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Greek Salad with Falafel and Quinoa

greek salad with falafel and quinoa

This weather has me craving fresh, vibrant salads that are full of life! Does anyone else FEEL the energy they get from eating leafy greens and ripe, juicy tomatoes?

Greens are some of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. They are rich in antioxidants and vitamins and iron. They help to detoxify and hydrate the body. And right now at the farmer’s market, there are tons of greens to choose from: mizuna, arugula, spinach, lettuce, baby kale, sorrel and more. If you’re not familiar, they each really do have their own personality. You should be able to ask for a sample of each kind before you buy at your local market.

And if you think salads are what your food eats, don’t worry, you won’t be hungry an hour later. Both the quinoa and chickpeas in the falafel add a healthy dose of plant protein that even my meat-eating man loved.

Falafel are a Middle Eastern/Mediterranean chickpea patty mixed with herbs and spices. Typically, they’re rolled into balls and fried like hushpuppies, but I like mine more like a slider. Our version is made with tons of garlic and enough fresh parsley and cilantro to turn them bright green. They are so fresh and full of flavor. You can dip them in a tzatiki sauce for a snack, wrap in a pita sandwich, or try this amazing-albeit, unexpected – salad.

This Greek Salad with Falafel and Quinoa is great with either green or black olives. It’s light, yet filling – and like most simple meals, since there are only a few ingredients, it’s best to use the highest quality you can. If you had feta on hand, you could add that for another special touch.And our Healthy Harvest Lemon Garlic dressing adds a boost of live active cultures to support digestion.

 

Greek Salad with Falafel and Quinoa
 
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A light, bright vegetarian entree salad for spring and summer.
Author:
Serves: 2-4 servings
Ingredients
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
  • 1½ cups fresh parsley leaves, tightly-packed
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, tightly-packed
  • ½ cup diced white or red onion
  • ⅓ cup rice flour
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 4-5 tablespoons HH Greek extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups greens, washed and chopped
  • 2 cups quinoa, cooked as directed
  • handful HH olives
  • 2-3 small tomatoes, cut in wedges
  • ½ cup red onlon, thinly sliced
Instructions
  1. Add garlic, chickpeas, cilantro, parsley, onion, flour, lemon juice, baking powder, salt, cumin and black pepper to a food processor. Pulse until smooth and evenly mixed, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed. If the mixture is too goeey, add a little more flour. They turn out best if the batter has been chilled, but you fry them right away as well.
  2. Take a spoonful of mixture and form into a small disk with your hands. You could make all your disks on parchment paper first, but I just form them as I drop them into the oil.
  3. Heat oil in a large cast-iron or heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat until it is shimmering. (If you add a drop of water to the oil, it should sizzle.) The key to perfect crispiness is a hot pan and not too much oil. Carefully transfer 4 or 5 falafel disks to the hot oil and fry for 2-3 minutes per side, or until both sides of the disk are browned. Transfer to a plate. Then repeat with the remaining falafel disks, adding extra oil to the pan if need be.
  4. To prepare, assemble a bed of greens. Top with heaping serving of quinoa. Place tomato wedges and olives evenly around plate. Add falafel. Dress with lemon juice and a liberal drizzle HH Greek or use True Tuscan for an extra special treat. Or try our Lemon Greek dressing. Additionally, you could add crumbled feta.

 

 

Spring Farm-To-Table Frittata

The farmer’s markets have finally started and we couldn’t be more thrilled. I am SO ready for fresh, local produce full of aliveness and vitality. When I eat veggies grown by my community, I can FEEL the energy as I eat it.

And if you think there’s not much in season yet, think again! I made this Spring Farm To Table Fritatta mostly with ingredients from yesterday’s Boulder County Farmer’s Market 

We got spinach from Toohey & Sons Organic, shallots, mushrooms from Hazel Dell Mushrooms, goat cheese from Haystack Mountain Cheese, and of course our Healthy Harvest Oregano Green Olives.

But no matter what you picked up at the market or have in the fridge, you can use whatever you have on hand to make this frittata. Frittatas are basically an Italian crustless quiche. It’s a one-pan meal that is so quick and easy to make on a Sunday and eat for breakfast or lunch throughout the week. Simply sautee whatever veggies or mix-ins you want, wisk together eggs and cream with a little S&P, then add the eggs to the veggies, pop it in the oven, and voila!

Share your farm to table meals and and tag us on Facebook or Instagram @healthyharvests or by using the hashtag #eatrealfood.

Happy Market Season Everyone!

Spring Farm-To-Table Frittata
 
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A versatile dish that goes from breakfast to dinner and easily works with whatever mix-ins you choose.
Author:
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup thinly slice shallots or onions
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1½ cups spinach, washed and chopped
  • 1-2 oz goat cheese
  • 6 large eggs
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high. Add shallots, season with salt and pepper, and cook until light golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and stir until fragrant. Add spinach and mushrooms, cook until spinach is wilted. Add olives.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and cream. Add to skillet and stir to combine. Place small dollops of goat cheese evenly around mixture and bake until center of quiche is just set, 30-40 minutes.
  4. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

Vegan Olive and Artichoke Tart

When I found this Vegan Olive and Artichoke Tart by Green Evi, I knew it would be the perfect special occasion spring dish for Easter. It looks elegant, is simple to throw together, and has easy to find ingredients.

The Mediterranean flavors of artichokes and olives combined with the nutty hummus-like vegan filling pair perfectly with the warm, flaky crust. You could make any type of tart or quiche crust you prefer, but I was lazy, so I used store bought puff pastry. 

You start off by thawing the puff pastry and preheating the oven to 400 degrees. Then, mix together creamy cannelini beans, cashews, nutritional yeast, mustard, lemon juice, herbs, salt and pepper in a blender for the filling. Press your puff pastry into a pan of your choice and trim the excess. Use a fork to poke a few holes in the crust. Pour in half of the filling mixture. Next, layer the artichokes and olives. Top with the remaining filling and bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown.

This recipe would make a great brunch for Easter celebrations or served for lunch alongside a salad of fresh greens. Post your pictures on Facebook or Instagram and tag @healthyharvests.

Vegan Olive and Artichoke Tart
 
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Vegan olive and artichoke tart with cannelini beans, cashews, and Italian herbs.
Author:
Recipe type: brunch, main dish
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup of cashews, preferably soaked
  • 1 can of cannellini beans
  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • 1 lemon, juice
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2-4 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1.5 tsp oregano
  • 1.5 tsp basil
  • 1 tbsp savory (optional)
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 can of artichoke hearts
  • 15 pitted Healthy Harvest black olives
  • 1 pack of puff pastry, make sure it's vegan
  • Healthy Harvest olive oil
  • salt, pepper
Instructions
  1. Add cashews, beans, mustard, lemon juice, garlic, nutritional yeast, herbs, starch, salt, pepper and about ⅔ cup of water*** to a blender and blend until completely smooth.
  2. Press puff pastry into your baking forms. I used a large 9-inch dish, but you can use 2-4 smaller dishes instead. Prick pastry with a fork a few times.
  3. Spread half of the cashew-bean mixture over the bottom of the tart, then layer artichoke hearts and olives. Pour the rest of the mixture on top.
  4. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 400°F. Let stand for 5-10 minutes and drizzle with olive oil just before serving. Enjoy!

 

Why I Created Healthy Harvest Facial Oils

Please enjoy this guest post by our dear friend Stephanie Tourles, creator of our silky soft nourishing Olive Essentials Facial Oils.

Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Stephanie Tourles, and I’m a licensed holistic esthetician, herbalist, certified aromatherapist, and author of 12 books on the subjects of natural skin and body care, raw food nutrition, and topically-applied herbal remedies.  I’ve written and taught about the benefits of pure, natural skin and body care for nearly 30 years, as well as created recipes and products.  I care about the purity of what goes onto my own skin and I care about what goes onto yours. I’m absolutely passionate about high quality, plant-derived, totally chemical-free skin care!

I discovered that they consisted primarily of water, synthetic skin softeners such as diethanolamine (a skin irritant and hormone disruptor), chemical exfoliating acids, a synthetic vitamin or two, propylene glycol (a cheap petroleum byproduct) artificial fragrance, and preservatives

Let me share a bit of back story with you as to why I began to develop facial oil blends in the first place.  

In the mid-1990s, I decided to see what all the hoopla was about concerning the highly touted “youthifying” commercial facial serums that many cosmetic companies were launching.  These ½-ounce to 1-ounce bottles of promise came at a hefty price – starting at around $50.00 per bottle, which was quite a sum back then.  After a bit of ingredient sleuthing, I discovered that they consisted primarily of water, synthetic skin softeners such as diethanolamine (a skin irritant and hormone disruptor), chemical exfoliating acids, a synthetic vitamin or two, propylene glycol (a cheap petroleum byproduct) artificial fragrance, and preservatives. To say the least, they were an undesirable “cocktail for the face.”   

So I decided to experiment and create my own natural, highly beneficial versions of these commercial serums using all manner of nourishing ingredients. The result:  herbal-infused and/or essential oil-based facial oil blends that your skin will literally drink!  For years, I wrote about my discoveries and taught women – and a few men – how to make their own. People were beginning to desire “clean skin care” . . . and they still are!

So why did I decide to formulate facial oils using Healthy Harvest’s Tuscan olive oil?  

In December of 2015, Karl Burgart, owner of Healthy Harvest, sent me a sample of his new unrefined, unfiltered, raw, low-acid, enzyme-rich, organic, high polyphenol count (read: high in antioxidants), Tuscan olive oil, intending me to consume it, which I did…but I also applied it to my skin one evening after my routine cleansing as a substitute for my regular moisturizer.  Well, let me tell you, that’s all it took . . . I awoke the next morning with dewy soft, smooth, unusually velvety skin. My 53-year-old skin glowed and felt comfortable! I just knew that I had to formulate a couple of exquisite facial oils for Healthy Harvest. 

“Think of these facial oils as skin food.”

Tuscan olive oil is different . . . it’s light and silky upon the skin – unlike many olive oils – which tend to be moderately heavy. Think of these facial oils as skin food – essential nourishment for the health of your face, neck, chest, and hands (the texture of your hands will greatly benefit each time you apply these – so be sure to massage it in well).

Additionally, I included organic and wildcrafted essential oils into these formulations with properties known to tone & tighten the skin, aid in healing, reduce inflammation, rejuvenate aging skin, improve conditions of psoriasis, eczema, and rosacea, and help prevent scar formation immediately post injury, plus they soothe and calm the psyche.

In every skin care book I write or class I teach, I always stress the importance of understanding the following:   Your skin EATS or absorbs up to 60% of what is applied to it. So, if good-for-you ingredients can affect your skin (and even muscle tissue or bloodstream), so can the potentially irritating synthetic colors, fragrances, and artificial ingredients – which I suggest that you avoid. Your skin is your largest organ, your “living hide,” so to speak – a living, breathing, and excreting organism – not just an inert covering.  The ingredients in Healthy Harvest’s Olive Essentials Facial Oils No. 1 and No. 2 are totally biocompatible with your body – your body will recognize the natural nutrients in the olive oil and beneficial properties of the essential oils.  Your cells will literally drink them up . . . thus aiding in healing, nourishing, rejuvenating, comforting, restoring, and “youthifying” your skin.  

How To Use Healthy Harvest Olive Essentials Facial Oils

Both facial oils are designed to be used INSTEAD of your regular moisturizer, twice daily.  The facial oils actually seal in the important moisture remaining on your skin from your toner/astringent/hydrosol – after you’ve cleansed – and truly nourish your skin, leaving it feeling fabulous, toned, tightened, plump, and lifted, with diminished wrinkle visibility – prolonging the youthful qualities and functions of your skin. Please don’t be afraid of using an oil on your face.  It only takes 4-8 drops with each application and rapidly penetrates.  The beautiful Italian and Greek peoples have used pure olive oil on their skin and hair for thousands of years – much to their benefit.  Many often appear younger than their years well up into their 80s and beyond.

Olive Essentials Facial Oils are guaranteed to contain no synthetic fragrances, silicones, mineral oils, parabens, GMO ingredients, phthalates, propylene glycol, DEA, EDTA, acrylates, nano technology, BHT, or any other questionable ingredients. No animal testing.

Olive Essentials Facial Oils No. 1 and No. 2 contain minimal ingredients that are exquisitely effective . . . Organic Tuscan olive oil plus absolutely pure organic or ethically wild-harvested essential oils. That’s it . . . and that’s all you need for glorious, healthy skin – in addition to good food and lifestyle habits (but you already know that).

This is what small-batch, artisinal skin care is all about – made by hand using superior quality ingredients offered by Mother Nature – not merely concocted in a chemist’s lab with the main focus being profit.  Karl and I want you to have the VERY BEST for your skin . . . and want to be transparent about our product’s ingredients!  Guaranteed purity, incredible effectiveness, with no useless filler. With consistent use, your skin will thank you with healthy radiance!

For more information about Stephanie Tourles, her books, events, podcasts, videos, and to follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and sign up for her monthly blog, visit her website www.stephanietourles.com

Zucchini Roll-ups with Herbed Goat Cheese and Olives

vegetarian zucchini herbed goat cheese rollups with olivesImagine you’re having guests over for dinner and you need a quick snack before the meal is ready…or you’re going to a party and you definitely want to bring something homemade, but it has to be easy…This is the perfect recipe for you. It is light, fresh, and perfect for spring. It looks classy, but takes zero effort. And in the spring and summer, you’ll likely have the ingredients on hand.

You can make these using a saute pan, but grilling the zucchini will really enhance the flavor and eye appeal.

You simply cut the zucchini into 1/2 inch thick slices, brush them with Healthy Harvest Greek Olive Oil, grill a few minutes on each side, add the goat cheese and olive mixture, roll ’em up, and voila!

Related: Read why Healthy Harvest Greek extra virgin olive oil is better

You could add your own favorite herb mixture to a plain chevre, but we took the easy road and used our local favorite Haystack Mountain goat cheese. You’ll find us next to them at the Boulder County Farmer’s Market starting April 1. We can’t wait! Local produce, friends, fresh air…What else could you ask for on a Saturday?

So grab these 3 simple ingredients at your next local market (See our Market Calendar) and let us know how these Zucchini Roll-ups with Herbed Goat Cheese and Olives turned out!

Click here to buy your raw, fermented Greek Koutsourelia Olives for this recipe.

Zucchini Roll-ups with Herbed Goat Cheese and Olives
 
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Quick and easy vegetarian appetizer that looks fancy but takes zero effort.
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer, Vegetarian
Serves: 8-10 rolls
Ingredients
  • 1 very large or 3 small zucchini
  • Healthy Harvest Greek olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3½ oz. herbed goat cheese (We love local Haystack!)
  • 1½ oz. (about 7 or 8) kalamata olives, finely chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat grill to high heat or saute pan to medium-high.
  2. Slice a strip lengthwise from the zucchini to expose the inside of the vegetable. Discard or reserve for another use. Cut the 2 ends from the zucchini to make straight edges. Cut the zucchini lengthwise into ½-inch strips.
  3. Brush both sides of the zucchini pieces liberally with Healthy Harvest Greek olive oil. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Lay the zucchini pieces on the grill at a 45-degree angle (for more attractive grill marks). Cook until the zucchini is very tender, but not mushy, about 3 minutes per side.
  4. Remove zucchini from the grill and drape over cooling rack.
  5. Place goat cheese in a medium bowl. Stir olives into the goat cheese.
  6. Spread a layer of the goat cheese mixture onto one side of each zucchini piece. Gently roll each piece of zucchini. Serve.

 

Savory Lentil Pancakes with Olives

lentil, vegetarian recipe, gluten free

A handful of Healthy Harvest’s Greek koutsourelia olives make a great snack on their own, but adding just a few to a recipe can completely transform its flavor, making it exceptional. Plus, they’ll add a boost of healthy fats and antioxidants.

Related: Read what makes our olive unique here

I love making veggie patties. You might have seen my Spicy Lentil Veggie Burgers last summer. It’s so easy to mix together the ingredients, then leave the bowl in the fridge until you’re ready to fry them. I’ve made a ton of different varieties, but these Savory Lentil Pancakes with Olives are by far my favorite. They are great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner depending on what you pair them with.  I ate them with a side of sautéed swiss chard and loved it, but I think they would be OUTTA THIS WORLD with some Cucumber Yogurt Sauce, so I’ll have to update next time I make them.

vegetarian recipe, vegan, gluten free

This time around, I used red lentils, rinsing them, then boiling for 15 minutes. Then, I drained the cooked lentils as much as I could before adding them to a bowl with the rest of the ingredients.

Here’s where it gets fun. You mash everything together. Now, you can do this with a boring old fork, or dig right in with your hands. The mix should be a batter-like consistency. If it’s too wet to form into patties, simply mix in a little more almond flour.

This recipe is great, because it’s easily adaptable for vegans, people with gluten sensitivities, and everyone else. I used nutritional yeast, almond flour, and rice flour to help bind the mixture, but you could substitute an egg and/or breadcrumbs if you wish. (See recipe for details.)

After the mixture is well incorporated, heat a pan or griddle to just below medium-high, add a tablespoon of Healthy Harvest Greek extra virgin olive oil, and fry until golden brown as you would any other pancake.

Related: UC-Davis Find 86% of US Olive Oil Doesn’t Meet Standards

The key is to not touch or flip the cake until it’s nice and golden, so they don’t fall apart. Top with fresh herbs, a sprinkle of paprika, a couple olives, and a wedge of lemon, and voila, you have a crispy, savory, flavor-filled hashbrown of sorts that’s really good for you!

This could be a great meatless recipe to try during your lenten celebrations this spring. Comment below to let me know what you paired it with our share your pics on Instagram and tag @healthyharvests #eatrealfood
vegetarian recipe lentils gluten free vegan

Savory Lentil Pancakes with Olives
 
Author:
Serves: 8 pancakes
Ingredients
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed and hard pieces removed
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbsps ground flax seeds + 3 Tbsps water (or one large egg)
  • 4 Tbsps nutritional yeast
  • ½ cup sliced Healthy Harvest black olives
  • ⅓ cup almond flour
  • ⅓ cup rice flour (or replace both flours with ⅔ cup breadcrumbs)
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
  • Healthy Harvest Greek extra virgin oil, for frying
Instructions
  1. Mix the ground flax and water in a small bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to thicken.
  2. Add lentils in a pot and cover them with water. From the moment they start boiling, let them boil for about 15 minutes and then remove from heat.
  3. Strain the lentils very well and put them in a large bowl. Start mashing them a little, using a fork.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients, except oil.
  5. Using a fork, or your hands, start mixing the composition. It has to be sticky and easy to shape. If it’s not just add more almond flour/breadcrumbs until it has a dough-like consistency.
  6. Heat a pan with oil. Form a ball and use a spatula to flatten into a pancake on the frying pan and let it fry about 2 minutes on each side.

 

 

Lemon Olive Oil Cakes

It’s starting to feel a little like Spring, so Jonathan, the baker in our family, made these light, spongy Lemon Olive Oil cakes that will add a little sunshine to your day. Baking with heart healthy Healthy Harvest Greek olive oil will help your treats last longer and give them a fluffier texture.

And these could easily be served sweet or savory. We topped them with a lemony glaze and enjoy them alongside a cup of tea. But you could add a little time and have them as a savory side as well.

Try these for yourself and let me know what you think in the comments!

Lemon Olive Oil Cakes
 
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A light and bright olive oil cake with a hint of sweetness and lemon
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Serves: 12 muffins
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1⅓ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup Healthy Harvest Greek extra virgin olive oil
  • ⅔ cup whole milk
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh thyme, plus sprigs for garnish
  • For the Glaze:
  • 1½ cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2½ to 3 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1 to 2 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Prepare the cakes: Brush 12-cup muffin pan with the melted butter. Lightly dust with flour and shake out the excess.
  2. Pulse the granulated sugar and lemon zest in a blender until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, then gradually pour in the olive oil and milk, pulsing until emulsified into a thin batter, about 30 seconds. Don't over mix or the cakes will be too puffy.
  3. Whisk 1 cup flour, the baking powder, salt and 1 teaspoon thyme in a small bowl. Add to the blender in 2 batches, pulsing lightly until just combined; stop to scrape down the sides of the blender as needed. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the cakes just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and spring back when lightly touched, 22 to 25 minutes for a 12-cup muffin pan. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then loosen the sides with a small knife and invert the cakes onto a rack.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the glaze: Whisk the confectioners' sugar, lemon juice and butter until smooth, adding more lemon juice if the mixture is too thick. Drizzle over the warm cakes and garnish with thyme sprigs.

 

How is Olive Oil Tested For Quality?

Not all olive oils are the same. From pomace to olive oil to extra virgin olive oil, US and International Standards require a variety of analyses for quality and grade. Read on for the different tests performed and how Healthy Harvest oils stack up. 

Free Fatty Acid Content is commonly called the “percent
acidity” or “free acidity percent”. High values are a rough
indicator of poor fruit quality or improper handling prior to
milling. Free acidity arises with the hydrolytic breakdown
of the oil. Free Acidity is  measured as percent (%) free
fatty acids expressed as oleic acid, the predominant fatty
acid in olive oil.

Extra virgin grade olive oil must be below 1% acidity. Healthy Harvest Greek tested at .27% acidity. Healthy Harvest True Tuscan contains .08% acidity.


Peroxide Value is a rough indicator of the amount of
primary oxidation within the oil. A high value indicates
that the olive fruit or paste was likely handled improperly.
Olive oil with high peroxide value may not keep well.
Peroxide is measured by a quantitative chemical analysis
and is expressed as milliequivalent of free oxygen per
kilogram of oil (meq O2/kg).

HH Greek: 7.95

HH True Tuscan:9.49


Ultraviolet (UV) absorbency is an indicator of oxidation,
especially in oils that have been refined. Measured with a
spectrophotometer, the value of UV light absorbance at
different wavelengths indicates the quantity of oxidized
compounds present in the oil. Pomace and refined oils
have higher values than virgin oils.

Total Phenol is the aggregate measure of polyphenol
content in the olive oil or fruit. As polyphenols are a key
antioxidant component in olive oil, Total Phenol is an
indicator of the oil’s potential shelf life, its style and
health benefits. Total Phenol in olive fruit before harvest
can help select optimal harvest time to maximize
polyphenol content in oil. Total Phenol is normally
expressed as milligram equivalent of Gallic (or Caffeic)
acid per kilogram of oil (mg/kg).

HH Greek 140 mg/kg

HH True Tuscan: 441 mg/kg

Oleuropein and Hydroxytyrosol: these two polyphenols
are the most abundant and have also been claimed to
confer the health benefits of olive oil.

Fatty Acid Composition: this is the detailed breakdown
of the fatty acids present in the oil, which may help
distinguish olive oil from other oils.

Diacylglycerols (DAGs) measure the proportion of 1,2
diacylglycerols in the oil, that decreases with storage,
overtime. It correlates inversely  with the starting FFA
content of the oil after milling.

Pyropheophytin (PPPs) are the natural products of
chlorophyl decomposition occurring during storage, and
when oil is exposed to elevated temperatures, as in
refining.

Sensory Analysis is the evaluation of an oil’s
organoleptic attributes, which are appreciated through
the senses of smell and taste. Sensory analysis is an
essential part of evaluating olive oil quality. 

HH Greek: mild, buttery, slightly grassy

HH True Tuscan: robust, peppery

 

Polyphenols and Antioxidants in Olive Oil

Since we found our True Tuscan extra virgin olive oil, we knew it was special. Its robust, peppery taste delights the palate, lingering even after its left your mouth, and it’s the only extra virgin olive oil we’ve found in ten years of searching that is actually made mostly from olives native to Tuscany. After reviewing hundreds of Italian EVOOs, all but True Tuscan contain only 10% native Frantoio olives. Healthy Harvest True Tuscan is a 50/50 blend of early harvest Frantoio and Moraiolo olives. Not only is the Frantoio olive rare, but Moraiolo olives are one of the varieties especially high in phenols.

What are phenols?

Polyphenols are an important type of antioxidant in olive oil, which absorb harmful free radicals and have been clinically proven to reduce inflammation, leading to a number of health benefits from improving cardiovascular health to reducing the risk of certain types of cancer.

Which olive oils have polyphenols?

All real, pure extra virgin olive oils have polyphenols, but there is a spectrum that correlates with taste. The more phenols the oil contains, the more bitter it tastes. Olive oils perceived as mild typically have less than 180 mg/kg total phenols, while robust oils generally have more than 300 mg/kg. Lab reports show that Healthy Harvest True Tuscan contains 442 mg/kg total phenols.

So while Healthy Harvest Greek is rich in antioxidants but mild enough to use as a daily cooking oil,  True Tuscan packs a powerhouse of phenols and a strong flavor that makes an amazing finishing oil or dipping oil. A generous drizzle adds pronounced flavor and character to any dish.

For more detailed information on polyphenols in olive oil, visit agbiolab_Polyphenols.

Organic vs Conventional Produce

There are a number of reasons why people choose to eat organic. Some eat organically in hopes of providing better nutrition to their families. Others aim to avoid chemicals and pesticides in their foods. And still others choose organic to protect the soil and the freedom of farmers.

But does buying organic really make a difference? The USDA and the chemical giants like Monsanto insist that pesticides and genetically modified crops are safe. Is it really worth spending the extra money?

I recognize that just trying to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and cut out processed foods can be a challenge in and of itself. It can seem hard to know where to start. But all lifestyle changes start with small positive habits that stick. We’re not here to condemn anyone. We just want to share just how good life can be with a little mindfulness.

Here are a few reasons why our family at Healthy Harvest choose to eat organic, preferably from the local farmer’s market.

Taste

Even if all the research in the world couldn’t compel you to eat organic, I would encourage you personally experience the overwhelming difference in taste between the produce you buy in grocery stores and the produce sold at your local farmers market.

In the year that I have worked for Healthy Harvest, I have had the best apples, plums, peaches, melons, greens, squash, eggs, mushrooms, and garlic I have ever tasted in my entire life. Eating these foods was an EXPERIENCE. My face literally lit up with joy when those incredibly vibrant flavors hit my taste buds. It made me seriously question what I had been eating for the 26 years before.

Put it to the test. Organic food tastes better. And local organic food is as good as it gets. Produce in the store is usually picked before it’s ripe so that it has time to travel across the country or the globe without going bad before it gets to you. When you buy from local farmers, your fruits and veggies are often only HOURS old, slow ripened by the sun, making it even more nutritious. Which brings me to my next point…

Nutrition

There is much debate as to whether organic foods are more nutritious. However, a 2014 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition analyzed 343 studies of organic and conventional foods over the past several decades and found that “organic fruits and vegetables deliver between 20 and 40 percent higher antioxidant activity.” Antioxidants protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals.

Honestly, considering most Americans’ diets, we’d be better off just eating more fruits and vegetables in general, regardless whether they are conventional or organic.

Safety

However, even if the nutrition is up for debate, it is clear that organic produce has less residue from harmful pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals.

According to Consumer Reports, “Almost a third of the produce the USDA tested had residues from two or more pesticides. ‘The effects of these mixtures is untested and unknown.'”

Consumer Reports also notes “In a 2010 report on environmental cancer risks, the President’s Cancer Panel (an expert committee that monitors the country’s cancer program) wrote: “The entire U.S. population is exposed on a daily basis to numerous agricultural chemicals. … Many of these chemicals have known or suspected carcinogenic or endocrine-disrupting properties.” Endocrine disruptors can block or mimic the action of hormones, even at low doses. “Endocrine effects aren’t sufficiently factored into the EPA pesticide-tolerance levels,” Crupain says. “And there’s concern they could cause reproductive disorders; birth defects; and breast, prostate, and other hormone-related cancers.”

While the residue on conventional produce is usually lower than EPA standards, there are still much bigger risks for farmers. Studies have linked long-term pesticide exposure to increased risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease; prostate, ovarian, and other cancers; depression; and respiratory problems. And why should we want our farmers suffering?

Soil

Although the debates around nutrition and safety still lack compelling evidence, it is widely agreed that organic farming is better for the environment. Studies prove that organic farming is better for the soil, leaving it full of nutrients and greater diversity of microbes that keep the soil fertile. Organic soil also helps to sequester carbon into the soil, helping to regulate carbon in the atmosphere.

According to the Washington Post, “The organic systems in the USDA test:

●Have more-fertile soil.

●Use less fertilizer and much less herbicide.

●Use less energy.

●Lock away more carbon in the soil.

●Are more profitable for farmers.

The conventional systems:

●Have higher yields.

●Are best at reducing erosion (when a no-till system is used).

As you can see, there is still much room for debate. Scientific evidence is rarely conclusive, and when it comes to GMOs, the large majority of research is funded by chemical companies who create GMOs.

So rather than using this article to sway you either way, I really hope to encourage you to do your own research. And as you research, follow the money!

And regardless of conventional or organic, I invite you to support your local farmers and hometown economy by purchasing at least some of your groceries from farmers markets.

 

Sources:

http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2014/07/11/330760923/are-organic-vegetables-more-nutritious-after-all

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/health/natural-health/pesticides/index.htm

http://www.ask-force.org/web/Organic/Maeder-Organicfarming-2002.pdf

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/is-organic-agriculture-really-better-for-the-environment/2016/05/14/e9996dce-17be-11e6-924d-838753295f9a_story.html