Friday, August 29, 2008

Can San Francisco Feed Itself Locally?

Could a major international city such as San Francisco feed itself with local food from farms and ranches within 100 miles of its iconic Golden Gate Bridge? “No place in the United States, and perhaps in the world is as blessed as San Francisco by an amazing cornucopia of products grown nearby,” says Ed Thompson, California Director & Senior Associate of American Farmland Trust (AFT). “But, the answer to the question is a qualified yes because there are challenges to increase both the production, marketing and consumption of local food.” Thompson co-authored the study with Alethea Harper from Sustainable Agriculture Education (SAGE) and Sibella Krauss, President of SAGE and Director of the Agriculture in Metropolitan Regions Program, University of California, Berkeley.

San Franciscans consume 935,000 tons of food each year, and 5.9 million tons in the Bay area as a whole, while the “foodshed” (agricultural operations within 100 miles of the Golden Gate Bridge as defined in the study) produces 20 million tons of food annually. In all, more than 80 different commodities are represented, with only a few not produced in abundance to satisfy the hunger of the City and Bay area residents. The study also found that food products sold directly to consumers, for example, at farmers markets, are a small fraction, 0.5 percent of total regional production. However, this sector of the food system is expanding rapidly, with production of food for sale directly to consumers up 9 percent a year from 1997-2002 in the San Francisco foodshed study area.

“It’s impossible to determine precisely how much locally-grown food is consumed in the City of
San Francisco, or in fact, how much of what is consumed is produced on local farms and ranches,” adds Thompson. The commercial food system in the region, as throughout the United States does not track the origin of what it sells, primarily because consumers do not yet demand to know the origin of the foods they eat.” Most of what is produced in the San Francisco foodshed is grown in the Central and Salinas Valleys. Three-quarters of the value of agricultural production in this area comes from less than one-fifth of the land that is irrigated cropland, the land that is under the most pressure from urban development.

“Without local farmland, there can be no local food,” says Thompson “New development in this region is consuming an acre of farmland for every 9.7 residents – the epitome of urban sprawl. If we continue at this rate, we’ll lose another 800,000 acres by 2050, and much of that will be an unnecessary waste because of how inefficiently we are paving over the best land on earth.”

The loss of farmland is one of several significant obstacles that must be addressed to increase both the production, marketing and local consumption of locally-grown food. Among the challenges:
· Encourging the traceability of the origin of locally-grown food;
· Educating consumers about eating foods in-season;
· Providing capital, expertise and infrastructure to enable growers to transition to producing foods for local markets;
· Assuring access to healthy, local food for low-income consumers.

“Despite the challenges, there are great opportunities to increase eating locally in San Francisco and the Bay Area,” Thompson adds. “The local foods movement has momentum in this region. Public and private institutions are starting to source food locally. And as the fossil fuel era wanes, local food may gain in advantage in the marketplace over food that is processed and shipped long distances.”

“No pun intended, we hope this report offers food for thought for San Francisco’s consumers, area producers and other cities across the country,” concludes Thompson.

The AFT study, titled “Think Globally-Eat Locally: San Francisco Foodshed Assessment” is available on the Internet at . The project was conducted by American Farmland Trust, Sustainable Agriculture Education (SAGE) , and Agriculture in Metropolitan Regions, a program within the Center for Global Metropolitan Studies at the University of California, Berkley, . It was made possible by generous funding from The San Francisco Foundation, The Farm Credit Council, U.S. Ag Bank, FCB, American Ag Credit, Farm Credit Services of Colusa-Glenn, ACA, Farm Credit West, Yosemite Farm Credit, Roots of Change Fund and the members of American Farmland Trust.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Chefs Serve at America's Favorite Tomato Festival

Satiate your desire for old-fashioned, heirloom tomato flavors at one of the best food & wine events in California, the 17th annual NatureSweet Carmel TomatoFest®, Sunday, September 14, 2008,12:30 pm, at the magnificent Quail Lodge Resort in Carmel.

Founder/Director of the TomatoFest®, Gary Ibsen, announced that 70 of America's finest chefs will attend this year's TomatoFest to offer guests the opportunity to enjoy world-class cuisine featuring heirloom tomatoes in an unpretentious, harvest-celebration atmosphere. Ibsen says, "Our gathering of culinary artists will showcase a range of unforgettable epicurean creations from classical to innovative food adventures. The chefs selected to appear at this year's TomatoFest lead the way to experiencing the possibility, range and pleasures of exceptional cuisine prepared with heirloom tomatoes. Exploring the photos of the amazing variety of wonderful tomato dishes at the website is sure to tempt any food lover." (see:

The NatureSweet Carmel TomatoFest also offers guests the opportunity to indulge their senses with a grand display & tasting of 350 varieties of delicious heirloom tomatoes, 50 wineries pouring more than 200 premium wines, an "International Olive Oil Tasting," a "Salsa Showcase" tasting of 90 tomato salsas from around the U.S., and an incredible, "old-fashioned," country BBQ. Festival attendees will also have the opportunity to enjoy dancing to live jazz by the Dennis Murphy Band, and indulge themselves within the notoriously perfect "Indian Summer" weather of the Monterey Peninsula.

"The NatureSweet Carmel TomatoFest® entertains more than one's senses," said Ibsen. It celebrates the spirit of the season's harvest and encourages home gardeners to carry on the honored tradition of seed-saving and growing their family's own organic heirloom tomatoes. It truly is a unique community festival for food & wine lovers, chefs, family gardeners and farmers. It's a celebration of life!"

General admission tickets at $95. are available in advance up to the day of the event and are limited to 3000 guests to ensure a quality experience for all. Early ticket purchase is suggested since the event sells out every year Ticket includes entry, all food, wine tasting, wine glasses and the day's activities. Children under the age of 12 with attending parent are admitted free. Net proceeds from the festivities are donated to regional and national youth-focused charities. Tickets may be purchased through or by calling 1-800-965-4827.

Founded and operated by Gary Ibsen in 1991, the TomatoFest® has revitalized the appreciation and desire for true heirloom tomatoes over the years. Ibsen's belief in sustainable farming and organic seed saving has inspired him to develop and grow heirloom tomato varieties for more than 30 years. For the 2008 season, he is currently growing more than 600 varieties of certified organic heirloom tomatoes from seeds originally sourced from family farms around the world. Ibsen's hands-on production and harvest techniques ensure the highest quality product from harvest to table. For more information visit or call 1-800-965-4827.

Sampling of Chefs Tomato Dishes for 2008:
"Caviar d'Aubergine", tomato confit, eggplant puree
Aubergine at L'Auberge Carmel, Christophe Grosjean

Tomato Braised Pulled Pork Slider w/ tomato roll, heirloom slaw
California Culinary Academy, Drew Curlett,

Heirloom Tomato Panzanella Salas with Tuna Bottarga
Cantinetta Luca, Jason Balestrieri

Scallop and Lobster Mousseline with Heirloom Tomato Relish
Casablanca, A. Scott Cater

Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho & "truffled" Grilled Cheese and Tomato Sandwich
Edgar's at Quail Lodge, Neil Dunn

Chilled Green Curry, Yellow Tomato Bisque
International Culinary School at The Art Institute, Jim Gallivan,

Shrimp Tomato Sundae (shrimp wrapped bacon gelato over tomato filet)
Gelato Massimo, Massimo Caporale,

Pied de Cochon (pigs feet and lobster terrine w/ green tomato-shallot revigote)
Marinus at Bernardus Lodge, Cal Stamenov

Seared Day-Boat Scallop Heirloom Tomato Custard w/ Micro Basil Salad
Pacific's Edge at Highlands Inn, Mark Ayers

Smoked Tomato Panna Cotta, Cured Trout w/ Rhubarb Gelee
Tarragon, Ryan Smith

Housemade Duck Prosciutto & Tomato Salad w/ roasted pumpkin seed vinaigrette with Bibb lettuce
EOS Restaurant & Wine Bar, Danny Guerrini,

Poached Cherry Tomatoes with Pea Sauce
Gardiner's Resort, Hugo Barrigan,

Sopes with Smoked Gold Tomato Coulis, Huitili Coche-Roasted Corn Ragu & Green Grape Tomato Salsa
Millennium Restaurant, Eric Tucker,

Scarlet Corn Crusted Green Zebra Slider w/Pepper Griddled Citrus Soft Shelled Blue Crab w/ caricia aioli
Monterey Marriott-3 Flags, Willi Franz,

Heirloom Tomato Parfait with Champagne Cured Sardines
Farallon, Ryan Simas,

Pulled Pork Slider with Avocado Pico de Gallo
Sticks at Pebble Beach Resort, Ted Consoli,

Heirloom Tomato Parfait, Sweet Cream Goat Cheese & Watermelon Sauce
Stillwater Bar & Grill at Lodge at Pebble Beach, Patrick DuRant,

Sauteed Diver Scallops with heirloom tomato butter sauce and tomato cakes
The Sardine Factory, Jacques Wilson,

Sundried Tomato, Poblano and Panela Cheese Sweet Corn Tamales w/ Tomato Bricklayers Sauce
The Whole Enchilada, Luis Solano

Roasted Baby Tomatoes, Eggplant Puree w/ Curried Shallots
231 Ellsworth, Isaac Miller

FullyLoadedTea: Select tea sponsor for nation-wide fundraiser Stand Up To Cancer

FullyLoadedTea is proud to announce its exclusive tea sponsorship with Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), a national initiative created by American media, entertainers, and philanthropic leaders to raise significant funds for groundbreaking cancer research. The summer-long fundraiser will culminate in a telethon scheduled to air live from the Kodak Theatre on all three major US broadcast networks on September 5, 2008.

During the telethon, participants will have the opportunity to sample FullyLoadedTea’s Citrus Spiked and Cucumber Mojo tea blends at the Kodak Theatre, both of which will also be included in SU2C gift bags distributed to celebrities, artists, and cancer survivors. The larger-than-life show will feature performances by music superstars including Mariah Carey, Rihanna, Fergie, Miley Cyrus, Natasha Bedingfield, and Leona Lewis. CBS Evening News Anchor Katie Couric, who lost her husband to colorectal cancer, and actress Christina Applegate, a recent cancer survivor, will also appear on the telethon

“It is truly a privilege for FullyLoadedTea to be aligned with such a worthwhile cause,” says Katya Popoff, Co-founder and President of FullyLoadedTea. “Stand Up To Cancer is a nation-wide initiative that focuses on improving the health and well-being of society, and considering the antioxidant benefits tea offers, this exclusive partnership was a natural fit It is a well-known fact that tea helps to neutralize the body’s naturally occurring but cell-damaging free radicals, which, over time, may contribute to the development of chronic diseases including cancer and cardiovascular disease.”

Sold at select high-end retailers across Canada, and currently in the midst of launching across the US, FullyLoadedTea continues to make an impressionable splash in the luxury tea market and is fast becoming a favourite new drink amongst young professionals, fashionably chic urbanites, and celebrities.

FullyLoadedTea’s unique award-winning blends include: Citrus Spiked Black Tea, Tomato Rebel Black Tea, Goji Force Green Tea, Naked Strawberry Green Tea, Cucumber Mojo White Tea, Shameless Berries Fruit Tea, Bulletproof Currant Fruit Tea, and Sweet Addiction Fruit Tea.

About FullyLoadedTea
A truly modern drink company, FullyLoadedTea takes exotic berries full of vitamins and antioxidants and blends them with premium whole leaf green, black, and white teas to create eight delicious and energizing gourmet concoctions. Siberian natives and tea lovers, sisters Katya Popoff and Olga Lenova, founded the young, modern tea company. Found in a number of fine food stores and gourmet tea and coffee shops across North America, every FullyLoadedTea brew is also available for purchase online at

For more information on Stand Up To Cancer, please visit:

Eat the Vegan Way - – New Book Shows How

There are so many reasons to eat vegan: health and nutrition, weight loss, green and sustainable living, and prevention of cruelty to animals. Many people have made the choice to live vegan, but they wonder how they can enjoy their favorite dishes without animal products and also find new meal choices that don't sacrifice taste.

The Complete Idiot's Guide® to Vegan Cooking provides more than 200 recipes for all meals and occasions to help readers easily transition to a new and healthy way of life. In this book, they will find:

•More than 200 wonderful vegan recipes, such as Smokin' 'Shroom Chili, Roasted Ratatouille with Basil Aioli, and vegan versions of timeless favorites like Green Bean Casserole
•Tips on converting traditional meat and dairy-based recipes into vegan ones
•Menu ideas for holidays and special occasions
•Vegan substitutions for meat, dairy, eggs, gelatin, and honey in cooking and baking

A growing number of physicians now advocate a plant-based diet for patients who suffer from diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Consequently, a dramatic increase in "dietary vegans" (people who eat like vegans, but who don't apply vegan values to the rest of their lives) is expected in the coming decade.

Beverly Lynn Bennett is an experienced vegan chef, writer, and animal lover, who has worked for various vegan and vegetarian restaurants and natural foods establishments during the past decade. In 1998, she earned her culinary arts degree and spent 15 years developing and expanding her vegan culinary skills and knowledge. Currently a chef in Eugene, Oregon, and the author of the "Dairy-Free Desserts" column for VegNews, Bennett's work has appeared in many publications, on public television, and over the Internet. A vegan for more than 15 years, she is the author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Vegan Living and the e-cookbook Eat Your Veggies!, and she has hosted "The Vegan Chef" website at since 1999.

Ray Sammartano is a musician, web developer, and long-time vegan cook and "foodie" who has devoted himself to spreading the vegan message for the past 15 years. He is the webmaster for Bennett's website and her partner in many vegan-related endeavors. In 1999, he created a popular online vegan discussion forum known as the VMB, or Vegan Message Board, which evolved into the semi-official forum for the Vegan Society until 2002.

The Complete Idiot's Guide® to Vegan Cooking
ISBN: 9781592577705, $16.95, August 2008

Westinghouse Digital offers the first LCD HDTV/DVD player with 1080p resolution

The VK-40F580D is the first LCD HDTV/DVD player combo unit to offer full 1080p resolution -- the highest standard available to consumers for HD digital video display.

The VK-40F580D is the perfect home theater centerpiece for a living room, bedroom or den. As the perfect all-inclusive entertainment solution, the VK-40F580D includes an integrated Front Loading DVD Player that utilizes Westinghouse Digital’s PixelDirect™ technology to deliver DVD video to the screen using a direct path and the least amount of signal processing. The VK-40F580D also upscales standard DVDs to 1080p resolution on the screen.

The convenience of the VK-40F580D’s all-in-one design includes a Photo Viewer to display digital photos via USB in Full HD. Users can either transfer the photos to a USB thumb drive or use an SD-USB adapter (or any flash media USB adapter) to view the picture directly from a digital camera without the need for a PC. In addition, a digital camera or cell phone can be connected directly to the USB port on the VK-40F580D to view photos or a slide show.

The VK-40F580D features:

· 1080Pure™ for 1080p resolution out of all HD connectors
· Smart Front Slot Load DVD player that upconverts standard DVD's to 1080p
· Multiple HD input connectors including 2 HDMI with Westinghouse’s innovative SpineDesign construction for clutter-free cable management
· An ATSC/NTSC/ClearQAM tuner
· Preset and custom video modes for an exceptional viewing experience
· User-friendly Autosource feature with Autowake and Autoswitch with DVD insertion
· MSRP: $1,049

The VK-40F580D is one of many new models added to the Westinghouse Digital HDTV lineup. You can see of all Westinghouse Digital's new HDTVs, as well as its newest LCD monitors, digital photo frames, and other news here:

Vital Action Performance Water

Big Earth Brands Ltd. announced today its new multi-functional flavored Vital Action Performance Water (VAPW) targeted at action sports athletes will launch in Summer 2008. VAPW is the first in the niche market of performance waters to utilize Fruit Up® Premium, the innovative 100% all natural sweetening system made from a blend of clear fruit such as apples and grapes. Fruit Up’s extremely low glycemic index is a more sustainable fuel, allowing athletes to perform longer at a higher level. Each VAPW offers a multitude of vitamins and supplements that specifically and equally target immunity, energy, stamina, and recovery.

VAPW is all-natural performance water equipped with multifunctional supplements designed for every stage of competition.

· Energy: Panax Ginseng is a natural herb that promotes circulation and boosts mental awareness and energy.
· Stamina: Arginine is an amino acid that enhances blood flow and prepares the body for exercise.
· Immunity: Echinacea is traditionally used to prevent infections and stimulates the immune system.
· Recovery: N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC) to boost Glutathione levels in the body that neutralize free radicals and speedy recovery

In addition, the new action sports beverage also includes 100% of the recommended intake of B3, B5, B6, and B12—the “feel good” vitamins.

VAPW is offered in 7 bold colors with corresponding flavors for a unique visual flavor profile. The color is on the label to reflect the trend of consumers referring to similar beverages by color, not flavor. Available colors include Red, Orange, Purple, Green, White, Pink, and Yellow for flavors Cherry, Orange, Grape, Lime, Lemonade, Strawberry, and Tropical. At 45 calories a serving, VAPW is lower than the other leading vitamin waters.

For more information, please see

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Lack of Time is Main Culprit inCincinnati Resident’s Limited Level of Activity

Nearly half of Cincinnati residents (47 percent) say a physician has recommended they lose weight while lack of time (53 percent) and lack of motivation (46 percent) are the two most common obstacles as to why locals don’t participate in more daily activity. These findings are the result of a new survey commissioned by the America On the Move® Foundation, a national nonprofit dedicated to helping individuals, families and communities make positive changes to improve their health and quality of life.

The America On the Move survey polled residents in 10 cities across the country, including Cincinnati, between the ages of 25 and 55, and also found that:

· More than half of the Cincinnati residents surveyed (55 percent) reported having gained and retained weight in the last five years, of these
- More than two thirds (68 percent) gained 10 pounds or more
- One quarter (25 percent) gained between 5-10 pounds
Nearly half (46 percent) of Cincinnati residents polled reported worrying about the weight of their children, and nearly half (40 percent) believe that their children get too little activity each day.
Most of the Cincinnati respondents (58 percent) said they did not believe they received enough daily physical activity for good health. In fact, more than half (51 percent) admitted to exercising just once a week or less.

The America On the Move survey was conducted as part of the organization’s third annual STEPtember campaign, a national month-long celebration highlighting how easy it is to be active and eat healthy. During the month of September, America On the Move encourages Americans to try its small change approach to healthier living which features two key changes:

1. Move more – take 2,000 additional steps each day
2. Eat less – reduce your daily calorie intake by just 100 calories each day
By joining America On the Move’s STEPtember Challenge, participants can receive daily nutritional and physical activity tips, as well as track their progress online. Participants who register for the STEPtember Challenge are eligible for a chance to win a grand prize valued at $2,500. The grand prize includes a $1,000 gift card to a sporting goods store, a $500 gift card to a grocery store, and consultation with an America On the Move registered dietitian.
In the Cincinnati area, people can participate in the STEPtember Challenge online at Special activities are also being planned nationwide throughout the month of September to help people get On the Move.
· America On the Move Week with the YMCA. From Sept. 20 to 27, more than 1,400 YMCAs across the country will participate in America On the Move Week with the YMCA and host activities that inspire individuals and families to take small steps and get active.
· Community Involvement. In addition to widespread participation from YMCAs nationwide, existing America On the Move organizations (worksites, faith-based organizations, community groups, etc.) will host activities aimed at helping people add 2,000 more steps to their day.

To find a local STEPtember event in Cincinnati, simply visit and use the STEPtember event finder.

As the National Founding Sponsor of America On the Move and a national sponsor of YMCA Activate America®, PepsiCo and its Smart Spot® products are supporting this effort. Today more than 300 Smart Spot products are available, including Tropicana® juices, Aquafina® water, Gatorade® thirst quencher, Baked! Lay's® snacks, Quaker® oats and Diet Pepsi®, among others. The national sponsor for STEPtember is LEAN CUISINE® and its full range of nutritional frozen prepared meals, including SPA CUISINE™ Classics, Café Classics and Comfort Classics; CASUAL EATING™ Pizzas, Panini and Flatbread Melts; ONE DISH FAVORITES™ and DINNERTIME SELECTS™ meals.

About America On the Move Foundation Inc.
America On the Move Foundation Inc. is a national nonprofit organization that helps individuals, families and communities make positive changes to improve Americans’ health and quality of life. With more than a million participants on- and offline, America On the Move supports a small-changes approach to healthy eating and active living habits. America On the Move’s science-based programs and outreach support Americans of all ages manage their weight effectively through energy balance. For more information, please visit

Haunted Halloween Getaway

Mansfield, Ohio is the place for truly unusual Halloween experiences. From a haunted prison, to a live play that tells the creepy story of a real local character accused of murder and a number of historic sites where ghostly tales are told, visitors can find information on all these attractions online at or by calling (800) 642-8282.

Believed to be one of the most haunted places in the US, the Ohio State Reformatory Historic Site was once a working prison and has served as the site for several blockbuster movies, including “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Air Force One.” Now a well-known tourism attraction, the Reformatory will offer “Prison of the Evil Dead” Haunted Prison Experience. Billed as one of the scariest places in the Midwest, the month-long event features the longest haunted cellblock ever and loads of ghosts, demons and creepy characters brought to life via live actors, Hollywood special effects and high-tech scare devices. The Haunted Prison Experience runs September 26 through November 1; Thurs., 7-11 p.m.; Fri. and Sat., 7 p.m.-midnight; and Sun., 7-10 p.m., Admission is $15. The tour is not recommended for children under 10. The Haunted Prison is the perfect addition to Mansfield’s all-inclusive Road Trip getaway packages, which start at just $82 per person plus tax and include overnight
accommodations, meals and attractions.

“There are many documented cases of paranormal activity at the Reformatory,” said Mansfield Convention and Visitors Bureau President Lee Tasseff. “Groups of professional and amateur ‘ghost hunters’, and even a crew from the Sci-Fi Channel, have spent many nights at the prison recording what they report as unexplained encounters with ghosts and spirits.”

Eerie music sets the mood at Malabar Farm State Park, the former home of Pulitzer Prize-winning author and screenwriter Louis Bromfield and the site where Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall were married. Malabar Farm and Mansfield Playhouse present “The Ceely Rose Story,” a live play that tells the tale of Ceely Rose, accused of a ghostly triple murder that took place nearby in 1896. The show runs Oct. 10-12 and Oct. 17-19 in the farm’s restored 1896 timber frame barn. Tickets are $30 per person, and include a chicken and ribs barbecue picnic dinner and the live performance. Friday and Saturday dinner is at 5 p.m. and performances begin 6 pm. Sun. Matinees dinner begins at 2 pm, with performances beginning at 3 p.m.

No haunted Mansfield tour is complete without a stop by Mansfield and Oak Hill Cottage. Chandeliers are known to flicker on and off and a fastidious elderly woman straightening pillows or testing for dust has been spotted by visitors and staffers alike. Reports of the sound of footsteps on the upper level and sightings of a frightening man wearing black with long white hair, have led some to believe historic Brownella Cottage is also haunted. Sat., Oct. 25, the Haunted Illusions Magic Show creeps into the Renaissance Theater, also the location of multiple reported ghost sightings.

Travelers can take advantage of specially designed affordable getaway packages when planning to experience Mansfield’s Halloween activities. For more information or to book a getaway, consumers can visit and click on the Haunted Mansfield icon or call (800) 642-8282.

Taming the Truffle

Eric Ripert, Executive Chef/Co-Owner of New York’s renowned Le Bernardin, and coauthor of On the Line (Artisan Books, 2008) proclaims:

“I love truffles; they are one of the most mystical, mysterious and delicious gifts from Mother Earth. I always thought that no one would ever be able to codify and demystify this magical mushroom. But Taming the Truffle has done so beautifully. Every knowledgeable gourmet must read Taming the Truffle in order to understand and appreciate this rare fungus even more.” ~Eric Ripert

If you have ever held a truffle up to your nose, you know that the quality is in its aroma. But do you know how to distinguish the characteristics of an Italian White Truffle, Oregon Black Truffle, or Asiatic Truffle? Do you know the captivating history behind these fascinating treasures—from the golden age, to the collapse of truffle production, to today’s thriving market tapping into new techniques?

Taming the Truffle is the most comprehensive practical treatment of the gastronomic treasure to date; the art and science of the high-stakes pursuit come together. Anyone with desire to expand their culinary wisdom will need this book on their shelf!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Probiotics/Yogurt Expert: What Every Consumer Should Know

Dannon was recently sued over its probiotics claims. Below, please find some answers from Natasha – whose family introduced natural Bulgarian-style yogurt to America in the 60’s - concerning commonly asked questions about probiotics.

Probiotics Questionnaire: Natasha Trenev

1. How long can probiotics stay un-refrigerated until they lose their potency?

There is really no way to guarantee the potency of probiotics if they have been without refrigeration at any time. When probiotic products are shipped without refrigeration, they can be exposed to very high temperatures: in a warehouse with no AC, left in the sun, or left in a hot truck. Since probiotics are living organisms, you can only be guaranteed of their potency if they have been shipped to you refrigerated and stored refrigerated. There is no data to substantiate that a product would not lose its potency in transport. Natren products are refrigerated from manufacturing and throughout the entire shipping process.

2. What is the difference between high-quality probiotic supplements and Bifidus "Regularis" and L. casei "Defensis"?

Bifidus “Regularis” is a fictitious name. L. casei – (Lactobacilus casei) is a species scientific name but “Defensis” is not identified as a strain. These names are created for marketing purposes. Because these names don’t signify anything scientific, we don’t know what species is contained in the supplement let alone what strain. You cannot even compare it to known strains in order to verify potency, dosage, and interaction between other bacteria, because the name signifies nothing. Interestingly enough, these names aren’t even allowed on product labels in Canada. In order to be sold in Canada, companies must reveal the scientific name on the packaging.

3. How do the probiotics in a food, say yogurt, work?

Yogurt is a great, high value, nutritional food but it doesn’t guarantee the amount of probiotics, so it is difficult to measure its effect on the body.

First of all, yogurt is usually made from milk. Your classic probiotic organisms that give yogurt its identity and recognized by USDA and FDA are Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. But there’s no regulation regarding the strains used, their probiotic value, or their potency.

Often in the new products labeled “probiotic yogurt,” yogurt manufacturers throw a third strain of bacteria, L. acidophilus, in with the other two yogurt bacteria. This third bacteria cannot survive in such a hostile environment with the other two yogurt bacteria. Furthermore, yogurt packaging doesn’t reveal how much yogurt probiotic bacteria is present and it doesn’t show the dosage of the third, added bacteria. It’s like throwing cats and dogs in the same cage and saying, “They’ll get along fine.”

Using yogurt to get probiotic value is not efficient because there’s no way of knowing how much of the active ingredient you are getting; it can change from product to product or batch to batch; there’s no regulation.

Another problem with yogurt is that it is a wet medium which is biologically very active. The bacteria will already be in the active state, rapidly reproductive and will very quickly die off before you even ingest it. In contrast, our probiotic suppleDear Stephen,ments offer bacteria in a dry, arrested growth state so the bacteria is not growing uncontrollably. Only when it enters your body, does it become active again.

4. What are the benefits of probiotics?

The benefits of probiotics are only associated with the strain and how the strain is grown, stabilized and delivered to the body. Once those features are guaranteed, probiotics can maximize the digestion of nutrients in the body.

70% of your immune system is located on the intestinal wall. Whenever you have a molecule of a nutrient pass the intestinal wall into the blood supply, the immune system determines if this molecule is food or an invader. This is usually determined by size. If your digestion has not broken down your food efficiently, a molecule of food might be too big, setting off your immune system which thinks it is a pathogen. The food is not converted into energy and your immune system’s activities are wasted on something that is not actually harming you. A hyperactive immune system can cause allergies and autoimmune disease.

Probiotics help the body in the following ways:

1) Immunity: Probiotics aid the body in breaking down nutrients to the right molecular size so that the immune system doesn’t become overactive. Probiotics promote an intelligent communication with the immune system, so the immune system only becomes hyperactive when there’s an invasion of a pathogen.
2) Improving mood: We have a “second brain” in our GI tract. You have more nerve-endings in your GI tract than you do in your brain. So when there’s ineffective digestion, you can experience irritability, or even depression. With proper digestion you can improve your mood and mental health.

3) Probiotics help the efficient movement of food through your body. If you have constipation, food isn’t moving fast enough; if you have diarrhea, it is moving too fast. Probiotics help you nourish yourself without poisoning yourself by regulating that transit time: you chew your food, it goes into your stomach, not too slow and not too fast.

4) Helping a fitness routine: If you are exercising a lot, probiotics can help you so you don’t suppress your digestion. Even though exercise is a healthful stress, it’s still a stress on your body and can be taxing on your digestive system.

5. What is the difference between probiotics in food versus in a supplement?

Probiotics in food add to the nutritional value of the food, but doesn’t necessarily guarantee a given health benefit associated with a probiotic bacteria. The amount of CFUs of a probiotic strain in food is largely unknown. In contrast, probiotic supplements with the correct and verified labeling provide enough CFUs and the right probiotic strains to actually be effective and provide health benefits. A word of caution, virtually all products claiming to have probiotic organism list species and not strains. Natren is the only exception. Natren probiotic products have a government agency that validates the strain and its potency.

Explorer's Bounty Putting the Olympics' and Organic Harvest Month's Missions in Neon Lights

In celebration of Organic Harvest Month, Explorer’s Bounty is proclaiming its support of organic farming in neon lights. Throughout the months of August and September, the company’s premium organic and fair trade friendly food and drinks will be featured in a by-invitation-only 15-second Times Square ad spot. Strategically positioned at 42nd Street between 7th and 8th Avenue, midtown Manhattan’s CBS Super Screen will highlight Explorer’s Bounty’s premium organic coffees, organic artisan panned chocolates, maté-based tribal tea blends and new 100 percent puffed fruit that crunches. Organic-minded consumers who would like to support sustainable farming while reducing the harmful impacts of pollution and waste to the planet can visit Explorer’s Bounty online at

Each September, the Organic Trade Association (OTA) designates the month of September as Organic Harvest Month. Currently in its 17th consecutive year, this annual celebration’s objective is to highlight organic agriculture and the growing organic products industry. The Organics Consumers Association explains that Organic Harvest Month is “designed to focus attention on the benefits and practices of organic agriculture and to encourage consumers to increase their use of certified organic products.”

OTA defines organic as “a commitment to an agricultural system that strives for a balance with nature, using methods and materials of low impact to the environment.” With its emphasis on searching the world over for earth-friendly products that help preserve the environment, Explorer’s Bounty’s mission perfectly aligns with the aim of Organic Harvest Month. The company dedicates itself to the relentless pursuit of sustainable alternatives and to giving consumers a greener, great tasting option.

And what better way to spread the organic word than to place it front and center in “The Gateway of New York,” right in the heart of Times Square Plaza? To that end, in excess of 1.5 million people will have an opportunity to be exposed to the Explorer’s Bounty’s line of USDA certified organic products each day. Throughout the Olympics and extending through September, the Times Square CBS Super Screen will feature the company’s right bean, right roast coffee, its 70-percent cacao dark chocolate, its unsmoked air-dried tribal tea and its newest product addition, 100-percent fruit crunches, in a full-motion, full-color jumbo advertisement.

Jim Ford, Chief Executive of Explorer’s Bounty, said, “One of the draws of being hand-picked to participate in this campaign was that our ad would run twice a day during the Olympics. As a company that travels the globe for the best organic products, we believe whole-heartedly in the power of cultures working together. As a showcase of the world’s best athletes, we felt that the Olympics would attract an audience who would understand and embrace our mission.”

Organic devotees who would like to learn more about Explorer’s Bounty’s line of USDA certified organic foods and beverages can do so online at Interested media are encouraged to arrange a personal interview with the green-focused company by calling (512) 514-6045.

About Explorer’s Bounty
At Explorer’s Bounty, “exploring the planet for nature’s finest bounty” is a commitment the company holds true. Explorer’s Bounty markets and manufactures premium certified organic food products found throughout the world. Committed to local and global community well-being, Explorer’s Bounty has donated to marine wildlife charities in the U.S., has partnered with a Costa Rican plantation gone organic and endeavors daily to build direct trade. For more information on Explorer’s Bounty, visit

The thrill of the grill

Many people believe grilling great steaks is a challenge best left to the pros. But with a little know-how and a few tricks of the trade, delicious and mouthwatering grilled dishes are a snap. Not only is grilling a quick, economical and healthy way to cook, it’s fun, too.

Fire up the grill tonight! In celebration of its 30th anniversary, the Certified Angus Beef ® brand offers 30 tried-and-true expert grilling tips:

1. Marbling in beef helps assure its tenderness and juiciness once it’s grilled – not to mention all the great flavor it provides! Marbling is those little white flecks of flavor within the meat. Look for lots of little bits scattered evenly throughout the steak. As the steak cooks, those morsels will melt and effectively “baste” the meat from the inside out.

2. There’s good reason that popular steaks like filet mignon, ribeye, strip steaks, Porterhouse and T-bones are featured on steakhouse menus across the globe. These classic cuts always perform well on the grill, offering robust beef flavor and pleasing texture.

3. Many economical cuts are great on the grill as well. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Look for cuts including top sirloin, flat iron and flank steak for robust beef taste at a lower price. A bonus: several of these cuts are lower in fat, as well.

4. Be sure to start with the best product available. For steaks, burgers and other beef, look for the Certified Angus Beef ® brand. Ten strict specifications ensure every bite is selected to offer mouthwatering flavor, juiciness and tenderness.

5. Always keep safety in mind. When lighting a gas grill, keep the top open until it’s lit. Use and store propane cylinders outdoors in an upright position. After grilling, turn the burners off and close the cylinder valve.

6. When using a charcoal grill, choose hard briquettes. Light them in a chimney starter instead of using lighter fluid, which can impart off-flavors into your meal. Stack briquettes in a pyramid until they’re nice and hot – they will develop a white, ash-covered appearance when they are ready. (If they’re still flaming, they’re not ready yet!) Spread them out and use their radiant heat for cooking.

7. If you’re using a good cut of beef with lots of marbling, there’s no need to marinate or use fancy seasonings. A little kosher salt and cracked black pepper will allow the steak flavor to shine.

8. If you do want to give a steak some extra flair by incorporating complementary flavors, use a dry rub. Blend your spices and herbs first, then gently pat them onto all of the surfaces of your steak before grilling
9. Whether it’s with salt, pepper or a custom rub, keep your hand a foot or more above the meat when seasoning. This technique helps distribute the spices more evenly.

10. Marinades are a good choice for cuts of beef that are less tender, such as a top round, bottom round or sirloin tip steak. Marinades should include at least one acidic ingredient, such as wine or vinegar, to help tenderize the meat, plus other flavorful components like herbs and spices.

11. When you’re making kabobs, be sure to soak bamboo or wooden skewers in water overnight to prevent burning. To keep your kabob ingredients from twisting around, use two or more skewers in each to firmly secure them.

12. Use aluminum foil to make grill-friendly pouches for cooking side dishes. Take a sheet of foil (heavy-duty foil will tear less easily) and place your ingredients – especially those with lots of moisture or small pieces, such as chopped vegetables – in the center. Then, bunch up the top, leaving a small opening as a vent. This technique dramatically increases the versatility of your grill.

13. Everyone loves burgers – and stuffed burgers are an easy, gourmet twist. First, form thin patties – you’ll need two for each burger. In the middle of one patty, place ingredients such as blue cheese, portabella mushrooms, caramelized onions or roasted red peppers. Then, top with a second patty and seal the burger firmly around the edges. Grill until ground beef reaches a minimum 160°F.

14. Cleaning a grill can be messy. Make it simple by preheating your grill, then using a wad of aluminum foil to do the dirty work. Clasp the foil ball in your tongs and “scrub” away. (Note: experts recommend leaving the grill dirty after you’re finished cooking, then cleaning it immediately before its next use. The residue helps protect the grill grid in between meals.)

15. Always start with a preheated grill. When you place your steaks on, they should sizzle. Searing meat on the grill helps lock in juices and gives it wonderful, rich flavors due to the caramelization of its exterior.

16. Don’t flip your steaks too often. Place meat on the grill, let it sear and cook on that side before flipping it over to do the same on the other side. Flipping meat too often makes it lose its natural juices too quickly and dry out.

17. Always use tongs or a spatula – not a fork – to turn meat. Piercing the meat allows its flavorful juices to escape.

18. Any cook can make fancy diamond grill marks on steaks – it just takes a little practice. First, place your steak on the grill vertically (with ends at 12 and 6 o’clock). Once the meat has seared, after approximately two minutes, turn it 45 degrees clockwise (with ends at 2 o’clock and 8 o’clock). After that side has cooked another two minutes, flip the steaks over in the same position (with ends again at 2 and 8 o’clock). Cook for two minutes, then finish the steaks by turning them counterclockwise 45 degrees (with ends at 12 and 6 o’clock) for another two minutes.

19. Always cover your grill while cooking – don’t keep the lid open and allow that valuable heat to escape! A covered grill helps food cook more quickly and evenly, as the heat is allowed to circulate around all sides of your ingredients.

20. The best way to control flames is keeping the grill lid closed as much as possible. Before cooking, trim any excess fat from steaks to help avoid flare-ups. Keep a small spray bottle of water handy to extinguish any unexpected flames.

21. Where there’s smoke, there’s flavor. Turn your backyard grill into a smoker by placing some wood chips that have been soaked thoroughly in water into a grill-safe pan. After you put your meat on the grill and close the lid, the smoke from the wood chips will impart its inimitable flavor and aroma.

22. Experts agree that bone-in steaks have a better, richer flavor than their boneless counterparts. Take note, though: bone-in steaks will require a longer cooking time.

23. Grilling is not an exact science, and cooking time is determined by a number of variables. These include the cut selected, the thickness of the steak, the grill temperature, the desired degree of doneness and much more. Practice makes perfect – you’ll soon learn how to get the results you prefer.

24. Most experts say cooking a steak to medium rare ensures the best flavor and tenderness, but personal preference varies. Cook rare steaks to 140°F, medium rare steaks to 145°F, medium steaks to 160°F, and well done steaks to 170°F. Ground beef and burgers should always be cooked to 160°F.

25. A meat thermometer is the most accurate way to measure the internal temperature of your meat. Place it in the thickest part of the item – usually in the middle – away from any bone or fat.

26. Fire up your grill, not your oven, the next time you cook a roast. The secret is using indirect heat. After searing the outside of the roast on the hottest part of the grill, cook it low and slow on a cooler area of the grill. The best part: easy cleanup – with no need to heat up your kitchen.

27. Some grills are equipped with rotisseries, on which many cuts of beef will fare well. Try tenderloin, a sirloin tip roast or a tri-tip for incredible flavor and tenderness.

28. After your meat is finished cooking, remove it from the grill and let it rest. Tent the clean plate loosely with foil to help keep the meat warm. Resting cooked meat several minutes before cutting allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat so they don’t escape onto the plate when cut.

29. Never use the same dishes and utensils on raw and cooked meats. After raw meat has been put on the grill, set the dirty plate aside and get a new, clean plate ready for the meat when it is cooked and ready to serve.

30. Top off the perfect meal with a grilled dessert. Grilled fruit is especially flavorful, and putting slices of pound cake or angel food cake on the grill gives them delicious crunchy edges.

The Certified Angus Beef ® brand is a cut above USDA Prime, Choice and Select. Enjoyed for its flavor, tenderness and juiciness, the brand is Angus beef at its best®. Less than 8% of beef can achieve the brand’s benchmark standards, always ensuring a mouthwatering experience. It is proudly offered at more than 12,500 restaurants and retailers throughout the United States and internationally. For more information, visit

Monday, August 25, 2008

Getting ready for fall with Calphalon

Extending its presence from stovetop to countertop, leading kitchen housewares brand Calphalon® introduces a trend-forward line of small electric appliances designed to both simplify your cooking and beautify your kitchen.

Available in stores this fall and in early 2009, the line features four exquisitely designed, high-performance pieces: the extra-large convection oven, the removable plate grill, the 7-quart slow cooker and the No-Peek™ Belgian waffle maker.

“Our new line has what cooking enthusiasts are looking for: premium heating performance plus a hot new look for the countertop,” said Director of Design Paul Logiudice. Outside, sleek curves and a combination of brushed and polished metals distinguish each of the pieces, while inside Calphalon’s exclusive OPTI-HEAT ™ SYSTEM delivers premium heating performance. Each product is intelligently engineered using premium materials to provide even heating. A signature high performance nonstick formula, developed exclusively for the line, makes a stand-out statement in stunning bronze, while offering flawless food release and effortless clean-up.

The new Calphalon line includes these thoughtfully-designed pieces:

XL Convection Oven
More oven space for your counter space – that’s the simple idea behind the new Calphalon XL Convection Oven (MSRP $199.99). With .7 cubic feet of cooking space. the oven accommodates a standard 9 x 13 pan – perfect for roasting a small chicken or a batch of brownies – and offers both convection and conventional cooking.

Removable Plate Grill
From grilled salmon to grilled paninis, the Calphalon Removable Plate Grill (MSRP $149.99) offers a myriad of options for quick and easy suppers. Separate time and temperature settings put the home chef in control of the cooking process. Grilling plates lift out for spotless clean-up.

No Peek™ Waffle Maker
How do you like your waffle? Delicately toasted? Deep golden brown? With a lighted control that lets you dial in your preference for light, medium or dark, then tracks cooking progress, the No Peek™ Waffle Maker ($99.99) takes the guess-work out of cooking a gourmet breakfast.

7 Quart Slow Cooker
Whether you’re the “set it and forget it” type, or a cook who likes to control every last detail of the cooking process, the Calphalon Slow Cooker (MSRP $149.99) has the perfect setting just for you. Set the cook time and temperature yourself, or simply choose Auto mode. A count-down display tells you, hour by hour, how much cooking time is left.

The Calphalon line of small electric appliances will be available at Bed Bath & Beyond and other fine retailers in fall 2008.

Slow Food Presidia Coffees at Slow Food Nation

For the first time Slow Food Nation brings together producers and
co-producers from the United States who identify with Slow Food’s
philosophy of good, clean and fair.
This is a significant opportunity to meet Central American and
Caribbean coffee producers whose coffee is used by US roasters in a
beneficial interaction between global North and South. The event
promises to be a valuable occasion for reflection, education and
building important new commercial channels.

Some producers from the Huehuetenango Highlands Coffee Presidium
(Guatemala) and Sierra Cafetalera Coffee Presidium (Dominican
Republic) are attending the San Francisco event with their coffees.
They are keen to discuss, talk about their activities and meet their
"consumers" and the "market", two entities which are still remote and
abstract for growers.

The producers will meet the public at the Presidium Coffee Cupping
Workshop held on Saturday August 30 at 10 am at the Fort Mason Center
(Bldg C, Room 370). Participants will sample coffee from the
Huehuetenango and Sierra Cafetalera Presidia roasted by Mr Espresso
(wood-fired roaster in Oakland, among the first in the Bay Area to
enthusiastically welcome the coffee supplied by the Presidia) in a
cupping led by Andi C. Trindle (Andi C. Trindle has been in the coffee
industry since 1989 and is currently serving as co-chair of the
Specialty Coffee Association of America Cupping Subcommittee and
working with the Barista Guild of America).

Slow Food Nation is a significant event for the producers of the
Huehuetenango coffee Presidium because it marks the beginning of a
collaborative venture with a local roaster: Blue Bottle Coffee. James
Freeman, founder and owner of Blue Bottle decided to buy 10 bags of
Presidium coffee and roast it at his Oakland facility, supplying it
both at his stand in the Civic Center and from his website in special
packaging dedicated to the event.
Huehuetenango Presidium coffee can also be sampled in the Taste Area,
where with help from the Curator, Andrew Barnett, specific meetings
are organized between producers and the public.
Finally, on September 1, a dinner will bring the growers together with
a selected group of roasters at the Coffee Bar (1890 Bryant Street,
corner of Florida and Mariposa). Chef Eskender Aseged will offer
guests a menu of delicate flavors where the two Presidium coffees will
accompany local products. It will be followed by a cupping of the two
coffees, freshly roasted for the occasion by Mr Espresso led by Andi
C. Trindle.

The Huehuetenango Highlands and Sierra Cafetalera coffee Presidia form
part of the Project Café y Caffè – “Regional Network for the Support
of Small Coffee Producers of the Central American and Caribbean
Region. The Program is financed by the Italian Government through the
Director General for Development Cooperation at the Italian Foreign
Ministry and through the Overseas Agricultural Institute (IAO) of

The coffee produced by the Huehuetenango Highlands Presidium is a 100%
washed Arabica coffee of the varieties typica, bourbon and caturra,
grown at an altitude above 1500 meters on the slopes of the
Cuchumatanes mountains, in one of the most suitable coffee-growing
areas in Guatemala. The coffee from the Sierra Cafetalera Presidium is
also 100% washed Arabica, the varieties are typica and caturra, grown
in the shade of native trees at over 1250 meters in the area of the
provinces of Indipendencia, Bahoruco and Elias Piña, near the border
with Haiti. The two Presidia include dozens of families of small
coffee growers and strive to improve coffee quality as well as the
quality of life for producers, shortening the supply chain and
ensuring they obtain fair returns from direct sale. Work has been done
since 2002 for the Huehuetenango Presidium, and since 2006 for the
Sierra Cafetalera Presidium, to draw up production rules which
guarantee an artisan approach and sustainability in all the stages of
production. The result of these ongoing efforts are two specialty
coffees with extraordinary aroma and flavor, as well as exemplary
environmental and social credentials.

Tasting Wine for a Great Cause

It’s a fantastic thing when you can drink some wine, learn some new things, and help a great cause at the same time.

The Party Source is hosting a Cheers to a Great Cause event that sponsors the Krystal Pepper Memorial Scholarship Fund. The class, led by Jay Erisman, will be a two-hour tour of up and coming French winemakers and wine regions.

Krystal Pepper was a 21-year-old education major at Thomas More College. She died unexpectedly in October, 2007, from an undiagnosed congenital heart defect. After her death, her family established the scholarship at Thomas More in her memory. The scholarship fund will help other education majors like Krystal.

Michelle Lentz, Krystal’s oldest sister and wine blogger at, couldn’t be more excited. “This event is a chance for me to share my love of wine and love of my sister. I hope a lot of folks will jump on the chance to learn more about French wines and help a great cause.”

The scholarship committee has raised over $9,000 since establishing the scholarship in January. The wine tasting marks the last event of 2008, and the committee hopes to break the $10,000 mark.

The wine tasting event will be held on September 11, from 6-8 pm. Cost is $40 per person and includes a flight of wines and cheese and the wine class, with 100% of the proceeds going supporting the scholarship fund. Registration is online only and participants must be pre-registered, as seats are limited. You can learn more about the scholarship and register for the event at

# # #

The organizing committee for the Krystal Pepper Memorial Scholarship Fund was founded after Krystal’s untimely death in October 2007. The committee consists of Krystal’s friends and family: Jennie Diedrichs, Michelle Lentz Gerl, Carrie Schultz, and Jesse Shipp. More information on the benefit dinner, upcoming events, other ways to contribute to the scholarship fund, and additional information about Krystal Pepper can be found online at

Fall Dessert Tarts

“Soccer, Karate, Ballet, Oh my!”

As the lazy days of summer fade into the frenzied days of fall, The Daphne
Baking Company’s gourmet thaw-and-serve dessert tarts take the stress out
of autumn entertaining. Designed for the busy host and hostess, The
Daphne Baking Company’s pumpkin and macadamia nut tarts are the perfect
ending to dinner parties and impromptu gatherings alike. Both flavors are
delicious served plain or with cinnamon-flavored whipped cream (recipe
follows). The tarts are currently available at retail outlets throughout
New Jersey, New York, and New England as well as on-line at

Macadamia Nut: Nutty richness. The Daphne Baking Company’s signature
all-butter crust filled with a chewy mixture of brown sugar, Hawaiian
macadamia nuts, and artisanal maple syrup.
Pumpkin: Spicy Perfection. The Daphne Baking Company’s signature
all-butter crust filled with delicately spiced pumpkin custard.

Cinnamon Whipped Cream
Makes enough for 4 tarts
1 cup chilled whipping cream
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
Beat cream, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla extract in medium bowl to soft
peaks. Serve immediately.

About The Daphne Baking Company
“We do the work, you take the credit”
The Daphne Baking Company’s premier line of tarts provides the elegance of
fine pastry straight from the freezer. Each tart is made by hand with only
the finest, all-natural ingredients including sweet cream butter, imported
spices, and artisanal New England maple syrup. Each package contains two
3-inch tarts, perfect for tidy individual servings. The tarts will
maintain their freshness for three months if frozen properly. For a list
of stores and information on additional products by Daphne, visit:

Friday, August 22, 2008

Chick-fil-A at Kenwood Towne Centre Kick-off Football Season

The Chick-fil-A® restaurant at Kenwood Towne Centre (7875 Montgomery Road) is kicking off the 2008 football season with a free food giveaway. In celebration of the inaugural Chick-fil-A® Kickoff on Aug. 30 and the introduction of the new Chick-fil-A Chick-n-Strips® menu item, the restaurants will offer a free 3-count serving of Chick-n-Strips(TM) to any customer wearing any football related apparel on Monday, Sept. 1, from 10:30 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Appropriate attire can include any visible article of clothing that contains any football team logo – from a pee wee league uniform to high school football spirit wear to a favorite NFL or collegiate jersey, hat, t-shirt or other accessories. The giveaway will be promoted during the Chick-fil-A College Kickoff broadcast on ABC, as well as other national and regional television networks.

In addition to the free strips for football-attired customers, the celebration will last all day long with mini football giveaways, as well as sampling of Chick-fil-A® Handspun Milkshakes and Brownies. Each customer throughout the day will also receive a coupon for free food to use during a future visit:

· 1st Quarter (10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.) – Coupon for a free Chick-fil-A® Chicken Biscuit.

· 2nd Quarter (12:30 – 2:30 p.m.) – Coupon for a free Chick-fil-A® Chicken Sandwich.

· 3rd Quarter (2:30 – 4:30 p.m.) – Coupon for a free 3-count of Chick-fil-A Chick-n-Strips.

· 4th Quarter (4:30 – 6:00 p.m.) – Coupon for a free Chick-fil-A® Hand-Spun Milkshake.

"The football season is an exciting time of year and we thought free food would be a great way to celebrate your football team and encourage customers to try our new Chick-n-Strips,” said Kevin Bulmann, franchise operator of the Chick-fil-A® at Kenwood Towne Centre. "Simply wear your football spirit on your sleeve – so to speak – and we'll gladly provide an opportunity to enjoy our new Chick-n-Strips for free. Whether your team wins or loses, free Chick-fil-A food is a great proposition for any football fan.”

As part of the chain's most aggressive menu enhancement periods in its 41-year history, Chick-fil-A introduced its new Chick-n-Strips product in May that is 50 percent larger than the chain's previous strip offering. The Chick-n-Strips are offered as a 3- or 4-count entrée for adults and in 1- and 2-counts for Chick-fil-A® Kid's Meals. To complement the new Chick-n-Strips, Chick-fil-A has developed a new proprietary dipping sauce: a smokey mustard recipe, called the Chick-fil-A® Sauce.

About Chick-fil-A, Inc.

Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A, Inc. is the nation's second-largest quick-service chicken restaurant chain (based on sales), with more than 1,400 restaurants in 37 states and Washington D.C. In 2007, Chick-fil-A produced record sales of $2.64 billion – a 16.09 percent overall increase and an 8.47 percent same-store sales gain that helped extend the chain's streak of consecutive sales gains to 40 years. In 2008, BusinessWeek magazine included the chain in its Top 25 list of Customer Service Champs.

Credited with inventing the boneless breast of chicken sandwich over 45 years ago and first introducing the chicken nugget concept, Chick-fil-A serves nutritious and freshly prepared food products in mall locations, stand-alone restaurants, drive-thru-only restaurants, Chick-fil-A Dwarf House® and Truett's Grill® full-service restaurants, and through licensed outlets in college campuses, hospitals, airports, businesses and industrial sites. More information about Chick-fil-A is available on the chain's websites, located at

Thursday, August 21, 2008

What Pro Chefs are doing with Wild Boar

North American Import and Export put out a call to chefs and culinary students to get wildly creative with boar recipes. It’s easy—cooks can simply cut and paste their best recipe for a chance to win $500.

We’ve gotten some great submissions so far. It’s a slightly edgy product … and it’s really fun to see what professionals are doing with it.

The competition is not over yet. Food service professionals (including chefs, caterers, culinary students, and food writers/bloggers) have until midnight on Monday, September 15 to get their recipes in. Recipes can be entered at

This contest is a bit different than your typical recipe challenge because all the recipes that have been entered can be viewed at our blog. This way, you not only know what you’re up against but can get a little inspiration.

Here’s one of the recipes that’s been submitted:

Wild Boar Ragu over Chestnut Polenta

Submitted by Francy Deskin from East City Grill in Weston, FL

Serves 6

2 pounds Wild Boar boneless shoulder, cut into 1” cubes
2 Tablespoons salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon pepper, plus more to taste
2 Tablespoons granulated garlic
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion diced
1 fennel bulb diced
6 cloves garlic crushed
1 cup Barolo
2 33 oz. cans San Marzano tomatoes
1 box Beretta Gran Express polenta
2 quarts water
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup parmesan
1 cup cream
1 cup chestnuts, chopped
½ cup chestnut honey
¼ cup each fresh chopped parsley and basil

Season the boar with salt, pepper, granulated garlic and dried oregano, massage in to meat.

Warm oil olive over high heat in a medium sized, heavy bottomed pot. Add the seasoned meat to the pot, preferably in a single layer, stirring occasionally. Once seared, drain the meat into a colander. Return meat to the pan and add onion, fennel and garlic until softened and translucent Deglaze with the Barolo; reduce by half. Crush the tomatoes by hand and add them to the pot. Rinse the cans out with a half can of water, and add it to the pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Allow to cook until meat is tender, one to two hours, stirring occasionally.

For the polenta, pour 2 quarts of abundantly salted water into a non-stick pan and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Allow water to boil for 2 minutes. Remove pot from the heat and quickly pour all the polenta into the water, beating with a whisk or wooden spoon. Return the pot to the stove and cook for 5 - 6 minutes on a medium high flame, stirring constantly Turn the heat off, stir in parmesan and cream, and let the polenta settle for 1 minute. Fold in chestnuts.

To serve, divide polenta among six warmed serving plates. Drizzle with chestnut honey. Top with ragu. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and basil.

Eco-friendly holiday parties - save trees and oil

Holiday parties – always festive and always an accumulation of trash. How can a host green their seasons greetings?

Eco-Products, the nation’s largest manufacturer of biodegradable and compostable food service items, provides flatware and dinnerware made from plant-based renewable resources.

Many revelers do not realize that traditional plastic cups and cutlery are made from oil and that paper plates originate from our precious trees. Eco-Products creates a simple solution:
Cold cups, hot cups, plates, cutlery and other environmentally friendly supplies can be purchased at in a variety of sizes.

All products are designed to break down in a commercial facility in 45 to 90 days

Use of these products helps divert waste from landfills and reduces the need for petroleum. The eco green stripe on the cups will even match your holiday decor.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Daily Dose of Mangosteen Without Breaking the Bank

As fans cheer on their favorite Olympic athletes, they’re also learning a bit about Chinese culture, tuning into the games broadcast from Beijing. One of China’s great wonders is its traditional Chinese medicine, employing herbs and fruits indigenous to the region.

This morning on the Today Show, Jen Lin Liu, author of Serve the People: A Stir-Fried Journey through China, walked viewers through China’s exotic fruits. One of the superfruits highlighted was the increasingly popular Mangosteen, which can be purchased for about $45 per pound in New York City and only $1 to $2 in Beijing. Along with great taste, Mangosteen is rich in nutrients and anti-oxidant strength, as well as offers potential impact for lowering risk against human diseases.

So where can health-conscious Americans find their daily dose of Mangosteen without braking the bank?

AgroLabs ( is combining product innovation and clinical science to bring consumers the latest trend in liquid nutrition. The thoroughly researched liquid supplements are specifically targeted to provide maximum health benefits, and Naturally Thai Mangosteen is one of the flagship products featuring the superfruit.

A 32 oz. bottle of Naturally Thai Mangosteen is available for $29.99 – and at one ounce per day to better health, that’s a bargain!

Ohio Bourbon Released

Announcing the release of Woodstone Creek Straight Bourbon Whisky.

It will debut at the Party Source's EQ artisan spirits tasting Aug 21st,
reservations required.

This will be the first aged spirit/bourbon released in Ohio - made within
the state - since 1865. As you know, we are Ohio's first licensed artisan
distiller (since 1999 in Cincinnati). Bottles will be labeled with barrel
number in limited edition releases, one barrel at a time starting in
September for Ohio.

Bottle #1 will be auctioned off to benefit Hospice of Cincinnati at their
"Gourmet Sensations" food and wine event on Sept 6th.

Woodstone Creek Winery & Distillery
Cincinnati, Ohio

Monday, August 18, 2008

New All-Natural Skillet Meals from Putney Pasta

Putney Pasta, which has been making all-natural premium frozen pasta since 1983, today introduces the first all-natural Skillet Meal line featuring both chicken and shrimp.

The new line features four distinct meals, each of which serves two and is easily prepared in a skillet in under 10 minutes:

Shrimp Scampi - with penne pasta in a white wine and garlic sauce
Shrimp Pesto – with cavatappi pasta, garden peas and tomatoes in a creamy pesto sauce
Chicken Alfredo – with tri-color rotini pasta and broccoli in a creamy parmesan sauce
Chicken Piccata - with penne pasta, artichokes and capers in a white wine and lemon sauce

The dishes are prepared with delicate restaurant-style sauces, seafood completely free of artificial ingredients and preservatives, and all-natural chicken raised without added hormones or antibiotics and fed a 100% vegetarian diet.

Putney Pasta’s new Skillet Meals will be sold at natural and conventional retail chains for an SRP of $8.99 to $10.99.

The Must-Have for Holiday Entertaining

THINK: Tip your glass to the holiday season in style.

WHAT IT IS: A very pink drink for a very happy holiday. This season, whether you’re party-hopping or hosting a family gathering, NUVO Sparkling Liqueur will add luxury and sophistication to the ordinary cocktail menu. Perfect as a gift for the stylish hostess or as a chic offering at your soiree, NUVO is a glamorous addition to the already festive holiday season.

An ultra-premium sparkling liqueur made with vodka and a small amount of delicate French sparkling wine, chardonnay with a touch of pinot noir. It’s then blended with natural fruit nectar and infused with raspberry, peach and strawberry fruits to reveal a vivacity and elegance that leaves the palate refreshed.

Housed in a chic bottle that is reminiscent of luxury perfume bottles, NUVO adds fun and festivity to your holiday gatherings with its soft pink hue. NUVO is best served chilled, over ice, in a champagne flute. It can also be used to mix up cocktails like the NUVO Sparkling Cosmo or the NUVO Bellini.

NUVO believes the more the merrier, which is why it now comes in a larger variety, 750ml. Best of all, NUVO is now available nationwide, to make the holidays even more cheerful.

WHAT IT COSTS: $10 for 200ml, $20 for 375ml and $30 for NEW 750ml

WHERE TO FIND IT: Liquor stores nationwide.

Organic Fudge and Other Home-Baked Treats for the Holiday

For more than a decade, Allison’s Gourmet has been delighting customers throughout North America with organic gourmet treats made from the finest ingredients. Today, the leading online organic bakery ( is gearing up for the busy holiday and Valentine’s Day chocolate seasons by announcing delicious Organic Vegan Fudge and a new Fudge of the Month Club.

A fresh new take on classic old-fashioned fudge, Allison's Gourmet Organic Vegan Fudge features a perfectly smooth and creamy texture and rich flavor that makes it a spectacular gift. Fudge and other gourmet treats from Allison’s Gourmet are also convenient and delightful to share with friends and family when hosting a get-together during the busy holiday season. Because this Fudge is freshly made with only the finest soy-free and organic ingredients available, it is also a healthier way to enjoy something sweet this holiday season. All of the gourmet goodies from Allison's Gourmet are free of animal ingredients, cholesterol and highly-refined sweeteners. So, although the organic treats are delicious for everyone, they are of special appeal to people with food sensitivities or who lead a vegan lifestyle.

Allison’s Gourmet Organic Vegan Fudge is offered in three delicious varieties: Original Vegan Fudge, Walnut Vegan Fudge and Half Original/Half Walnut Fudge. The price for each 6" x 6" tray of Fudge is $24.90, and like all of the scrumptious treats from Allison's Gourmet, the Fudge is artistically presented in eco-friendly gift wrapping and packaging.

In addition to the Vegan Fudge, the Allison's Gourmet collection includes Gourmet Cookies and Brownies, Vegan Chocolates, Cups and Barks and Organic Coffee, Tea and Hot Cocoa. The Gourmet Gift Baskets and Gourmet Organic Gift Tins also make spectacular holiday gifts and sampler packs are available for those who can't make up their mind and want to try some of everything.
Fudge of the Month Club and Other Special Promotions
In September, Allison's Gourmet will be adding a Fudge of the Month Club to its popular Monthly Clubs that automatically deliver fresh baked cookies and brownies each month. Members of the Cookie of the Month Club, the Brownie of the Month Club and the new Fudge of the Month Club also receive a 15% discount off all regularly priced orders. The Club Gourmet program, which sends cookies and brownies each month to members, offers a 20% discount.
Artisan Baked Goodies
Allison's Gourmet offers a flavor and style of treat for everyone. Cookie flavors include: Classic Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Chip Pecan, Mint Chocolate Chip, Cinnamon Snickerdoodle, Lemon Poppyseed, and rotating Flavors of the Month. Brownie flavors include: Original Heavenly Fudge, Pecan Heavenly Fudge, Half Original/Half Pecan Brownies, and rotating Flavors of the Month. Other confections include Vegan Chocolates Assortment, Just Vegan Caramels and Just Vegan Truffles. The Cups are offered in Organic Vegan Peanut Butter and Organic Vegan Peppermint Creme (think York Peppermint Patties for Foodies!) and the Bark options include Organic Vegan Chocolate Almond Bark and Organic Vegan Peppermint Stick Bark.
Organic Café – Tea, Hot Cocoa & Coffee
To compliment all of the exquisite products, consumers can also purchase premium organic beverages including teas, tisanes, hot cocoa and coffee. Allison's Gourmet Organic Teas and Tisanes are superior-grade loose-leaf teas and naturally caffeine-free herbal infusions. Allison's Gourmet Organic Hot Cocoa is a signature cocoa made with simple premium ingredients for a delicious cup of chocolate purity. All of the Allison's Gourmet Organic Coffees are not only organic, they are Fair Trade certified and shade-grown, too.

"We choose organic ingredients for the health of the planet and its inhabitants, fair-trade for the economic health of farmers and shade grown for the protection of wildlife habitats," says company founder Allison Rivers Samson. "We are proud to offer decadence with a conscience," adds Samson.

Allison's Gourmet is not just socially responsible, it is award-winning, too. The online bakery has received Veggie Awards from VegNews Magazine as the Favorite Brownie in 2006 and the Favorite Online Bakery in 2004. It is in the running again for the 2008 awards for Favorite Cookie and Favorite Bakery.

A life-long passion for sweets, coupled with a reverence for our planet and all of its inhabitants led Allison Rivers Samson to open Allison's Gourmet in 1997. Since then, Allison's Gourmet has been shipping their exquisite premium baked goods to homes and businesses all over the continent, including some of Hollywood's most prestigious addresses. Allison, whom lives in Northern California, completed her training at The School of Natural Cookery in Boulder, Colorado.

For more information about Allison's Gourmet including a complete list of ingredients and prices, please visit

NOTE: Received a sample of the fudge. It is quite good!

Afternoon Tea returns to Orchids at Palm Court

August 18, 2008 - Orchids at Palm Court is pleased to announce the return of Afternoon Tea beginning Saturday, September 6, 2008 and continues until Saturday, May 23, 2009. Tea is offered in Orchids at Palm Court from 2:00pm-4:00pm on Saturdays. Traditional service will include the trained service staff presenting a selection of loose teas from Sri Lanka to China to South Africa. The tea includes traditional tea sandwiches, appetizers and an amazing array of fresh pastries such as tea breads, scones accompanied by fresh Devonshire cream, miniature pastries, chocolate covered strawberries and truffles. Guests will also enjoy live music starting at 2:00pm.

All of the scrumptious delights are freshly created in house, including the pastries and tea breads created by Pastry Chef Kathleen Kessler. Chef Kessler is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. . Chef Kessler was recently awarded the American Culinary Federation’s “Pastry Chef of the Year” for the Northeast Region in 2008. She held Pastry Chef positions across New England and before joining the Hilton Cincinnati staff, Chef Kessler was the Pastry and Baking Instructor at the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont.

The cost of tea is $27.00 for adults and $19.00 for children 12 years and younger. Group rates are also available. Reservations may be made by calling 513-421-9100 or emailing maitre d’ Sean Garner at

Orchids at Palm Court has been honored with numerous awards including the American Automobile Association’s (AAA) coveted four-diamond award for excellence. The Cincinnati Enquirer’s restaurant critic, Polly Campbell, gave the Orchids a five-star (extraordinary) rating. Cincinnati Magazine has consistently rated Orchids as one of the top restaurants in the city (2008, 2007, 2006, 2005) and said “this is why people should come downtown to eat.”

Orchids at Palm Court is one third of The Restaurants at Palm Court which also include The Bar at Palm Court and The Grille at Palm Court. They are located in the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, 35 West Fifth Street, downtown Cincinnati. The Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza is one of the world’s finest examples of French art deco architecture and the restaurant features rare Brazilian rosewood walls with German silver-nickel metalwork and lighting fixtures. The two-story ceiling features large Romanesque murals and on the north end of the restaurant is an original Rookwood Pottery fountain flanked by two large seahorses which illustrates the magnificent examples of art deco in the restaurant. The hotel is a charter member of Historic Hotels of America, is a registered National Landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Christmasberry Honey Glazed Smoked Salmon

The holidays are a special time of year when we celebrate the things we love the most including family, friends and food. With the tradition of gift giving and entertaining a highlight of the season, what better way to show love and appreciation than with a gift that satisfies their heart as well as their palate. SeaBear, a premier purveyor of seafood and all things salmon, has a new offering this season along with traditional favorites.

This season enjoy the new and very special creation-Christmasberry Smoked Salmon. This smoked salmon is unique because prior to smoking, the wild, Alaskan salmon fillet is brined and then glazed with pure, organic honey from the Hawaiian Christmasberry Blossom. The honey, a beautiful light amber color, has a sweet slightly spicy flavor, the extraordinary result of the bees that forage for the Christmasberry nectar in lush forests along volcanic slopes of the Hawaiian Islands, collecting the nectar at its peak ripeness.

Fully cooked and smoked in traditional Northwest style, the Christmasberry Smoked Salmon is packed in SeaBear’s famous Gold Seal pouch, locking in all of the flavors and juices of this mouth-watering treat and requiring no refrigeration until the package is opened. As an added bonus, customers will receive a packet of the Christmasberry honey to brush on the fillet prior to serving for extra flavor. Offered only during the holiday season, this while-supplies-last delicacy comes in a majestic 2 pound size and will make a spectacular presentation on any holiday table, priced at $59.99.

For those looking for variety there is the Smoked Salmon Trio, a SeaBear exclusive and customer favorite, it offers a delicious way to taste, compare, and enjoy three varieties of wild Northwest salmon rich in heart healthy Omega 3 oils. The trio includes 6 oz. portions of each of the following: Smoked Sockeye, Smoked King and Smoked Keta salmon. Fully cooked and smoked in traditional Northwest style, this salmon is also packed in SeaBear’s famous Gold Seal pouch, so no refrigeration is required until opened. The retail cost is $35.99 but during the holidays it becomes an even better value with a holiday season price of just $29.99.

Smoked Salmon Dip with Dill and Horseradish
Serves 2-4

3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3 ounces smoked salmon
2 teaspoons juice from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
Salt and ground black pepper

In bowl of food processor, process sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice and horseradish until smooth and creamy.
Add salmon and dill and pulse until just mixed. Season to taste with salt and pepper; chill 'til flavors meld, about 1 hour or preferably overnight.

Can be served with crackers or small slices of bread. Delicious! (Dip can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days.)

It’s easy to order these items for yourself, family, friends and co-workers.
To order call SeaBear directly at 1-800-645-3474 or shop online at .

About SeaBear
The SeaBear Smokehouse has offered the very best wild salmon and other artisan seafood since 1957. Today, SeaBear ships to customers in all 50 states direct from their authentic custom smokehouse in Anacortes, Washington, featuring a wide range of traditional Northwest smoked salmon, Alaskan halibut, crab, chowders and more for gifts and entertaining. To learn more, visit

SeaBear is also proud to support the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) a non-profit independent group supported by Audubon Society and World Wildlife Fund, which has certified wild Alaskan salmon as a well-managed, sustainable fishery. To learn more, visit

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Star Chefs at Slow Food Nation's Green Kitchen Announced

Star Chefs Rick Bayless, David Chang, Traci des Jardins, Corey Lee, Charlie Trotter and
Alice Waters Demonstrate Simple, Sustainable Recipes

San Francisco, CA (August 13, 2008)—Slow Food Nation today announced the line-up for the Green Kitchen, to be held on Saturday, August 30 and Sunday, August 31, during the Labor Day weekend, in San Francisco. The Green Kitchen is an integral component of the Taste Pavilions, Slow Food Nation’s grand celebration of food in America, being held in the Festival Pavilion of Fort Mason Center. Tickets to the Taste Pavilions are on sale now at

Acclaimed chefs from around the world will demonstrate the preparation of simple, artful, sustainable food for the daily dinner table. A mortar and pestle, a frying pan, a cutting board, a knife and a few farm fresh ingredients–a green kitchen is all about basic tools and simple ingredients. The Green Kitchen is presented by Anolon, the lead kitchen partner of Slow Food Nation

An unprecedented event, Slow Food Nation will bring together tens of thousands to experience an extraordinary range of activities highlighting the connection between plate and planet. The Taste Pavilions present an exceptional opportunity to sample the diversity of regional foods of America. Sample menus of the Green Kitchen will include watermelon granita, tomato and tofu salad, white soda bread and raspberry jam, sweet coconut-ginger creamed corn and a seafood rice cazuela.

Saturday, August 30; 11 am – 3 pm session of the Taste Pavilions

Clodagh McKenna, BBC Host and Author, Ireland, 11 am
David Chang, Momofuku, NY, 11:45 am
Darina Allen, Ballymaloe Cookery School, Ireland, 12:30 pm
Rick Bayless, Frontera Grill, Chicago, 1:15 pm
Charlie Trotter, Charlie Trotter's, Chicago, 2 pm

Saturday, August 30; 5 pm – 9 pm session of the Taste Pavilions

Poppy Tooker, Market, NOLA, 5 pm
Deborah Madison, Author, 5:45 pm
Scott Peacock, Watershed, Atlanta, 6:30 pm
Joyce Goldstein, Author, 7:15 pm
Niloufer King, Author, 8 pm

Sunday, August 31; 11 am – 3 pm session of the Taste Pavilions

Traci des Jardins, Jardiniere, 11 am
Joan Nathan, Author, 11:45 am
Claire Ptak , Violet, UK, 12:30 pm
Oliver Rowe, Konstam, UK, 1:15 pm
Gilbert Pilgram, Zuni Café, 2 pm

Sunday, August 31; 5 pm �� 9 pm session of the Taste Pavilions

Corey Lee & Peter Jacobson, French Laundry, 5 pm
Anna Lappe & Bryant Terry, Authors, 5:45 pm
Cal Peternell, Chez Panisse, 6:30 pm
Amaryll Schwertner, Boulette’s Larder, 7:15 pm
David Tanis, Chez Panisse, 8 pm

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About Slow Food Nation
Slow Food Nation is a subsidiary non-profit of Slow Food USA and part of the international Slow Food movement. It was created to organize the first-ever American collaborative gathering to unite the growing sustainable food movement and introduce thousands of people to food that is good, clean and fair through enjoyable, accessible and educational activities. Slow Food Nation is dedicated to creating a framework for deeper environmental connection to our food and aims to inspire and empower Americans to build a food system that is sustainable, healthy and delicious.

Shaman Chocolates are a Sweet Organic Gift that Gives Back

The gourmet organic chocolate bars from Shaman Chocolates don't just make another sweet gift for friends and family this holiday season, they also offer a socially responsible alternative. All profits from the sale of the certified organic and Fair Trade Shaman Chocolates help support the Huichol Indians, a tribe living in central western Mexico in the Sierra Madre Mountains, who are said to be the last Indigenous Tribe in North America to have maintained their pre-Columbian traditions.

Shaman Chocolates ( was created by Brant Secunda, shaman, healer and ceremonial leader in the Huichol (pronounced 'we-chul') Indian tradition. He started the business as an economic vehicle to help the Huichol Indians preserve their ancient ceremonial and healing traditions, vibrant mythology and visionary artwork. Secunda realized that chocolate would be a way to help support the Huichols economic and cultural survival after having a visionary dream that people were eating chocolate and it was filling their bodies with love.

Shaman Chocolates blends only the purest certified organic and Fair Trade chocolate with the finest organic ingredients available to offer five delicious, rich flavors: Shaman's Secret (Dark Chocolate), Shaman's Heart (Dark Chocolate with Raspberries), Shaman's Vision (Dark Chocolate with Coconut), Shaman's Dream (Milk Chocolate) and Shaman's Song (Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts). The chocolate bars, which are adorned with amazing Huichol artwork and imagery, are available at hundreds of retailers nationwide and also can be purchased online at The suggested retail price is $3.00 for a 2-ounce bar and $36.00 for a 12-pack.

"The Huichol Indians consider chocolate a sacred gift from paradise and have used it in ceremonies since time immemorial, leaving it as offerings to show their love for Mother Earth," says Secunda. "The Huichols know that gifts of chocolate help people develop and strengthen a mutual love with the earth and with each other," adds Secunda.

The Huichols, who were recognized by former Mexican President Vicente Fox as a national treasure of Mexico, are under tremendous economic and social pressure to assimilate with modern society, to leave their traditional villages and go to work in cities or on tobacco plantations where they are often exposed to harmful pesticides. By providing an outlet for their visionary yarn paintings and beaded artwork, by donating a portion of the tuition from each seminar and pilgrimage he leads, and donating all profits from the sale of Shaman Chocolates, Secunda provides continuing economic support that enables the Huichols to continue to live in their traditional ways and to continue being Indian. Three villages and approximately 500 people are directly helped through these efforts.

Currently, Secunda is sending the first Huichol to college - a young woman who plans to become a lawyer so she can help protect her people and their lands from encroachment. He would also like to fund a Shaman School to help the Huichol elders keep their sacred shamanic traditions alive by passing them on to their youth. Secunda envisions other future projects such as building a high school so that these same youth can receive an education in their native tongue, helping to empower the youth and to keep the Huichol language a living language. He also wants to build a bead factory for the Huichols so that they can make beads to use in their art and be free from the high tariffs imposed on imported glass beads.

As the adopted grandson and close companion of the renowned Huichol Shaman don Jose Matsuwa, Brant Secunda completed a 12-year Shaman's apprenticeship with don Jose. In 1979, don Jose announced that he was leaving Brant in his place to carry on the Huichol traditions here in America and Europe. Together they started the Dance of the Deer Foundation Center for Shamanic Studies. Secunda leads seminars and pilgrimages worldwide, and teaches three ongoing study groups in the U.S. and Europe.

Shamanism is an ancient healing tradition, and a way of life. Shamanism involves healing and empowerment through personal transformation and direct experience as well as the healing of families, communities and the environment. By following the shaman's path people can truly learn to inhabit the earth and their being with gentleness and respect.

"Shamanism pervades every aspect of Huichol life, from the way they plant their corn to the way they raise their children," says Secunda. "Their joyful way of life reflects a dynamic shamanic tradition that we are proud to be supporting," adds Secunda.

Ceremony, sacred dance, vision quest, and pilgrimages to places of power in nature are all essential aspects of Shamanism. Through these techniques the shamanic circle embraces people, unifying their lives with strength, healing and love. To learn more, about shamanism, the Dance of the Deer Foundation and the Huichol Indians, please visit

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Must Have Accessories for Tailgating Season, The Grill Daddy and Grill Daddy Pro!

Kick off this football season right! Tailgating fun is just around the corner so prepare your checklist and don’t forget the Grill Daddy and Grill Daddy Pro! Fast and easy to use, cleaning will be a cinch, leaving more time to celebrate you’re teams win! These powerful grill cleaning tools are perfectly sleek and ultra lightweight specifically designed to thoroughly, quickly, and easily clean your barbeque grill with the power of steam no matter what the mess! Available in two convenient sizes, the smaller travel size Grill Daddy and larger master cleaner the Grill Daddy Pro are perfect for Sport fanatics and outdoor enthusiasts everywhere!

Grill Daddy: With this quintessential tool for tailgating or barbeque-ing with friends and family, a sports fanatic can grill some sure fire delectable BBQ, cheer their team to victory, and still manage to keep their travel grill clean. With the press of a button, release of a little steam, and the stroke of the Grill Daddy brush their grill is clean and ready for the next game! At only14 inches long, the Grill Daddy is designed for small, compact, and travel grills, and retails for $19.99. Replacement cleaning brushes are also available.

Grill Daddy Pro: Is the ultimate dream cleaner for the ultimate tailgate griller who attracts a pre-game crowd of inquisitive visitors. The Grill Daddy Pro is priced at $24.99 and is great for cleaning. It measures 22 inches long and has ergonomically correct handles for use with each hand, which makes it LEFTY friendly.

Specially designed for convenience and safety in mind, the Grill Daddy’s handles keeps hands away from heat and provides maximum leverage while the heavy duty stainless steel bristles break up caked on food without harming porcelain covered grill grates. The Grill Daddy is Eco- Friendly too as it only uses water to clean- no harsh chemicals! It sterilizes as it cleans and conveniently stores on hanging hooks along with other grill utensils, helping to make life just a little more organized! Dishwasher safe, the brushes easily detach to make brush clean-up a cinch!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Gran Duque de Alba Holiday Gift Package

A luxury gift for the brandy aficionado is Gran Duque de Alba Solera Gran Reserva, the world's top-rated Brandy de Jerez from Spain. This holiday season, a special gift box will be available containing a 750ml bottle of Gran Duque de Alba and a large embossed glass snifter. The average retail is $49.99.

Gran Duque de Alba is an ultra smooth premium brandy aged 12 years in oak casks under Spain's time honored solera system of fractional blending. The result is a rich mahogany spirit with aromas of toasted nuts, caramel, vanilla, dark fruit and spice with a smooth after-taste. Gran Duque de Alba was awarded gold medals this year from both the San Francisco International Spirits Competition and the Beverage Testing Institute.

Brandy de Jerez is one of only three place-specific appellations for brandy, the others being Cognac and Armagnac in France. The D.O. of Jerez is closely controlled by a Consejo Regulador (regulatory council) to ensure that strict production and ageing processes are met to make the finest brandy in the world.

"This is an indulgent gift for anyone who wants to make a statement and who enjoys a fine sipping spirit," said Abbey Glaser, director of marketing for Kindred Spirits of North America, importer for Gran Duque de Alba. "It is also makes a beautiful gift package."

The distinguished bottle with a photograph of the Duke of Flanders on the label and an elegant red wax seal was designed by renowned ceramic artist Antoni Cumella. For an even richer experience, Gran Duque de Alba Oro Solera Gran Reserva Especial is an ultra premium brandy aged a minimum of 25 years through seven separate soleras. Average retail price is $150/bottle.

Gran Duque de Alba is produced by Williams & Humbert, a world renowned bodega located in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain that is the largest winery in Europe with more than 1,200 acres of vineyards. Their portfolio includes Dry Sack, the world's #1 Sherry; Gran Duque de Alba, the world's top rated Brandy de Jerez; Dry Sack 15 rare aged Sherry; Crema de Alba cream liqueur; and Dos Maderas dual-aged rum. Gran Duque de Alba is imported by Kindred Spirits of North America, Miami.

Eco-friendly Holiday Entertaining

This holiday season party hosts can easily create a “green” event by choosing Eco-Products compostable items instead of traditional disposables. As the nation’s largest manufacturer of biodegradable and compostable food service items, Eco-Products provides flatware and dinnerware made from plant-based renewable resources. The use of these products helps to divert waste from landfills and reduces the need for petroleum.

Many hosts do not realize that traditional plastic cups and cutlery are made from oil and that paper plates originate from trees. According to the National Recycling Coalition, the average American still discards seven and a half pounds of garbage every day. Most of this garbage ends up in landfills, where it's compacted and buried. Eco-Products offers a solution to decrease waste often accumulated at parties.

Revelers will enjoy using cold cups, hot cups, and cutlery made from NatureWorks® PLA biopolymer, Ingeo™. These PLA products, a plastic alternative, are completely non-allergenic and are made from plants rather than oil. The cups come in a range of sizes, from 4-ounces to 24-ounces, making them appropriate for any beverage - espresso to lemonade.

Additionally, Eco-Products provides plates and bowls made from sugarcane pulp, which is derived from cane stalks after sugar “juice” has been extracted and is customarily discarded. Turning pulp waste into a renewable resource saves energy reserves and provides an alternative use for the byproduct of sugarcane production. Eco-Products plates are available in numerous sizes from 6-inch rounds to the 10-inch three compartment varieties. Bowls hold 12-ounces of piping hot soup or tossed salad.

All products are designed to break down in a commercial composting facility in 45 to 90 days. Biodegradable Products Institute provides a directory of locations at Eco-Products carries more than 100 different products made from recycled or renewable resources that can be purchased online at

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About Eco-Products Inc.
Eco-Products is the nation's largest manufacturer of biodegradable and compostable food service products. Products are made from renewable resources such as corn and sugarcane instead of petroleum, thus offsetting the United States’ need for foreign oil. Eco-Products also provides a full line of healthy, eco-conscious home cleaning products. Visit for more information.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Cooknee In Fairfield Announces "Green" Cabinets By Aya

Cooknee Kitchen & Bath, a Cincinnati-area niche cabinet dealer, announces its updated and unique “green” cabinet options by Aya Kitchens. Aya, originating in Toronto, Canada and featured on HGTV’s Divine Design with brand spokesperson and designer Candice Olsen, offers unique choices in green cabinets not commonly found in this region.

Aya launched its original Green Design program in 2007 to offer a formaldehyde-free plywood cabinet (compliant with USGBC’s LEED EQ Credit 4.4 for Low Emitting Materials).

“This year they have expanded their green program to offer a 100% formaldehyde-free particle board cabinet – which is unique in the cabinet industry.” states Julie Savchenko, owner.

According to Savchenko, green cabinets are often in a higher price tier because they are made of solid plywood. However, Aya’s NEW green particle board option keep costs down for consumers and are only slightly higher in price than their standard particle board cabinet – which already surpasses industry low emission standards.

“Either way you go, you’re getting a more eco-friendly cabinet with any of their options than most other cabinet brands,” Savchenko adds. “Solid birch formaldehyde-free cabinets are also available for the customer that doesn’t want particle board.”

Aya’s Exotic Collection of green door styles in bamboo, zebrawood and wenge woods was also launched and is made with trees all harvested from sustainable forests.

Aya is a leader in “green” cabinet production in North America. For years, they have been a manufacturer that meets or exceeds Canada’s strict LEED-type checks and balances system that’s mirrored by Europe’s standards which lead the world in efficient, eco-friendly living. Aya continues to improve their cutting-edge recycling methods for packaging, wood and finishes and waste reduction programs. They use all eco-friendly finishing products with minimal HAPS (Hazardous Air Pollutants) and an industry-exclusive UV cured topcoat.

Cooknee is Cincinnati’s exclusive dealer for Aya Kitchens ( and focuses on bringing the cutting edge style of European cabinets to the region for both modern or traditional interiors. Cooknee began business in May 2004 and currently works with several custom builders, architects and designers in the Cincinnati area. More information is available online at