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Farm to Table and 8 Amazing Foods

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The Farm to Table movement and 8 amazing foods to find at your local farmers market

The Movement
From farm to table also known as from farm to fork is a movement that ensures the protection of health and human life in the interests of consumers.

The farm to table expression refers to the stages of food production: harvesting, storage, processing, packaging, sales and consumption. From farm to fork is also a movement that is concerned with the local production, distribution and consumption of food promoted by farmers and restaurants.

The farm to table advocates for fresh ingredients and also attempts to educate consumers about the links between farmers, farming communities, ancient farming practices and what we eat. Public rejection of genetically modified foods has given this movement a political character. Farm to fork restaurants buy ingredients directly from farmers. Those who choose this route generally offer better and healthier meals to their customers. The movement from farm to fork follows current trends in food safety, freshness, seasonality and small agricultural economies.

Advocates of the farm-to-fork concept find their motivation:
▪ In the shortage of fresh ingredients
▪ In the shortage of local ingredients
▪ In the lack of flavour of ingredients that come from long distances, to which they are usually added preservatives and which are nutritionally poor
▪ In the growing movement of genetically modified foods, which are introduced daily into our economy
▪ In the disappearance of family farms
▪ In the disappearance of indigenous and open-pollinated varieties of fruit and vegetables
▪ The danger of a concentrated system of food production and marketing

Recently, some authors began to describe a philosophical division among chefs: those who defend “food as art”, in some cases molecular gastronomy who have focused on transforming ingredients so that they are not recognized in food, so that they generate surprise and delight.  On the other hand, Chefs from farm to fork are increasingly advocating the use of extremely fresh, unmodified, raw, and, if possible, nearby ingredients.

Farm to fork chefs generally believe in traditional cuisine with an emphasis on fresh, seasonal ingredients, regional ingredients and simple confectionery.

8 amazing foods to find at your local farmers market
To be honest, foods from local market farmers tastes a lot better. However, that should not be the only reason you need to begin hitting up your every week market. Whether it’s the health of the earth you care for or your own health, there are more than enough reasons to support and patronise local farmers, which include buying vegetables with higher levels of antioxidant that are not sprayed or fumigated with toxic chemicals. On top of that, you are advocating and supporting less-toxic food production if you are patronising the local farmers’ market. Another fact to consider is, you might be saving some farms while you are getting that fresh and best-tasting food you enjoy so much!  The following are 8 amazing foods to find at your local farmers market:

Tomatoes
Have you ever for once eaten a fresh-from-the-vine tomato before? I bet you need to try it if you have never, and if you have, then you should probably know the difference between a tomato that has been sitting on a produce shelf for some days and the tomato that is a fresh-picked one. The difference is clear! If you visit your local farmers’ market, you will find different types of tomatoes in addition to those at your favourite grocery store.

Carrots
If I ask you what the colours of carrots are, you are probably going to say orange. Well, you may be right; however, they come in different colours which can only be found at your local farmers’ market. You will find rainbow-coloured, purple or white carrots at a lot of farmers’ market, which you cannot find that at your grocery store. And many of these colourful carrots are higher in antioxidants compared to normal orange carrot you always see at the grocery store and they have the same familiar taste. Visit a local farmer’s market today!

Peaches
Do you know when peaches taste best? It’s in the summer. However, most of them are imported and they are treated with different types of pesticide compared to any other fruit. You need to buy from the local farmers market!

Berries
Your favourite berries such as strawberries, blueberries and raspberries may look fresh when you see them at your grocery store, but the truth is most of them are imported from far away countries such as Poland, South America, Canada and Mexico. One thing is their taste is nothing compared to freshly-picked berries from local farmers’ market.

Grapes
The grapes you find at your grocery store may be a lot bigger compared to the grapes you can find at your local farmers’ market, but the taste of the ones at the local farmers market is something to be experienced!

Asparagus
Asparagus is vitamin-packed, but the ones you can find at your grocery store are mostly shipped in from Peru. Here is the thing; USDS demands that every imported asparagus be fumigated with a pesticide known as methyl bromide, a chemical that has raised suspicions of causing cancer. Do you need more reason to support your local farm market?

Onions
Just like berries, onions are also imported from Peru. And aside from the fact that this affects the flavour, it also brings some serious concerns. According to a research in 2008, the primary pesticide used on onions in Peru, methamidophos is linked with causing damage to the sperm of the farmers.

Grass-fed beef
Aside from the fact that grass-fed beef tastes better, in general, animals raised feeding on grass tend to produce 8% lower greenhouse gas emission and 30% lower ammonia levels compared to corn-fed animals raised in confinement. On top of that, grass-fed beef helps to prevent heart disease and also boosts brain power due to the fact that they are higher in omega-3 fatty acids. Buying from the local farm market also gives you an opportunity to ask how the farmer raised his or her animals.

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What You Know About Hydroponics

What You Know About Hydroponics

What is hydroponics?

Hydroponics is a production system in which the roots of plants are not established in the soil, but in a substrate or in the same nutritive solution used. In the nutritive solution, as its name says, the elements necessary for the plant’s growth are dissolved. History of hydroponics has developed more rapidly from experiments to determine the elements involved in plant growth. The first formal work on this production system began around 1600. However, the growth of soilless plants has been known since ancient Babylon, in the famous hanging gardens, which fed on water flowing through canals. Also, more than 1000 years ago, hydroponics was already practiced in China, India and Egypt (banks of the Nile River), which was done through rustic schemes.

In Mexico, the origins of hydroponics are the floating gardens of the Aztecs, called chinampas. The chinampas were built with reeds and vines floating in Lake Tenochtitlan (Mexico) and filled with mud extracted from it. Later in 1860 the Germans Sachs and Knop were the first to make the plants grow in a nutritive solution, calling it the nutriculture process. In 1938, W.F. Gericke, a professor at the University of California, successfully established landless farming units commercially, calling this production system hydroponics and is considered the father of this modern farming technique. Subsequently, commercial hydroponics spread throughout the world in the 1950s. Prospects and future of hydroponics have been widely used for research in the field of mineral plant nutrition and is today the most intensive method of horticultural production. Generally, this production system is a high-tech one, with a strong capital investment, which is why it is successfully applied in developed countries. Among the existing systems that stand out in hydroponics are the NFT (Nutrient Film Technique) and NGS (New Growth System) recirculation systems where the culture medium is a substrate. The most profitable hydroponic crops under these hydroponic systems are tomato, cucumber, pepper, lettuce, strawberry and cut flowers.

How did hydroponic cultivation come about?

The first publication on the growth of soilless plants appeared in 1627 in the book Sylva Sylvarum written by Sir Francis Bacon.

In 1699, John Woodward published his hydroponic experiment on mint plants, and had already found that plants grew better with water other than distilled water (because it gave them more nutrients).

By 1842, a list of the nine chemical elements believed to be essential to plants was available and Julius von Sachs and Wilhelm Knop, in 1859-65, developed the soilless cultivation technique.

In 1929, William Frederick Gericke, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley, created a great sensation by growing tomatoes in hydroponics.

It was also Gericke who introduced the term hydroponics in 1937. Researchers Hoagland and Arnon found that yields in hydroponics were no higher than those obtained from plants grown in the soil.

Hoagland created the chemical nutrient solution that bore his name and that is still used today, modified, in hydroponics.

In the 1960s, Allen Cooper developed the nutrient film technique. Recently NASA has done a lot of research on hydroponics for its ecologically controlled life support system, which might be applied to the planet Mars using LED light.

Some of the advantages of hydroponics are the following:

Water use – Crops grown using this technique require on average much less water. It is estimated that up to 90 percent of the water used for these crops can be recycled. In addition, high-salt water can be used.
High nutritional quality – They are foods highly rich in vitamins and minerals since unlike soils that suffer impoverishment due to intensive practices, hydroponic crops obtain all the minerals necessary to supply their nutritional requirements and form a strong and healthy plant structure.
Tasty food – The taste, colour, aroma and texture of food is determined by the quality of nutrition received by the crops during their development. For this reason, hydroponic crops are very tasty.
In any environmental condition – Hydroponics allows the cultivation in controlled atmosphere, being possible to produce food in all climates and in any type of soil.
No agrochemicals required – Replacing the soil with inorganic substrate protects the plant from all the diseases that come from organic life in the soil, such as fungi, bacteria and insects, which are responsible for 90% of crop diseases.
Much less space is used than is used for traditional crops.
 
By using less space or territory, production costs are significantly reduced.
Crop growth can be better controlled, so the possibility of fungus, weeds or pests is much lower than in traditional crops.
It is estimated that this type of crop grows two or three times faster than the traditional way.
The climate is no longer a determining variable for cultivation so that one can make a production of a tropical plant in a place that is not and vice versa. In the same way, this type of crop does not suffer from changes in temperatures or the lack or abundance of rainfall.
The cost of hydroponic cultivation is very low and its rate of return high, so it is often an excellent investment opportunity.
You can generate hydroponic crops in your own home without having to be a specialist in plant production or agriculture.
Local production – Hydroponics can be practiced anywhere as it does not require fertile land, making it possible to produce vegetables near urban and peri-urban consumption centres, reducing transport costs and associated carbon emissions.

Conclusion

A simple way to define hydroponics is as an agricultural technique that allows plants to be produced without using the soil. In the absence of soil, the roots of plants grow in a solid and inert medium, which supports and protects them, this medium is called substrate. This is hydrated through an irrigation system where a solution of nutrients is applied to the plant throughout its life; these nutrients are known as hydroponic solution.

The word hydroponics literally translates as “work in water” as it is derived from the Greek words hydro (water) and ponos(labor), it is not only farming on water, currentlythe trend is the search for soil substitutes through substrates.

Because hydroponics is based on scientific principles and because there are universities and institutions looking for an easy way to spread it, hydroponics has become a simple way to obtain food in the US and Latin American countries like Mexico.

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