On the road again..

 

Every week I’m thinking about what’s in season, what kinds of produce my customers are cooking and are interested in cooking. What new varieties of produce do I have the pleasure of introducing to folks daring to try something new! I want the people who  find themselves at Daily Organics to have an adventure, to awaken their taste buds to new possibilities, to fall in love with cooking and sharing! Generally speaking, we’ve fallen into a pattern of fast food, fast living and eating on the road. Where is the love in that? Taking a few paces back we have the opportunity to slow it down, just a little. Taking some “me” time, participating in the life sustaining ritual of nourishment! You know what’s in your food when you prepare it yourselves, and  taking the time to prepare a meal, you can actually taste all the flavors and want to share! Slow food is good food! This is what Daily Organics is about, empowering folks think about what they put in their bodies and having a healthier relationship with their food. It’s a good thing! 
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Neighbors of Daily Organics

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On any given week..
It’s not unusual to see and hear the Fire station #26 ambulance roaring down our streets. This time it was Noel that suffered a massive heart attack a couple of years back that required quadruple by pass surgery. He fell into a deep depression at the thought of loosing his ability to spend time with his grand children and lost his will to live.
His daughter, ever vigilant rallied him, encouraging him that his strength would return little by little if he exercised by taking baby steps and eat clean nourishing food. Perhaps Noel felt the love of his grand children (5) boys who all rode his shoulders with the eldest now 17 years young. They ALL beam with joy at the sight of their Abuelo!!
Today while on my dog walk I’m greeted by Noel and his youngest grandson taking the honored place a top of his shoulders.
Love heals…a little good organic food helps too!

Daily Organics Turns Two years!!!!!

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Two years ago I participated in a Cornerstone Theater production of, Seed, A weird Act of Faith”, Written by Sigrid Gilmer. In this play I learned many things, one of which was the term,FOOD DESERT.
I hadn’t realized that I actually lived in one. It then dawned on me that the availability of healthy food options were as scarce today as they were 60 plus years ago growing up in the same area and that very little if anything was being done about it.There were policy discussions and complaints from folks about the unwillingness for stores like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods to build in our community, but nothing else was being addressed unless one considers another chicken or burger joint cause celeb.

I had a truck, three hundred bucks and a crazy idea that I COULD and WOULD DO! something. Standing on the corner of 28th and St. Andrews, I gave away produce for the entire afternoon. The next weekend folks returned with their wallets and re-usable bags.
Armed with a small team of DOERS! (You know who you are), Daily Organics was born. YOU supported this crazy idea appreciating that you could walk to the end of your block and purchase organic produce! YOU voted with your dollars! YOU have continued to support Daily Organics(2 years)and have spread the word. YOU raised funds for another truck when Rusty was stolen so that I can continue to serve you. YOU have shared your laughter, stories, hugs, coffee on cold mornings and your love. Without YOU and my crazy idea, it would be just another day in the neighborhood, but because of YOU, it’s a BEAUTIFUL day in the neighborhood, and a healthier one in so many ways! YOU are DOERS! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your belief in me and what I’m DOING!
We’re growing and couldn’t have done it without YOU!
Onward and Upward!! Doin it for ourselves 2 years and counting!

Tools of the trade…………

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I spent so much time not appreciating my hands, they not beautiful like hands featured in magazines, they are wrinkly,dry most often, crooked and calloused. It dawned on me today that they are the best features on my body as they have created so much beauty in nature and art, nurtured my children and the children of others, grown food, cooked food, fixed the broken, been broken, healed and held my brother during his last breaths,held those in need and of love and participates in giving meaningful hugs on a regular basis. Today I embrace my hands as they continue to do best what they do unconditionally.

Often it’s the small things that matter most!

An unfamiliar car parked in front of my home and a familiar face (out of uniform) exited to walk the path to my front door; before he could knock, I opened the door as I could see him approaching from my office window. A bit surprised and a little timid Omar greeted me in his usual courteous manner, “hello Ms. Gunter. Omar is our mail carrier in the neighborhood. He extended his hand which held a blue snowman covered gift bag offering it to me wishing me a happy holiday. In it was a large blue scented candle and a To Do notepad with the word Paris written across the top.He said, “I hope you like it” as I opened the package surprised and grateful at the gesture. He said, “I really like you Ms. Gunter”. I thanked him and gave him a hug. This was Omar’s day off in which he took the time to find an appropriate gift, wrap it, drive his car from wherever he lives to wish me well. I share this because you never know how you affect someone’s life. Throughout the year I offer him water on hot days, a jar of jam or a piece of fruit but most importantly, I respect him and the service he provides in making sure my mail arrives safely. Those bags are heavy with circulars and Omar has been a carrier for over twenty years! I can only imagine the occupational hazard on his body.One day, and perhaps sooner than later Omar will retire as his body is resisting the repetitive strain on his shoulder and arm. I do not take the services or the people in my life for granted. I’m grateful for Omar and will think of him when I light the November scented candle.Thank you Omar

Easy Pickling Recipe from Daily Organics

If you have left over root veggies try this easy recipe for pickling! It’s a wonderful idea for gift giving and of course enjoying as a side or a condiment!!!

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Ingredients for the brine:

  • 1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 1/4 cups cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 bay leaf

INSTRUCTIONS: 
1. Pack your vegetable of choice tightly in a 1-quart glass jar, leaving about 1/2 inch of room at the top. Set aside.

2. Make the brine: Toast the mustard seeds and peppercorns in a small saucepan over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Bring to a boil.

3. Immediately pour the brine into the jar, making sure to cover the vegetables completely. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Seal the jar with a tight fitting lid and shake or rotate it to evenly distribute the brine and spices. Store in the refrigerator for at least 1 day and preferably 1 week before using. The pickles can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

6 Tips on Choosing the Best Olive Oil

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To know you’re getting a good olive oil follow these 6 tips:

1. Olive oil doesn’t get better with age, it gets worse. Look for the harvest, milling, or bottling date, an extra virgin olive oil is best used within 18 months of milling.

2. Do not buy olive oil that’s in a clear glass or plastic bottle. Dark glass, tin, or ceramic protects the oil from light exposure, which affects quality and shelf life.

3. Look for the California Olive Oil Council’s seal to ensure it is certified extra virgin olive oil (for California oils). 7 in 10 imported olive oils in the U.S. that are labeled “Extra Virgin” failed international EVOO quality standards (U.S. labeling law has yet to define or enforce what the term “Extra Virgin” means.)

4. Store the oil away from light, air and heat, inside a cabinet or pantry is ideal, not the refrigerator or next to the stove.

6. Buy it fresh and use it up! The olive oil harvest in California (where the vast majority of domestic olive oil is produced) is in October and November. Buy a new harvest oil and use it within a couple months from opening the bottle.

 

Photo caption: from left to right: For an all-purpose consistent oil and great kitchen staple that’s affordable, opt for Corto Olive Oil Co. For a finishing oil for salads and soups and the like, Ojai Olive Oil is really nice. And for a more unique single-varietal oil, Grumpy Goats from Capay Valley will not disappoint.

 

 

These tips were reposted with permission from Lizzie Garrett of the blog Tomboy Style. You can read the original blog here

Renee’s Corner

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The Corner before…

The only traffic this corner knew was the stray cat or dog leaving their calling card for any transient four legged guest. There used to live a dog, part husky part wolf that howled incessantly at any signs of life on the other side of his domain because this was HIS corner, or so he thought.

Cimarron (folks always add an additional ‘m’ since it has two r’s) is a confusing thoroughfare that travels north to south between Adams and Jefferson through a welcoming neighborhood called Jefferson Park in the west Adams Historical District of Los Angeles.

Usually not much happened on this street, other than the California roll through the stop signs, folks walking on their way to church on sunday mornings or the characteristic rattle of wheels on metal shopping carts corralled by recyclers on their way to the recycling center.

full cornerThe Corner After…

One day a hybrid Sunflower sprang up on the corner I call Mdm. Le Fleur, my mascot welcoming all to the Organic pop-up produce stand of Daily Organics! Folks driving by thought I was setting up a garage sale, asking, “what cha sellin”? I’d reply, Organic Produce! Most would drive on scratching their heads..surely that didn’t compute. Organic produce seems to be an anomaly in these parts! Week after week, little by little on this lonely corner a change is taking place!

People drive by waving a hello or calling out a  good morning, folks are meeting each other for the first time gathering on what is called, Renee’s Corner talking about food, life and community! It’s a gathering spot teaming with the energy of regulars, newbies and the out of town followers stopping by while on vacation in Los Angeles! We’re creating community from the inside out!
It’s really an incredible experience the kind of sharing that takes place on so many levels. Truly fascinating and such a privilege! We’re doing this together!!!