Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Meet Our Farmers-Cherryvale!

Cherryvale Organic Farm is a certified organic farm that produces everything from potatoes, greens and veggies to flour, herbs and fruit. We are currently working on installing a stone mill, and will soon be milling our own Buckwheat, Rye and Spelt. We have also begun planting fruit trees, shrubs and vines, and plan to have a variety of fruit available in the next couple of years. We currently produce black raspberries, gooseberries, black berries, watermelon and cateloupe. You can track our progress at www.cherryvale.ca.
We’re about growing food, but we’re also about education, research and development. We will be continually working on comprehensive educational components. Upcoming for 2011 are two workshops: Fruit Propagation and Eat Your Landscape. We also hold events each year where anyone can stop in for a tour and some taste-testing. Watch our “Events” link for details and dates.
At Cherryvale, we employ sustainable farming methods to produce local food in a healthy way. We rely on two wind turbines and four solar panels to provide the majority of the energy we require for our entire operation. Make a point of visiting us this year – you’ll be glad you did!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Good oils and fats By Valerie Hould-Marchand

Fat, fat, fat ! Could all of our weight loss issues possibly be solved if we simply eliminate fat from our diet ? The reality is : we all need fat.

Fat protects your organs, keeps you warm and helps your body absorb and move nutrients around. However, fats are not created equal. And while some promote our health positively, others increase our risk of disease.

So which fats are good and which are bad ? Most of us know the basics by now- Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are known as the “good fats” because they are good for your heart, your cholesterol, and your overall health. Saturated fats and trans fats are known as the “bad fats” because they increase your risk of disease and elevate cholesterol.

Okay, so you replace some of the meat you eat with legumes, nuts, poultry and fish whenever possible… But how do you prepare your meals ? Do you use butter or margarine ? Canola or olive oil ?

Let’s get specific and discuss the good fats and oils, and most importantly, how to safely use them in the kitchen !


Did you know that the average Greek consumes 23 liters of olive oil per year ? It is praised by many throughout the world as the « queen among oils » because it intensifies the flavor of any dish while promoting health. Before purchasing your oil, it is important for you to understand the quality differences and grading practices.

Extra virgin olive oil
This is the first pressing which produces an oil of perfect flavor and aroma with a yellow to green color. The acidity is not more than 1 percent.

Virgin olive oil
The second pressing, where more pressure is applied, produces an oil of perfect color, flavor and aroma, but with an acidity of 1.5-3.3 percent.

Pure oil
Heat is applied- oil is less flavorful and has an acidity of more than 3.3 percent.

Olive oil, light olive oil, olive oil-extra light
The remaining product is subjected to a chemical extraction method with butane or hexane which results in an oil that must be refined. It is bland in taste and light in color.

Olive oil can be used in cold dishes as well as for cooking and baking. However, take caution when frying with olive oil ; keep the temperature below its smoke point of 190 °C.


Flax oil is in a category of its own because it is the only oil comprised almost entirely of good, poly-unsaturated, essential fatty acids. When choosing flax oil, look for a statement on the label that includes the words « cold expeller-pressed » and « unrefined .» In a proper packaging that excludes light and oxygen, you can keep flax oil for up to six months.

Flax oil can only be used in cold dishes, such as dressings for a kinds of salads or spreads. It should not be used for frying or cooking, but you can drizzle it over cooked food.


Coconut oil is 90 percent saturated fatty acids. However, these are myristic, palmitic and lauric fatty acids, which have low melting points. This is crucial because most of the saturates are int he form of medium chain triglycerides, which are not stored in the body as fat. So i twill not clog your arteries, raise cholesterol or cause obesity by depositing calories as body fat.

Coconut oil is one of the best oils for cooking, baking and frying, but it is very important that you use it in its natural, unhydrogenated form. You can use coconut oil in your favorite recipes that call for lard or vegetable shortening. Smoke point is 230 °C.


So which is better ? Butter is the healthier choice over highly processed margarine, mainly because it is easily digested and does not put any stress on the liver. In most cases, the body can metabolize 1 gram of butter per kilogram of body weight per day.

Butter can be used for baking, frying and cooking, as long as you keep the temperature low enough to prevent burning. And just like any other fat, if it is heated too much, it will burn and turn brown. If this happens, you’ve turned good fat into bad fat, creating trans-fatty acids !! You must throw the butter away and start again.


Here is a list of some common oils and their respective smoke point.

Natural Oil Smoke Point
Coconut oil 230 °C
Almond Oil 220 °C
Avocado Oil 220 °C
Olive Oil 190 °C
Sunflower Oil 170 °C
Safflower Oil 160 °C
Hazelnut Oil 150 °C
Sesame Oil 150 °C

Do not heat the following oils :

Pumkinseed Oil
Walnut Oil
Flax Oil

Remember, keep the temperature below the smoke point to avoid damage to fatty acids !

Until next time,

Heal yourself
Heal the planet

References : Prescription for Dietary Wellness, Phyllis A. Balch, CNC
ALive Natural Health Guides, Good Fats and Oils, Siegfried Gursche