Posts Tagged ‘healthy’

Indigo Rose Tomato

‘Indigo Rose’ Tomato

Pink blueberries and now blue tomatoes!  Not just cool in color, the ‘Indigo Rose’ Tomato, newly released in 2012, is one a few exciting new tomatoes, part of a series of tomatoes bred by Oregon State University.

'Indigo Kumquat' Tomato

‘Indigo Kumquat’ Tomato

The reason this tomato sports a blue-purple color has everything to do with anthocyanin.

Research on anthocyanins has intensified recently because it is believed to offer protection from cardiovascular damage and have anti-cancer, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Some studies show a role in vision improvement and diabetes prevention.  So how do you get more anthocyanin in your diet?  You get fruits and

'Indigo Apple' Tomato

‘Indigo Apple’ Tomato

vegetables that have this bluish-purple color like red cabbage, plums, eggplants and blueberries.

The purple pigment develops as the tomato is exposed to the sun. Portions shaded by leaves do not develop the anthocyanins. As the tomato ripens, it becomes less purple and the green turns red. The flesh is red but the anthocyanins are primarily in the skin and outer flesh.You can learn more about “Indigo Rose” and the Indigo Tomato Series on the OSU website.

'Indigo Blue Beauty' Tomato

‘Indigo Blue Beauty’ Tomato

Other fun Indigo Tomatoes you will find at The Plant Farm this year include: ‘Blue Beauty’, ‘Sun’ and ‘Kumquat’. Arriving soon from the Indigo Series are ‘Apple’ and ‘Blue Berries’

Healthy eating was never so much fun.


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BareRoot Berries 001It’s time for the talk. That’s right, we need to talk about the berries and the bees because February is the month to pick up your bare-root berries and your mason bee cocoons. You know, a bowl full of fresh berries is a true summer delicacy, but growing that luscious summer fruit starts right now.

Mmmmm... fresh, healthy, delicious Blueberries!

Mmmmm… fresh, healthy, delicious Blueberries!

Have you decided what sort of berries you’d like? The Plant Farm has a huge variety of bare-root berry plants tucked into sawdust beds waiting for you to bring them home and plant them in your garden. Ripe, flavorful Raspberries; dark and juicy Blackberries; tart, fat Gooseberries; crisp, festive Cranberries or even succulent grapes… okay, they’re not berries, but they are succulent and we definitely have bare-root grape vines. And then there’s my favorite: Blueberries. Where’s the bowl and cream, am I right?

Blueberries are delicious and they are also very nutritious. They are a low glycemic impact food, which is great if you’re watching your sugar (or if you’re going to drown them in cream). They are an excellent source of the essential dietary mineral manganese as well as vitamin C, vitamin K, dietary fiber and phytochemicals. Phytochemicals have the potential to affect diseases such as cancer, stroke or metabolic syndrome. Did I sell you on the Blueberries? The Plant Farm has over 16 varieties of Blueberries to choose from. I encourage you to check out our Blueberry information sheet.

bee-in-handTalking about Blueberries reminds me that we need to talk about the bees, too. Mason Bees that is. You probably know that Mason Bees are a great pollinating partner for your Fruit Trees, but did you know that they will also pollinate your Blueberry shrubs? Mason Bees are great little pollinators because they don’t discriminate as to where they gather pollen and because, ironically, they aren’t very efficient in gathering their pollen. It’s gathered dry on their hair, which means it’s more easily scattered to each flower they visit. Mason bees are easy to raise and interestingly they don’t usually sting because they are solitary bees with no hive or queen to protect.

Mason Bee expert Dave Hunter

Mason Bee expert Dave Hunter

If you’d like to know more, Dave Hunter is giving a fascinating seminar this Sunday at The Plant Farm, where he’ll discuss the threat to traditional bee populations and what you can do to help. When you come in for the seminar, you can pick up your bare-root berries!

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Superfoods: they’re delicious, they’re packed with nourishment, and most are easy to grow in your backyard or on your patio.  Providing more than just a food source, superfoods work within our body to strengthen our immune system, aid in weight loss, maintain healthy heart function and efficiently convert nutrients into fuel. They truly are super foods!

Many people think that superfoods are exotic ingredients available in specialty stores, but it isn’t all wheat germ and spirulina. Most are foods we are familiar with and may already include in our diets. Carrots and kiwi are most likely foods you snack on and tomatoes perhaps make a daily appearance in your meals. These are all superfoods and tasty treats to boot!  Speaking of treats, who doesn’t love a smoothie? In a Broc-n-Berry smoothie (see the recipe below) strawberries, blueberries and, yes, broccoli are blended into a sweet, refreshing and filling treat. This “treat” is packed with anti-oxidants, is high in fiber and low in calories.

How wonderful would it be to have the makings in your own garden, right? You definitely can!  Most superfoods come from familiar plants that you can easily grow in a garden of any size — from a large back yard to a window box. Adding superfoods will improve your diet, but adding homegrown superfoods and tending them is also a great way to inspire you and your family to eat more fruits and vegetables. Not to mention that thirty minutes of gardening burns as many calories as an aerobic workout and is a great way to fight stress by taking the mind off the daily grind.

If earth stewardship is an important value for you, growing your own fruits and vegetables is very enviro-friendly. More than that, it gives you a real sense of security. When you grow your own, you know what is and isn’t going into the soil, so you have confidence in what’s coming out of your garden. Moreover, your children or grandchildren will learn, for instance, what tomatoes look like growing on the vine and what a carrot pulled from the ground looks like before they grind them down into baby carrots.

With so many fruit and vegetable superfoods to choose from, you’re sure to find not only a variety that fits your taste and lifestyle, but also one that fits your gardening experience. We’ve listed some superfood  plants that are readily available for you to get started on right now.


Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein and zeaxanthin. It’s also a rich source of calcium. It contains sulforaphane, which is a potent anti-cancer agent, and indole-3-carbinol to boost DNA repair and block the growth of cancer cells.


Blueberries are loaded with anti-oxidants, pterostilbene, anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, resveratrol, flavonols, phytocehmicals and tannins. From reducing the severity of certain diseases, controlling inflammations and, reportedly, certain cancers, blueberries will supercharge your super smoothie.


Strawberries are high in fiber, vitamin C, folate and potassium — even when compared to bananas, apples or oranges. Some studies suggest that one serving a day can reduce blood pressure and the risk of heart disease. Others studies report that strawberries can reduce the risk of cancer, enhance memory and combat rheumatoid arthritis.


Broccoli is high in vitamin C and fiber. It loves to grow in cool temperatures, so it makes a great winter crop. It’s high dietary fiber, contains diindolylmethane, selenium, 3,3′-Diindolylmethane, sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol, a chemical that boosts DNA repair and may block the growth of cancer cells.


Garlic was prized through the ages for its medicinal properties as far back as ancient Egypt. It’s very high in Vitamin B6, manganese, vitamin C, selenium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin B1, copper and protein.


Sweet and crunchy, carrots are famous for their beautiful orange color, but thanks to careful breeding, you can get an entire rainbow of carrot hues if you want. They are high in vitamin A, which maintains good vision, as well as beta-carotene, fiber, anti-oxidants and minerals.


Kiwis are among the most nutritionally dense fruits, full of antioxidants. Along with vitamin C, it’s a good source of potassium, fiber, and a decent source of vitamin A and vitamin E, and kiwi is one of the only fruits that provides it.


Cranberries are loaded with proanthocyanidins to help fight urinary tract infections as well as anti-oxidants.


Tomatoes are beneficial to the heart and other organs, contain carotenelycopene, one of the most powerful natural antioxidants as well as lycopene, carotene and anthocyanin. Some varieties can yield very large amounts of vitamin C and A.

Broc-n-Berry Smoothie


1 cup of blueberries
1 cup of strawberries (leaf and stems removed, and halved)
1/2 cup of steamed (cooled) broccoli
1 cup of ice cubes for fresh fruit.
For frozen fruit, reduce ice cubes to between 1/3 and 1/2 cup.
1/2 cup (or not) of soy milk
½ a banana (optional)


Combine ingredients in blender and puree until smooth.  Will make approx. 1 large smoothie or two smaller ones. For creamier smoothie consider adding ½ cup of soy milk or ½ of large banana.

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