Saturday, July 28, 2007

Dinner Nights at Organic Connection

The first Dinner Night at Organic Connection was a wonderful, successful evening.

Produce carts were rolled back, grocery shelves and display were covered with cloth, refrigeration equipment was quietened, lighting was dimmed, a dozen tables were set with tablecloths & candles - all done to transform the front part of the store into a cozy and relaxing setting for dinner.

The OC culinary team prepared a veritable feast of mouth-watering dishes - a delight for the senses. Except for the seafood, all ingredients were organic. And the dishes provided many selections for guests with wide-ranging food choice preferences. Beef, Chicken & Seafood dishes as well as vegetarian and vegan dishes. Plenty of choices that were also gluten-free, sugar-free. Our culinary team don't go out of their way to provide for many dietary needs; they simply do it as a matter of course.

Organic Dinner Night - Asian Theme

Saturday, July 28

Seating commencing at 6:45.

There will be an extensive selection of choices including meat, seafood, vegetarian & vegan dishes. Organic noodle bar - rice (gluten-free) & whole-wheat noodles dishes prepared to order.

All inclusive dinner price is $40 (includes taxes, tips & drinks). BYO Alcohol. No children's menu.

Reservations required. This night is certain to be booked out. Guests from the first dinner have already made their reservations. And ask about seating at the community tables. Phone: (845) 279-2290.

Next dinner night is scheduled for Saturday, August 11.

Buying imported food may actually be more energy-efficient

Note: Whilst the following article is from Great Britain, it does also provide valid discussion here in the USA with regard to supporting local or imported organic foods. By Alastair Jamieson, The Scotsman, July 18.

FOR the conscientious, food shopping now poses yet another ethical dilemma: is it really better to buy locally rather than shipping meat, fruit and vegetables around the globe?

A conference of experts yesterday heard that importing food from the other side of the world can actually be more energy-efficient than buying British produce and helps developing countries tackle poverty.

The debate threatens to split the organic movement and could leave ordinary shoppers confused as to what to do for the best. It also comes as the Scottish Conservatives launch a "buy local, eat local" campaign to support farmers and reduce food miles - the distance travelled from suppliers to supermarkets.

Dr Alexander Kasterine, of the International Trade Centre, a United Nations agency, told the conference that the UK should cut its carbon emissions rather than ban imported organic produce.

The event was organised by the Soil Association, which certifies organic products and is considering stripping air-freighted goods of organic status on environmental concerns.

read more (

Organic food may help against heart disease

By Eric Nagourney, New York Times, July 17, 2007

People who choose organic fruits and vegetables to avoid pesticides and other chemicals may have another reason to buy organic. A new study finds that organically grown tomatoes have higher levels of flavonoids, which may protect against cardiovascular disease.

Writing in The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, researchers said the level of one flavonoid in the organic tomatoes was almost twice as high as that in conventionally grown tomatoes.

The researchers, from the University of California, Davis, looked at tomatoes grown over a 10-year period in organic fields and regular ones. Not only did the organic tomatoes score better, they said, but over time their flavonoid levels kept increasing.


Jazzy Sundays at the OC

Mark your calendars in August - Sunday, August 12 & 26. The Diamond Jubilators will playing their uplifting jazzy music from 2:30 to 4:30. So, come on down to Organic Connection and be nourished with food for the belly and music for the heart.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Scientists Estimate That Pesticides are Reducing Crop Yields by ONE-THIRD

The National Academy of Sciences dropped a bombshell on the agri-toxics lobby in June when it published a study indicating that pesticides are actually decreasing crop yields by one-third. Specifically, pesticides are killing important bacteria in the soil that naturally produce a useable form of nitrogen for plants, a necessary fertilizer. As the use of chemical pesticides has increased in the U.S., soil bacteria have been dramatically reduced, thereby creating an insatiable demand for petroleum-based fertilizers. In contrast, organic farming promotes a healthy living soil with increased crop yields.

Dinner Nights at Organic Connection

Our creative culinary staff, headed by Gerry Herrfurth, are planning a series of dinner nights at Organic Connection for your healthy, eating pleasure.

The first dinner night will be on Saturday, July 21st.

Special Mediterranean Menu with appetizers, soups, salads, hot buffet & cook to order pasta bar, desserts & non-alcoholic drinks.

There will be an extensive selection of choices including vegetarian & vegan dishes, rice (gluten-free) pasta, seafood & meat dishes.

All inclusive dinner price is $40 (includes taxes, tips & drinks). BYO Alcohol. No children's menu.

We will have comfortable seating for approximately 40 people commencing at 6:30pm.

Reservations recommended - limited tables still available.

Phone: (845) 279-2290.

The second dinner night will be on Saturday, July 28th.

Why Eden Foods chooses not to use the USDA seal

Eden Foods, manufacturer of organic and other natural foods, is a company that we greatly respect and choose to offer their products at Organic Connection.

Though all EDEN organic food is grown, handled, processed, and certified in a way that meets and exceeds the requirements for using the 'USDA Organic' seal, Eden Foods chooses not to use this seal on its product labels or marketing materials.

A Lending Hand: Promoting Sustainability in Less-Developed Countries

by Jemilah Magnusson, The Green Guide.

Last weekend at Live Earth, Chris Rock joked, "I pray that this event ends global warming the same way that Live Aid ended world hunger." Cynicism aside, the bitter truth behind Rock's quip is that poverty and environmental destruction are inextricably linked. "When you are poor, environmental conservation is a luxury that you cannot afford," says David Woollcombe , president of Peace Child International, a nonprofit organization that works with local young people to promote sustainability in less developed countries. "If you are cold, you don't care about conservation of forests, you care about keeping warm. This is why many people say that poverty is the greatest enemy, the greatest polluter of the environment."

The poor, of course, also lack the clout and the resources to keep their environs from being exploited. Mindful of this issue, the United Nations produced its millennium development goals to reduce poverty by 2015, the seventh of which aims to "integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programs and reverse the loss of environmental resources." This translates into the complicated task of bringing prosperity to the impoverished by maintaining the natural world around them. And, it often comes down to local groups to bring these issues home. There are, however, many ways to help.

The Greens - a site for kids about looking after the planet


Looking forward to a vacation but preferring to avoid the crass commercialism that pervades most popular venues? Looking for a vacation spot that provides sustainable systems such as - solar power, organic food, low impact materials, conservation & local cultural preservation?

As Eco-tourism has become more popular to conscientious vacationers, more and more resort venues are becoming greater locations for the eco-tourist.

There are a number of websites that can provide links to eco-tourism resorts:

The Fox in the Greenhouse

A grassroots coalition of environmental, religious, and activist groups has launched a campaign to expose the Fox network's skewed and inaccurate coverage of global warming. The campaign, led by the Sierra Club, Brave New Films, and Civic Action, includes a YouTube video called Fox Attacks: The Environment that exposes Fox's pattern of misinformation, and an online petition.

View video

Soil Quality from Long-term Organic Management Nearly Doubles Flavonoids in Organic Tomatoes

For more than ten years, scientists at U.C. Davis in California have conducted a Long-Term Research on Agricultural Systems project (LTRAS). The impacts of conventional and organic management on tomato production and tomato nutrient concentrations have been a major focus of this effort.
Last month, the American Chemical Society's Journal of Food and Agricultural Chemistry published compelling results from the LTRAS. The team found that the level of quercitin, the most common flavonoid in the human diet and the major flavonoid in tomatoes, increased 79 percent as a result of organic management.

read more (The Organic Center)

Jazzy Sunday at the OC

Sunday, July 22 is the fourth sunday of the month - that means the Diamond Jubilators will playing their uplifting jazzy music from 2:30 to 4:30. So, come on down to Organic Connection and be nourished with food for the belly and music for the heart.

Dinner Nights at Organic Connection

Our creative culinary staff, headed by Gerry Herrfurth, are planning a series of dinner nights at Organic Connection for your healthy, eating pleasure.

The first dinner night will be on Saturday, July 21st.

Special Mediterranean Menu with appetizers, soups, salads, hot buffet & cook to order pasta bar, desserts & non-alcoholic drinks.

There will be an extensive selection of choices including vegetarian & vegan dishes, rice (gluten-free) pasta, seafood & meat dishes.

All inclusive dinner price is $40 (includes taxes, tips & drinks). BYO Alcohol. No children's menu.

We will have comfortable seating for approximately 40 people commencing at 6:30pm. Reservations will be taken.

The second dinner night will be on Saturday, July 28th.

Organic Farming Saves Resources and The Climate

Promoting organic farming means mitigating climate change!

Organic agriculture achieves high plant yields by making efficient use of organic residues: To fertilize soils, it uses composted harvest residues and animal manure. This saves 50 to 150 kg, depending upon the crop, in synthetic nitrogen fertilizer per hectare which would otherwise need to be produced using non-renewable fuels.

Studies have shown that conventional arable farming operations in England consume some 17,000 litres of fossil fuels embodied in fertilizers per 100 hectare of land each year. Worldwide, 90 million tonnes of mineral oil or natural gas are processed to nitrogen fertilizer every year. This generates 250 million tonnes of CO2 emissions.

With their low-impact methods, organic farmers boost soil fertility and the humus content of soils. The result is that the greenhouse gas CO2 is returned to the biomass of the soil. Long-term field trials conducted over many years in Switzerland have shown that compared to other methods of farming (conventional, integrated production) organic farming enriches 12 to 15 percent more carbon dioxide in the soil, as FiBL soil researcher Andreas Fliessbach explains. This means that organic farms return 575 to 700 kg CO2 to the soil per hectare and year more than other farmers. Organic farming thus reduces CO2 emissions by eliminating synthetic fertilizers, and at the same time reduces atmospheric concentrations of this gas by storing it in the soil - a true win-win strategy.

read more (

Something You Won't See at Organic Connection: White Rice

One of the questions we considered when opening Organic Connection, was whether we would have to offer refined grain products (e.g. white flour & white rice) to keep potential customers happy. A common business aegis is you got to give the customers what they want. Well, this didn't really sit well with us. We thought it better to offer people want they NEED.

So, we choose to offer only brown rice in our store. We have short-grain, we have long-grain, we have jasmine, basmati, sweet & wehani - all of them in their whole grain forms; no white rice. Why not?

Nutritionally, whole rice is overwhelmingly superior to white rice:

  • Dietary Fiber - > 300% more
  • Vitamin E - 200% more
  • Potassium - 100% more
  • Magnesium - 200% more
  • Protein - 20% more
  • Selenium - 20% more
  • B Vitamins - all more than 30% higher
  • Zinc - 20% more
  • Calories - equal
  • Carbohydrates - equal

Nutritionally, the choice is a no-brainer. What about flavor? Well, whole rice has more flavor characteristics than white rice. It simply makes sense.

Mandatory Almond Pasteurization is WRONG!!!

Starting in August or September of 2007, raw almonds available in the USA, Canada and Mexico, will no longer be "truly raw" due to a mandate passed by the USDA, FDA and the California Almond Board, announcing that all almonds including organic must be pasteurized.

The problem is the law has been passed with little public input (if any) or notification whatsoever. In addition all pasteurized almonds available in the marketplace will still be labeled as raw almonds. Can this be considered fraudulence or an out right lie? Are you willing to give up your food freedom choices?

The primary reasons for passing this law are two isolated outbreaks of salmonella, in conjunction with conventional almond farms a few years ago. To the best of our knowledge no salmonella outbreaks have EVER been associated with organic almonds.

read more and sign the petition...

WiFi Blues

By Jeffrey Fawcett, Townsend Letter, July 2007.

Wireless broadband Internet access is all the rage. The noise is drowning out concerns for this technology's risks.

Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love is going to have it; many in San Francisco want it: wireless broadband Internet access (WiFi)1 seems too good to be true. At relatively low cost, anyone can get on the Internet anywhere in a city. All the city needs to do is install a network of WiFi antennas. An often-repeated argument in favor of citywide WiFi is that it will help close the digital divide, since the poorer you are, the more limited your access to the Internet and its wealth of information resources. Cities like Philadelphia and San Francisco are actively trying to close the digital gap. One option is WiFi.

Yet, in weighing the options, virtually nothing is heard about the potential health risks. Saturating an entire city with WiFi adds to the existing burden of radio frequency radiation (RFR). That burden, called electrosmog2 by some, consists of long-term, low-level exposure to non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation in the radio frequency and microwave range from familiar sources like radio and TV broadcast signals, radar, and the ubiquitous cell phone.

Read More (TownsendLetter.Com)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Mercury contamination of fish warrants worldwide public warning

The health risks posed by mercury contaminated fish is sufficient to warrant issuing a worldwide general warning to the public - especially children and women of childbearing age-to be careful about how much and which fish they eat. That is one of the key findings comprising "The Madison Declaration on Mercury Pollution" published in March in a special issue of the international science journal Ambio.

Developed at the Eighth International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant last August in Madison, Wis., the declaration is a synopsis of the latest scientific knowledge about the danger posed by mercury pollution. It presents 33 principal findings from five synthesis papers prepared by the world's leading mercury scientists and published in the same issue of Ambio. The declaration and supporting papers summarize what is currently known about the sources and movement of mercury in the atmosphere, the socioeconomic and health effects of mercury pollution on human populations, and its effects on the world's fisheries and wildlife.
Watch Video from Oceana

read more..

Why Grocery Stores Should Tell Parents About Mercury in Fish

Nationwide pollution from power plants, waste disposal and incinerators, chlorine plants and other sources have contaminated the fish we eat with mercury. Mercury is a dangerous neurotoxin that has been linked to learning disabilities and developmental delays in children and can damage the heart, nervous system, or kidneys of adults.

Fish can be a good, healthy food source. Fish is protein rich, low in fat and can even protect against heart disease. Unfortunately, this otherwise healthy food has been contaminated by mercury pollution and many species can be unsafe to eat. Forty-five states have issued advisories warning sensitive populations about the dangers of eating mercury contaminated fish.

read more (Ocean.Org)

Something You Won't See at Organic Connection: Cane Sugar

Sugar cane is a plant that grows readily in tropical and sub-tropical climates. Being, relatively, insusceptible to pest damage, it is a crop that can be readily grown with appropriate organic farming techniques.

So, sugar cane is a natural food, right? That is correct. But, cane sugar undergoes a number of processes that remove it from its natural sugarcane state.

The first 'refining' of sugar occurs when the liquid of the cane is extracted out from the fiber. Perhaps, this could be considered the same as extracting juice from an orange, but the flesh of the orange is soft & easily digestible & edible; the flesh of sugarcane is like wood.

Secondly, is the big surprise: all sugar processing (including organic) adds Calcium Hydroxide to the cane liquid as the second stage of refining. Calcium Hydroxide? Hmm. A chemical but probably not too obnoxious. It is added to remove impurities (?) and help clarify the liquid - but in the process changes the natural pH of the liquid sugar from acidic to alkaline.

For many decades, pioneers and doctors of Natural Health have advocated against the consumption of cane sugar for many reasons including creating undesirable extremes in blood sugar levels causing hypoglycemia & hyperactivity.

In actuality, we have one or two grocery items that do contain cane sugar (they were ordered in error). We're proud to say that those items have sat on the shelves unsold for many months.

About that organic garlic from China

By Samuel Fromartz, Gristmill, June 27.

Organic food has take criticism lately, because a portion is flowing from overseas. (All those food miles, all that lost support for American farmers.) Well, there's a reason that trend is underway: Not enough American farms are growing organic crops and fewer still are converting, so demand is exceeding supply. With the Farm Bill, attempts are underway to address that problem.

The organic farming community is seeking a few tender morsels off the Congressional table, to help farmers get into the organic sector. The main points are these:

  • Basic research funds. Currently organic farming research only gets about $3 million in dedicated funds out of a USDA research budget of about $2 billion. They want $15 million.
  • Certification cost share. Farmers can get up to $500 annually to offset up to 75 percent of the costs of organic certification, but much of that money has run out.
  • Transition support. The lobby is looking for $50 million per year to help farmers with the three-year transition to organic farming.

Environmental Working Group recently launched a site to gin up support on the issue and generate 30,000 signatures to lawmakers by July 15. The point is to win baseline funding for organic agriculture, so that it can be increased in the next farm bill. If the baseline is near zero, it isn't going to move at all -- not in the next bill, or the one after that -- and farmers will continue to sit on the sidelines.

Support the petition

How the Media Missed the Organic Story

By Samuel Fromartz, Chewswise, June 28.

The USDA's recent approval of 38 non-organic ingredients in organic food products was widely portrayed in media reports as evidence that the USDA was watering down organic standards.

This is a standard interpretation - that, at the behest of agribusiness, the USDA is constantly chipping away at the integrity of organic food regulations, making it easier for big companies to subvert what organic food is all about. They were doing so now by including these 38 non-organic ingredients in organic food.

The only problem was this was flat out wrong.

read more (Chewswise)

For swimming pool owners

Forget about adding harsh chemicals like chlorine to your swimming pool, and choose an alternative that is naturally healthful, ecologically conscious, proven safe and dependable, convenient and economical: Sal-Chlor salt water systems.

So, how come the salt water systems aren't as popular in the USA? Because salt water systems reduce the sales of pool chemicals and reduce pool maintenance needs - this places commercial pressure on businesses that have based their primary profits from supplying pool chemicals and providing heavy pool maintenance.

Organic Connection imports Sal-Chlor units from Australia (where 95% of all new swimming pools use salt water systems) and we can also arrange for installation.

Chlorine Plants: Major, Overlooked Source of Mercury Pollution

As the extent of mercury contamination in our environment, our bodies and our food comes to light, concern over mercury pollution is increasing. While most media and public attention has focused on coal-burning power plants, most people remain unaware that a small subset of the chlorine industry makes a major - and completely preventable - contribution to the global mercury crisis.

Chlorine is a chemical building-block used in everything from swimming pools to plastic tents to paper towels. In 1894, a process was devised to produce chlorine by pumping a saltwater solution (brine) through a vat of mercury, or "mercury-cell," that catalyzes an electrolytic chemical reaction. Newer technologies that do not use mercury have been developed, but a number of plants around the world continue to use the outdated technology.

read more..