• Fresh + Fabulous New Year Resolutions

    Happy & Healthy New Year!

    Once again the sands of time have begun to shift as we approach the new year.  With so much change in our lives, many find the new year to be a perfect time to commit to life improvements that will not only change how we feel about ourselves but also how we shape the world around us.  While that last part might seem scary, and sometimes even unachievable, I’ve come up with a list of five resolutions that you can start today to help you accomplish real results- instantly!

    1. Shop Local More Often: When we support local businesses we help create local jobs, strengthen the economy, help local farmers and ranchers, and $.68 cents of every dollar we spend stays in the community. You don’t have to spend all your money with small businesses- but you can make it easier by choosing five items you purchase on a regular basis.  Think fruits, eggs, milk, cheese, bread, and veggies. Last year I committed to buying;  Hilliker’s Ranch Eggs, artisanal bread from Bread & Cie, and purchasing all my year-around gifts from local artists. With time, I expanded and only purchased my fruits from the local farmers at the market too. And this year I’m taking it a step further and committing to 50% of all my veggies. With an attainable goal- I am more than likely to blow past my 50% goal, and not feel guilty when I can’t find what I need and end up at Trader Joe’s or Ralph’s.
    2. Purchase Local Meats More Often: I’ll be the first to admit, my budget does not always allow for me to purchase my meats from local farmers and ranchers, so instead, I am committing to a monthly budget that will work for me.  The Hillcrest Farmers Market has several meat vendors including the Dry Dock Fish Company, Da-Le Ranch, and Womach Poultry, Meat & Eggs.  Da-Le Ranch also offers a subscription-based CSA program, which is a great way to help local farms prepare for the year ahead of them.  When you purchase a share, half share or a seasonal share- you become a shareholder in your local farmer’s success and get to enjoy the “fruits” of his labor!  Best of all they provide consumers with greater access to affordable foods that have been produced in a sustainable manner- all year long!
    3. Cook At Home More Often: Commit yourself to prepare healthier meals at home. It’s not only more affordable versus eating out, but it also gives us more control over what foods we put in our bodies.  Resolutions often include fitness goals.  But did you know that what and how you eat can have an equal or greater impact on your fitness goals? And the food you purchase from a local farmer is also healthier because the farmer not only cares about what he feeds his livestock, but he also cares about the chemicals that are used to grow his feed or those that are used on his fruits and produce for the market. Personally, I also find that my fruits and veggies are tastier and fresher than anything I find at the grocery store. And by buying local and cooking at home more often, meal prepping for a busy week is a quick and easy way to eat healthy all week long without the stress!
    4. Share Locally Sourced Meals With Loved Ones: Growing up in a Hispanic household meant that meals to us were always about making the time for a pleasurable meal. As I got older and went away to college- time to enjoy a meal, slowly began to slip away from me. Life became busy, I opened my business, I now work extra jobs so I can travel, and sometimes I am just lazy. So, I went from enjoying my meals to feeding my body the energy that it needs to survive. That clearly hasn’t helped. I tend to eat more junk food and spend more money on fast food at a national chain.  So for the next year (and the rest of my life) – no more food on the go. Lately, instead, I have been creating time and sharing locally sourced meals with loved ones. That has allowed me to reconnect with my food. I’m suddenly excited to visit Da-Le Ranch so I can go feed pigs and chickens and learn how sustainable farming works.  And I want my friends to experience that as well.  But it can also be as easy meeting a group of friends at the Hillcrest Farmers Market on a Sunday morning, picking out ingredients for omelets, a few pastries,  some freshly squeezed juice and a bottle of champagne on the way home for a fabulous Sunday brunch.
    5. Learn My Family Recipes: If your family is like mine, you have family recipes that have been passed on over several generations. I am committing to learn them and to take those ingredients back to their roots.  I recently shared my mom’s Christmas ham recipe. While on the phone she began to tell me how to find the perfect pineapple and how to core it. But then she paused and said-  “If it’s too much for you-you can also pick up a couple cans of cored pineapple in heavy syrup.”  And while that would have been the easy way to go- that wouldn’t have been Mom’s, Christmas Ham. It would have been ham with canned pineapples.  And the same rings true for other recipes. If they have been passed down over the course of multiple generations, taking 20 minutes to learn them, and how to properly source those ingredients won’t just make mom happy-  I promise you-  it will also enrichen your life, by connecting you with your past.  And if you are like me- having lost a parent recently- using my dad’s recipes in a way keeps his memory alive. From the taste to the textures, to the smells- those recipes are too important to leave behind and also let die. Unlocking and preserving those flavors, however, will also unlock a whole wave of emotions, memories, and feelings of love, comfort and family.  To me- nothing can replace that.

    Whatever your resolutions, make time for yourself, and support local businesses. I wish you a happy and healthy New Year in 2018!

    -Eddie Rey.

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