Food Fact #7: Can-berry Sauce


With Thanksgiving fast approaching, I figured I’d make this week’s food fact about a food item commonly enjoyed during turkey day. Many of us look forward to the comfort foods such as mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie, but cranberry sauce is a holiday favorite.

On Thanksgiving day, nearly 3/4 of Americans serve store bought cranberry sauce rather than homemade. Store bought cranberry sauce commonly plops out of the can in a jellied, unappetizing cylinder. Americans consume 5,062,500 gallons of jellied cranberry sauce every holiday season — enough to fill the entirety of the country’s largest water park, twice!


Next week, instead of feeding your family store-bought, processed cranberry sauce from a can, I encourage you to make it yourself! OC Food Access Coalition’s very own Program Coordinator, Christina Hall has contributed this simple yet delicious recipe for making homemade cranberry sauce:


1c water

1 bag cranberries

1 c sugar


boil together for 10 minutes

We at OC Food Access Coalition hope you have a happy, healthy Thanksgiving!


Fun Food Fact #6: Foods to Dye For

Although the sixties have been behind us for a while now, some people still like sporting tie-dye shirts around. If you are ever interested in dying your own clothing, this fun food fact is for you. Instead of using a dye kit from a craft store, you can dye your clothing with all-natural dyes from your favorite foods!



Conventional dyes can contain heavy metals such as iron and tin. The dyes commonly used in the textile industry not only cause concern for the environment but could have health implications for the consumer as well. Some food items which can be used to dye clothing are blueberries, spinach and beetroot! These food items will dye your clothing  different shades of blue, green and pink or red.


Some unusual food items which you can use to dye your clothing include onion skins for a brown pigment, red cabbage for a red or pink color, and turmeric for a yellow shade.

For additional information on how to dye your clothes with your favorite foods visit planet-science.

Photos Courtesy of The Riley Eye and  Lionbrand.

Fun Food Fact #5: A Way to Open Palm-egranates

Pomegranates are one of the sweetest parts of the Winter season. Inside those tough, pink, spherical forms are refreshing, delicious seeds which bring flavor to any dish. The problem with enjoying the pomegranate is that it usually takes a lot of prying and picking to end up enjoying the little seeds inside of it.


Although we often hear,”anything in life worth having is worth working for”, there is finally an easy way to enjoy your pomegranate! In the video below you will see how with just your palm, a wooden spoon and a bowl, you can have pomegranate seeds in as little as 10 seconds! I think he should call it “The Palm-egranate Technique”, but that’s just me. Watch the video and enjoy your seeds with ease!

Food Fact #4: Where Jack-O-Lanterns Turn-ed Up

Halloween is fast approaching! People have acquired their frightening or fun ensembles and decorated their homes with various Halloween symbols.Everything from ghosts on strings to scarecrows with creepy faces to motion-activated animatronics can be found in the front yards and porches of your neighbors.The most distinguishable Halloween decoration however is surely the Jack-O-Lantern!


According to, the art of carving Jack-O-Lanterns was brought to The United States by Irish immigrants who used to carve scary faces into turnips in their native land to keep away the folkloric figure Stingy Jack. Stingy Jack is a man whose ghost is said to be roaming around with a burning goal after trying to trick the devil ( The pumpkin is native to North America and that is why Jack-O-Lanterns are now carved out of pumpkins instead of turnips.


Photo Courtesy of facweb.cs  

There are many ways to carve a pumpkin, and one artist Ray Villafane has become a world renowned master of pumpkin carving. He carves everything from zombies to football players!


To see more mind-blowing creations by Mr. Villafane, click HERE.

Food Day 2013


This Thursday, October 24th is Food Day. Food Day is a nationwide celebration and a movement for healthy, affordable and sustainable food. It is a day where people are encouraged to “Eat Real”, which essentially means lowering sugar intake, salt intake and eating meat that isn’t factory farmed. These are all things that OC Food Access promotes in its daily operations.

One part of making the most of Food Day is becoming more food literate. Food literacy is defined as: “Understanding the story of one’s food, from farm to table and back to the soil; the knowledge and ability to make informed choices that support one’s health, community, and the environment”( has created a Food Literacy Quiz, where you can test your level of food literacy. It only takes a few moments and you’ll end up learning many interesting things about not only the structure of food and where it comes from but your own place in the global food system.

Where our food comes from and how it affects us is another part of what Food Day promotes. One way we are connected to food systems is through Farmacology. Farmacology is the study of the connection between the production of food on farms and the people who consume that food. The educational initiative, Nourish, has posted an article about the perspective Farmacology author Daphne Miller has on the relationship between farming and humans. Miller for instance explains that recipes have been passed down for generations not only because they’re delicious but because they make ecological sense. Read the article HERE.

If you are a teacher or interested in teaching about food literacy and other concepts, Nourish offers a Teacher Resource Binder.

Photo Courtesy of

Fun Food Fact #3: Some Egg-stra Vitamin D


It’s that time of the year when days get a bit chillier, cloud cover gets grayer and we find ourselves spending more time indoors with a hot beverage. During the Fall and Winter seasons, it can be more difficult to get the necessary amount of Vitamin D into our bodies. Vitamin D comes from the sun and helps with bone strength and a healthier immune system. Although Vitamin D is most commonly absorbed through exposure to sunlight, many people lack sufficient exposure to the sun in their busy indoor lives.

It is suggested that adults get 600 IUs of Vitamin D a day.


Luckily, certain food items allow those of us who have long winters or long days at the office to consume enough Vitamin D. Eggs, are one of the few food items that naturally have Vitamin D present. If you eat one yolk, you will get 40 IUs. This means if you eat 4 eggs with breakfast, you’ve already consumed about a fifth of your daily requirements.


Vitamin D can also be found in aquatic food items such as salmon, tuna, herring and sardines. Surprisingly,almost all of the U.S. milk supply is fortified with 400 IU of vitamin D per quart (National Institutes of Health). So next time you feel like staying indoors, just know that if you make some scrambled eggs, you can still get some yummy Vitamin D!

Photos Courtesy of &

A Homemade Weekend

This month started off with a homemade experience. On October 5th & 6th, local foodies, artistic visionaries and other friendly folk gathered at SoCo Marketplace in Costa Mesa for The Patchwork Show – Edible Edition- a weekend celebration of the artistry of homemade goods. There were not only mouth-watering cakes and cookies to snack on but also 40 creative workshops presented by well-known chefs and business owners.


The heat and wind didn’t stop nearby food lovers from scoping out the delicious and beautiful goods produced by their neighbors. OC Food Access Coalition and The Harvest Club made an appearance with a colorful booth depicting “A Healthier Food Drive”. A healthier food drive would be a drive in which the food donated to local food banks or shelters had lower sodium, less sugar, higher protein and higher fiber. The display highlighted our mission to make healthier food drives a reality with our food bank partners The Orange County Food Bank & Second Harvest Food Bank along with the organization Slow Food OC.


Many locals expressed interest in OCFAC & The Harvest Club’s devotion to providing sustainable, nutritious food options to the people of Orange County. We hope that the smiling faces who spoke to us about their passion for food movements and volunteering will join us under the trees in future harvests!



Photos Courtesy of Nicole Stevenson & Sonora Ortiz


Fun Food Fact #2: Honey Is The Sweetest Deal

As much as 40% of all of the food produced in The United States is discarded due to misunderstandings of expiration dates. Wouldn’t it be nice to not have to worry about expiration dates anymore?! One food item virtually never goes bad. No, it’s not spam or condensed milk. It’s that sweet syrup produced by buzzing little beauties- honey! Honey keeps for so long mainly because it is dehydrated with a low water content of 0.6, preventing the substance from fermenting. It is composed of glucose and fructose which provides its sweet flavor.


Although honey is probably the sweetest deal you can get on a food item, it does come at a high price when all factors are accounted for. Honeybees must tap two million flowers to make one pound of honey. According to, a hive of bees must fly over 55,000 miles to bring us this one pound of honey! Honey bees have been dropping rapidly across the globe in the last decade, but luckily there are initiatives to keep bees buzzing in Orange County including Backyard Bees, who are keeping hives alive!


Photos Courtsey of

Fun Food Fact #1: Strawberries Aren’t Berries!

Did you know that a strawberry is not in fact a berry?!



Photo courtesy of

All of those servings of strawberries and cream… and that lovable little character Strawberry Shortcake with the striped stockings – no berries anywhere! reveals that in order for a fruit to be considered a berry it by definition must be “a fleshy fruit produced from a single ovary”.

According to Nora Landis-Shack: “the surrounding flesh around the seed isn’t derived from the fruit’s ovaries but from the receptacle in which the ovaries are found”.

We shouldn’t expect the strawberry to be known by any other name anytime soon, but it’s a freaky food fact indeed!

For more fun food facts check back to The Harvest Club blog every Friday!

We hope you have a fruitful weekend!



A Whole-some Harvest


On September 14th, 2013, Whole Foods Market (Jamboree & Laguna Niguel teams)  and The Harvest Club joined forces to harvest an old commercial orchard in Villa Park. The harvest was booked with volunteers in honor of Whole Food Markets Kids Day of Service.


The harvest in Villa park had 18 pairs of helpful  hands, big and small, including 7 Whole Foods team  members. Whole Foods provided water, fruit, rise bars, and a salad lunch to all the volunteers present at the harvest.



In two hours, the harvesters managed to pick 1300 pounds of oranges! Over a thousand pounds of fresh, juicy produce for Orange County residents! The many boxes of oranges were delivered to South County Outreach and Saddleback Food Pantry.





The Whole Foods Team expressed interest in helping The Harvest club in the future, and we can’t wait!