Posts Tagged ‘athomeorganicfarms’

Is Your Produce Genetically Modified?

These apples have PLU stickers with the number...

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Have you ever stopped to wonder what those stickers on all the fruits and veggies you buy mean?
Until recently I assumed it was the simply a PLU (product look up number) so the cashier can quickly scan the produce.

Turns out there’s a whole lot more info in those tiny little stickers. And understanding what to look for can mean the difference between healthy organic fruits and veggies and genetically modified junk! Here’s what you need to know about

  1. What is it?
    While most of us can tell an apple from an orange, identifying the variety of fruit or vegetable in your hands can be a little trickier.  With nearly 2,000 varities out there it’s sometimes helpful to know you’re holding a Fuji Apple versus a Pink Lady.  The sticker will often list the variety of fruit or vegetable so you don’t have to guess.
  2. Where is your food from? 
    The sticker will usually tell you where the produce is from. If the produce is Canadian or American it will list the country or the province/state. If from outside North America it will simply list the country. Knowing where your food is from not only helps you support local agriculture but helps you pick from fresher options when produce is in season.
  3. How is your food grown? 
    How your produce is grown is displayed right on the sticker as well.  The 4 or 5 digit code will tell you if the food you’re about to eat is grown conventionally (i.e. with chemicals or fertilizers) organically, or genetically modified (how did this make it past the FDA anyway).  Here’s how to read the label:
    • 4 – digits codes: ranging from 3000 to 4961, represent your average run-of-the-mill conventionally grown food.  These are not organic or have not been certified organic (some small farms may not have the capacity or capital to get certified but may in fact grown chemical and pesticide free food)
    • 5 – digit codes beginning with 9:  This sequence is reserved for organically grown produce.  For example a banana may carry PLU4011, whereas an organically grown banana of the same variety would be labelled PLU 94011. Where ever possible, this is what I look for when filling my grocery basket
    • 5 – digit codes beginning with 8:  This sequence represent food that has been genetically modified or genetically engineered.  In other words, it’s a lab experiment.  I avoid these at pretty much all costs.

If you’re interested in what PLU stands for which fruits and veggies there’s a handy resource at

If you’d rather take back control of the fruits and veggies you eat may we be so bold as to suggest growing your own? Our backyard harvest is sticker free.

Was this post helpful? Will it help you the next time you go to the market?

Eat drink and be merry.

The At Home Organic


Recipe: Yumminess Bread

What’s In It?


What you do with it

  1. Sauté the apples in butter until soft then mash up with a potato masher – leave a little chunky for texture in the bread
  2. Mix up the eggs in a bowl, add the apples mixture and vanilla
  3. In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients – flour, powder, salt, soda
  4. Add the wet to the dry and mix – once combined add the chopped nuts and cranberries
  5. Bake in a loaf pan at 350 until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean


You can substitute any fruit you want – then tell us how it worked out!

I have also substituted whole wheat flour and the results were tasty!

Eat drink and be merry.

The At Home Organic

This Week’s Poll: Fresh, Local or Organic

If you had to choose which produce to eat, what would it be?

Recipe: Pasta Putanesca with Basil

I know that purists will dismiss this as non traditional but my wife isn’t an oregano fan so that’s life I suppose

What’s In It

  • 1L preserved tomatoes OR 796 canned tomatoes (I like the no salt ones)
  • 1 cup chopped black olives
  • 5 anchovies chopped (a light rinse will take some of the saltiness off)
  • Handful of chopped basil
  • 3 tsp capers chopped (a light rinse will take some of the saltiness off here too)
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 clove garlic chopped


What You Do With It

  1. Get a pot on the stove at medium heat with a splash of olive oil – add onions – don’t add salt now because you’re going to be adding 3 more ingredients that are salty
  2. Cook onions for about 10 min – don’t let them burn – you’re looking for a light caramel colour
  3. In the meantime add olives, capers (drained), anchovies (lightly rinsed), basil and garlic to your chopping board and chop until a rough dice
  4. Add to pot with onions
  5. Add tomatoes
  6. Simmer for 15 min and check seasoning (might need some pepper)


A note on cheese: go for it, but be careful, parmesan and grano padano are salty cheeses and they can throw off the flavour. 

Now it’s up to you, the longer you simmer the thicker the sauce will become. 

Cook up your favourite pasta, grab a glass of Chianti and some crusty bread and enjoy.

Eat drink and be merry.

The At Home Organic

6 Reasons to Grow your Own Food

I just read a fantastic post about why you should grow your own food.

Even with all the compelling reasons, many of us are victim to the wonderful world of convenience, and it’s sometimes hard to take the time (or find the time) to garden your own veggies (even if they are fresher, more local and more organic than anything you can buy).

We understand that sometimes you need a little push, or a helping hand and we’d like to be both the push and the hand for you.

At Home Organic Farms operates in Toronto and will build, install and maintain an organic vegetable garden for you, right in your backyard.  Now there is no excuse not to get growing yourself.  Contact us to learn more.

Want to help inspire someone else? Share your story with us.

Eat drink and be merry.

The At Home Organic

Recipe: French Onion Soup

french onion soup



What You Do With It

  1. Half and slice as many onions as it takes to fill your biggest pot, add 2 good pinches of salt and ¼ cup butter.
  2. Roast in 400 degree oven with a lid ½ ajar for about 3 hours – check every hour to make sure nothing is burning – the objective is to evaporate the liquid in the onions, slowly brown them into a fond at the bottom of the pot – don’t burn them – it will ruin the soup.
  3. Once you have a layer of fond or the onions are cooked down and are brownish – it’s time to move to the stove – CAREFUL: the pot is hot!
  4. On medium heat on the stove continue to cook the onions.  Now that you’re on the stove the objective is to get the onions a deep molasses colour – the only way to do that is to slowly cook them down until the onions are stuck to the bottom (the fond) – add 125ml water and loosen up the fond – repeat this stage until the onions are very, very brown – but not burnt – probably about 4 times.
  5. Get a final layer of fond but use the sherry this time and loosen it up so that the bottom of the pan is free from all the stuck on onions.
  6. Once the sherry cooks out add the stock, water, thyme and simmer for 1hour
  7. Remove thyme, taste for seasoning, adjust if necessary


To serve

Slice the baguette into 1-2 cm rounds. Toast in oven to dry them out – if there’s some colour that’s fine but you’re mostly drying the bread out.  Once the bread is dry, rub with fresh garlic.  Ladle the soup into oven proof bowls, top with the dry garlic rubbed bread add a bunch of gruyere to the top of the bowl and broil until melted and the cheese is a little brown.

Eat drink and be merry.

The At Home Organic

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