Open Your Eyes to Spring

“The voyage of discovery is not in seeing new landscapes but in having new eyes.”  Marcel Proust

April in New England is the grand opening of a brief but spectacular spring season. Bright yellow daffodils comfort us as we not-so-patiently await the miracle of dormant tree buds exploding into their luxuriant greenery later in the month. This is the month to consciously open our eyes- to revel in the resilient beauty of Mother Nature as well as acknowledge the degradation we have wrought upon her. Earth Day is celebrated throughout the U.S. on April 22 but we should honor the spirit of this special day every day. This can be accomplished in many ways including showing our support for organic agriculture, local farmers, artisans and businesses as well as recycling, conserving energy and being ever so mindful of our day-to-day impact on this precious planet. Another option to consider is joining an environmental group such as The Trustees of Reservations, founded in 1891, and based here in Massachusetts. It is the nation’s oldest private nonprofit conservation organization, specializing in procuring, protecting and maintaining open space in the Bay State. The Regional Environmental Council is even closer to home, based in Worcester about a half mile from us. The REC focuses on food and environmental justice issues and has initiated a number of programs providing education, leadership mentoring and employment opportunities for low income teens. Their 27th Annual Earth Day Cleanup is on Saturday, April 9 from 8am-12pm. If you are interested in volunteering for this event, contact the REC at info@recworcester.org or 508 799 9139.

Happy 45th Anniversary to the Living Earth- so far that’s 16,437 days of Earth Day Every Day!  Many thanks to Al and Maggy Maykel for having the vision, dedication and determination back in 1971 to open the first market providing a reliable source of natural and organic food and nutritional supplements for the Worcester County community. (This was the same year that Carol King’s Tapestry album was topping the charts and Led Zeppelin was climbing the “Stairway to Heaven “.)

Eye Appeal As I encourage everyone to open their eyes to the wonders of spring, it is equally important to take good care of them. Many nutrients are important for maintaining eye health including vitamins A,C,D,E, omega- 3 oils and zinc. There are three other nutrients that are not generally found in multivitamin formulations that can help reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Lutein and zeaxanthin are two antioxidant carotenoids occurring in the lens, retina and macula of the eye. They are capable of filtering out harmful high-energy blue light, protecting the macula (the focal point of the retina) from UV damage. Food sources include kale, collards, spinach, corn, peas, broccoli and eggs. It might be prudent to also include a lutein (20mg)/zeaxanthin(4mg) supplement in your diet. Astaxanthin, another carotenoid, is one of the most potent antioxidants found in nature. It can protect the eye from UV and oxidative damage as well as increase muscle strength and endurance, act as an internal sunscreen, protect brain and nerve cells and help with joint recovery after exercise. The only food sources are marine organisms such as salmon, shrimp, lobster and crab that have consumed algae containing astaxanthin. The algae Haematococcus pluvialis (say that three times fast) contains the highest concentration of astaxanthin and is the source for astaxanthin supplements. The recommended amount is 4-8mg per day which is very difficult to achieve unless you are eating 8-16oz. of salmon every day.

Goodbye Jason Six years ago Jason joined our team as a finicky, picky-palated young man with an excellent work ethic but a very-vanilla set of taste buds. He leaves us now as a gourmand who can espouse on the merits of a cheddar from Dorset, England and the sheep’s milk cheeses of the Pyrenees as well as the probiotic benefits of kefir, kombucha and kimchi! Thank you for your exemplary customer service, dedication to the Living Earth and passing out those savory samples from your demo table throne. We wish you the best in all your future endeavors.

“Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.” Ray Bradbury