<h2>Thoughts about our Weather</h2> <p>Many of us have been looking at the thermometer and at the noticeably absent snow drifts and are wondering &apos;What is up with this Winter???&apos;</p> <p>At The Organic Box we know that our climate is changing due to human activity.&#160; However, single-year anomalies like this winter are not proof positive that our weather is changing.&#160; We are more interested in and more aware of the longer-term changes we are seeing to weather patterns and average temperatures and the&#160;direct impact this is having on our food producing regions.</p> <p>Generally, over a period time, we are seeing more intensive swings in extreme weather events, storms with more energy and destructive consequences and the gradual lengthing of spring and fall seasons.&#160;&#160;It&#160;sometimes seems like we are adding a&#160;week of spring and a week of fall to the calendar each year!&#160;&#160;Over a ten year period, that doesn&apos;t leave&#160;many weeks left for winter.&#160; In the organic agricultural sector we are looking for ways to adapt traditional&#160;farming&#160;methodologies to the changing&#160;climate patterns.&#160; In the long term, what we grow and how we grow it here in Western Canada may change, but we do firmly believe that we will always be able to grow food in our region.&#160; </p> <p>The lack of snow this winter is actually the result of&#160;a drought.&#160; The cold weather masks the lack of moisture but things are extremely dry.&#160; I was talking to&#160;some friends at BC Agriculture about snow pack levels in the mountains and the news is not great for irrigation water this year in our fruit producing regions.&#160; Luckily, last year&apos;s record snow levels left high water levels and residual&#160;snow pack in many of the alpine lakes and aquifers and this&#160;will mitigate the low moisture levels from this winter.&#160; However, another mild, dry winter in 2013 will be devastating for BC and Alberta agriculture.</p> <p>As individuals, we can look for ways we can make a difference on a micro-level.&#160; In Alberta, the&#160;vast majority of our electricity is supplied by coal-fired&#160;plants, which inject significant levels of greenhouse gas into the upper atmosphere.&#160; By switching off your lights or changing to low-wattage compact-fluorescent bulbs we can make a material reduction in&#160;the amount of electricity used in our homes and businesses and therefore reduce the power required from these plants.</p> <p>Our food family is committed to being sustainable and this means we pay the full price for food - including&#160;programs to reduce and offset our&#160;emissions resulting from the production, shipment and delivery of your box.&#160; Read about&#160;our climate mitigation strategies&#160;on our website:&#160; <a title=&quot;http://www.theorganicbox.ca/innerContent.aspx?id=557&quot; href=&quot;/innerContent.aspx?id=557&quot;>We Are Sustainable</a>.&#160; A portion of the sustainability fund charged for each delivery goes towards&#160;this program.&#160; We are working on&#160;the 2011 numbers now.</p> <p>&#160;Miranda and I are spending a week at Just-A-Mere Organic Farm in Creston.&#160; We will&#160;be helping&#160;our team there get ready for spring.&#160; With the mild winter the trees are beginning to show signs of&#160;life six weeks earlier than usual&#160;so we have lots of pruning to do in a hurry!&#160; As well, we are&#160;doing some soil improvement work this year and need to get that underway.&#160; In our absence Steven, Brody and Abbie are steering the ship in Edmonton.</p> <p>Have a great week!</p> <p>&#160;Danny.</p> <h2>Featured Producers</h2> <table cellspacing=&quot;15&quot; cellpadding=&quot;0&quot; bgcolor=&quot;#edf0e9&quot;> <tbody> <tr> <td valign=&quot;top&quot; align=&quot;center&quot;><p>&#160;&#160;</p> <p><img title=&quot;Beets 01&quot; alt=&quot;Beets 01&quot; src=&quot;/uploadedImages/009_-_This_Week/Beets(1).jpg&quot; /></p> <p align=&quot;center&quot;>&#160;&#160;</p> <p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;</p> <p><img title=&quot;Beet Cake&quot; alt=&quot;Beet Cake&quot; src=&quot;/uploadedImages/009_-_This_Week/beetcake.jpg&quot; />&#160;&#160;&#160;</p> </td> <td><h2>&#160;Beets are the Best!</h2> <p>Our local producers are starting to organize their seed plan for the next growing season, and while they&apos;re doing that we&apos;re emptying out their winter stock! As you&apos;d expect in northern Alberta that&apos;s a lot of potatoes, carrots, and beets.&#160;These are wonderful storing vegetables and are staples in our Albertan diets.&#160;Eric at <strong>Peas on Earth </strong>has purple and yellow beets, and James at <strong>Sundog Organics </strong>has lots of beautiful <strong>red beets</strong>. The beetroot plant is incredibly nutritious. They&apos;re packed with vitamins A (increases eye heath and stimulates the immune system) and C (immuno-stimulant), folate (healthy red blood cell production), iron, potassium and calcium (bone health). Despite these health benefits beets can be a difficult vegetable to get out of the fridge, especially when trying to feed the kids.&#160;However,&#160;we are trying our best to come up with some creative new recipes that are healthy and kid friendly. Here again is our Beet Chocolate Cake recipe that kids (and adults) will love:</p> <p><strong>Beet Chocolate Cake</strong></p> <p>1 large beet*<br />unsweetened apple sauce<br />2 tbsp. water<br />1 tsp. vanilla extract<br />1 tsp. apple cider vinegar*<br />1 cup whole wheat flour*<br />1/2 cup unbleached white flour*<br />1/2 cup cocoa or raw chocolate sauce*<br />1 cup cane sugar*<br />1 tbsp. cornstarch<br />2 tsp. baking soda<br />1/2 tsp. salt*<br />1/4 tsp. cinnamon</p> <p>Peel and dice one large beet. Place the pieces in a saucepan with water to cover and boil until soft. <br /><br />Allow the beets to cool, and then drain them, reserving the red water for another purpose. Put the drained beets into the food processor with 1/4 cup (clear) water, and process until pureed. <br /><br />Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Oil or spray your cooking pan(s). <br />Put the pureed beets into a 2-cup measure. Add enough apple sauce to reach the 2-cup line. Add the 2 tablespoons water, vanilla extract, and apple cider to the beets and mix well. <br /><br />Mix the dry ingredients together; then add the beet mixture and stir until well-combined. Bake for 35-60 minutes, depending on the size of pan you use: more for small, deep pans and less for a 9X13 pan.&#160; Test by inserting a toothpick into the center; it&#8217;s done when the toothpick comes out clean. <br /><br />Allow to cool completely before cutting and serving.</p> <p>* Organic ingredients availble through The Organic Box</p> <p><strong>Please let us know what you think of this recipe, and share with us any other amazing beet recipes that are family favourites on our Twitter page (</strong><a title=&quot;@organicbox&quot; href=&quot;https://twitter.com/#!/organicbox&quot; target=&quot;_blank&quot;><strong>@organicbox</strong></a><strong>) and Facebook (</strong><a title=&quot;https://www.facebook.com/#!/theorganicboxedmonton&quot; href=&quot;https://www.facebook.com/#!/theorganicboxedmonton&quot;><strong>theorganicbox</strong></a><strong>). </strong></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td valign=&quot;top&quot; align=&quot;center&quot;><p>&#160;&#160;</p> <p><img style=&quot;WIDTH: 157px; HEIGHT: 143px&quot; title=&quot;Peanut Butter&quot; alt=&quot;Peanut Butter&quot; src=&quot;/uploadedImages/009_-_This_Week/Marantha Peanut Butter.jpg&quot; width=&quot;157&quot; height=&quot;143&quot; />&#160;&#160;&#160;</p> <p><a title=&quot;/uploadedImages/009_-_This_Week/Banana.png&quot; onkeypress=&quot;this.onclick();&quot; onclick=&quot;try{window.open(&apos;/uploadedImages/009_-_This_Week/Banana.png&apos;, &apos;MyImage&apos;, &apos;resizable=yes, scrollbars=yes, width=790, height=580&apos;)}catch(e){};return false;&quot; href=&quot;#&quot;><img title=&quot;/uploadedImages/009_-_This_Week/Banana.png&quot; alt=&quot;/uploadedImages/009_-_This_Week/Banana.png&quot; border=&quot;0&quot; src=&quot;/uploadedImages/009_-_This_Week/thumb_Banana.png&quot; /></a></p> </td> <td><h2><p>&#160;Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches</p> </h2> <p>If you&apos;re anything like me, you absolutely love our fair trade and organic bananas! There are times though that you just can&apos;t eat them fast enough and they start to over-ripen. However there are lots of these you can do with over-ripe bananas. Such as making banana bread, cakes, smoothies, and one of my dad&apos;s traditional favourites... <strong>peanut butter and banana sandwiches. MaraNatha Peanut Butter</strong> is made from only the purest ingredients, with no trans fats, hydrogenated oils or preservatives. This is also some of the creamiest and flavourful peanut butter that I&apos;ve ever had, and with the added kick of some banana it makes over the top sandwiches. </p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table>