Sunday, February 16, 2014

Why I Farm - Green Bridge Growers




Name of Farm 
Green Bridge Growers

Tell Me About Your Farm 
We’re based in South Bend, Indiana, and feature year-round growing using cutting-edge, intensive methods to supply delicious, fresh produce for our region.  Practices like aquaponics (growing fish and vegetables together), composting, permaculture, and renewable energy are at the heart of what we do.  And our work also incorporates a social mission. We’re not only growing good food – we’re also growing good jobs for our community, because our farm puts to work adults with autism and provides them a pathway to employment.

What Do You Grow 
 Herbs like basil, cilantro, mint, and parsley; specialty greens and lettuces; tomatoes; fish.

Have You Always Been a Farmer 
No! I grew up in a farm family in Milwaukee, and our family had a farm on the fringes of the city. Wherever we lived when I was growing up, I saw my parents grow a garden. They did it because they loved to grow their own food, loved the idea of self-sufficiency, and they took pleasure in nurturing and caring for plants and vegetables. That carried over to me, and I trained as a Master Gardener right after college and have had a garden wherever I’ve lived too. I started our farm with my oldest son, Chris, as a way for him to be involved in what he loved as a young adult with autism – it’s a partnership that we participate in together. Chris has had a number of organic farming internships, and trained in agroecology, and to prepare for our venture I’ve trained in aquaponics, permaculture, and commercial urban agriculture (with the fabulous Will Allen of Growing Power in Milwaukee).   I’ve taken my skills in business and community engagement and transferred them to our farming start-up. We hope that each commercial greenhouse we build will employ 5 individuals with autism. We have a prototype right now, and are ready to launch our first commercial growing facility this spring.

What Do You Wish More People Knew About Farming 
That it is one of the most challenging professions around! The work never stops, and there is a lot of detail, precision, and scheduling to running a farm.  Chris and I both approach farming as a science, and try to keep up with the latest research and sustainable practices.  We think that makes what we grow of the highest quality and very healthy and fresh.  We thrive on this work and know we are helping to make a real difference in people’s lives and health.  We feel we are the luckiest people on the planet to be doing what we love and enriching people’s nutrition and quality of life!

About Green Bridge Growers, we would love aquaponics to be more of a household word! It’s a very exciting method of farming where fish and vegetables grow in tandem in a closed-loop system. The fish and plants benefit each other in such a system and the fish effluent acts as fertilizer for the plants, and the plants in turn purify the water back to the fish. Lots of promise to this method – it uses an amazing 90% less water. We like to think our farm benefits both people and the planet, because we are very focused on being sustainable.

Plans for the Farm 
We just finished a successful crowdfunding campaign to raise the capital to build our first commercial greenhouse, and will build that structure this spring. We plan to scale to 6000 square feet of vertical growing space over the next four years, employing 20 young adults with autism in the process.

Where Can People Buy Your Product
We have arrangements with our local Whole Foods, a number of restaurants in our region, and we will sell at our local farmers’ market and cooperative grocery store.

Thank you for reading about this wonderful farm! Please consider connecting with their facebook page and twitter social madia and visit their website.

 Thank you, Jan!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Decadent Dip: Edamame hummus

This is a wonderful, creamy hummus that reminds me of spring even when it is cold and dreary outside! I served mine with bell pepper strips and blue corn tortilla chips!

Edamame Hummus
  • 12 ounces frozen edamame, thawed
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  1. Thaw and drain frozen edamame. Place all ingredients in food processor or powerful blender and process for several minutes or until very smooth and creamy. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed. 
  2. Serve with your favorite raw veggies, whole grain crackers or tortilla chips.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Scrumptious Soups: Hummus Soup!

I love hummus. I love soup. So when my friend Sarah of WhyFoodWorks posted this recipe in this month's Real Food Challenge, I knew I had to try it!

The results? Splendid!

Pick one or more toppings for nice flavor and texture.

Hummus Soup
  • 3 16-ounce cans chickpeas (aka garbonzo beans), drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups water (or broth)
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  •  Juice from 2 lemons
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons  smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Topping ideas
  • Kalamata olives
  • Sesame seeds
  • Chopped parsley
  • Smoked paprika
  • Chives
  • Feta cheese
  • Lemon juice
  1. Add everything to a large pot and heat over medium-high until bubbly. 
  2. Use an immersion blender to puree soup until smooth and velvety.
  3. Ladle into a bowl and garnish with all the toppings your heart desires!
Recipe inspired by this recipe

Monday, February 3, 2014

Pistachio Pairings: Tequila Shots!

I received free pistachio samples from the Pistachio Health Institute mentioned in this post. By posting this pairing I am entering a contest sponsored by Pistachio Health Institute and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.


Ready for an indulgent pistachio pairing? How about with a shot of tequila! The salted nuts make an excellent substitute for the usual dash of salt. Munch on a few delicious pistachios, throw back a shot of your favorite tequila and finish with a wedge of lime. Let's get this party started :)





Saturday, February 1, 2014

Pistachio Pairings: Exercise Recovery Snack

I received free pistachio samples from the Pistachio Health Institute mentioned in this post. By posting this pairing I am entering a contest sponsored by Pistachio Health Institute and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.




Your recipe for exercise recovery?

Water + Pistachios + Banana!

This is a great snack to have in your gym bag ready to go after a tough workout at the gym or a long bike ride! The combo of nuts and fruit is a winning combo - you have a good amount of protein and heart healthy fats from the pistachios pairs with carbohydrates to replenish glycogen in your tired muscles. You replenish your electrolytes without needing to grab a sports drink - the sodium and magnesium from the salted nuts and the potassium from the banana has you covered. Don't forget the water!





Pistachio Pairings: Study Break


By posting this pairing I am entering a contest sponsored by Pistachio Health Institute and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.


For this pistachio pairing, I wanted a healthy snack that I could throw in my bag. This fit the bill! 

I paired a one ounce portion of pistachios with an apple and water.

Study hard!





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