Archive for the 'Organic' Category

A Kosher Chicken in Every Pot – Part 2

Wise Organic Pastures – The Poultry Farm

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Now it’s on to the Farm – a 50-mile drive from the plant.

As city dwellers, we did not know what to expect at the “chicken” farm. Wise Organic Poultry contracts with farmers willing to raise chickens to its high specifications – combining humane methods, proper feed, and ample space. To visit one such farm, we traveled to a picturesque well–maintained farm, owned by a grower in the Susquehanna Valley of Central Pennsylvania.

Argan Oil: From Morocco to Israel

Jacob Levenfeld, who has spent extensive time in the Negev, writes about Orly Sharir’s project to grow argan oil in Israel’s desert. Orly, a supplier of herbs and spices for Negev Nectars in the United States, writes more on the subject on the Negev Nectars blog.

Isn’t it frustrating when you eat something delicious but you can’t quite put your finger on that little ingredient that pulls everything together? In Moroccan cuisine, that extra spice could just be a little-known delicacy known as argan oil. Used in all sorts of food recipes, lotions, and creams, this reddish oil is derived from argan tree nuts native to Morocco. Lately, though, a small number of farms in Israel’s Negev desert have also forayed into argan production.

A Kosher Chicken in Every Pot – Part 1


Wise Organic Pastures – The Processing Plant

This Article is Cross-Posted on

Our Bubbie and “grand” Bubbies may have known how to make a famous roast chicken and of course, chicken soup, but certainly did not face the same chicken challenges that the kosher shopper faces today. Most chicken is no longer raised in the back yard! The consumer is now faced with numerous choices in quality, type and price.

Chicken has become a multi-billion dollar industry in America. Kosher chicken is no exception, but is somewhat more complicated. There has been extraordinary growth in kosher poultry sales in the last few decades. Along with observant Jews, many non-Jews and Jews who don’t necessarily adhere to kosher laws now purchase kosher poultry. Why? There is a perception that kosher certification adds a layer of clarity and transparency to poultry purchases. In addition to the FDA and government regulatory agencies, the processing plant must adhere to the specifications of a supervising kosher agency and rabbinical authority. Many consumers welcome this extra layer of inspection.

The Bane & Blessing of Food Allergies

I eat in a pretty healthy manner. I cook most of my own meals, and even when I eat out or at other people’s homes I’m careful what and how much I eat. [I also keep kosher, so I guess by definition I think a lot about what I eat or don't eat, but it's rote by now--I've been doing it most of my life.]

Over the past few years, I’ve developed a host of food intolerances/allergies (still not sure which they are yet, still working on that part) and in addition to making sure I eat healthily, I also have to make sure I don’t eat things that make me sick.

Weighing in on the Food Production Debate

By Josh Berkman, cross-posted on From the Ground–the blog of American Jewish World Service (AJWS)

Over the last week, an important discussion has emerged in the blogosphere about the best ways for hungry nations to produce food. The debate began with a piece by Wellesley professor Robert Paarlberg, published in Foreign Affairs. Paarlberg argues that sluggish food productionrather than price explosionis responsible for food insecurity in the Global South and that the only way to produce enough food is through advanced technology, increased chemical use and genetically modified seeds. He marginalizes organic farming as quaint and unrealistic as a solution. It’s time to stop rejecting biotech and industrial food production, Paarlberg claims, and realize that it is the only way forward.

On Soy

soy image

I have long harbored misgivings about soy.  It is highly estrogenic. It’s associated with many environmental concerns (fields are clear cut internationally to support it, most of the crop goes toward feeding animals on feedlots, etc.) It’s highly processed (and a non whole food) as milk, frozen entrees, and other products.  And honestly, and this is just my perspective, I don’t enjoy the taste. But I have always respected the fact that many people do not agree with me on all these points, and enjoy soy as a deliberate and integral part of their diet.  Most of these folks have countered my concerns with the fact that it is a healthy, non-animal protein that provides efficient calories at a low cost. 

Food Rebellions! Crisis and the Hunger for Justice

Food Rebellions!

By Audrey Sasson, cross-posted on From the Groundthe blog of American Jewish World Service (AJWS)

I recently attended an event promoting Eric Holt-Gimenez’s new book (co-authored by Raj Patel), Food Rebellions: Crisis and the Hunger for Justice. Eric is the executive director of Food First and a powerful advocate for transforming our broken food system. His presentation unpacked the causes of hunger worldwide and promoted a reinvestment in local food systems as both a just and effective solution.

U.S. Supreme Court to Hear GE Alfalfa Case

United States Supreme Court
The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to hear a first-time case about the risks of genetically engineered crops. Named Monsanto v. Geertson Seed Farms, No. 09-475, the case before the high court will be yet another step in an ongoing battle waged by the Center for Food Safety to protect consumers and the environment from potentially harmful effects of genetically engineered (GE) crops.

USDA Set to Again Approve GE Alfalfa – Comment! Speak Up for Organic Farmers

It’s been sometime since I wrote on JCarrot, but I have some big news and I’m asking for your help!

In 2006, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) sued the Department of Agriculture (USDA) for its illegal approval of Monsanto’s genetically engineered (GE) Roundup Ready alfalfa. USDA failed to conduct an environmental impact statement (EIS) before deregulating the crop. An EIS is a rigorous analysis of the potential significant impacts of a federal decision. The federal courts sided with CFS and banned GE alfalfa until the USDA fully analyzed the impacts of the GE plant on the environment, farmers, and the public in an EIS.

The War on Vegetables

(Originally published in The Forward)


Last November, I koshered my kitchen for the first time. I did so with the full understanding that my decision came with certain compromises, like giving up my favorite cheeses and my delicious but uncertified collection of vinegars. While a bit heartbreaking, these were sacrifices I was willing to make as I welcomed in my new lifestyle. If only I had known that I might have to give up salad, too.

Leafy salad greens, along with berries, asparagus and a variety of other produce, have come under serious scrutiny in the kosher world over the past decade. There’s nothing treyf about these particular fruits and vegetables, except that they have a tendency to attract insects, which are halachically forbidden. Once they are removed from a spinach leaf or the inside of a raspberry, the produce is theoretically fit to eat. But kosher agencies like the Orthodox Union and KOF-K argue that certain bugs (for example, aphids, thrips and mites) are too small to spot easily, but large and common enough to be compromising.

“It’s White Washing, but with a Green Brush”

Did you know that McDonald’s is “going green?” In Germany, the red background behind the iconic golden arches is being replaced by green backgrounds. This redesign is just one example of blatant “greenwashing,” explained Denise Garbinski this afternoon at the Hazon Food Conference.

Garbinski, a Registered Dietitian, natural foods industry veteran, and founder of Botanical Nutrition, led a session titled “The Greenwashing of Food: Be an Informed Consumer,” part of the conference’s Food Justice track. Greenwashing, she explained, is the set of efforts a company takes to appear environmentally friendly, when in reality, the majority of their work is not. As “going green” becomes increasingly popular, for companies it means increased cash. And so, more and more food companies claim they are environmentally responsible. It turns out, that’s often not true. They’re simply repainting the background green.

Meals and Memories on the Israel Sustainable Food Tour

I’m stuffed. Not from my Thanksgiving dinner with friends and family in the US – although everything on the table was delicious – but from five days of intellectual, spiritual, and gastronomical nourishment while participating in Hazon and Heschel’s first Israel Sustainable Food Tour. From November 15th though 19th, twenty-seven foodies and I explored Israel from the perspective of sustainable food. We met with farmers, chefs, community gardeners, a permaculture expert, a food scientist, volunteers at an innovative soup kitchen, the founder of a food co-op, an expert on food insecurity in Israel, and many other passionate people who shared their experiences working on sustainable food issues throughout the country.

Yid.Dish: Aviva Allen’s Spicy Potato Latkes

Organic Kosher Cookbook

If you are looking for a Chanukah gift for a foodie (say… yourself!), or some new recipes for any of the Jewish holidays, then there’s a new book out that will be of help. Aviva Allen, author of the 2007 The Organic Kosher Cookbook, has just released a Holiday Edition. Ms. Allen provided me with a free copy for this interview and review.

Naturally Wrong

Common Ground County Fair Booth

“These are the bad guys,” I whispered to myself in dismay as I exited the Natural Products Expo East at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Hall. I felt disappointed and ‘empty’, even though my bag was completely full of free food and beverage product samples. I came to this three day exhibition with high expectations. I envisioned a room full of like-minded entrepreneurs and retailers, dedicated to selling and promoting organic and environmentally sustainable products. Though businesses and their respective products were cannily marketed in this manner, they seemed anything but. It was a clear exhibition, rather, of how industry is undermining the true mission of the organic movement.