You may already know that the farmers market is one of the coolest places to hang out each week. And you probably know about the farm fresh vegetables and fruit you can find there.
But did you know that you can do most of your grocery shopping at your local farmers market? It's true! And if you don't believe us, then we're here to convince you that making the farmers market your first stop before the grocery store will not only change you health, it'll change your life!
Most cities have a farmers market and on any given day of the week, except Monday, you can find a market within a few miles of your home. So there's really no excuse to skip the market.
Just imagine how awesome your kitchen would be, stocked with farm fresh produce that was harvested just the day before, or even that morning. And then imagine your fridge stocked with fresh, small batch, healthy, homemade goods that you normally pickup at the store.
Why buy at the farmers market? Because you'll be supporting your local farmers, artisan bakers, craft food and beverage makers, and putting your money back into your community.
You'll also have the best time ever, listening to live music, mingling with your neighbors, sipping hot coffee while you shop and getting to know local vendors.
I can't speak highly enough of this idea. I want to share with you some [possibly] surprising items you can get at the farmers market that'll have you kissing that flourescent-lit grocery store good-bye.
Take a look at these 10 kitchen staples you'll enjoy shopping for at your local farmers market, as soon as this weekend:
This one's a given. Of course you're going to stop by your favorite jun kombucha vendor, JenEric Foods. But even if you can't make it all the way out to Orange, you're likely to find kombucha at any farmers market you visit, even on the road. Eric & I love checking out the local market in any city we happen to be in.
This summer we discovered the Truckee Community Farmers Market, and sure enough, they had kombucha for sale. Next time you're in the Tahoe area, be sure to sample Nash's Kombucha!
I adore buying almond and cashew butter at the farmers market. It's so good in my smoothies, on toast, dipped with sliced apple or spooned right out of the glass jar.
These days, more and more evidence points to almond butter being a healthier alternative to peanut butter, and there are two vendors that carry high quality almond butter.
Healthy Butter (right next to the JenEric booth) has a wide variety of nut butter blends, some sweet, some not, using only maple tree sap and never refined sugars. Hopkins AG offers fresh ground almond butter sweetened with a touch of honey. You'll never buy store-bought again!
Salsa & Guacamole
A staple for any party or just your own private happy hour after work. My personal favorite is Lucky Habanero's black label Private Reserve blend of tomatoes and tomatillos. The flavor is outstanding and the spice level is just right - spicy yet palatable.
Acapulco Pico (@acapicosalsa on Instagram) is another favorite salsa vendor and what I love about visiting their booth is that they also have refried beans, guacamole and soft white corn tortillas. We all know that tacos are the easiest meal to pull together and Acapulco Pico has everything you need.
Olive Oil & Vinaigrette
Say good-bye to Newman's Own or Annie's salad dressings. You can pickup an amazing vinaigrette right there at the farmers market while you buy your salad greens. We all know New Year's resolution time is coming up and you'll be keen to get your salad on.
Look for Terrace Hill olive oil to make your own dressing at home or to saute´ all those awesome veggies you just picked up. Then stop by the NuovoTerra booth for their Flor de la Patagonia vinaigrette, ready to go, out of the bottle. Just shake, pour & toss.
Vegan Cheese and Spreads
If you haven't discovered Blöde Kuh yet, you've definitely been missing out. And if you live in LA, you know exactly what I'm talking about. This all vegan all the time company brings us delectable spreads, dips and even vegan yogurt (more on that later).
Be sure to also check out newcomer, the Cultured Nutt. Owner and maker, Kaylie, makes spicy, cashew based vegan dips/spreads that are perfect for any party or snack attack. Who doesn't love a fridge full of dips?
Making jun or mead? Love honey on toast or in your tea? Then buy your honey at the farmers market! You'll find tons of variety, like all the cool honeys we use in our jun: orange blossom, sage, avocado, wildflower, buckwheat and more.
Wer-Mor Honey (@wermorhoney on Instagram) can be found at Mariner's Church in Newport on Saturdays; Honey Pacifica are at multiple farmers markets in Orange County, including Laguna Niguel on Sundays; and Backyard Bees honey is at the Orange Home Grown Market every Saturday. For allergies, local honey is the ticket. Buy nothing less.
Did I mention New Year's resolution season is coming soon? Well, here you go, green juice - the best solution for inflammation, the root of all ailments. Want to get healthier, slimmer and more energetic?
Pick up a week's supply of green juice at the farmers market and give your juicer a rest. Got Green Drinks? has a wide variety of flavors, including nut milks. Keeping cold pressed green juice in your fridge is a sure way to stay alkalized, clean and mean.
Probiotics anyone? My absolute, hands-down favorite vegan yogurt is from Blöde Kuh. They make both plain and vanilla and I adore the plain, tart variety. It's uber healthy, thick and fluffy like whipped cream, and completely, 100% healthy. No cholesterol, no sugar, probiotic-rich, satisfying and guilt free.
Dress it up any way you like at home with nuts, maple syrup, cinnamon, fruit, or enjoy it all by itself. It far outweighs any vegan yogurt I've tried at the store, and you're lucky because Blöde Kuh is available at eleven farmers markets across LA & OC.
The best bread can only be found at the farmers market. Crusty, stone-milled, high quality bread is always what you want for your toast, sandwiches and for dipping in all those amazing dips you just got. You'll meet the baker herself and learn more than you ever wanted to know about properly milled flour and baking with very few ingredients.
There's nothing "enriched" or "bleached" here. Just California grown grains that are whole milled into healthy, bio-available flours and then baked to perfection. You might even run across bread baked with our jun right in it!
Want even better gut health for you and your family? Step up to Fermentality's booth and sample all kinds of probiotic foods and beverages, such as sauerkraut, pickles (cucumbers), beet kvass, kimchi and more.
This husband & wife duo (you know we love a duo) cranks out beautiful jars and bottles of house-made probiotic goodies to enjoy all week long. They have an amazing hummus with kimchi IN IT. Another dip, yes! So good with veggie crudite or crackers.
Loose-leaf tea, tortilla chips, pasta, hot sauce, bbq sauce, pastries, seaweed salad and so much more. It's objectively worth your time and energy to drive down to your local market this weekend, or even on your lunch break during the week, and get your shopping done in the out-of-doors. The days are short, but gorgeous, and the fresh air is waiting for you.
For a list of vendors at the Orange Home Grown Farmers and Artisans Market, visit orangehomegrown.org.
The weather here in Southern California lately has been gorgeous. The bees are buzzing, the birds are chirping and spring is in full swing. Eric has been doing a ton of birding (aka bird watching) this year, more than ever actually, and logging in his finds on the ebird app. Yep, there’s an app for that. And what better way to get yourself outside than to go looking for different species of birds in your local area?
Whatever draws you out, now is a beautiful time to be checking out local nature trails, county parks, wilderness areas and national forests. Early morning is usually best, as it’s not yet too hot, the birds are still pretty active and the sun is nice and low, if shining at all.
California Buckwheat (Eriogonum)
What’s got Jennifer extra excited this season is all the native California Buckwheat in bloom! The bees are loving it and so is she. If you follow us on social media, you’ve probably seen a couple of her Buckwheat shots. The fully opened blossoms are light pink, off-white looking from a distance, in bunches of six-petaled individual flowers. So adorable and pretty! And the bees know it too.
Not be confused with buckwheat flour, ground from the buckwheat grain, used to make pancakes and soba noodles. Our native California Buckwheat has been used as a traditional medicinal plant by Native Americans for headaches, wounds and other ailments. A decoction of the root is used for hoarseness and inflammation of the throat. (source)
Last month and still now in June, these flowering shrubs are covering the hills of Orange County, making our hikes that much more enjoyable.
We’ve also been seeing the black sage in bloom, with light purple blossoms coming out of the fluffy bud clusters. Rub your fingers on the leaves or the buds and you’ll enjoy that intense sage scent during your hike. The bees are loving these flowers too.
Locally, sage comes in black, white, purple, desert and many more. The word sage comes from the latin term, salvere, which means "to feel well and healthy, health, heal". (source)
So what happens when a bee enjoys the nectar of a particular flower and brings it back to her hive? Honey!
As you’ve likely (hopefully) already enjoyed by now, we’ve been serving up our delicious jun using different honeys and green teas. And Buckwheat and Sage are definitely two of our favorites, and now you can start to understand why.
What’s better than honey from a plant that grows natively in your local area? Not much! So what other plants bloom around here and offer sweet nectar for our bee friends?
While not a native per se, Eucalyptus grows all over Southern California, and the red blossoms that bloom in late winter/early spring are another favorite of bees. You will likely see Eucalyptus trees even on nature trails. They were planted here probably hundreds of years ago and thrive in this climate that is so similar to their native Australia.
The Eucalyptus look blends well with our chaparral and coastal sage scrub landscape, making these trees seem like they were “born” here. We welcome the Eucalyptus openly, enjoying the lovely aroma of their leaves and of course, the delicious, dark and not-too-sweet honey from their blossoms.
✨ Stay tuned as we’ll soon be offering up a new jun flavor using Eucalyptus honey with an organic green tea varietal. ✨
There are so many beautiful things to see, smell and hear on your next hike or picnic out in nature. We hope you’ll find your local area brimming with activity this time of year and will take a moment to appreciate all that goes on in the wild, while we relax at home sipping on some jun.
Nature reconnects us to ourselves, our magnificent inner-being that is always guiding us to the best version of who we truly are.
So tell us. What have you been enjoying this spring that connects you to nature? What birds, bees or other pollinators have you noticed out there? What's your favorite way to feel aligned and at peace? We'd love to hear from you! Leave us a comment below.
Thank you for reading and we’ll see you in your inbox next month!
Love & nature,
Jen & Eric
Lately I’ve been tuning into podcast episodes while I exercise, rather than the usual high energy workout music I used to thrash to. I’m finding that learning something while I move, focusing intently on the message works so well for my motivation. I can cruise through a workout or a walk/hike with ease, interest and energy.
One of my favorite podcasts is The Reluctant Vegan Podcast, a young couple in Melbourne Australia who are lovely to listen to. They were both vegetarian and she (Jess) went full-on vegan, dragging her beloved Dan along, reluctantly. So they decided to record the journey of trying veganism for six weeks.
Mostly in the beginning he talked about simple things like switching to soy or almond milk in his coffee and finding vegan butter and vegan “cheese” at the nearby grocery stores. As the episodes progress, they begin discussing more global issues, like horse racing and factory farms.
Why I love this podcast is because this couple is so endearing. They are kind with one another and seem to be enamored and patient with each other’s quirks and viewpoints. Dan & Jess are easy on the ears and listening to them made my exercise routine something I finally looked forward to.
So, I just HAD to reach out to them! Wouldn’t you? I found an email address on their website and basically gushed about how cute they are together. And then I did it - I plugged my health coaching practice and training, and asked if they had ever thought about having a guest on their show. What had gotten into me?
To be honest, I wasn’t entirely thinking of myself and had in fact suggested they reach out to one of the many health coaches in Australia I could connect them with.
Of course, in the back of my mind, or maybe the middle, I thought it would be thrilling to be a guest and record an episode together.
After all, I have been vegan for over six years and knew it would be easy and fun to go on and on about the topic, covering nutrition and health, an area they hadn’t gone too deeply into. Yet.
Fast forward to four months later, their interview with me and Eric has been recorded and posted as an episode on The Reluctant Vegan Podcast! I roped Eric in because we now have our exciting jun kombucha business together. The two of us talked to the two of them for a little less than an hour covering:
Have a listen! We hope you love it, or at least find it somewhat amusing as you take a drive or hike up a hill.
Afterwards, we’d love to hear what you think! Leave a comment below and tell us: Have you considered going vegan or maybe already eat this way? What’s stopping you? Not ready to give up cheese? Share anything you want about being reluctant or, conversely, all for it.
What are probiotics? For starters, they’re the opposite of antibiotics. You know, those giant pills the doctor prescribes every time you get the sniffles and feel like your throat is going to explode?
Antibiotics kill bacteria in your system - in your intestines, blood stream, everywhere. The idea is that once the bacteria that making you sick is dead, you’ll start to get healthy again.
Unfortunately, antibiotics also kill good bacteria. Yep, there’s such a thing as good bacteria - lactobacilli and bifidobacteria - and we all need them. Millions of bacteria live in our digestive tract, keeping us healthy, vibrant and immune to evil viruses and chronic illness.
These good bacteria are called probiotics because they are pro-life. Oh, that means something else these days, doesn’t it? Let’s not get political, just yet anyway. So probiotics don’t kill anything in your system, but rather live harmoniously inside you and they are essential.
If you’ve taken a lot of rounds of antibiotics in your life, or your diet could stand some improvement, you’re likely in need of adding some extra probiotics to your diet.
Rule #1: Eat Your Probiotics
This means that instead of taking a supplement you found online or at the health food store that claims to contain millions upon billions of probiotics and is the best way to populate that gut of yours, you should be consuming your intake of probiotics in food and beverage form. Why?:
“Prebiotics? What the heck are those? I was just learning about probiotics!” We’ll get to those in a minute.
So what you should always do, ideally, is eat fermented foods that contain probiotics, aka good bacteria, and drink fermented beverages - non-alcoholic drinks like kombucha, sauerkraut juice and kefir. This way you’re getting the added benefits of the whole food or drink, like vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates and essential fatty acids.
Most people’s guts are craving valuable nutrients anyway, so if you’re going to dose up on healthy microorganisms, you might as well add nutritious foods to the list too: sauerkraut, yogurt, properly fermented sourdough bread*, kimchi, kombucha, jun, etc.
Now back to prebiotics
These are foods that pair well with your probiotic foods, kind of like a wine tasting! Foods that prime the digestive system to receive the probiotics, and assimilate and absorb them optimally.
When you eat tomatoes, honey, bitter greens like dandelion, onion or raw garlic, and then add your probiotics, they enter a supremely healthy environment where they can thrive and serve you best.
What have we learned?
Good bacteria populate your gut, aka small intestines, thereby crowding out the bad bacteria - the stuff that lives off sugar and artificial sweeteners, alcohol, chemicals, meat and dairy. The more good bacteria, or probiotics, in your gut, the healthier your digestive system is, the healthier you are and the better you feel!
Questions? Scroll down to the comments section below and ask away! Or tell me: What foods or drinks have you incorporated into your regular diet that are keeping your gut healthy? What are your favorites? I’d love to know!
* Most store-bought bread only contains added dry yeast. Bread made with a fermented sourdough starter is ideal for gut health.