Today marked nine years since my mom passed. It also happened to be her birthday. Though it may get easier to manage my emotions after so much time, the loss of her from my life will never leave me. I always miss her, especially now.

Farmer’s Market Groupie is a transition after a long career in organic beauty but food and teaching are core to who I am, because of my mom. When I was a little pee-wee – the nickname my mama had for me – my mother was always teaching me something about about food, health and cooking. In our home clean eating and using food as medicine reigned supreme and she ALWAYS instilled in us the important role food played in our healthy lives. I remember a period when money was really tight and my mom would go to Taco Bell (the only fast food my mother would ever consider then) for bean burritos and would bring them home and add some home made veggies, grains or salad to our meal. She believed if we were to eat food someone else prepared, we better add something home made to it so we were sure to get our nutrients. 

My mom was also a radical progressive food fighter. She was on the cutting-edge of the future of food and we were learning about Monsanto, GMOs, hormones in milk and the controversies happening with organic labeling in the 80s and 90s.

Being an artist on a super tight budget never compromised my mother’s standards. It is because of her ability to raise us super healthy with little money that I know anyone else can do it too and why I started this brand. Lack never stopped my mama and her priorities, resourcefulness and core values are what allowed for our lifestyle. My mom always made it clear that health was the greatest wealth of all.

Mama used to tell me that though I may not have control over what is happening with our food and water in the world, I do have control over what I choose to put in my body. No one force-fed her kids. She used to say “you only get one body so you better take care of it” and that statement has never left me. No matter my budget for the week or month, I always make sure to have quality food above all else.

I dedicate my brand to my sweet angel mama. I am my mom. It’s nuts how most everything about me is my mom. I miss her so much and now, since starting this brand, all I want is to talk to her and hear her insights and ideas while sharing all the fun things I am doing with food and my community.

When I moved to California we would talk on the phone and after excited and loving greetings the conversation always went to food. “What are you making?” or “What did you buy at the store?” she would ask and then with the enthusiasm of a little kid, she would share all of her food shopping adventures with me. Her trips to Commodities, Gourmet Garage, Whole Foods and Life Thyme were always complete with a great story or recipe. When Trader Joe’s opened in NYC she was so excited! She loved going there to explore and always made a point to pick me up a gift card. We were definitely two peas in a pod, both of us always exploring the world with food first on the agenda for the day.

Below are my mama’s clean eating and shopping tips:

  • Buy “ugly” bruised food or soft bananas because other people will reject them and then the stores will throw them away. We had to be more mindful.
  • Never buy meat/poultry in poor neighborhoods. Always go to grocers in affluent ones because they have the best quality.
  • If you eat meat in a restaurant, always dose up on Vitamin C before and after to fight off any viruses.
  • Always use celery leaves in your cooking! Add to soups, stews and sauces.
  • Start everything with garlic, onion and parsley.
  • Never lift the lid when cooking rice.
  • When baking bread/cakes/cookies, you know it’s done by the third smell: The first smell comes about 2/3 into it being done and as it gets closer another whiff and finally, that third whiff of deliciousness means it’s done.
  • Never throw food in a shopping cart. Always place it down with respect. Food and all the hard work that comes with it must always be honored and never taken for granted.
  • Food is medicine and will keep your body strong and your mind clear.
  • When money is tight and you have to eat packaged food or frozen/canned veggies, first of all, never (never) eat their meat and secondly, always add something fresh and homemade to it so you get your nutrients.
  • If you can’t afford quality meat / eggs then don’t eat any at all.
  • Always start the day with something in your body for fuel. Even if you’re not hungry, you must eat something: a bite of an apple, a few almonds or a piece of cheese.
  • Always wash food very well before eating it and use soap on apples, cucumbers and potatoes.
  • Always eat the skins of foods like potatoes, cucumbers, squashes and apples to get all that fiber and added nutrients.
  • Eat the pith of citrus for the cancer-fighting bioflavonoids.
  • Veggies, fruits and grains are the star of the meal. Meat plays a supporting role if any at all.

Expect great things.