C A N T E R B U R Y.   N I C E   C O U N T R Y.

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How to Maximize New Product Results

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It is the desire of every business owner with their eye on meeting an unmet need in the market, or sustaining current/gaining additional market share or revenue to successfully launch their new product.  In most instances, there has been a considerable amount of resources (time, money, equipment) devoted to the design and development of […]

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Keeping Fruits And Veggies Fresh

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Delicious fruits and vegetables abound during summer time and keeping them fresh for a long time can really be a challenge. There are occasions when buying fruit and vegetables in bulk seem to be the most economical way, but more often than not, by the week’s end, we find ourselves with leftovers of wilted greens and rotten fruits languishing in the crisper drawer. Are you aware that an average American family of four normally would dispose around 25 percent of the food they buy annually? That is a lot of money down the drain.
There are several ways on how you can keep your fruits and vegetables to stay fresh longer. As a general rule, never store fresh fruit and vegetables together. Fruits gives off a higher level of ethylene than vegetables causing it to spoil quickly.
There are fruits that will continue to ripen by just being left to sit on a counter like melons, pears, apples and tomatoes. Other fruits like grapes, bell peppers, citruses and others should be refrigerated. Make your berries last by giving them a quick hot bath. Simply dip and swish them a couple of times in a bowl of hot water to get rid of the mold spores that may be present in them. Spread and allow them to cool off and dry on a paper towel and store them in the fridge.
Before storing vegetable, trim away leafy ends and put holes on plastic bags to allow airflow. Pack them loosely in the fridge. Mushrooms should not be washed until they are ready to be used while leafy greens can be washed before storing.
Fresh fruits and veggies are best consumed a day or two from the time they were bought to give you the freshness and all the nutrients that you need. But if you are to store them, you can extend their life by wrapping them unwashed in a paper towel and placing them inside a plastic bag before putting them in the fridge. This way, the paper towel can absorb any excess moisture in the leaves that causes them to rot quickly. Wetness promotes mold growth.
One other way is to chop the ripened fruits or veggies and freeze them until they are ready to be used. There is a long list of fruits and vegetable that can be frozen like celery, broccoli, bell pepper, eggplant, mushrooms, cabbage, onion, bananas, strawberries, etc. However, they will have to be blanched in hot water first to kill the bacteria that they may have.
Remember that food is expensive and not everyone can afford to waste it and some can’t even afford to buy. Plan out your meals a week ahead so you buy only what you need. If possible, go frequently to the market.
Do you have any great storing tips to share? Let us know.
Have a great day!

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Is the Prospect Who Does Not Buy a Jerk?

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In 1988 I was part of a company that was growing exponentially and had products that were far superior to what competitors could offer.  This company held patents in specific technologies that far surpassed what was otherwise available from other players in the industry.  Selling the product was thought to not be especially difficult, as […]

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ORGANIC PESTICIDES: Are They Really Safe?

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People work hard tending their garden and when pest starts crawling in, it is usually tempting to get any insecticides available at hand. Getting rid of insects can be the most demanding and infuriating side of gardening. There are a lot of chemical pesticides available which can do the job effectively, but the problem is the hazardous effect it has on people’s health and the environment.
Organic or natural pesticides are the easiest we can find or make from kitchen and bathroom products to get rid of certain insects. Borax for example, is very effective in eliminating nasty pests like cockroaches. Garlic oil when sprayed on ponds will kill mosquito larvae. It can also eliminate borers and other type of pests which damages garden plants. It is best to identify first what kind of pest is causing damage to your garden as some pests are actually helpful and you don’t want to kill them too in the process. Tobacco mixed with soap can damage certain plants.
A lot of people think that pesticides are the only defense against pests, the fact is, it is not entirely true.  A little research is all that is needed as there are a lot of practical options available out there like companion planting which is simply growing plants with natural insect repellent properties with your other crops or using biologicals which are bacteria that attack specific pest like grasshoppers, caterpillars and more. It is safe to beneficial insects, humans and animals.
The practices employed in organic farming tremendously boosted the use of non-chemical pesticides to control pests. Sadly, non-chemical technique do not always provide the needed protection and end up using chemical pesticides.
Right now, it is still not certain which of the two systems is causing more harm to the environment.  One reason is that little or no research has been done to study the effects of organic or natural pesticides, unlike the way chemical pesticides are perceived and also because of the assumption that organic or natural is always safe. With conventional pesticides you will always see a warning like “Use with extreme care”.
You may not agree with this, but if it’s a health issue, the best pesticide to use whether organic or synthetic is NONE.  Why? It’s because both systems kill things so, naturally they pose a risk.  It is totally misleading to think that because they are sold on the market means they are safe.
For organic gardeners, it is best to be informed with current research, as the practice involved is changing constantly.

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WEED CONTROL – The Eco-Friendly Way

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Let’s talk about weeds, not the one you might have in mind, I’m referring  to those out of place, unwanted  plants found all over the world.  They are classified by three life cycles, annual, biennial and perennial. There are two types of weeds and I bet you didn’t know that.  There are the grassy weeds whose leaves are narrow, upright and sprout only one leaf from the seed.  The other types are the broadleaf weeds which have flat leaves.  Their leaves have a netlike vein and they grow two leaves from the seed.
So, why do we need to control them?  Well, aside from being unsightly, they deprive the desirable plants of water, soil nutrients and light. They also scratch and irritate your skin and harbor insects.
Weed seed can easily spread from neighboring areas often by livestock, hay, vehicles and farm equipment.  And the most vulnerable to weed invasion are disturbed grounds where useful vegetation has been taken out. If you want to keep these weed off you properties it is best to do vegetative restoration.
Here are some practical tips on weed control without using herbicides:

Not all herbicides are made up of nasty chemicals.  Using concentrated vinegar is one of the best way but you have to be careful though as they are not selective and may kill everything it comes in contact with. I suggest you wear protective goggles.
There is just no way that you can completely stop weed growth, no matter what you do, but you can prevent them from spreading and getting deeply rooted by simply pulling the weeds before they can flower and spread seeds.  So, keep an eye on them.
One fast and effective way is by torching them. It gives you a feeling of satisfaction turning them into ashes. Torching is best for getting rid of weeds on your lawn edging and sidewalk cracks but not practical for large areas.
Use mulch in your garden bed. Aside from preventing weed growth, mulches improve soil condition and add nutrients.  You can use newspaper or cardboard but the best are organic mulches like hay and straw.
Crowed them out!  Put desirable plants and keep them healthy by maintaining a fertile, well drained and aerated soil.

That’s it for now and happy weeding. Remember – “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”