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Is it Organic? Or not?

Certified Organic:  These products have been grown, processed, and handled in compliance with the standards of a recognized Certification Agency.  Inspection is done on a yearly basis to assure compliance.  Anyone claiming to be certified organic will have a certificate you can see if asked.  Do ask!

Organic:  Growers producing less than 5,000.00 worth of products each year may use the term organic, IF they follow the rules of a recognized certification agency and keep records to that effect.  No one inspects them, and you have to decide for yourself it the grower is producing what you are looking for.  Visit the farm.  Know what to ask. True organic farmers have nothing to hide.

No Spray, Low Spray:  This does not mean organic.  Pesticides are applied by other methods than spraying.  Low is relative.  A little bit of herbicide will kill will kill every plant on an acre of ground.  Ask questions.  Chemical Free, Pesticide Free:  Even Certified Organic products can contain traces of chemicals and pesticides due to their persistence in our environment.  That's why we have to stop using them.

Natural:  This term has been overused to the point where it is now almost meaningless, unless you are in a position to question the user as to what they mean by it… and you know the right questions to ask.  Wild crafted:  Another good opportunity to ask questions.  From where did it come?  Was it picked along a highway or from state land?  Does the county spray for mosquitoes or brush in the area?  Was it picked from a drainage ditch in a heavily chemically farmed area?  Maybe it came from a pristine area, maybe not.

Free Range:  These animals actually run free and loose, and are able to eat a wide variety of things like green plants and insects from a green LIVING pasture.  Pastured:  Animals live in a fenced in area with living green plants.  Chickens may be fenced in portable pens with open bottoms that are moved as needed.  Obviously neither of these methods works in Michigan in the wintertime, and allowances are made.  Outdoor Access:  Means what?  Can they go outside in fresh air and sunshine in a porch or small area of hard packed dirt or concrete?  Summer, winter, both?  Again, Ask questions!

Amish:  This product was grown by people belonging to an Amish sect.  It does not describe a particular farming method or imply it is organic.  You will need to ask them personally what methods they use to produce their products.

Local:  Buying local is a good way to buy fresh food, to support local farmers, and to keep food dollars circulating in the local economy.  Supporting local organic production protects our environment and groundwater, not California's of China's.  Ask where the product was grown or produced.  The seller's idea of local may differ from yours.  Get involved in your food choices. 

Email questions and comments to Rfharper@aol.com

Robb Harper

6/5/2009 - Spring Harvest Asparagus Pasta Salad
Recipe of the Month

4/17/2009 - Good News Comes To Southeastern Michigan
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan ”A new kind of hero is receiving recognition this week in Southeastern Michigan. These heroes grow our food, feed our families and strengthen our communities. They are the 2009 Local Hero Award Winners sponsored by edibleWOW magazine.

3/1/2009 - Food Of The Week: Brussel Sprouts
It's no surprise that Brussel sprouts look like perfect miniature versions of cabbage since they are closely related, both belong to the Brassica family of vegetables. Brussels sprouts are available year round; however, they are at their best from autumn through early spring when they are at the peak of their growing season.

2/16/2009 - Food Of The Week : Cauliflower
The milk, sweet, almost nutty flavor of cauliflower is at its best from December through March when it is in season and most plentiful in your local markets.

2/11/2009 - Ann Arbor Business To Create Delicious Gifts
What could be better than receiving a gift basket overflowing with fresh-baked brownies, cookies and handmade gourmet chocolates?

1/27/2009 - You Need To Know About Acai Berry And Monavie
The recommended daily serving of four ounces of MonaVie provides antioxidant levels equivalent to approximately 13 servings of fruits and vegetables. “Even if you don't feel any different, you know you are helping your body to function better through improved nutrition" says Don.

1/27/2009 - Coffee Bar With A Focus On Healthy Alternatives
The folks at the Mercury Coffee Bar recognize that things are beginning to change for the better in the city of Detroit.

1/26/2009 - Introducing Food Of The Week - We Start With Kale
The beautiful leaves of the kale plant provide an earthy flavor and more nutritional value for fewer calories than almost any other food around. Although it can be found in markets throughout the year, it is in season from the middle of winter through the beginning of spring when it has a sweeter taste and is more widely available.

12/1/2008 - Bizzy Lizzy And Flourless Cookies = Happiness
Sheila Rae, owner and developer of this unique flourless cookies said, “I personally fell in love with cookies as a child in household where my mother could bake anything to perfection. Cookies are just one of her specialties from the rich delicate Christmas Cookie to Aunt Sally's Molasses Dreams".

10/10/2008 - Cheescakes Arrive In Ypsilanti
Downtown Ypsilanti, already known for its wonderful historic buildings and charm, has just added another gem to its collection of businesses, restaurants and cafes: Old World Bakery. Located at 40 North Huron, owner and EMU graduate Tim Edinger moved into this location in mid May and first opened his doors to retail customers June 21st.

9/17/2008 - 10 Great Health Foods for Eating Well
Robb Harper, Food Editor Detroit Independent

9/11/2008 - 10 Reasons to Buy Local Food
Our Food Editor Explains the Reasons to Shop Locally

4/24/2008 - MGM Grand Restaurants
Take a Break from the Blackjac

1/21/2008 - The Dairy In Your Backyard
a visit to Calder Dairy Farm, resting in the bucolic countryside of northern Monroe County, will surely bring about a new layer of pleasure and appreciation for every dollop of cream or pat of butter on your plate.


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