Just In From Tricycle Gardens

We just got in a ton of locally-grown, organic starter veggies from Richmond’s own Tricycle Gardens! Tricycle Gardens is a grassroots, environmental nonprofit organization focused on bringing agriculture, nutrition education and healthy food access to the urban core of Richmond, Virginia.  Founded in 2002 by three architects living in Church Hill who believed community gardens, and the simple act of growing food, were the fastest ways to transform the overall health of their community – both for the residents and the environment.

These starter herbs are available now for just $3.99 for a 6-pack. They’re a great way to start your summer harvest off right! Nothing’s better than a fresh, summer salad with locally grown greens! Come get ’em!

An Interview with Victory Farms

Late this past fall, our team went over to Victory Farms in Hanover County to say hello and check in on things. Victory Farms is now under the new ownership of a wonderful man that goes by Alistar Harris. Alistar grew up in a farming region in South Africa where his family relied on their backyard garden for food. He continues the solid mission of healthy, natural food and sustainability that Charlie and Gina Collins started. We sat down with Alistar for a few questions:

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Love Your Roots

If you’re truly planning on eating locally year round, when it comes down to winter time, you have to face it – you’re going to be eating root vegetables. Whether you live in California or Virginia, the winter puts root vegetables in abundance and it’s up to us to eat them.

And we’re not just talking carrots and potatoes here (yes, we know potatoes are tubers), we’re talking parsnips, daikon radish, beets, fennel, turnips, rutabaga, etc. Mark Bittman, the NYTimes food columnist says, “Most contain starchy sugars, so they brown beautifully and become sweet after cooking. (Only carrots and beets are sweet raw.) All of this can be disclosed simply by substituting just about any root vegetable you like in your favorite potato recipe. The treatment won’t be identical (the more sugar, the quicker the browning), but it will be similar, and the results will almost always be startling and good.

So if you’re looking for some easier ways to truly enjoy the flavors of winter, click here for 6 delicious root hosting recipes from the New York Times.

Saving Money on Organics…

Last week we had a little visit from WRIC TV8 where they asked us a simple question, “How do you save money on organics?” Here’s what we had to say:

1. Buy foods that are local and in season: When you purchase local and in season foods, you’re getting these items at their peak freshness and seasonal availability. Prices on foods that are in season tend to be much cheaper than buying foods out of season. When you add in the local factor, you end up not having to pay extra for transportation costs and you’re keeping money in your local economy.

2. Buy in bulk: Buying in bulk saves you money because you have the ability to get the exact amount you need. You’re also not paying the extra costs of packaging which saves much more than money. Buying in bulk creates far less waste than packaged foods, keeping plastics and materials out of the landfill. We also give a 10-cent container credit when you bring in your own empty container for bulk purchases.

3. Shop sale prices and use coupons: Our buyers work hard to provide you with competitive prices throughout our store. Look for the big yellow sale tags that indicate specials on delicious, organic items. We also offer money-saving coupons available at our registers. Most companies also offer printable coupons online on their websites.

Crop Swaps

Heads up, green thumbs struggling to offload excess edibles: Aid is out there. A growing movement, designed to help people eat well, save money, and get to know their neighbors, is planting seeds in communities around the country. Crop swaps–meet ups where people exchange their surplus backyard bounty–are thriving from the San Francisco Bay Area to Boston in city and suburban enclaves and online, too.

Read the rest of the story here.

Our favorite local snack

Let us introduce you to one of our new favorite local fall snacks – and how easy it is to create. Step 1: Go get the biggest, juiciest local apple you can find (hint: look in our produce department). Step 2: Go grab some locally-made creamy cinnamon-molasses cashew butter from Reginald’s Homemade in Manakin Sabot, Virginia. Step 3: Take a bite of your apple, then take a bite of the cashew butter – enjoy.

Virginia Apples are In!

It’s that time of the year again! As the weather starts to cool down, fresh & delicious Virginia apples start to come in and orchards all over the state are bursting with color. If you haven’t had a chance yet to head west of Richmond and go apple picking, then what are you waiting for?

Until then, come by the store for some of Virginia’s finest apples from Crown Orchard, Fred Glaize Farm and more. We have some beautiful local Red and Golden Delicious apples on sale $4.99 for a 5lb bag.

Roasted Local Okra

We just got in some delicious local okra from our good friend Buddy. How local are we talking about? How about 1.2 miles? Okra is a flowering plant in the mallow family that’s valued for its edible green seed pods. Originating in Africa, the plant is cultivated in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions around the world – especially here in Virginia.

Not sure what to do with okra, let this simple rosting recipe take care of the guessing work.

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An Apple Tree Grows in Suburbia

In a movement propelled by environmental concern, nostalgia for a simpler life and a dollop of marketing savvy, developers are increasingly laying out their cul-de-sacs around organic farms, cattle ranches, vineyards and other agricultural ventures. They’re betting that buyers will pay a premium for views of heirloom tomatoes—and that the farms can provide a steady stream of revenue, while cutting the cost of landscaping upkeep.

Why not line streets with almond and avocado trees, he asks, or replace shrubbery with cabbage and currants? Golf courses could plant their roughs with kale and corn. Lawns—where they must exist—could be edged with chives and herbs.

Read the rest of this article here.