I Have To Be Intentional!

I have to be intentional in my goals, my relationships and especially my health. The definition of intentional is "done on purpose, deliberate". That's what I need to focus on, to slow down and really be deliberate in the decisions that affect my health. I'm the only "ME" there is on this planet and I have a lot that I want to do while I'm here. I need to remember the purpose behind what I'm doing for my own health so I set myself up for the healthiest life I can lead.

Knowledge is power and I am continually amazed at the number of choices I have to control my own health and wellness when I slow down enough to see them. The more involved I get with my own health, the better I feel and the more energized I become to share the experiences to encourage someone else. I definitely was one of those people who "didn't know what I didn't know". I look back even five years ago and am so very grateful for the knowledge and time I've spent investing in my own health. From weekly chiropractic wellness visits (thanks to Dr. Scott Levan) and holistic dentistry (thanks to Hershey Dental Associates), for the first time in my life, I feel truly healthy overall.

So, if you're ahead of me, keep going and I'll be right behind you! If you're beside me, thank you for sharing this journey. If you're behind me, keep focused on the horizon and enjoy the individual successes along the way. It's well worth it!

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Happy New (Healthy) Year!

I'm not a big New Year's Eve person, but I AM a big New Year, fresh-start, improve-on-the- previous-year person. It's that benchmark in the year that reminds us that we can make positive changes, although requiring some attention and intention, but well within reach.

So, I started the year with my seed catalogues in hand, dreaming and planning my next organic garden season and what new, healthy thing I can add to my list.

This year, it's fermentation. It's been around for centuries, but finally getting a lot of great attention because of the health benefits. With the encouragement of a friend (or more like holding me accountable for something I've said I would do many times and hadn't done as yet), I started my first batch of sauerkraut yesterday. I invested about an hour of time on a cold, wintery day, then two months of fermenting and voila, my own sauerkraut. Seriously, that wasn't hard! With my Kindle App on my iPad close by, I virtually leafed through my fermentation book, making mental notes of the "next" thing I want to try.

Here's to a new year, continued new information about how we can make healthy food choices for ourselves and our families and to appreciating the wisdom of those who knew for hundreds of years that the more we slow down and are intentional about the food we eat, the more benefits we'll reap. Happy, Healthy New Year!

Protecting the Season!

For everything there is a season. We've all heard that before. Nothing seemed more clear than all these months waiting for the bank to get back to me about funding to finish my warehouse so we could get Meadow Creek Organics going. I had spent the last six months talking with farmers and rounding up all the various items that I need in order to be licensed as a wholesale/distributor in the State of Pennsylvania.

Each conversation would create more and more excitement in me that the dream of helping people gain more access to healthy, local food would come true. Trusted friends would encourage and support, but yet we seemed to still be far away. One day, it hit me. There is no true "season" in the banking industry. Although the farmers were coming out of their "time off" or winter planning season, we quickly came to the busy spring planting season, a time when farmers plan the extent of their crop, the varieties and how much. Remaining true to my word to the farmers was crucial to me, so I took another route and found funding another way for Meadow Creek. Luckily, I'm always ready and willing to find a Plan B, C, D or E. Now, we can complete the finishing touches on the warehouse, load in the refrigeration and bring the farm fresh food to Central Pa residents and businesses.

An Intentional Thanksgiving

This year, I wanted to see how (or if) Thanksgiving would be different if I were to be intentional about where our traditional meal came from. Although I knew the meal itself would not vary too far from what we had always prepared, I did want to source as much as possible from the Meadow Creek Organics Farm Partners as I could. It took some extra time and required more than my usual dropping by the grocery store to gather food items for Thanksgiving meal. The highlight for me was actually talking with the families who have dedicated their lives to providing healthy, sustainable produce, meat and dairy for our community. Thanks to Farm Partner, Pecan Meadow Farms for amazing Narragansette turkeys. It was fascinating to see the difference between these lean, free range turkeys and what I've always known as Thanksgiving turkey from the grocery store. The meat was delicious and again required me to be intentional about preparing it, rather than just doing what I've always done. Afterwards, cooking off the bones for broth, the difference was startling as I went to take the fat off the top to freeze the broth and found only a paperthin layer. I'm used to about 1/2 inch thick layer of fat. Obviously, these turkeys didn't just stand in a coop all day eating grain and becoming too fat to stand on their own. They were fit and trim! The dairy came from Farm Partner, The Family Cow, with their amazing milk from grass-fed Jersey cows and Trickling Springs Farm butter (made from The Family Cow milk). We had vegetables from Farm Partner, Landisdale Farms, with delicious sweet potatoes, romanesco cauliflower and kale (just to make kale chips for my southern relatives who never tried them before), and enjoyed organic applesauce and amazingly delicious organic apple cider from Farm Partner, Oyler's Organic Farms. The organic applesauce was so creamy and tasted just like it came right off the tree that morning. The apple cider was delightful either cold or warmed with a few cinnamon sticks.

So, this Thanksgiving I am intentional about thanking the people in my life who mean so much, as well as being intentional about my own health and wellness, thanks to knowing exactly where my Thanksgiving meal came from. I traded the boxes and frozen turkeys for fields and pastures. Thanks Pecan Meadow, Landisdale Farm, The Family Cow, Trickling Springs and Oyler's Organic Farms for your committment to better food for all of us!

A Mosaic of Food Systems

This journey began with an idea following a conversation with a friend who was mutually fond of organic food. As time went by and I spent time looking at starting a food business, I was humbled by the independent and interdependent pieces of this puzzle we call a food system.  My concept seemed simple, but in order to assure my customers that the products I represent are reliable, safe and provide the health and nutrition that I invision, it's a journey, not a destination. 

Stopping to think about our food and how many touches are involved in the process is nothing short of amazing.  Did you ever think that the produce you pick up at the farmer's market needs to be priced to cover the cost of a greenhouse, seed-starting medium and flats, heat for a greenhouse and labor to continually watch them as the seeds germinate, organic fertilizer (which costs more than synthetic), labor again to plant, maintain and harvest and fuel for transportation to market.  I was shocked and saddened that I spent so little time thinking about what it takes to provide fresh food for me. 

The good news is that I do now know and I have great respect for the process.  I have an organic garden, not a farm, just a 400 square foot garden.  I spend hours just tending my own vegetables.  I sometimes think back to what "a day in the life" was like for my grandparents or even for today's farmers. 

The definition of a mosaic is the assemblage of small pieces that create a pattern or picture.  Our food system can be healthy, safe and a viable business for regional and local farmers, if we broaden our focus to see the big picture and how each small piece is necessary and important.

A Life-long Passion for Organics

Meadow Creek Organics is a new business, but I've come to realize it has been a part of me from childhood. 

My passion for good, healthy food comes from growing up in West Virginia in a small town where nearly everyone grew their own food.  I know now that it was because of the economics of growing our own food, but at the time it was just what we did.  A large garden, fruit and nut trees, and a grape arbor, all were just how we did life.  I love to look back and see all the evidence that point to today.  My favorite toy was not dolls, but a farm set that had a garden, animals, fences and little bales of hay.  My dad even built a special table for me to "work on my farm" whenever I wanted.  I would spend hours wandering through the garden, picking up things that fell off the vine, mixing them together and making pretend "pies" out of them, sitting in the sun to bake. 

Spending summers on my grandparents' farms was always an adventure (and a lot of hard work).  I can't say I appreciated the experience at the time, but I do appreciate the 24/7 lifestyle choice of farming and what it means today.  Choices of vacation spots, pictures on my walls and many other subtle things are reminders that someday I would return to the farm, in some way. 

The name, Meadow Creek, is not an actual place but a picture in my mind of the view I had while sitting on my grandmother's side porch, shelling peas and looking out over the farm.  Great memories of hard work, commitment and living sustainably, well before it was trendy!