Archive for June, 2013

Hello again, avocados!

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Summertime means lazy afternoons, sunshine, swimming and the start of Florida organic avocado season at Uncle Matt’s Organic. While avocados are also grown in California and Hawaii, the first Florida avocado crops were planted in the antebellum era of the 1830s by horticulturist Henry Perrine. Avocados didn’t become a commercial crop until the early 1900s. In the 1950s, after gaining popularity as a salad item, demand for the fruit grew. Yes, fruit. Widely considered a vegetable, the avocado is actually a fruit that has become a favorite of foodies everywhere!

Did you know that there are more than 50 different varieties of Florida avocados, but that only about a dozen of those are sold commercially? Running from late June through December, Uncle Matt’s will offer organic Donnie, Simmonds, Nesbitt, Beta, Tonnage, Black Prince, Hall and Monroe varieties — grown by our very own second-generation avocado grower, Murray Bass, in Homestead, Florida.

Uncle Matt’s Florida organic avocados are “green-skin,” which means they’re larger than the popular Hass variety but have less fat and fewer calories. Which brings us to this important point: Don’t avoid the avocado because you think it’s too fattening! It’s a creamy, delicious superfood that powers your body with an array of healthy fats and nutrients –– like oleic acid, lutein, folate, vitamin E, monounsaturated fats and glutathione, just to name a few. These powerful nutrients help protect your body against cancer, heart disease, and degenerative eye and brain diseases. What’s more, they’re also a healthy source of dietary fiber, potassium, and vitamins B6 and C.

We love our avocados because they’re definitely good for whipping up our favorite summertime guacamole. But our fruit’s mild flavor lends itself to the creative and unexpected. Try a half avocado in a fruit smoothie, or add some slices to your sandwich instead of lettuce.  If you’re really looking for some culinary trendsetting ideas, wow the guests at your next dinner party with this colorful Avocado, Beet and Grapefruit Salad and top it off with yummy sure-fire favorite chocolate cupcakes…only the secret’s in the icing. Avocado icing, that is. Trust us, it’s amazing!

Easy on the Wallet: Money-Saving Ideas for Buying Organic

Monday, June 10th, 2013

Buying organic has never been more popular. Yet, you probably hear as we do, this one gripe about organic foods: they sometimes cost more than non-organic foods. Although we at Uncle Matt’s truly believe that safe, healthy nutrition and the vigorous health it creates are priceless, we also know how important it is to stretch those family dollars as far as possible.

Fortunately, there are simple ways to make buying organic more budget-friendly. Here are some tips to get you started.

Watch the grocery store flyers. Watch for specials on organic foods. Grocery stores know organic products are more popular, so they will run specials on them to attract shoppers. Make it a regular habit to check the flyers for specials on organic foods.

Expand your grocery store network. It’s easy to get attached to one grocery store, but by expanding where you shop, you can take advantage of more selection and better prices. Don’t automatically assume only the upscale or specialty grocery stores carry organic products. You can now find organic at big, small, discount, specialty and buying clubs. Check them all out!

Practice smart shopper sleuthing. No need to hop in the car and drive all over town in search of organics. Check specials on a grocery store web site. Or use a site like www.eatwellguide.org to help you find inventory and prices at several local stores. Other sites for saving money on organic products include EcoBonus, Mambo Sprouts, Organic DealsStockpiling Moms, Coupon Divas’ Organic Coupons, and Money Saving Mom.

Join forces with a friend. Enlist a couple of friends who are also committed to finding, buying and serving organic foods to their families. Then instead of shopping individually, take turns shopping for organics. You can pool coupons and discounts, share ideas and knowledge, take advantage of bulk buying programs, save gas, AND have some fun in the process.

Think and eat local.  Small organic farms might have a roadside stand or sell at a farmer’s market. Make it a Saturday tradition to head to the fruit stand or farmer’s market with the kids. They’ll get to see all kinds of foods and get to know local farmers, all while subconsciously learning the importance of being proactive in selecting the safest, more nutritious foods. And you’ll likely save some money while shopping there.

Stock your freezer. While shopping farmer’s markets, buy fresh organic produce in bulk. Then freeze packages of strawberries, green peppers, or whatever else you’ll have a craving for later in the year. Read up on which kinds of produce freeze well – or talk to the grower about how to freeze items. And don’t forget the frozen food section of your grocery store. You can find all kinds of organic products that can save your some serious cash.

Although organic foods may cost a little more on the front end, remember that good health is ALWAYS less expensive than disease. So take these tips to save some money, knowing that you are investing in your and your family’s well-being.