Recipe: Sprouted Spelt Cardamom Orange Crumb Cake

Winter is the season of baking — the smell of chocolate, spices, nuts, and citrus fills kitchens and gives the home a cozy holiday feel.

This moist cake satisfies any sweet craving and the cardamom and orange give it such a delicate flavor. Perfect for any holiday table or weekend treat.

Sprouted Spelt Cardamom Orange Crumb Cake

Crumb Topping:
1/2 cup One Degree Organics Sprouted Spelt Flour
1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup raw cane sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
4 tablespoons margarine

Cake:
2 cups One Degree Organics Sprouted Spelt Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons cardamom
2/3 cup raw cane sugar
2 tablespoons grated orange zest
8 tablespoons margarine, melted
1 cup vegan milk (almond, coconut, soy)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Lightly grease a 9” round baking pan or pie pan.

To make the crumbs: Put all the ingredients in a bowl and toss together to blend well. Add the margarine and, using your fingers, mix together until incorporated and crumbs are formed. Set the crumb mixture aside.

To make the cake: Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom, sugar and orange zest.

Put the remaining ingredients in another bowl and whisk them to blend.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and gently stir — don’t over-mix.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and top with a thick, even layer of the crumbs.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool before slicing. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Enjoy!

New Ultra-Transparent Sprouted Flours: From Ancient to Gluten-Free!

A picture is worth a thousand words, the familiar saying goes. With One Degree’s new line of ultra-transparent flours, the picture you see on each package is worth dozens of unforgettable muffins, loaves, scones, tarts, pies — and much more.

That’s because each picture is a simple portrait of the actual farmer who grew the grains within — and your guarantee that you’re baking with pure, healthy, genuine ingredients. Never before has a flour been so transparent, so deliciously candid.

One Degree farmers are proud to stand behind their harvests. They’re fully accountable, never anonymous. And yet, the photo on the package is just one aspect of an extraordinary new dimension in transparency we’ve pioneered. Scan the QR code under each photo and see the farmer talk about his or her crops, dreams and philosophy of farming in a custom video. Plus, discover source details of each ingredient used to make the flour, down to the very last grain.

Beyond transparency, our new product line offers a remarkable range of flours to fire every great culinary imagination: Two ancient grains, khorasan and spelt. A unique heritage grain, Red Fife wheat. And two gluten-free flour varieties, rice and corn.

All seven flours feature whole grains that retain 100% of the bran and germ. Each grain is grown veganically, in soil enriched by plants and crop rotation only, and without chemicals or other dangerous substances. Later, our non-hybridized and Non-GMO Project Verified grains are sprouted to simplify plant compounds. The raw flour is then milled at low temperatures to preserve nutrients.

With corn, rye, whole wheat, brown rice, spelt, khorasan and Red Fife flours, One Degree is setting the table for an incredible revolution in taste and transparency.

Explore the full range of key benefits here: http://bit.ly/1oZBS02

Recipe: Sprouted Spelt Maple Pumpkin Bread with Maple Coconut Frosting

This week it started to officially feel like sweater season. The fall colors are in full vibrance and cozy foggy mornings have a refreshing crispness in the air. In the bounty of freshly harvested produce there are limitless possibilities for delicious creations in the kitchen that have been continuously inspiring us.

This loaf is moist, very pumpkin-y, with a rich maple flavor and warm spices. As the maple coconut frosting oozes into the loaf, it becomes seriously irresistible.

Sprouted Spelt Maple Pumpkin Bread with Maple Coconut Frosting

Dry:
2 cups One Degree Organics Sprouted Spelt Flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Wet:
1 15 oz can organic pumpkin puree
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup vegan milk (coconut, almond, soy)
2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice
1 teaspoon vanilla

Frosting:
1 cup full-fat coconut cream, chilled
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a standard loaf pan, set aside.

Pour the vegan milk and lemon juice into a small mixing bowl and set aside to form a buttermilk.

In a large bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients, set aside.

Add the remaining wet ingredients to the milk mixture and whisk together.

Slowly add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients and gently fold in until well combined.

Pour batter into a loaf pan and smooth on top.

Bake for 45 – 60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

To make the frosting, use the top, thick portion of the chilled coconut cream and put in a small mixing bowl. Add maple syrup and vanilla. Using a hand mixer, whisk until smooth and creamed.

When the pumpkin loaf has cooled, drizzle with maple frosting and serve.

Enjoy!

Frankenfish Hides in Panama

Connoisseurs of laboratory-designed fish, if there are any, may have wondered what happened to the GMO salmon, a prototype superfish called AquaAdvantage. It turns out that the fish has been undergoing testing and refinement in Panama — and raising alarms even among the food safety regulators of that notoriously lax nation.

GMO salmon is a 20-year project of AquaBounty Technologies, a company that might now be aptly described as the gene tailor of Panama. AquaBounty’s goal is to transform nature’s imperfect version of a salmon into a more profitable fish that grows faster, hungers for more, shows aggression, and contains an altered balance of nutrients. By splicing genes from the Chinook salmon and the eel-like ocean pout into the Atlantic salmon’s DNA, the company’s genetic designers ensure that each fish has a growth hormone stuck on high volume.

As the Center for Food Safety reports: “Officials in Panama have ruled that AquaBounty Technologies has been operating in violation of environmental regulations as it experiments with genetically engineered (GE) salmon in that country. … Regulators found AquaBounty out of compliance with a raft of environmental safety rules and regulations, including failing to secure legally required permits related to water use and water discharge prior to beginning operations. … AquaBounty’s facility in Panama has long experienced serious security issues, including a storm-related accident that led to ‘lost’ salmon in Panama. A visiting journalist described the company’s facility as a ‘run-down shed.’

“To date, the FDA has made no regulatory decision on AquaBounty’s GE salmon, which, if approved, would be the first biotech animal to enter the food supply anywhere in the world. FDA’s current regulatory review only considers one production scenario in which AquaBounty produces GE salmon at a remote facility in Panama, then sends fillets to U.S. retailers. Critics have long worried that AquaBounty chose its out-of-the-way production facility as a way to evade regulatory scrutiny.”

As any grizzled captain with a deeply checkered past can tell you, the Panamanian flag is the banner to hoist on your mast when you’d rather not have the government as your first mate. Friends of the Earth’s Dana Perls told the Center: “AquaBounty’s days of hiding in the highlands of Panama are over. This is even more evidence that the FDA should deny approval of AquaBounty’s application for genetically engineered salmon. Once these fish escape, it is impossible to retrieve them. And it may be extremely difficult to contain the negative environmental impacts of escaped fish.”

In anticipation of the eventual marketing of AquaAdvantage, Friends of the Earth, the Center for Food Safety and Consumers Union launched the Campaign for GE-Free Seafood last year. The group has won commitments from nearly 5,000 stores across the U.S. not to sell any type of genetically modified seafood. Retailers pledging to reject GMO salmon include Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Target.

A paper by Friends of the Earth highlighted some of the key concerns: “Though AquaBounty claims that they will only produce sterile females, the FDA only requires 95 percent of the eggs produced to be sterile, meaning that up to 5 percent can be reproductively viable, and data submitted by the company shows that its sterilization process is not guaranteed. …

“According to the Ocean Conservancy, six chemicals (including folic acid, niacin, vitamin B6, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc) are more than 10 percent different between the GE salmon and conventionally farmed salmon. … [In addition] GE salmon have 40 percent higher levels of the hormone called IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1), which may increase the risk of certain cancers if absorbed and biologically active in the human body.”

Discover more here: http://bit.ly/141oPBV

The Rise and Fall of the Soy Republic

GMO’s promise of abundant harvests once seemed to offer hope to developing nations struggling to feed their populations. That imagined bright future of genetically modified cornucopias has long since darkened, and now these same regions are experiencing some of the most serious impacts of widespread GMO-friendly pesticide use.

Writing for the online investigative site Truthout.com, cardiologist Jeff Ritterman, M.D. tells the tragic story of what has happened to one such region, where farmers bought into the lofty rhetoric of international biotech conglomerates and planted GMO soy that is engineered to be resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide.

“Roundup is now heavily sprayed in what is known as the ‘Soy Republic,’ an area of Latin America larger than the state of California,” reports Ritterman. “This region has undergone a profound transformation since genetically modified crops were first introduced in 1996. Some 125 million acres in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Uruguay and Paraguay are now devoted to GM soy production. Doctors serving these areas have documented an alarming increase in cancers.”

Local medical professionals in Argentina founded an organization, Doctors of Fumigated Towns, to investigate, monitor and remedy the toxic situation. “The change in how agriculture is produced has brought, frankly, a change in the profile of diseases,” explained pediatrician Medardo Avila Vazquez, M.D., a member of the group. “We’ve gone from a pretty healthy population to one with a high rate of cancer, birth defects and illnesses seldom seen before. … Cancer cases are multiplying as never before in areas with massive use of pesticides.”

Also in Argentina, Dr. Damian Verzeñassi, professor of social and environmental health at the National University at Rosario, conducted his own “house-to-house epidemiological study” of 65,000 residents from the town of Santa Fe. According to Dr. Ritterman: “He found cancer rates two to four times higher than the national average, with increases in breast, prostate and lung cancers. …

“Much the same was found in Chaco, Argentina’s poorest province. In 2012, two villages were compared, the heavily sprayed farming village of Avia Terai and the non-sprayed ranching village of Charadai. In the farming village, 31 percent of residents had a family member with cancer while only 3 percent of residents in the ranching village had one.”

Discover more here: http://bit.ly/1t0AID2

The Story of Red Fife

As One Degree fans know, the most flavorful seasoning for any really memorable meal is a good story. Red Fife wheat has more than one — a history, a legend and some delicious kernels of truth sprouting in between.

What we know for sure is that One Degree’s Red Fife, grown by farmer Bernie Ehnes in southern Alberta, is derived from the Keremeos strain that was brought to Canada from Scotland 170 years ago. Discovering how it crossed the Atlantic takes some historical sleuthing, or a vivid imagination.

According to the Canadian Encyclopedia: “Red Fife is Canada’s oldest wheat. One legend states that a load of wheat grown in Ukraine was on a ship in the Glasgow harbour. A friend of Farmer Fife dropped his hat into the red-coloured wheat, collecting a few seeds in the hatband, which he then shipped off to Farmer Fife. The wheat grew. The family cow managed to eat all the wheat heads except for one, which Mrs. Fife salvaged. This was the beginning of Red Fife wheat in Canada.”

Red Fife ruled the Canadian prairie for 40 years, until new varieties were introduced at the end of the nineteenth century. It took another turn of the century for farmers, bakers and consumers to begin thinking again about the long-lost flavors and textures of this storied heritage grain. Recent articles in Canada’s National Post are examples of this reawakening.

Chronicling the Red Fife phenomenon, the Post’s Jennifer Sygo writes: “Red Fife is typically prepared as a stone-milled whole wheat, which means that not only retains the nutritionally mediocre endosperm that is found in refined grains, but also the bran and germ, the parts of the wheat where much of the fibre, B vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals — plant-based compounds that are thought to have disease-fighting properties — are found, along with roughly one-quarter of the protein content.

“Red Fife also attracts a certain amount of attention because it is said to possess a lower gluten content than most modern varieties of wheat. Gluten, a storage protein found in wheat, barley and rye, as well as their derivatives, must be strictly avoided by those with celiac disease, but can also trigger fatigue and digestive issues for those with a more recently defined condition known as non-celiac gluten sensitivity.”

An earlier Post piece notes that Red Fife has been “eagerly snapped up by leading chefs, such as Toronto’s Jamie Kennedy, bakeries, such as Kingston’s Pan Chancho, and gourmet food companies, such as Evelyn’s Crackers. When Kennedy organized an organic dinner for Prince Charles at Toronto’s Brickworks, he asked [Ontario farmer Patricia] Hastings to attend and to contribute her [Red Fife] flour. Prince Charles was so taken with the heritage wheat with a Scottish connection, he took some bags home.

“Since then, when members of his family, such as the Queen or William and Kate, have visited Canada, Hastings has been called to deliver flour to Rideau Hall. But it’s not just royalty. The public is catching Red Fife fever, too.”

Discover more here: http://bit.ly/1pRYQ4g

Aquafarm Fish Angling for Organic Label

Can a farmed fish be organic? The U.S. Department of Agriculture thinks so, but dozens of advocacy organizations are mobilizing to prevent the agency from issuing regulations that will allow the sale of some aquafarm fish as organic.

“Permitting ‘organic’ aquaculture at sea [will] put the entire U.S. organic industry in jeopardy by weakening the integrity of the USDA organic label,” warns the nonprofit Center for Food Safety.

The Center is working hard to keep these types of farmed fish outside the organic umbrella:

“Open-ocean fish farms can never be organic. Inputs and outputs to the system cannot be monitored or controlled and neither can a farmed fish’s exposure to toxic synthetic chemicals, which are prohibited under Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) and present in the marine environment.

“Farming migratory fish can never be organic. This statement holds true regardless of the type of system in which they are reared. That is because their confinement in fish farms would curtail their biological need to swim far distances, creating undue stress. Some migratory species are also anadromous, such as salmon, migrating between freshwater and the ocean during various life stages, a behavior not possible while in containment. The organic standards dictate that organic production systems must not [impede] the natural behaviors of farmed animals.

“Farmed fish fed wild fish, meal or oil can never be organic. That is because OFPA requires that all certified organic species are fed an organic diet. Feeding farmed fish wild-caught fish and related by-products — fish meal and fish oil — would increase pressure on already over-exploited and recovering fisheries that form the basis of the marine food web. It would also decrease the food supply of a wide range of native, aquatic species, including seabirds and sea mammals, contravening the USDA organic biological diversity conservation requirements.”

The Center also cites these additional environmental impacts of ocean aquafarms: “Twenty-four million fish escapes have been reported worldwide in just over two decades, based upon data compiled by CFS from available public records. Escaped farmed fish can carry pathogens and diseases, restructure food webs through the introduction of non-native species competing for resources, and could lead to extinction of wild fish of the same species in certain areas. This disruption of marine ecosystems violates one of the basic tenets of organic, which is to promote ecological balance and conserve biodiversity.”

Discover more here: http://bit.ly/1sTFwHk

Fruits and Vegetables Boost Mental Health

A strong link between mental well-being and consumption of fruits, vegetables and possibly whole grains has been confirmed in a comprehensive study of English adults, published this summer in the medical journal BMJ Open.

Researchers at the University of Warwick Medical School in Coventry examined data from nearly 14,000 respondents who participated in the annual Health Survey for England to determine whether correlations exist between mental health and obesity, smoking and a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

“The novel finding in our study is that, along with smoking, the behavioural risk factor most consistently associated with mental health was fruit and vegetable consumption,” the Warwick team concluded. “The latter was associated with increased odds of high mental well-being and reduced odds of low mental well-being and these associations could be observed in men and women.”

The findings confirmed earlier research that has consistently proven that beneficial effects of fruits and vegetables are not limited to physical health: “This is not the first study to draw attention to a relationship between mental health, and fruit and vegetable consumption. For example, one recent study showed positive affect to be predictable on the basis of the current and previous days’ fruit and vegetable consumption; likewise, nine different antioxidants found in fruit and vegetables have been shown in another study to be associated with optimism in middle-aged adults. We were only able to examine fruit and vegetable consumption up to five portions a day, but other studies have shown a dose–response relationship between mental and physical health up to seven portions a day.”

Although consumption of grains was not directly studied, the researchers believe that adults who are careful to include fruits and vegetables in their diet are also likely to be consuming generous amounts of whole grains: “Fruit and vegetable consumption might also be acting as a proxy for a complex set of highly correlated dietary exposures, including fish and whole grains, which might contribute to the observed associations.”

The research team acknowledges that it is not possible to completely separate physical and psychological effects. High mental well-being might be the result of simply feeling better physically, and avoiding debilitating disease: “Our finding is, of course, in line with a large body of epidemiological and trial evidence on the beneficial role of fruit and vegetable intake in general well-being and prevention of major chronic disease across several populations and age groups.”

Review the full study here: http://bmj.co/1rd82Fr

Gone With the Topsoil

“What if the world’s soil runs out?” Time asked not long ago. Since then, most of the trends highlighted by the popular newsmagazine have been accelerating in the wrong direction.

“A rough calculation of current rates of soil degradation suggests we have about 60 years of topsoil left,” University of Sydney professor John Crawford warned in the Time piece. “Some 40% of soil used for agriculture around the world is classed as either degraded or seriously degraded — the latter means that 70% of the topsoil, the layer allowing plants to grow, is gone. Because of various farming methods that strip the soil of carbon and make it less robust as well as weaker in nutrients, soil is being lost at between 10 and 40 times the rate at which it can be naturally replenished. …

“Soil is a living material: if you hold a handful of soil, there will be more microorganisms in there than the number of people who have ever lived on the planet. These microbes recycle organic material, which underpins the cycle of life on earth, and also engineer the soil on a tiny level to make it more resilient and better at holding onto water.

“Microbes need carbon for food, but carbon is being lost from the soil in a number of ways. Simply put, we take too much from the soil and don’t put enough back. Whereas the classic approach would have been to leave stubble in the field after harvest, this is now often being burnt off, which can make it easier to grow the next crop, or it’s being removed and used for animal feed. Second, carbon is lost by too much disturbance of the soil by over-ploughing and by the misuse of certain fertilizers. And the third problem is overgrazing. If there are too many animals, they eat all the plant growth, and one of the most important ways of getting carbon into the soil is through photosynthesis.”

Nutrient-poor soil has far-reaching effects across ecosystems and societies. Fields shorn of rich topsoil need far more irrigation and yield crops that are comparatively deficient in vitamins and minerals:

“Even moderately degraded soil will hold less than half of the water than healthy soil in the same location,” Crawford told Time. “If you’re irrigating a crop, you need water to stay in the soil close to the plant roots. However, a staggering paper was published recently indicating that nearly half of the sea level rise since 1960 is due to irrigation water flowing straight past the crops and washing out to sea. …

“Crop breeding is exacerbating this situation. Modern wheat varieties, for example, have half the micronutrients of older strains, and it’s pretty much the same for fruit and vegetables. The focus has been on breeding high-yield crops which can survive on degraded soil, so it’s hardly surprising that 60% of the world’s population is deficient in nutrients like iron. If it’s not in the soil, it’s not in our food.”

Discover more here: http://ti.me/1l7AYI7

Amish Farmer Ends Chemical Field War

John Kempf is leading a counterrevolution against chemical-based farming. The founder of Advancing Eco Agriculture, Kempf has already accomplished more to improve organic agriculture than entire research teams of large corporations. And, he’s only 26 years old.

Kempf is an Amish farmer from the American Midwest. As writer Roc Morin reveals in an intriguing profile in this month’s Atlantic, his incredible discoveries are rooted in hard experience wrung from the land, plus a dynamic curiosity:

“A series of crop failures on his own farm drove the 8th grade-educated Kempf to school himself in the sciences. For two years, he pored over research in biology, chemistry, and agronomy in pursuit of a way to save his fields. The breakthrough came from the study of plant immune systems which, in healthy plants, produce an array of compounds that are toxic to intruders. ‘The immune response in plants is dependent on well-balanced nutrition,’ Kempf concluded, ‘in much the same way as our own immune system.’ Modern agriculture uses fertilizer specifically to increase yields, he added, with little awareness of the nutritional needs of other organic functions. Through plant sap analysis, Kempf has been able to discover deficiencies in important trace minerals which he can then introduce into the soil. With plants able to defend themselves, pesticides can be avoided, allowing the natural predators of pests to flourish.”

Kempf is taking organic farming beyond a by-the-book approach that focuses on checking all the right boxes on an organic certificate. As he tells Morin, “Organic certification is a negative-process certification. You can do nothing to your field and become certified. In contrast, we focus on actively restoring the balance found in natural systems.”

The young farmer enjoys analyzing minute details of agricultural processes, digging deep to understand what is really going on in the soil. An example of that is a discussion of crop rotation that he recently posted on his Web site, www.advancingecoag.com:

“When farming the same land year after year, it is important to understand crop succession and the carryover effects that plants contribute to the soil for future crops.

“Some of the well known benefits are nitrogen fixation and nutrient retention. If we focus only on these benefits we miss some other critical pieces. There can be many potential crop carryover effects, ranging from improved soil aggregation to improved trace mineral availability.

“We expect a yield increase when we plant corn after soybeans, which we attribute to nitrogen carryover from the prior legume crop.

“But why is there a yield bump on soybeans planted after corn?

“Why is wheat resistant to [the plant disease] take-all for multiple seasons after a single planting of oats?
“Both corn and oats produce a strongly reduced environment in the rhizosphere surrounding their root systems; oats very aggressively so.

“In this environment, trace minerals, particularly manganese, are converted to the reduced form (Mn+++) which is the form plants can utilize very readily. Manganese in the oxidized state (Mn++) is not bioavailable, and does not contribute to plant health and immunity.

“When soybeans are planted after corn, they benefit from the reduced soil environment generated by the corn root system, and have access to better manganese nutrition, resulting in improved reproduction and better yields.
“When successive wheat crops are planted after a single planting of oats, they have access to higher levels of manganese and other trace elements, resulting in improved resistance to take-all.”

Kempf’s guiding philosophy is simple and elegant: “Farmers choose to farm because of a sense of responsibility to their families — and to all families,” he writes. “Farmers desire to work closely with life and living processes. Unfortunately, we have adopted a model of agriculture which directly antagonizes the core values that originally attracted us to the ethics of farming. We have replaced nurturing empathy with a warfare mentality — a combat mindset in which we are fighting diseases, killing insects, and destroying weeds. …

“We have proven there is a better way.”

Discover more here: http://theatln.tc/1rTBv5e