Eat your weeds! Purslane, the healthy weed!

I had a farmer give me a taste of a plant I had never tried years ago, it was Perslane.

Lemony and crunchy, I liked it. And my kids liked it. So now when I see it in the Farmers Market I make sure I pick some up.   It has a short growing season so make sure you get some when you see it.

Add it to salads or crunch on it alone as a snack, this tasty treat is packed full of Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin E.  We add it to our green juices, sandwiches, and smoothies.

I found these great bunches of Purslane at Union Square's Farmers Market in NYC. One of my favorite organic farmers that comes on Saturdays is Ryders Farm, and they have organic cucumbers, beautiful radishes, lettuce, and kale as well as this crunchy new fav- Purslane!

So pulling weeds may be good for you, if you find and eat the right ones like Purslane!


American Made…why I love to find more and more nicely designed items made here, at home.

I love handmade products…and unusual products made around the world that I have found in my travelling days. But I feel very strongly about American made goods that don’t need to be made elsewhere. Yes, it is great to help out needy countries, I am totally for that, however, our country used to be a great manufacturing country as well and we should try to return to that for our people as well.  We have such great talent and resources here, we just need people and companies to figure out how to use them and promote them more.  I am always so happy to find new and great products made right here at home. I have heard it from my customers too, that they will pay a little more to buy something made well, and from the USA.  We don’t need to have fish deboned in Asia, broccoli grown and frozen in China, and so many of our clothes cheaply made in Asia in not so great working conditions. We have turned into a country that looks for the cheapest bargain and somehow I would like to think there is a way to change that.  Raise minimum wage, help small businesses stay in business, raise our kids to appreciate well made products and learn that they don’t need a lot of “stuff” just because it is cheap may be a start.  And personally I don’t trust organic labeled items coming from China!

When you read articles about faulty goods, chemicals used in children’s toys, tainted dog treats and cardboard or gelatin stuffed food from China, it only makes my point stronger, buy American when you can.  Buy quality, not quantity. Something made well will wash and last longer, therefore being more sustainable as well.

When I started my business of Farmerkids Organics I only wanted to use American made goods, cotton and clothing. People urged me to look elsewhere to find the organic baby clothes that we use for less money. I kept saying no. It does cost more to have them made here, but I feel it’s a good dollar spent and makes us feel good about them. Quality as well as helping out our fellow people in keeping their jobs makes it all worthwhile.

Recently I was given a very special gift by a very special friend of mine. A beautiful meaningful necklace, with a hidden heart, made in the USA by an engineer/designer of the Highline-Beth Macri.  It came from a store that was new to me – Shinola, Detroit, here in New York City. A store where everything is made in the USA is right up my alley. Beautiful bikes made in Detroit. Watches so craftfully made in Detroit.  Simple colorful journals to well designed dog toys, all made in the USA.

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I love what this store is doing to help people in Detroit and other parts of the USA, and I love their designs and products!  I encourage you to take a look at their bikes, dog rope toys, jewelry, bags and more, when in NYC or one of their other US stores, or on their website:

Shinola Flagship - Tribeca
177 Franklin St., New York, New York
US, 10013   917-728-3000

http://www.shinola.com/

Consider American made when buying your next gift. I am glad my friend did.

Gabrielle
Farmerkids Organics


Road Side Food goes Healthy and Real!

This summer we took a short but sweet car trip with the kids and of course had to stop for food along the way. Moms bag of fruit and healthy snacks is never good enough I guess! Maybe there is some excitement about stopping in a road side rest stop for a kid as well…

I am always thinking, what am I going to be able to find to eat along the road, and what will I find to feed the kids that is not so junky…Well we were so happily surprised at the first stop to find a sign that said "organic" even before stepping inside! Inside we went straight for the Good to Go counter in the food court of this rest stop.  What a great thing to find, Applegate products and healthy snacks! I couldn't believe my eyes! Something I would actually buy my kids! All meats there are Applegate organic and natural hormone free, antibiotic free, chemical and preservative free!  My daughter had a chicken sausage, my son a sandwich, all nicely prepared on good bread too! Veggie side options as well. We sat at a table and another family with kids saw us with the Applegate tray and bag and were curious about it and wished that they walked further down the hall to find it !

Applegate Kitchens in Connecticut

Applegate Kitchens in Connecticut

If only it was the first place one saw, and not down the hall, I think that even more people would opt for it instead of the fast food!  

My husband thought I was nuts as how happy I was to find this place in a rest stop!
Until our trip back! When we happened upon the only freestanding Applegate Kitchens in another rest stop! What luck! This one was right near the entrance to a food court, and had a similar menu, all great Applegate products and healthy snacks and a really nice staff! Again a happy mom and happy kids !

We need to get more healthy food into more rest stops like these across the country. If you are in Connecticut, and need some food, try to stop in one of these two Applegate places and tell them how much you appreciate the healthy food stand as well and maybe they will expand!  I certainly did! Finding real food on the go is their motto, and is a great one!

Summer may be over, but traveling on highways keeps going on…so this Fall or anytime during the year, keep a look out for healthy stops like these! If you find some vegetarian or vegan places in food courts I would love to find out about them as well!

Enjoy!

Good to Go
I-95 Northbound
Service Area in Milford, Ct

Applegate Farm
I-95 Southbound
Rest Area Past Exit 10
Darien, Ct

http://applegate.com/
http://applegate.com/applegate-kitchens

Don't Panic...it's Organic

I had a few hours to spare, while our daughter was taking an art class, so I decided it was going to be "me time". Le Pain Quotidien was close by, and not too crowded, perfect place to have a cup of tea and relax, and squeeze in a little work. 

Cute chalkboard sign!

Cute chalkboard sign!

To go along with my cup of tea, I really enjoy their Organic Crunola & Banana Parfait...organic cashew and coconut milk, with raw granola, and raspberry sauce, topped off with a pretty mint leaf...yum.  While waiting for my delicious and healthy snack, I noticed a chalkboard sign that really caught my attention. "Don't Panic...It's Organic". I like hand done drawings on chalkboards, add in some cute organic statement and I tend to love it.

Vegan Crunola from Le Pain Quotidien

Vegan Crunola from Le Pain Quotidien

More and more items on their menu are organic, which I am happy about. But this little jarful of crunch is one of my favorites!

 

Pretty and Sustainable Soaps

Being a designer I have always appreciated good design. Whether it be graphic, fashion, type or packaging, it takes a lot to design well, and throw in a sustainable product and I am even happier!

After coming across Hand in Hand soap and candles I knew I had to share their products! Like Farmerkids Organics, Bill & Courtney understand the importance of being environmentally friendly and sustainable. Every ingredient in their soaps are harvested and grown in an environmentally friendly way and are vegan. A portion of their sales goes to save the rainforest.  Hand in Hand also has a great program of Buy a Bar, Give a Bar, bringing a simple but very important product - soap and clean water to children and families in devastated areas of the world such as Haiti.

Not only loving what they stand for, I fell in love with their packaging design. Their beautifully illustrated trees, water, flowers and animals in nature appeal so much to me. Their lavender soap package has sweet deer within fields of lavender.  While their orange blossom has delicate flowers and birds, water and oranges.

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Bath soaps have a great scalloped label with their natural designs on them as well. Candles made from GMO free soy wax are so pretty too! Their boxes would be a keepsake in itself!

Best of all these products are made in Vermont! Nice job Hand in Hand!

Visit, purchase Hand in Hand soaps and read more about their Buy a Bar, give a Bar program on their website http://handinhandsoap.com

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Real Learning

If you have kids in public school, you may know this time of year as "test prep" time.  I have not been against tests, or learning how to take tests. But recently I have become tired of the long drawn out test prep that our kids are going through during regular class time. We used to even push the kids to do an after school test prep, but this year I didn't push.  I am a bit over it. The 7th graders test scores do matter for High School, but in 5th grade I am not as worried about it.

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I have been wondering what happened to real learning. Current events, nature, things happening in our neighborhood, politics, literature, the arts. Some of these are touched upon during the day, but a lot of it is skipped over, not in the curriculum, not in the guidelines for the new Core. Our daughter's best teacher opened her eyes to classic novels, The New York TImes, current events, and even note taking. She learned so much that year, and I did too. If you have books on fine artists in your classroom, kids will read them. If you talk about sports in the news and pull out a few new vocabulary words relating to that subject, kids will learn them.  But if you only read silly passages and answer questions, you will learn how to take a test. There is not much educational matter in those readings I have found.  So as you can see, I am over it.

In the weeks coming that will focus on these state tests, I will think about the quote above, and try to teach our kids something else, something from nature perhaps! Just something to think about!


An Environmental Fan

I am not a football fan, but I am a fan of people taking the time to make a large event more environmentally friendly.  This Sunday the Super Bowl will be watched by millions, but also about 79,000 people will be in MetLife Stadium, eating, shopping, visiting promo booths, and creating trash.

This years Super Bowl is working to make the event and all the trade show displays more sustainable, and to work on operating in a more sustainable way.

This Super Bowl's environmental program is working with solid waste management, material reuse, food recovery, donations of sports equipment and books, as well as greenhouse gas reduction. That is all nice to hear! Most large events have trade show displays that are usually torn down and thrown out after the event closes. The Super Bowl will have trucks to take these reusable items away and deliver to many organizations that can recycle and reuse.

Glad to see that a large organization is thinking about the environmental impact of these large events. I especially love that tens of thousands of sports items and books are donated to non profits with this project as well.

Don't forget to keep your Super Bowl party eco friendly as well with reusable party supplies, more homemade and real food, and less plastic!

Now to get ready for those great commercials!

Venezuelan Brunch at Guayoyo

My husband is from Venezuela. Because of him I have been having delicious Venezuelan specialties at home, in restaurants in NYC, as well as in Caracas, and really love them.  So different from growing up in a plain and simple food family!  The food is clean and fresh but oh so tasty! Nothing processed, all made with fresh ingredients, and a lot of healthy options.  We all especially love Arepas, a corn meal bread used to make sandwiches or eaten alone. Another favorite are Cachapas…maybe my personal favorite! These are softer corn pancakes cooked thick and lumpy with pieces of corn inside…filled with cheese. Delicious.

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Living in NYC I feel that we are very lucky to have a choice of restaurants and supermarkets that are filled with a variety of foods.  We have recently been going to one Venezuelan restaurant called Guayoyo in New York's East Village.  A homey restaurant where the owner/chef Carmen comes and greets you…tables are covered with fun oil print cloths, enameled cups filled with utensils and menus on the wall mingling with Venezuelan masks.

We order arepitas, yucca fries and tequenos (fried white cheese sticks) as appetizers, served up quickly.  This time around I try the Desayuno Criollo which was a complete huge brunch of beans, salad, arepa, eggs and I had the chicken salad with avocado. So filling! I could eat these little arepitas all day long...eating a hot one makes me smile they are so good!

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The kids and our friends kids have a variety of arepas, empanadas, and cachapas…while sipping Chicha - a rice drink with cinnamon typical to Venezuela. For dessert our party cannot resist the homemade bread pudding, custards and cake!

For a nice inexpensive different brunch or dinner, I would highly recommend Guayoyo! Ask to say hi to Carmen from us!

Guayoyo   67 1st Ave (at 4th St), New York 10003

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Eco Friendly Finds at Union Squares Holiday Market

As always I love to support our local holiday market. In fact for 5 years we also sold Farmerkids Organics goods there.  We met many of you then, and thank you all for your continued love and loyalty for our organic goods!

We also have found others that think the way we do, making gifts from eco friendly materials.  One such vendor is Engage Green.  We love that their bags are made from recycled plastic bottles!  I have many of their designs and love them all, including some of the bags made from recycled woven paper.  Engage Green is known for its unique, fashionable designs made out of Recycled Plastic [PET], Recycled Paper and sustainable materials like Organic Cotton, Hemp and Cork.

Engage Green carries laptop bags to handbags, coin purses to ipad bags. Even their umbrellas with their logo of the penguin and rooster are made from this recycled plastic!

Very reasonably priced, stylish and fun,  these bags make great eco friendly gifts!

Engage Green booth in Union Square's Holiday Market

Engage Green booth in Union Square's Holiday Market

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The  colorful bags of Viva Zapata also caught our eye. I love bags, and these are so colorful, so different! The designer is originally from Buenos Aires, where she was inspired to make bags from the colorful leftovers of vegan vinyl fabric that they use on the seats of buses. The straps are made for use in the heavy window shutters found in Argentina. Seems like these bags are built to last!

I love that these bags are made in Argentina on low tech sewing machines by artisans. Each bag is so unique, it would be hard to pick one!

The colorful vegan bags of Viva Zapata!

The colorful vegan bags of Viva Zapata!

Viva Zapata Bags in Union Square's Holiday Market, NYC.

Viva Zapata Bags in Union Square's Holiday Market, NYC.

If you visit the Union Square Holiday market this week until Christmas Eve make sure you visit these 2 wonderful vendors! If you are not in the New York City area you can also visit them online.

Enjoy!

Engage Green www.engagegreen.com/

Viva Zapata  www.vivazapatabags.com

Watermelon Radishes!

I happen to love radishes. Alone, in a salad or on a sandwich. This weekends farmers market in Union Square was full of different types of radishes. Loving the bright inside color, I thought we should give these watermelon radishes a try! Beautiful pink inside, crunchy and slightly spicy too. Your kids may even love them! I have been thinking about designing a radish shirt for a while, and these are sure to inspire me!

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While at the farmers market, I couldn't resist getting some new goat cheese. This spreadable type is homemade and flavored with lavender!

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My lunch became goat cheese on all natural olive bread with a side of watermelon radishes! Do your kids like radishes?

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Mushrooms!

Our new mushroom design is launching with our new site update! It also inspired me to write about mushrooms
as well!

I love getting fresh local mushrooms at our farmers market, but with our crazy busy life, sometimes Trader Joe's
mushrooms have to do.  I love shitake mushrooms the most, and noticed that they recently changed some of their mushroom packaging from plastic to eco friendly recyclable cardboard.  The packaging even reminds you to
recycle the container. I love this idea, and it also reminds and teaches kids where to put the containers
when they are done with them!

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Introducing RandomGab

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Hi, I am Gabrielle Kahn-Chiossone, owner and designer of Farmerkids Organics. I am a lucky mom of 2 fantastic kids,  a great creative husband, and one funny dog.  They are my inspiration, and keep me creating.

I love the world of organics and healthy living, but also love the random stories that life gives us and shows us that make us smile, laugh or wanting to chat about.

Here I will write, show and share stories that touch me, photos that inspire me, design that speak to me, random bits of info, as well as all things organic, sustainable, green and of course Farmerkids Organics news.

Random Gab. Listen, laugh and look at the everyday things around you. and smile.