What are Heirloom Tomatoes?

Have you ever tasted an heirloom tomato? If not, you are in for a real treat! If all you’ve ever eaten was those standard red hydroponic tomatoes you get in the grocery store you are missing out on a tasty, complex mouthful of luxury!

I remember the first time I tasted an heirloom tomato. I was making a romantic dinner for my fiance so went to the fancy health food grocer in the area. The produce department had been thoroughly picked through so the only tomatoes that were left were the organic heirloom tomatoes. They were 2 times the cost of regular tomatoes and were so ugly! They were all different colors, bumps in the wrong places and some of them were scarred from cracking. I was poor at the time so had not been buying organics either. Come to find out organic tomatoes also have a better taste as well. The person working there saw me debating whether or not to buy the tomatoes and assured me I needed to try them. In the end my romantic dinner was a hit because the flavor was amazing!

So, what is the difference between heirloom tomatoes besides appearance and taste? Heirlooms are grown from seeds that have been passed down from generation to generation and grow true to the way they were years ago. Some older than 100 years! Newer tomato seeds have been hybridized, or modified, so that the plants produce more, attractive fruit and are resistant to diseases. It’s the best way to feed a lot of people but the focus was not on taste. So heirloom tomatoes are higher priced for good reason. The plants produce fewer of them for the same amount of work.

Heirloom tomatoes come in an array of colors including red, brown, purplish, orange, yellow and green. Some even come with one color as a base with a starburst of a different color on the top. The darker colored tomatoes in the picture are called Purple Cherokee. They also come in all sizes, including small cherry. Good news for people with heartburn problems…… green and yellow heirlooms are lower in acid.

So if you haven’t tried an heirloom tomato yet, give it a try! It may end up being an addiction!


Expanding the Simple Life

Hello my blog followers. First I need to apologize for my long absence.   Over the last year our lives have completely changed here. As you well know from my posts I’ve been talking more and more about eating food in it’s rawest form and knowing where your food comes from. Well……..I started with growing my own food and have now expanded into an actual FARM!

It started with sharing my excess vegetables with my family, friends and co-workers who loved them so much they asked if  they could have more and would even pay for them. So, last summer I added more rows to my garden and started to sell. I couldn’t meet the demand of my snap peas, beans, cucumbers and summer squash. That’s when it hit us. We have a FARM!

I was already planning on getting chickens for fresh eggs, but so many of my vegetable customers asked about them I decided to sell eggs as well. Instead of buying a couple hens, we decided to buy 30! We have enough egg customers to cover all the excess eggs those hens produce.

The property we bought has fruit trees so the obvious next step was getting bees. We bought two hives and plan to buy 2 more this year. No honey yet but we already have customer lined up for the honey too.

As you can see we were a little overwhelmed by all this so I really didn’t have time to focus on this blog. Now that things are a little quieter I promise to dedicate time sharing my thoughts on living healthy in a more simple way. I don’t plan to spend a lot of time talking about the farm but if you want to follow what is happening there you can visit that blog at http://www.5280artisanfarm.com/.



My Favorite Radish Salad Recipe

Radish salad

The garden is coming up radishes!
I was never really fond of radishes but they are so easy to grow I just had to put some in the garden. Now I have so many I had to figure out the best way to eat them all. My sister shared this recipe with me and now I’m a radish lover.

Radishes originated in china and are related to the cabbage family. They are a great source of vitamin C, fiber and are tasty straight from the garden. They are spicy and have a lot of heat when they are young and very fresh. If you like a milder radish I recommend one of the white varieties. I grew Halestone Radishes this year.

Here is the simple, easy recipe:

1 cup radishes sliced
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/2 cucumber cut into small chunks
Handful of fresh green beans cut into 1-2 inch pieces

Mix together and add:

2 parts lemon juice to 1 part olive oil.
A dash of pepper
a sprinkle of sea salt.






Gardening for your Mental Health


Feeling depressed? Have I got a cure for you!

A study done at Bristol University and University College London found that soil can boost your mood giving you another good reason to get outside and grow some fresh fruits and vegetables!

Soil contains the bacterium Mycobacterium vaccae which is a good bacteria that causes increased release of Serotonin. The hypothalamus is responsible for your mood and requires a lot of serotonin. Gardening gives you contact with this bacteria and boosts your mood! Have you ever met an unhappy gardener? Honestly, I haven’t!

The same process also improves your immune system which proves, once again, that stress and anxiety are closely tied to your immune system.

So what better reason do you need to go play in the dirt?

Simply Fresh Rhubarb Pie Recipe

Rhubarb PieThere is nothing as good as Rhubarb pie made from fresh Rhubarb straight out of the garden. It’s even better when it’s made the old fashioned way. Simple and straight forward, I had mine in the oven within 30 minutes. Here’s how to make it:

Preheat oven to 450 degress.
Remove leaves from Rhubarb as they contain toxic compounds and should never be eaten.
Slice rhubarb into 4 cups of 1/8 inch thick slices.
Toss with 1/4 cup of corn starch and 1 1/4 cup of sugar.
Pour into a pie pan lined with a pie crust.
Cover with second pie crust and seal the top and bottom together, crimping with your fingers.
Cut a few slits in the top to release steam.
Bake for 10 minutes, turn down the oven to 350 degrees and bake another 40 minutes.
Let cool for at least 10-15 minutes before cutting.

Rhubarb is very good for your health. It contains high amounts of Vitamin K, Calcium, Lutein, Fiber and it’s loaded with Antioxidants. As a matter of fact, cooking rhubarb results in a high amount of Lycopene.

Health benefits include preventing heart disease, reducing cancer risk, boosting of the immune system and improving eye health.

Healthy Pizza

Flatbread Pizza

Don’t let anyone tell you that pizza isn’t healthy. It’s all in how it’s made.

First, you want to make it yourself so you can take out anything unhealthy. You don’t have to spend a lot money or time. It’s very simple!

You can find prepared flat bread pizza crusts at most stores now. They come in all natural and  gluten free versions. All you do is add toppings!

This pizza started with a scoop of minced garlic in a 1/4 cup of olive oil brushed on the top. Basic tomato paste is spread over the oil and dried basil sprinkled on top.

Then add your vegetables:
Tomato slices
Bell Pepper
Spinach Leaves
Black Olives
Fresh Basil Leaves
Any other vegetable you have lying around

Although I don’t show cheese here, I did add some low fat mozzarella. You can add cheese substitutes or leave it without. It really tastes fine just the way it is.


Fear of Real Food


I was having lunch in the break room at work when a younger co-worker was commenting how she really wanted a burrito for lunch but only had a sandwich. I’m lucky in that my employer offers a selection of healthy foods for sale in the break room. Another co-worker told her they had burritos in the freezer section so she took a look. She read the package……”All natural, no preservatives, no additives, organic and non-GMO!” I thought to myself, sounds like a great lunch! To my surprise she put the burrito back and said, “I can’t eat this! I don’t know what the hell is in it!” I couldn’t believe the distrust of a food that basically told you it was REAL food.

I’m afraid that the younger you are, the less you know about your food! I watched some viral videos over Thanksgiving of people who stuffed their turkeys with ducks, chickens and Cornish hens as part of a new cuisine trend. What made them viral was the expression of younger people who were surprised when they were un-stuffing the turkey and thought that the turkey was pregnant! I hate to have to say this, but for those of you who don’t know……baby turkeys and chickens come from EGGS that are laid. They don’t get pregnant!

On April Fools Day a video went viral showing a man who planted a banana and kiwi together and theoretically crossed the two together. The stem grew and a banana grew at the end of it, but when he cut the banana open it was a kiwi! I can’t tell you how many people thought it was real!

I think everyone should go out to a farm to understand how things are grown and where the animals come from. Then, actually watch people cooking from the ingredients you find on the farm.  Now that’s real food.


Grow Your Own Pineapple

Pineapple Top

It’s true. I’ve tried it.

You can find fresh pineapples in your grocery  store this time of year. The next time you buy a pineapple, look for one with a thick healthy top, cut it off and immediately stick it in a bowl of water to keep it moist. Fill your favorite pot with potting soil and place the top of the pineapple in the center. Do you completely bury the pineapple top. Leave some of the base exposed or it will rot. Keep the soil moist, using a spray bottle around the base to reduce disturbance of the soil in that area. Eventually the top  will grow roots and you will have yourself a pineapple plant!
If you live in the deep south or have healthy green house/sunroom you may actually get a pineapple! The will grow as a flower off of the main plant.

From Farm or Foreign?


In this day and age where everyone is demanding better food to table options, or buying their produce from local farms, there are those who find a way to profit from it.

I read a disturbing story about a large food company overseas that is using fake farm names to increase sales of imported meat, dairy and produce. They’ve bought up names like Willow Farms and the like to mislead customers into thinking they are buying from a local farm. In reality the products have been imported from other countries. There is nothing illegal about this practice because the product is still labeled correctly.

Word to the wise, if you are concerned where your food come from, read your labels. Better yet, investigate your local farms and farmers markets to be sure you are getting what you expect.

Coffee Prevents Cirrhosis of the Liver

coffee beansI always thought it was funny how one day you hear that coffee is bad for you and then the next day you hear it’s good for you. Well I found a new benefit I haven’t heard before. Apparently coffee can prevent alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver! They found that people who drank alcohol were 22% less likely to get alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver if they also drank coffee. Now you have a new reason to drink coffee!