What To Buy At The Farmer’s Market: December

What To Buy At The Farmer’s Market: December

Can you believe it’s almost winter? I am not ready for the nice fall weather to go away!

December can be a tricky month for shopping at the farmer’s market, depending on where you live. If you live somewhere that gets FREEZING cold in the winter, like I do, you’ll be lucky if you can even find a farmers market.

If you live in a state with mild winters (lucky you) then you’ll likely have a lot more options available in the winter months. So this month I decided to divide up the farmer’s market guide into colder winter states, and warmer winter states.

Our warmer winters states are places like Arizona, Southern California, Florida, and parts of Texas and Louisiana.

While our colder winter states should cover places with cold winters (but not crazy winters). If you’re in Alaska, you’re definitely going to have different options than Kentucky, so keep that in mind.

This is a very GENERAL guide. Just to show you what to keep an eye out for. If you want to know exactly what’s in season in your area, I suggest you use The Seasonal Food Guide.

You can put in where you live and it will tell you exactly what fruits and veggies are in season in your area.

But let’s get going! Here is your farmer’s market guide for December!

Colder Winter States

If you’re freezing cold all winter like me then this part of the list is for you!

Potatoes

Now you’re probably not going to find fresh potatoes in December. But many farmers (at least where I’m from) store potatoes in root cellars, so that they can sell them through the winter. So keep an eye out for some locally grown potatoes in December, so you can make mashed potatoes!

Sprouts

I love using sprouts in my meals. They’re perfect for adding on top of salads or putting on a sandwich!

Turnips

I’ve never been a huge fan of turnips, but this year I’m thinking I’ll have to try this yummy recipe for pan-roasted turnips!

Winter Squash

Winter squash stores well, so you’ll probably be able to find winter squash throughout the season. Which is perfect because winter squash is yummy and good for you!

Some recipes I’m looking forward to trying this year are:

Radishes

If you’re lucky you might still find some radishes in your area in December. I’m looking forward to trying this garlic roasted radishes recipe!

Sweet Potatoes

I didn’t realize how much I loved sweet potatoes until about a year ago. Now I love using sweet potatoes in my recipes! One of my favorite ways to use sweet potatoes is in soups like this sweet potato and sausage soup recipe!

Radicchio

Radicchio is a new one for me! I’ve never tried it! But I’m looking forward to trying this recipe for Radicchio Salad with Green Olives

Carrots

Carrots are definitely one of my favorite vegetables. I snack on them while I work! I love eating carrots with Homemade Ranch Dressing!

What to do in your garden in April

Broccoli

Broccoli is also a dinner staple for me. I love steaming broccoli for a simple side dish to go with my meals. You can also try this yummy Cream of Broccoli Soup Recipe!

Citrus

Obviously, this is not in season locally if you live in an area with cold winters. But I highly recommend trying to find citrus grown from an area near you at the grocery store.

Citrus starts coming into season in December which means that if you buy citrus grown in the U.S. at the grocery store it’s going to taste better this time of year!

Spinach

You may be able to find some spinach in your area in December. Especially if there’s local farmers that are using cold frames. I’m excited to try this bacon spinach salad this year using the bacon I get from Butcher Box.

Warmer Weather States

Now things are a little bit different for those of you who live in states with milder winters. I’m talking about you California, Florida, Texas, Hawaii, Louisiana, and Arizona. All the rest of us are jealous of your nice, mild winters.

There are probably going to be much different things available in your farmers markets than in the rest of the country.

Obviously this depends on where you live in the state as well (Northern California won’t have the same produce as Southern California).

Now there’s probably a lot more produce available than what I’m listing here, but these are some of the main items you’re going to find in the farmer’s markets starting in December if you live somewhere with a milder winter.

Citrus

I’m jealous of all y’all that have locally grown citrus at your farmers markets. Citrus is in season in December, so look for oranges, grapefruit, pomegranates, tangerines, clementines, and lemons.

You can use some of those yummy locally grown oranges to make this yummy Fresh Orange Smoothie Recipe!

Apples

Y’all know I love apples, and in milder winter states there are likely to still be some local apples around.

Carrots

Like I said before I love carrots! Look for fresh, locally grown carrots at your local farmer’s market and make some yummy Homemade Ranch Dressing!

What vegetables can you grow in cold frames? Plenty! Here's your go-to guide!

Broccoli

Also look for broccoli at your local farmer’s market! I love it, and it’s the perfect side dish for dinner! <!– Default Statcounter code for -buy-at-the-farmers-market

What To Buy At The Farmer’s Market: December


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11 Essential Oils You Should Never Wear In The Sun

11 Essential Oils You Should Never Wear In The Sun

It’s summer, so let’s chat about essential oils you should never wear in the sun.

 

You’re probably thinking “What? I thought oils were safe….” And they are. BUT like anything in life, you need to use them the right way.

 

I learned this lesson the hard way (luckily, I caught myself in time).

 

Certain oils contain furanocoumarins, which is a long scary word for a naturally-occurring chemical compound that some plants produce as part of their defense mechanism.

 

These essential oils have a chemical reaction to UV light which can potentially result in some pretty serious skin problems, including:

  • severe redness
  • darkening
  • swelling
  • blisters

 

The effects are uncomfortable, and can last for weeks:

 

There's 11 essential oils that are dangerous to wear in the sun. Here's a detailed list and how to use them safely!

Image via Wikimedia Commons

 

In this article, I’m going to show you which oils you shouldn’t use before you head outside to work in your garden or care for your flock. I’ll also show you how you can safely use them if you DO want to use them before going outside.

 

11 Essential Oils You Should Never Wear In The Sun

Before we get started with our list, sometimes some of these oils are ok to wear in the sun depending on how they were distilled (cold pressed, steam distilled, etc).

 

For the sake of simplicity, I’m not going to get into all that in this article. Just generally understanding which oils you shouldn’t apply before going into the sun makes it easier to remember what’s safe and what’s not.

 

If you want to use any of the oils in the list below, just do it 12 hours before you go outside, or keep the area of application completely covered. It’s simple enough to do.

 

Here’s the list of oils you should avoid outside:

  • Bergamot
  • Orange
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Grapefruit
  • Kumquat
  • Cumin
  • Tangerine
  • Mandarin
  • Petitgrain
  • Rue
  • Lemongrass

So You Want To Use One Of These Essential Oils You Should Never Wear In The Sun…What Now?

I personally didn’t follow my own advice one day (honestly, I used a blend and didn’t read the label – whoops!) and walked outside to feed my rabbits.

 

After a few minutes I noticed my neck and throat were getting kind of hot….much hotter than they should have. That’s a sign that phototoxicity was setting in – and it happened on my body after only just a few minutes. Not good!

 

I ran inside and checked the blend, and sure enough, orange was listed on the label.

 

To stay safe, after applying one or more of the oils listed above, you should stay out of the sun for at least 12 hours.

 

If you accidentally applied one of these oils, or really need or want to use one, and plan to go outside, just make sure you keep the area covered. Applying it to a place under your clothing is an option, and you can apply it to the bottom of your feet if they will remain covered.

 

If you’re going to be outdoors without shoes, you’re running the risk of feeling really, really hot, and possibly really uncomfortable. So, learn from my mistake!

 

Use your best judgement and stay safe. I want you with all your skin on.

Bugs Bugging Your Pets? Here’s 3 All Natural Essential Oils You Can Use To Keep Bugs At Bay!

Bugs Bugging Your Pets? Here’s 3 All Natural Essential Oils You Can Use To Keep Bugs At Bay!

Today, I’m going to show you how you can use essential oils to prevent and deter insects that can bother your pets.

 

With some notable exceptions (which we’ll talk about below), essential oils are safe to use on and around your pets when diluted with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil (on large animals, I’ve been able to put them directly on depending on the situation.)

 

Naturally, when using oils, you want to remember safety first – when in doubt, dilute. Oils are powerful stuff!

 

In this article, we’re going to talk about keeping pet-annoying insects at bay, including:

 

  • Fleas
  • Mites
  • Ticks

 

We’ll cover using oils with dogs, chickens, and large animals.

 

A word about cats: Certain oils, when used in large quantities, can harm our feline friends, so we won’t be including cats in our discussion today. Citrus oils, in particular, are known to cause problems with feline livers, preventing them from functioning correctly.

 

We’ve diffused citrus oils (bergamot, orange) around our two cats a couple times a week, and always give the kitties a chance to leave the room. Our cats have been fine, but I would hesitate to diffuse oils consistently in a closed room with our cats, and I would not personally use citrus oils directly on them either.

 

I recommend you speak to a knowledgeable vet before using any essential oils on your cats.

 

Now, on to the bugs we’ll eliminate today!

 

Get Rid Of Bugs That Bother Your Pets

 

When it comes to fighting bugs and getting rid of bug itchies, lavender essential oil is your best bet. It counters all the insects we’ll discuss, and it’s soothing enough to use. Lavender also promotes healthy skin, so you can use it topically on your pets (diluted with coconut oil).

 

To prevent insects like fleas in your home, you can diffuse lavender as well – and as a bonus, it’ll make your house smell nice (and help you destress….or help your kids stop climbing the walls).

 

Fleas

When someone asks me about preventing insects on their pets with oils, they’re usually thinking of fleas.

 

One summer, we had a TERRIBLE flea infestation in our home. I cannot say how it started….but it started.

 

Lavender was my go to – and after I constantly started diffusing it, lo and behold our infestation stopped. Immediately. What a relief!

 

Preventative Spray

If you want to an all-natural preventative spray you can use regularly on your pets (particularly dogs), then go grab your favorite spray bottle, and fill it with water.

 

Add 2-3 drops of your favorite lavender essential oil (keeping purity in mind  – DON’T buy these on Amazon. Go with an established brand so you know you’re putting only lavender oil on your pet).

 

Shake before using and carefully spray your pet. Avoid eyes, nose, and ears.

 

You can also use this spray on pet beds and blankets. Allow bedding to air dry so your pet doesn’t get the oils in their eyes or noses.

 

Homemade Flea Collar

Commercial flea collars are full of chemicals….so you might not be so crazy about using them on your pets. You CAN make your own all-natural flea collars with oils, though!

 

To make an all-natural flea collar, grab a clean bandana and add 5 drops of oil evenly spread throughout the cloth. Tie the bandana around your dog to prevent fleas. Re-apply the lavender oil every couple of days as needed.

 

Flea Dip

If things have gotten bad enough, you’ll probably want to give your pet a good old fashioned flea dip.  To make a homemade flea dip, you’ll need:

  • Water
  • 1 teaspoon castile soap
  • 2 drops lavender oil

 

Fill your tub with water (I go for “just barely warm” water so I don’t accidentally scald my pets). Add in 2 drops of oil, making sure to keep your pet’s face out of the water. If you don’t think this is possible, then leave the oil out, and use the all-natural preventative bandana after your pet is dry.

 

Rub in the castile soap, making sure to thoroughly coat your pet. Let sit for a couple minutes, if your pet will allow it. You will probably start to see fleas emerging. It’s a slightly-disgusting-but-satisfying feeling.

 

Hose off the castile soap/lavender water mixture. Dry your pet, and use the all-natural flea collar bandana above to prevent fleas from returning.

 

You can also use cedarwood essential oil in addition to or instead of lavender.

 

Mites

Mites are no good for any animal. We once were given a rabbit with such a bad mite infestation in his ears, he could not walk properly (the infection was giving him vertigo). Since then, I try to stay up-to-date on preventing mites. On our farm, we’ve used oils to prevent fleas on dogs, rabbits, and chickens.

 

Dogs

For dogs, lavender oil is a good option (see fleas above).

 

Backyard chickens

To prevent mites in your chicken coop, a peppermint oil coop spray is ideal. To make the peppermint oil coop spray, grab your favorite spray bottle and fill it with 8 oz WHITE vinegar.

 

Add 5-10 drops of peppermint essential oil, and spray liberally around the coop (making sure to get all nooks and crannies). Make sure your flock is out of the area (the oils are safe, but better safe than sorry). You can read more about using peppermint oil in your coop here.

 

For mites ON your chickens, diatomaceous earth is my go-to. You can read about it here. If you want to use oils instead of DE, 1 drop of peppermint diluted in 4 tablespoons coconut oil is my go-to to promote healthy skin. Apply to the area of concern 2-3 times a day, or as needed.

 

Rabbits

For our rabbits that have mite infestations in their ears, we carefully clean the ears so they’re free of build up. We then follow up with 1 drop of lavender diluted in 4 tablespoons of coconut oil (melt the oil then add the drop of lavender).

 

Rub it on the flesh inside the ear, but only the upper portion – NOT inside the ear. Keep the ears clean regularly, and reapply the coconut/lavender oil.

 

Ticks

Once your pets have ticks, you just have to pull them out. To clean the wound, you can use 1 drop oregano oil mixed with 1 tablespoon coconut oil and apply after washing the wound well.

 

To make an all-natural repellent spray, mix 3 drops of lavender in 8 oz of water. Spray liberally before your pet goes outside, making sure to avoid the face, eyes, ears, and nose. You can also use cedarwood.

 

The CDC has even said that these oils are safe essential oils to repel certain insects, ticks included.

9 Essential Oils To Repel Insects Naturally (And Get Your Yard Back)

9 Essential Oils To Repel Insects Naturally (And Get Your Yard Back)

It’s summer…and it’s buggy. This time of year, the heat and humidity are bad enough, and I break out my go-to essential oils to repel insects when we’re outside.

 

(This article is based on my new book Organic By Choice: The (Secret) Rebel’s Guide To Backyard Gardening. Grab it on Amazon here!)

 

I have another recipe where you can use herbs, but I’ve found oils work better because they’re concentrated plants in a bottle – so much more powerful than just the herbs themselves when it comes to insects.

 

Because they’re weaker than oils, if you spray yourself with an herbal solution, it will dissipate faster – so you’ll need to spray yourself again and again. With oils, I found we only need to do it once or twice while outside.

 

In this article, we’re going to talk about recipes you can make at home that you can use on yourself and your family to keep bugs at bay.

 

The bugs we’ll discuss are:

 

  • Ants
  • Flies
  • Wasps/Hornets
  • Mosquitoes
  • Ticks

The Go-To Essential Oil For Killing Insects

Yes, there is a single one you can depend on (although there’s more you’ll want to use). Orange essential oil kills insects because it destroys their exoskeletons. In any recipe you make yourself, be sure it includes orange essential oils.

 

A word of note: Citrus essential oils, in large quantities, can harm your cats because it interferes with their liver. (It’s fine with other animals.) If your kitties hang out outside a lot, then don’t spray orange unless you can be sure your kitties will not be outside for 24-48 hours. Use any of the other alternative oils we talk about in this article, and just make sure there’s good circulation.

 

Ants

I hate these buggers. They’re arrogant insects, thinking they can get into whatever sugar I leave on the counter and invading my home whenever suits them….but there is hope.

 

The BEST I’ve found to repel ants is cinnamon oil.

 

Because it’s so strong, it interferes with their neuroreceptors and they can’t send signals (by pheromones) back to their nest to come grab whatever goody they’ve happened upon. It unnerves them, and they leave the scene rapidly.

 

It’s satisfying to watch the insects scurry away.

 

You can apply cinnamon directly to the area you want the ants to leave, without dilution, or you can dilute 10 drops in 8 oz of water or rubbing alcohol. Shake before use, and spray away.

 

If you plan to spray it directly ON the ants, also mix 10 drops of orange essential oil into the spray bottle. (If you’re allergic to cinnamon oil, you can use any of the oils listed above as an alternative).

 

If you plan to spray it on yourself, dilute it with carrier oils like coconut or sweet almond, or dilute with water or alcohol. Cinnamon is a “hot” oil, meaning on people with sensitive skin or children, it can cause skin irritation. Be safe.

 

Flies

I hate flies even more than ants. They’re just as annoying insects, except they ACTIVELY try to get in your face.

 

I have a great article with my favorite recipe to get rid of flies with essential oils here. It’s the best recipe I’ve found, and it actually works. It includes lemongrass and eucalyptus (which have many more uses than fly spray, by the way).

 

Wasps/Hornets

 

  • Mint
  • Eucalyptus
  • Citronella

Mix 8 drops of any of the above oils with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or any other oil you love. Rub it on your body to keep the suckers away.

 

In this article, I show you how to eliminate wasp nests with liquid castile soap – You can also add the above oils along with orange to the castile soap mixture to kill ‘em dead.

 

Word of warning: You don’t want to use the orange essential oils on your body to repel wasps  – it will ATTRACT them since it smells sweet (wasps are attracted to sweet smells), and it can trigger photosensitivity (potentially causing some nasty burns) if you plan to remain outdoors.

 

(Orange is otherwise VERY safe to use – just avoid it on areas that will be uncovered if you plan to be out in the sun for a while.)

 

Mosquitoes

Summertime is mosquito time on our farm. With all the poop we have, the rotten insects LOVE to build nests and breed….and freeload off our livestock.

 

Whenever we go outside, I grab my purple spray bottle containing the following oils (in equal parts, mixed with 8 oz of water). As a bonus, we all smell better.

 

Citronella : Everyone knows that citronella repels mosquitoes, and it’s my go-to oil to repel ‘em. You can mix it (in a roller bottle) with any of the oils we discuss below for a more powerful solution that’s convenient to put on.

 

Eucalyptus: Eucalyptus oil has been used since the 1940s to repel mosquitoes, and is approved by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as an effective ingredient in mosquito repellent.

 

Lavender: Lavender essential oil is great for relaxing and smelling good, but did you also know it can repel mosquitoes? Lavender can also be used to support healthy skin!

 

Ticks

Ahh…ticks. The lovely buggers that gave me lyme disease about 10 years ago. That was not fun…lots of yogurt, since I couldn’t eat anything else while I recovered.

 

These days, our chickens do a pretty good job of keeping the population down (yet another bonus to keeping a backyard flock), but if you plan to go camping or take a walk in the woods, here’s some essential oils you can put in a roller bottle or a spray bottle (along with water or alcohol – rubbing alcohol stays on longer) to repel the dirty insects.

 

You can mix and match 8 drops of oil with 8 oz of water or alcohol:

 

  • Rosemary
  • Lemongrass
  • Cedar (cedarwood oils)
  • Peppermint
  • Thyme
  • Eucalyptus

 

The CDC has even said that the above are safe essential oils to repel insects (specifically ticks!)

Can Chickens Eat Citrus? Why Everything You Think You Know Is Wrong [Podcast]

Can Chickens Eat Citrus? Why Everything You Think You Know Is Wrong [Podcast]

Can chickens eat citrus? You’ll be surprised not just by the answer, but by how wrong the myths out there about feeding citrus to chickens really are.

 

Frequently, we see advice online that advises us to not feed our backyard chickens things like oranges, limes, and lemons.

 

And in reality, many chickens don’t even like them. Mine don’t.

 

Sometimes we get fresh produce from a local grocery store (that they otherwise would toss), and while grapes, bananas, and watermelon are snarfed down amazingly quick, citrus is pretty much left to rot. 

 

what herbs can chickens eat content upgrade-min

 

Even the pigs won’t touch it! (Who knew pigs were so discerning?)

 

But the bottom line is feeding oranges and lemons has some amazing health benefits not just for your chickens, but for their eggs and meat.

 

I think you’ll be shocked by some of the things you’ll discover in this podcast.

 

You’ll learn:

  • Why the myths surrounding feeding citrus are bogus
  • How oranges and lemons can help your chickens combat heat stress
  • The herb you always want to feed with citrus (and how to do just that)
  • How citrus can improve the quality of the eggs you’ll ultimately eat

Links we discuss:

Butcher Box 

The Better Egg

Where to buy dried orange peel

Where to buy dried lemon peel

 

Think chickens shouldn't eat citrus? You couldn't be more wrong. Discover why all those myths are bunk, and how feeding oranges and lemons improves their eggs.

 

Transcript:

Coming soon.

 

I’d like to hear from you!

Do you think you’ll try feeding citrus to your chickens? Why or why not? Leave a comment below!