I’m excited. Tomorrow I will pick up my first CSA share from Corbin Hill Food Project. This CSA is completely new to me, so I don’t know exactly how they will do, so I am going to make an effort to be there when they open up at 4:30 (shares can be picked up between 4:30 and 7:00).  Will there be a mob scene at the door at 4:30?  Who knows.  I will get there about 3:30, to get in line for the Supper Club, and then, if it looks like there’s going to be a mob scene for the CSA pick-up, I’ll just put everything from the Supper Club in containers to bring home . I’ll report back with my experience tomorrow night.

HERE IS WHAT THEY SAY WE WILL GET (for a number of years, I was a member of a CSA related to Golden Earthworm Farms. Often they would say were going to get something, but we didn’t, so, out of habit, I’m saying what they said, and I’ll report back tomorrow with the true “get”)

Peas (English or sugar snap)
Radishes, Kohlrabi, or Zucchini


I have signed up for a “medium” share, but I’m going to try to see what the “large” share looks like.

Tomorrow, when I get back with my booty, I’ll let you know  what this CSA is really like


The history of Pretty Smart Raw Food Ideas is directly tied to my first venture into CSAs.  Some years back, I saw an announcement for a CSA a couple of blocks from my home, and I signed up right away.  As CSAs often deliver vegetables folks have never seen before, I began to hear people asking what they should do with what they had received in the box.    Me? Being raw, I just went on-line, found out about the vegetable in question, and then started experimenting.  People started asking me for recipes.  I asked the CSA if we couldn’t have a way to publish recipes for the benefit of the members. They poo-poo’d my idea.  My blog was born the next day, with raw recipes for the vegetables I found in my box. 

Now, I have found  a CSA which allows you to casually  join whenever you find out about it, and allows you to pay by the week.  (I have had to leave that first CSA because they require an up front payment which I could not manage).  I’m telling you this because, if you have thought about a CSA, but didn’t sign up for one in the spring (most CSAs require you to sign up before May), there is a CSA that you can still join.

Corbin Hill Food Project is a CSA that works with local farmers to provide low cost organic vegetables and fruit (and other products, as add-ons), mostly in low-income neighborhoods (that doesn’t mean that you can’t join if you are not low-income – it just means that you might have to travel a bit).  The beauty of this CSA is that you can sign up at any time during CSA season (summer to fall), and, if, for any reason, you cannot receive your share the next week (for example: you will be away, or you can’t afford it), you can put your share on hold, simply by notifying them a week in advance.  If you are interested, please visit Corbin Hill Food Project to find the most convenient location for you to receive your share (I’ll be going to the Community Kitchen and Food Pantry on 116th St in Harlem – it’s familiar to me, and I want to support its programs, and, also, the commute there and back home is reasonable, even if it is not right near my home – heck! Fairway, Costco, and Trader Joe’s involve commutes so it is not really that big of a deal). 

The first deliveries are June 18th and June 19th (depending on your chosen location – I’m set to receive my share on Tuesday, the 18th), and the last day to sign up for that week is June 10th. 

Just saying.


Good Southern girl that I am, I do love my okra.  Only thing is it does have that tendency to get slimy – I’ve always thought that’s why we so often prepare  it together with tomatoes (to hide the slime).  I was just visiting FreshBitesDaily.com and noticed their suggestion:

Dry your okra after you wash it, and before you cut it.

So simple.

SPRING VEGETABLES! What can I ferment? Meet-up quandary: will probably ferment green beans

There’s a big Fermentation  Party in Brooklyn at the end of the month. I want to go, so I’ll have to ferment something (maybe a cheeze? I want something spectactular, or at least remarkable)

Meanwhile, the next NYC Ferments is for Spring Ferments . What?

Here’s my list of spring vegetables:
Belgian Endive
Butter Lettuce
Chayote Squash
Fava Beans
Fiddlehead Ferns
Green Beans
Manoa Lettuce
Morel Mushrooms
Mustard Greens
Pea Pods
Purple Asparagus
Red Leaf Lettuce
Snow Peas
Spring Baby Lettuce
Swiss Chard
Vidalia Onions

Aha! I can ferment green beans. Actually, I make some mean jalapeno dill fermented green beans! Aha!

GNOWFGLINS – interesting resource for food prep lessons

GNOWFGLINS is a homesteading blog/website/newsletter with mountains of information. Wardee Harmon sends out newsletters with all sorts of useful free  information, and, too, she offers on-line e-classes, each of which contains numerous useful items.  What’s interesting about her courses is that they are offered on a “membership” basis, i.e., you pay by the month (so, if you are like me, you could probably inhale at least 5 courses in the space of a month).  These courses are not exclusively even vegetarian, but quite a few offer useful items for raw vegans (I have my eye on the first course, Fundamentals, which talks about sprouting beans, making water kefir, sprouting whole grains, and making natural pickled foods, among other items which are not of interest to me). Fundamentals II covers equipment for a traditional foods kitchen, natural sweeteners, superfoods, homemade salad dressings and sauces, and kid-friendly snacks, among other things I probably won’t be interested in). LactoFermentation covers all aspects of fermentation (I’ve read Wardee’s book on fermentation, but I still think this might reveal some things to me. I know she uses a whey-based fermenting culture, but I know I can get around that with lactobacillus caps. This lesson promises how to ferment fruit, fermented condiments, kefir, kombucha, and kvass, fermented honey, and more)  The dehydrating course is of interest to me because I am self-taught, and I think I might be able to learn some extra things

That’s 4 courses that I think I can learn something from, which, if I can focus and finish those courses in a month’s time, will make the month’s $17.95 membership very cost-effective. 

You might consider checking out Wardee’s site, and these course offerings – I haven’t seen such a good over-all pricing for the information I am after, and, anyway, I’d like to see how she does this, so I can tell you more at another time.


POST #999
Next on my to-read list:
Idealism Meets Greed – How the raw food movement ruined my life
By Dr. Jim Carey, Ph.D.

In 2010, Jim Carey, a quiet mover in the raw vegan world, was sued, along with Creative Health Institute, by the Ann Wigmore Foundation (AWF), for using the deceased Dr. Ann Wigmore’s name, which AWF claims to have exclusive permission to use, and for which they claim to have a registered trademark.

Unfortunately, Jim lost in the suit (and, as far as I can see, AWF didn’t win – How many of you have ever heard of them?).  It seems that AWF took their winnings, which included Jim’s very popular raw foods lifestyle program, and ran everything into the ground in New Mexico.

As part of the legal settlement, Jim was banned, by a no-compete clause, from publishing or speaking on raw food topics for 3 years. As a result, he had to turn down dozens of job offers, as well as requests for help from friends.

Ahh! At last, the three-year gag order has expired! Jim has now written an expose on the raw food world and its gurus, as only someone in his position can do. He has worked with the people raw foodists come into contact with often (on websites, in emails, or in trainings), and, with his unique insight, having been turned on by an organization which he helped develop, and then left, in order to pursue his own way of bringing the raw food lifestyle to a broader awareness, he has a lot to say.

As I had the opportunity to exchange ideas often with Jim during his raw food education career (I was privileged to take his distance training, which, with copious printed material and a stack of DVDs, was probably the most thorough distance – or even “in person” – education on raw food lifestyle that has ever been issued), I am looking forward to seeing what he has to say in his expose (when I chatted with him back in the day, we’d occasionally talk about this or that “raw guru”.. mostly, he’d just listen to my take, but occasionally he’d let drop that he didn’t think my attitude was off-base).

I’ve missed that camaraderie over the past 3 years, but I didn’t know what his legal arrangement had stipulated he could or could not say even to close buddies, so, when I have had the chance, I’ve just chatted with him about his new endeavors (The man does not stop! Can’t do this? Go excel at something else!).

Will Jim come back to us? I can only hope.., but, at least, he has decided to reveal his experience in and take on the world of raw food gurus, to be released on March 1, 2014. I will be first in line to grab his book. It should be a moment to remember.

For more information about this new book, go to Jim’s website:



Is the raw food diet dead?  This is a concept that several people who have, up to now, styled themselves as “raw food gurus” are espousing.  Frederic Patenaude, one of the biggest names out there, raw food-wise, has announced that the raw vegan diet is a fad that has passed.  Brenda Cobb announced, in a workshop I attended a few years ago that, at a “summit” of raw food “authorities”, it had been decided that it was not necessary to go all raw. Kevin Gianni, another self-styled public “raw food guru” has announced that “raw food is dead”.

In my experience, a raw vegan diet is a personal issue.  You can be 100% raw vegan, or you can be 90%, or 50%  or working on getting 25 % raw food into your diet.

If you want to be a vegetarian or vegan, you can still include raw food into your diet, to make it healthier.  If you are a meat-eater, and don’t plan to stop, you can still include more raw vegetables in your diet to enable your body to absorb more nutrients from the vegetables you eat (how hard is it to include a salad?)

I’ve been raw vegan or mostly raw vegan for over 30 years.  As far as I know, when I started, it was not a fashion.  I started just because I was on the broke side, and, as a graduate student, I didn’t have much time to prepare food, and I found that I could make what I called a “progressive salad”, i.e., chopped cabbage, onion, tomatoes, bell pepper, garlic, kelp powder, olive oil, and apple cider vinegar, and eat of it as I wished, then put the leftovers in the refrigerator, and add to them the next day – these salads went on for about 4 days, and then I added hot water and made soup to finish it all up.

In the 70s, I found a book by the Fathmans called Live Foods. I took that home and learned a couple of other things I could do with raw foods.  I still didn’t think much about it. It was just food.  I discovered Viktoras Kulvinskas’s book, Living in the 21rst Century, and, from there, found Ann Wigmore’s writings.  In those days, this was a catch-as-catch-can process – there was no Internet, and all you could find was whatever popped up in Yes Bookstore in Georgetown, in Washington, DC.

I found out about “modern raw food recipes” in 1999.  Wow! More stuff to make to eat!  I was delighted, and bought my first food processor, then a Champion juicer, then a high speed blender (I had always wanted a VitaMix from the time I saw one in a state fair when I was about 10). I used made all sorts of inventive recipes, but, you know what?  More often, I still made the food that I had always made.  That was my comfort food. 

Fast forward to now: I have a dehydrator now, as well as a Cuisinart food processor, the same 1975 vintage Champion juicer, and a Nutri-Bullet (the VitaMix actually died after 10 years of faithful service, right on time, when the warranty I had expired).  From time to time, I will make crackers or chips or bread in the dehydrator. I also dehydrate vegetables I don’t like that come in my CSA box, and I make green powder of them, to use in soups, or as seasoning.  I dehydrate leftovers that I know I am not going to eat anytime soon, so I can rehydrate them later.  The three things in my kitchen that get a lot of use are the Champion juicer, the food processor, and my good old Chinese stainless steel cleaver, which has been with me forever.

I’m still raw.  A few years ago, I started collecting old raw vegan recipe books. I now have the oldest one anyone remembers, from the 1920s, as well as several others, mostly from the 1960s and 1970s.

As far as I am concerned, raw food is not dead, and it is not a fad.

Okay, there has been the raw food “phenomenon” which started up in the late 1990s, and which may well be burning out.

There used to be some raw food groups here in New York City, and I used to hang out with them, at potlucks.  I never asked  anyone “how raw are you?” because I just didn’t care.  It has never been a contest with me. It has just been what I eat.  I did think it was kind of fun when folks dished on local “raw food gurus”, reporting sightings of said “personalities” exiting Thai restaurants, or what-not.  Still, I have never succumbed to the allure of any raw food guru, so nothing ever changed for me, regardless of what “So-and-So” had been seen doing.  I have always told everyone who asks that I am 95% raw 100% of the time. That is because I cannot promise that you will not see me eat something that is not raw.  I haven’t done it in recent history, but I am not going to say that I don’t do it, because I might, if I get a notion.

Anyway, the upshot of all this is that, if you want to go raw, do it. Just because the fad may have passed does not mean that a raw food diet is not good. 

You may become more interested in nutrition and investigate the different raw food schools. 

The most recent raw food school has been the low fat diet. (As a nutritionist, I see that this approach is what has caused a lot of people to ditch the raw food diet, because they get too many cravings.  Fat is necessary in the human diet. There are good fats and there are bad fats. If you are eating a raw vegan diet, there are simply no bad fats to be had.  Raw nuts and seeds provide protein. Avocados provide all sorts of good things.  Fats are necessary for the building of healthy cell walls (Since the AMA started advocating a low-fat diet, we have seen a rise in here-to-fore unknown diseases, sensitivities, and allergies.  In the past few years, the AMA has begun  serious back-peddling about fat in the diet.

Some say that salt should be avoided. (I am a low-salt person by nature – I never put salt on my food when I lived at home, and, when I moved away, at first, I didn’t have salt in my apartment (until people who came over for dinner kept asking for it – then I got a shaker-ful of salt)  Still, I would not say that you should not use salt in your food (sea salt, or natural salt, provides a lot of health benefits).   Although I rarely put salt in my food, I do recognize that it is an important ingredient for health (I get most of my salt from fermented vegetables, actually).

Some will say that you should not use strong herbs and spices.  I’m sorry. Strong herbs and spices, such as garlic, cumin, and red pepper are proven, in herbology, to be good for you.  If you don’t like them, don’t use them, but don’t decide that they are not food for you just because some self-styled “guru” has dissed them.   If you desire them, then it is probably that they bring some needed element into your diet.  As a nutritionist, an herbologist, a Bach (and other) Flower Therapy practitioner, and an herbalist, I have found that natural herbs and spices that you are attracted to tend to be things that bring certain properties into your system. (if you come to eat at my house, your food will not have much salt in it, but it will be brilliant with garlic, cumin, cilantro, and onion).  The folks who guide you to avoid such edibles are most likely folks who do not tolerate them well (For example: I cannot stand mango. I understand that this is a systemic issue within my own personal body.  I do not tell other people not to eat mango, because this mango sensitivity is my own.  Mango is known to have great nutritional value. The fact that I cannot eat it does not mean that you should not).   Another example would be that, in my family, only my grandfather liked hot sauce.  I like hot sauce (to the point that I have learned to make my own hot sauce, so I can control the ingredients). Many people do not like hot sauce.  There is something in hot sauce that attracts certain individuals. That is a nutritional or constitutional thing.  Just because you do not like hot sauce does not mean that it is a bad thing.

Now, if you are interested in incorporating raw food in your diet, that is a good thing.  In real life, there is no rule that says that you have to become 100% raw tomorrow..

Nutrition-wise, it is a good idea to incorporate as much raw food into your diet as you can. So… can you incorporate 25% raw food into your diet? (that would be a salad with dinner). Can you incorporate 50% rawfood into your diet (hey! Coleslaw and a salad with dinner). Can you incorporate 75% raw food in your diet? (Now you would be seriously into the idea.)  

11/14/13 CSA SHARE: What they say we will get

This is what they say we will get:

Kohlrabi- 2 pcs
Fennel- 1 bun
Radicchio – 1 hd
Carrots – 1 bun
Broccoli – 3 hds
Cauliflower – 1 hd
Surprise Item

Having gotten quite a bit of cauliflower from various sources, including our CSA, and having finally broken down and kept the broccoli from last week’s distribution (I am widely known as a non-broccoli person), I have managed to come up with some really good, Thanksgiving-ready raw cauliflower and raw broccoli recipes that I actually like. I will be posting them this week.

So, the cauliflower and broccoli will come home with me.
I like making raw ravioli with kohlrabi, so it is just a decision about the filler. Kale-cashew cheeze is my favorite.
I have never been a big fan of fennel, so, if I can trade it off, I might well do so, but, if not, I expect I will chop it into smithereens and put in some kind of salad mix.
Actually, all of this looks exciting (it could be that I am hungry as I write)

10/31/13 CSA SHARE: What they say we will get

POST #983
It is a very good thing that tomorrow is CSA day.  I will be quite hungry by then, I am sure.  I have just come back from vacation, so all there is to eat around here is what I have in the freezer (not much – I am not really big on freezing vegetables), a jar of fermented salsa, and some dehydrated crackers).

Kale – Red, Green or Toscano – 1 bun
Swiss Chard – 1 bun
Beets – 1 bun
Bok Choi – 1 bun
Broccoli – 1 hd
Cauliflower – 2 hds
Carrots – 1 bun
Long Peppers – 7+ pcs

Oh, goody! Lots of things I like. Yumm!


POST #982
Admittedly, I had not visited GoneRaw.com in quite a while (okay, maybe a year or so), but I was surprised and disheartened to find the place in a shambles today when I clicked through and old link on an old, inactive blog, looking for Chef Landria, who seems to have disappeared.  On the home page, there was some kind of code disturbance, which just got worse when I clicked on RECIPES at the top of the page.  

Ah, but help is on the way, if you want to go see this famous old repository for raw recipes of all kinds.

Go to the bottom of the page, and find where it says RECIPES –GONE RAW – that link is healthy (at least as of a few minutes ago)  You can page through the recipes, which seem to be intact. 

My advice – if you want to avail yourself of a number of wonderful recipes from people who have posted over the years, who may or may not still be active, QUICK! Go there and look through all of the recipes which sound like something you might want to eat or prepare for someone else.  (Who knows how long this site will remain – it has apparently been abandoned, and there have been no postings in the past year or so).