I am going to get started on this blogging adventure by incorporating some changes that are timely. Because farmer's markets and apple orchards are nearing the end of their seasons in Minnesota, I am giving ideas that can be used right now.

1) Freeze fresh, local, organic produce:  Now is a great time in Minnesota to freeze items for the winter.  My favorite produce to have on hand is frozen peppers.  Peppers are in the top twelve most pesticide laden crops, according to the Environmental Working Group's web site.  When I find organic peppers at the farmer's market, I clean them in warm water, devein them, chop them up and put them in freezer bags.  They are great to pull out of the freezer and add to stir fry dishes, soups, crock pot meals and more.  I know that plastics are questionable for the chemicals they contain, so I am open to an alternative method for freezing.  I also like to freeze tomatoes, green beans, sweet corn, and beets.  Some vegetables freeze better if they have been blanched, so do a search if you are unsure of how to prep the veggies. This is a great money saver, also.  A green bonus: I reuse the plastic bags to pick up after my dog.

2) Buy all natural lip glosses:  I mention this item now because I was able to buy some at the farmer's market.  The glosses are made with coconut oil, beeswax, essential oils-nothing artificial.  The ones that I found were $2 a tube.  These are worth stocking up on and keeping in the freezer until needed.  I think this one small change can have a significant impact.  Many of us apply lip gloss numerous times during the day.  With a product that contains chemicals, when we put them on our lips, we absorb the chemicals through our skin and ingest them.  You can also find chemical free products at health food stores.

3) Use locally made maple syrup and honey:  many times the lip gloss can be found at the honey booth.  The benefits to buying honey and maple syrup locally are numerous.  Honey from local bees carries the local pollens which can help alleviate seasonal allergies.  Fresh maple syrup has a strong flavor, which allows us to use less.  There are more minerals in fresh maple syrup.  The next time you go to the store, take a look at the ingredient list for manufactured syrup - it can definitely not be considered a health food.

4) Grind your own flax seeds:  The other day I bought whole flax seeds at an apple orchard.  I usually buy ground meal flax at the grocery store, but the whole flax was about a third of the cost, locally grown, and organic.  I put flax on salads for the fiber benefits, fatty acid content, and the good nutty taste.  I recommend storing them in the fridge to retain freshness.  Other ideas for use are putting them on cereal, in smoothies and in stir fry dishes.  It is important to grind the flax to get the health benefits.

Next week- options for fresh fall produce

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