Loris Sofia Gregory, Healthy Kitchen Coach, Apple Valley, MN
Valley Natural Foods, 13750 County Road 11, Burnsville, MN 55337
Can you believe that April has arrived? Earth is warming up and preparing to collaborate with us in growing delicious edibles here in Minnesota. New shades of green are emerging day by day. We ponder when everything will be fully green and our first garden sprouts will pop up from moist soil. Regardless of when spring will be here in its full glory, be sure to notice our sprouts and other shades of healthy green at Valley Natural Foods, thanks to FRESH & LOCAL growers in Wisconsin.
In World War II, Dr. Clive McKay, Nutrition Professor at Cornell University, sparked considerable interest in sprouts by announcing, “Wanted! A vegetable that will grow in any climate, will rival meat in nutritive value, will mature in three to five days, may be planted any day of the year, will require neither soil nor sunshine, will rival tomatoes in Vitamin C, will be free of waste in preparation and can be cooked with little fuel and as quickly as a chop.” Dr. McKay was talking about the amazing properties of sprouted soybeans.
Though Chinese physicians started prescribing sprouts for curing many disorders over 5,000 years ago and accounts of sprouting appear in the Bible’s Book of Daniel, it took centuries for the West to fully realize their nutritional merits. Along with Dr. McKay, many researchers discovered that sprouts of various kinds not only retain the B-complex vitamins present in the original seed, but also increased 300% in Vitamin A and a whopping 500 to 600% in Vitamin C.
Wisconsinites Joe Mahoney and brother Jack heard about the goodness of sprouts in the mid-1970s and started sprouting for their own health. A local restaurant caught word of their “sprout farm” near River Falls and they were soon delivering sprouts to one eatery than another. Supplying the Wedge co-op since 1978, their business “Jack and the Green Sprouts” is a pioneer in the local produce movement. Using well water and certified organic seed, Joe and his employees hydroponically grow premium quality nutritious sprouts in a super clean, climate-controlled environment, seven days a week year around.
Though not certified organic, Jack and the Green Sprouts is a chemical free and environmentally friendly operation, supported in part with solar panels to offset the electricity needed for grow lights and temperature control. Specializing in the highest quality produce delivered to Twin City and Wisconsin co-ops for over 35 years, owner Joe personally assured me that all their sprouts are tested by an independent lab prior to shipping and that they offer a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee. When you buy Jack and the Green Sprouts, you are also supporting up to 15 employees who are in turn supporting their families through growing FRESH & LOCAL.
Claimed by many to be the “best sprouts in the nation,” try Jack’s broccoli and alfalfa sprouts on our produce shelves year around. Broccoli sprouts are three- to four-day-old broccoli plants that look like alfalfa sprouts, but taste more like radishes. Broccoli sprouts act like an antioxidant, stimulating and protecting your cells against disease. Alfalfa sprouts are also a top source of antioxidants as well as a wide range of vitamins. All sprouts are among the ultimate super foods that are so easy to eat fresh and raw, at home or on the go. Think of sprouts as energizing companions to salads, cold or grilled sandwiches, paninis, pizzas, pockets, wraps and soups, or just enjoy them solo.
While you are checking out the sprouts, don’t forget to take notice of our luscious green Butterhead lettuce, delivered from Future Farm in Baldwin, Wisconsin. Their chemical-free lettuce is also grown hydroponically year round, ensuring a fresh green product that is environmentally responsible and extraordinarily tasty. A sister company to family-owned and operated Baldwin Dairy that has been in business for over 100 years, read more about Future Farm and Fuel LLC leading the way in sustainable, green and FRESH & LOCAL at www.afuturefarm.com.
For tasty samples, coaching and more inspiring ideas for healthy eating this month, I look forward to meeting you at:
FRESH & LOCAL DEMO: Tuesday, April 10, 11 am to 2 pm
Featuring Jack and the Green Sprouts, local hummus and flat breads.
FRESH & LOCAL CLASS: Spring Rhubarb to Winter Squash
Tuesday, April 17, 6:30 to 8:30 pm, Valley Natural Foods in collaboration with ISD 196 Community Education, $18/class. Register at least one week ahead at 651.423.7920 or www.district196.org/ce.
This class will introduce you to a healthy rainbow of fresh and local vegetables month by month, from fresh rhubarb, asparagus and spinach in May through local apples, root veggies, pumpkins and squashes in November. You will explore the co-op’s FRESH & LOCAL produce and hear about local farmer partners and food artisans. Expect helpful handouts, coaching and tips on how to save money and eat healthy, preparing fresh and local with and without recipes, and storing and preserving local fresh food for healthy eating year around.
Based in Apple Valley, reach FRESH & LOCAL health coach Loris Sofia Gregory at 952.431.5586 or lorissofiagregory.com. Loris would love to hear your ideas and questions about eating FRESH & LOCAL. Request her earth-friendly seasonal recipes and healthy eating tips if you miss her monthly demos and classes at Valley Natural Foods.