Local Food and Farm Products 
Volume 6 Number 2    December 14, 2014



Neonicotinoid Insecticides: Are Your Nursery Plants Being Treated With Bee-Killing Chemicals?

Several popular home stores are selling nursery plants treated with bee-killing chemicals, including potent neonicotinoid insecticides, also called “neonics.”
February/March 2014
The pollen and nectar of neonicotinoid-treated plants are poisonous to bees. 

Unless you’re buying certified organic transplants this spring, you may be introducing persistent neonicotinoid insecticides into your garden — and thus into your food. As MOTHER EARTH NEWS has reported, neonics are potent systemic pesticides that spread through plants and contaminate pollen and nectar. The lingering poisons persist in soil, and they can be absorbed by subsequent crops. Neonics are one of the factors known to be contributing to colony collapse disorder, a phenomenon linked to the deaths of a vast number of honeybees over the past several years. These pesticides are also suspected of reducing many bird populations, as widespread use of neonics means fewer insects, which means less food for birds.

Neonics are widely used by farmers, and many garden centers and nurseries sell plants treated with them, too. This means you may be feeding neonics to your family, and bees could be poisoned by nursery plants you bring home. A 2013 study by the environmental group Friends of the Earth found neonics in plants from Lowe’s and Home Depot stores in Minneapolis, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. In Europe, the Pesticide Action Network tested more than 100 plant samples of crops such as strawberries, tomatoes and zucchini, and found neonic residues in several samples of each crop.

The neonic-producing chemical companies (Bayer and Syngenta) have convinced the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that these insecticides do not pose a danger to humans. We, however, aren’t so sure. The chemicals’ effect on brain cells is similar to that of nicotine, and nicotine exposure is a known cause of adverse effects in children. A 2012 Japanese study concluded that neonics may pose potent risks to human health (visit the Public Library of Science to read the study).

We believe these insecticides should be banned, period. Europe has already done so temporarily for some neonics. Hats off to U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and John Conyers Jr. of Michigan for introducing the Saving America’s Pollinators Act, which seeks to suspend the use of neonics on bee-attracting plants. For more information on these chemicals, read The Dangers of Neonicotinoid Pesticides.






Stuffed Squash

Adapted from a recipe by Alton Brown for the Food Network


2 small winter squash, 1 to 1 1/4 pounds each

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces

1/2 pound ground beef

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup chopped celery

1/4 cup chopped carrot

1/2 cup white wine

1 1/2 cups cooked rice

1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach, completely thawed, drained and chopped,

or 1 cup chopped cooked greens

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

Generous pinch kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut each squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Put 1 of the 4 pieces of butter in the cavity of each squash half. Set squash in a baking dish. Set aside.

In a large saute pan over medium heat, brown the ground beef until no longer pink. Remove the meat from the pan, add the olive oil and saute the onion, celery, and carrot until they begin to soften, approximately 7 to 10 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the white wine.

Return the beef to the pan along with the cooked rice, spinach or greens, walnuts, oregano and salt and pepper, to taste. Stirring constantly, heat mixture thoroughly, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Divide the mixture evenly among the squash, cover dish with foil and bake for 1 hour or until the squash is tender. Serve immediately.

Sun Earth Energy's Liquid Salad

from James Hackworth

James has been juicing the produce from his garden lately, putting kale, arugula, mustard greens, bok choy, chard, parsley, and broccoli in a blender with a little soy sauce, olive oil, and hot sauce, and blending it all up-- pure chlorophyl! He thinks that blending it releases more nutrients, and tastes better than V-8 juice. He is careful to pick the produce after the sun has been on it for a few hours, so the chlorophyl is more active. Here's to your health!

Collard Green Olive Pesto

Gourmet | March 2004

by Danny Toma of Naples, Italy

1 3/4 lb collard greens

7 large brine-cured green olives (2 1/4 ounces), pitted

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1/3 cup water

1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/2 cup)

Bring a 6- to 8-quart pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, cut stems and center ribs from collard greens and discard. Stir collards into water in batches, then simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer collards with tongs to a colander to drain, gently pressing on greens to extract excess water. (If making pasta, reserve water in pot for cooking pasta.) Coarsely chop collards.

Blend olives and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. Add collards, water, vinegar, salt, cayenne, and pepper and pulse until finely chopped. With motor running, add oil in a slow stream. Turn off motor, then add cheese and pulse to combine.


This has been a very unusual winter .  All our plants are growing slowly in this cold weather. Even though we are having warm days , the nights have been cold. Most of the producers for Motherlode Harvest boxes are using covers for the plants to keep them warm at night . Now we are having to deal with the extra dry weather. This means we have to start irrigating again in the middle of winter. New seedlings have been planted in greenhouses, so hopefully these plants will be ready for spring planting.  So , this is why we will have to wait awhile before we will have enough produce for your boxes. We have to work with nature and this is what Nature has given us this year. We will keep you all informed as to when the regular weekly boxes will be available again.. Meanwhile check the web site for the items that we do have in stock. 

For example:
Olive oil
Grass fed beef
Sunflower greens 
Winter greens 

Thanks for your understanding!

Customers Dick and Josie
Shopping at
Harvest has local food and farm products available to order at
Orders received during that time can be picked up on Tuesdays between 10:30 am and noon, or 4:30 to 6:00 pm, at 1235 Jackson Gate Road in Jackson, behind Teresa's Restaurant. Payment may be made at pickup by cash or check made out to MotherLode Harvest.
New customers will need to register by using the "join" button on the website before they can shop. If you have any questions or problems with using the website, please contact our tech leader, Jo Ann, at, or 304-7654.
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Our mailing address is: P.O. Box 534 Amador City, CA 95601
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