Organic Marin

The September issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition will publish a widely distributed study that contradicts previous research pointing to health benefits of organic over conventional. The release of the study findings made headlines across major news sources such as CNN and UK news outlets like The Independent and Daily Mail. So, is organic really not any better for you?

The debate continues, and there are more studies showing organic produce has more nutritional values.Β  There is also some interesting research that shows the variety, or cultivar, makes more difference than organic versus conventional, giving heirloom and pre-industrial agriculture varieties a nutritional advantage. Additionally, buying fully-ripened local produce can also be better for you. In the end, organic is less about nutrition than it is about the absence of pesticides and chemicals and sustainable methods.

Organic Marin, a cookbook, celebrates exactly those sustainable methods and the farmers and restaurants of Marin County who are stewards of the land. The subtitle of the book reads, “From Land to Table,” and the recipes reflect a simple approach that keeps the fresh flavors of the produce central to the dishes.

Recipes are organized by season and include items like Gnocchi with Morels and Peas for spring, Pan-roasted Salmon with Tomatoes and Corn for summer, Grilled Fig and Mache Salad for fall, and Carrot Flan with Peppercress and Mustard Vinaigrette.

The photos in the book, however, caught my interest as much as the recipes. Throughout the book, there are images of the farms, farmers and land where the ingredients are sourced. The recipe photos are appetizing, but the open land and faces of the people who care for that earth give the book something more than just a regular listing of recipes and glory shot of cake. As an added bonus, proceeds from the book support Marin Organic’s school lunch program that brings local food to 12,000 school lunches a week.

Organic Marin
by Tim Porter and Farina Wong Kingsley
Produced by Marin Magazine
Andrews McMeel Publishing

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