Mermaid Farm – Raw Milk, Yogurt, Mango Lassi

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This is Mermaid Farm located on Martha’s Vineyard. If you are looking for fresh raw milk on the Island, this is where you get it. They also have yogurt and mango lassi. Yum! You don’t have to call for an appointment. When it comes to payment they are on the honor system. That way you can get what you need, when you need it.

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The idea that fat free milk is healthy for you is a myth. During processing they remove all fat and replace it with sugar/chemicals. They add 12 grams of sugar per cup to make it taste good. The American Heart Association suggests no more than 30 grams of added sugar a day. One cup of fat free milk is almost half of your added sugar intake. I don’t drink milk, but if I was going to, Raw Milk is the way to go.

Mango is one of my all time favorite summer fruit. Mango Lassi is a popular traditional yogurt drink from India. Here on the Island you can find fresh home made Mango Lassi at Mermaid Farm.

I am so glad I had the opportunity to try this, because now I am inspired to make it at home on a regular basis. I also think it would be a delicious base to my vanilla Vega Sport Protein powder.

Fall is right around the corner so it is time to squeeze in some last minute, end of the season juicing and Mango Lassi making, while the produce is still fresh and in season.

Anyway, if you are on the Island, Mermaid Farm is definitely worth the quick stop. So check it out. It only takes five minutes to grab what you need.

How do you drink your milk? Do you think dairy is healthy?

City Summer, Urban Garden

Refreshing Swims in the Ocean.

Barefoot runs on the beach.

Boat rides.

Sun bathing pool side.

Eating crab feasts.

There are a lot of fabulous things about summer…

But I don’t belong to a pool. I don’t own a boat. And the closest beach is 2 hours away. So what is the point? What is good about city summers? I’ll tell you… although, everything above is fabulous, and every begining of every summer I tell myself, “This summer I am going to be at the beach every weekend, the pool every morning, on a boat on the Fourth of July…” the truth is I never do. These fabulous things just don’t exist in a city, but guess what does… Vegetables.

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Some people truly believe that people don’t change. Well I couldn’t disagree more. I actually find it funny how people grow and change. The one thing that will never change about me is the simple fact that I am happier when surrounded by beautiful things. But is it possible that what I find beautiful has changed? In my early 20s, I always considered myself a city girl, well that is what I was… But now in my late 20s I have found a greater apprieciation for both worlds, and actually find myself longing to be surrounded by less archetechturally beautiful buildings and more nature.

The more educated I become about food, the more deeper my desire is to grow as much of my own food as I can. My love for plants first began when I was a child when my mother planted a flower box garden outside my bedroom window. It was my job to water them a couple times a week. I also always had some sort of cactus or indoor plant in my bedroom to tend to. As an adult having a garden had always been in the back of my mind, but seemed impossible, when living in a rented apartment.  But last spring (Spring 2011) after reading the book, Crazy Sexy Diet, by Kris Carr, I started to consider attempting to grow my very own vegetable garden, rented apartment or not.

In the, Crazy Sexy Diet, Kris Carr is a cancer survivor, that changes her life, by changing her diet. She goes from eating the average american diet, full off processed foods to a vegetable based diet, that revolves around juicing. The juicing part of the book is what stuck with me most. I was inspired and immediately bought a juicer and began making yummy juices.

green juice, sweetened by farmers market bought, honeydew melon.

Juicing was an easy way for me to get in a morning breakfast pre run or post run. But it also got expensive, always buying fresh produce. Especially when juicing Kale or Spinach because this type of produce perishes so fast. I then began to think- It would be awesome if I could grow this stuff.

As you may know, I am a hairstylist, and one of the many amazing things about my job is that everyday I get the opportunity to converse among several different clients. Of corse I brought up my idea of starting my very own vegetable garden to each and every one of them. And to my surprise, many of my clients had gardens of their own, and they were openly willing to share their tips of the trade with me. One of my clients actually told me not to be discouraged. “You don’t need a yard.” She’d say… “You can grow anything, in a container.” ¬†So that is what I did, successfully.

This year, I actually moved. I only moved one zip code over, but I am no longer in a rented apartment, but rather my very own first home. Home ownership feels good, but moving is a lot of work, so unfortunately I wasn’t able to plant my garden in my yard. Plus I was debating on building a raise bed. I also wanted to test the yard’s sunlight. So I continued my container garden, successfully.

I spy a pepper.

Basil, Mint, Sage.

Herbs

Lemon/Lime tree

Cucumber/ Melons.

Kumquat Tree

Rosemary Jungle

Tomato Plant

Eggplant, my pride and joy.

Basil, rosemary, fresh from the garden.

So let me tell you some wonderful advantages you have when growing plants in containers. The most awesome advantage is that you have all the control.

  • Soil:¬†You can can control the soil. For example if your plant is organic, then use organic soil. If your plant contains mainly water, such as cucumber, then choose moisture locking soil.
  • Sun Exposue:¬†You can control the amount of sun or shade your plant receives, by simply picking it up and moving it to a more sunny spot or more shady spot.
  • Temperature: You can control the temperature. If it is to cold outside and your plant can’t survive in cold temperatures you can bring your plant indoors. If it is to hot¬†and the leaves are dry and wilting, let your plant spend the day inside.
  • I also find that when plants are in a container, animals tend to leave them alone. I could be wrong about this, but that is my experience.

The only real disadvantage of a container garden is that your plant will only grow as big as the container lets it. This can be limiting in harvest, but for those plants that grow like weeds, such as rosemary, mint, basil, etc. you have the control to set their boundaries by planting them in a containers. Also another slight disadvantage is that your plants may not come back the next year, but to my surprise last year my romaine lettuce reappeared in its container this spring. So I guess anything is possible.

I love having a vegetable garden. I would have a farm, but my yard simply isn’t large enough. I love eating fresh summer vegetables ripe, right from the vine, it is my favorite thing about summer.

Questions for you…

  1. What is your favorite thing about summer?
  2. Do you have a vegetable garden?
  3. What are you growing and eating?

©2012

Running or Flying…Was it the Watermelon or just me?

This week I had some really amazing runs. Lets talk about today’s…

This morning I hit the Mount Vernon Trail. On average I run this trail a couple times a week, so I guess you can say I am a regular on it, or lets put it this way, normally if I am on a trail, I am on this one.  The Mount Vernon Trail is my favorite because it runs along the Potomac so it has beautiful views of DC. It is also refreshing to run by the river. Another great thing about the trail is that it is surrounded by trees, so it has some shady areas, which is nice on hot summer days.

It totally relaxes me when I am surrounded by nature, and even though, the trail is a paved path, I sometimes feel like I am on a trail run, through the woods. ¬†When running on this trail keep your eyes open WIDE, ¬†you don’t want to miss the Wild Life.

The Mount Vernon Trail has many different entrances, and each entrance has a different vibe. Today I drove to the entrance south of Old Town. I parked at the Bell View parking lot and ran 2.60 miles south and then headed back.

Running 2.60 miles south is a mix of up hills and downs. It is mainly shady on the trail. In a couple places you have to run over wooden plank bridges that carry you over some swampy marshy areas. It ends in a residential area, with some gorgeous houses.

Today, my run was amazing. I ran a total of 5.11 miles in 41 minutes. That is super fast for me. I don’t know if my speed is because I have been running in my Newton running shoes since the end of April, and I am just getting faster. ¬†Or maybe it is because it has been 100 degrees the last couple weeks and today was a refreshing cool 79 degrees. Or maybe it was the Watermelon I ate for breakfast. Whatever, it may be, it felt cool, breezy, and I was running, but it felt like I was flying.

During this run I figured some things out…

If I am going to run some serious distance like 10 plus miles, I usually eat a bagel with peanut butter, because it is a good source of calories, fat, protein, and carbs.

But today my pre run meal was Watermelon. And this was a  fabulous choice. I recently saw on Dr. Oz that watermelon is a super food. Why?

  • Because it cleans your arteries. Dr. Oz says swap your morning glass of water with watermelon juice, because it reduces body fat, lowers LDL cholesterol, cleaning heart -threatening plaque from arteries. I juice mine fresh with my Breville Juicer.
  • It drops blood pressure and boosts circulation. It is one of the few foods that has a powerhouse protein called citrulline. Citrulline produces powerful stuff called nitric oxide, that opens and relaxes arteries. It helps heal wounds and divide cells. It helps with blood flow enhancing circulation to all your vital parts. (just like Viagra does)
  • Watermelon is loaded with lycopene, which fends off heart disease and cancers (other than prostate.) Tomatoes are considered lycopene superstars, but watermelon has 40% more.
  • It makes you think faster.
  • It is low cal.
  • Another great tip: Always keep your whole watermelons out of the fridge. Watermelon stored at room temperature delivers more cell-protecting antioxidants. They continue to ripen and build antioxidants even after they are picked.
  • It is also made up of mostly water. So before my run I was pretty well hydrated. I literally had to pee 2 x before I hit the trail. I also sprinkled a little salt on my watermelon chunks before I ate them. I just like the taste, a little salt won’t hurt an athlete, its actually¬†good for electrolyte balance.

Picking a Watermelon: A common question I have always asked is, How do you know which watermelon to pick? Well this is what I have discovered. When picking out a watermelon, always look for one that has a flat yellow side. This side is where the watermelon was sitting on the ground, and if your watermelon does not have this, then it was picked too early.

My boyfriend’s grandma once said, “The way to find out if your watermelon is sweet is to look for bug bite marks.” Every time I look for bug bite marks on my watermelon, it ends up being really sweet. I promise.

This morning I ate watermelon cut up in cubes with a little bit of sea salt sprinkled on top. Right now as I type this I am sipping on some fresh watermelon juice that I just juiced with my Breville juicer. I added a hint of mint fresh from my garden. Add cucumber for additional flavor.

Watermelon the Superfood! Great for pre run meal.

The Breville Juicer is amazing. Buy it and then try juicing watermelon.

Crush ice, pour juice, top it off with fresh mint.

Enough about watermelon… more about what I learned on my run…

While running I really got into my music. Music for me is a tool I use to enhance my running. Sometimes when I run I use my music as background sound, and when I am done I realize I am barely listening. Today I listened hard and found a rhythm.  Sometimes it is really nice to get lost in a run, in your breath, in your music.

I also became one with my hills. That may not make since to you, but I’ll try to explain.¬†Hills bring me variety, a total flat course makes me bored. Just as I use music as a tool, I use hills as a tool as well. I take them one at a time. Sometimes it hurts running up, but it feels amazing running down. Sometimes I feel slow running up, but boy can I fly running down. After a down hill I try to use that momentum on the next up hill.¬†Some hate hills. I actually quite enjoy them. Some think a flat course is a fast course. I think the opposite.

I know I was a little all over the place in this post, but I had a lot on my mind. I hope you learned a little bit about watermelon, and juicing with the Breville juicer. I look forward to sharing more juicing tips and recipes.

I also hope I motivated you to run a little further, a little faster, a little harder. Today I ran an amazing 5.11 mile run in 41 minutes in my Newtons. This isn’t far for me by any means but it was super fast. It was cold today, 79 degrees, but should be even colder tomorrow. So take my advice: Get out there. Don’t hold back. And just run… run as fast as you can.

©2012

Wild Life in Yellowstone

BISON

One of the most exciting things about Yellowstone National Park is animal sightings. Trust me, if you go to Yellowstone, you will see you fair share of BISON. The park is almost overpopulated with herds.

When around Bison you must remember that they are Wild animals. Like all wild animals, they can be unpredictable, and charge at anytime. However, the Bison are very much use to the presence of humans, so therefore they are not afraid and they will get very close to you.

When my boyfriend and I arrived to the cabin we were going to spend the night in, I looked out the window and thought I was delusional. But I wasn’t and yes there was a Bison sleeping outside our cabin window.

WOLVES

Unfortunately, I didn’t see any wolves in Yellowstone. This was a very big disappointment for me because Wolves are one of my all time favorite animals. For some reason I have always been fascinated by them, ever since I was a child.¬†It also is very rare to see wolves and the topic of wolves in Yellowstone is very¬†controversial. And here is why…

Naturally Yellowstone had many wolf packs. But because the surrounding states, Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho mainly consists of farmers with livestock. Wolves were problematic. In the 1920’s fed up farmers gunned down all of the wolves. Later some migrated to these states but never settled. In 1995, after a long heated debate, that lasted a decade, finally wolves were transfered from Canada and reintroduced back into the park. There were three original packs that consisted of 14 wolves, that were brought to Yellowstone. Later 15 more were released in central Idaho. All of these wolves were named and monitored.

Many interesting things happened. Some left their packs and started new ones. Others migrated North. But having a predator in the park helped because the other animals, such as bison and elk were getting over populated.

Wolves are very interesting animals because they are the only animal that actually hunts for sport. Meaning a wolf will hunt down an animal not necessarily because it is hungry or needs food, but sometimes, like some humans, they hunt for fun, to brag, to practice their technique.

There are two different types of wolves in the park. One type is larger and actually does a lot of hunting, while the other is smaller and actually does little hunting but will steal food like a scavenger.

BEARS

Fifty years ago, the park was overpopulated with Bears. Why? Because people would feed them. There is a story about a mother bear that use to hang out by the camp sites with her cubs because she knew she would easily find food, from the hands of humans. It actually got super dangerous. The park now has tons of rules about bear safety and if you break them you are fined a hefty amount. So bears are very rare. However on our trip we had the opportunity to see two. We were very lucky.

Why is there all this traffic? There must be something ahead… yep it is a black bear!

see that tiny black dot. That is what my iPad captured of the bear.

My boyfriend, however, got a much better shot!

Wait maybe that is a brown bear not black!?

The best time to spot wild life is early morning or in the evening around dinner time. So, the next morning, we woke up early and hit the road. It was quite and peaceful, the only people out were mainly photographers. We spotted the photographers with their tripods and expensive cameras, so we pulled over to see what they were photographing. And yup… it was a bear!

Anyway, it was exciting seeing animals in their natural habitat. I hope when you go to Yellowstone, you will have fabulous luck and see bears and wolves.

Yellowstone

WILD WILD WEST JOURNEY CONTINUES…

Two years ago after a client of mine told me of her amazing experience in Yellowstone, I immediately yearned to go. That same year my boyfriend headed to Idaho, for a visit and ended up going to Yellowstone without me.  I was so jealous. Visiting this National Park became on the top of my list of places to go.

After spending time in Idaho Falls, Idaho, my boyfriend and I , his Mom and  Grandma, all headed on a quick 90 min road trip to Yellowstone National Park. The minute we entered the park, my breath was taken away. It was that pretty. We started on the West side of the Park which is located in Montana and headed toward Wyoming.

When we were in Montana, it didn’t take long to spot a Buffalo, they are everywhere. It is sad to say, but before this the only idea I had of Montana and Bison was when I ate a bison burger at the restaurant, Ted’s Montana Grill. But finally I am here, in Yellowstone, seeing one for real, in his natural habitat.

Buffalo in Montana, roaming free.

It was a beautiful morning when we arrived to Yellowstone. Can’t you see and feel it from this photo?¬†The water sparkles, clean, and cool.¬† The air was so crisp and refreshing. I felt like I had never breathed better. In Yellowstone, in Montana, in total peace.

Yoga in Montana.

We continued on towards Wyoming and stopped to see the Geyser. They were bubbling all different shades of greens, blues, and oranges. They got up to extremely steamy hot temperatures, I believe around 150 degrees , maybe even hotter.

Geysers in Wyoming!

Photo Journalism.

One of the most interesting facts I learned about the amazing geysers, is that the dog family is one of the few animals that can not determine whether water is hot or cold, with out using their since of touch. Because of this fact, the park has lost some wolves and other dog types due to drowning in the extremely hot geysers.

However, by the looks of it, Bison must be different. 

The ground can become unstable and actually act like quick sand, sucking whatever is on the service under. The Bison herd came to the Geysers. The leader of the herd tested the stability of the ground, and the heat of the geysers, and then the rest followed. It was an amazing site to see.

©2012

Idaho Falls, Idaho

After we stopped by the beautiful Shoshone Falls, we continued on to Idaho Falls, Idaho. Idaho Falls is four hours east of Boise, Idaho. Erik’s Grandma from his dad’s side, the one we had just visited ¬†in Boise, once lived in Idaho Falls for a very short time. She said it was the only place she lived that she hated so much that she counted the days until she was able to leave. For a quick visit, I didn’t think it was bad at all, I actually quite liked it.

IDAHO FALLS VS. BOISE

When you are driving down the highway in Boise, you will notice that everything is tan. When you look from side to side you will see foot hills, although they are tan and dried out, I actually found them quite pretty. It is a desert surrounded by mountains. The temperature got up to the low 90s. Being from DC I am use to humidity. In Boise it is a¬†dry heat so it didn’t feel that hot, it was actually quite comfortable.

In Idaho Falls, the land is much more green and fertile. There are no foot hills, but rather huge mountains in the distance with snow covered tops. It is much colder, but because it is a desert, it was 70 by day and then dropped to 40s at night. Most people that live in the town do not have air conditioning in their homes. They simply don’t need it. How awesome is that? It was nice to open the windows at night and breath in fresh air. However, we ended up closing our window in the middle of the night because the breeze turned into gusts. It gets extremely windy in Idaho Falls. ¬†The average winds are 70-80 mph. Because Idaho Falls has such powerful winds, there are farms that have Windmills to generate clean energy. Sometimes you will see one single Windmill on a property, and this Windmill generates energy for this property.

MORE ABOUT IDAHO FALLS

Finally we arrived to Idaho Falls, to visit Erik’s mom and Nana. The weather was so nice that we ate dinner outside and then later that night played with her guinea pigs.

Playing with pigs.

playing with pigs.

RUNNING IN IDAHO FALLS

Because running in a new place is my all time favorite thing to do, I bring my running shoes every time I travel. And this is another reason why I love my Newton shoes. Newton shoes are the perfect running shoe to travel with. They are extremely light weight and flexible, which makes it easy to fit in any travel bag.

You guessed it! Of corse I found time to run in Idaho Falls. I headed over to the Green Belt.¬†The Idaho Falls “Green Belt” is a paved path that runs along the Snake river for about 14 miles. I actually only ran a 3 mile loop, but it was a good 3 miles. I believe the altitude in Idaho Falls, is around 4900. So again similar to Boise, I was excited to test my body in a higher altitude. I felt like it was a little harder to breath, but that was about it. While I was running on the trail, I saw a variety of different people. There were some runners, but other¬†people were just casually walking. So the trail¬†didn’t have that athletes vibe that I experience here in DC and I also experienced in Boise. ¬†Because the people that make up this small town are either Farmers or Mormons. Mormon is part of the culture here in Idaho, Falls, so¬†I found it was interesting to run passed the Mormon Temple.

The picture above is a view from the Green Belt. In this picture you can see the Mormon Temple and the Snake river.

FOOD FOR FARMERS

In the morning we went out for breakfast. We went to this place that was attached to the local hotel. This was by far one of the best breakfasts I have ever had.  The place is known to have tons of local farmers as regulars. Farmers like a big breakfast, so everything was fresh and home made, and the portions were huge.

DOWNTOWN IDAHO FALLS

We then headed downtown, to browse the local yarn shop. I’m a knitter, so whenever I travel checking out the local yarn shop is a must. The yarn shop was very nice, but the rest of downtown Idaho Falls was just sad. Being from DC, I live in a bubble and have not felt the recession, but walking around downtown Idaho Falls, reality hit. Most of the shops had closed, and it felt like a ghost town.

Yarn Shop in downtown, Idaho Falls

So that sums up my trip to Idaho Falls, Idaho. My next post will be about my adventure hiking through Yellowstone.  So stay tuned.

©2012

My little farm.

I am an advocate for supporting local business, including local farms. If you ever check out my tumblr blog, CASHMERE & SILK,you will learn about all the local yarn shops I go to, and all the local yarns I knit with. Anyway, one of my favorite summer time hobbies is hitting up the local farmers markets in my area, and let me tell you there are a ton of them.

Visiting farmers markets, and tasting the sweetness and glory there is in a truly fresh organic piece of produce, motivated me to start my own little farm. I also juice a lot, so having access to Kale or other veggies, made it easier and less expensive.

My boyfriend’s stepmom would tell me stories about her garden, and how nutritious her soil became by composting.¬†I never thought, that I would be successful at growing plants, because unfortunately I didn’t have a yard to use. But what I did have in my favor was a very sunny back deck, that was high off the ground. The sun helped my plants grow, and the hight of my back deck kept birds and¬†squirrels away.

Below are some pictures of my veggie garden from last year. I am telling you, you would be surprised what you can grow in a container. I am hoping for success this year. We shall see though, because I might be moving, and do not know yet about how sunny the location will be.

© 2012

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