As we move into fresh produce season, it's always important to shop local. And the good news is we have a local farm just north of town (for those in Springfield, Missouri) where we can purchase lots of delicious, local produce. The Gradinariu family works this farm, one of the family members interned with Bright Sky Nutrition.
Nely Gradinariu worked with Donna for several weeks in the fall of 2018 as she was preparing to become a dietitian. We were mutually blessed as we shared information and expanded our knowledge of food and nutrition. Thank you, Nely, for sharing your story and educating us on organic versus non-organic foods, pesticides, and keeping the community safe. —Donna
I was born in eastern Europe (Romania), the third of ten children. My family immigrated to the United States in 1990, because Romania was a Communist country at that time. I was raised in southern California and have lived in Missouri since 2004. For the first ten years we lived in Missouri, we raised turkeys for Cargill Turkey Production. In 2013, we became the owners of Gardener's Orchard and Bakery in Brighton, Missouri.
For those who knew the farm, Gardener's Orchard and Bakery was previously called Plaster's Orchard. We expanded the orchard by planting a few hundred apple trees and blueberry bushes. We have plans to expand even more. In fact, the orchard provides a variety of apples and peaches during their seasons.
The apple varieties we produce include Red Delicious, Gala, Golden Delicious, Sun Crisp, Fuji, Grimes Golden, Granny Smith, Early Blaze, Braeburn, Arkansas Black, Rome, Jonathan, and Cameo.
Our peach varieties include Redhaven, Cresthaven, Julyprince, Rubyprince, Harvester, Blazeprince, Loring, Contender, Augustprince, O'Henry, Sweet Sue, Big Red, Autumnprince, China Pearl, and Gala.
Inside the Bakery
In 2015, one of my younger sisters (Aurora) graduated from Ozarks Technical College with her Culinary Arts degree and opened a bakery. Aurora specializes in making breads and baked goods, including croissants, danishes, and turnovers. And she uses dough made from scratch using real butter, the fewest ingredients (no preservatives here!), and using our in-seasonal, fresh produce.
Gardener's Orchard is a great place to visit if you're looking for raw honey, herbs and spices, homemade apple or peach butter, jams, jellies, freshly pressed apple cider, fresh baked goods, and (of course) fresh produce.
Pesticides at the Orchard
The team at Gardner's Orchard works hard to provide high-quality produce. In doing so, we have to use some pesticides to protect the trees and fruits from worms, buts, and fungus that could potentially destroy the whole crop.
We are very careful to follow guidelines provided by the government and allow plenty of time for the pesticides to die off before we wash the produce to sell to our customers.
We encourage our customers to eat fruits and vegetables; they provide a great source of fiber and a variety of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals our body needs to reach optimal health.
But we also don't ensure we don't consume unnecessary chemicals. Experts say that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables far outweigh the risk of consuming pesticide residue.
How can I remove pesticides from my fruits and vegetables?
I've compiled a list of home remedies to help you get rid of some of the pesticide residue remaining on fruits and vegetables. (Sourced from the article, The Dirty Dozen, on Healthline.) Using any of these practices can significantly reduce pesticide residue on fresh produce.
- Scrub with cold water. Rinsing fruit and vegetables in cold water while scrubbing them with a soft brush can remove some pesticide residue.
- Use baking soda and water. A study found that washing apples with a one-percent baking-soda-and-water mixture was more effective in removing pesticide residue than tap water alone.
- Peel fruits and vegetables. Removing the skin of fruits and vegetables can significantly reduce dietary intake of pesticide residues.
- Blanch. In one study, blanching produce (exposing it to boiling, then cold water) led to a more than 50 percent reduction in pesticide-residue levels in all vegetable and fruit samples, except peaches.
- Boil. Another study found that boiling strawberries significantly decreased pesticide residues with reductions of 42.8 – 92.9 percent.
- Rinse with ozonated water. Ozonated water has been found to be particularly effective in removing pesticides from food.
I hope you find these tips useful. If you are in the Springfield, Missouri, area and are looking for an alternative place to buy fresh produce (and have a fun time doing it!), Gardener's Orchard and Bakery provides farm tours and a great place to picnic with your family. Follow us on Facebook for updates on what produce is ready for you to pick and which farmer's markets we attend. Want to see the farm before you come? We were featured on KOLR 10 News!