Monday, September 13, 2010
I confess...I really do love salad. It's not just a component of being a healthy food advocate. Or a constant attempt at weight control. Or a way of cleansing my body of indulgences like rich foods and clever cocktails.
I really love fresh, delectable greens, with all their different textures and marvelous array of flavors. I adore the fact that there are so many varieties of greens available at both farmer's markets and supermarkets, providing endless opportunities to create exciting new salads.
Greens are much more than bland, limp, pale green leaves of nothingness. Whether it be peppery arugula, soft butter lettuce, crisp, firm leaves of romaine, or robust raddichio, its creamy white leaves streaked a bright shade of cranberry red, I love greens, and I love that eating something so delicious can also be so incredibly healthy.
When I prepare a beautiful salad using a variety of greens, I am preparing a lively, colorful dish that is low in fat, and high in nutrients. Greens supply the body with calcium and iron, folic acid and fiber, as well as vitamins A, C and E. Everything that I read about the health benefits of greens tells me that they are a powerhouse source of antioxidants, which can have a positive effect on our immune systems. Keeping the immune system in top notch condition helps our bodies ward off nasty diseases.
When good health and good flavor mingle, it creates the most harmonious of relationships. As a
devout foodie and advocate of healthy living, I am always seeking out new and exciting food items and products. I am interested in “going organic” as often as possible, not for any particular political reasons, but because I have found that the taste of organic foods truly is superior. When I discover a new product that is organic, delicious and socially conscious, then I feel I have hit the jackpot.
That's why I was particularly excited when I received an e-mail from the good people at Olivia's Organics, asking if I would like to sample their products. Olivia's Organics is based in Chelsea, Massachusetts and has a long history of selling fresh produce.
According to their website, Olivia's great grandfather, Giovanni, started the tradition by selling fresh celery hearts out of a produce stall in Faneuil Hall, over seventy years ago. Today the company focuses primarily on selling packaged organic salad mixes. Not only does Olivia's sell terrific tasting salad mixes, a portion of the proceeds goes to supporting community based children's organizations through Olivia's Organics Charitable Foundation.
Groups such as the Make A Wish Foundation, the Boys and Girl's Club, Toys for Tots, Produce for Kids, Children's Hospital Boston, and The Food Project have all been supported by Olivia's Organics commitment to eating healthy, having fun and giving back.
I am a huge proponent of teaching children about healthy food. I have taught healthy cooking classes for kids using healthy ingredients and have found it to be the greatest experience. They have
a blast and are amazingly open to trying new foods, when they themselves are preparing it.
I like Olivia's philosophy and I like their products....a lot. The packaging is 100% recyclable and is produced using wind and hydroelectric power. They focus on organic authenticity by adhering to strict regulations set forth by the National Organic Program. You can go their website and read all the ways they have committed to being a responsible and caring company.
I want to tell you that the salad mixes were excellent. The flavors were clean, light and utterly luscious. I'm a big fan of adding fresh herbs to my salad and Olivia's Herb Salad hit just the right note.
Containing a marvelous mixture of Tango, Lolla Rosa, Red and Green Romaine, Chard and Oak, Spinach, Mizuna, Raddichio, Frisee, Beet Greens, Arugula, Tat Soi, Red Mustard lettuces,as well as dill and parsley, this mixture is like a big salad party in a box. You scarcely need anything more than a simple, classic vinaigrette and a fork to savor this mixture.
The Asian Salad was a less involved mixture, containing Spinach, Red Chard, Mizuna, Frisee, Tango and Arugula. I tossed this about with some plump, grilled sea scallops and a warm ginger dressing. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Olivia's Spring Mix was much the same as the Herb Salad minus the herbs. I do prefer the added piquancy of the fresh herbs, but the Spring Mix proved a worthy bed for a shower of julienned red and yellow peppers, sweet cherry tomatoes from the garden and a creamy avocado dressing. A little bit of crumbled bacon would have been a fabulous addition.
Thank you Olivia's Organics for sharing some of your deliciousness and joy for life with me.
Robin Glowa, “The Conscious Cook”, is a healthy cooking teacher who specializes in teaching both
children and adults the joy of eating well with local, natural or organic ingredients. For more
details or to schedule a cooking class, please go to www.theconsciouscook.net.