Everyone who has attended a class knows that I absolutely adore my Vitamix. I bought my high powered blender the instant I decided the raw lifestyle was worth investing into. I’m not entirely sure I could do what I do without it. Not only does it help me create all my yummies, but it saves me tons of time. It grinds nuts and seeds, completely bursts the cell walls of plants to release that incredible chlorophyll, breaks down frozen fruit to make ice cream, in fact I haven’t found anything my Vitamix cannot do. The only problem with the Vitamix? It’s expensive!!!!! If you buy a new Deluxe Vitamix 5200, with all the bells and whistles, it comes out to $650 (and that’s without S&H!). You can also buy a Vitamix that has been “factory reconditioned” (aka..used) for 379.00. I called the company and got the old model – a Factory Reconditioned Vitamix 5000 for $250 – two years ago. While I consider that a steal, $300-$400 for a blender is way beyond most people’s budgets, especially when they also have an expensive stove, microwave, toaster oven, crockpot, rice cooker, etc…just sitting around their kitchen waiting to be used.
People are always asking if there are other blenders out there that are cheaper, yet have the same performance. I have personally used two others that come close. The first is a Blendtec, the rival to the Vitamix. It’s much more affordable, coming in at $440 for the “Wild Side” (deluxe version), $400 for the Basic Version, and $350 for the Factory Reconditioned Basic. It’s actually slightly more powerful than the Vitamix, coming in at 1560 Watts vs. the Vitamix’s 1380 Watts. The Basic comes with a 32 oz. pitcher, the Wild Side has a 44 oz. pitcher, and the Vitamix has a 64 oz. pitcher. The Blendtec has a broader based pitcher – easier to get your food out and nothing gets trapped under the blades. Lastly, the Blendtec is programmable and you can set it and walk away and it will shut itself off. Very cool! All in all, the Blendtec is a GREAT BUY. If you can find one, go for it. BUT…there are THREE drawbacks. First, it does not come with a tamper – an instrument to push food into the blades. Therefore, you need to cut and dice your food smaller so it will move AND you CANNOT make Ice cream in this blender. :/ That’s a big part of my diet, so I cannot imagine having the Blendtec permanently. Second, even though the base of the pitcher is larger (my Vitamix pitcher is tapered), I have problems doing small amounts of food. One cup of dip in the Blendtec just spins…doesn’t mix. And finally, the larger motor doesn’t do any more than I need, but it is a LOT louder – which is not so good when you have kids with sensitive hearing, babies, or need to do any food prep when people are sleeping.
The second blender I have had the opportunity to try out is Montel William’s HealthMaster. At 4 easy payments of $49.99 (plus S&H), it’s by far the cheapest at $200. It comes in at 1100 watts of power, which isn’t much less than Vitamix’s 1380 watts. It has a monster 70 oz. pitcher that has a nice broad base where no food gets stuck. It comes with a tamper! Yaaay! Ice cream, here we come! And for those who aren’t completely raw, lots and lots of easy recipes that are fairly healthy. AND…the base is programmable just like the Blendtec. Cool. Okay, those are the pro’s. Here come the con’s. First, like the Blendtec, even though the base of the pitcher is larger (my Vitamix pitcher is tapered), I have problems doing small amounts of food. One cup of dip in the HealthMaster just spins…doesn’t mix. Second, the lower wattage means that it just isn’t as powerful and doesn’t blend as smooth or creamy as mine. I tried to make a pie crust (crushed nuts and fruit) in the HealthMaster and it got stuck in the pitcher. The pitcher has pockets where food gets caught and I can’t just spatula it down to the bottom…I’m not sure if you can see from the picture. The motor is ridiculously loud and slightly smelly (which the manufacturer says will wear off within six months). Lastly, it has two locking mechanisms that sound like a wonderful safeguard but are actually quite annoying. The thing won’t run unless the pitcher is locked to the base and the lid is locked to the pitcher. Both locks are quite difficult to engage and after working with it for a half an hour, my fingers were starting to blister. I got used to it quickly, but my friend said she was less likely to work with it because of this feature.
So there we are. Two other options instead of the Vitamix. Both of the other blenders tackled Green Smoothies with ease and made dips and sauces effortlessly. They are both less expensive than the Vitamix, which is on sale at QVC right now for $400 in 4 easy payments. I still recommend the Vitamix. It is worth the investment and even if you aren’t raw in any capacity it is wonderful for your kitchen. If you would like to get the Factory Reconditioned Vitamix 5200 and are interested in FREE SHIPING…click on THIS LINK. :) (It has my referral code – free shipping). I hope this helped!!!!
Last summer I had the wonderful opportunity of organizing a CSA for a local farmer. This is Community Supported Agriculture - friends and family in my area that prepay for their produce so the farmer can use the investment to plant and support her business. Then each week we would get a basket overflowing with produce, usually at a fraction of the cost that we would spend at a farmer's market, and delicious varieties of fruits and vegetables that you won't find in stores. I learned that there were more varieties of tomatoes than I could imagine, like Zebra Tomatoes - YUM! I loved incorporating more and more organic foods into my diet and found that my health improved even more...which I didn't think was possible! :) Unfortunately the relationship between the farmer and I severed and I have been hoping to find another farmer that I could do business with. I had close to twelve others also committing to the CSA and they have been asking for a new opportunity as well.
At the Raw ALL AMERICAN Recipe Night last Saturday I had the privilege to meet Shyryn Joy, a local farmer. She has an active CSA in the Valley in which she harvests organic produce and distributes it to members who have prepaid for the season. I have been searching for a local, organic farmer that I could build a relationship with and trust. We are now working together. She will now be holding a new pickup location at my apartment complex and I will in turn find others that would be interested in more organic produce. I have a few people signed up and will continue to spread the wonderful news. And the best news of all...I don't have to handle any money! You work directly with the farmer...I simply refer you to her and help you get your produce.
I'm excited for this new opportunity as Shyryn (Sounds like sharon) plants heirloom varieties of vegetables - which means you get foods you'll never find in the stores. I also have met her in person, spoke in length as to the arrangement, and this is the second CSA I will be organizing so I am well prepared and have learned from my previous experiences. :) It is ALL organic (no use of pesticides WHATSOEVER), and is LOCAL...that is precisely what I have been looking for for six months.
We prepay for 10 weeks and commit to that season. She is very flexible, so you can pay in installments if necessary. It comes out to $25 a week or $250 for the entire 12 weeks. If you are interested, respond to this email and I will send you the membership application. We will receive 6-7 items in our weekly basket, in generous amounts (example: white swiss chard, Chinese watermelon radishes, Amarillo carrots, Bull's blood beets, Purple sprouting broccoli, valencia onions, snowball cauliflower, etc.) During the winter, you will get more vegetables, more greens (perfect for GREEN SMOOTHIES!) as well as some citrus...each season will bring a new variety of vegetables and fruits. :) (Now mind you, I will continue to buy bananas, apples, and other fruit at the store...but my vegetables will mostly be organic, thank God!)
Don't think you can do a whole basket, let me know and I'll find someone for you to split your share with. Then you pay for 5 weeks and only pay $125. But please let me know so I can find someone else who would like to do a split portion. You can either do every other week, or come every week and get a half share. Let me know your preference if this is what you are interested in.
Pickup at the 101 & Union Hills (my place) will begin on February 8th. Pickup will be between 5-7pm (but I will hold yours till the next day if need be), and bring a bag or basket for your ORGANIC produce. Please Email me if you would like a membership application!
Here is a note from Shyryn herself:
Greetings Haley & Friends!
Thank you very much for your interest in Whole Earth Community Supported Agriculture! I am happy to invite you to join the 10 week Winter Harvest Season to begin Tuesday, February 8th. I've attached the latest info packet Whole Earth CSA 2011 Winter Membership for you with all the details. The packet includes a sampling of the planting list, delivery locations and costs for this season.Through Whole Earth CSA, you have the opportunity to receive your share of the freshest harvest available in partnership with me, as your farmer, to sustainably & all naturally grow vegetables personally for you and your family. WE CSA members prepay for a season of vegetables and herbs delivered weekly to their chosen community location. Through your WE CSA membership, we will together create an alternative to the declining quality of our food supply, environment, farmlands, and health by supporting local agriculture!
Your vegetables are grown all naturally. I use no synthetic anything on plants or soil! I aim to create balance in the farm ecosystem as a whole by growing crops within their proper season, maintaining biodiversity through planting many types of crops, and strengthening plants through building healthy soil. I use only high quality organic fertilizers, soil amendments and pesticides (rarely necessary) and other all natural methods of fertilizing and building the soil such as cover crops, crop rotations, tons of well composted manures, and biodynamic preparations.
The planting list each season features many varieties, colors and flavors of most of the kinds of vegetables that grow during that time of year in the Phoenix area. I focus on heirloom, open pollinated varieties from many countries around the world to support the biodiversity of the farm and the planet, to save rare and endangered seeds, as well as delight members with vegetables, colors, nutritional value and tastes you won't conveniently find elsewhere.
Your share is hand harvested personally for you that very same day and delivered weekly in the season to your preferred pick up location. Shares include 6-7 types of vegetables and herbs that are most harvestable that day, in amounts generally much larger than those you'd find in retail grocers. The selection changes from week to week, with the most popular vegetables and staples harvested more frequently.
I invite you to click this link to the Harvests page on the WE CSA website (www.WholeEarthCSA.com) for a view of the vegetables member's received in their shares during previous harvest seasons. You may also visit our Recipes page to peruse the plenitude of recipes given each week with your share to help support you to prepare all those delicious veggies! As a member, you will receive notice of the vegetables planned for harvest that week for your share along with recipes. Check out our Slide Show page for some photos of us at the farm, or read Member's Voices for a sampling of comments from our members.
The number of people a share provides for is greatly subjective as this depends on how one has integrated vegetables in their diet. Members notice they are eating more vegetables than they did before and express that this is a very good thing! Some members opt to split a share with a friend or another family they know if the amounts of vegetables at first seem too much their needs. Many members comment that they truly enjoy eating vegetables they never would have known about without their CSA membership. It's exciting when a member receives a vegetable in their share they used to dislike and discovers how different and great tasting the freshly harvested, all natural & locally grown version is!
As you can imagine and may already know, the quality of vegetables grown all naturally, harvested so close to delivery, and produced by local farmers is beyond compare in terms of freshness, nutrition and vitality. This is only the beginning of the benefits of joining your CSA which extend beyond eating your veggies, toward evolving the social, environmental, financial, health and personal culture of food. You may chose from four community locations for weekly pick up, currently in Surprise, Goodyear, downtown Phoenix, and north Phoenix and now with Haley - near the Arrowhead Mall. I hope this info is helpful to you, and look forward to the possibility of growing and harvesting for you and your family. Thank you!
In Harmony & Abundance!
Your Farmer, Shyryn Joy
Hi everyone!!! The first week of the LRBG Video Club has come and gone. I finally figured out how to convert my video smaller, so it's easier to upload. The first video is on Green Smoothies, as many of you have asked me about them and because it's the first thing you should begin adding to your diet. It's an easy way to get lots of fruits and greens into your diet without chewing till your eyes pop out. This one is simple and it uses the ingredients I already had in my kitchen. I'll do a Green Smoothie video each month, so you can expect more if you sign up for the Club. You can sign up any time, and you will receive a password so as to access all the videos. Each week I will upload a new ten minute video that will have one quick and easy recipe, and nine minutes of me educating you. ;) I hope you enjoy it. Oh, PLEASE send me your feedback and any questions you might have. I also would love to hear what you would like me to demonstrate for you!
Here's a FREE Video and an invitation to join the Video Club!
About the Blogger
Haley is passionate about Raw Food and how God has used it to heal her. She loves to share what she knows with anyone who is curious, and finds herself talking to everyone around her about her lifestyle.