Archive for the ‘What’s Fresh’ Category

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.

A visit with Cannelle et Vanille’s Aran Goyoaga

Monday, February 11th, 2013

It was a cold and rainy day when Aran Goyoaga from Cannelle et Vanille and her family came to visit Uncle Matt’s in January. They drove all the way from South Florida to visit us again and we were more than happy to spend time with Aran and her family, sharing our organic philosophy and letting the family taste the difference for themselves.

We loved meeting Aran’s parents; her mom was eager to taste the pummelos and all the various varieties of citrus in season, and we knew without asking that amazing things would be coming from their kitchen once they arrived home with our fruit. Aran’s daughter Miren was enthusiastic and we caught her gleefully sucking out the yummy juice from a variety of citrus Benny gave to her, or that she picked from our trees herself. She and Uncle Matt’s daughter ran around the groves, even through the drizzle, picking fruit and sampling the freshness. While it was rainy and cold, it didn’t stop any of us from enjoying our time together.

Thank you, Aran, for your visit. Thank you for supporting our family company, and the organic mission. We welcome you back anytime, and we look forward to reading and tasting some of your new kitchen creations featuring Uncle Matt’s.

Here are some pictures from our day below. You can read about Aran’s experience and her recipes from the day here. And we encourage you to buy a copy of  her new book, Small Plates & Sweet Treats.

All photos taken by McLean Photography

 

 

 

 

 

Like us on Facebook and you could win a $50 gift card!

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Want to win a $50 gift card to Whole Foods? Like us on Facebook for a chance to win!

We’re looking to hit 2,500 fans on Facebook. Once we hit this milestone, we will give away a $50 Whole Foods gift card to one of our friends at random. You can’t win unless you’re following us, so make sure to find us on Facebook and like us at http://www.facebook.com/unclematts

Tell your friends and spread the word!

Prizes cannot be substituted or redeemed for cash value.

Grove tour with Aran Goyoaga Food Writer, Stylist & Photographer

Friday, January 6th, 2012

We recently had the pleasure of a visit from Aran Goyoaga, Food Writer, Stylist & Photographer, and her family. They came to take a grove tour and learn more about our commitment to organic. It was a fun afternoon with them, and we thoroughly enjoyed their visit! Below is a copy of Aran’s blog post as well as some pictures she took. The photographs are beautiful and we love her recipes. Click on the link to get the recipes.

The winter afternoon we spent at the citrus grove

I wanted this winter break to be special for the kids. Although I knew that I would spend much of the time working (I am in the middle of copyediting the manuscript), it was important to me to schedule activities that were both fun and educational. That is when it occurred to me that I should take them to visit a citrus grove. After all, we live in Florida, the land of citrus, no?

I thought of how excited Jon and Miren would be to pick some of their favorite fruit right of the tree and learn a bit more about where we live. I knew they would.

Then, my next question was… “where do we go?”

I didn’t know where to begin my search. I asked around and searched on the internet. How hard could it be to find a citrus grove in the land of mail-order citrus gift-boxes. I called and called, but got nowhere. It seems things have really changed in the last few years in the citrus industry. After the devastating freezes they had in the mid 80s, many small growers lost most of their groves and since then, the industry has become much more industrialized.

“We don’t allow people to walk the groves for liability reasons, but you can visit our packing house” is the answer I heard the most. “But we really want to see the trees and pick the fruit! Why would I want to see a packing facility?” is what I kept repeating.

I got no answers. Until the day I picked up a bag of organic oranges at Whole Foods.

I saw the name Uncle Matt’s under a big sign that said “Local”. Right then and there, I googled them on my phone. I was so excited to find an organic citrus grower not far from where we live. I sent them an email as soon as I got home to see if we could come visit and shortly I received an email back saying “It would be our pleasure!”

Just like that, we planned a trip to visit Uncle Matt’s.

We decided to make a day trip out of it. Invited my friend Karen and Jon’s best friend Daisy along for the ride. C. even took the day off from work to join us.

The kids were beaming. Cool, sunny winters-day.

When we arrived, the entire McLean clan who is the family behind Uncle Matt’s greeted us. Benny McLean, the patriarch, comes from a long line of citrus-growing Floridians. Who else would have such great insight into citrus farming but him. Matt McLean, Benny’s son and CEO of Uncle Matt’s (the business was named after him) explained to us the genesis of it all and the importance of organic practices.

Annemarie and her daughters and nephew joined us as well. Daisy, Jon, and Miren were excited to find new friends and share the experience with them. The McLean children are used to being in the fields and working the land and that is very obvious. They are naturals.

Benny gave us a thorough explanation of how the citrus industry in Florida has evolved. He explained to us how they address the issues of winter freezes, insects, and disease under organic practices. He spoke about the trees’ immune systems and then, just like that, I wanted to cry out of joy. Maybe because my own autoimmune disorders, anytime a doctor, farmer, or individual addresses the importance of strengthening our bodies ability to defend from disease, it gets to me. I get it. Benny’s words resonated.

I loved learning about how wasps are used to fight disease and how wasps live on their property pollenating these tiny white flowers that in conventional farming would be considered weeds and immediately removed.

They have created a harmonious eco-system and we could sense it. There is peace at Uncle Matt’s.

The fruit was outrageously sweet – candy-like and warm from the sun.

We all picked from the trees. The sweetest red navels, Hamlins, honeybells, pink grapefruit, gigantic pommelos, and lemons. The tangelos were still ripening and so were the Valencia oranges. They also grow avocados, blueberries, and peaches. We even spotted some blossoms on the peach trees.

Our kids and the McLean kids bonded over picking fruit.

Such a beautiful sight.

As we were walking around, my mind was spinning thinking about what I was going to make with all this beautiful fruit.

The first thing was a fresh salad. Don’t we all crave citrus salads after all the holidays? I know I do.

Simple lobster and citrus salad with tarragon-oil dressing and spicy radishes.

We played at the farm until nightfall.

The kids were happy from a day in the sun — in nature.

And I was completely inspired by passion and dedication from those who see beyond a mere business and create a healthy and sustainable lifestyle for their family and community.

Back at home, we have been enjoying fresh citrus every morning. A mix of red navel and honeybell is Jon’s favorite. How could it not be right?

Just like candy.

Even though it is winter and yes, it finally got down to the 40s, I still craved sorbet. I made pommelo, hibiscus, and vanilla bean popsicles that we had outside under the sun. It felt good.

Also made vanilla and cardamom natillas with sliced of citrus and ladyfingers using all the leftovers from recipe testing.

So thank you Uncle Matt’s and the McLean family for your time and generosity. We will never forget it.

And to all of you, happy 2012!

All photos: © Aran Goyoaga

Congratulations to our contest winners!

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Congratulations to Lisa Fulsom, the winner of our “Pack Me a Lunch, Mom!” contest! You’ll be receiving all the goodies from Uncle Matt’s and our contest partners. Your winning response was creative and fun, and we loved your commitment to healthy food! Our 2nd place winner is Cristina, and our 3rd place winner is Brigid! Congrats ladies!

Enter Uncle Matt’s “Pack Me a Lunch, Mom!” contest today …and win the ultimate healthy lunchbox!

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

With back-to-school in full swing, moms want to know their kids are eating a healthy and nutritious lunch to help maximize their learning experience at school. We want to hear from you!

HOW TO ENTER

In 250 words or less, leave us a comment on this post and tell us the zaniest, funniest story about how you infused “healthy” into your kids’ lunches and actually got them to eat it!  Entries will be judged on mom’s creative use of tactics and healthy ingredients. The more ingenious the method and unusual the choice of healthy foods, the better chance you’ve got to win our “Ultimate Healthy Lunchbox!”

Partnering with great brand leaders such as Applegate Farms, Earthbound Farms, Late July Organic Snacks, Nature’s Path and Stonyfield, Uncle Matt’s will give away “The Ultimate Healthy Lunchbox” as a grand prize.  Packed with great budget-saving coupons from each participating company, the eco-friendly Laptop Lunchbox will also contain Nature’s Path granola bars, Late July organic snack chips, a free pack of YoKids organic yogurt, and a $25 gift card to Whole Foods. The winner also receives a 12 oz. Klean Kanteen classic in “Be Green” for all that delicious Uncle Matt’s Organic apple juice!

Looking for a sample lunchbox menu that’s super-convenient, no-kidding nutritious with a prep time of less than three minutes? (Not to mention representative of all four food groups.) Try this:

Applegate Farms turkey-cheese roll-ups
Earthbound Farms organic baby carrots
Late July Organic snack chips
Stonyfield YoKids
Nature’s Path granola bars
Uncle Matt’s Organic orchard-style apple juice

The contest starts today and runs through September 30, 2011. The winning entry will be announced and posted on our blog and Facebook page on October 3, 2011.

Thanks to all the great organic companies below for participating!

Uncle Matt’s and the Rodale Institute team up to help grow organic farmers

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

Thanks to Sustainable Food News for publishing this story! You can read it at:
http://sustainablefoodnews.com/story.php?news_id=13297

KUTZTOWN, PA — July 11, 2011 — Rodale Institute today announces the launch of Your 2 Cents, an innovative program that unites consumers and companies in support of the next generation of American farmers.  The Your 2 Cents program is designed to raise funds to support student scholarships for sustainable agriculture degrees, military veterans establishing careers in organic faming, and new organic farmers while establishing research grants for farmers in the Your 2 Cents network. Inaugural program partner Uncle Matt’s Organic, a company that offers premium organic citrus juice and produce, will kick off support by donating two cents per case good of their organic juice sold to the fund.

“America needs more farmers—organic farmers,” says Mark “Coach” Smallwood, Executive Director of Rodale Institute.  “One possible scenario of the project in action: help a student earn a degree in sustainable agriculture, grant them initial start-up costs for their farm operation, literally bring in the Marines to provide a labor force, and incorporate a research project in partnership with Rodale Institute.”

Companies like Uncle Matt’s Organic participate by donating two pennies per case good sold to the Your 2 Cents fund, which is governed by an advisory board consisting of representatives from companies partnering with Rodale Institute on the Your 2 Cents program. The advisory board will review applications quarterly, and allot funds for the education, training and establishment of new organic farmers who will feed America sustainably in coming generations.

“Rodale Institute is a pioneer and leader in organic agriculture and farm research,” says Matt McLean, founder and CEO of Uncle Matt’s Organic. “We are proud to partner with the organization on this endeavor to help support the next generation of American farmers.  We hope to inspire other companies to join the campaign to make Your 2 Cents a success for our future organic farmers.”

Rodale Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to pioneering organic farming through research and outreach. Celebrating its 30th anniversary in the fall of 2011, the Institute’s landmark Farming Systems Trial is the longest running side-by-side comparison of organic and conventional agriculture. For over sixty-years, the Institute has been committed to researching the best practices for organic farming and sharing findings with farmers and scientists around the world, advocating for policies that support farmers, and educating consumers about how going organic is the healthiest option for people and the planet.

Uncle Matt’s Organic is a Florida-based, family-owned company offering premium quality organic citrus juices and organic produce. All Uncle Matt’s products have no synthetic additives or preservatives. Produce and finished products are produced under the strict regulation and guidelines of Quality Certification Services, the largest and most respected organic certifier in Florida. Products are available in health food stores and at Whole Foods and other supermarkets nationwide. The company is an active member of Organic Trade Association (OTA) and supports the Organic Farming Research Foundation and the Rodale Institute.

More details are online at www.rodaleinstitute.org/your2cents

Why trust organic?

Monday, June 13th, 2011

The organic system is designed to verify that federally regulated organic production and processing methods are followed.

benefits of organic

That is why U.S. organic standards require:

Uncle Matt’s niece, Michaela, featured in the Orlando Sentinel!

Thursday, April 21st, 2011
By Sara ShecKler, CORRESPONDENT
April 20, 2011

CLERMONT — A mandatory class assignment for the Lake County regional science fair led Michaela McLean, an eighth-grader at Windy Hill Middle School, to recently win first place in the fair’s environmental science division.

Her project bested nearly 150 others submitted by middle-schoolers across the county.

“A Comparison of Organic and Synthetic Fertilizers and Their Nitrogen-Leaching Effect on the Florida Aquifer” netted Michaela, 13, a $50 savings bond from area business Brown and Caldwell and $100 from the Lake Soil and Water Conservation District as the overall county winner.

Michaela’s project “hit close to home,” said her mother, Annie McLean. Michaela’s father, Ben McLean III; her grandfather, Benny McLean Jr.; and her uncle Matt McLean work in the citrus industry and “hold a passion for farming sustainably and responsibly.” Matt McLean founded Uncle Matt’s Organic, a Clermont business, in 1999.

“Michaela comes from a Florida citrus-growing family dating back five generations,” her mother said.

Michaela’s project confirmed that when nitrogen rates were equal, organic fertilizer sources would leach much less nitrogen than their synthetic counterparts. Her findings have applications for environmental and human health, the purity of the Floridan aquifer and the state’s drinking-water supply.

“I am very happy about winning and feel a sense of accomplishment,” Michaela said. “The project took a lot of hard work and I am glad to see that it paid off.”

She chose her topic “because my family has a passion for growing citrus, especially organic,” said Michaela, who is in Windy Hill’s drama program and also has been a competitive dancer for the past seven years with Shooting Stars School of Performing Arts in Clermont.

Source: Copyright © 2011, Orlando Sentinel

Uncle Matt’s 7-Day Countdown to Earth Day Is Helping Save the Atlantic Rainforest

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

April 14, 2011 –– Clermont, FL –– Uncle Matt’s announced today for every “like” it receives on Facebook between April 14 and Earth Day, April 22, it will plant one tree by contributing $1 per tree to The Nature Conservancy’s Plant a Billion Trees campaign with a minimum of $250 and a maximum contribution of $2,000.

“In honor of Earth Day and with the popularity of social media, we thought this was a fun, easy, and free way for consumers to raise support and awareness for a worthwhile environmental cause like replenishing the rainforest,” says Matt McLean, founder and CEO of Uncle Matt’s Organic. “My hope is to inspire other companies to continue this fundraising trend, in hopes of reaching The Nature Conservancy’s goal of a billion trees planted. Let’s ‘plant it forward.'”

The Conservancy is working with local partners to bring the Atlantic Forest back from the brink — restoring 1 million acres of land by helping plant 1 billion trees by 2015. This restoration effort has the potential to remove 4 million tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year.

As a not-for-profit organization, the Conservancy has been listed as a “Wise Giving Alliance” accredited charity by the Better Business Bureau and has received high charity ratings from Charity Navigator and the American Institute of Philanthropy. Visit the www.plantabillion.org to find out more about the reforestation project or www.nature.orgto learn more about the Conservancy. To learn more about how to help “plant it forward,” contact info@unclematts.com.

Uncle Matt’s Organic is a Florida-based, family-owned company offering premium quality organic citrus juices and organic produce. All Uncle Matt’s products have no synthetic additives or preservatives. Produce and finished products are produced under the strict regulation and guidelines of Quality Certification Services, the largest and most respected organic certifier in Florida. Products are available in health food stores and at Whole Foods and other supermarkets nationwide. The company is an active member of Organic Trade Association (OTA) and supports the Organic Farming Research Foundation.

For more information, contact:

Annemarie McLean, Public Relations
Uncle Matt’s Organic
P.O. Box 120387
Clermont, FL 34712
E-mail: annemarie@UncleMatts.com
Tel.: 352.394.8737