Conscious Eating 101

Food Awareness from Soil to Table

 

“Fresh” means that produce has been harvested and delivered without processing, freezing or canning.

 

“Local” indicates the food has been harvested within 100 miles of the eatery. The movement promoting locally grown food concerns economic issues of farming communities, transportation costs and environmental impact. Balancing elements in soil composition, air and water quality along with animals and people that live in the same environment is essential to health of a community.

 

“Wild Harvesting” predates agriculture and is the most ancient method of sustenance. Basically, it involves picking and using plants that grow in nature. Truffles, mushrooms, herbs, seeds, roots and berries tend to flourish in micro environments where soil, water, sunshine and temperature are at optimal levels. Take what you need and please don’t over-harvest. Wild harvester presents chantrell mushroom he found in Topanga Canyon after a heavy rainfall.

 

“Organic” is a designation that cannot be used without United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) certification, making it one of the few words we can rely on for information about food. Since the USDA controls the term “organic,” let’s look at how a food must comply to become certified. Here are the USDA’s organic standards:

 

• Preserve natural resources and biodiversity

 • Support animal health and welfare

 • Provide access to the outdoors so that animals

   can exercise their natural behaviors

 • Only use approved materials

 • Do not use genetically modified ingredients

 • Receive annual onsite inspections

 • Separate organic food from non-organic food

http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentidonly=true&contentid=organic-agriculture.html

 

Being conscious of food production from soil preparation, planting, growing, harvesting, processing, packaging, transportation, distribution, marketing to preparation increases one’s access to a healthy lifestyle and the betterment of the entire community.

 

At SuperFood Cafe, we are dedicated to serving organic food. In the case of non-certifiable foods, we do our best to find renewable, sustainable sources that are environmentally-friendly. Ultimately, the optimal diet is a cross section between organic and highly nutritional super foods. What makes us such sticklers on organic super foods starts with the soil.

 

"Micro-Organisms"

You may ask: “What Can Soil Micro-Organisms Do For Me?”

Of the thousands of micro-organisms that have been studied in agriscience, the functions of  billions more have yet to be determined. What is clear is that the uncontrolled use of pesticides and, to a greater degree, herbicides is disrupting the natural balance of the nutrient cycle. In robust soil, organic matter from plants and animals is broken down by worms and insects and further decomposed by bacteria, fungi, algae and nematodes. When this delicate cycle is interrupted, it affects everything in the circle of life. That, of course, includes humans and their ability to access a vibrant life, which requires potent nutrients. The awareness that we are much greater than a single entity and that our body keeps recycling its very matter with all of life is key to creating optimal health and a thriving planet.

 

“Biodynamics” is an ethical, ecosystem farming strategy created in 1924 by Austrian Rudolph Steiner (try his bread at SuperFood Cafe). In past decades, its life-enhancing practice has risen in wine cultivation in Europe, claiming exotic floral tastes. To be biodynamic, nine prescribed preparations must be employed: three sprays and six composts. They consist of cow manure, quartz and seven herbs: horsetail, yarrow flowers, German chamomile, spring nettles, valerian, oak bark and dandelion flower. One preparation calls for cow horns full of cow manure to be buried in the soil over the winter. The horns are dug up in spring and their contents are mixed with water and sprayed on the soil in the afternoon.

 

I stayed at a biodynamic farm, cared for by a former Rudolph Steiner School teacher. He showed me his composts, which he broke down by sifting them through successively smaller screens until he was able to pass them through a silk mesh. He explained that the finer the preparation the more potent the concoction. He brought me to a cherry tree stump that he said was treated with his mixture. It was flourishing with healthy new growth. He had a vision of refining his compost into microscopic particles and spreading them over the landscape from a plane to enliven the whole environment.

 

“Lunar Phase Farming” While in Tuscany, I met with the amazing vintner Guiseppe Sesti at his winery. On the hilltop site of an Etruscan hamlet, Medieval towered castle and abandoned Catholic church, Sesti, an astronomy-history writer by trade, grows organic grapes and olives in his self-styled system, dubbed in wine books as “beyond biodynamic.” Using the phases of the moon for planting, harvesting and virtually all aspects of wine production has been accredited for the fragrant aroma and distinctive Montalcino territorial taste. Annually commemorating extraordinary celestial events, Sesti bottles his limited “Phenomena” run from his finest harvest. Each cosmic event happens when one of the astrological constellations is overhead and is, thus, named for that zodiac sign. I procured a Brunello dedicated to Aries and the 2000 alignment of the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, the Moon, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. I have yet to partake but look forward to the day.

 

“Permaculture” goes beyond growing food to include all of life’s concerns. It is a system for sustainable agriculture. Created 1978 by Australians Bill Mollison and David Holm, the philosophy emphasizes design aspects of agriculture and casts farming life as an artistic endeavor rather than an agribusiness. The concept is for agriculturists to co-design with nature to create a sustainable life that includes useful plants, not only to provide nutrients but also shelter materials, wind breaks, beautiful flowers, fragrances, medicine, firewood for cooking and heating, material for creating art, writing and recreation.

Pamagranites growing in a permaculture environment, along with walls made from stones cleared from the fields, branch fences from local trees and art made from indigenous terra cotta all work together in a sustainable design.

 

With all the various people and systems bent on creating a healthier life for themselves and Earth, awareness of what we eat and its overall impact on well-being is expanding geometrically. Making sure that you have a range of delicious organic food high in nutrients is our mission. We appreciate when you give us your feedback so we can keep feeding you the cuisine your lifestyle needs and craves.

 

Article and phots by Zox

3-17-15

 

Lunar-phase vintner Guiseppe Sesti at his Tuscan winery on the site on of a Medieval Etruscan castle

and a selection of his limited edition "Phenomena"

wines he bottles each year to commenorate an extraordinary astronomic event.

Organic farmland and organically grown grapes on the sunlit vines of Nappa, California.