All Things Juice

Who else is watching The People Vs. O.J. Simpson? I love it. I guess it’s been so long since the trial now that there is a lot I’ve forgotten, so it feels new to me rather than a rehash. And there’s just something about seeing these very recognizable actors play these well-known “characters.” Ross as Robert Kardashian is the best, but then Connie Britton last night as… whoever she was. Nicole’s terrible friend. It feels just like when I was little and a bunch of us would decide to put on a play or act something else out, and (in later years) videotape it. I feel like Ross, Connie, Cuba, John Travolta, Nathan Lane, “That Guy” who plays Gil Garcetti, and the rest are just putting this on for fun in one of their big Hollywood backyards. It’s not that it’s not well done; it’s just that they seem to be having too much fun. (Poor David Schwimmer, he might as well change his name to Ross. It could be worse, he could be Arnold Horshack.)

Anyhoo… in other “Juice” news, I went on a minor quest to find quality local apple juice. Did you know that very few American apples wind up as apple juice? Most are sold as fresh produce, I guess because they fetch more that way. “Seconds” from other countries are used for apple juice concentrate. I did find at least two brands, however, that use American apples. One is Musselman’s (carried by Acme) .

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I forget the name of the other, but it uses Washington apples and Whole Foods carries it. The Musselman’s bottle doesn’t say what state the apples come from.

I get that it’s healthier to drink water instead of juice, but I do especially enjoy apple juice now and again and I was just curious about local options. And of course you could always make your own. BTW, this Musselman’s bottle was about the same price as regular juice. For other flavors of juice, there were a few other brands that proclaimed to be of American origin, but most didn’t. However, it seems only apple juice is required to state its country of origin, because I didn’t see that on any other kind of juice. I suppose that has to do with that whole arsenic in Chinese apples thing.

All these years I have been big on buying “100% juice” when I buy it. I thought “juice drinks” were bad.  But it often seems like if you want to buy organic, it has to be a “juice drink.” Just now, I compared the labels of Capri Sun 100% Juice and their organic juice drink online, and the juice drink is just watered down. That’s the only difference. Oh. Le sigh… I guess I’ll keep trying to stick with water, but buy organic juice packs when necessary. And maybe some Musselman’s. And continue to avoid the stuff that I’m pretty sure still is bad — I’m looking at you, Hawaiian Punch.

This extended interlude in the juice aisle was part of a longer shopping trip at Acme yesterday. I was going to go to Whole Foods, but I didn’t feel like going the extra 10 minutes so I turned it into a “let’s see how Acme stacks up” trip. I just kind of wandered around looking at things and picking up a few things I needed. Besides the Musselman’s, I wasn’t too impressed. It was mostly conventional stuff, with some organic options. All the meat seemed like CAFO (conventional animal feeding operation) stuff. For kicks, I tried to find the produce that came from furthest away, and the winner was peppers from Israel.

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I ended up buying more clementines (Mexico), organic potatoes (California), fresh broccoli (I forgot to check), egg noodles (Kansas City), and some dry black beans and pinto beans (bags don’t say where grown). I’ve been wanting to get more creative with beans (although I never did make it to Bean Night at the library).

My basic strategy right now is as follows:

  1. Become more aware of where our food is coming from;
  2. Try to buy things that are available from local sources that are either seasonal or capable of being stored and thus would be part of your diet if you went full-local (even if you are not actually buying them local right now), e.g., meat, potatoes, carrots, broccoli, apples;
  3. Avoid processed food;
  4. Don’t scare your family by getting rid of everything they love all at once.

I placed a small order with Hillacres Pride, a Pennsylvania farm that delivers to our town on Saturdays. So that’s how we are getting our next dozen eggs, as well as some cheese and short ribs. I also put in an application to order through Winter Harvest Philadelphia, but haven’t received a response yet. This buying club also delivers to my town. With both of these, I’m not locked into anything. It’s not a CSA. I can just order whatever I want, when I want. Winter Harvest Philadelphia has a quite extensive product list, from all different farms.

In terms of what we’ve actually been eating, no huge changes yet. We have eaten some of the steaks and chicken from 7th Heaven Farm, and they were very good. So were their eggs. Last Friday, I went to Whole Foods and a mom was there hawking a tomato sauce called Taste of Tuscany that she and her daughter make themselves in Bucks County, PA (not that far away). I told her she caught me on a good day and I bought the sauce after sampling it and used it (per the lady’s suggestion) to make pizza that night, with organic thin-crust shells and cheese from WF. I thought it tasted great, and the kids ate it without too much of a fuss. The sauce has onions and other veggie chunks in it, so I thought they would freak, but the cheese hid it enough. They didn’t love it, but I’d call it a success.

Saturday night… we went to Chick Fil A. Sunday, I made gravy and we had spaghetti and meatballs, same old same old. Monday night was our farm eggs and conventional bacon. Last night, we had chicken nuggets and egg noodles, but I steamed up the fresh broccoli and mixed it in a light sauce of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper and it was delicious. Tonight is probably chicken soup with chicken from 7th heaven and the stock I made the other week. On the snack front, I’m working my way through the 2nd loaf of pumpkin bread, and I plan to try to make homemade cheese crackers once I get my cheese on Saturday. Also will probably churn out some cookies or banana bread today. I probably said this already, but figuring out what to do for snacks is the hardest part of all this.

On Friday morning, I had an early appointment, so I stopped at Wawa for coffee and decided to head across the street and support one of our local businesses, the bakery Constellation Collective. I came out with a slice of peanut butter banana bread pudding that was perhaps the best new thing I’ve had in six months. Obviously, not completely local ingredients (damn you tasty bananas) but so good and fresh. As one of the reviews I linked to says, however, I wish they had signs in their cases. I don’t like asking, ’cause I want to know what everything is.

So that’s our food life at the moment. Everything else is going well. Soon as this rain goes away, I hope to buy and construct some new raised beds. I’ve given up on painting the foyer. Just can’t get interested in that for some reason. Food, working on vacation plans, cleaning, laundry, time at the Y, PTA… and a couple girls’ nights coming up 🙂

 

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