Reviews › Food Products

Rudy Miss Coco's dog treatsMy dogs deserve organic food and Miss Coco’s One Lucky Dog treats.

By Jan Walsh

Dog Photography by Beau Gustafson 

My mission for my family to eat Non-GMO and organic includes my Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Thus they are not fed any GMOs knowingly. I know where my food and my dogs’ food and treats come from, and prefer locally made or made in my own kitchen. I trust and buy Idie Hastings’ new line of dog treats, Miss Coco’s One Lucky Dog. And I buy organic foods, such as organic, local pasture raised chicken, eggs, and organic vegetables, which I supplement with organic dog foods.

Savannah Bee honeySavannah Bee’s honey and beeswax products are healthy and sustainable.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Bees are in trouble. Honeybees, bumble bees, and other native bees are disappearing at alarming rates. Pesticides are weakening their immune systems. Honeybees contribute to one of every three bites of food we eat. More than $19 billion of crops each year are pollinated by bees. And $150 million of honey is produced in the U.S. annually.

nabeel's market productsNabeel’s Market offers imported and house made gourmet to go.

By Jan Walsh 

Photography by Beau Gustafson 

Nabeel’s Market brings imported foods and beverages to Homewood, Alabama. Here at Nabeel’s Market, you can also take home many of the same dishes served at Nabeel’s Café, next door. I have shopped at Nabeel’s Market for years and have found products that I cannot get anywhere else in Birmingham. International beers and cheeses, as well as their own dressing, soups, dips, spreads, salads are among the popular cold case items. Their gourmet to go also includes entrees from Nabeel’s Café. And this place is an herb and spice market in itself.  

Alabama Fairhope BlueberriesWeeks Bay Plantation’s organic blueberries satisfy pre season cravings.

By Jan Walsh


Blueberry season can’t come early enough for me. Every spring I savor strawberries as I look forward for the first local blueberries to appear. But this year I got lucky. Before the local blueberries were in early season and ready to be picked, I found Weeks Bay Plantation’s blueberries in May.

Rora Farms BreadRora Valley Farms products fill and refill my pantry.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Rora Valley Farms is a family farm located near Goodwater, Alabama. It is operated by Noah and Dorothy Sanders along with help from their young sons, Enoch and Patrick, as well as other family members, who also live on the family property. From fresh fruits and veggies, pasture raised chickens and eggs, to sprouted breads, Rora Valley Farms is one of my best, local Non-GMO resources to keep me stocked. I first met Noah at Pepper Place Market. I always ask questions of the farmers whom I buy from and was impressed with him and his Non-GMO, sustainable farm products.

Alabama SproutsSprouted foods are historic, healthy, and flavorful. 

By Jan Walsh 

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Food has become complicated. Seeds have pesticides (GMOs) in their DNA, which were put there in laboratories not on farms. And some of what we are fed is not even food, although it looks like food. I do not believe that seeds need scientists or that nature intended for our food to be made in a lab. So I refuse to knowingly eat GMOs (GMO labels would help) and any “foods” that are flavorless and lacking in nutrition. In my ongoing search for organic and wholesome foods, sprouted foods are among my favorites for both their flavor and health benefits.

pink saltHimalayan crystals are the purest salts on earth.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Salt is a necessary ingredient in life. All humans and animals require it to survive. Himalayan Salt contains the same 84 trace minerals and elements found in the human body, including sodium chloride, sulphate, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Given its cellular structure, it stores vibrational energy. And the salt’s minerals are (colloid) so small that our cells can easily absorb them.
coconut oil Super Oil

Coconut oil is good for you inside and out.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Coconut oil is extracted from the “meat” of coconuts.  It is high in saturated fats. Yet these are not typical saturated fats, such as those found in meat and cheese. It contains lauric acid, a type of Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs), which are metabolized differently than long chain fatty acids. It has been shown that lauric acid increases the good HDL cholesterol in the blood to help improve cholesterol ratio levels. MCTs can also increase energy, kill harmful pathogens, and reduce appetite. Coconut oil is good for your skin, hair, mouth, and can also be used as a mild sunscreen, blocking harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun.

Read More



a fish storyWild Caught Fish

I buy wild caught fish, not farmed nor genetically modified.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


I have enjoyed fresh caught fish and seafood since I was a child. I can recall my “Daddy Joe” taking me on my first fishing adventure to Highland Lake, near Oneonta. I threw my line from the bank straight into the limbs of a tree hanging over the water. I was not concerned about the line but was worried that the worm was afraid being up so high, given his home was in the earth. I have fished a couple of times since that time—before deciding to leave fishing to the pros. Read Review

 

La Tourangelle Grapeseen oilOrganic Cooking Oil 

La Tourangelle’s Grapeseed Oil is my favorite for frying. 

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

One of the most important staples in your pantry is your cooking oil. What is it? If you buy an organic potato and cook it in GMO oil, it is no longer organic food. It is a GMO potato. Read Review

 

 

pasture raised eggsUnscrambling Eggs

Most egg labels are intended to confuse you.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Which eggs do you buy?  With so many descriptors on the labels, you might be fooled into thinking you are buying clean, Non-GMO eggs when you purchase eggs with the following labels: all natural, farm fresh, no hormones, vegetarian diet, omega-3, cage-free, and free-range. Whenever possible I buy my eggs from local farmers, who I know have pastured raised their hens and not fed them GMO feed. In spring and summer months it is easy to find these eggs at local farmers markets. The eggs have bright orange yolks and are full of flavor verses dull pale yellow yolks eggs, which come from caged hens that are not allowed to forage for a natural diet. These local farm eggs are also far more nutritious than commercially raised eggs. But in fall and winter months my access to these farmers at local farmers markets is reduced leaving me to rely on labels in the grocery store. Read Review

pasture raised chicken Pasture Raised

Know where your meat comes from, Marble Creek Farmstead.


By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Marble Creek Farmstead is a small, sustainable family farm located in Sylacauga, Alabama. The owners Jesie and Matthew Lawrence named the farm after Sylacauga, the Marble City. Marble Creek Farmstead grows fruits, vegetables, and flowers—all free from pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. And their forest, garden-style orchard is in the planning stages. Marble Creek Farmstead also has a line of all humanely raised, natural, pastured raised meats.  If you do not know the difference between family farms and factory farms, Goggle “factory farms,” or watch Food, Inc. documentary. Unlike many factory farms where chickens are jammed in chicken houses, cattle never see much less eat grass from their muddy pens in their own filth, and pigs are kept in windowless sheds with no sunlight or fresh air, Marble Creek Farmstead’s animals are never fed genetically modified organisms GMOs. The farm raises pastured Cornish cross and red ranger broiler chickens for meat and has approximately 80 egg laying birds in mobile chicken tractors with a chicken moat coming soon. They are fed non-GMO chicken feed, some of the spent brewer’s grain from Druid City Brewing, and what they find in the pasture. Read Review

samuel smith organic beerOrganic English Brews

Samuel Smith is Yorkshire’s oldest beer and USDA Organic.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Samuel Smith is among the few independent breweries remaining in England. They brew at The Old Brewery at Tadcaster, Yorkshire's oldest brewery founded in 1758 when its original well was sunk. The well is still used today for drawing brewing water from 85 feet underground. Traditional brewing methods have also been retained here including making its own copper, repairing its oak casks, and hand-weighing hops by the master hop blender. Its naturally conditioned, draught beer is hand-pulled from oak casks. And the brewery has used the same strain of yeast since the 19th Century. Samuel Smith’s ales and stouts are fermented in “stone Yorkshire squares,” made of solid slabs of slate. The brewery also keeps tradition with its team of Shire horses, among the last active dray horses in the world, delivering beer in Tadcaster. Samuel Smith also operates over 300 pubs, offering only beers produced by the Tadcaster brewery and serve no large corporation spirits or soft drinks. Read Review

alabama heirloom tomatoesAlabama Heirloom Tomatoes

Do you know one heirloom from another?

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


I am a tomato snob. I admit it. If I had to choose one fruit that I could have in season—all the time—it would be tomatoes. And it would be heirloom tomatoes of all shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors. If you are new to heirlooms, don’t expect them to all be round and red.

Heirloom tomatoes do not have the genetic mutation that gives tomatoes a uniform red color. And unlike the seeds of hybridized plants, Heirloom seeds “breed true.” And unlike the seeds of hybridized plants, Heirloom seeds “breed true.” Both sides of an heirloom variety’s DNA are derived from a stable cultivar, whereas hybridized seeds combine different cultivars. People often ask how grocery store tomatoes can look so pretty and taste so awful. The same mutation that makes tomatoes red also ruins a tomato’s historic taste and texture. So unlike thick skinned, mealy grocery store tomatoes, heirloom skins are thin, bruise and crack easily, and shelf life is shorter. So grow your own or purchase local heirlooms. Read More


petals from the past blueberries blackberriesBerry Season

Petals From The Past berries fill my fridge and freezer.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

As a child I picked wild blackberries with my grandmother. We both wore bonnets and long aprons for protection. Looking back I smile, as I cannot imagine a farm kid today wearing such old fashioned attire. But I am glad that I have such a vivid memory of mine. Read Review





dayspring dairy chocolate cheese Local Farmstead Cheese

I fall in love at first bite with chocolate cheese.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


I just love to meet folks who have found their calling. Greg and Ana Kelly are among them. I recently met the couple and discovered their scrumptious, Dayspring Dairy cheeses at Pepper Place Market. Several years ago the couple left their professional careers to purchase a beautiful farm in Gallant, Alabama and construct their own sheep dairy and creamery. Believing that God led them to this work, they named it Dayspring for the sunrise and biblical reference to Jesus. Read Review




organic coffeeOrganic Coffee

Higher Ground roasts organic, fair trade, and shade grown coffee.

By Jan Walsh

Photo by Robin Colter

I start each day with a cup of organic coffee and a touch of organic cream. And I don’t have to go far to find it. Higher Ground Roasters is located in Birmingham. And their coffees are found locally. 
Read Review





working cows dairy alabama organic milk cream Cream Rises

Alabama’s Working Cows Dairy makes pasture raised, organic milk.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Robin Colter

Cream rises to the top. And Working Farms Dairy is “the cream” of Alabama dairies. Working Cows Dairy’s history begins in 1985, when Jan and Rinske de Jong came to the land of opportunity, from Holland, with $5,000 and a dream to start their own dairy. They traded milking a farmer’s cows for use of his barn and 40 acres in Cottondale, Florida. They then leased 55 cows and started milking 20 hours a day. Three sons: Jonny, Mendy, and Ike and 30 years later the family are the proud owners of Alabama’s only organic dairy, located in Slocomb.

Read Review



bare naked noodles ravioli sauceNaked or Dressed

How do you like your pasta?

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Robin Colter

Bare Naked Noodles is a local business, making small batch pastas in many flavors.


After 25 years as a financial advisor, Hoover, Alabama resident, Linda Croley, founder and owner of Bare Naked Noodles, started the business in 2011 with a mission of bringing fresh pasta using local ingredients to the Birmingham market. Bare Naked Noodles incorporates Hamm Farms produce, Stone Hollow Farms’ goat cheese, and Amelia's spiced pecans, along with local duck eggs and chicken eggs.
Read Review

papa vince olive oil review Jan Walsh

Papa Vince

Get a taste of Jan Walsh's favorite olive oil.

By Jan Walsh

Photo By Robin Colter

I cannot take credit for finding Papa Vince. It found me. It all began while my son Jordan Copeland was shopping at Apple Market in Pensacola, Florida. He passed a lady pouring her olive oils who asked, “Would you like a taste?” Too hurried to do so, he declined. Then as he walked past her, she added, “Are you sure? My family makes them in Sicily.” He stopped, met Vitina Feo, tasted the oils, and was amazed. And after learning this was the first market to carry the oils in the U.S., he immediately called asking me to taste the oil, saying she was sending a bottle to me. Soon afterwards, the EVOO arrived along with an email and note of gratitude. Read Review


mcewen and sons gritsOrganic Holiday

McEwen and Sons make holiday meals healthy.

By Jan Walsh

Photo By Robin Colter


Family holiday meals are the highlight of the year at my house. So I make them both healthy and delicious with McEwen and Sons certified organic products.

From grits to popcorn McEwen and Sons organic products are a staple in my fridge all year. And during the holidays when the house goes from empty nester to full of family, I stock up.
Read Review