eating on the wild side

Jo's garden

We live in a crazy, beautiful world.

The entire world astounds me, even with its chaos and suffering, confusion and bad processed food. Trying to find our way through it all without losing our minds feels walking through cotton batting most days. But there are moments when the sun starts to burn away the fog and everything feels clear.

That’s how I felt, standing in Jo Robinson‘s garden, here on Vashon, surrounded by growing vegetables and fruits.

Jo in her garden_

Danny and I both feel lucky, every day, to live on Vashon. It’s a wild place, full of characters. Island life isn’t right for everyone. Neither is small-town living. But the sheer number of people who love good food —— growing it, cooking it, and writing about it —— on this island keeps us grounded here.

However, when I first started reading Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health, and looked up after bounding through 50 pages, I was astounded to find that the author lived on Vashon. I needed to meet her right away.

As she led us through her incredible garden, Jo joked, “Yes, I don’t think most folks on Vashon know who I am. I’ve been in my study for a decade, working on this book!”

She’s not likely to be attending many community events soon. Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health is a huge bestseller, which makes me happier than I can say. Who knew that a long book, based on thousands of scientific studies, about choosing the best vegetables and fruits for good health would be a bestseller? Jo has been in her office for months, doing interviews with The Splendid Table and answering questions for Bon Appetit. Who knew that a science geek with a desire to teach the world to eat more fresh artichokes, kohlrabi, and green onions would become a bestselling author?

Honestly, this makes me feel pretty good about this world right now.

chard in Jo's garden

The basis of Jo’s book is this: our world has changed dramatically in the last 1000 years but our bodies have not. As a species, we were much healthier when we ate wild. A world of powdered doughnuts, chicken nuggets, and slurpees has done nothing good for us. We’ve put so much stock in convenience and fast flavor that we have sacrificed our health. (I read today that sales of Lunchables over the course of one year exceeded $1 billion dollars. Seriously? What are we doing to ourselves?) Jo Robinson is certainly not the only one saying this. So many of us are singing this chorus now.

What she has done is extraordinary, however. She spent ten years studying the state of modern vegetables and fruits, to investigate why they are lower in phytonutrients, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants than they were 100 years ago. (Heck with 100 years ago. Why are they less nutritious for us than they were before we began agriculture?)

The answer is far more complex than I can convey here. (Besides, I want you to buy her book.) Let me give you a hint. Sweetness. Did you know that the ancestor of modern corn was 30% protein and 3% sugar? The supersweet corn you find in the grocery store right now is now 40% sugar and 4% protein.

And of course, we want our vegetables and fruits to be pretty. Tomatoes in season are a revelation of taste and juice running down our chins. Tomatoes available in the grocery store seem like nothing more than pink water balloons. They have about as much nutrition as well.

We also want to do less work than we did before. Imagine having to forage for all our food. (Jo told us that in the days before agriculture it would take people half a day to forage enough wild wheat to make 1/2 cup of flour. Probably not many cupcakes back then.) We ate what fed us. Now, when everything is convenient, we seem to loathe any work involved in our food. Did you know that baby carrots “…are misshapen, mature carrots that have been whittled down to a smaller and more uniform size. The outer part that’s thrown away, food scientists have learned, is much more nutritious than the inner core that remains.”

How hard is it to peel carrots and cut them up? We live in a culture that tells us it’s just too hard. Maybe we’re ready for a change.

lettuces in Jo's garden

One of the parts of Jo Robinson’s Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health that I liked best is that she offers her readers solutions to this frightening mess.

With Lu right now, when she freaks out about something as a 5-year-old does, we say, “Lu, take a breath. And then find a solution.” It’s easy to find doom and gloom books that decry our modern culture. What is far more comforting is a book like this, one that gives practical tips about how to shop for food that truly feeds us.

Each section of the book is about a particular family of vegetables. Robinson gives you varieties to buy (and grow, if you have a garden). And then she offers storage tips to keep the vitamins as long as possible.

Since reading the book, I’ve been picking lettuce from the garden — or buying it at the farmers’ market — soaking it in cold water, and tearing up the leaves right away. “If you tear up the lettuce before you store it, you can double its antioxidant level. The living plant responds to the insult as if it were being gnawed by an insect or eaten by an animal; it produces a burst of phytonutrients to find off the intruders. Then when you eat the greens, you benefit from the added antioxidant protection….Eat the greens within a day or two, because the tearing also hastens their decay.”

We have bags of lettuce, with little pinprick holes to let the oxygen in, waiting in our vegetable drawer now, ready for us to make salad.

kale in Jo's garden

I loved seeing this enormous tuft of lacinato kale in Jo’s garden, which is her demonstration space for growing the varieties she talks about in the book. Kale has become one of my mainstays. (Danny asked for a kale break a few weeks ago, since we eat it all winter long. I agreed. But I felt a little adrift without those bitter chewy leaves.) Thankfully, kale has not yet been hybridized to match the sweet tooth of Americans raised on processed food. Just wait. It probably will be, however.

apples in Jo's garden

I’ve thought often this summer about a story Jo tells in the opening of the book. In 2009, a study asked men with high cholesterol and triglycerides to keep their diet but add one Golden Delicious apple a day. Produce is good for us, right? An apple a day keeps the doctor away? Would you be surprised to find that these men’s cholesterol and triglycerides rose during those two months? Why?

The Golden Delicious apple has been hybridized for so much sweetness that it “…was too low in phytonutrients to lower the men’s cholesterol and so high in sugar that it raised their triglycerides.” Yikes.

(Imagine what a daily dose of doughnuts, cronuts, and cookies does to us.)

To riff on Joni Mitchell, leave the scabs on my apples and leave me the ones that aren’t so sweet.

studies and Jo

There’s so much goodness in Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health that I could write all day and not be done. I find it deeply inspiring and practical at the same time. (I haven’t underlined passages in a book since I taught high school, but my copy of this book is striped with green and purple ink.) Did you know that chopping garlic and letting it sit on the cutting board for 10 minutes allows allicin to increase, making that garlic even more effective in working against disease (while also making everything delicious)? As Danny said when I told him this, score one for mise en place again.

I know that it can feel overwhelming sometimes, listening to the dissonant voices shouting opposite truths about food in this culture. But so much of it is not backed up by science. This lovely woman spent ten years studying 6000 scientific studies about the nutrients in produce. (I felt sort of geeky excited when she showed me some on her computer.) She has done good work in the world.

eating on the wild side

We’re eating more green onions, less corn on the cob, and far more purple carrots around here. That, and cutting sugar, has made a big difference in my health this summer. I owe so much of what I have learned about food and nutrition to this book, and the places it has led me.

Thank you, Jo. I hope we see you around the island more often. Then again, selfishly, I’d like to see another book from you soon.

We’re giving away a copy of Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health here. Leave a comment about how you choose the produce you eat for your family here. We’ll choose a winner at random on Wednesday, August 28th and let you know. And if you don’t win, I suggest you think about buying this book.

240 comments on “eating on the wild side

  1. LH

    I’m trying to learn how to choose and where to buy the best produce! I did grow some herbs for a while at least – but as an adult have never had a yard for a garden – someday!

    1. Carla Rollins

      I think I’m getting it. For a few years now I’ve been growing hydroponically all our lettuce and kale over the winter in the dining room. This spring I started pods in the system with lots of tomato seeds and planted them outside when they were about 3″ tall. We live in Maine so I was doubtfull they would grow in time. Yiikes, we now have about 40 to 50 very large tomato plants. It’s awesome. I have never had luck with those pod starters. Just this success alone has inspired me to keep up with the rest of my garden and hence, we eat fresh every day from our own plot. Carrots, italian flat beans, string beans,spinach, kale, peas, cranberry beans, cukes, peppers, eggplants, potatoes and loads of herbs. In another bed we have rhubarb, raspberries, black seedless raspberries and blueberries. We’ve always had a garden but not with much sustained success. This year we even got apples from our 30 year old trees and I made some Green Apple Pie with a neighbors local honey. I’m thinking I may be putting the effort in and the reward just keeps coming. Garden Karma!

      1. kate

        DO tell, how you grow the lettuce and kale in your DINING ROOM all winter? I live in MA, very near to NH border, so winters are SO long, and summers so short of a growing season, that I always assumed I would have to buy my organic lettuce and salad veggies all winter!

        1. carla rollins

          This hydroponic stuff is really great. It takes a bit of an investment…for me about $350. but oh so worth it. I have one of those rolling units that you see in the grocery store which holds it all. It comprises a tank that holds water,(30×14) a few gallons, a top part (25×14) that holds 8 large plastic containers for the clay balls which hold the pods (2 per container). Above that hanging on a bungie cord is a special light. The top shelf holds garden plants, the bottom shelf holds the supplies, food (Liquid Karma is the name of the food, no kidding). I just pop the seeds in the pod, leave it under the light for a week or so then replant into the containers with clay balls (pod and all). Fill the tank, put food in, set the timer for 3x a day flush, the light for turn on at 7 a.m. off at 6 p.m. and I’m done. We start getting greens really fast. I trim as I need and restart another set pod wise to get the jump on it. The best part??? The light and the sound of the water flow. It’s a big plus for winters in Maine. Honestly, I find I can cope with the grey with this greenery, growth and water action all winter. I buy my supplies in a “special” store here in York. Cool stuff, really helpful people.

  2. Charr Douglas

    I knew about garlic but not about lettuce and am certain there is so much more to learn…picking from a garden is my favorite way – I do not ususally do the best I can when choosing outside of it.

  3. Wendy

    Produce is our mainstay and I choose first what looks best at the local farm market. That determines our meals during the better part of the year. During the heavy winter months, we do expand a little into the grocery market world, but try to choose items that are seasonal somewhere not too far from here, and other than bananas, domestically grown. I wish I was a better gardener, but I lack both sun and patience. I start out a sprint in April and May, slow to a jog in June and once the summer heat hits, lag behind in July and August.

  4. amy

    What a great book! It’s so hard to keep track of all health-optimizing factlets about our food, and reassuring to know that someone has organized it all into one volume.
    Around here, there’s not much of a methodology to our produce-picking practices. We like almost everything, and I’m always cooking through a new book, eager to try new ingredients and techniques. Mainstays are (real) carrots, spring mix, piles of fresh herbs, and yams. That lacinato kale looks so great, though, I can’t wait for it to come back in season here in the South!

  5. Carlin Breinig

    Thanks for the info. In the summer I head to our local farmers market and buy what’s in season and looks good. We’re eating tons of kale in almost everything, love it. Trying to add new things to our diet, Rancho Gordo beans. I find that people think, I’m odd for thinking about what I eat, but how can you not? Food is not a priority because people see it as less than it is.

  6. Julie

    We eat a ton of produce, but I usually choose it by grabbing whatever Costco has. And now I’m horrified about baby carrots. Sounds like a great book!

  7. Sue

    One of your best posts ever, Shauna. I can’t wait to get a copy of Jo Robinson’s book for myself.

  8. Michelle

    Oh my gosh, this looks like a MUST read book to add to my reading list! Thanks for posting about it.

  9. vanessa sheren

    I live alone; I feel very fortunate to have relative freedom to choose whatever I want to eat on any given day. I also have the luxury of living in the beautiful city of Vancouver, BC, where good food abounds. I shop at the farmer’s market at least once a week, and other staples come from the organic grocery store I work at. I am the first to admit that I spend an absolute FORTUNE on food compared to the “average” person, but to me, it’s all worth it! The life force in food that’s just been picked pales (literally!) in comparison to that of conventional supermarket fare; and I love meeting the people who grew my broccoli, my carrots, my kale. The farmer’s market is my “happy place”! Besides, as a holistic nutritionist, I can’t help but want to eat well 😉

  10. Sue

    Your post is very timely for me. Eating gluten free, sugar free and low fat has changed the content of my pantry greatly. Some days it’s easy, some days it’s not as easy. I would love to read Jo’s book, to be confident of what I’m doing right, and to learn how to tweak the rest a bit.

  11. Amy

    Choosing veggies is tough as the best prices in my area (RI) and the best produce are rarely found together. I am gradually adding edibles to the landscaping – blueberries, raspberries, herbs, and most recently figs (!) but I am at a loss for the real green foods that look as fab ad the photos you show above. A book on where to begin, what to look for and the nutritional benefits would be perfect inspiration for the next steps!

  12. JudyB

    Not much of a gardener myself, but do make a point of shopping the area farmers markets and farm stands. At the grocery veggies are very high on my list, but do have concerns about how they are grown. This sounds like an outstanding book.

  13. Erin

    What a beautiful blog post…can’t wait to read this book! On our weekly tour to the farmer’s market and local farm, we collect tomatoes, kale, rainbow chard, beets, carrots, herbs, lettuces, cucumbers, kohlrabi, snap peas and other colourful ingredients. We putter in our backyard collecting rhubarb, nasturtiums and herbs, while the cats laze in the sun. It’s actually the most productive we’ve felt all week (despite the regular ticking on to do lists), and also the most relaxed. We’ve thought lately about how much time we spend gathering, cleaning and preparing food – spent more time taking mindful bites – and being grateful for the bounty that we are our community members provide.

  14. Melisa

    I just got this book out of the library and have found it fascinating. I’m already letting my garlic sit before sauteing and simmering my blueberries before adding them to my yogurt and smoothies in order to increase nutritional value. We try to choose produce first from our own garden, next from local farms, and finally from our local natural foods store if necessary.

  15. Laura

    We live in a small town on the Oregon coast and are blessed to be surrounded by small local farms run by wonderfully responsible and aware people. We are part of a CSA and we choose what the earth provides on a weekly basis.

  16. Wendy Koz

    Summer produce is easy – we grow more than we can eat in our garden here in central NY, thanks to great lessons from my very green thumbed father. Winter is another story – we eat lots of frozen items from the previous summer, and what we can get locally at the winter market for the rest. Summer is always such a relief for the increased variety and volume though! Thanks for the great post and book recommendation!

  17. Lisa O

    After 8 years of business travel (i.e., not eating at home aside from the weekend) as a vegetarian and now almost 2 years into my celiac diagnosis, I am thrilled to finally be able to mostly work from home and cook a mostly plant based diet for my family. However, I feel like I make the same few things all the time… This book seems like a great way to get “smart” about my food and add a bit more variety, rather than truffle salt, to spice things up:)

  18. Stephanie

    I live in Wyoming, where the air is dry, the altitude is monumental and the weather either burns or freezes. The golden landscape is dedicated to pasture, trampled by hooves and indifferent to seeds. Gardens that grow here are small, hardy and tough. It takes love and dedication to grow food here, and more skill than I have so far.

    Luckily, the Colorado harvest is bountiful, and the local co-op brings fresh vegetables up the steep hills to Laramie. I’m on a first-name basis with the regular clerks and I take my time seeing what’s new. Instead of planning my meals in advance, I see what’s fresh at the co-op and plan my meal around it. Tonight, I will be trying baby kale for the first time. It’ll add it to quinoa with spinach, halved baby and heirlom tomatoes, mixed with lemon, honey and walnut oil.

    Almost every week, they have something I’ve never tried before! Recently, they have brought in a local heirloom summer squash that makes the stunted zucchini clones in grocery-store pale in comparison. It came in bulbs like tiny green pumpkins and in long tubes with striations in different shades of green and white. When I’m in Colorado, I visit Sprouts Market, the indoor farmer’s market. I found a pear apple there last weekend and I can’t wait to go back for more.

  19. Chris R

    Wow! I would love to read this book. I am a nutrition geek by nature, and knew that phytonutrients were lower in modern veggies, fruits, but never heard of these solutions! I have wondered. We are fortunate to have access to fresh, locally grown produce through our bi-weekly CSA box and fill in with non-GMO organics at our local health food store (and tomatos, tomatos, tomatos!!! from our garden.)

  20. Beth

    Choosing veggies is difficult for me. Incredibly, although I live in Florida, decent produce is hard to find. I’ve discovered a good farmer’s market though so I don’t have to bring home beautiful but inedible fruit & veggies from the supermarket anymore. Yay for farmer’s markets!!

  21. Kit

    I have just reserved this book at the library, I wish to give a quick look before a purchase. I look forward to the information on which veg/fruit to select and handle before eating to get better benefit – I think this is a missing link of information to – so thank you for bringing this to my attention. I would be very happy to win the give away but if not, thanks for doing the give away!

  22. Jan Cooper

    I shop at a “farmer’s market” but I suspect the produce there comes from the same place our national groceries get theirs. I also belong to a CSA, so at least I know THAT produce is local and naturally ripened.

  23. Susan Stibb

    My son who is on the spectrum, and I started a garden for the second year. Last year, our tomatoes took over the garden.
    With our fresh produce, and some from the farmers market. I turned my son onto juicing.
    This year the tomatoe plants are somewhat tamed. So we can actually find our produce.
    My son has multiple food allergies. And juicing and working along side our good friend whose passion is also gardening. We share the prizes we find each day in our gardens. I really think my son is getting into checking out the tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and kale. The root veggies such as turnips, carrots, beets and sweet potatoes will be a surprise come fall…)))
    Oh I left out…our friend had back surgery this year. She had to have two rods placed to support her back. So my son and I tend two gardens. Hers and ours. So even though both gardens have some simularities. We planted different things to make things interesting.
    I think my son is getting

  24. Colleen

    I’ve been experimenting with food quite a bit since I have gone gluten-free and low carb to address some health issues I’ve been experiencing. These days, whole foods are just easier to eat (no question what’s inside), so I’m turning more and more toward farmers markets and the produce section of the grocery store. I’m also learning how to make better choices when out and about (for instance, is it better to eat a high-carb, low-calorie food or a low-carb, high calorie food?). Anyway, I’d like to arm myself with as much information as I can about growing, eating and cooking the right foods for my body. Thanks for your blog and all you do.

  25. Natalie

    This sounds like just what the doctor ordered! We have been trying to find ways to get more fresh vegetables into our diets! We have been purchasing a lot more of our produce from farmer’s markets and local veggie stands and are trying to go fresh as much as possible. We have made a good start, but now to find a cookbook that can tell us the optimum ways to choose and prepare those vegetables would be a great bonus!! Thanks for the opportunity to win!

  26. Pat

    This book is one I want to read. It will help me to decide what vegetables to grown in my limited space.

  27. sonrie

    My husband and I grow a garden each year, and I believe this book would be a valuable resource teaching us more about what we love to do. Thank you for the recommendation.

  28. S

    I would love a garden our place to grow herbs. Mostly I’m stuck trying to buy organic when I can and cutting sugar. So hard! Heard so much about this book.

  29. bcarroll

    I have a CSA share from a farm 5 miles from my house and then I fill in the rest from the farmer’s market. The farmer’s market requires vendors be from within 50 miles of the market. In the winter I eat what I froze from the summer or buy frozen since I live in middle America. I don’t think what they truck in from the coasts tastes very good in the winter.

  30. Sara paulson

    I love the garden pics! I raise my lettuce, onions, peppers, and tomatoes in pots and raised beds inside large dog kennels to keep the deer out! I have clear plastic covering some of them to extend the season. Also made removable panels to cover the ends for ventilation during the hot weather. The dog kennels are heavy enough to withstand winds without worry so my veggies are safe and happy. I just run out there and shop for dinner! Now that I have gone gluten free I really appreciate this good source of fresh food.

  31. Kerry

    Looks like a book I definitely want to read. We try to eat what’s fresh and in season at the farmer’s market – fortunately we’re far enough south to do that year-round. My 3-year-old also loves to go berry-picking and we can and freeze some of the fruit. I’m not great at growing vegetables myself, but our herb garden does fairly well.

  32. Nancy Forman Keay

    One thing that I have learned by growning some of our own vegetables and herbs is how much WATER it takes!!! And how to not grow stuff just because it’s the latest fad-thing to grow!

  33. Karen

    We raise some veggies of our own, but most of our produce comes from our CSA. We like heirloom varieties of veggies and usually get our seeds from Seed Savers Exchange, which is also local to us. They sell wonderful heirloom cooking beans as well.

  34. Liz

    I eat organic, and try to eat seasonally. It’s much easier here in Oregon than it was in Wisconsin!! I think I gave myself a tree fruit allergy by eating an apple a day for years in college and grad school, because I couldn’t afford anything else. Lots of baby carrots in those days, too. At any rate, now I have a relatively big garden, and a summer farmers’ market 2 blocks away that supplies most if not all of my produce June-October. When I select certain pieces of produce, I look for ones that are full of color and clearly ripe, but not too damaged. With the exception of mushrooms–I was told that the banged-up looking ones are the ones chefs like because their flavors are better.
    I really really hope I win!

  35. Rhonda Shotts

    While I don’t always buy organic, I try to find the best fruits and veggies available at the market and at the farmer’s market when I get a chance to go. Thank you for passing along this valuable information…can’t wait to read the book.

  36. Montana

    I just moved into a triplex and my neighbors and I started a large organic garden. What a wonderful and timely post!


  37. Kathe Boyd

    I want to go to there! I have been interested in (and cooking) real and organic food since the late 60’s. Currently we are gluten free and mostly paleo but will never give up brown rice (hippie days/macrobiotic staple:-)). I work at a local natural foods grocery store; all our produce is organic but I buy what is local and in season. Just returned from our once a week trip to the local farmer’s market and the local butcher ( all meat is from local, pastured, organic whole animals). I spend my money on food so I buy quality and carefully. I have been following you since your first book (Gluten Free Girl) and would love to win this book. I talk food and nutrition to customers all day and this sounds like an invaluable resource.

  38. Edie

    My favorite topics; Gardening and Eating! Thank you for introducing Jo and her wonderful book. If I am not a winner in the drawing, I will be buying a copy. In the mean time, I will be telling my friends about it!

  39. Julia

    If I’m not mistaken, I think there might have been an NPR interview earlier this summer with this author. The tips and facts sound very familiar, but it could have been someone else. In either case, it means that the message is getting around. Her work makes the trips to local farmers’ markets for green leafy things all the more special. And those carrot nubs? I knew there was something amiss when they looked a little too much like orange rounds of play-doh!

  40. amyb

    in the summer and fall most things come from farmers market. in New England not much available winter and spring

    would love to read this book

  41. Alison

    I’m lucky that the stores nearby have a wide variety of in-season produce and often carry local products. I’ve been trying to sample more of that variety, trying fruits and vegetables I don’t typically buy and finding out how to prepare them. It’s so much easier living in a place where good food is easily accessible!

  42. Teddi

    I am slowly making the transition from processed food to a more healthy and balanced diet. I am so happy to be aware of this resource. Life is a journey!

  43. Sarah G.

    I’m in the Houston, Texas area. After supporting non-organic CSA’s, my small town’s limited farmer’s market (where more than one of the farmer’s decry the extreme liberals who are wary of Round Up), and a community co-op that buy’s from the local grocery store suppliers…. I have finally settled on using a metropolitan-wide co-op Rawfully Organic, run by a woman who buys organic only, local as much as possible, and for the most part, in season produce. When we are eating from these boxes of produce, the difference in my entire family’s health is evident in every way. And I will DEFINITELY be buying this book (if I don’t win it). Thanks for sharing!!

  44. Sara

    In the summer I go to the farmer’s market and have a CSA share with my sister. In the winter everything comes from the grocery store unfortunately. I have gotten better over the past few years about at least buying things that are in season in the winter. I can easily walk right by the tomatoes and peaches in January now since I know they won’t taste good. I’d love to be able to can/freeze/preserve the summer bounty but really don’t have a way to in my tiny apartment.

  45. Terry Wilson

    I want to read this book! Would love to win it, but if not I will save my pennies for it. Thank you for the review.

  46. terryhartley

    I shop at the local farmer’s market and at Whole Foods. I have always tried to choose the ugliest most misshapen fruits and vegetables. That has gotten more difficult with the expectation of perfection that we have seen in the past 20 years or so. Bell peppers are now even perfect–poor Edward Weston is turning over in his grave. The farmer’s market offers some hope for interesting specimens as do neighbors who give me things from their gardens. They taste just as good and add fun to prep in the kitchen. I also buy the gnarliest ugliest most warty pumpkin for Halloween.
    P.s. The book looks tasty!!

  47. Erin D.

    I do my best to purchase quality produce regularly from a local farmer. Until I started researching nutrition after health issues I was experiencing, I never knew how much our food has changed over the years. I also never even knew there were such things as purple cauliflower or that carrots came in all sorts of colors. What a wonderful experience it has been trying these new to us foods. This book sounds like it is full of important information, thanks for posting about it!

  48. Lilly

    For produce I try to grow some herbs on our windowsill but we live in a 350sqft apartment so growing very much at all is difficult. I usually buy our produce at the local health food nut store (New Frontiers) or at the weekly farmers market. I would like to win this book, not for myself but for my mother. Ever since I had big scary health issues as a little girl my mother became obsessed with healthy diets (since that was all she could do to make me better). Every now and again my mother sends me the gift of a new book that I HAVE to read about eating a living healthier. Now I want to get her this book because I want to do something for her. I just found out today that she has stage 2 cancer and I want to give her something that she can take at her own pace and enjoy while she is going through chemo and radiation. I know she would love this book (and quite a few of your books since she also has celiac) so I plan on buying this and probably one or two of your books as well.
    On a side note your stories and blogs have always been a highlight of my day and often inspired me to try to enjoy the little bits of life more. So thank you for that. Thank you.

  49. Abby

    I am so excited about this book, too! I have not read it yet but I heard an interview with her (on the Splendid Table, I think?) and was riveted. My family has always grown a large proportion of our produce and we often choose heirloom varieties – both for taste and nutrient value. Recently, I grafted my very first fruit tree! An heirloom Golden Russett apple from my friends very old orchard. Russetts are very tart, not very sweet and quite homely but have a wonderful flavor that I adore.

  50. Kristin

    I thought I was doing so well by shopping at the farmers’ market and buying organic at the store! 🙁 I’m going to check the library for this book so I can learn more about produce right away!

  51. Clara

    Everything, I want to do, is on the wild side, so I might just get enough inspiration to get kicking. Who knows?

  52. Lea

    Choosing produce first starts out in the garden, but may not be planted by us..purslane, chickweed, wild sorrel, fruit off an ancient, long neglected fig tree. Then on to harvesting what we planted for the season. Lastly supplement with what’s growing locally, preferrably organic.

  53. Jams

    Wow. Stunning view from that garden!

    We eat mainly from our CSA in the summer, as well as what we grow in our p-patch.

    I’m excited to learn more about this book!

  54. Emma Galloway

    It’s so inspiring to read about people like Jo, thanks so much for sharing this with us Shauna. I grew up on an organic vege farm, so this is what we dream of providing for our children one day and are working hard to make it a reality. For now, we grow what we can in our little backyard and shop at our local farmers market every weekend. xx

  55. Erica

    We try to go to farmer’s market and buy what we need. It’s so difficult doing it alone surrounded by people who says, why don’t you just go to Safeway and pay $1 a pound for that broccoli?
    That’s why I read your blog. To remind myself that there are kindred spirits who believe in eating good food.

  56. Laura in SP

    I had a vegetable garden once and I found it was a lot of hard work. Good eats, though. Then I planted some tomato plants and one day I found a tomato worm. I still laugh at the memory of my absolute horror. Since then I have a small herb garden and buy a ton of produce at our farmer’s market and the local grocery store. Living in an urban area does present unique challenges.

  57. Lynn

    I haven’t read this book, and perhaps I’ll know the answer to my question after I do….but how would we ever be able to grow healthy vegetables like days of yore when our soil (even our garden soil) is depleated of nutrients…and the seeds we buy in stores are all genetically altered to the point that they will no longer give back produce with seeds that you can use next year? Only heritage seeds (expensive) will do that.

  58. Twyla

    I am the only one in my household. I would grow all my food, if not for living in the city. I like to choose in season and as local as I can find. The closer to home, the better.

  59. js

    Honestly, I just look for organic labels on the produce in the supermarket. Around me, the farmers markets are only open a very few inconvenient hours every week, and I rarely get to them. I have a genetic disease that makes it difficult to detoxify my system, and the chemicals used in growing conventional produce are very hard for my body to get rid of. I don’t even know if I could find non GMO produce around me, so the best I can do at this point is pay a little more for organically raised big-farm produce until I live somewhere that I can have a garden. My husband doesn’t have the same issues or concerns, so I try to do the grocery shopping when I can; otherwise he just goes for the cheapest produce. Oh, and I also like to try new and interesting produce: I don’t know if that is a good idea because it generally has to be shipped long distances. I do love jicama so!

  60. Jessie

    This book sounds incredible and the issue(s) it covers a subject I’ve been chewing and discussing a lot lately. Our diets are all compromised not only by the junk foods we eat, but by the so-called quality foods we choose which are deprived of their nutrients. Your garden is a marvel! We can’t all go at a garden like this on our own, but I’d hope we all begin involvement with community gardens.

  61. Cris

    We eat by season, can and freeze, and enjoy the garden in the summer. Each year I learn a little better how to do it. For, now I am modeling to my kids as best I can and even if they won’t eat it all yet they know where it comes from.

  62. --anu

    At my farmers market in Seattle the apple man knows me as “the sour apples” and always tells me about the tartest ones, obscure varieties no-one has heard of.
    We just got back from Estonia where we spent four weeks with my family, more than half of it at a farm and the rest in their city home where the back yard is full of fruit trees, berry bushes and small veggie beds. Fruit and root vegetables tasted so much more there. The apples straight off the trees and plums so chock full of flavor and not just sweet or sour but a whole explosion of flavors. Returning to our Seattle backyard my tomatoes had grown into a jungle and I have to say I prefer my hybrid sungold tomatoes to my parents’ heirlooms that refused to fully ripen (perhaps due to plentiful rain and lack of sunshine). Spending time at a farm has ruined my daughter in a sense that she doesn’t want to eat grocery store veggies (this is second year running on this idea) or drink store milk (she visited the neighbor’s cow that provided our milk). Yet our farmers market closes in winter and once a week of a market does not provide enough to see us through the week. I suppose I try to make the best choices I can and not dwell too much on it. If the choice is between non-organic blueberries and no blueberries then I choose non-organic. But no New Zealandese or Chilean apples, I’d rather do without.

  63. Summer

    I buy produce if it looks like it still has sunshine in it. When I waffle, the produce usually spoils quickly or tastes lifeless. I also like to go to the farmers market and it is wonderful to see the same people year after year.

  64. Susan Chafin

    I choose my veggie at several different farmers markets that are year round. What I like is its local and whats in season. I try and find food that taste like it was just picked and has flavor like corn that taste corny and Kale along with fresh cut lettuce.

  65. Pat

    We live in Alaska which eliminates a lot of fresh local stuff. We do grow a garden of things that work for our short season (55 days). We also buy from a local organic farm and for a few weeks each summer from a farmer’s market. I have reservedthis book at the library, but would love to own a copy. Thanks for the wonderful website. Neither of us is GF, but I enjoy your writing and outlook on life.

  66. Natasha (Domestica)

    TYPO: Let me give you a hint. Sweetness. Did you know that the ancestor of modern corn was 30% protein and 3% sugar? The supersweet corn you find in the grocery store right now is now 40% sugar and 4% sugar.

      1. shauna

        Oops. I saw it now — I used the word sugar twice in the last sentence. I really shouldn’t try to proofread without a cup of coffee in me! Changed now. Thanks.

  67. J.R.

    Produce here is a challenge sometimes. It shouldn’t be that way, but it is.

    I, too, live on an island. But there’s just not a lot of agriculture here. For local produce, I go to a little (three farmers) farmers market that sets up on a nearby corner two mornings a week. I buy my cucumbers and tomatoes when they’re in season (it’s better for tomatoes here in the winter) from a farmer who doesn’t use insecticides or chemicals on his plants. Another farmer there has an orchard, so I buy from him whatever is in season. Last week, it was Julie mangoes, cherry guava, and sugar apple. Yum. The other farmer there typically has greens and you really never know what else she may have.

    I also buy “fresh” produce at the supermarket, although it’s obviously been shipped a long way. It’s typically tired and expensive, looks terrible and doesn’t have much taste. Sometimes, it’s disheartening. Sometimes because of this, I just buy frozen fruit and vegetables to supplement what I get at the farmer’s market. It’s expensive too, but at least it was fresh when it was first frozen. I know that probably sounds like sacrilege. But in my world, it’s sometimes the best alternative.

  68. Nancy

    We’re slowly transitioning to eating healthier organic foods purchased from the supermarket or so I thought until I read this post! There is so much to learn about heathly eating: organic, GMO, pastured foods, anti inflammation foods, the list goes on…

  69. Emily

    Would love to win. I just gave up sugar and gluten and it has been almost 6 weeks. I definitely feel an improvement and am striving to eat more vegetables. Where I am there is not much organic produce and I don’t have a yard for a garden, so instead I look for what looks the freshest and I know came from this country where I’m living, even if it’s not organic. Thanks for the inspiration!

  70. Izaan

    I normally just buy produce at the local supermarket… Not always the freshest and they don’t last very long, but it is the most convenient here in South Africa. The closest organic fresh produce market I know of, is about a 45 minute drive from my house. I’m really interested to see if this book can teach me how to buy and store produce better, maybe even growing it one day. Love reading your blog!

  71. gita

    I wish we had a garden, but right now we don’t have growing space. We belong to a local food coop that only stocks organic produce, so that’s our go to option. Everything is in season and doesn’t travel far- so no, we don’t eat strawberries in january, but I really love following a natural cycle of what’s available from local growers. Our neighbors are generous in giving from their garden, and in our neighborhood we have plum, walnut and fig trees as well as blackberries for free picking. I’m so happy when i get to go out foraging! the book looks amazing! i’d love a copy. thanks for sharing and offering this give away!

  72. Nonna Sue

    I was an itinerant teacher for 35 years and often ended up working with a student during my lunch time. I brought extra food to share, generally fruits and vegetables. My favorite moment was offering a student carrots. He exclaimed “You make your own carrots!”. Probably one of the best lessons I taught. Sadly, I worked in a rural county.

  73. MargieAnne

    You have made want this book big-time. I must look for it in our library. Please don’t consider this comment for your book draw. We live in New Zealand within 500 metres or yards of the sea, practically on a sandhill. Last year we ordered a truckload of soil to grow veggies in. I far prefer to eat my home grown stuff but I’m a very poor gardener. We sowed our heirloom tomato seeds a couple of weeks ago and the snails ate the baby plants last night.
    I wish I could buy old fashioned sweetcorn seed. Supersweet varieties are far more temperamental to grow.

    Your life on Vashon always sounds wonderful. We live on a peninsula which has attracted many artistic and creative people and then there are the holidymakers and tourists.


  74. Stephanie

    I used to spend a lot of time planning meals, making grocery lists & then going to the store. Now, I still make a list for staples I need (bananas, spinach & garlic almost always on those lists) and I go to the farmer’s market. I see what’s in season, what looks good, and then I try to think of what I could make using those ingredients. It’s a challenge for me, but I’m finding food tastes better and I’m nurturing my creative side, even if there’s not a whole lot to that side. Produce in season always tastes better than produce trucked half way across the country.

  75. Tal

    I try to buy organic, farmers’ markets, and sustainable farming fresh produce when possible. Except for frozen petit pois!

  76. Dee Young

    what beautiful photos! I can’t wait to read the book. I have so enjoyed eating fresh, local produce all summer, and dreading the end of our seasonal farmer’s markets. On the Wild Side sounds like a great book to help one make wise choices throughout the year.

  77. Lindsey F

    This book sounds incredibly interesting. When I shop for produce I try to buy organic and local.

  78. Kelly M

    Our CSA box chooses for us! I love that it makes us consider and use veggies that aren’t always “perfect” looking. I’m also excited to read about tearing the lettuce… we have always prepped and stored our washed, torn, and ready to go because salads are much quicker and easier that way.

  79. Kathryn

    I have a copy to read, but I’d love to have a 2nd copy to give to a friend who gardens and goes to an herbal conference every year in NH.

  80. Katrina

    I try to buy all my produce at the farmer’s market, but it’s tough even in Brooklyn, land of the artisinal mayonnaise, to afford the good stuff all the time. I have a fire escape full of herbs, but in a fourth-floor walk-up, that’s the closest I can get to growing my own food!

  81. Jess

    I’m planting my own organic garden and moving towards more organic meats in my family’s diet. Having a child seems to do that to you!

  82. Heather

    I shop at my neighborhood co-op and farmers’ market and largely choose based on what’s in season. There are some exceptions: bananas, apples, avocados. Choosing this way encourages me to try new uses for familiar and not so familiar produce.

  83. Linda from the UK

    I grow as many summer veg as my small plot allows, but with a north-facing slope and a very wet climate, I’ve not had much success with winter veg. It’s all organic, but I have to admit, I look for varieties that will suit the conditions, not for nutritional content. This book looks fascinating, but doesn’t seem to be available yet in the UK, so I’d love to win a copy!

  84. Zoe

    I grew up on an amazing organic farm. My parents pioneered many wild varieties of food into public markets. Today a a parent I have a pretty darn good idea what is best for my family, what saddens me is that every time I shop for food I have to juggle the fact that we can not afford all organic produce. In the Summer we have our garden which is heaven, we just need to learn to find ways to stretch what we grow into the winter!!

  85. Magda

    I try to pick what should be in season, even at the grocery store. Try to keep away from lots of sugar and processed/ready made products.

  86. Anna

    I try to be an everything in moderation kind of eater. This book is very intriguing but also a bit overwhelming. I hope to have space to grow a lot of our produce in the next few years and it would be really interesting to learn about which varieties are healthiest to grow. Right now, in summer, we are eating a variety of produce from the farmer’s market. It is all so good.

  87. Cordelia Willgren

    How exciting to learn about this book! I can’t wait to read it either by purchasing it or winning it. I go at three times a week to Natural Grocers to buy my greens and produce. I love that all their produce is organic and oh so fresh.

    I am addicted to kale and chard like I was to sugar donuts. My body craves the greens now. It makes me think this is actually what human should subsist on.

  88. Susan tchon

    I didn’t know about lettuce. Thanks for sharing. This summer I grew more than tomatoes for the first time. Wow. Did the peppers and cucumbers and zucchini taste so much better than those bought in the store. Thanks for explaining the difference . This book sounds like a must read!

  89. Elizabeth

    Wow! I need this book! I’ve been a vegetarian for 35 years, but admit to buying whatever’s on the shelf in my grocery store. I thought I was doing myself a favor by eating those big, beautiful apples and that shiny corn on the cob. I see now that I need to educate myself — big time! Thanks so much for calling our attention to this book of a lifetime. Can’t wait to start reading!

  90. Stephanie

    Wow! It’s exiting to know that my theories about healthy food, which are based on approximately nothing, are true!
    Most of our summer produce comes from our CSA. Some comes from my garden. This year’s tomato plants were looking great but got late blight. Blossom rot, cracked tops and all, however, they are unbelievably delicious.
    I love the tip about lettuce, and am wondering whether it’s true for dark leafy greens as well? I knew about garlic, but forgot.
    As a believer that every drop helps, I’d love to learn what preparations are healthiest, and I’d love to have a handle on the science for my beliefs.
    As always, thank you for providing us with such wonderful information.

  91. Mary

    Most of my produce this summer has come from my little garden-my very first one. I have really enjoyed making homemade salsa with everything from the garden except onions.

  92. Betsy

    We grow our veggies, harvest them in the summer, and then blanch, vacuum seal, and freeze them for the long cold winter.

  93. LaLaLand

    I grew up with helping my parents with their large gardens, and then had my own for years. With the decline of my garden, our produce consumption has declined, as our ‘farmers market’ mostly offers the same items as the supermarket (as in same suppliers) and I cannot bring my self to buy them. Would love to read this book to help inspire me to begin gardening again.

  94. Kim G.

    I always try to buy the darkest of veggies and fruits. Somewhere along the way I heard that the darker the more healthy and it stuck with me. Unfortunately, I have a daughter who loves bananas and iceberg lettuce. We are in the middle of a move and none of that kind of stuff is coming into our new home … a new beginning!

  95. Lisa H.

    I am SOOO glad you wrote about this really important book! When I saw the cover in our local indie bookstore I made the (really totally wrong) assumption that it was written by some extremist who thought we should eat ONLY from our parking strips. Now I can’t wait to read it, and I love that she offers solutions and options.

  96. Libby

    I live in a really small town in Kansas and our options for fresh produce are limited to whatever comes in on the Walmart truck.
    Recently, though, a farmer opened up a stand/ small farm just outside of town and I do all I can to give him my money. From him we get such extravagances as rainbow chard and heirloom tomatoes. Heirloom tomatoes really gross out some people in this town since they look so different from what a “normal” tomato looks like. But they’re so delicious and sweet and juicy!

  97. Jennifer

    Wow, this book sounds wonderful. As a scientist, but not in food science, I’ve often wondered if the research just hadn’t been done on these things, or if it was just buried in the midst of all the science journals. I’m so grateful someone has done all the hard work and heavy lifting. I’ll certainly be adding this book to my library, one way or another.

    1. Jennifer

      Heh, so excited to hear about the book I forgot to answer your question. I will admit to picking produce I know my 3yo daughter will eat (broccoli and green beans: yes, cucumbers zucchini: no) until I just can’t take missing cucumbers anymore, and splurge even though I know it means cooking extra dishes. Every Sunday we go to our local farmer’s market and purchase most of our produce there.

  98. Jan

    My grandparents from Croatia lived in Monterey, CA. Since approximately the 1920’s, she had a ‘truck garden’ out in her back yard. She grew a large variety of produce, but her mainstay vegetable was kale. I grew up on it and still can’t get enough of it. I try to buy it at Whole Foods. We also have a vegetable garden almost every summer. I buy organic as much as possible, especially stuff like celery. And I buy a few organic frozen vegetables to have around in case of a real busy evening. This book sounds fabulous, and I plan to read it soon!

  99. marie

    I go with what comes off of my little patio garden, which is admittedly and unfortunately not much, first. Along with that, whatever produce would taste good with the other pantry ingredients I have.

  100. Chloe

    I get most of my produce from my garden. But now I am curious what varieties might be lower in sugar!

  101. Deb Martell

    I seriously need more information like this! I also need to find a local farmers market. Mainly looking for organic produce in the grocery for now. Thanks for sharing!!

  102. Carla Silva

    What a great post! I’m lucky enough to live in Portugal and have a bit of land to grow my vegetables (beets, zucchini, onions, lettuce, green collards…) and I’m buying this book to take the storage and preparation to another level. We don’t use any pesticides and you’re soooo right about the tomatoes! Nothing compares to growing your own food. Thanks so much for all the amazing information on here, I keep coming back to learn more and more. Keep up the good work and God bless!

  103. Erin

    Every Tuesday I walk a couple of miles to our downtown farmers market, an empty backpack across my shoulders and a fistful of cash in my pocket. Here in west Texas we’re aren’t blessed with much diversity in our produce, but I’ve been delighted to try an Israeli melon, a new variety of cucumber, some tiny hot peppers and the like across this season. I like to bring home a sackful of blemished tomatoes to make a thick sauce, full of chopped squash and shredded carrots and elephant garlic. Or roast some cubed eggplant and toss it in balsamic and olive oil with basil leaves to make a tangy, chewy bruschetta-like topping. Or eat giant wedges of yellow watermelon, the juice dripping down my arms and smelling of honeysuckle. That, my friend, is bliss.

  104. Chelsea

    I know I’m definitely guilty of succumbing to my sweet tooth, but this clarifies so much of what I’ve been hearing (on the subject, Shauna, have you ever read Sidney W. Mintz’s amazing book “Sweetness and Power”? It’s a scholarly text from the ’80s about how and why sugar entered our diets, and the impact on social and power hierarchies it had) about what’s happening to our systems. I try to buy from local markets when I can, and we plant a garden every year and jam it with things like arugula and radishes and chard as well as tomatoes. We’re saving seeds from the tomatoes this year and letting the arugula pepper its seeds all over the place so we can have more bitter greens in the spring.

  105. Autumn

    After shopping for produce at Safeways and their ilk most of my life, in the past 5 years my eyes have been opened. Now I’m a lot more discerning and shop almost exclusively at local farmers’ markets and my neighborhood co-op. This year, I bought a house with raised beds in the backyard, and have had some success growing my own veggies! Nothing more satisfying than eating tomatoes you plucked moments ago, still warm from the sun.

  106. Denise

    I have a really hard time choosing veggies at all and constantly discipline myself to it. I seem to usually choose something that can be roasted or cooked in some way rather than raw. This book sounds amazing and I’m adding it to me list even if I don’t win. Thanks for the opportunity.

  107. Rosanne

    Living in Chile, there are still thriving outdoor produce markets, but we are one-step removed from who actually grows the food. Thankfully, once a week I can visit a purely organic market and pick up all of the veggies and citrus fruits I want. As this market is solely local, the produce is only available in season. I’ve found since I went gluten-free, my sweet tooth has diminished significantly and my ratio of veg has increased while fruit has decreased. Another positive effect of losing the gluten 🙂

    Thanks for the tips on greens and garlic, totally do-able and I never would have thought the antioxidants levels could be changed so quickly!

  108. Tagati


    Mille grazie for the great link! I immediately added it to my wish list (hope I get a copy this Christmas!).

    I tend to buy fresh fruit and produce from the Chimicum Roadstand (local organic farmers) and buy what “speaks” to me that day. Since I tend to eat mostly vegetables (Japanese background), I do enjoy the plentitude of local farmers in the Olympic Penninsula.


  109. Meaghan

    I’m learning… It’s hard changing your food habits when you’ve grown so accustomed to selecting the prettiest looking produce from your closest grocery. Like you said though, these fruits/vegetables taste awful when they are not in season. I had no idea they were that less good for you (and for some people, potentially bad!) I’ve started altering my routine by visiting local farm stands and signing up for a summer farm share. I will definitely be purchasing this book even if I don’t win. Thanks for drawing my attention to it.

  110. Heather

    I choose my veggies at my farmer’s market. love the farmer’s market in my town. In the summer, I can go two times a week. My favourite is fresh carrots. I love all the different colours and they taste so much better than the ones in the stores. In the winter, I try to buy as much organic veggies as I can in the store.

  111. Vilmarie

    Inspiring and informative post! Our is a combination of our garden veggies and try to buy somewhat seasonal and organic when possible. I’ve been slowly getting the hang of eating more seasonally and learning where our food comes from. This book sounds like a great addition to learn more about it.

  112. Le

    I will be adding this to my christmas wish list. It sounds like a great read!
    I’m a farm kid- the bulk of our produce comes form the farmers market. I drive my husband crazy when I reject produce that is too perfect or too uniform. He has learned to appreciate the irregularities of real food.

  113. Kate

    Living in France, I am so fortunate to be able to find an outdoor market with fresh produce 3x/week all year long just a 10 minute walk away. We mostly eat fruits and vegetables grown in France and typically organic but this is so easy to do here (with the exception of a few months in the winter, when carrots and leeks start getting a bit BORING). I love the market with its vendors convincing you to get 2 kilos of cherries because this is the last week they will be good, or explaining the best way to cook celery root, throwing in an extra bunch of parsley because they think your American accent is cute or an extra avocado because it’s good for the baby !

  114. Lindsey

    Since I moved back to Charlottesville, VA 2 years ago, I have been transitioning more and more to local produce, purchased from my favorite farmers at our local market. This year, I also had my first (small) garden where I grew peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Shifting to locally grown, seasonal produce has been such a fun experience, as it has really connected me to my surroundings and the seasons in a new way.

  115. Kim

    We belong to a local CSA. My daughter’s birth family in Ethiopia are farmers and we love learning about different foods that come from the ground (or trees or bushes, etc ) it helps her feel more connected to where she was born

  116. Colleen Walsh

    I’m new to all this, but here’s what I do. I shop at three different grocery stores to find the best produce. And I clean it with a homemade wash of water, vinegar, and lemon juice. I also planted my first container garden this year. It’s just beans, but I plan to expand with more pots next year. Small simple changes seem to work best for me. Thanks for the recommendation. I’d love to win this book!

  117. Jessica

    We were finally able to join a CSA this year, and it has made all the difference in how we’ve been eating. A strange thing occurs when a pile of gorgeous produce shows up on your doorstep. Yes, you’ve paid for it, but that was months ago. The arrival of it feels like a gift. Like a surprise package arrival. So we feel compelled to use the last of it up. Nobody wants to throw away such a lovely gift! I find a way to incorporate so many more vegetables into our meals now, and it’s been a blessing.

  118. Tiffany

    I am an island-dweller as well, Shauna. I live on Vancouver Island (not far from you!) with my husband and 3 year old daughter. We moved into a new house two years ago in a neighbourhood infested with my garden pest nemesis — deer. They call our street the “Deer Highway” as you can look out the window at pretty much any time of any day and see them munching their way up the street toward the park entrance at the far end. A doe and her two fawns sleep every night under a rhododenron in the corner of our backyard, and many mornings I have to open up the gate because the fawns are “stuck” and can’t jump their way over our 4′ fence (which begs the question, how the hell did they get in?!). Last month I looked out my kitchen window and saw four young bucks sampling anything that looked green and tasty throughout the yard. Which included pretty much every growing thing within their reach.
    So my big dream and longed-for yard reno project — turning half of the nearly 10,000 sq ft backyard into a garden to grow the majority of our family’s produce — is on hold until we can afford to build the necessary fencing to keep the beautiful but oh-so destructive deer away from our food supply. Until then, I have contented myself with a large patch of beautiful Red Russian garlic (which the deer won’t touch) and a small cluster of tender lettuce leaves protected by a chicken wire cage.
    In my mind, the three produce items that are most worthwhile to grow at home because the taste, texture and health benefits are so much more wonderful and enhanced and improved from the insipid grocery store versions, are garlic, lettuce and tomatoes.
    The fencing goes up this winter. Come spring of 2014, if you want to find me I’ll be out in my garden!

  119. Penny R

    After experiencing some health challenges and enforced sedentary lifestyle while healing, all the while gaining weight, I have started to read up on the non GMO and organic side of nutrition. I have started choosing non GMO and organic for my smoothies, local when in season. Kale is wonderful in smoothies!

  120. Elaine A

    I hate the little carrots, like to cut my own, won’t buy a tomato from the grocery store, home grown or farmers market for me…

  121. Jen

    I can’t wait to read this book. We eat ltd and lots of fresh fruits and veggies here- I assumed that was enough. Clearly I new to read this book and make some changes! So much for thinking that I was shopping smart by shopping in the produce aisle.

  122. Margit Van Schaick

    Living in Vermont, and fortunate to have space, I have three elevated 4x8feet garden beds filled with organic compost. They are one foot deep so that I can grow most things, including tomato and squash, as well as chard and kale, radish, carrots, beets, onions, and an abundance of herbs. I originally had these elevated beds built because of mobility issues caused by orthopedic issues( since resolved), but discovered that they are wonderful even for able-bodied gardeners because they’re so accessible and not bothered by deer, rabbits, woodchuck, or snails. I also have what I call the Big Garden, a space to grow peas, beans, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and more of whatever else I crave(especially chard, kale,carrots, onions). To supplement this garden, I buy other produce from organic farmers. Getting organic berries and fruit is very difficult, due to lack of availability and expense, so I hope to plant some berries next year. I really cannot afford the extremely high cost of organic produce so if I can’t grow it, I often do without. For Winter, I try to freeze lots of the produce and herbs. This book sounds like it will teach me a great many useful things! To commenters who’d like to grow some food but don’t think they have room, I highly encourage them to consider a system of elevated beds and/or large pots. It’s amazing how much you can grow in an elevated bed the size of an actual twin-size bed(for sleeping)! Shauna, thank you for sharing your visit to Jo Robinson’s garden and telling us about her book!

  123. Damselflydiary

    My husband is unemployed. We had to cancel our weekly delivery of fresh, mostly local, organic and GMO-free fruits and vegetables. I miss it. We have been trying to shop local sales (thank goodness it is summer) to still buy organic but it is hard and expensive. We can’t grow our own. Even factoring out my black thumb, we live in a townhouse with no access to garden space. I can’t wait until he gets working again so we can once again start receiving our weekly bins of garden goodness!

  124. Katie

    What an amazing book. Don’t you wish this was the kind of thing they would start teaching in school? It seems so important.

  125. Rinnie

    We have an organic farmer who just started making home deliveries once a week. He is passionate about his work, particularly his soil. While this Indiana girl is not yet ready to give up her sweet corn, our farmer’s bundle of delicious veggies sure help our bodies to feel better! We eat around whatever we are given, every week and we are finding new favorites all the time

  126. Julie

    This time of year we grow many of our vegetables and belong to a farm share where we pick up our produce once a week. In the winter we have a monthly winter share. We stick to mainly organic vegetables when we shop at the grocery store and buy most from our small local store or our neighboring co-op. This sounds like a great book. Thanks.

  127. Mikie

    You might think that my recent move to central Florida would put me in the perfect location to source my mostly vegetable and fruit diet from locals, but so far, it hasn’t. There are several “farm stands” in the area, but I think they are little appreciated and less well used or something, as the produce I’m seeing there so far seems way past it’s shelf life, not very fresh or appealing, which is causing me to rely on the big supermarkets for produce, where it is preciously priced, so I buy less. Being someone who is gluten free and who doesn’t add back any of the carbs I’ve eliminated in becoming so, well, I’d like better sources. There don’t even seem to be any cooperatives around here. I’m sure if I keep asking and looking, I’ll turn something up. A reason it is super important for me to learn more about the properties of veggies is because my system has been ravaged by a parasite and I’m trying, on my own, to re-build my immune system through foods, as I have no financial access to other alternatives, either allopathic or naturopathic. Thanks!

  128. Holly

    I try to grow as much produce as I can in my backyard and I’ll start utilizing the space in my front yard if I run out of room. I’ll have to fence off the wild rabbits, though. What I can’t grow fast enough (like root vegetables and broccoli , cauliflower, and cabbage) I buy at the local farmer’s market. If I don’t win the book, I’ll definitely buy it for myself and for family gifts. Thanks for introducing it to us.

  129. Sandy

    I buy organic produce at the grocery mart, and when spring and summer rolls around, I got the Farmer’s Market on a weekly basis. I try to cook within the season, and mainly at home.

  130. Maureen

    Thank you for this! And, of course, the photos of that stunning garden. Added the book to my Amazon wish list immediately. Oh, and thanks for the tidbit about the garlic! We’ll be implementing that right away!

  131. Jana Sooter

    We choose our produce by what is growing in our garden or other friends’s gardens. Fruit is harder because we only grow berries so we buy local so we get what is in season and organic. This book sounds incredible! It will definitely be on my shelf in my library.

  132. Denise C

    I tend to pick the fruits and vegetables that I find at the farmers market that look and smell good to me. That way I buy what’s in season and forces me to the variety in my diet.

    Looking forward to reading this book!

  133. Monet

    I’m totally buying this book (assuming I don’t win it). I need more produce info. Everyone pushes “buy local, buy organic” but, buy what? It’s obvious not all fruits and vegetables are necessarily good for you.

  134. Samantha

    I’ve been scouring the farmers market trying to find the freshest. I’m still learning though and would love more insight into fruits and veggies from the earth and not the grocery store.

  135. myste

    we try to source as much of our food from wild varieties as possible: nettles, burdock, dandelion, lambs quarters, etc. Now when baby plants of these wild edibles come up in our garden, instead of treating them as weeds, we welcome them as wild cultivars and save their seeds to grow more next season!

  136. Adrienne

    I think the best decision I’ve made about food this year was to finally sign up for a CSA box. I still supplement with produce from the Ballard Farmer’s market, which I’m really lucky to live within walking distance of, but the majority of our produce now comes fresh in the box. Kale, heirloom carrots, and onions with their tops have thus become mainstays in our kitchen! I love it all. One day, I’ll have a garden and I’ll grow as much of this as I can (and more, I hope!). Now, though, I settle for my 2 little greenhouses full of fresh herbs (and catnip for the cat, of course). It’s a funny thing about kale: the more of it I eat, the less I’m inclined towards cookies or even corn on the cob. If it weren’t for my current pregnancy, I think my sweet tooth would have all but disappeared.

  137. Deserae

    I am such a nutrient geek. I must read this book! How exciting. I am all about flavor in fruit and veg and I find that the varieties mentioned in some of the reviews and interviews not only are more nutritious but taste better too, like the tomatoes you mention in this post. Thanks for sharing this!

  138. Angie W.

    We try to grow as much as we can in our little rental house garden. Lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, and all sorts of other goodness. We eat what we can and then freeze the rest of it to enjoy year round.

  139. kristy

    I eat a mostly raw vegan diet. That means a lot of produce! I’ve found such discrepancies in taste and ripeness from store to store, it’s amazing. I’m always looking for ways to choose the best produce and tips on storing it. Thanks for bringing this book to your readers’ attention.

    CSA boxes, local farmer’s markets and ethnic markets have saved me lots of money. I always go to these first if I can.

  140. Theo S

    You know, I don’t believe there are any coincidences in life. I’m at work and the computer system is down and I just happen to have time to check my email. Reading this blog has reinforced the journey that my husband and I have been on recently. My husband is gluten-intolerant due to a long history of acid reflux medication use. He was only diagnosed in 2009. Since that time, we have been educating ourselves on what he can eat. At first it felt more like, “what he can’t eat” but now that doesn’t even matter anymore. It was the viewing of the documentary “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” that started us on a mission to find out more of how we could use food to heal our bodies. We were very interested in finding a way to help his gluten intolerance, gerd, and other health problems. I also have severe skin allergies. That movie was an eye opener for us. That led us to watch other movies such as Food Matters, which increased our knowledge about the significant benefits of vitamins, minerals, and whole foods and its effects on healing significant health problems. The one day, I happen to find your site, which was such a relief to my husband and I. We have changed our diets significantly since 2009. We are vegetarian M-F, and we eat non-GMO whole foods and grains because we strongly believe that the foods we eat now are not the same as they were 50 years ago. We know they have been tampered with and have lost their original nutrional value. We don’t eat gluten products anymore. We eat non-gmo whole grains. We feel great and happy. We definitely notice a difference when fall off the path because we are feeling the next few days after. I have come off my allergy medications and my husband has a healthier way of dealing with his health. So reading this blog made me very excited and overjoyed. Seeing Jo’s garden and hearing about her research has been truly inspiring. It has only reinforced that we are doing the right thing. Thank you Shauna for the post!

  141. Ka

    This is so fascinating! I’ve become so much more “nutritionally aware” of the food we’re consuming since going completely gluten free in October. We try to buy locally and seasonally as much as we can, and occasionally order from for a fresh, natural, homecooked meal when I run out of inspiration. I’m definitely buying this book!

  142. Ginny

    Bless Jo for doing all this work! I buy at a farmer’s market for in-season fruits and veggies. I tried some corn on the cob a couple of years ago, and gagged because it was so sweet. The corn taste had been covered up.

  143. Molly (Sprue Story)

    My mom was telling me about this book when she visited me in New York, and then we visited the farmer’s market and overheard someone else talking about the book (makes sense it’d be farmer’s market conversation!). Seems it’s everywhere I turn, and probably for good reason. I’d love to win a copy. My sister and I go shopping at the farmer’s market once a week and do our best to choose produce that is in season and in its prime. We’re working on getting better about meal-planning AFTER going to the market based on what’s good, rather than dreaming up an amazing meal and then having our hopes dashed by shriveled fruit or wilting veggies.

  144. Kristine Angelo

    I heard Jo interviewed on PBS Fresh Air a few weeks ago. What a fount of invaluable information.
    Since I’ve been gluten free for health issues, i find it harder to know what to cook. Vegetable are my first love, and after hearing her interview I now know to eat the broccoli right away. Would love to win this book, but if I don’t I will certainly buy it. Love your blog Shauna…Cheers to you.

  145. Pam Simos

    I’ve been hearing so much about this book all over NPR. It’s very exciting and I’m so jealous she lives (and gardens) on your lovely garden. I pick our produce at the farmer’s market June through October and then get depressed for a while when I have to go back to the produce department at our Whole Foods. Still I feel lucky to have access to better produce at all. In one snippet from a radio interview with Jo I heard her comparing darker lettuces to iceberg lettuce and I was appalled to hear how much iceberg still gets consumed in the country. Can’t wait to read the book.

  146. Elizabeth

    I love your blog because of the focus on fresh produce, and your messages about trying to calm down and find a way to make a difference, instead of raging at the world, really resonate with me.
    My diet is easily 60% fresh produce in the summer, and so I’m struggling right now to decide whether to continue buying it at the farmer’s market (which is tastier, probably healthier, and supports local agriculture — but costs 2 or 3 times as much) or to shop at the discount produce place, in order to save money for our wedding. I’m not looking forward to when I have to make the choice between feeding my kids the best food and buying all the other things they need.

  147. Ashley

    Its so hard to find good wild produce. We shop at whole foods. It really does taste better than at other grocery stores. I can’t wait until we buy a house so I can garden and grow my own.

  148. Jacki

    In the summer time my neighbor shares her garden with me – chard, lettuce, kale, cucumbers, zucchini, green beans and raspberries. What she doesn’t have the farmer’s market does. I’m always sad when I have to start purchasing these items again in the store.

  149. Sandy D

    Honestly, this book would be wasted on me. I’ve given up trying to have a garden in the central Texas heat, on 1/8 inch of soil over shale. (OK, that part will be remedied; we’re moving back to Oregon this winter.) I buy the freshest examples of what’s in the grocery store, out of the vegetables that do not upset my husband’s allergies (he can’t eat alliums, peppers, many nightshades) or digestion. I *sing* when I find good, truly ripe tomatoes. The people at the farmers’ market so far seem to grow fairly standard, modern varieties . . . not that I’m not grateful that there IS a farmers’ market, but it needs some encouragement.
    The good side to allergies, though, is that I make nearly all our baked goods at home. Reducing the sugar intake is a goal, but at least this means a complete lack of corn syrup (high or low fructose, I’m not convinced either one is real food), food coloring, flavors that aren’t from an herb or at furthest remove from a seed/pod soaked in booze, and other stuff the origins of which I cannot identify.
    I’d like to serve a greater variety of vegetables, but right now I’m just happy that my husband likes the vegetables he can eat.

  150. Emily

    Thanks for sharing about the book. I heard part of an interview with her on NPR and now after your write up I want to read the book. We eat what’s in season from our own garden, and supplement with farmstands and seasonal produce at the grocery store.

  151. Jesica D

    What an awesome book! I try to grow it, then farmer’s market and then organic from the grocery store. Then hope I can gets my kids to eat it!!!

  152. Meg

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful post and pictures. I must be living under a rock lately as I hadn’t heard about Jo’s book. Looking forward to reading it and utilizing the info to improve what I do with the fruits and veggies I get in my weekly CSA share!

  153. jacquie

    buy local from small producers whenever possible. while I hope I win i’m certainly considering picking up this book if I don’t.

    on an unrelated note – what are you, danny and lu reading now? james and giant peach came to mind tonight and I thought about you all. in thinking about I was reminded of the “the incredible journey” about 3 lost animals that find their way home. Did you read that when you were younger also? I wonder if I would love it as much now as I did then. any recommendations for re-reads of old favorites would be appreciated.

    1. shauna

      Jacquie, thanks for asking. We just read three chapters of Little House on the Prairie tonight (poor Pa walking Patty through a pack of wolves!), which Lucy has requested again, since she went to Pioneer Camp last week!. A couple of days ago, we romped through The Twits, which is about truly horrible people, but so funny. In fact, she said, “This is the funniest book ever, Mama!” I think we’re turning to Matilda next!

  154. Dorothea

    I tend to choose root vegetables because they store so well, and they’re so versatile in dishes (especially cabbage). I always buy broccoli, organic spinach, carrots, and celery, along with some fresh chili peppers. Add some frozen limas, peas, and cauliflower, and I’m good for a few weeks before I have to shop again. If I could have a garden, I’d add heirloom tomatoes, etc. to the list!

  155. carol

    I have a huge garden that we eat from all year long with wild foods added when we have time to forage but only foods that we are sure of what they are; we save our seeds year to year & grow cull the plants every year to take the ones that do the best in our area.

  156. Emily B

    I stick to frozen berries and an organic bag of mixed greens each week for my breakfast smoothies. We try to find produce that is seasonal and local when we can to fill in for lunches, snacks, and dinner.

  157. Netty

    Just added this to my amazon wish list. Looks awesome! As for veggies…I LOVE our CSA! 🙂 We also tried starting a garden this year with mixed results. I will have to get better at that. 🙂

  158. Kimberly

    From June through October, I eat the produce that Local Roots Farm drops off on our front porch each Tuesday afternoon. (I love being the QA host for Siri and Jason’s CSA!) And this year, I finally got a p-patch plot, so I have a sunny spot – especially this summer! – to grow tomatoes, tomatillos and peppers. (I’ll be planting kale and other greens this weekend for the winter.) The rest of the year, I shop at farmers markets or the organic section of Met Mart or PCC, and eat what I’ve preserved during the summer.

  159. Ryannah Tannarome

    I get a biodynamic CSA box, it is wonderful and feels so much more alive and nutritious! Thanks for your wonderful posts, your story helped me on my own healing path.

  160. Andrea

    Hi Shauna – this is the first time I’m leaving a comment, though I’ve been really enjoying your site for some time now and wanted to thank you for being so generous with your time, thoughts, experiences, and knowledge! I switched my way of eating and living, for health and philosophical reasons, about a year ago now and have never looked back. Your site helped me a lot when I decided to change my lifestyle and started down this path, and now I continue to come back, as I greatly enjoy reading your posts. This book looks great, and I look forward to grabbing a copy and reading it. I dream of a day when I will be able to have a garden of my own and maybe grow such a tuft of kale, lettuce, tomatoes, chard… For now, it’s the organic shop around the corner (which bring in local produce) and the farmer’s markets that supply me the most. And I agree – what a wonderful thing that this book is selling! All the best…

  161. Eileen A

    What a beautiful picture! I want to go there. I’ll keep this short and sweet. I would love a copy of your book! There’s nothing better than going out to my garden to pick my food. I am canning salsa today for my first time. I am so excited. That’s all. Have an earthy day 🙂

  162. Urban Wife

    What a fascinating book! I’m going to definitely purchase it even if I don’t win. Picking produce to eat in Texas can be tricky. In fact, I’ll just be honest: it’s infuriating. At the big box stores, practically 95% or more of produce is grown in Mexico. Why does a state like Texas, even with a water shortage, which can grow its’ own fruits and vegetables have to import from Mexico? My wild guess is cost and I would probably be right. I don’t know to what standards the produce from Mexico is grown, therefore I don’t want to put it in my body. Scary. The solution I’ve found (more of a compromise really) is getting produce which specifically states its been grown in the USA. Luckily, stores like Sprouts Farmer’s Market and Whole Foods have some of this produce. Sadly, we have had to cut out some produce but I think next year we will try a CSA membership. Hopefully that helps! (I apologize for my diatribe. No offense was meant. I just want to eat smart.)

  163. Jamie

    This looks like a great book! I am very lucky to live in downtown Seattle, so I have lots of options from the market and grocery stores to buy local and organic; even at QFC! My faves are cabbage, carrots, and red onion for slaw; avocados, green beans, asparagus, garlic, yams, zucchini, kale, and berries. So many options! And having a great Vitamix blender doesn’t hurt either- just throw that unused kale in a smoothie and drink up:)

  164. Elizabeth

    Her book sounds absolutely brilliant. It’s about we wake up and stop eating junk. We’re just finishing peach season and I will miss them until next summer.

  165. THS

    Growing up in the San Jauns (Camano Island)I know you live on a beautiful island and are so lucky to be there! Here in Camas, where we live now, there is a wonderful little family honor veg/fruit stand on my way to work and I buy as much of my produce there that I can. This year for the first time they had real cantaloupe, not the muck melons that most grocery store carry as a cant and they have been yummy and vine ripened! They do not grow everything since it is a labor of love of a retired couple and their organic garden. The rest I get at PDX Farmers Market and Whole Foods.

  166. Zoe Dawn

    This, THIS, is exactly what I’ve had a hunch about all along. I’m so excited about this book! If I don’t win one, there’s a good chance I’ll buy one.

    We grow almost all of our vegetables. Fruits I typically purchase from local growers except for grapes and strawberries, which we have in the garden. Apricots usually come from the west coast as they don’t very often grow well around here. We do have a small orchard but we are pretty clueless about how to tend it so we don’t usually get much. I got enough cherries for a pie this year. Woohoo!

  167. Jess

    This sounds wonderful! I always love to read about ways to optimize what my family and I eat. I live in Oregon, so have lots of locally available options, but it will be nice to know what is best to choose for consumption!

  168. Anna

    I love picking my fresh garden vege’s, they are soooo much fresher and more delicious than from the store. I look for good color and even a nice healthy “bloom” especially in the brassicas. Since I live in the glorious PNW I’m planning on kale and lettuce under plastic this winter. I just can’t go back to store bought lettuce.

  169. Laura

    This book looks terrific! I can’t wait to read it. We are beginning gardeners learning the lay of the land in a new region and a new home. We’ve been picking kale, lettuce, cilantro, basil, and dill from our garden the last few weeks. We just joined a local CSA which we’re looking forward to volunteering at and receiving local, organic vegetables from next summer. We buy organic for leafy greens and apples, but we also stock up on lots of vegetables at low prices from a local Russian market.

  170. Molly

    I choose local and organic produce as much as possible – especially the list of “deadly dozen” in terms of pesticide and other chemical concentrations. We have a CSA from a local organic grower in Montana, and love our co-op for supporting our local farmers. The book sounds fabulous and I loved your photos. I grew up eating from our family garden in the spring, summer and fall, and from our home canned fruit and veggies in winter. That was in the Willamette valley of Oregon. Now I dance a jig when I can get a handful of ripe tomatoes without the deer or frost getting to them first.

  171. Stacy @ Every Little Thing

    I first choose produce at the farmer’s market, or don’t choose at all with my biweekly CSA share. I try to buy as little produce at the grocery store as possible! I would like to garden someday and have just started with herbs, but living in the midwest, we have such an abundance of local farmers willing to sell us their wares that gardening has, thus far, been an afterthought!

  172. Samantha

    We choose what to eat based on what is harvested in our garden… Or randome places he critters have drug food and seeds have gone wild. Other times, we choose the basics we know how to cook. We would love to cook much more than what we know how to. It’s such a complex process to research, buy, and prepare with our hectic schedules.

  173. S Karran

    Summer in Florida is too hot for much to grow, so the farmers’ markets are closed until the fall. That means I’m buying our veggies and fruits at the grocery store, mainly from the organic section.

    1. heather

      Really? I find that hard to believe. I spent some time in Florida during the summer months and was shocked that I did not see any gardens anywhere. It is no hotter than most of Canada in the summer months, plus there is loads of rain. I only had about a few weeks of ‘hot’ weather and the plants loved it.
      Sure spinach or peas might not cope, but more tropical warm weather plants would be in heaven.

  174. Wendy

    Thanks for writing about this book and for doing the giveaway. I can’t wait to read this. I have become very interested in nutrition since having kids.

  175. Alice

    I shop at Farmer’s Markets. . we live in Sammamish, WA and joined a community garden, where we planted some of our own fruits and veggies. I also buy organic and am totally with you on the mini carrots. I stopped buying those a long time ago and just buy carrots and cut them for my kids. Would love to win this book to learn about the storage tips! and now we are moving to Madison WI, where I hear there is fresh produce and great Farmer’s Markets. .

  176. Ann Beechey

    What is that MOUNTAIN looming up on the horizon in the photo in this post? Does it have SNOW on it, in the middle of summer? Excuse my ignorance about your island, but I just cannot imagine what/where it is. Looking forward to hearing more about your experiences with Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar, which I have signed up for too. Here in Melbourne, we’re coming to the end of a cold, cold winter, Spring is just about here, what better time for a digestive clearout (hmm . . . so to speak) Good Luck Shauna!

    1. shauna

      Oh, that’s Mt. Rainier, which everyone here calls The Mountain. It’s an extraordinary sight, isn’t it?

  177. Michelle C

    This sounds like a great deal of helpful research, I am excited to learn from Jo’s book. I have been putting off starting another garden all this past year, but just by reading your blog this am I have decided it’s time to get to planting!

  178. Sandy F.

    I am doing my best to include as many organic and gmo-free veggies for us as possible, and this is the first year I have had a garden in many years. It was a decent season. We have zucchini, tomatoes and cherry tomatoes coming out of our ears. The sweet banana peppers and cubanelle peppers are not far behind. Next year I hope to make our garden larger, so I can also plant lettuce, kale, carrots, sweet potatoes and beets. I may include asparagus, knowing it takes 2-3 years to get a first crop. The garden just may take over part of the backyard. What I don’t grow, I get from the farmer’s market. I have much to learn about food and nutrition, and I am looking forward to reading Eating on the Wild Side.

  179. Vanessa

    We buy conventional produce at the grocery store a couple streets away. It’s convenient and we can’t afford organic. We stick to the basics – carrots, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, romaine, apples and bananas. I would love to commit myself to bringing in more variety and creativity to my eating habits.

  180. connie

    I learned the good taste of foods through organic food therefore naturally I choose organic food.

  181. Kim

    I borrowed this book from the library. It is excellent, would love to own it. I wanted to renew it but it had holds on it.

  182. Maree

    We try to grow and eat food from our garden as well as buy organic and only buy meat that is raised humanely, preferably by someone we know. Doing this and cutting back on all processed foods has been a boost for our health. Thanks for letting me know about this book.

  183. Kelly Jones

    To maximize nutrients, we choose local produce first, visiting farmer’s markets and farm stands in season. That choice usually takes care of the next priority of in-season produce. Then, sustainably and organically grown produce is selected as much as possible. Reading Weston Price’s book on his travels among native peoples in the 1930s taught us that it’s all about the nutrients in the food.

  184. Emilah DeToro

    I choose produce by sensing the energy of it. It’s curious; when I’m at the farmer’s market, many booths often have the same veggies, but I am always drawn to the same farmers. They are sweet, happy, kind people. I believe they put that sweetness and love right into the soil and plants which boosts the nutrient value 100x. Yes, the produce needs to look alive…or vibrate with a life force…but so does the farmer or the person they choose to sell their stuff! When the farmer’s market closes in winter, I shop at my local coop because I see the produce people taking exquisite care of the fruits and veggies:-)

  185. Stephanie

    I am buying a majority of my veg at our local farmers market these days. Shopping at the market makes it really easy to figure out what is fresh and in season. I am always delighted by how well this veg keeps.

  186. Tisha

    A huge part of how we choose our produce is what we can get to grow in our arid mountain climate. After that, I often choose some things because of their novelty (which is how I discovered celery root) and some things based on their health profile (like kale).

  187. Tamiko

    Farmers markets when I can get to them. Organic, local, past purchases are all factors but not the only ones. And the smells (for fruits), the vibrant colors (for vegetables especially).

  188. Katherine

    I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this book! I really believe food is healing me and can do the same for others. A lot of these ailments we suffer from are a result of not giving our bodies what they need. I choose produce for my family by whatever is available from my local farmers. I’ve been canning and freezing much of it to eat throughout the colder months and I also am planning a winter garden this year.

  189. Pamela Whitenack

    During the growing months, our produce comes from our CSA. Every Wednesday is a little like Christmas, never knowing what is in the box! That’s supplemented by tomatoes, carrots and herbs from the gardens. The book sounds fascinating.

  190. Jen

    I had a garden this yr that actually grew vegetables and since it was all organic, its so nice knowing I don’t have to go to the store and pay more for organic veggies there!

  191. Karen

    This year I’ve been working on my first in-ground garden. I’ve gardened in pots for years, but now we have a small plot of land and I can grow what I want! Our meals have since become centered around what is currently ripe, which right now is tomatoes, green beans, and zucchini. OH MY the zucchini. I’m loving it. 🙂

  192. Amy Jo Woodruff

    I can’t wait to read this. I’m weary of books about healthy eating because so many seem to be repackaging the same information. This book, however, looks like it has lots of new-to-me information that is not only practical but also very interesting!

  193. Daphne

    All the comments here are wonderful. Love that there are the Jo’s in the world to educate us and help nourish our bodies, hearts and minds. I can’t wait to read her new book. Daphne

  194. Karen

    Oh, that book sounds wonderful! I can’t wait to read it and see what varieties she recommends and storage conditions as well. So helpful.

  195. Michelle

    Choosing the “right” foods, a daunting question that becomes one of the most challenging both morally and educationally to answer. My first obligation as a mother and a wife is to properly nurture my family with love, time and food. It has become a moral dilemma to demonstrate this nurture through food choice. Mainly due to the dynamic forces that dictate the availability of food source to our tables. My main struggle when choosing whole foods is a guilt attached to not offering the traditional comfort foods that have become ingrained in our culture. It is as if by making the “right” choice we are somehow not being American and not nurturing enough. A secondary obstacle that seems to paralyze my decision making is the surplus of conflicting information combined with the seemingly hopeless upstream battle to keep our food sources pure.
    Having stated these concerns, I am convinced that all disease can be prevented and/or diminished simply by eating non processed nutritionally grown vegetables, fruits, grains and nuts. This sounds simple but breaking through the barriers can sometimes seem impossible.

  196. Silvia

    I too am a science geek! Love reading about anatomy and physiology and how nutrition affects our bodies. Love your blog Shauna, and I enjoy the seeing the pictures of your little one.

  197. Kristen

    Neither my husband nor myself grew up with good cooks, or very much good OR healthy food. I can have quite a picky palate and quickly noticed that fresher home cooked ingredients tasted great compared to processed or prepackaged foods, and as someone who learned to shop and budget for food very young, I quickly noticed they actually cost less too! So I got my husband involved. I got him to help me shop, cook and tell me what he liked. And it turns out he loves carrots. His mom told me he won’t eat them. However I noticed she used canned ones or fake “baby” ones, cooked in loads of sugar. Same thing for green beans; he’d only been offered ones you could eat with no teeth. And I found out they refused to even try asparagus, kale, most whole grains, and many other healthy foods we both enjoy. I know everybody can’t have natural cooking ability, and a little knowledge goes a long way. So I plan to get this book for my MIL for Christmas. And of course I can’t wait to own a copy!

  198. Kaity

    I’ve been getting better about finding Farmer’s Markets and filling in with organic produce from the grocery stores. Luckily, we have a farmer who sets up his tent in the parking lot across the street every day of the week, not to mention the larger market that our town hosts on the weekends.!

  199. HC

    We buy all of our produce at the farmer’s market, fortunately it’s open twice a week. The cost is only slightly higher than the grocery store, and the quality is worth it.

    Thanks for this post. I hadn’t heard of this book yet and now I can’t wait to read it.

  200. Cynthia S.

    For health reasons we had to drastically change our diet this past year. We started buying organic produce and my husband also built four large raised beds. This summer was our first attempt at growing our own produce and what could be better than stepping into your own back yard for fresh vegetables? I am anxious to read this book.

  201. MML

    We grow a lot of our own produce so the choice depends on what is ready to pick- right now peppers, tomatoes, okra, grapes… Besides that we load our whole cart slam full of produce 1x per month, plus another fill up the fridge run mid- month (family of 6). Most produce is organic and some is local. Variety is the key! We like to brix our fruits and veggies and compare. The brix level is an indicator of the mineral level of the produce- check out Sometimes it’s shocking to see how poor quality the produce is… it really shows that farming needs to be more than just organic! I would love this book!!!

  202. J

    I’ve had great success growing different varieties of kale here in Alaska, and we’ve been eating mostly from the garden all summer. My carrots and beets are just coming in. The rest of the year I try to buy organic, but I’m interested in the hydroponic system for growing greens mentioned above. Sounds like it would be heavenly in winter! Produce tends to get wilted on the trip to AK.

  203. Niki

    I grow what I can, which varies from year to year depending on hoe much time I’m able to devote to the garden. When shopping, I look for local produce first becasue it’s grown closest to home, freshest, and helping support the economy where I live. I shop at my farmer’s market every weekend during the season. If it’s local and organic, that’s a double thumbs up. I preserve a lot of food for winter in my freezer, dehydrator, and canning jars. In the winter months, I still source local potatoes, carrtots, squash, and greens, and if we’re really craving bananas or a red pepper, I make sure it’s organic and try to find the ones grown closest to home, i.e. Mexico rather than New Zealand. This book sounds like a great read; I hope I win!!

  204. Megon

    I’m still learning so much about this topic, but right now my main focus is on variety. My family and I are in the phase of trying new things, branching out, and exploring new veggies and fruits. I try to choose produce of all different colors and types… We spent the summer eating tons of fresh green beans, peppers, and eggplant from our garden, but now I am making more colorful salads and steamed meals en papillote… Fun getting to taste new things!

  205. Sarah

    We choose from what is in season at the farmer’s market, local co-op, and grocery store. I hate gardening in central Texas and rely heavily on the local farmers, especially in July and August, when anything I might have tried to grow is fried.

  206. Kristen

    We try to first choose what is in season or what is in the garden. I am absolutely enthralled with studying about the nutrition behind our modern diet and would LOVE to check out this book!

  207. Kat

    Since I have never had a guide to what is best I try to buy as much variety as possible. My husband and I are adventurous in our veggies! We also have a garden, have tried several CSAs and love the local farmer’s market.

  208. Rachel D

    It sounds like you have been interested in the same things I have lately. I have really been wanting to get this book. It sounds fascinating. I almost bought it but put it down. Soon hopefully.
    We eat kind of haphazardly around here so I’ve been trying to transition to more organic foods and would like to start eating grass fed meats on a regular basis. I got off track and have been eating badly and I’m planning to go on the GAPS diet soon to try to heal my dairy allergy and improve my health in general.
    I’ve been meaning to ask you Shauna if you have read nourishing traditions or gut and psychology syndrome or know anything about them. I have read that some people have cured celiac with GAPS and instantly thought of you.

    1. shauna

      Thanks, Rachel. Yes, I am very much interested in my health, the healthy of my family, and how all people can gain better health with food! I have to caution you, however. There really is no cure for celiac. It’s a genetic disorder, an autoimmune disorder, and only cutting all gluten can help. So much of nourishing traditions and other food movements make sense but that one makes no sense to me!

  209. Heliana O.

    I stumbled across your site while looking for a gluten free recipe to make for a friend. I am so excited about your blog and this post. Would love to read this book – and I will! In the summers it is all about the farmer’s markets. I would like to get started on a garden and just need to make the time – this post has inspired me.

  210. Jennifer B

    So excited about this book! I’ve been longing for a resource like this – it would make veggie buying/eating so much simpler!

  211. heather

    Hi, I’ve been working in the organic food industry for years, and my job was to clean up, revive and maintain the produce, make sure it lasted, stored well etc. So, I know a lot about what you describe from the book about and how to store fresh produce, how food ripens, etc.. I’d love to read this book! I have been learning more lately about how much does not need to be refrigerated. I can also tell you that large scale organic is almost just as bad as conventional for monoculture, shipped far and wide, picked too early and food is degraded by the time you buy it. As with conventional food, anything odd shaped is rejected, a good deal of food spoils along the way. If you are part of a food buying coop or something, ask about second or third grade produce. It is often just ‘ugly’. Did you know most if not all tomatoes from the supermarket are picked green? I only eat fresh tomatoes in the summer from my garden or from the local farms. Support your local farms as much as possible. I grow enough in my garden to pick fresh for meals, but the slugs and deer eat most of it. I have fallen in love with kale, so eat it every day. Kale is so hearty and easy to grow. I will plant more and more! Not sure why I ‘hated’ kale so much for years…I’ve been out of work, just had surgery so money is tight. I’ve been foraging for berries, making the most of the amazing blackberry season, and picking any fruit I can off the fruit trees on the property. The landlord always composts the fruit to deter bears, so I’ve learned to pick it as soon as possible before he comes around. Unfortunately, some of the trees are neglected and fruit too high up to pick except for birds, racoons and bears.
    As for your recent post about where your meat comes from(which I loved), I live in a rural area with some organic certified and organic/permaculture grown farms, but rather silly laws require all animals raised for public consumption must be taken to certified slaughterhouses, none of which are anywhere close. Some old timers used to have cows, but it cost too much to have animals taken far away and then be shipped back. I only know of one or two farms that have a few cows for private use, and I had some roast black angus at Christmas that was otherworldy. Most livestock animals are pets. One organic farm learned how to “properly” kill their own chickens and got certified to be able to sell them. I’d like to eat meat that is local or at least regional and know they had good farm animal lives etc, but I do not have much choice.
    You are also lucky that on the state side of the Gulf Islands/Salish Sea which is not held hostage to ridiculously inflated real estate markets. I see places for rent in WA and weep. On the BC side, everything is so expensive, land zoned for agriculture often gets removed from agriculture status to make housing and condos. Land is too expensive for younger people to buy land who might want to start a farm, or at least grow their own food. Renting and gardening can lead to heart ache as you often have to move regularly as rents go up, or landlords sell their properties. Laws make it difficult to sell local eggs, meats and dairy. I do love all the progress and support of small farms and eating local.

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