They may be tiny, but they are also insanely damaging. Aphids are among the most destructive insect pests on garden plants in temperate growing zones. They cling to plants and suck sap, which weakens the plant and makes it susceptible to a host of viruses. They also leave ugly honeydew deposits (a sugary, rich liquid) on leaves, closely followed by sooty mold growth.
Haven’t we all had enough stress for one year? An out of control virus that just won’t go away, civil and political unrest, and now….. An increasing number of food recalls continue to threaten our health and wellbeing. Do you buy produce at Walmart? If you have shopped over the weekend at Walmart and purchased single head romaine lettuce – don’t eat it!
The most recent fresh produce recall applies to Tanimura & Antle bagged single head lettuce. E.coli was found during a test in Michigan that was traced back to a Walmart in Comstock. The worst part of all is that the strain of E.coli found (0157:H7) is one of the most likely strains of bacteria to cause hemolytic uremic syndrome ( HUS), which is a type of kidney failure that can be fatal.
The Center’s for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) tells us that up to 10 percent of people with this scary strain of E.col develop HUS. Signs of this condition include:
- Decreased urination
- Extreme fatigue
- Loss of color in cheeks and lower eyelids
Young children and the elderly are most likely to develop HUS with long=term effects that can cause severe kidney damage and even death. The FDA urges anyone who is experiencing any of these telltale symptoms to contact a physician immediately.
Walmart has posted a list of all stores that may be infected by this most recent food recall, including 19 states and Puerto Rico. It is believed that the recall impacts 3,396 bags of lettuce that were packaged on October 15 or 16th. If you or someone you know has a suspicious bag of lettuce, throw it out or return it to the store for a full refund.
Food recalls continuing to pile up
There has been a long list of food recalls piling up over the past three months or so, including:
- Trader Joe’s gluten-free battered halibut – recalled because it contained undeclared wheat and milk allergens.
- Spice Hunter spice blends – recalled due to potential Salmonella contamination.
- Sunshine Mills dog food – recalled due to potential Salmonella contamination.
- Thomson International onions – recalled due to potential Salmonella contamination.
- Natural Grocers organic whole elderberries – recalled due to potential Salmonella contamination.
- J&O mixed veggie cup with dip – recalled due to undeclared egg product
- Kader Exports frozen shrimp – recalled due to potential Salmonella contamination.
- Wegman’s store lemons oranges, in-store produced seafood – recalled due to potential Listeria contamination.
- Prima Wawona peaches – recalled due to reported Salmonella infections.
- Progresso chicken soup – recalled due to undeclared allergens.
- Giant Food Stores House brand squash noodle medley – recalled due to found Listeria
What you can do to stay safe
Besides paying attention to any news of food recalls and throwing out any affected products, be sure to wash fresh produce thoroughly before eating. Doing this won’t kill bacteria if the lettuce is contaminated but will help remove any lingering pesticide residue. And though buying organic is a great way to avoid this, organic lettuce is just as susceptible to E. coli as non-organic lettuce.
Consider starting your very own garden to grow fresh food – you can even grow many edible plants successfully in very little space or even indoors if you don’t have outdoor space. This way, you know exactly where your food is coming from and can avoid human transmitted E. coli and other contamination.
Shop locally whenever you can. Support farmers in your area and eat produce that doesn’t have to travel thousands of miles to reach your table. This limits the number of people who come into contact with the product, decreasing the risk of contamination. As long as the farmers practice safe growing, you are better off purchasing locally sourced leafy greens.
Susan Patterson – Master Gardener
Many people hesitate to grow garlic because it requires a different strategy from most plants in your vegetable garden. Once you know how to do it, though, growing garlic is easy and well worth it. Fresh garlic from the garden tastes much better than store-bought garlic, which has been in storage for ages. An added benefit? Garlic is a potent superfood that boosts health in several ways.
A trip to the grocery store is a chore for some, but for fruit and veggie lovers, the produce section is like a candy store. Markets today stock a greater variety of produce than ever before, including out-of-season and exotic items from the other side of the world.
Many people begin gardening to support a healthier diet. When you grow your own food, you’re more likely to make healthy meals and snacks. A vegetable garden is a solid foundation for healthy living, and there are no wrong answers when it comes to what to grow. But, if eye health is particularly important to you and your family, some vegetables have more of an impact than others.
A salad bar is the ultimate freedom in eating out. You get to choose just what you want on your healthy lunch or dinner. And the options are better than ever; your choice of lettuces and greens, shiny cherry tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, peppers, cheeses, seeds, nuts, and the list goes on.
If you’re noticing mushrooms popping up on your lawn, you shouldn’t be surprised or concerned. It simply means that autumn is on the way, which is the prime time for fungal growth. Fungi live in your soil at all times – they are a vital part of the ecosystem and help keep plants healthy. At the right time of year and when the weather conditions are perfect, they pop up these little fruiting bodies to spread spores and reproduce. You may have noticed that fungi proliferate in wet weather that occurs right after a dry spell, or when you’ve just laid new turf. The disturbed soil releases fungal spores that were previously dormant, so you get lots of toadstools popping up on that nice new lawn.
It’s that time of the year again, when the summer heat has been working its magic, and the tomato plants are absolutely overflowing with bright, colorful fruit. Whether you’ve got your hands full of tiny grape tomatoes, some ripe Romas, or big old beefsteaks, you might be wondering what to do with those buckets and buckets of tasty fruit.
If you only grow one thing in your home garden, it should be greens. There are several delicious and nutritious greens that are easy to grow and provide a valuable resource throughout the garden season and even beyond…More on that to come. Leafy greens are also known as salad greens, pot herbs, vegetable greens, or just greens. These plant leaves are eaten as a vegetable and contain important vitamins and nutrients. Likely, you don’t eat enough greens, and those that you do eat are not nearly as healthy as they could be.
I get asked about growing and caring for tomatoes more than any other fruit or vegetable. It seems that everyone is after that perfect, prize-winning tomato and will stop at nothing to achieve it! Well, the good news is that tomatoes are not too tricky once you learn the basics, and you can have a beautiful tomato crop year after year, once you have the basic knowledge down.
Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) is a perennial flowering plant whose young shoots are used as a delicious spring vegetable. If you love to roast tender spears tossed with olive oil and seasonings, perhaps it is time to grow some of your own. Although it takes a while for asparagus crops to take off, there is nothing like the taste of these homegrown, green spears.