The Flawless Carrot

In the beginning of my juicing journey I was learning my way with produce and figuring out what I could afford to buy local and organic and what I could settle for local or conventional on.  I am not certified organic and do not think I ever will be, but I do use lots organic and local ingredients on a daily basis. In today’s wide world of food, I think there is more to consuming consciously than just the certified organic label.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of certified organic farms….but also a fan of local farms who are not certified but who consciously employ organic and environmentally sound practices. If cost was not a thing, I would love to go all certified organic AND local, but in real life I have to make choices about sourcing that are delicious, responsible, and don’t require an $12 per juice price point in Troy.  So, when sourcing for my business, I shop like I do at home. Some things I am fully committed to certified organic, and others (like bananas) I make a go with conventional. For me personally and for business I am committed to sourcing locally whenever possible AND having the least amount of food waste possible. This means paying more for certain things, getting them in smaller batches, coordinating with farms for pick up of juice pulp, and utilizing a composting service. This also means working with the farm a couple towns over who employs organic and sustainable practices but has not gone through the certification process. To me, this is still good food.

At the end of the day, some of my produce is always organic…..the things that are just WAY better this way. The  number one thing that I ALWAYS buy certified organic is carrots. When I first started juicing I was experimenting with conventional carrots and was extremely depressed by them. They were flawless. Movie star carrots. Perfectly shaped, all identical, and all HUGE….embarrassingly freakishly huge. Bigger than human babies. After chopping one up into 56 pieces and juicing it, the juice was a translucent pale peach color. Gross. It tasted like nothing. Maybe like wet grass. That’s a generous description.

I immediately knew these carrots were not acceptable and moved on to find the right ones. Being a vendor at the Troy Farmers Market is awesome for many reasons, but the best thing for me has been building relationships with local farmers and having easy access to the best local produce around. I soon started getting all of my carrots from a fellow vendor, certified organic and carrot sized. Unlike the conventional carrots, these carrots are imperfect, sometimes weird, varied in shapes and sizes, but always taste exactly the same…..like CARROTS. And the color is bright orange, super carroty in all its glory. These imperfect carrots are so much better than the perfect carrots, I can’t imagine someone judging them based on their appearance, let alone throwing them away.  So much produce is thrown away for not being perfect, but in the case of my carrots, the perfect carrots were the worst ones. Guys, we need to stop judging our fruits and veggies on their outward appearance and judge them on something really important……tasting like food. To make the best carrot juice, you need the best carrots, and the best carrots should A) taste like carrots and B) look like something that was grown in the ground. Sometimes we get lucky and it doesn’t have to be more complicated than that.

 

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The Roots

Some of you guys have noticed Bella’s Favorite (Pineapple, Apple, Mint) has been wiped off the menu in the shop this month. In between the tears and feet stamping (just kidding) I have been sharing with everyone why this gem of a juice is MIA right now. As you have probably noticed, its Winter. Winter is not a friend to mint, nor to pineapple, and the quality of the ingredients I was getting was just not up to snuff. Fear not, Bella’s Favorite will be back this Summer with fresh mint grown on my rooftop and the juiciest and best tasting pineapple I can find. In the meantime, we are fully embracing Winter in here (if you can’t beat ’em….) and have added a new seasonal juice to the menu in place of Bella’s Favorite, The Roots.

The Roots is a seasonally appropriate blend of Sweet Potato, Carrot, Beet, Ginger Root, and a little Apple….with a dash of cinnamon on top, should you be interested in spicing up your life.  All of the sweet potatoes, beets, and carrots are local and organic  from our friends at Denison Farm in Schagticoke, NY. As always, our apples are local as well. We are committed to sourcing ingredients locally, whenever possible, and this means juicing a lot of seasonal produce and getting creative with what’s growing here, now. This sweet and spicy juice is turning out to be a Winter favorite and we hope you come try it soon. 

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A few people have asked us is we cooked the sweet potatoes before we juiced them and no, we do not cook anything before juicing it, ever. Sweet potatoes definitely give a little bit of that starchy taste and feel, but are SO good for you, especially in their raw state. Honestly, I knew they were good for you and tasted amazing, but didn’t realize what a powerhouse they were until reading up on them when creating The Roots.

SWEET POTATO CHEAT SHEET:

1.  They are high in vitamin B6.  Vitamin B6 helps reduce the chemical homocysteine in our bodies. Homocysteine has been linked with degenerative diseases, including heart attacks.

2. They are a good source of vitamin C.  While most people know that vitamin C is important to help ward off cold and flu viruses, less people realize that Vitamin C plays an important role in bone and tooth formation, digestion, and blood cell formation. It helps accelerate wound healing, produces collagen which helps maintain skin’s youthful elasticity, and is essen­tial to helping us cope with stress. Yes, it’s better than you even thought.

3.  They contain Vitamin D which is critical for immune system and overall health at this time of year.  Both a vitamin and a hormone, vitamin D is primarily made in our bodies as a result of getting adequate sunlight.  Vitamin D plays an important role in our energy levels, moods, and helps to build healthy bones, heart, nerves, skin, and teeth, and it supports the thyroid gland.

4.  Sweet potatoes contain iron. Most people are aware that we need the mineral iron to have adequate energy, but iron plays other important roles in our body, including red and white blood cell production, resistance to stress, proper im­mune functioning, and the metabolizing of protein.

5.  Sweet potatoes are a good source of mag­nesium, which has been hailed as is the relaxation and anti-stress mineral. Magnesium is necessary for healthy artery, blood, bone, heart, muscle, and nerve function, yet experts estimate that approximately 80 percent of the popula­tion in North America may be deficient in this important mineral.

Soooo, if this delicious, anti-stress, mood lifting, delicious miracle of a vegetable sounds like something you’re into, make sure to grab The Roots before it’s gone.

 

 

 

 

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