Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Meet Sambucus.

By Teri, Wellness Team Member


The cold and flu season seems to have arrived and promises to be a ‘doozy’ according to medical experts.  Something I’ve learned to rely on as a Wellness Team Member at Winter Ridge are the benefits of the sage ol’ Elderberry.  I’d like to share some things I’ve learned about this bodacious berry!


Sambuccus is a genus of flowering plants; the different species of Sambuccus are commonly referred to as elderberry or elder.  The berries and flowers are used as medicine.  Plants are native to Europe, Africa, and Asia and has become quite common is the U.S., too.


Health benefits of elderberries are age old and timeless.  Known as Hippocrates’ ‘medicine chest’, elderberry has been used as medicine by the ancient Greeks, Egyptians, and Romans. Elderberry is also a significant healing ingredient in many Native American medicines.  In 1995, the government of Panama used Elderberry juice during the flu epidemic there, and found it greatly reduced the symptoms and severity of the flu, attributing it with helping end the epidemic.


Elderberries are naturally high in vitamins C, A, B6, and iron and potassium. They are higher in flavonoids than blueberries, cranberries and goji berries for a potent antioxidant punch, which help protect our cells from damage.


The greatest contemporary value of elderberry is, of course, major cold and flu relief, as it is an excellent immune system booster.  A study in the Journal of International Medical Research showed that when the extract is used within the first 48 hours of the onset of symptoms, the duration of the flu may be shorted an average of 4 days.


Sinus issues are aided by elderberry’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and it may also ease allergies.  Additionally, elderberry may help lower blood sugar, encourage healthy skin and is a natural diuretic and laxative.  More research is coming soon indicating elderberry as a hopeful cancer fighter.


In addition to syrup at Winter Ridge, we also carry Elderberry extracts, lozenges, capsules and crystals.  Dried organic elderberries make an easy homemade syrup, delicious with some warming ginger, soothing cinnamon and honey. Quick online recipes are abundant. Do be careful in eating UN-cooked berries, though, as this could result in diarrhea or vomiting in some individuals.  Commercial elderberry preparations typically have few negative side effects when used properly for short periods of time.


Protecting ourselves and our families is a top concern during the Fall and Winter months and keeping our bodies strong during the cold and flu season can help us ward off those nasty bugs.  Elderberry products in your medicine chest can be a real powerhouse immune booster to help you through!

Tamanu. What’s That?

If you have ever endured the pain and itch of a skin rash, then it’s time you learned about Tamanu Oil! We are fortunate to live in a time where oils from around the world seem to be at our disposal. The benefits of Tamanu oil have made this exotic oil one of my most trusted beauty products, especially when it comes to less-than-pleasant skin conditions.


Not only has Tamanu oil been researched extensively for its potent healing properties to anything from eczema to leprosy, but it’s also got some pretty unique properties that anyone can enjoy — even if you’re rash free. Tamanu oil contains moisturizing omega fatty acids and it’s well known to promote new, healthy cell growth. Its antimicrobial properties have been compared to the strength of antibiotics and the antioxidant properties are able to prevent sun damage and wrinkles.Tamanu oil comes from the inside kernel of the fruit bloomed by the Tamanu tree, which leads to a pungent, nutty scent and a blue-green color. The oil originates in the South Pacific, where it continues to play an important cultural role.


Here’s a little history;

In the early 1900s, the Western world was briefly introduced to Tamanu oil. Word had spread due to the miracles worked by a French nun — Sister Marie Suzanna — who had used Tamanu oil to treat the symptoms of leprosy, including painful inflammation of the nerves (leprous neuritis).


In 1918, researchers affiliated with the French Pharmacopoeia began investigating tamanu for topical and subcutaneous use. These scientists were immediately impressed by its cicatrizing — or skin regenerating — effects.


The French medical literature of the era contains many records of tamanu’s successful application for severe skin conditions, including one astounding story of an anonymous gangrene patient treated at the St. Louis Hospital in Paris.


When the woman was admitted, she had a gangrenous ulcer on her leg that stubbornly refused to heal. Doctors were sure that amputation was inevitable, but as a last resort they opted to try treatment with tamanu oil dressings first. To their amazement, the dressings worked so well that the wound eventually healed completely leaving only a flat, smooth scar. Amazing!!


Why Tamanu Oil Has Remarkable Healing Power


Tamanu’s benefits are supported by research conducted in the Pacific Islands, Asia, and Europe. And more recently, major breakthroughs in Japan and Canada have illuminated the science behind its amazing success stories.


For example, Japanese researchers at Meijo University found that several isolated chemical compounds in tamanu inhibit skin tumor production. And a Canadian research team at the Université de Sherbrooke discovered that tamanu contains two chemicals called HIV transcriptase inhibitors.


Tamanu oil contains 3 essential classes of lipids: neutral, glyco-, and phospholipids. Additionally, the oil contains 3 unique and novel compounds:

  • Calophyllic acid –a fatty acid unique to tamanu oil
  • Calophyllolide- An anti-inflammatory
  • Lactone – An antibiotic


Along with coumarins — another powerful type of anti-inflammatory agent — these ingredients are the source of the oil’s remarkable healing power.


And we are all in luck because we have Tamanu Oil on our shelves and it’s on sale now!


In Good Health


Haba Mgr

Wishes for Winter Wellness

For most of us, the typical week can be pretty hectic. From busy work schedules, school and sports activities for those with kids, spending time with family and friends not to mention making time to exercise and eat well, life can seem like one long to-do list. With these busy schedules, catching a cold or even worse, the flu, can really throw us off track and be a real setback. There is a lot we can do to preserve our health and maintain those on-the-go lifestyles. It is important to give ourselves the time we need to slow down and treat our bodies right, to get the proper nutrition and rest we need. By eating a wide array of anti-oxidant rich foods and boosting our resistance with a few Super-hero herbs and getting the rest and relaxation we need, we can make it through cold and flu season healthy.


Sleep is a big deal for me. Any time I have gotten sick I know the root cause is inadequate sleep. It happens easily enough, a night or two of restless sleep or I’m ripping myself off on the amount of sleep I’m getting. Throw in some overwhelming stress and some poor food choices and it amounts to a recipe for illness. Getting adequate sleep is vital to a properly functioning immune system. If you get less than 6 hours of sleep a night you are going to be more at risk for contracting the flu. Personally, I’d rather make the time now to sleep than lay in bed for days miserable with the flu!


Stress reduction enhances immune function. When we experience stress, our bodies increase our output of neuroendocrine hormones which have detrimental effects on immune function. When this happens there is a reduction in the production of antibodies and the activity of NK (natural killer) cells. Not only does this make us susceptible to colds and flu, but it delays wound healing and impaired responses to vaccinations.


Eating well is one of the main ingredients in preventing illness and there are certain foods that go a long way in maintaining good health. Vitamins and minerals required for a fully functioning immune system include zinc, vitamin A and C and selenium. Zinc helps the body produce white blood cells and encourages healing. Good food choices would be red kidney beans, green peas and dark meat chicken. Vitamin C also helps the body produce white blood cells and defends against pathogens and microorganisms. Food choices include citrus fruits, broccoli and red pepper. Selenium offers antioxidant activity and food choices include brazil nuts and lean meats like turkey and chicken. Vitamin A acts as a barrier against harmful bacteria and helps defend against free radicals that can damage cells and weaken the immune system. Eating foods rich in beta-carotene such as carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins and cantaloupe is a great way to get that extra vitamin A.


Sugar can be devastating to your immune system because it causes inflammation which creates the perfect environment for pathogens like the flu virus to thrive in. Sugar disrupts the balance of gut flora and since the majority of the immune system is in the GI tract, it is really important to maintain a healthy gastrointestinal system during cold and flu season!


Probiotics are beneficial bacteria vital to helping the body manage illness. Probiotics regulate harmful bacteria in the intestine and colon. Good food sources of these probiotics are kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut, miso or anything fermented. Taking a daily probiotic can benefit, ensuring that good bacteria’s exist in the right proportions.


Exercise is still a great idea! Especially as we age, exercise helps moderate reductions in immune function. Higher amounts of physical activity also support a reduction in upper respiratory infections.


Herbs have always worked well for me and my family. Some of my favorites are Andrographis, Astragalus, Berberine, Echinacea and Elderberry. Medicinal mushrooms are potent immune boosters as well.


Andographis has long been favored in Chinese medicine and has been used to treay colds, fevers, bronchitis, diarrhea and liver disorders. It is included in some of our most popular wellness formulas here at Winterridge and I think of it as one of the “Big Guns!’ in treating colds and such.


Astragalus acts as a tonic to protect the immune system. It promotes healing and provides energy to combat fatigue and prolonged stress. It helps reduce cold symptoms once one does get sick.


Berberine is a plant alkaloid with a history of use in Ayuverda (traditional Indian Medicine). Chinese Medicine and American Indian Herbalists. Berberine is a potent microcrobial and helps get rid of bacterial infections.


Echinacea and Goldenseal are the most famous of the class of immune system herbs. Echinacea fights inflammation and bacterial and viral infection. It is supportive of both the immune system and the lymphatic system. Goldenseal Fights infection and inflammation and cleanses the body, it increases the effectiveness of insulin and strengthens the immune system.


Elderberry combats free radicals and inflammation. It relieves coughs and congestion, builds the blood and cleanses the system and it is very effective against flu viruses.


Medicinal Mushrooms such as Reishi, Cordyceps, Maitake and Shiitake are just a few of the mushrooms that support our natural immunity. We as humans share more DNA with mushrooms than we do with plants and because of this connection, we can easily utilize compounds from beneficial mushrooms for total body support. Definitely worth taking a look at and considering for your winter wellness toolkit.


Another very important component to winter health is good ol’ vitamin D. It has some very big jobs in the body such as contributing to bone strength, heart health and cancer protection. Vitamin D plays a hugely important role in your immune system and can even be a determining factor in whether you develop an autoimmune disease.


And I’m going to squeeze one more in, Bee Propolis. Propolis is a resinous substance collected from various plants from bees. Bees use propolis, together with beeswax, in the construction of hives. As a supplement, it is an excellent aid against bacterial infections. Bee Propolis is believed to stimulate phagocytosis, the process by which some white blood cells destroy bacteria. Propolis fights inflammation and stimulates the immune system.


Let’s face it, when it comes right down to it, nothing is more important than your health. Making the right choices can determine how long you will live and how well. I wish you all the healthiest of winters!


Christina Kettenring

The story behind the Cherokee Purple Tomato


Excerpts from an article by Tom Oder, 5/10/17, contributed by Produce Manager Bob Edmondson


If Shakespeare’s Juliet had asked Craig LeHoullier “What’s in a name?”, LeHoullier would have pushed back on her contention that names are meaningless conventions. That’s because LeHoullier knows the importance of genealogy in regards to heirloom tomatoes.


To LeHoullier, what’s in the name of an heirloom tomato is a fascinating history of the conscientious gardeners who passed seeds through succeeding generations. He compares this to six degrees of separation: If any link in the chain had been broken, these tomatoes, cherished relics of the gardening world, would have been lost for all time.

“Heirlooms are living things, and unless they are grown and saved and shared and relished, they’ll go extinct,” he said. This is a central message in his book, “Epic Tomatoes: How to Select & Grow the Best Varieties of All Time,” which won the Garden Writers Association Gold Award in 2016. It includes information about selecting and growing heirloom tomatoes as well as some of his favorite heirloom tomato stories.

These are topics LeHoullier knows well. A lifelong gardener, LeHoullier has specialized in heirloom tomatoes for 30-plus years and annually grows an average of 150 varieties in pots and bags on the driveway of his home in Raleigh, North Carolina. He calculates that he has grown or tasted more than 3,000 tomatoes and played a role in introducing more than 200 types. A retired chemist in the pharmaceutical industry, he has been an ambassador for heirloom tomatoes since an “aha!” moment in 1986 when he discovered Seed Savers Exchange, an Iowa nonprofit that preserves heirloom plants.

“That started me down the path of yellow and purple and green and white and heart-shaped and all these other tomatoes,” he said. “It also kind of captured the fact that I love history and genealogy and that I love to share information. The thought of growing 50 different tomatoes that look and taste different and most of them have interesting stories … it was almost like a perfect intersection of many aspects of life that I enjoy.”

Here is one of his favorite stories about the name behind the heirloom tomato called Cherokee Purple.

Cherokee Purple

cherokee purple tomato

It may look like a ‘leg bruise,’ but the Cherokee purple tomato packs an intense flavor. (Photo: Mars Vilaubi, from ‘Epic Tomatoes,’ © by Craig LeHoullier, used with permission from Storey Publishing)


This is one of the most popular heirloom tomatoes and one that LeHoullier named.


After LeHoullier joined the Seed Savers Exchange, he started building his heirloom seed collection through magazine seed swaps. This was about 1998-1990, and word got out that he was collecting seeds, growing tomatoes from the seeds and then disseminating seeds through the Seed Savers Exchange. As a result, each spring people started mailing him heirloom tomato seeds. One such envelope arrived in 1990 from John D. Green in Sevierville, Tennessee. Green included seeds and a letter that said the seeds were from a purple tomato passed down from the Cherokees and grown more than 100 years ago.


LeHoullier suspected it was really a pink tomato because, he said, old seed catalogs often described pink tomatoes as purple. Still, he decided to plant the seeds and see what happened. To his amazement, as the fruit ripened he and his wife, Susan, saw a color they’d never seen before. And they knew they were the recipients of something truly special when they tasted the tomatoes. “They were absolutely delicious,” LeHoullier said.


He wanted to share seeds from his discovery with other heirloom tomato growers, but he needed to name the tomato first. “Based on information Mr. Green shared with me, I thought Cherokee Purple was as good a name as any,” LeHoullier recalled. Next, he called his friend Jeff McCormick, who ran Southern Exposure Seed Exchange at the time, to tell him about a tomato with an unusual color, interesting history and great flavor.


The next spring, McCormick grew plants with LeHoullier’s seeds. He loved the taste but worried about the color, so he called LeHoullier and said, “Well that’s a fine tasting tomato, but it’s funny looking. It looks like a leg bruise, and I’m not sure the public will accept it. I’ll tell you what. I’ll carry the seed in my catalog, and we’ll see what happens.” Parallel to sharing the seed with McCormick, LeHoullier also shared the seed through the Seed Savers Exchange. To say the tomato has been popular since is an understatement; it’s been a runaway hit.


Growing tips: The first rule in buying Cherokee Purple seed is to be confident of your seed source, advised LeHoullier. So many people and companies are involved in seed saving now that mistakes can happen with an open-pollinated crop like a tomato because bees can get in and provide crosses that people don’t detect, LeHoullier said. “I’ve been to enough markets and enough tastings to know that many heirlooms aren’t what they are supposed to be. I’ve seen Cherokee Purples that have the wrong size, the wrong color, the wrong flavor and the wrong internal structure.”


If you’re working with seedlings you’ve grown or purchased, plant them deep when putting them in pots or in the garden. (When planted deep, tomatoes will sprout roots along the stem.) Then get ready for a rambunctious plant. It’s not the tallest of the indeterminate, meaning infinitely growing, heirlooms, but it needs a strong stake or cage to keep it under control. It also produces a very good fruit set. It will grow well in the Northeast, but it excels in the South and Southeast. It seems to have developed some naturally inbred disease tolerance and resistances, perhaps due to is supposed Tennessee origins. LeHoullier said it’s one of the last tomatoes to go down to disease for him year after year, no matter the weather.


Flavor: “I love a tomato that attacks my taste buds and Cherokee Purple does that,” LeHoullier explains. “It soothes the senses. It’s intense. It’s got some elements of acidity, some elements of sweetness and it’s also got a nice texture that’s very juicy and very smooth. So, I would describe Cherokee Purple as being one of those tomatoes that kind of has it all in terms of the intensity, the complexity the fullness and the balance. To my taste buds, there are not a ton of tomatoes with that level of uniform excellence. Having grown 3,000 tomatoes and counting in my career, Cherokee Purple always rises into the top 10 of my tasting experience.”


The Best Herbal Remedies to Treat Your Sunburn

by Michael Castleman


Aloe contains compounds—bradykinase, salicylic acid, and magnesium lactate—that reduce the pain, inflammation, swelling, and redness of wounds. Scientific evidence of aloe’s wound-healing power was first documented in 1935, when an American medical journal reported accelerated healing of X-ray burns with aloe gel scooped from the plant’s cut leaves. Since then, dozens of studies have supported the herb’s ability to stimulate healing of first- and second-degree burns. Asian researchers analyzed many studies of aloe for wound healing. Compared with standard care, the wounds of those using aloe healed significantly faster—up to 8 days faster.



Chamomile is so popular among Germans that many call the herb alles zutraut, or “capable of anything.” That’s an exaggeration, but not by much.

Iranian researchers treated 72 people’s surgical wounds with either the topical steroid (hydrocortisone) or chamomile (compresses of a strong infusion twice a day—brew the tea, chill it, soak a soft towel, and apply to the burn). After 28 days, the herb-treated wounds healed faster.



Russian researchers gave 108 children suffering burns or other wounds standard medical care. In addition, half received an ointment with 10 percent comfrey (Traumaplant), while the other half applied the same ointment diluted to contain 1 percent comfrey. The wounds treated with the 10 percent comfrey ointment healed significantly faster. Traumaplant, a German product, is available in the United States. Or mix powdered comfrey with skin cream or with honey, which also aids wound healing.

Comfrey contains allantoin, a compound that promotes the growth of new skin cells. This validates the herb’s 2,500 years of external use on everything from minor cuts and burns to major battle wounds. Comfrey also helps relieve inflammation, adding to its wound-treating action. Wash wounds thoroughly with soap and water before applying the herb.



Science has confirmed echinacea’s traditional use in wound healing. Echinacein—the same compound that prevents germs from penetrating tissues—also helps broken skin knit faster by spurring the cells that form new tissue (fibroblasts) to work more efficiently.

Echinacea preparations can be applied to cuts, burns, psoriasis, eczema, genital herpes sores, and cold sores. Commission E supports the use of echinacea for wound treatment.


Gotu kola

One compound in gotu kola, asiaticoside, speeds wound healing. Another, madecassoside, is an anti-inflammatory. A study in Annals of Plastic Surgery asserts that gotu kola accelerates the healing of burns and minimizes scarring. Other studies have shown that the herb accelerates the healing of skin grafts and surgical enlargement of the vagina during childbirth (episiotomy).



Applied topically, marshmallow mucilage gel helps soothe and protect cuts, scrapes, wounds, and burns.



One study suggests that passionflower helps relieve pain, while two others show that it kills many disease-causing molds, fungi, and bacteria. These findings support the Native American and Eclectic use of passionflower as a wound treatment.


St. John’s wort

Hypericin and other antibiotic and anti-inflammatory compounds in the herb’s red oil help prevent infection and speed healing. A German study showed that compared with conventional treatment, a St. John’s wort ointment (not available in the United States) substantially reduced the healing time of burns—with less scarring. Commission E approves topical application of St. John’s wort preparations for treatment of minor wounds and burns.


Witch hazel

German researchers gave 30 people with sunburn one of three treatments: a medically inactive placebo cream, a skin cream containing aloe gel and vitamin E (both recommended for skin problems), or a lotion containing 10 percent witch hazel distillate. Participants applied their treatments three times over 48 hours. Although differences in redness were not clearly visible to the naked eye, they were to an instrument called a chromameter—and the witch hazel lotion reduced redness best.

Another German study compared witch hazel with a chamomile preparation and hydrocortisone, an over-the-counter anti- inflammatory drug, in 24 people with sunburn. The hydrocortisone worked best, but witch hazel was almost as effective and “clearly superior” to the chamomile lotion.



Yarrow contains many compounds that support its traditional use as a wound treatment. Two of them, achilletin and achilleine, spur blood coagulation. Several more—azulene, camphor, chamazulene, eugenol, menthol, quercetin, rutin, and salicylic acid—have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving action. Several others—tannins, terpeniol, and cineol—are antiseptic.

The Power of Tumeric

If you have inflammation, turmeric could become your most delicious, healing friend. The healing power of turmeric is much in the news these days – for good reason because it cooking with it is an easy, healthy way to reduce inflammation and improve your overall health. There are many ways to enjoy turmeric beyond eating more curry.


The Standard American Diet (SAD) is largely a diet of inflammatory foods. Eating refined carbohydrates such as white flour, white potatoes; sugar; alcohol; gluten and casein (found in most hard cheeses); additives and preservatives – create inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation becomes allergies, Alzheimer’s disease, anemia, arthritis – and that’s just some of the As!


As it lowers your body’s inflammation, turmeric helps and is connected with:

Cancer Prevention, Protects Cardiovascular System, Improves Liver function, Lowers (bad) cholesterol, Prevents Alzheimer’s Disease. Reduced symptoms of Flatulence, Hemorrhage, Toothache, Bruises, Colic, Chest pain, jaundice, menstrual difficulties, to name just a few.


There are many ways to lower inflammation in your body; the most obvious one is to stop eating inflammatory foods. While you work on that, turmeric can help you reduce inflammation acutely (e.g. in the case of hangover or a sprain) and is a delicious, healthy addition to your diet to bring down chronic inflammation systemically.


Recent research is showing that traditional preparation methods – combining turmeric with other spices, fat, and heat – increases the bio-availability of the curcumin and other healthful properties.


Turmeric is native to Indonesia and southern India, where it has been harvested for more than 5,000 years. It has a peppery, warm and bitter flavor and a mild fragrance slightly reminiscent of orange and ginger, and while it is best known as one of the ingredients used to make curry, it also gives ballpark mustard its bright yellow color.


Turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant and has a tough brown skin and a deep orange flesh. Turmeric has long been used as a powerful anti-inflammatory in both the Chinese and Indian systems of medicine. Turmeric was traditionally called “Indian saffron” because of its deep yellow-orange color and has been used throughout history as a condiment, healing remedy and textile dye. Try this Ginger Turmeric Lemonade recipe and look for other ways to add turmeric to your food.


Basic Ginger Turmeric Lemonade        

1 quart water  (+ 1/2 cup for evaporation)
1 teaspoon Turmeric powder or 3 inches of fresh root, peeled, diced and pressed*
1 teaspoon Ginger powder or 2 inches of fresh root, peeled, diced and pressed*
Juice of 1 fresh lemons or 2 fresh limes
10-20 drops of dark stevia liquid, to taste (or other sweetener)


1.    Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan on the stove. Add the ginger and turmeric and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes.
2.    Remove pot from the stove and strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer to remove solid particles.
3.    Add sweetener and lemon juice to taste. Note: Do not use white sugar as that increases inflammation.
4.    Drink warm or chilled.


This lovely buttery orange-colored drink is both warming and stimulating so is probably best taken earlier in the day.

Get Your Grill Ready

Well after a long and snowy winter, it looks like we are finally rounding the corner toward the welcome sunshine and longer days of spring. And if you are anything like me, you’ve started thinking of all the smokey, delicious concoctions soon to be created on the family grill. But, whether you are the occasional weekend BBQ warrior or neighborhood grill master, there are a few things you need to do after a long winters rest to ready your grill for another season of backyard barbecue bragging rights.


Here are my top five tips to get that grill safely fired up.


1. Lets gather a few cleaning supplies.


It’s always a good idea to give your grill a good scrub after a long, lonely winter stored in the deep, dark recesses of your garage or barn. You’ll need the following supplies to help start your season off right. Remember, a clean grill is a happy grill. You’ll need a good wire brush, a small bucket for hot water, some distilled vinegar, replacement grease cups, organic all purpose cleaner, a couple of wooded skewers some vegetable oil, and an old towel.


2. Time to roll up your sleeves.


Luckily, for those purists that use the old school charcoal grills, they are the easiest and fastest to clean up and get ready for the season. Simply remove the grill and charcoal basket and dump any remaining ashes from last season. Fill your bucket with a good gallon of hot water and one cup of distilled vinegar.


Now grab that wire brush and start scrubbing. Really get in there and scrub as much gunk and rust out of there as you can. Once you’ve finished the dirty work, give the grill and coal basket a good scrubbing. After all of the hard stuff is done, it’s easiest and fastest to hook up the garden hose and spray the grill down inside and out. Once all dried, you need to season the grill and coal basket. Simply put a bit of vegetable oil on that old towel and rub down the grill and coal basket. Once that is done, put your BBQ back together and you are ready for a summer of smokey creations.


Propane grills are a bit more complicated to clean and maintain, but well worth the bit of extra effort.  Lets start with the burners. It’s easiest to detach and remove the burners from the grill for a thorough cleaning. Using your brush and hot water/vinegar solution give the burners a really good scrubbing. Once cleaned, check all the burner ports, making sure they are all open. If some are blocked, simply use those wooden skewers and shove all the gunk out of the ports.


Next, clean the cooking grills and sear plates with your wire brush and hot water/vinegar solution. Then, just like the charcoal grills, brush the sear plates and grill with a bit of vegetable oil to re-season them. The hot water vinegar solution will work wonders removing any grease and gunk off the inside base and sides of the grill. For those fancy porcelain grills, a thorough cleaning with some organic all purpose cleaner will do the trick.


Lastly, remove and replace last seasons drip pan. Trust me, to avoid a good greasy mess on our deck or patio, you don’t want to forget this.


3. Inspect all hoses and feed tubes


Once the dirty work is done, it is a very, very good idea to inspect all hoses and feed tubes on your grill. Look for any cracks, crimps, scratches or punctures, if you notice any of these at all, it’s in your best interest to replace the hoses in order to avoid any large unplanned fireballs in the backyard this year  .


4. Check the ignition parts


Now that your grill is clean and safe, it’s time to see it lights. For battery powered ignitions, simply switch last years batteries out for new ones. For the old push button electrodes check the leads and make sure the tips of the electrodes are clean, shiny and rust free. If they do,  you can Just brush them with a bit of fine sandpaper to shine them up.


5. The final step


Now that your charcoal or propane grill is all clean and ready for the next best BBQ season, you are ready for the final and perhaps most important step of all. Come visit Winter Ridge Natural Foods Meat Department for all your summer barbeque needs like some beautiful grass finished beef rib eyes from 7B ranch or Arcadia farms heritage breed pork chops, cooking tips and more.


For a great start to your BBQ season, here is one of my favorite grilling marinades or condiments of all time.



Argentinian Chimichurri

Makes about two cups.



1/2 cup minced yellow onion

1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

1 teaspoon finely grated or minced garlic

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup red wine vinegar



In a medium bowl or jar, combine onion, parsley, oregano, garlic, salt, black pepper, and red pepper. Add the oil and vinegar and mix or shake well. Store covered for a couple of days and use before the herbs start to turn brown.

Marinate beef, chicken, pork or fish in half of mixture for two to four hours. Grill to desired doneness. Use remaining mixture as a condiment or dipping sauce. Enjoy!


Got The Dry Skin Blues?

For many people, just coming out of a long winter and heading into spring brings more than just a rosy glow to the cheeks. Reduced humidity in our homes combined with the colder temperatures of winter wreaks havoc on our skin. For some people, the problem is worse than just a general tight, dry feeling: They get skin so dry it results in flaking, cracking, even eczema.


I avoid any product containing petrolatum or mineral oils due to their carcinogenic potential. Mineral oil is also comedogenic, meaning it blocks your pores and your skin’s natural respiration process, which can lead to blackheads and pimples. It’s important to remember that your skin is the largest organ of your body, and nearly everything you put on it is readily absorbed. Therefore, NOT slathering anything on your skin that you wouldn’t consider eating is a great way to think about it. I firmly believe you need to approach topical skin care as you approach your diet, and only feed your skin the best ingredients from nature, forgoing toxic chemicals at all costs.


Previous research has shown that women absorb an estimated five pounds of chemicals a year just from the makeup they use!


The following are two effective remedies against dry, itchy winter skin:

•Getting sufficient amounts of animal-based omega-3 fats in your diet, and

•Using coconut oil to moisturize your skin


And of course we can’t forget about drinking water to stay hydrated!!


Omega 3’s – Your skin is an outer reflection of your insides, so your diet is a potent ally against most skin problems. When it comes to dry, flaky skin, animal-based omega-3 fat, such as fish oil, can play a very important role. Besides drinking plenty of water, it may be one of the best ways to hydrate your skin from the inside out. In fact, one reliable way to evaluate your omega-3 status is to take a close look at your hands. If they’re smooth and soft, you’re probably getting enough omega-3 fat in your diet. If they’re not, or if other areas of your skin are dry, flaking or cracked, there is a good chance you need to increase your omega-3 intake.


Fermented Vegetables – Many don’t realize this, but the health and quality of your skin is strongly linked to the health of your gut. Fermented vegetables are ideal for promoting the growth of beneficial intestinal bacteria. Signals from these gut microorganisms are sent throughout your body—they even interact with organisms in your skin. Researchers are now looking into how these interactions can help with a wide variety of skin conditions, including dryness and poor collagen production. Normalizing your gut microflora has been shown to help against skin irritations and chronic skin problems like eczema and psoriasis.


Avoiding sugars – Avoiding sucrose, fructose, most grains, and processed foods: This is perhaps the most important step you can take to improve your overall skin health regardless of the season. If you eliminate all sugars, and processed foods  from your diet for a few weeks there you would likely notice rapid improvement in your complexion.


Coconut Oil – For all its internal health benefits, pure coconut oil is also a wonderful all-natural “anti-aging” moisturizer when applied topically. When absorbed into your skin and connective tissues, coconut oil helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by helping to keep your connective tissues strong and supple. It also helps exfoliate the outer layer of dead skin cells, making your skin smoother. Besides that, coconut oil also has potent antimicrobial activity. About 50 percent of the fat in coconut oil is lauric acid; your body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-protozoa properties. Capric acid, another coconut fatty acid present in smaller amounts, also has antimicrobial activity. Slather it on, it’s good for you.


A 4-Step Shower Routine for Tackling Dry Skin – Removing excess skin flaking can help reveal more glowing skin underneath. The following routine can help you accomplish that without harsh chemicals:

1. Dry brush your skin prior to getting in the shower by using a dry body brush. This will help get rid of loose flaky skin. Always brush toward your heart area.

2. Avoid using soap or use the least amount possible as that will tend to worsen your dry skin.  Instead, apply a natural body scrub to exfoliate your skin. Be sure to choose one that contains oils to moisturize.

3. Hot showers can worsen dry skin, so if you are feeling brave, take the coldest shower you can tolerate.

4. After your shower, apply a heavy natural body butter or natural moisturizing oil (not mineral oil or baby oil) to help seal in moisture. As mentioned earlier, organic coconut oil is an ideal choice.


Last but not least-


Stay Hydrated!!  Most people remember to stay hydrated during the summer, as the heat makes you sweat and develop a thirst. But reduced humidity and cold weather tends to suck the moisture right out of your skin, so you still need to make sure you’re staying well hydrated, even though you’re not sweating. As mentioned earlier, optimizing your omega-3 level is one of the best ways to moisturize your skin from the inside out. But you also need to drink clean pure water and lots of it.


In Good Health

Kim-Haba Manager

Black Magic: The Many Benefits of Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal, what is it? Why do we see it everywhere from hospitals to ingredients in beauty products?   Activated charcoal powder is basically carbon, the stuff pretty much any living thing is made of.  The carbon is “activated” by heating it so it expands and becomes insanely porous, maxing out its surface area.  It’s been around for thousands of years, it was even used by Hippocrates and Pliny in their day.


So what are some of its many and varied uses?


Activated charcoal is often used to help treat a drug overdose or a poisoning in the emergency room of hospitals and veterinary clinics everywhere.  It’s especially effective in the case of alcohol poisoning and can be beneficial for hangovers. Here’s how it works; it is 100% alkaline and is spinning with electrons making it highly electrical. Its’ negative ionic charge attracts positive ionic charges (of the toxins and poisons) causing them to bind and then escorts them out of the body via the eliminative channel of the intestines.


HELPS ALLEVIATE GAS AND BLOATING:  It works by binding the gas-causing byproducts in foods that cause discomfort. A study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that activated charcoal prevents intestinal gas following a typical gas-producing meal.  Dosing recommendations to alleviate gas and bloating: Take 500 milligrams one hour prior to a typical gas-producing meal, with a full glass of water. Follow with an additional glass of water immediately thereafter to help get the charcoal into your system, where it can bind with gas-producing elements.


DETOXIFICATION:  Toxins from low quality, processed food, and environmental pollution are real problems. It is important to help your body eliminate them to promote a healthy digestive system and brain. Chronic exposure to toxins produces cellular damage, allergic reactions, compromised immunity, and more rapid aging. Use of activated charcoal can remove unwanted toxins from your body, leaving you feeling renewed and more vibrant. Gut toxins quickly become brain toxins if not eliminated. Whether or not you are feeling under the weather, activated charcoal helps unwanted bacteria move through your system faster before they spread and multiply, helping you feel better faster.


BITES:   Activated charcoal uses extend beyond internal applications. For external treatments, it’s effective at treating and relieving discomfort from insect bites, rashes, poison ivy and even snake bites. Luckily we don’t have to worry too much about snake bites here in North Idaho. After a mosquito bite or bee sting (which we have lots of), mix one capsule of activated charcoal with ½ tablespoon of coconut oil, and dab on affected area. Reapply every 30 minutes until itching and discomfort are gone.


SKIN:  Because activated charcoal draws bacteria, poisons, chemicals, dirt and other micro-particles from the surface of skin, it can help you to achieve beautiful skin and fight acne. Activated charcoal powder is proven to adsorb thousands of times its own mass in harmful substances, which makes it a popular ingredient in facial masks.


Mix 0.2 grams powdered activated charcoal, ½ teaspoon of bentonite clay and 1 ½ teaspoons of water together, and apply to the surface of skin. Remove from skin after 10 minutes with a dampened cloth for smooth skin free of impurities.


Whitens Teeth:   Activated charcoal’s natural adhesive qualities let it bind with surface-staining culprits, like coffee, tea, wine, and plaque and take them off your teeth. The research I’ve done on AC (activated charcoal) showed that it can actually be helpful in changing the pH and health of the mouth. For this reason, I now use it as part of my personal protocol. I use an amazing new product we have on the shelf called My Magic Mud, a combination of activated charcoal and bentonite clay. My teeth feel really clean after using. I love it and think you will too!


Use with caution internally:

  1. Never take activated charcoal with prescription medications!
  2. Excessive charcoal consumption, especially without magnesium and extra water consumption can result in constipation.
  3. When charcoal is formed, it concentrates toxic heavy metals, which you don’t want to put into your body. Therefore, be mindful of the sourcing of your choice of charcoal – is it derived from a food based source such as coconut (my favorite) or is it an unidentified source, which is usually petroleum based. (I personally stay away from these).


And last but not least, if you use activated charcoal internally it can stain your poop black, which can be surprising, so I wanted you to be aware of that possibility. Also, please be sure to drink at least 12 glasses of water a day as it can cause constipation.


If you are using it on your teeth or face, remember it will stain clothes, but cleans right off your sink (and teeth) no problem!


I hope you’ll join me in discovering the amazing benefits of activated charcoal!


In Good Health


Haba/Merc Manager

Your Monthly Deli And Bakery Update!

Welcome to 2017 everyone! It feels good to start a new year with fresh ideas and renewed intentions in our food production departments. We’ve got some exciting things planned for you. Here is a snippet of what we are doing this month.


Behind the scenes in the kitchen, we have been working on streamlining a lot of our vegetable prep processes to make it easier for our deli employees to prepare you fresh food made from scratch every day. We have also been working on ironing out some technical difficulties we’ve been having with our labeling system. If you have noticed that some of our items are missing ingredients on the label, please rest assured that this is temporary and we will have all our items properly labeled very soon. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to ask a deli employee if you have questions or concerns about the ingredients in our food.


New items available right now include…


Bacon bangers in our breakfast hot bar every morning. These are a spin on a traditional English breakfast sausage made with pork and bacon, seasoned with thyme, sage, nutmeg, and marjoram. Personally, I am obsessed with them and probably need to pump the brakes on my consumption before I become a sausage myself! If you enjoy them as much as I do, you can also find them for sale in our meat department where they are made fresh just for you.


Also debuting this month, Sunday brunch! Every Sunday, we will be filling or hot bar with delicious brunch food all day. You will find all the classics – hash browns, eggs, home fries, bacon bangers (of course), and brunch strata to name a few. What is brunch strata you ask? Brunch strata is essentially a delicious breakfast casserole made by soaking crusty bread, veggies, and cheese in a creamy egg mixture overnight before baking it into a satisfying breakfast dish.


Bone broth will be making its appearance soon in our juice and coffee bar! Bone broth is very hip right now in the foody community and has been praised by many for its numerous healing benefits. We will be offering our house made chicken bone broth by the cup for your sipping pleasure. Order a cup next time you’re in the store! lentil brownies2


New things to look for from our bakery department include nut butter “fudge”, gluten free AND vegan lentil brownies, as well as a few more weekly bread offerings.


The nut butter fudge and lentil brownies are both so delicious, easy on allergens, and packed with protein. Our nut butter fudge has only a few simple ingredients and is pretty close to paleo depending on how you feel about peanut butter. The lentil brownies are my own creation and are completely flour-less. They have a base of mashed lentils and soy yogurt with a little hit of espresso, topped with a swipe of vegan fudge frosting. YUM!


See you soon!