Thursday, March 21, 2013

Plant and Nut Availability Update

Executive Summary:

Standard tubelings still available for all categories (Hazel, Chestnut and Hickory-Pecan) except MP-BFL-Haz. We expect most orders taken now to ship around mid-June, some categories still available earlier.

Bare-root dormant tubelings SOLD OUT for 2013.

A few hazels and hickories still available from the 2012 harvest. Chestnuts from 2012 sold out.

Details to come, but right now we're preparing for the Short Course that starts tomorrow!

Friday, March 1, 2013

"Eat all the nuts you want." "Really!??" "Really."

  The past few days saw the publication of a major piece of diet / medical research, in the New England Journal Of Medicine.  The NEJM is one of the top peer-reviewed medical journals in the world, highly respected.

  The study, basically, measured the effects of a traditional "Mediterranean diet" - in a large group of people (over 7,000) over a long period of time (median of 4.8 years); in Spain (where access to the correct foods is good.)

  In the world of medical research, this is an extraordinary achievement; it's incredibly hard to follow so many people, for such a long period; but they did it.

  The major reason this hit the news now- the study was shut down.  By the "medical ethics" watchdogs.  Because the results were so very clear, that to continue would be causing unnecessary deaths and illness- in the control group.  They knew it.

  Most of the world media picked this up as another "yes indeed, olive oil is good for you!" story; but that is grossly inaccurate.   Quoting from the NEJM:

   "In a multicenter trial in Spain, we randomly assigned participants who were at high cardiovascular risk, but with no cardiovascular disease at enrollment, to one of three diets: a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with mixed nuts, or a control diet (advice to reduce dietary fat). "

   In plain English; they compared 3 diets; high olive oil; high nuts (instead of olive oil); or common "low-fat" diet.

   The outcome- either the olive or - OR the high nuts diet - reduced death and illness by 30%, over the low-fat diet.  That's essentially the same impact statins have; the miracle drug of the past decades.

   The difference between the high olive oil diet and the high nuts diet (specifically a mixture of "English" walnuts, almonds - and hazelnuts!!) was a matter of a couple percent- not statistically significant.

  Nuts - are good for you.  We - here - knew that.  Now the medical world agrees, fully.

   MORE THAN THAT - there were two aspects to the study that are very hard to sift out of either the technical paper or the popular press versions; but which the NYT writer Gina Kolata hits in her video interview; available at the top of this article.

  Speaking to the researchers; she was amazed to hear them recommend that "people should eat all the nuts they want."  She had trouble believing that- as did her interviewer- so it gets repeated.  Yep; that's what the doctors were saying- with this addendum: "Except at meals."  What?  Because- they fill you up so effectively- you might not eat the fish, fruit, and tomato sauce that are also part of the diet...

   They kind of gloss over the "why" - but it's actually enormously significant.  Nuts satisfy your hunger- to the extent that you stop being hungry.

   In a world plagued with increasing obesity, and obsession with losing weight- can we "sell" that?

   Oh, yes we can.  And for once- getting people to eat more of our food product - will be good for them.

  Notice; our other 2 nut crops weren't included in the study; chestnuts and hickory/pecans- so we shouldn't assume.  But there is abundant evidence they are also, literally, "good" for you; and we're working on the data for that.