10 Tips for Eating Organic Foods

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Food is such an important part of our lives. It provides us with essential nutrients and energy to get us through the day and the act of eating can bring us a myriad of pleasures from exploring new flavors, to unwinding in the kitchen, or sharing meals with friends and family. Because food has such a significant presence in our life, it is so vital to know exactly what we’re consuming. Organic certification ensures that a product has met the standards of the USDA for organic production, meaning no chemical fertilizers, pesticides, GMOs, or irradiation. When you buy organic products and food, you are voicing your support of farming practices that contribute to a healthier environment and you! The more organic products we purchase, the closer we get to eliminating harmful farming practices that leach the soil and contaminate our water sources, creating a more sustainable and healthier Earth.

Here are some simple ways to begin eating more organic foods:

  1. Buy organic tea! Unlike apples or greens, tea cannot be washed before you drink it. Drinking organic tea means that you’re not sipping on pesticides and chemicals.
  2. Try many organic teas (we’ve got over 80!) to find your favorite. Once you find what you like, it will be difficult to go back to conventional teas.
  3. Look up the “dirty dozen” and make an effort to only buy these items when they’re certified organic.
  4. Buy local organic produce and find creative ways to preserve them such as freezing, pickling, or dehydrating when they’re out of season. You’ll be grateful to have local, sustainable produce year-round.
  5. Shop at your local farmers market, co-op, or sign up for a CSA. Supporting local organic farms gets you access to the freshest and best fruits and vegetables of the season and contributes to your local economy. Plus, they often provide you with some great recipe suggestions each week!
  6. Prioritize switching to organic milk and dairy products. Organic dairy does not contain artificial growth hormones, antibiotics, or pesticides.
  7. Grow your own indoor organic herb garden.
  8. Try cooking with organic tea as a way to accent new organic meal and dessert recipes. (Check out our blog for some suggestions.)
  9. Skip eating out and save money by making healthy organic meals.
  10. Swap out bottled sodas for organic iced tea (try Classic Black or Blackberry Hibiscus). It’s calorie free!

10 Ways Organic Farming is Better for the Environment

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Since 1989, our core company values have revolved around creating products that are sustainable and healthy for the environment. This means partnering with organic tea estates across the globe with the same goals in mind. We’re proud to work with tea gardens that cultivate in ways that do not harm the environment or its surrounding ecosystem, utilizing the synergistic way that biodiversity aids in the growth of organic tea.

Here are some of the best ways organic agriculture impacts the environment:

  1. Organic cultivation of tea is better for local wildlife. The Soil Association, an international organization for organic cultivation, notes that a typical organic field has five times as many wild plants, 57 percent more animal species, and 44 percent more birds than a conventionally cultivated farm. Conventional synthetic herbicides and pesticides often kill non-target animals, plants, and insects.

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    A peacock roams freely through a tea estate in India.

  2. Organic farming is sustainable and nurtures the natural biodiversity and structure within its soils and surrounding environment, while also reducing the use of non-renewable resources.
  3. Instead of depleting soils nutrients with synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, organic farming strengthens soil by composting, cover cropping, and crop rotation.
  4. Organic farming helps keep water supplies clean of toxic run off and chemicals.
  5. Organic agriculture combats the greenhouse effect and global warming with organic soil’s ability to hold carbon, keeping it out of the air.
  6. Organic agriculture relies on preventative measures to combat pests and invasive weeds, not chemical pesticides and herbicides.
  7. Organic standards prohibit clearing of primary ecosystems for further cultivation.
  8. Organic farming typically produces less waste because it relies less on external resources and more on renewable resources.
  9. Organic practices support and protect bees and other pollinators important to crop growth because it decreases exposure to toxic pesticides, encouraging natural habitats and biodiversity.
  10. Buying organic will increase demand and “lead to a reversal of conventional farming practices” which will have long term effects on the land and our health.
Sources:
http://infohub.ifoam.bio/sites/default/files/page/files/misconceptions_compiled.pdf
http://rodaleinstitute.org/assets/RegenOrgAgricultureAndClimateChange_20140418.pdf
http://www.fao.org/organicag/oa-faq/oa-faq6/en/
https://www.ota.com/organic-101/environmental-benefits
http://theorganicsinstitute.com/organic/14-key-reasons-why-you-should-go-organic/

9 Health Benefits of Organic Farming

Organic Harvest Month

Happy Organic Harvest Month!

The USDA defines organic as “an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain, or enhance ecological harmony. The primary goal of organic agriculture is to optimize the health and productivity of interdependent communities of soil life, plants, animals and people.”

As a manufacturer of consumable goods, it is of the utmost importance that our product is safe and the highest quality available. This is why, since 1989, we have been committed to sourcing only certified organic teas and herbs for our products.

Throughout September we’ll be celebrating Organic Harvest Month by sharing our top reasons to consume and support organic agriculture and live an organic lifestyle.

Here are some of our favorite health benefits of organic:

  1. No pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or chemical fertilizers are used. Organic ensures that foods are grown without the use of these harmful substances, some of which are known to cause cancer.
  2. Organic farming reduces long time exposure to pesticides and chemical fertilizers, for farmers, workers, and consumers which can affect the body’s ability to eliminate toxins.
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    Tea workers in India.
  3. Organic food is free of artificial colors, preservatives, flavors, trans fats, enhancers, stabilizers, fillers, sweeteners or other additives.
  4. Studies show that organic foods are more nutritious and higher in antioxidants because they are grown on more nutrient rich soil.
  5. Eating organic fruits and vegetables could increase your antioxidant intake by 20-40%.
  6. Organic farming ensures that food is not subject to any artificial human intervention or genetic modification.
  7. Diseases, pests, and weeds are managed through good soil health for natural plant resistance, selection for stronger plants, crop rotation, natural predators, and beneficial insects.
  8. Organic food cannot be irradiated. Irradiation causes changes to both macro and micronutrients in foods and creates free radicals.
  9. Unlike conventional methods, antibiotics, pathogens, or hormones are used in raising livestock. Organic livestock have higher animal welfare standards which lower levels of pathogens present in meat.
Sources:
http://theorganicsinstitute.com/organic/14-key-reasons-why-you-should-go-organic/
http://www.qai-inc.com/what_is_organic/index.asp
https://www.ota.com/organic-101/health-benefits
https://www.organic-center.org/news/organic-health-benefits-part-3-the-nutritional-benefits-of-organic-fruits-and-vegetables/

Vegan Earl Grey Lemon Cheesecake

egcheese1.jpgWe couldn’t help ourselves, we just had to try making this Vegan Earl Grey Lemon Cheesecake from Gluten Free Vegan Pantry! As tea lovers with a pretty strong sweet tooth, this cheesecake hits all of our weak spots. On top of being simply delicious, it’s vegan, raw, gluten-free, and considered to be pretty darn healthy!

We hardly changed a thing from the original recipe, only substituting strawberries for the blueberries and using the contents of 3 of our Earl Grey tea bags instead of loose leaf tea.

Find the whole recipe and helpful tips for great results here:
Vegan Earl Grey Lemon Cheesecake by Gluten Free Vegan Pantry

Chamomile Clementine Cream Soda

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Soak up the summer sun with a citrusy-sweet Chamomile Clementine Cream Soda. This soda is vegan, gluten-free and extra refreshing! Sweet clementine juice combines with the honey notes of chamomile and a fresh pop of mint to create a distinct and customized treat.

Chamomile Clementine Cream Soda

Ingredients:
– 6 clementines
– 3 tea bags of Chamomile Mint tea
– 2 cups of water
– 2 Tbsp agave
– 1 tsp vanilla
– 1 can full fat coconut milk
– 1 bottle of club soda
– ice

Instructions:
1. Boil water and steep tea for 10 minutes. Remove tea bags and cool.
2. Juice clementines into a bowl or large measuring cup.
3. Combine tea and clementine juice.
4. Fill a tall cup with ice, fill the cup two-thirds with tea and clementine juice, add 2 tbsp coconut milk, and top with club soda.5. Stir gently.
Makes approximately 6 drinks.

 

Lapsang Souchong Portobello Mushroom Marinade

lapsangportobello8.jpgPortobello mushrooms are a great meat substitute for vegetarians and meat eaters alike! This smokey lapsang souchong tea based marinade creates a unique flavor profile that pairs perfectly with any barbecue classics. Dress this meatless burger up with pesto, aioli, caramelized onions, whatever you can dream up! We kept it simple with pea shoots, tomatoes, and mayo with a side of fingerling potatoes. Yum!

Lapsang Souchong Portobello Mushroom Marinade

Ingredients:
– 1 1/2 heaping Tbsp Lapsang Souchong loose leaf tea
– 1 cup water
– 2 large large portobello mushrooms (stems removed)
– 1 large clove of garlic (minced)
– 1 Tbsp sesame oil
– 1 Tbsp tamari/soy sauce/aminos

Instructions:
1. Brew tea in boiled water for 10 minutes.
2. Strain tea into a bowl and add garlic, sesame oil, and tamari and stir.
3. Wash and dry the mushrooms and remove the stems.
4. Place mushrooms in a pan large enough to fit the mushrooms side by side.
5. Pour marinade over the mushrooms and make sure they are covered.
6. Marinate mushrooms for at least an hour.
7. Heat the broiler in your oven.
8. Remove mushrooms from marinade and place them on a baking sheet. Be sure to reserve the marinade.
9. Spoon a few tablespoons of marinade over the mushrooms.
10. Broil the mushrooms for 4-5 minutes on each side.
Enjoy these mushrooms plain or on a burger bun with your favorite fixings!

Tea Cocktails with The Tin Table


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(From left to right) Sencha Green Tea Cocktail, Chamomile Sidecar, Chai Mai Tai, Jamaica Hibiscus Cocktail.

A few weeks ago we had the pleasure of sipping on delicious tea cocktails developed by Sander Raav, Seattle mixologist, tea enthusiast, and Bar Manager at  The Tin Table. The Tin Table is an off-the-beaten path restaurant and bar located on the second floor of the historic Oddfellows Building on Capitol Hill, one of Seattle’s most vibrant neighborhoods.

Four custom cocktails were created with a hand-picked selection of our high-quality, organic loose leaf teas. Each drink had its own character, further amplified by their unique serving vessels. We sipped on a delicate and savory Sencha green tea drink, a creative Chamomile Sidecar with chamomile foam, and a tropical, sunny cocktail with a hint of spice made with Cranberry Hibiscus. Sander kindly shared his recipes with us and we’ve picked our favorite for you to try at home, the Chai Mai Tai, perfect for summer porch sipping.

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Chai Mai Tai

Chai Mai Tai
1.5 oz Chai Infused Aged Rum (see recipe below)
.75 oz fresh lime juice
.5 oz orange liqueur
.25 oz orgeat (almond syrup)

Chai Infused Rum
1 Tbsp loose leaf chai tea
200 ml Aged Rum
Combine loose tea in rum and infuse for 30 min.

Instructions:
1. Shake all ingredients, strain over fresh ice into a rocks glass.
2. Garnish with mint and lime wheel or whole spices of your choosing.