Category Archives: Uncategorized

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Organic Indian Chickpea Poppers

Organic Indian Chickpea Poppers

This is a delicious and healthy snack idea, one the whole family will be sure to enjoy!

You’ll need:
(1) 15oz can of organic chickpeas
Olive Oil
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp garam masala

Begin by draining your chickpeas and patting them dry with a paper towel. Then, preheat your oven to 400F. Place your dry chickpeas on a foil-lined baking sheet and drizzle them with olive oil. Using your 3 indian spice blend, lightly dust the chickpeas and place them in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the chickpeas, allow to cool and serve. These make a great, healthy snack!

Emerging Opportunities in Morocco

February marked the first time High Quality Organics visited Morocco. From the vast changes in scenery – harsh dessert to lush plains – to the diverse cultural experiences – almost ancient-like villages to modern-day cities – the visit to Morocco gave us great insight on unique organic partnerships this country has to offer.

Morocco Map_WordAtlas.com

Morocco is a country on the northwest coast of Africa.  It’s agriculture industry employs approximately 40% of the population and accounts for 15% of GDP. Most of their and trade is with Europe but they receive a good amount of agriculture imports from the U.S. Because of Morocco’s fairly temperate climate, the country is able to produce a wide variety of agriculture products from wheat and barley to olives and oranges.

We sought out Morocco because of the new relationships we’ve been fostering with some innovative organic farmers. We wanted to meet them in person and learn more about their family and farm. Below are some highlights from the trip. We hope you enjoy!

Wild Herb Collection

The first part of our trip was dedicated to driving five hours east of Casablanca, to the Atlas Mountains where over 50,000 acres of wild rosemary grows at 3,200 feet.

The area is owned by the government and closely monitored by the Ministry of Agriculture to ensure it remains a sustainable and economic resource for the local villages.

The land is divided into parcels and local families bid to collect rosemary on the plot for three years.  The plots are then divided into three sections and collection can only occur on one section per year.

Each permit holder is not only expected to harvest the rosemary sustainably (leaving at least five centimeters of the plant and only collecting 15kg of product per week) but also maintain a portion of the road that gives access to the wild rosemary crop.

The rosemary is collected by hand from May through September daily.  At the end of the week, the family uses donkeys to transport the material to a collection center where they are paid.

Approximately 50% of the local families’ income comes from the collection of seasonal herbs and the remaining comes from raising animals such as sheep and goats.

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Organic Farming in Morocco

The second part of our trip was dedicated to meeting with a farmer, Santis, who grows a wide variety of products on 40 acres of cultivated fields leased by the Moroccan government for 40 years.  Santis is a second-generation farmer with a great passion for sustainability and innovation.

Our first stop was to his onion fields where he showed us a very practical way he stores onions.  Instead of using up precious warehouse space, the farmers in Morocco build these onion caves: essentially a man-made ditch using rock walls and a straw roof and then covered in plastic.  We were skeptical at first but after closer inspection, they clearly keep the onion in excellent condition.

Then it was on to the hot pepper and peppermint fields and greenhouses where you can see some of the bitter orange plants they grow.

Throughout our visit we witness the considerable investment Santis has made into an underground irrigation system. It always amazes us to see the sophistication and genius our growers put into their operation. With our focus on long-term contracting, they’re able to dedicate resources into significant capital investments that end up providing more consistent, high quality product for our customers. It’s a partnership we’re proud to be part of.

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Five Learnings from BioFach 2013

HQO’s VP of Supply Chain, Toby Eck, and Senior Buyer, Just Gates, traveled to BioFach last month to meet with suppliers and gather insight on global organic trends.  BioFach is one of the largest global events dedicated to the organic … Continue reading

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The Faces of Thanksgiving

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It is said that the greatest of virtues is gratitude. At HQO, we believe this to be true and thank each and every one of our customers, employees, partners and family farmers for the blessings they bestow upon us daily. … Continue reading

The Shake Down on Sodium Reduction

Sounding the Alarm

The initiative to reduce salt consumption in the American diet isn’t breaking news.  In fact, it’s been a public health priority for decades.  In 1982 the Food and Drug Administrations Dietary Sodium Initiative encouraged the food industry to voluntarily reduce sodium levels. Yet, the opposite occurred. In 2000, men were consuming 48% more salt than they did in the early 1970s and women were consuming 69% more.

Approximately 90% of Americans eat more sodium than is recommended, putting them at increased risk of blood pressure, often a precursor to heart disease, the leading cause of death in the U.S., and stroke.

Over-indulging in sodium is not specific to any particular age group either.  Between 2003 and 2008 the Center for Disease Control conducted a national health survey of 6, 200 U.S. children between the ages of 8-18. The results were alarming.  Most children were consuming an extra 1,000 mg of salt per day than their diets required and 15% were showing signs of elevated or high blood pressure.

 

Chart from the Center for Disease Control

And where is everyone getting so much salt? The answer has been pounded into our heads: packaged foods.  Approximately 65% of sodium consumed is from prepackaged foods and 25% from foodservice.  A minor amount of sodium, only about 5%, comes from the salt we add to food at the table.

Salt Solutions

There’s no easy solution for salt reduction, it’s a major component in flavor enhancement. And consumers are catching on.  According to Mintel, there’s been a 5% reduction in “reduced sodium” label claims from 2010 to 2011.  Many attribute it to the fact that consumers equate low sodium to lack flavor.

So the big question is, how do we keep the flavor without the salt? High Quality Organics has put our decades of herb and spice experience to work in developing an extensive line of flavorful blends to help you reduce sodium content levels.

Introducing No Salt Blends by HQO

No Salt Blend:  A true all-purpose topical blend that enhances any dish. A versatile blend of balanced herbs and a mild spicy finish.

No Salt BBQ Blend:  A beautiful balance of sweet and spicy with a hint of onion and garlic, this rub would be perfect for any dark meat.

No Salt Garlic Blend:  For the garlic lover! A flavorful blend of citrus, herb and garlic make this a perfect topper for roasted vegetables.

No Salt Seafood Blend: A delicate blend of citrus and herbs make this a favorite application for any fish.

No Salt Spicy Blend:  For those looking for a little more of a kick, this blend marries wonderfully in soups, stews and slow cooker meals.

For more information on our No Salt blends or to order, contact your  current sales manager or email us at info@hqorganics.com.

Sources: Center for Disease Control, FoodProcessing.com, FoodProductDesign.com.

Maria Rodale explains the dangers and implications of pesticide-laden farming

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In this piece by Maria Rodale, she explains how non-organic farming can taint one of our most valuable resources…water.

HQO Weekly News Roundup September 19, 2012

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Health:

Ginger: a health and wellness ingredient. Euro Monitor International reports on the many health benefits of ginger and how to unlock its many powers.

The United States still has the highest meat consumption, but Food Navigator reports that its meat consumption is declining… and for surprising reasons.

You may have read Stanford’s recent study “organic is not better than conventional”, but Jody Mason from New Hope 360 argues to the contrary and in this article, and explains exactly why.

 

Organic Business:

The recent merger between Sprouts Farmers Market and Sunflower Markets will make Sprouts one of the fastest growing retailers in the United States.

In a interesting twist, could organic companies be against the labeling of GMOs? Kimi Harris blogs in Mother Nature Network that many organic companies are owned by large corporations, and some of their profits may be used to fight against Prop 37.

The lip balm that we have all come to know and love, Burt’s Bees Wax, has launched an organic mom and baby lifestyle brand.  In a recent article with New Hope 360, president, Maria Asker, explains why the company has the potential  to make organic lifestyle products.