Healthy Landscaping

Doctors for Fresh Fruit Blog

HL is the Community Spotlight Supporter for the DC Natural Health Festival April 22!

Posted by Healthy Landscaping Staff on April 14, 2012 in HL Updates with No Comments

Healthy Landscaping is proud to be the Community Spotlight Sponsor for the Natural Health Festival. Promises to be a great event.

Check out their impressive schedule.

Man, we’re going to be busy with these back to back events, the DC Live Green Rush on Saturday and the Natural Health Festival on Sunday. But we’re thinking they’re going to be the two most fun events of the whole year so try your best to come out to both.

Oh yeah. The Natural Health Festival is TOTALLY FREE! They even have free yoga classes and a talk on container gardening–nice. See you guys there :).

Check Out Green Rush April 21, 2012 in Washington, DC!

Posted by Healthy Landscaping Staff on April 13, 2012 in HL Updates with No Comments

Hey guys. This is going to be an awesomely fun event we’ve been waiting for.

We will be participating by providing SIX fruit related clues for you guys in the scavenger hunt. Pictures will be shown of either the fruit itself, the pits, the flowers, or the leaves of a fruiting plant that grows deliciously right here in the DC area. Then, you’ll have to identify it. Don’t worry it’ll be practically multiple choice and we won’t go too hard. Maybe you should Google Image search pawpaws right before you head out that day though… šŸ˜€

Green Rush 2012
April 21, 2012
2:30 – 5:30 pm, kickoff at Logan Circle
Tickets: $25/member, $35/non-member
Register at

Join hundreds of fellow eco-conscious adventurers in DC for an Earth Day scavenger hunt unlike any other. Teams of 2-5 people will compete in challenges and decode clues for a chance to win a $1,000 grand prize. Bust out your best green themed costume and enthusiasm for a chance at the Green Spirit Award and a year of Honest Tea.

The Green Rush is co-presented by Live Green and Clean Currents, two organizations who make eco-friendly living accessible and fun. And what better way to show off DC’s green resources than through a wild and crazy city-wide scavenger hunt? So, grab your friends and get ready to experience DC in a whole new way. Take $5 off your registration with the code: greenrush2012

After the race, celebrate at our after party at Liv (2001 11th St, NW) hosted by Repax. Enjoy a performance by Tabi Bonney, share tales of glory, and witness the crowning of the new 2012 Green Rush champion.

Mayo Yowell and Why We Love Blueberries

Posted by Healthy Landscaping Staff on March 29, 2012 in Fruit Growing with No Comments

Mayo Yowell

Early on as a UVA undergraduate, I was lucky enough to discover the most delicious little blueberry farm in America. They took down their big “Blueberries” sign in a year or two so it became tricky finding my way back to the little flavor paradise.

I’d stop by during summer drives back home to Fairfax, VA and load up on the delicious gems. They had one of those old-fashioned honor-system boxes (in my experience, that usually means the fruit will be tops.) Though the farm wasn’t that big, it had the most delicious tasting blueberries I simply had ever had. They were bursting with lively flavor every time. Period. I had been to many a pick-your-own blueberry farm throughout the region and honestly nothing came close. In fact, before that farm I didn’t even love blueberries (gasp!) That was only because I didn’t know what a real blueberry was supposed to taste like.

The man behind the berries was the late Mayo Yowell. I am saddened to hear that he passed away last month in Feb 2012. His family is thankfully still continuing his blueberry farm and some of their plot was donated as a community garden for folks nearby who want to garden but don’t have the space.

Fortunately for us in the DC/VA/MD area, we are a hotspot for organically growing blueberries. Among the 2 major varieties that thrive in our region, highbush and rabbiteye, Mayo Yowell was partial to growing highbush blueberries. Highbush blueberries are further broken up into northern and southern highbush, northern faring better in northern state and mountainous climates, and southern for tolerating the summer heat of the southern states (wow names designations that are simple and actually make sense).

Since we are uniquely situated in the center, we can get away with growing both northern and southern highbush varieties. Although rabbiteyes do tend to be more soil adaptable in general, we are really in prime blueberry growing land for the whole host of varieties, except for the lowbush wild type they grow in Maine. You should certainly try to select the varieties best suited for your specific climate (the terrain around here can get pretty diverse after all, ranging from mountainous to coastal).

Oh and don’t forget blueberries are in love with acidic soil.

To try the Yowell family’s delicious(!) blueberries just visit:

3385 N Seminole Trail Madison, VA 22727 in season :). Enjoy.


The Top 5 Mouth Watering Watermelons

Posted by Healthy Landscaping Staff on February 17, 2012 in Fruit Growing with No Comments

There’s no doubt about it–watermelon is one of the most delicious things you can grow in your summer garden.

We asked our top gardeners what they thought were the 5 most delicious watermelon to grow in the DC metropolitan area. Here’s how they ranked them:

5. Moon and Stars. This is a beautiful heirloom variety kids loves to watch grow, and eat. It has aĀ  beautiful dark green shell that practically looks like an artist painted yellow specks and (at least one) big yellow circle on it.

4. Sugar Baby. Small, icebox size. Again has dark green outside rind. These are super refreshing and have worked well in many local gardens.

3. Crimson Sweet. Now this is a sweet and tasty watermelon. Nice medium sized and undoubtedly one the most popular for home gardening.

2. Ali Baba. OK, wow. The vast majority of people that try a ripened Ali Baba melon say it’s the best watermelon of their life, hands down. This is a large oblong shaped melon that originated in Iraq. I thought this one would win amongst our team.

1.Ā  Charleston Grey. Talk about old school,Ā  developed in the 1940’s this is a serious watermelon. It’s another large oblong one with crisp and sweet flesh. I’m tempted to make my whole watermelon patch this year just a big supply of Charleston Grey. You get doubleĀ  or triple the servings for the family out of almost the same ripening wait time as for the other smaller varieties. That means less trips to the grocery store and more munching on delicious, home grown watermelon.

Pesticide Residue on Fruit Peel? Well, you could grow it yourself.

Posted by Healthy Landscaping Staff on February 9, 2012 in Health & Nutrition with 2 Comments

Pesticide Spraying (Wellness Uncovered)

This will be the final post on fruit and vegetable peels. As you may have read in our last posting, fruit and vegetable peels indeed carry valuable nutrition. The trade-off however may be that peels also happen to contain the highest concentration of pesticide residue found on produce.

First things first. There is rampant underconsumption of fruits and vegetables today in America. The levels of pesticide found on produce has not been proven to pose harmful risk to human health and is strictly regulated by the both the EPA and FDA, the latter also monitoring imported produce. To reduce fruit and vegetable consumption would be silly. We need more fruit and vegetable consumption in this day and age, not less. Just remember to thoroughly wash your produce and consider peeling or going organic (or growing your own!) for at least some select types of produce.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a Washington-based non-profit that analyzes United States Department of Agriculture data to come up with an annual summary of produce with the highest levels of pesticide residue contamination. Our favorite edibles on the EWG’s “Dirty Dozen” list are apples, strawberries, peaches, grapes, and blueberries. Bummer.

Our favorites on the EWG’s “Clean 15” list are onions, pineapples, avocado, mango, and watermelon! According to the EWG, you can decrease your volume of daily pesticide consumption by 92% by selecting from the Clean 15 and can go from 14 different types of pesticides per day to less than 2.

Here are CNN and Daily Green discussions of the EWG list.

Agricultural groups contend that just because a pesticide is found at a DETECTABLE level does not mean it is a dangerous level. Good point. 95-99% of produce was found in 2001 by the FDA to fall within EPA tolerance levels which are already considerably lower than levels found to be harmful to humans.

This study by the Department of Analytical Chemistry at the The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station to determine ways to decrease pesticide residue recommended to wash all fresh produce under tap water for at least thirty seconds. They did NOT find mild detergents or fruit and vegetable washes to enhance the removal of pesticides above water alone.

This 2010 study which appeared in the journal Pediatrics showed a link between increased organophosphate pesticide levels detected in urine and an increased risk of ADHD. Since the 1996 Food Quality Protection Act, the EPA has thankfully been working to make pesticide levels more strict and to take into account that children are at increased risk from pesticide exposure.

Whew. Well that was a lot of info. Besides for following CDC recommendations on rinsing produce, going organic or peelingĀ  the produce that contains the highest levels of pesticide levels is something to consider.

One fun solution to taking advantage of all the special nutrition in fruit and vegetable peel without worrying about pesticide residues is to grow it yourself! That way you know exactly what goes and does not go into your produce at all times. By carefully selecting the right varieties adapted for your region, you can avoid using pesticides while harvesting bountiful and delicious fruits and veggies.

Many of the types of produce with the highest levels of pesticides are easily grown at home including blueberries, grapes, and peaches. Yum.

Not to mention tree-ripened fruit will taste dramatically better!

Apple peel, orange rind, and cancer

Posted by Healthy Landscaping Staff on December 16, 2011 in Health & Nutrition with 1 Comment

Apple Peel Phytochemicals (Nutrition Journal)

Apple Peel Phytochemicals (Cornell University)

You hear a lot these days about valuable nutrition being concentrated in the (pigmented) peel of fruits and vegetables.Ā  Is this true? The short answer is… definitely.

Many fruits actually have higher concentrations of cancer-fighting antioxidants in the peel than in the flesh, not to mention peel contains valuable dietary fiber. Anthocyanin pigments, phenolic compounds, quercetin, terpenes, tannins, and catechin are some examples of the beneficial phytochemicals found in high concentrations in peels.

In fact,Ā  as highlighted in this Cornell University study, apple peel phytochemicals can actually inhibit the growth of both colon and liver cancer cells. The dosage needed of apple peel to inhibit Hep G2 liver cancer cell proliferation by 50%, or the EC50, is only about 10% of the dosage needed of apple flesh to do the same. The high quercetin levels in the peel also have been associated with decreased risk for diabetes type II.

In one of the most interesting fruit peel studies to date, the Arizona Cancer Center found that consuming citrus peels (probably due to the naturally occurring d-limonene in citrus rind) resulted in an odds-ratio of 0.66 for developing the skin cancer squamous cell carcinoma and importantly a corresponding dose-dependent relationship. Meaning, consumption of citrus peel cut the risk for skin cancer by a third. Not bad. At least in this study, drinking juice did not have any of this protective effect nor did just eating oranges normally without the peel. Only those that specifically consumed the peel of citrus had this observed protective effect. Interesting. You can deliciously incorporate citrus peel into your diet as fragrant preserves, as zest for rice or salsa,Ā  or also in baked goods.

Women’s Health Magazine also ran this short article about some of the research highlights of peel nutrition in eggplant, cucumber, kiwi, citrus and apple.

In short, nutrition researchers are just beginning to discover the unique and immense health benefits found in naturally pigmented peels.

Next up, we’ll talk about the other side to the coin… the cons of eating peel which in addition to unique health benefits, unsurprisingly also harbors most of the pesticide and wax residue found in fresh produce.

The Peel Sessions: Eating fruit & vegetable peel– health pros, cons, and what to do!

Posted by Healthy Landscaping Staff on December 16, 2011 in Health & Nutrition with No Comments

The Fruit Peel Project

We are starting a series of postsĀ  breaking down the important pros and cons of consuming fruit and vegetable peels:

1) Pro: the impressive and specific nutritional benefits concentrated in fruit and vegetable peel.

2) Con: the concern about pesticide and wax residue levels also concentrated in peel.

3) Finally we won’t leave you hanging, we’ll discuss the wisest options to consider.

Stay tuned for this exciting series.

Harvard Nutrition: Fruits & veggies protect against specific diseases

Posted by Healthy Landscaping Staff on December 9, 2011 in Health & Nutrition with No Comments

Harvard School of Public Health

Harvard: The Nutrition Source

Harvard’s Nutrition Source talks about the positive impact of eating fruits and vegetables on numerous diseases including heart attacks, stroke, blood pressure, cancer, gastrointestinal health, macular degeneration and eye cataracts. Cancer studies suggest that certain types of vegetables and fruits may be more likely to protect against cancer. Fruit seems to help protect against all the cancers vegetables do plus lung cancer.



“…non-starchy vegetablesā€”such as lettuce and other leafy greens, broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, as well as garlic, onions, and the likeā€”and fruits “probably” protect against several types of cancers, including those of the mouth, throat, voice box, esophagus, and stomach; fruit probably also protects against lung cancer.”

Harvard: The Nutrition Source full article.

American Cancer Society: The cancer and diet link

Posted by Healthy Landscaping Staff on December 3, 2011 in Health & Nutrition with 1 Comment

American Cancer Society: Lower your cancer risk by eating right

American Cancer Society

Everyone knows eating fruits and vegetables is good for you. But the true impact of eating right on health? Still underestimated.

One third of cancer deathsā€¦ jeesh. If we could prevent just this third of cancer deaths in America I know a lot of families that would be happierā€¦



“About one third of cancer deaths can be attributed to poor diet and physical inactivity. Research has demonstrated that maintaining a healthy weight, staying physically active throughout life, and consuming a healthy diet can substantially reduce a person’s lifetime risk of developing cancer. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s new dietary guidelines reflect what the American Cancer Society has been recommending for years: balance calories with physical activity, and eat more healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, and seafood, and consume less saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and refined grains.”

American Cancer Society Full Story.

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The directors at Healthy Landscaping blog about healthy habits, fruit growing, and more!

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