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FreshBox Farms – Providing Local Produce from Millis, MA

FreshBox Farms is a local hydroponic farm in Millis, Massachusetts providing fresh, hyper local, non-gmo, produce to the Boston area.

FreshBox Farms’ indoor hydroponic farms are bringing fresh produce closer to your home by breaking down the old barriers set by traditional farming. Their produce is delivered to stores within 24 hours of harvest; often in the same day. Growing indoors at their farm in Millis, Massachusetts, means greens are always in-season, and are available FRESH all year-round.

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Because hydroponics allows the plant’s roots to sit directly in water to receive nutrients FreshBox Farms uses 99% less water than field farming. The indoor growing system allows plants to grow vertically on shelves using a much smaller footprint; depending on the crop grown, one of the 320 square foot farms can yield as much as nineteen-acres of farmland! So not only are you helping to save the planet you are also supporting a local business. 

FreshBox Farms’ greens are of the highest quality and grown purely, without ever using pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or any other chemicals. The crops are never genetically modified and proudly verified by the Non-GMO Project.

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FreshBox Farms greens do taste fresh! Every spring my family and I plant a vegetable garden and we eat fresh vegetables – lettuces, tomatoes, cucumbers, pea pods, eggplant, herbs, etc – all summer long. There is a noticeable different in taste between our fresh vegetable and the ones we buy in the store. FreshBox Farms lettuces remind me of the ones we grow at home – fresh tasting and delicious! I’ve been eating FreshBox Farms greens for the past two weeks and I am loving it. The lettuce really has a fresh flavor you do not typically find from supermarket produce. How will I ever go back??

FreshBox Farms can grow over 30 different types of plants. They provide leafy greens such as heirloom lettuces, arugula, spinach and herbs. Check out the Products page to keep updated on what they’re growing next!

So where can YOU buy FreshBox Farms? Roche Brothers, Foodies Markets, and dozens of other locations carry FreshBox Farms greens. Click here to find a retail location nearest you.

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I was not paid to write this review.

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Ecofarms Organic Vegetable Heirloom Seeds Kit

Why buy vegetable seed packets that are often produced in bulk when you can give yourself or anyone else a fresh beautiful heirloom seed kit with real Organic Vegetable seedsIt’s a perfect gift for mom, sister, co-worker or friend. Just about anyone who enjoys gardening will enjoy this kit.

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EcoFarms products are created with two goals in mind–quality & innovation. Ecofarms hand packed organic vegetable seeds are sold in small quantities.  

IMG_0068I love gardening and I have been gardening since I was a little girl. I still go home every spring and help my mom plant the vegetable garden the backyard of my childhood home. The past few years have produced weak crops. Many of our plants justdidn’t grow, produced very little, or were eaten by bugs – or animals! Gardening is a great activity that bring’s families closer together and this gardening gift kits come presented in a fresh beautiful box to excite people about the activity. It’s the perfect small gift. Teach your family or friends about growing their own food for themselves and experience some of the best varieties of vegetables ever grown on the planet.

This kit includes TEN of the best variety of seeds ever sown. Ecofarms hand packs each tube with enough organic seeds to create a beautiful home garden. The seeds have a high germination rate because they pack the boxes in small lots and since these heirloom kits rarely sit on the shelves for more than a few weeks– they are always fresh.

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The kit includes a basic instruction card for getting your plants going and includes the following 10 varieties of seeds:

Tendersweet Carrot (50-70 seeds)
Red Burgundy Onion (50-70 seeds)
Golden Beauty Corn (7-12 seeds)
Long Purple Eggplant (40-50 seeds)
Delikatesse Cucumber (10-15 seeds)
Brandywine Tomato (15-20 seeds)
California Wonder Pepper (30-40 seeds)
Calabrese Broccoli  (50-60 seeds)
Great Lakes 118 Lettuce (30-40 seeds)
Utah 5270 Celery (50-60 seeds)

Not only are the seeds organic, they are non-GMO project verified. Choosing heirloom seeds preserves endangered food heritage traditions and encourages biodiversity in food crops.

The good thing about heirloom seeds is that you can save them for a few years without any issues. If you can’t plant the seeds now, the best way to store this kit is to keep the seeds in the tubes and put the pods or the whole box into a ziplock bag. Make sure that you squeeze all the air out of the bag before you close the bag. Once you push all the air out, seal the bag and put it in the freezer. As long as they stay frozen they will last for a few years. Onion seeds are the only ones in this kit that will not last as long as the others. Usually onion seeds are good for 1 or 2 years of storage. After that you won’t get the same germination rate as fresh seeds. The main thing that hurts seed storage is a fluctuation in temperature and moisture. Both of those factor’s will reduce the time you can save the seeds for. Since most people do not go into their freezer more than once or twice a day or keep it open to give them a chance to defrost, the freezer will be the best spot to keep them. When the time comes for planting, take out the pods and leave them out for a day before putting them into the soil. They need to reach room temperature before you plant them. 

You can purchase Ecofarms Organic Vegetable Heirloom Seed Kit on Amazon

Disclaimer: I received these products free of charge to review for my blog. All my opinions and thoughts are my own.

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Natural Sins baked-dried fruit and vegetable snacks

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Today I want to introduce to you a brand called  Natural Sins. Natural Sins is a small Costa Rican company which manufactures healthy snacks made from fruits & vegetables and commercializes them in the North and Central American Countries.Natural Sins is dedicated to the development, manufacturing and commercialization of healthy food products where high quality, freshness, and innovation are the common denominators.

Natural Sins healthy snacks are made with fresh fruits or vegetables, and using only two natural ingredients, create the most perfect and delicious snack! Using proprietary methods, they’ve maintained shape, color, smell and taste of the fresh fruit or vegetable, yet making it crispy; resulting in a unique natural product like no other.

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At Natural Sins, they also believe that a person’s health is principally based on nutrition and they try to deliver this message through their company. The fruit thins are 100% natural, they are carefully sliced and baked to preserve the original shape, smell, color and flavor. Only 2 ingredients are involved: fresh fruit or vegetables + cane sugar. Natural Sins’ slices are 100% natural; they are very thin fruit slices which are carefully sliced and baked until reaching their unique crispiness and keeping the fresh fruit flavor; these are some of the characteristics that differentiate Natural Sins from competitors.

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Flavors include:

  • Crispy coconut this
  • Crispy beetroot thins
  • Crispy apple thins
  • Crispy mango thins
  • Crispy pineapple thins
  • Crispy orange thins

I recently had the opportunity to try many of the flavors and I was very impressed, and I have to say my favorite is the beetroot thins. Unlike other dried fruit snacks, these are actually healthy and tasty. They are not too sweet and do not leave a chemical aftertaste in my mouth. I could really taste the fresh fruit/vegetable flavors. I loved the crunchiness and any of these chips make a great (and healthier) substitute for chips.

Natural Sins are gluten free, vegan, fat free (except for the coconut), sodium free (except for the apple), non-GMO, and 100% natural, therefore, they do not contain any type of preservative, artificial coloring or artificial flavor.

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Crispy Mango Thins Nutritional Information

Natural Sins are available in the U.S. and Canada. You can purchase Natural Sins in 12-packs on Amazon
for as little as $29.

Natural Sins was acknowledged by PROCOMER (Foreign Trade Corporation of Costa Rica) as the most innovative company in Costa Rica’s food industry, winning an award during the 2012 BTM Awards. Additionally, it was nominated by CADEXCO (Costa Rican Chamber of Exporters) for the 2012 Export Effort (Esfuerzo Exportador) award and was awarded with the PYME Exportadora by the MEIC (Ministerio de Economia, Industria y Comercio) for being one of the small companies that has made great efforts in a professional way to start exporting their products.

10 Juicing Tips & My Favorite Green Juice Recipe

Juicing is tasty, easy, and beneficial for your health. Moreover, juicing fruits and vegetables is a great way to rebuild your immune system with minerals, vitamins, enzymes, and antioxidants. Juices help your boy cleanse, heal, and rejuvenate.

Juices are also great for detoxing and cleansing because they require very little energy to be used by your digestive system because a majority of the fiber is removed during the juicing process. This gives your digestive system a rest from working on fiber and allows you to better absorb nutrients. The nutrients are fast tracked into your blood stream, which detoxifies and cleanses your system by removing toxins. Other health benefits of juicing include healthier skin, hair, and nails, better sleep, decreased risk of developing certain cancers and help in getting the 8 recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables.

Products such as Naked and Odwalla are full of sugar and other chemicals not good for your body. These sugar filled “juices” also lack in vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients and health benefits that you can only get from fresh fruits and vegetables. These juices are not suitable for my low sugar diet, which is why I’ve started making my own.

I also like to make my own juices because it allows me to pick and choose my ingredients. Choosing alkaline fruits and vegetables is vital for fighting against inflammation and candida, two things I am dealing with.

Here are some tips – and a recipe – to help you get started with juicing!

  • Go organic. Studies show that the nutritional profile of organic produce is always better than its non-organic counterparts, sometimes drastically so.
  • Wash produce thoroughly. Unwashed produce can be contaminated with pesticides and bacteria (do you know how many people at the grocery touched the food before you did?) so this is an important step in the juicing process, especially if you do not buy organic produce.
  • Focus on vegetables, but include some fruit. I’ve found that one small apple, or other fruit, makes a huge difference in flavor. Try to keep it 75% vegetable to 25% fruit. I like to add an apple or pear for sweetness, but the best fruit to use is papaya because it contains an enzyme called papin, which is extremely helpful in aiding digestion.
  • Include 1-2 root vegetables–such as carrots or beets–to add additional flavor, sweetness, and antioxidants. Including carrots or beets tend to contribute a bit more sugar and sweetness (like the fruit).
  • Add at least one leafy green vegetable. Kale, spinach, broccoli, chard, and cabbage are all loaded with nutrients. These are also very powerful so don’t go overboard; start slowly and add more as you go.
  • Include at least one watery vegetable. Cucumber, celery, zucchini, and other watery vegetables help dilute the too-strong flavors of the previous 3 ingredients. This can make a big difference in drinkability, while adding some nice flavor and additional vitamins.
  • Avoid fruits with low water content. Bananas and avocados are the two main fruits that are pretty dense and very low in water content. Such fruits do a lot better in the blender. I don’t juice with bananas, rather I cut them up and freeze them to use in smoothies. Bananas and avocados are great for thickening smoothies, adding a creamy texture without having to add dairy or extra fat.
  • Start slow with the celery. Celery has a strong flavor and if you put in too much it will be overpowering. Don’t make the same mistake I did. Start with less, and you can always add more until it gets to be too strong.
  • Juice the skins, peels, pith, tops, and stems. Peels and skins are loaded with antioxidants. Avoid juicing the skins of oranges and grapefruits. The pith (the white stuff between the peel and the pulp) and other white membranes of citrus fruit are a great source of nutrition. But avoid juicing the skins of oranges and grapefruits.
  • Rejuice your pulp. Once your produce has been passed through the juicer, check to see if your pulp is still damp (it usually is). If yes, pass it back through your juicer and you’ll be able to get more juice from the leftovers! I do this every time and I am always amazed by how much more juice I get!
  • Don’t forget a garnish. A small amount of a strong flavored item such as ginger, lemon, mint or other herb can make your juice a real pleasure to drink while adding extra antioxidants and health benefits. Fresh lemon juice is a key ingredient in homemade juices, enhancing the flavors of almost any combination. An added bonus – I was recently told that lemon juice can also help balance the acid levels in the body and reduce inflammation. Don’t actually run the lemon through the juicer; instead, squeeze it into the finished juice. Similarly, fresh ginger will bring out the natural flavors of the fruits and vegetables you use. Start with a very small amount, adding more as desired.
  • Drink your juice as soon as possible. For optimal nutritional value it is best to drink them right away. When juice is exposed to the air, it starts to lose its nutrients rather quickly, and there are no preservatives to keep it from spoiling. You can keep juice stored in the fridge for up to 24-48 hours.

 

Jessica’s Green Juice

Ingredients:

  • Kale, 3 or 4 leaves
  • Celery, 3 stalks
  • Apple, 1 small
  • Cucumber, 1 medium or large
  • Zucchini, 1 small or medium
  • Lemon, one slice

First, clean your vegetables and fruit. Place everything in the juicer, except for the lemon juice, and juice it, twice! Squeeze the lemon, stir, and enjoy!

 

What’s your favorite juice recipe? Share below!