Archive for March, 2010

This year we will be gardening in a Full Plot (25′ x 30′) at Hunt Park. As some of my blog readers know, Natalie and I are getting married this summer and we are planning to grow our wedding flowers in the garden plot. We are planning to dedicate about 1/3 of the garden to this task, the other 2/3 will be for the multiple veggies that we are growing. We are also going to construct a potato box, and grow some of the peppers in a Earth Box (thank you Cindy!).

There will be a walkway that will run the length of the garden. When you first walk in, there will be 3 tomato types on the left (Nepal, Gooseberry, Brandywine) and 3 tomato types on the right (Green Zebra, Red Pear, and Velvet Red). Next to each tomato plant there will be a row of carrots.

As you walk west in the garden (toward the top of the diagram), on the left is where we will construct our potato box. In that area we will also plant the other 2 tomato types (gold rush currant tomato and sweet pea tomato). The beet area will be on the right – 2 types this year (Bulls Blood and Chioggia).

As you continue West, the next are on the left will be the lettuce, broccoli, and kale patch. As the summer goes by this may used for something else since these things don’t do to well in the summer heat. The herb patch will be on the right (cilantro, basil, rosemary, oregano). I will also place the Earth Box here which will include 2 types of pepper (Bull nose and Quadrato Giallo).

On the west end of the garden is where we are planning to plant our wedding flowers. We are growing 4 types here: Zinnias, Rudbeckia, Bells of Ireland, and Snapdragons.

Throughout the garden we will have some potted Sunflowers that will also be used for our wedding.

That is the plan for now…

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Today was a historic day in the United States, the health care bill was signed into law by President Obama. I loved Vice President Joe Biden’s reaction (NSFW language).

There is one aspect of the new bill that will go into effect immediately.  Any restaurant with more than 20 locations will now have to include calorie counts on their menu boards.  This means that more than 200,000 fast food and other chain restaurants will have to include these counts on their menu boards, menu, and drive-through boards.

Personally, I think this will be a huge step to reduce the obesity problem in this country.  When someone heads to McDonald’s and is deciding between a cheeseburger and a Quarterpounder w/ cheese, having the caloric information listed on the menu may save the person 210 calories and 14 g of fat if they go with the cheeseburger.  Hear both sides of this debate by watching this discussion that was on CNBC today.

To the readers of my blog, what do you think of this provision in the health care reform bill?  Leave your comment(s) below…

Just a reminder, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution premiers this Friday 8:00 on ABC.

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This weekend marks the 8 weeks to go until the last frost here in Ann Arbor (~May 15).  It also is the best time to start the tomato, pepper, and eggplant seeds indoors.

This year I am planning to grow 8 varieties of tomatoes, 5 varieties of peppers, and 2 varieties of eggplant.

These are the seeds I planted today:

Stay tuned as I will continue to update the blog with pictures of the first seedlings.

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Calder Dairy

About a month ago we set up home delivery of our dairy products from Calder Dairy.  This is probably one of the best decisions we’ve made.  The milk, eggs, ice cream, etc… are all produced 30 miles from our apartment in Carleton, MI.

The home delivery service is really easy to set up, simply call their office 313.381.8858 and tell them you want to set up service.  You can set up a standard delivery each week, and then add/remove things each week.  As an example, we have 3- 1/2 gallon skim milks delivered each week. When we need eggs, sour cream, ice cream, etc… we just call Monday before our delivery (our products are delivered on Tuesdays) to add those items.  You then just leave a cooler on by your front door and on your delivery day you have fresh dairy products.

The service is pretty cheap, only $2/week and the products are fairly priced considering the are coming locally.    For a list of what Calder Dairy offers click here.

The ice cream from Calder Dairy is delicious and made at the farm, they currently offer 37 flavors, and the best part is you can have it delivered with your milk.

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Food Deserts…

In my previous post I briefly mentioned First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, a campaign to solve the epidemic of childhood obesity.  We spend an estimated $150 billion every year to treat obesity related conditions in this country.  Just think if that number could be cut in half or more…

As a part of Let’s Move, the First Lady is trying to eliminate food deserts.  Food deserts are areas in both urban and rural communities where families do not have access to supermarkets and fresh produce but often have an abundance of fast/cheap food restaurants.

The concept of ‘access’ may be interpreted in three ways:

  • ‘Physical access’ to shops can be difficult if the shops are distant, the shopper is elderly or infirm, the area has many hills, public transport links are poor, and the consumer has no car.
  • ‘Financial access’ is difficult if the consumer lacks the money to buy healthy foods (generally more expensive, calorie for calorie, than less healthy, sugary, and fatty ‘junk foods’).
  • Mental attitude or food knowledge of the consumer may prevent them accessing fresh vegetables. They may lack cooking knowledge or have the idea that eating a healthy diet isn’t important.

To find out more about food deserts, and to find out how you can help click here.

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As I was browsing online last weekend I came across a sneak peek for a new TV show that is set to premiere later this month.  Jaime Oliver, aka the Naked Chef, will be in a new 6-part series on ABC called Jaime Oliver’s Food Revolution.

The show chronicles Jaime’s grass-root effort in the US to curb childhood obesity.   His efforts are focused in Huntington, West Virginia, dubbed the unhealthiest city in America.  He is inviting viewers to take a stand and change the way America eats, in our home kitchens, schools and workplaces.

The series is loosely based on Jamie Oliver’s U.K. series, Jamie’s Ministry of Food and Jamie’s School Dinners, which saw his successful grass-roots efforts improve the school lunches in communities there. For the latter show, it resulted in a total overhaul of the school dinner program in the U.K. In America, he’s turning his attention to helping people of all ages eat more balanced meals and cook with fresh ingredients, not only at schools, but also homes, and workplaces.   I am thinking this is exactly the kind of thought provoking TV show this country needs.

Here is the trailer for the first episode:

This show will premiere as Michelle Obama begins to roll out her Let’s Move campaign.  A nationwide campaign to tackle the issue of childhood obesity.

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