The Center for Science in the Public Interest (“CSPI”) offers its supporters a yearly Good Foods calendar. The cover photo on Good Foods 2024 calendar is a beautiful photo of juicy-looking blueberries in a small woven wood (not plastic!) basket. And the month of July in 2024 is illustrated with the same wonderful photo, plus a handy recipe for “Summer Blueberry Salad.”
Founded in 1971, the Center for Science in the Public Interest is a science-based consumer advocacy organization whose agenda is to “improve the food system to support healthy eating.” Its Nutrition Action newsletter brings “the latest nutrition news and advice to more than a million readers.”
The photographer and creative force behind the Good Foods 2024 calendar is CSPI’s “culinary director and executive chef, ” Kate Sherwood. Trained at the Culinary Institute of America, Sherwood is CSPI’s recipe developer, food stylist, and photographer for the non-profit organization. Each calendar month includes a delicious recipe by Sherwood, exemplified by this easy-to-make Summer Blueberry Salad:
“Whisk together 1 TBS. white balsamic vinegar, 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, 1/4 tsp. honey, 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, and a grind of black pepper. Toss with 4 cups salad greens, 1/2 cup blueberries, 1/2 cup sliced cucumber, and 1/2 cup sliced radishes. Serves 2.”
In a recent posting on the Cleveland Clinic’s digital newsletter, Health Essentials (with the help of the Clinic’s registered dietician Beth Czerwony, RD) six fruits “that combine great taste with nutritional value” were selected in answering the question, “What Are the Best Fruits for You?”
Noting that “Eating two servings of fruit every day stands as a healthy dietary goal to keep your body thriving,” the six fruits chosen were described as having “the biggest nutritional bang for your buck.”
Leading the list at #1 were Blueberries. Why? For “starters,” these four points were made in support of blueberries in a human’s diet: (1) Reduce age-related memory loss; (2) Help fight off cancer; (3) Protect your body’s cells; and (4) Boost heart health.
And these four short paragraphs explained the underlying reasoning:
Many of the benefits connect to the high levels of antioxidants packed into the small berries. Antioxidants battle free radicals, unstable atoms in your body that can damage cells and cause illness.
Blueberries also are rich in soluble fiber to tame cholesterol levels and omega-3 fatty acids for brain health. They’re also chock full of vitamin C, Vitamin K and manganese.
And here’s maybe the biggest bonus of all: Blueberries taste great. Snack on them by the handful or toss them into yogurt, oatmeal or salads to add extra flavor.
By the numbers (emphasis in original): One cup of blueberries contains about 84 calories, 3.55 grams of fiber and 14.7 grams of natural sugars. [A natural sugar limit has not been set by public health officials, but according to the American Heart Association, men should consume no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams or 150 calories) of added sugar per day and for women the number is lower, 6 teaspoons (25 grams or 100 calories) per day.]
Last month, we spotlighted the Cornucopia Institute’s scorecards which help consumers appraise food marketing claims and labels. The Institute’s ten Scorecards for organic dairy, organic eggs, organic beef, organic poultry, organic yogurt, plant-based beverages, snack bars, cottage cheese, cereal and organic soy food are easily searchable on its website.
In addition, Cornucopia Institute’s Organic Berry Map has a very handy directory listing farms that grow and market organic berries by State. As a local and organic food advocate, it is not easy to find organic blueberries as well as other organic fruits. In the past, we noted the difficulty of finding organic and local apples near my home in upstate New York’s Hudson Valley, which is apple growing country!
The Institute’s directory of organic berries by State lists 11 New York farms that grow “certified organic soil-grown berries.” Included in the list is Grindstone Farm in Pulaski (Oswego County) in upstate New York. Happily for this consumer, its “Hand Picked” and “Certified Organic” by the Northeast Organic Farmers Association- New York (NOFA-NY) blueberries are available at my hometown food co-op, the Honest Weight in Albany, New York.
Coincidentally, we posted recently about the history of the Northeast Organic Farmers Association and its seven state chapters in the Northeast, including New York, in our thumbs-up review of the documentary, ORGANIC ROOTS- 50 Years of the Northeast Organic Farming Association.
Eat your blueberries and find a source for local and organic blueberries on Cornucopia’s Organic Berry Map!
(Frank W. Barrie, 8/11/23)