Thursday, September 20, 2012

Organic Harvest Celebration Recap

Organic Harvest

Apple Cider, Pumpkin ice cream, Butternut Squash soup …What better way to cozy up to the fall season than with these delicious treats? Towers lunch agrees! Today they served a variety of fall inspired foods to celebrate the Organic Harvest.  These included Butternut Squash Soup from Eden, N.Y., Apple Salad from Yander Farms in Hudson, N.Y., Apple Cider from Beak & Skif in Lafayette, N.Y., and Pumpkin Ice Cream from Perry's out of Akron, N.Y. 
Randy, the Fresh Food Market Chef, and the Organic Harvest Apples! 

The apple cider was warm and delicious-one of my personal favorite fall beverages. The soup was not only a great vegetarian dish, but also just a delicious entrée for lunch! There were several people who went up for seconds!
Yes, these menu items were definitely mouth-watering, but some people might ask, What’s the big deal about organic and local food? Why are these options more special just because they are locally produced?

There is often confusion about what exactly is organic, how do you know if something is made organically, and what are the benefits to eating local/organic food.  We’ve got answers!

What is organic?

How appetizing would it sound if someone told you that your food was made with ionizing radiation, pesticides, or even sewage sludge?  YUCK.  The sad reality is that some products that we consume are produced with these exact types of things.

Organic guarantees that produce and other ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones.

How do you know if something is organic?

The USDA has identified different three categories of labeling organic products:
•100% Organic: Made with 100% organic ingredients
•Organic: Made with at least 95% organic ingredients
•Made with Organic Ingredients: Made with a minimum of 70% organic ingredients with strict restrictions on the remaining 30% including no GMOs (genetically modified organisms).

Why eat organic/local?

There have been ongoing studies about the health benefits of eating organic.  Although there is no definitive research that can specifically say that organic is healthier, there is vast evidence supporting it.  For example, researchers at the University of California, Davis, recently found that organic tomatoes had higher levels of phytochemicals and vitamin C than conventional tomatoes. (Note: phytochemicals are natural chemicals produced by a plant that has protective and/or disease preventive properties. )

Organic animal products are not given growth hormones.  When we eat meat that has been given such hormones, we are at risk of consuming those hormones as well.  In addition, organic farms reduce the amount of pesticide runoff that can infect our soil and our water supply. 

Why eat local? Local food requires less transportation.  If we get all of our food products from a farm, say 20 minutes away, we will be able to receive that food in a fresher form.  Also, there is reduced fossil fuel usage due to the smaller distance the food has to travel.  Lastly, buying local keeps our money in our community, which is an easy way to boost local economy. 

Inspired by this Local/Organic Movement? Get involved!
Buy and support local and organic farmers!

·      Head out to the farmers market! The Ithaca Farmer’s Market is a cooperative with 150 vendors who live within 30 miles of Ithaca, New York.
·      Go apple picking or pumpkin picking in the area! Here’s one suggestion:
·      Check out the local and organic food served on campus! The Fresh Food Market at Towers serves both organic and local foods everyday!

Did you like today’s event? Would like to see more of these? Tell us! We hope to have many more exciting events like this in the future!

Happy Fall!
- Jackie and Kat

Kat and Marketing Intern, Mike, enjoy the Cider! 

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