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!

Recipe: Blackberry Sencha Green Tea Popsicles

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Organic and delicious!

Most of the country is still being scorched by hot summer weather. We hope to help you cool down with these deliciously simple three ingredient popsicles! Blackberries grow wild and abundantly in the Seattle area where we are based, making these tasty berries easy and fun (and cheap!) to find during the summer and the perfect fruit for this icy treat.

Here’s what you’ll need:

– Popsicle molds or small cups

– popsicle sticks

– Blender

Ingredients:

– 3 teaspoons of Choice Organic Teas Sencha loose leaf green tea (or three tea bags of our Premium Japanese Green)

– 2 cups of water

– 2 cups blackberries (fresh or frozen)

– ¾ cup honey

Makes around 10 large popsicles depending on your molds.

A steaming cup of green tea, blackberries, and honey are all you need!

What to do:

1. Steep 3 teaspoons of Sencha Loose Leaf Green Tea (or three tea bags of Premium Japanese Green) in 2 cups of 180 degree water for 4 minutes. Strain out the loose tea (or remove tea bags).

2. Cool the tea and use a blender to blend tea, blackberries, and honey until liquefied. Optional: Use a strainer to separate the blackberry seeds from the liquid before pouring into the molds.

3. Pour into your popsicle molds or cups, place popsicle sticks in the molds.

Tip: If you’re using cups as popsicle molds, you may want to wait for them to become more solid before adding the popsicle sticks to ensure the sticks freeze upright.

4. Place popsicles in the freezer to freeze until they are solid and easily removed from the molds, and enjoy!

TIp: To ease the popsicles out of a plastic mold, briefly run tepid water over the molds and they should come right out.

Will you try to make these yourself? We’d love to know how they turned out! Share photos of your Blackberry Sencha Green Tea popsicles by tagging us on Instagram @choiceorganicteas, Twitter @choiceorganict, or on Facebook. Happy popsicle making!

Recipe inspired by: http://vanessabaked.com/raspberry-green-tea-popsicles/

Celebrate Organic Month!

September is National Organic Harvest Month, the perfect time to celebrate everything wonderful about organic food and agriculture. Having been in the organic tea business for over twenty years, we’re strong believers in this movement and we’re thrilled to see that it’s been catching on.  Even despite a slow economy, the Organic Trade Association reported that organic sales grew 7.7% in 2010 from 2009 and we expect that trend to continue through 2011.

Washington Organic Week, Washington State’s week long celebration of organic agriculture takes place September 11-17. We’re excited that this year, the week received its first official proclamation by Washington State’s governor, Christine Gregoire! You can read the proclamation here.

Though many folks hear the buzz surrounding organic foods and products, it seems like it’s not always well understood why organic certification and practices are so important and how many implications they really have.  Here’s a quick refresh in case you know that organic is important, but are still wondering why exactly that is:

Organic certification means that no synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, additives, or genetically modified organisms are used in growing or production of agricultural products.  The avoidance of these substances creates a profound impact on the health of the soil, surrounding ecosystem, and the people who farm the land.  Because synthetic chemicals (pesticides, herbicides, and artificial fertilizers) aren’t used, soil remains healthier, full of nutrients and healthy microbes that are replenished naturally using compost and other organic matter. Beyond benefiting the crop, this soil stays in harmony with the surrounding environment, leading to more plant and animal wildlife.  In the Oothu Garden in India, for example, a rainforest and tiger reserve borders the organic tea fields.  This healthier environment is of course beneficial to humans too, both to the garden workers that would otherwise be in contact with toxic chemicals and the consumer that drinks the tea!

As you can see why, we find it essential that our teas and ingredients are organic. But, we also believe that they should be accessible. We are proud to offer high quality, organic teas at an affordable price, so that everyone looking for a better cup can enjoy one!