Strawberry Chia Preserves

Strawberries and Prayers

Hello Healthy Ones and Greetings from Maine!

Its full-on Summer and that means berry-season here in Maine. Our weekly CSA share (Community Supported Agriculture) from Heritage Home Farm could not have started soon enough. This week's bounty included freshly picked ORGANIC strawberries! Heritage Home Farm is newly certified by Maine Organic Farms and Growers (MOFGA) as an organic farm WHOOP WHOOP! AND, how lucky are we to live right down the Ridge?!. Eitan, Elizabeth and baby Samuel are our neighbors and our farmers providing us with fresh. locally grown organic veggies all Summer long.
Elizabeth sent a message home with David regarding the strawberries. "They are small, but make Great Jam!" Well, that was all I needed to prompt me. But traditional jam is so sugar-filled, and I often have trouble getting it to "jam-up", you know, set to that perfect consistency. If you add pectin to help with the consistency, you need to add even more sugar. What to do? How about a low sugar option using chia seeds for thickening instead of pectin and stevia or maple syrup rather than super-refined white sugar? Well, I did both types for a taste comparison later. Here are the recipes, stay tuned for the results... Can't wait to try either of these on my home-made dairy-free cultured nut cheeses! 


Easy Chia & Fruit Jam
Ingredients
2 c. chopped fruit (in this case Strawberries!)
2 T. lemon juice
2 T. honey, agave, maple syrup, or sugar OR 1 - 2 t. Stevia Extract
2 T. chia seeds, more if needed

Method:
Prepare the fruit as needed.
Cook the fruit until it starts to break down
Remove from heat and stir in the sweetener, I used maple syrup, and lemon juice.

Stir in the chia seeds.
Let stand for a few minutes to thicken.
Transfer to containers for storage for up to 2 - 3 weeks in fridge, longer in freezer.

Microwave Jam

Somewhat Traditional Strawberry Jam (Microwave)
Ingredients:
Equal weights of fruit and sugar, in this case I use my scale in metric grams. 500. fruit  and 500 grams fine sugar. You can estimate with cups but it might not "jam-up" as well. I also grate a half apple and add a bit of citric acid or squeeze a bit of lemon juice to help with the thickening. You can see from this recipe how much more sugar is needed for traditional styles of jam. 
Method:
Briefly blend the fruit and place in a large microwave-proof bowl with the sugar. Microwave on High for 3 mins, then stir well. Microwave for a further 3 mins on High, stirring after. Finish with a further 2 mins, add a squeeze of lemon juice if desired, then pour into warm sterilized jars. Once bottled and cool the jam is ready to eat. Will keep in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months. Keep in the fridge once opened.

Other things to try with Preserves and Jam:
Combine fruits, Such as Strawberries and Rhubarb, mixed Berries, etc.
Add chopped Crystal Ginger (mixed in thoroughly) during final stages before placing in jars.
Top the jam with a small amount (1 - 2 t.) of your favorite liqueur such as Grand Marnier (orange) or Chambord (raspberry). after bottling, before sealing jars.






Have a Safe, Happy & Healthy SUMMER!


Sláinte!


Strawberry Chia Preserves


Hello Healthy Ones and Greetings from Maine!

Its full-on Summer and that means berry-season here in Maine. Our weekly CSA share (Community Supported Agriculture) from Heritage Home Farm could not have started soon enough. This week's bounty included freshly picked ORGANIC strawberries! Heritage Home Farm is newly certified by Maine Organic Farms and Growers (MOFGA) as an organic farm WHOOP WHOOP! AND, how lucky are we to live right down the Ridge?!. Eitan, Elizabeth and baby Samuel are our neighbors and our farmers providing us with fresh. locally grown organic veggies all Summer long.
Elizabeth sent a message home with David regarding the strawberries. "They are small, but make Great Jam!" Well, that was all I needed to prompt me. But traditional jam is so sugar-filled, and I often have trouble getting it to "jam-up", you know, set to that perfect consistency. If you add pectin to help with the consistency, you need to add even more sugar. What to do? How about a low sugar option using chia seeds for thickening instead of pectin and stevia or maple syrup rather than super-refined white sugar? Well, I did both types for a taste comparison later. Here are the recipes, stay tuned for the results... Can't wait to try either of these on my home-made dairy-free cultured nut cheeses! 


Easy Chia & Fruit Jam
Ingredients
2 c. chopped fruit (in this case Strawberries!)
2 T. lemon juice
2 T. honey, agave, maple syrup, or sugar OR 1 - 2 t. Stevia Extract
2 T. chia seeds, more if needed

Method:
Prepare the fruit as needed.
Cook the fruit until it starts to break down
Remove from heat and stir in the sweetener, I used maple syrup, and lemon juice.

Stir in the chia seeds.
Let stand for a few minutes to thicken.
Transfer to containers for storage for up to 2 - 3 weeks in fridge, longer in freezer.

Microwave Jam

Somewhat Traditional Strawberry Jam (Microwave)
Ingredients:
Equal weights of fruit and sugar, in this case I use my scale in metric grams. 500. fruit  and 500 grams fine sugar. You can estimate with cups but it might not "jam-up" as well. I also grate a half apple and add a bit of citric acid or squeeze a bit of lemon juice to help with the thickening. You can see from this recipe how much more sugar is needed for traditional styles of jam. 
Method:
Briefly blend the fruit and place in a large microwave-proof bowl with the sugar. Microwave on High for 3 mins, then stir well. Microwave for a further 3 mins on High, stirring after. Finish with a further 2 mins, add a squeeze of lemon juice if desired, then pour into warm sterilized jars. Once bottled and cool the jam is ready to eat. Will keep in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months. Keep in the fridge once opened.

Other things to try with Preserves and Jam:
Combine fruits, Such as Strawberries and Rhubarb, mixed Berries, etc.
Add chopped Crystal Ginger (mixed in thoroughly) during final stages before placing in jars.
Top the jam with a small amount (1 - 2 t.) of your favorite liqueur such as Grand Marnier (orange) or Chambord (raspberry). after bottling, before sealing jars.






Have a Safe, Happy & Healthy SUMMER!


Sláinte!


Top FIVE reasons certain Soy Products are Good for Your Health

100% ORGANIC SOY is the BEST type to use.

Hello Healthy Ones!
I've become a little frustrated with our local supermarkets and their choices for non-dairy milks. For many years, I have been using a 100% Organic soy milk in my coffee and for making home-made yogurt. There are at least two brands from which I have great results in my milk frother (think Matcha Lattes and Flat Whites but without all the sugar from Starbucks!) and for rich, creamy yogurt, without all the sugar and fillers, thickeners, etc. from grocery store brands. These seemed to be readily available pretty much anywhere, even Winn Dixie, up until now.
AVOID refined and processed anything, especially SOY products!

Check out these ingredients!! Doesn't get any simpler!
Our local grocers have discontinued carrying either of these brands of organic soymilk, favoring the sugar and filler-laden blends for UHT or shelf-stable brands and stocking oodles of variations of refrigerated brands, almost all of which contain thickeners and various other ingredients. NONE of these work well in yogurt making and many do not froth in my milk frother - BOO HISS! 

Yesterday, I made a special trip to our local Natural Foods Market, and even they have stopped carrying soymilk of all kinds. The own says he "can't even give it away." WAAAAH!

Well, I've started to suspect people are shifting from soy milk to nut milk because of all the bad press soy receives, and then, the universe sent me a little positive reinforcement from Dr. Neal Barnard which I wanted to share with all of you. I'm not sure if it will bring my favorite brands of soymilk back on to the shelves in our local markets BUT, maybe it will help alleviate some of the UNFOUNDED fears surrounding SOY and SOY PRODUCTS. I will share Dr. Barnard's recent blog post below, as well as some other tips on smart us of SOY.
soy-health-benefits

1. Soy for Cancer Prevention and Survival: studies have shown repeatedly that eating soy is beneficial in preventing and surviving cancer of the Breast, Colon, Lung & Prostate.

2.Consuming Soy Products may reduce the risk of Fibroids.

3.Reduces Inflammation:
Eat more vegetable protein, especially from beans in general and soybeans in particular. Become familiar with the range of whole-soy foods available and find ones you like.

4. Soy is a COMPLETE Protein containing all nine amino acids needed by our bodies, but without the ability to create cancer-promoting compounds as animal proteins do, when heated at high temperatures. Studies show that grilling vegetables, fruits and soy products do not yield HCAs.

5. Soy consumption lowers cholesterol: Besides being a great source of complete protein which does not form cancer-causing compounds while cooking, soy products do not contain cholesterol. I know what you are thinking - eating cholesterol does not impact your total dietary cholesterol. Well, that is not true. Eating a low-fat, vegan diet from a variety of whole plant foods, including soy, and other beans/legumes has been proven to reduce cholesterol dramatically. Have you ever had your cholesterol tested after eating high cholesterol foods? Your cholesterol goes up...

If you are concerned, be sure to avoid or at least limit refined or processed anything, including foods which contain them, especially Soy derivatives such as Soy Protein Isolate, Soybean oils, or anything with GMO Soy.
Stick to 100% Organic Soy products. Fermented soy products such as TEMPEH, MISOS, NATTO and TAMARI are beneficial as are TOFU,  & EDAMAME, If you are on a path to lose weight, consider the fat content of some soy products and use accordingly. Soy has been known to help people safely GAIN WEIGHT.

For more on the benefits of Soy, read Dr. Barnard's recent blog post HERE.

Here is the recipe for I use for the best Soy Yogurt.


Sláinte!


Soy – Cashew Non-Dairy Yogurt (courtesy Miyoko Schinner
Ingredients:
·         4 c. 100 % PLAIN, UNSWEETENED organic soy milk
·         2/3 c. cashew pieces, soaked in water for 3 hours and drained (or do a 30 minute soak with boiling water)
·         3 T. plain, unsweetened nondairy yogurt (OR 1 pkg vegan yogurt starter OR 1/4 tsp probiotic powder)
Method:
  1. Put 1 cup of the soy milk and the cashews in a blender and process until smooth and creamy.
  2. Transfer to a heavy medium saucepan and stir in the remaining 3 cups of soy milk with a whisk.
  3. Warm over low heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture reaches 110 degrees F or until a few drop placed on the wrist feel slightly warm. Remove from the heat.
  4. Add the non-dairy yogurt (or starter) and stir until thoroughly combined.
  5. Pour into a clean 1 quart glass jar and cover. Let rest in a warm place for 4 - 8 hours, until set and the desired degree of tartness has been achieved.
  6. Refrigerate the yogurt; it will thicken even more as it cools.
  7. Stored in a covered container in the refrigerator, Cashew Yogurt will keep for 1 to 2 weeks.


Whats Happening at the Leafy??



NEWSLETTER December 2015
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Hello Healthy Ones! 


In case you have been wondering where we are and what is going on at the Leafy.

2015 has been a great year for myself and Leafy Cafe. Blessings have been many and I am deeply grateful. For another year I have had the opportunity to work for all of you preparing delicious - healthy meals, give life changing cooking classes, cooking for private clients anywhere on the globe, counselling individuals who are eager to change their lives, and living in at least 2 beautiful locations on the planet!


2016 will include much of the same with the Leafy Cafe Meals to Go-Go service returning to The Club on St. Simons Island again for the third year this January.  Fast and Fresh from LC EXPRESS will re-open in late Spring 2016, featuring soups, salads, smoothies, juices and more and I will continue to teach cooking classes, give personal nutrition advice and commute between Georgia and Maine. 

With Gratitude, lets have a look at some of 2015's highlights:

The POWER OF FOOD!

Organic, locally grown Kale Salad with Micro-greens for a Yoga Workshop Luncheon


Foraging on Cumberland Island YOGA and cooking at Stafford Place
Collard Wraps!!

My First HEALTHY BASICS class!
Everyone Loved the food & fun
a real "Hands-on" class


Fermenting Workshops
Juice Cleansing & Fasting
Leafy Cafe EXPRESS Grab 'n GO!
Food for Life Classes






Compassion and Chocolate-Love at Valentines Day!

Local Farms and Farmers
Visualize Love and Whirrled Peas!!

 To Your Health and Happiness in 2016!



Goodbye Maine, Heritage Home Farm and Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

Handsome Rooster looking for his girls
Its that time of year again. Frost is on the pumpkin, leaves are ablaze in color and falling fast in October winds. Like the blueberry bushes before them, the apple trees are heavily laden with fruit which wends its way into endless transformations such as chutneys, cider, pies, crisps and sauces. 
This is my signal to fly south. Yes, as lovely as it is to be present in northern New England during this time of seasonal flux, I start thinking about the warmth of friends (and weather) in my Southern home in Southeast Georgia. Before I make my way on the inevitable passage to places below the frost line, I wanted to express my gratitude to the farmers who have fed us all season while residing in Maine. Usually David and I have pretty extensive gardens (not unlike most Mainers) which we augment with trips to the local Farmers Markets and stands. This year our schedule was soo hectic, we decided to leave the raised beds to rest for the year. At about the same time we should have been planting, we received a flyer in our mailbox offering a share in CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) for a new farm, right down the road from us, here on the Ridge, in Appleton.

Meet Ethan and Elizabeth Siegel of Heritage Home Farm in Appleton, ME

We popped down to Heritage Home Farm just before my departure (D will stay up here a bit longer with Rosie the Doodle Doggie). Here are some pics of the farm and animals as well as a bit of info about these fabulous young farmers - Elizabeth and Ethan Siegel. Read on to find out more about the Siegels, the farm AND scroll down for a delicious recipe!


Apples just waiting to become pies, crisps, chutneys and more.

How/when/where did you two meet?
We met in Israel on a kibbutz in 2010. 

How/when/why did you two get into farming? 
I, Elizabeth, had worked on a farm in wales through the WWOOF program. Later I lived with Eitan in Oklahoma working as a preschool teacher and running the school gardening program. In 2012 we decided to leave Oklahoma and travel around the USA through the wwoof program, working on 8 different farms. We were trying to discover both where we wanted to settle and the type of farming we were most interested in. 

Why did you pick Appleton and/or What do  you love about Appleton, ME?
We fell in love with Maine after woofing and interning on three different farms. Getting involved with MOFGA and the common ground fair and seeing the massive support from that community convinced us that there is no better place  in the USA than Maine to be an organic farmer. We chose Appleton because of its central location to the midcoast towns. Since moving here we have learned what a wonderful, supportive community we are now a part of. 

New Barn and free-ranging chooks
What is the idea behind your method of farming and your goal for the future of Heritage Home Farm?
Our philosophy is best coined by poultry farmer Harvey Ussery. It is a whole systems approach, where everything is interconnected and related. It is farming the way our grandparents and great grandparents farmed, with a goal of self-sufficiency that extends to include community sufficiency. For example, growing as much of our own food as possible but also recognizing that some members of the community are more skilled in certain areas and that we can share resources with each other. We may have a great potato crop while our neighbor has a wonderful garlic crop. We can then trade and share our resources. Our goal is to eventually not just sell what we produce but to also educate others to the vital importance of this way of life.

Anglo-Nubian goats remind me of Jenny's Girls!!

Heirloom varieties of Melons and Squashes including the Butternut Squash for our Soup!
Part of our final share for the 2015 harvest will make a great soup!




















 Thank you soo much Elizabeth and Ethan for sustaining our family by growing delicious, nutritious food for us to eat. We look forward to seeing you and participating in next year's abundance! Until then, have a safe and happy Winter! Georgia, here I come!
Soo Happy, first baby due in January!




CREAMY VEGAN BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP

Ingredients:
·         3 tablespoons veggie stock or water for steam/sautee
·         1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
·         1 c. raw cashews
·         1 clove garlic, finely chopped
·         1 large butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
·         5 c. vegetable stock
·         2 T. fresh ginger, minced
·         2 t. ground cumin
·         2 t. ground coriander
·         1 t. curry powder
·         1 t. ground turmeric
·         Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
·         1 c. coconut milk, plus additional (optional)
·         1 sprig fresh rosemary

Method:
  1. Warm the veggie stock in a large pot on medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the cashews and cook, stirring, until the onions are translucent and the cashews have slightly browned, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the squash, broth, ginger, cumin, coriander, curry powder, turmeric and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and bring the soup to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and cook the soup until the squash is easily pierced with a knife, 20 to 25 minutes. Uncover the soup and let it cool for 15 minutes.
  2. Starting on slow speed and increasing to high, purée the soup in small batches, in a blender, (or using an immersion blender works too) until smooth.
  3. Serve with the coconut milk and rosemary sprigs as garnish or on the side.

Lani Muelrath's Inspiring "The Plant-Based Journey" Review, RECIPE and Book Giveaway!



Book Giveaway: Lani Muelrath's step by step guide AND a recipe for YOU!
I started reading about Lani and following her posts loong before The Plant-Based Journey was published. Maybe even before it was a seed pod of an idea, but somehow I doubt that! This book is the story of Lani's life; her struggle with weight control, her love of fitness and her passion for animals.

I was excited to catch a glimpse of Lani across the room at one of Dr. John McDougall's Advanced Study Weekends.  Although Lani was not on the lineup of plant-based all stars Dr. McD had arranged for the weekend, I still considered her a celeb and watched in awe. I was even more excited when Lani released her personal story, along with a "Step by Step Guide for Transitioning to a Healthy Lifestyle and Achieving Your Ideal Weight" in the book ThePlant-Based Journey.

That's right, a STEP by STEP GUIDE! If you’ve ever wanted to make the plant-based switch but felt overwhelmed about where to start, The Plant-Based Journey provides the support you need every step of the way.

My hero and Champion of the Physician's Committee, Dr. NealBarnard, has penned the forward to Lani's book, assuring me and any of the other Food for Life instructors, this book is a great addition to the lending library many of us offer our participants and recommended for their own reading.

Lani looking FABULOUS! Find out how!!
Many of you reading this post might subscribe to my Plant-based Meals to Go-Go Service at The Club on St. Simons Island. Perhaps you recall the Portobello Pot Roast we had as it was a BIG HIT! I did not have Lani's recipe (it was top secret because the book had not yet launched) but was so inspired just by her description of the dish and the images, I tried my own version for the meals service. Well, Lani's version is even BETTER and here is the recipe, right from the book! It turns out Lani was also inspired by another version of the recipe, read here:

Portobello Pot Roast
This recipe came to me as a happy surprise from my friend Jim Presentati. I first met Jim on our favorite mountain biking trail. Soon after he told me his phenomenal plant-based success story (see page TK), Jim raved about the “absolutely delicious portobello mushroom pot roast” that his wife Kathy makes. The next time I saw him, he mentioned it again. Time to investigate! When Kathy graciously sent me her recipe, I couldn’t help but think it was a perfect match for this section of the book. Who doesn’t know and love pot roast? The portobellos make the perfect savory swap-out and create a whole new gustatory experience. Here is my version, adapted from Kathy’s recipe, with just a tweak or two.

1/2 cup white wine (you can also try red—I’ve even made this with sake), divided
4 large portobello mushrooms, sliced into 3/4-inch pieces
1 large onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, pressed
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1 teaspoon dried basil
2–3 cups vegetable broth, divided
4 potatoes, quartered
4 carrots, cut into 3-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper or lemon pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
3–4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large saucepan, heat 1/4 cup of the wine and add the portobello mushroom slices. Allow them to cook through and brown a bit—you’ll need to keep moving them around and turning them—and then remove from the pan and set aside.

3. Add the remaining 1/4 cup wine to the pan and add the onion and garlic. Caramelize the onions by stirring them until they wilt and begin to brown. Remove the onions from the pan and set aside.

4. Mix the flour, sage, and basil together in a small bowl. Stir in 1/4 cup of the broth to create a paste, and pour the mixture into the same pan you used for the mushrooms and onions. While stirring constantly over medium heat, very slowly add the rest of the broth so that you create a gravy or sauce.

5. When the mixture just starts to boil, turn the heat off and add any additional seasonings you prefer. (Kathy suggests parsley and pepper.)

6. Add the potatoes, carrots, salt and pepper, and Worcestershire sauce to the gravy mixture. If more liquid is needed to keep the vegetables from drying out, add more broth.

7. Add the mushrooms and onions to the mixture and ladle into a large ceramic or glass pot or casserole dish with a lid, layering in the sprigs of rosemary and thyme. Place the lid on and put into the oven and bake for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and serve hot.

Yield: 4 servings
Note
Alternate Cooking Options:
If you have a large, heavy pot such as a Dutch oven that can go from cooktop to oven, you can prepare the entire dish in that fashion, as Kathy does.

'Nother NOTE: Making this gluten free is easy too! Just use a GF alternative for the flour such as brown rice flour or GF All Purpose blend (as long as it is also dairy free!)

Thank you Lani and Jennifer at BenBella books for providing a copy of The Plant-Based Journey for a giveaway! This giveaway is for readers in the US and Canada.
To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment below, include a snippet of where you are on your journey and what inspires you! Because I am in transition from Maine to Georgia (yep, this bird flies south for the winter) I'm giving you plenty of time to enter!
The giveaway starts at 12 AM October 10th runs until October 24th at 12 AM EST.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of The Plant-Based Journey from BenBella Books. My opinions are my own and I recommend this book to you with joy.

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Meet Your Local Farmer from CR17GG

By Guest Blogger & Leafy Cafe Express Summer Manager - Jennifer Osburn. 
Jennifer is the fresh, new face for Leafy Cafe EXPRESS. Leafy Cafe EXPRESS is currently operating out of The CLUB cafe, St. Simons, Georgia where I operate the Leafy Cafe Meals to GO-GO service. Together with CLUB Management, I created LC EXPRESS as a way to continue to serve healthy food to club members and the entire community. Jennifer runs LC EXPRESS with this philosophy and mission; using locally & sustainable grown ingredients as much as possible. Here is what Jen has to say about a recent visit to one of the sources for the high quality ingredients you will find in 
LC EXPRESS' meals.  Take it away Jen....

photo courtesy of Ellery Mayence


It brings me so much happiness to know where my food comes from. I am not just talking about searching perilously for organic, made-in-the-USA labels.... No, I mean going to Darien to shake hands with a local farmer, Ellery Mayence. Feeding the café customers is a passion of mine and I appreciate the privilege I have of going to Darien to literally witness Ellery harvest giant cucumbers straight from the vine, which I will use the very next day in salads.

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GR17GG Cukes in LC EXPRESS salads!

Farm to table concepts are nothing new but there is big reason why they are valuable. Working with local farmers helps you support your local economy, ensure you understand the process your food went through and connects you to your neighbors. By eating local produce you are supporting a food cycle with a small carbon footprint.

Ellery's farm is located in Darien, Georgia, very close to Hwy 17. He took over the farm this year and he and his wife, Kasia, sell their home-grown delights at their farm Coastal Route 17 Green Goods (CR17GG for short)  Wednesday evenings and at the Sea Island Farmer's Market, the second and fourth Saturdays of each month. 

photo courtesy Ellery Mayence

Their soil is simply incredible - the landowner before them enriched the soil with compost, leaf mulch, and manure - and then it largely sat fallow for several years.  The result is soil that is incredibly fertile that will grow most any vegetable one would want. Ellery and Kasia produce chemical-free vegetables (following organic principles) and grow a range of long-stem flowers for cutting.
Zinnias and other long-stemmed flowers for the cutting! Photo courtesy Ellery Mayence
It is important to know your neighbors and local farmers.   Therefore, I would like to introduce to you: Ellery, Kasia and their daughter, Lumi. If you are in Darien, at the Leafy Café or the Sea Island Farmer’s Market - you can rest easy knowing they are taking good care of your vegetables.

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Ellery, Kasia & Lumi
Ellery Mayence and his amazing Green Goods!
Thanks Jennifer! And thank you to the Mayence family for bringing us amazing, life giving food! It’s no doubt Ellery manages the soil to be the best it can be. In addition to farming, Ellery is a highly regarded and frequently published Ecologist.


Sláinte!


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