What Is Biodynamic Wine?
There are many buzzwords that seem to surround our food; organic, sustainable, healthy, natural, the list goes on and on. Whether you have heard of the term biodynamic before or this is your first time encountering, you may feel the urge to view it as just another trendy term used to describe food. But the term biodynamic refers to a method of cultivation that aims to promote harmony between the natural world and those that live in it.
Food plays an important role not only in our daily lives but in our culture and economy as well. But oftentimes getting dinner on the table takes precedent over wondering how it was grown and where it came from. This is unfortunate because pesticides, hormones, and over-processed foods are just some of the ills contributing to our and our planet’s health issues.
Biodynamic agriculture is a response to this issue. This style of cultivation has roots in the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, which asserts that a farm or vineyard is a living system in its own right. He emphasized the relationships between plants, soil, and animals as the lifeblood of a farm. The aim of biodynamic farming is to create a system that is self-sustaining, using compost instead of chemical fertilizers.
As a practice, this style of farming goes a step further than organic cultivation, not only avoiding pesticides but following the natural rhythms of the environment. The guidelines that Biodynamic farms must follow are quite strict; they must use self-contained composting materials, only compost can be used as a fertilizing material, and the use of plastic materials in the farm’s infrastructure is not permitted. Producers who wish to label their products as biodynamic must be properly credentialed by an organization called Demeter. In order to become certified cultivators must use eight mineral and plant-based preparations to activate soil life and plant growth on the land.
The Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association defines biodynamic agriculture as “a spiritual-ethical-ecological approach to agriculture, gardens, food production and nutrition.” Biodynamic farming uses sustainable practices to ensure that the land is left in as good or better shape as it was found for future generations.
So biodynamic viticulture refers to using these sorts of natural and holistic practices to make wine. Biodynamic vineyards thus become a haven for local flora and fauna, barring a few select pests(e.g. gophers and insects) who would eat every grape before it ever graced a barrel if they had their way.
Gerard Bertrand, a world-renowned producer of biodynamic wines, characterizes biodynamic wine as possessing “more freshness, more minerality, and more complexity.” He asserts that the soil is what determines a wine’s terroir, and to use chemicals in the soil strips it of its unique characteristics. Because of the level of care biodynamic farmers use in their vineyards biodynamic wine is said to have a higher-quality taste than other types of wine.
We carry a variety of biodynamic wines here at the Co-op from producers such as Beaver Creek, Frey Vineyards, and Lunaria Orsogna.
Natural Teeth Whitener
Simple, effective, and affordable!
Made with only 3 ingredients…
Looking for a way to brighten your smile without the harsh chemicals? Well we have a great natural solution for you!
Turmeric is a bright orange root vegetable closely related to ginger. When dried and ground into a powder it becomes an earthy spice that is popular in Middle Eastern, Asian, and Indian cuisine.
The bright color compounds found in turmeric are responsible for the whitening effect and with consistent usage it’s been shown to have results similar to using activated charcoal.
In addition turmeric is well-known for its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties and truly stands out when it comes to oral health.
Studies have shown that brushing your teeth with turmeric is comparable to using mouthwash when it comes to removing plaque building, killing bacteria, and reducing inflammation! Turmeric has also been shown to prevent gum disease and relieve oral pain.
Coconut oil is known for its versatility, popularly used in everything from lotions and lip balms to baked goods and popcorn, so it’s not much of a surprise that it is also amazing for oral care.
Coconut oil is rich in anti-microbial fatty acids, such as lauric acid. Studies have shown that lauric acid attacks harmful bacteria that cause bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease.
By preventing plaque build-up and improving gum health coconut oil helps to keep your teeth white.
Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is generally used as a leavening agent in baking and is popular as a deodorizer due to its ability to absorb smelly food particles. You may have also seen baking soda listed as an ingredient in some toothpastes as it is well known for its oral care benefits, specifically teeth whitening!
When brushing with baking soda it acts as a mild abrasive that can help remove stains. Some may worry that this abrasion could damage tooth enamel but according to the American Dental Association, silica particles commonly used in toothpaste as an abrasive agent are actually much harder than baking soda particles.
Baking soda also acts as a mild base which helps to alkalize your mouth, creating an environment that is hard for bacteria to grow in.
All three of these ingredients have their own oral health benefits and when combined they make for an extremely effective teeth whitener that’s affordable, all natural, and easy to make!
Only 3 ingredients needed:
- 2 tbsp Coconut Oil
- 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 2-3 drops of essential oil (optional)
Mix all the ingredients together in a glass jar.
It helps to use slightly softened, but not melted, coconut oil.
Turmeric is also notorious for staining anything and everything yellow (except your teeth!) so be cautious when measuring and mixing it.
For less coconut taste opt for a refined coconut oil which will have a much more mild coconut flavor compared to unrefined.
You can also add a few drops of peppermint essential oil to make the mix more pleasant tasting!
After brushing your teeth with regular toothpaste and rinsing, scoop a pea-sized amount of the homemade teeth whitener onto your toothbrush and use it just like you would toothpaste.
You may want to use a separate toothbrush from your regular one as the turmeric will most likely stain the brush.
Store in a sealed jar at room temperature.
Use up to once a day or every other day for best results.
Layered Peanut Butter Freezer Fudge
Stuck at home and looking for a fun and delicious recipe that the whole family will love? We have just what you need, easy layered peanut butter freezer fudge! This simple yet hands-on recipe makes for the perfect sweet treat while also being dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan!
This recipe is also an opportunity to try out some of the Fair Trade products that we have in our store! Coconut Oil and Chocolate are products that traditionally have not always fairly compensated the farmers that produce them. Buying Fair Trade versions of these products makes a positive impact on the lives of these farmers and makes the cultivation of these products more sustainable as well. For this recipe, we suggest using Dr. Bronner’s coconut oil and Equal Exchange chocolate chips, but we have many more Fair Trade options in our store for you to choose from! You can find some of our staff’s favorite Fair Trade items in another of our blog posts.
What You’ll Need:
- 8×8 inch Baking Dish
- Parchment Paper
- Small Saucepan
- Small Mixing Bowls
- Measuring Spoons/Cups
- Rubber Spatula
- Baking Sheet
- Ziplock Bag (optional)
- 1 + ½ cup Peanut Butter
- 6-8 tbsp Maple Syrup
- 1 ½ cup Oat Flour (Divided)
- ¼ cup Cocoa Powder
- 1 cup Coconut Milk (Divided)
- 2-3 tbsp Coconut Oil
- 2 cups Chocolate Chips
Makes 12+ servings!
- Begin by heating the small saucepan over low heat and adding in 1 cup of the peanut butter and all of the maple syrup.
- Mix together the peanut butter and maple syrup, stirring constantly for about one minute or until smooth.
- Remove the peanut butter mixture from the heat and evenly divide into two mixing bowls.
- To one of the mixing bowls add in half of the oat flour (¾ cup), half of the coconut milk (½ cup), and all of the cocoa powder. Mix until smooth and thick to form the chocolate layer.
- To the other mixing bowl add in the remaining oat flour (¾ cup), remaining coconut milk (½ cup), and remaining peanut butter (½ cup). Mix until smooth and creamy to form the peanut butter layer.
- Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper and using clean hands or a rubber spatula press the chocolate mixture into the bottom of the pan to form an even layer.
- Scoop the peanut butter mixture on top of the chocolate layer and press into an even layer on top.
- Place in the freezer overnight or for at least 3 hours to set.
- Once fully set remove the layered freezer fudge from the parchment and cut into 2-inch cubes.
- Melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil together in a small saucepan or double boiler over medium-low heat until smooth and creamy, being careful to not burn the chocolate by stirring constantly.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Using a fork or slotted spoon, dip each fudge chunk into the melted chocolate sauce, drain off extra chocolate by gently tapping the side of the bowl and then set on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
- Place into the freezer for a minimum of 30 minutes to allow the chocolate sauce to harden.
- *Optional – For an extra touch scoop a tablespoon or two of peanut butter into a small ziplock bag. Using scissors cut off the tip of one of the bottom corners of the bag and use it as a frosting piper to drizzle peanut butter on top of each fudge chunk!
Store in the fridge for up to a week or the freezer for up to a month.
- Peanut butter can be substituted with almond or cashew butter.
- Coconut milk can be substituted with any plant-based milk.
- If your peanut butter is extra thick add a splash of extra coconut milk to help with mixing and if your peanut butter is thin and drippy add an extra ½ tbsp of oat flour to thicken it up.
- To make your own oat flour simply pour whole rolled oats into a food processor, high-powered blender, or clean coffee grinder.
Recipe developed by our staff member, Rheanna Smith. Rheanna has a background in nutrition and food science, and along with working in many departments here at the Davis Food Co-op she actively runs a food blog containing healthy recipes and nutrition tips. Keep an eye on our Co-op blog to see some of her recipes and give her Instagram account a follow for additional health tips and ideas, @rheannnabanana.