, you can use almost anything—roots, brassicas, nightshades, stonefruit, apples—even watermelon rind and rhubarb! If you can grow it, you can sour it. Not everything will ferment to your liking—greens have a bitter flavor and slimy texture on their own and work better in a mixture—but the possibilities are as varied as your own preferences, and the only way to find out what you like is to experiment!

Fresh, local, organic veggies about to begin their fermentation journey

Fresh, local, organic veggies about to begin their fermentation journey

Begin by trimming and rinsing the dirt off of your produce—but no need to scrub too hard or peel; the bacteria in the outer layers will catalyze the fermentation process. Then grate, chop or slice everything into small pieces. Different sizes are OK as long as you are exposing plenty of surface area—the more, the better to achieve even texture in the final product. Mix all your prepped produce together in a large bowl, crock, or bucket—glass, plastic or ceramic are great, and a metal mixing bowl is fine at this stage, but don’t use metal as the fermentation container, as the salt can corrode it.

The next step is to add salt—any salt will do, but keep in mind that the less refined it is, the more minerals will be made bioavailable by fermentation, and the more nutritious the final product will be. A sea salt is ideal for this reason. You want to aim for roughly 2% salinity in your kraut, so measure based on the volume of your veggies. The saltiness can be adjusted to your liking, but you want to make sure there’s enough to get the process going.

Chris, our HLNY Demo Diva, showing the kraut who's boss

Chris, our HLNY Demo Diva, showing the kraut who’s boss

Using your hands, massage, pound or squeeze the slaw to evenly mix in the salt, and then keep kneading it. This will slowly release all of the water from the veggies and produce your brine. Keep going until the volume of the slaw is reduced by about half. When your veggies are good and tender and there is some liquid in the container, you can stop and let things sit for a few minutes. More water will be released.

tender kraut ready to be put in jars

tender kraut ready to be put in jars

While the veggies marinate, you can prepare your fermentation container. In class, we mixed our kraut in a 5-gallon bucket, pounded it down to 2.5 gallons and filled 10 quart-sized glass jars with our fresh kraut. You want at least an inch of space at the top of the container to allow for bubbling. The final step is to press the mixture down in its container so that all of it is submerged in the brine. This will keep oxygen from acting on the kraut. Lacto-fermentation takes place by the action of lactic acid bacteria, or lactobacillus, which is an anaerobic process. This means it happens in the absence of oxygen. While your kraut is fermenting at room temperature for the next few weeks, all you have to do is keep it covered with a lid (but you don’t have to seal it) and pressing it down below the brine. If you decide to seal the lid to prevent overflows, remember to burp the container a couple of times a day.

Our fearless leader, HLVT Produce Manager Louella fills a jar

Our fearless leader, HLVT Produce Manager Louella fills a jar

For the first few days, the bacteria will produce lots of carbon dioxide, which creates bubbles. You may see your kraut bubbling visibly or it may simply rise to the top of the jar. Using your clean hands or a spoon, just press it down until all of the bubbles below the surface are released. After about 10 days, it will be reasonably mature and you can start tasting it to monitor its flavor. When you like the way it tastes, put it in the fridge—or let it keep going! Kraut can keep fermenting in this environment for months, even years, and it will never spoil, only develop further. White mold on the surface is not necessarily a problem—just a result of the kraut coming into contact with oxygen. Scrape it off, resubmerge and let the party continue!

I wear my usual concentration face as I compress my kraut to make the brine rise

I wear my usual concentration face as I compress my kraut to make the brine rise

The ecosystem created by fermentation is amazing, and when you eat fermented foods, you are adding this community of good bacteria into your gut, and both supporting your digestion and fortifying your immune system. Not to mention the amazing anti-cancer compounds that are made accessible in simple, inexpensive foods such as cabbage by these bacteria! You could say that eating fermented foods is your best health insurance policy…but don’t take my word for it—try it yourself! Healthy Living sells both of Sandor’s books, which are full of funny anecdotes, practical instructions and recipes for both the beginner and the advanced fermenter, ranging from fruit and vegetables to grains, beans, dairy and beverages—kombucha, anyone? You can create a lifetime of living food from these books and they are worth their weight in gold. You’re the alchemist—have fun!

A week later, this jar is sitting on my countertop bubbling away...

A week later, this jar is sitting on my countertop bubbling away…

 

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Loving Local Cheese: Green Mt. Blue Cheese, Boucher Farm

By Cheese Manager  •  Monday, July 28th, 2014

goredawnzola For 14 generations the Boucher family has passed the Boucher Farm in Highgate, VT down from father to son.  Today brothers Dan and Denis, perform the daily operations and the milking of the 120 cows.  For the past 15 years The Boucher Farm has made Green Mountain Blue Cheese. In rural Highgate in 1999 there were not a lot of opportunities, and no job on the farm for Daniel’s wife Dawn.   So Dawn decided to teach herself how to make cheese  using a small building next to the dairy to supplement the family income.   One morning a week she turns the warm milk into cheese.  Her cheeses are made without pasteurization or mechanization, and are aged in the cellar below the cheesehouse.  After years of practice Dawn has perfected her recipes and produces some pretty amazing blue cheeses.  Production is currently at 8,000 lbs. each year. Wheels are sold to restaurants, and retailers along the East Coast.   We are proud to be one of those retailers that have Green Mtn Blue cheeses in our cheese case to share with our guests. We are offering the Gore-Dawn-Zola on sale from 7/30 until 9/2 at $14.89lb.  That is a savings of $8.10lb!  This is a wonderful local blue to add to your next summer salad.

dawn at green mtn blue resized

 

boucher farm tractor

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Front End Fundraiser: Franklin Community Center

By Richie Snyder  •  Thursday, July 10th, 2014

We are proud to be supporting the Franklin Community Center this month as our Front End Fundraiser! This amazing  non-profit human service agency, located at 10 Franklin Street in Saratoga Springs, New York,  has been providing basic necessities and services to less fortunate individuals and families in our area for 30 years.  Serving more than 6,000 people annually, they provide efficient and effective services to promote healthy lifestyles and positive changes.

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Please donate what you can at our registers today! Every little bit helps!

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Welcome Oscar’s Smokehouse!

By Richie Snyder  •  Thursday, July 10th, 2014

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The Healthy Living Market and Cafe Meat Department is pleased to announce our newest local producer; Oscar’s Smokehouse of Warrensburg, NY! For many of you, no introduction is necessary. As a producer of distinctive smokehouse specialties since 1943, Oscar’s reputation for quality and taste proceeds them. Can’t get up to Warrensburg? No worries, we have a great selection and would love to hear what favorites of yours we should make sure to have on hand for your next Healthy Living visit. We will also be cutting their double smoked dry cured slab bacon and deli meats to order.oscars

 

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Finding the Kind on Vitamin Thursday

By Saratoga Wellness Manager  •  Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Be Kind to Yourself

by Wellness Associate Courtney McNeill

Kind by Garden of Life

New to our wellness department at Healthy Living is the “Kind” line of whole food vitamins and supplements from Garden of Life. These certified organic non-GMO vitamins are made from real whole foods. Over thirty fruits, vegetables, and herbs go into these vitamins, using garden of life’s clean tablet technology. The Kind supplements have a high rate of absorbency because of the use of cofactors that allow your body to absorb the specific nutrient you need. The Kind line is also all vegan including the B12. If you are looking for a great multivitamin or another specific supplement please come see us in wellness and try out these new amazingly effective supplements.

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NEW Local Perfume from Tea Room

By Wellness Manager  •  Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Do you enjoy local? Do you enjoy the fragrances of either holiday or summer? Well your in luck we received a new local perfume made by Tea Room. If you enjoy the smell of spices and thinking of the holidays the Vanilla Chai is for you. If you enjoy a clean smell that reminds you of spring/summer then the IPA is for you. Both fragrances have there own unique smell. Both are equally amazing. Stop by and try for yourself.

tearoom

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Fuel for Fire

By Wellness Manager  •  Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Are you wanting something before a workout but do not want to have a full meal? Well your in luck. We started to carry Fuel for Fire in three flavors.  This is perfect for cross-fit or just a snack to get you through. Come by and try it out for yourself.

F4F

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Sustainable Seafood: Wild Alaskan Salmon Edition

By Meat Manager  •  Monday, June 30th, 2014

Wild salmon fisheries in Alaska are some of the most sustainable fisheries in the world, but they haven’t always been that way. When the salmon canning business expanded in the 1920’s, the stocks of all species of salmon began to drastically decrease to the point that Alaska was declared a disaster area in the 1950’s. The mismanagement of the fisheries culminated in the current permit system that was put into place in the mid-1970’s by the Limited Entry Act. Basically, a set number of permits are issued to Alaskan fisherman giving them limits on the amount of salmon that can be harvested each year. In this way, it protects the ecosystem from overfishing, and keeps the proceeds that come from Alaskan seafood within the Alaskan economy. This system is still going strong today and has helped to vastly increase the wild Salmon stocks as well as to ensure that these stocks are stable and productive in a sustainable manner for the indefinite future.

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When looking at sustainable seafood, we examine the viability of fishery stocks in the long-term while also taking into consideration the effects on the local ecosystem. Due to the legal measures put in place to protect Alaskan fisheries, these fisheries are some of the best, well-managed in terms of habitat damage, overfishing, and pollution. The state of Alaska is fully committed to maintaining the health of one of its largest cash crops for future generations to benefit from. This commitment is so great that the Alaskan constitution specifically mentions fish being managed in a way that fosters sustained yields. The state of Alaska is truly committed to the future health of its seafood industry, and this commitment has made Alaska a model for sustainable fishing worldwide.

Andy

The strength of Alaska’s sustainable model is admirable, and the strength of this system is very important because a large portion of the wild-caught seafood that we consume in the United States comes from Alaska. Up to 95% of all wild salmon consumed comes from Alaska, with the rest coming from Oregon, Washington, and California. With such a large quantity of seafood coming from this region, we must be diligent in protecting the pristine waters and ensuring that the populations are healthy, reproducing, and being managed in such a way that these resources continue to supply us with extremely high-quality salmon.

At Healthy Living we partner with the Monterey Bay Aquarium as a participant in their Seafood Watch program. This allows us to receive feedback on the sustainability of the various types of seafood that we are purchasing, and it allows us to pass that information along to our customers so that they can make informed decisions about their seafood consumption. According to the Seafood Watch program, Alaskan seafood is some of the most highly-rated in terms of ecosystem health and viability. This means that because the fisheries are so well-managed that consumers can buy Alaskan seafood and be comfortable in the fact that they are making a responsible choice not only for their own health, but for the health of the planet’s oceans and resources as well. Come stop by Healthy Living’s Meat and Fish Department and you may get to catch a glimpse of us filleting some whole salmon!

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Redcord Fitness!

By Jackie Cooper  •  Friday, June 27th, 2014

If you’re one of the approximately 45 million Americans dieting each year, you have probably heard time and again that weight loss simply comes down to calories in, calories out. If you play out the numbers it should break down as follows: each pound has about 3,500 calories so cutting calories by 500 per day would result in one pound of weight loss each week. Up the 500 calorie deficit to even more and you will lose even more weight at a faster rate. Simple right? Not so much when you look into where this weight is coming from. Studies have shown that moderately restricting calories results in a greater amount of weight loss coming from fat, with only a small amount coming from muscle loss. Conversely, those who drastically cut calories actually lose the majority of that weight from muscle, not fat.

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For those shrugging their shoulders right now and thinking, “Who cares? A pound is a pound and I’m happy as long as the number on the scale goes down,” think again. Muscle is like a furnace, constantly burning calories just to allow us to go about our daily lives. Reduce the amount of muscle mass your body has and suddenly that furnace doesn’t need as much fuel; translation: you now must eat even fewer calories in order to keep losing weight. That is commonly what dieters run into when they hit the notorious “plateau” in which the number on their scale just won’t budge. Fortunately, this scenario is completely avoidable given moderate calorie restriction and an appropriate exercise strategy; namely strength training.

The concept that strength training is critical for lasting weight loss isn’t ground breaking news for many. However, many people still refrain from incorporating strength training into their regular exercise routine. This is largely in part because strength training has become synonymous with hefting dumbbells in crowded weight rooms filled with techno beats, crashing weights and beefy men guzzling protein shakes. Not surprisingly this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Fortunately, weight lifting isn’t the only way to strength train and more and more exercises, from pilates to TRX, are utilizing one’s own body weight to achieve strength gains, all in a much more welcoming environment. Newer to this scene is a revolutionary system known as Redcord. Not ringing a bell? If you are sick of being behind the times when it comes to fitness trends (eg if you are still popping in Jane Fonda videos and sweating it out in leg warmers) then take note because Redcord is taking fitness to a whole new level. Originally developed in Norway, Redcord was only first introduced in the US in 2008 and has been gaining devoted followers ever since. So what is Redcord you are probably wondering?

Redcord is a suspension training equipment system that utilizes your own body weight as resistance while also forcing you to stabilize and balance. This results in greater muscle fiber requirement and core activation. Translation: A better workout in less time and an added bonus of washboard abs without innumerable crunches. The beauty of Redcord is that it is so adaptable that it can be used by everyone from those simply looking to get fit, to trained athletes. In fact, both the men’s and women’s Norwegian National ski teams strength train using Redcord.

The sage weight loss advice to “move more and eat less” leaves much to be desired for those looking for specifics. Lose weight the right way through moderate calorie restriction and regular exercise that includes strength training. Look beyond the monotony of weight training for innovative ways, like a Redcord workout, to ensure that a strength training routine becomes an enjoyable and regular part of your routine. For healthy and lasting weight loss, cutting calories alone just doesn’t cut it.

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