By Contributing Author: Christy Erickson
Bees are responsible for pollinating 15 to 30 percent of all the food in the U.S. Additionally, the annual economic benefit of their pollination services has been estimated to be up to $117 billion. Unfortunately, pollinators in the U.S. have been in crisis for more than a decade. If bees were to cease to exist, your stomach and wallet would suffer, as well as countless plants and other animals. So what can you do to help?
What is Pollination?
Pollen is produced by flowering plants and must be transferred from one plant to another in order for the flower to reproduce. Reproduction is valuable because the environment is constantly changing, and reproduction creates genetically varied offspring, which increases the chances of the flower’s offspring being suited to the changes in the environment. Most flowering plants require a pollinator to transfer the pollen from one plant to another.
By Contributing Author: Sharon A. See
Here’s my list of go-to fresh foods to be found at the Monroe Farmers Market. The choices are so abundant this time of year that it was really hard to pick only ten. So I went with some of the ones that I eat most often and believe to have the most profound nutritional benefits. You’ll also find they are simple to prepare and some of the easiest to serve. Enjoy!
Beets are little powerhouses of daily essential nutrients and minerals like B vitamins, copper, manganese, magnesium, potassium, and iron. They are also rich in nitrates which convert to circulation increasing compounds that can have a positive impact on blood pressure and heart health. And you can ditch that cleanse and instead make beets a staple in your diet. Compounds found in beets have been found to reduce accumulated fat in the liver which is your body's primary detoxifying organ. This can help improve liver function and increase detoxifying enzymes in the bloodstream.
Tomatoes are great cancer-fighting vegetables and contain all four major carotenoids which are antioxidant agents that have been shown to fight free radicals. Tomatoes are a prime example of the benefits of eating whole foods in their naturally occurring state. On their own, each of these carotenoids has proven health benefits. But the synergistic relationship between these compounds enhances the individual health benefit of each. Tomatoes are also rich in potassium which is a very important mineral that aids in fluid regulation in the body and can help keep you hydrated on hot summer days.
By Contributing Author: Sharon A. See
Most produce, meat, and poultry products you find in the grocery store unless labeled otherwise, are grown, raised or produced by what's known as “Big Ag” and or Factory Farming operations. Big Ag operations are huge commercial farms that typically grow one crop over and over again. The sole purpose is high yield, not high quality or nutritional value. This style of crop management can lead to over-farming of the land which depletes the soil. Huge amounts of pesticides, herbicides and chemically based fertilizers are used. Here you will also find a very high rate of GMO use.
Factory farming is the industrialized production of livestock. These animals are raised in deplorable and inhumane environments. These filthy, unsanitary conditions require the constant use of antibiotics. The animals are also injected with or fed growth hormones to enhance the rate of growth so they can be brought to market in shorter periods of time than the natural growth cycle would allow. These practices produce some of the most chemical-laden and unhealthy food products in our food supply. All the chemicals, antibiotics and hormones the animals ingest are passed along to the consumer of the meat, milk, eggs and other food products made from these animals.
The Monroe Farmers' Market is open June–October and offers fresh, locally-grown produce, baked goods, prepared foods and hand-crafted specialty foods to Connecticut locals.