It turns out whole grains, like our Red, Purple, and Nature's Blend, are super complex. They offer a variety of health benefits that make wise food choices easy. In a world full of choices, it's nice to know we can make simple, consistent steps towards a better health outcome for ourselves and our families.
When planning your meals do you think about how what you eat influences how you feel? Every dish is an opportunity to increase your health and well-being. Adding nutrient rich food is a simple switch that could pay dividends in the long run.
When deciding which carbohydrate to add, it is helpful to know that wholegrain rice is an excellent source of protein, fiber and iron.
Plants are an excellent source of protein. Our Purple variety contains 6 grams per serving, or 12% of your daily intake. Protein is a macronutrient that helps build muscle, stabilize hormones, while providing a slow fuel energy source.
Our bodies need a way of ridding itself of build-up, and the way it likes to do this is through fiber. Fiber is a carbohydrate that isn't digested the way other foods are. The result is a cleansing effect that helps everything run the way it should while flushing the body of harmful cholesterol and other toxins. Nature's Blend naturally contains 3 grams of dietary fiber, or 11% of your daily intake.
Iron is a necessary mineral that makes hemoglobin which carries oxygen throughout the blood stream. A lack of iron can cause anemia causing fatigue, shortness of breath, and other complications. Our Red variety contains 1.8 mg of iron per serving, or 10% of your daily intake. Adding Red rice is a great way to strengthen you iron levels and give yourself more energy throughout the day.
So much of who we are and how we feel is based on what we eat. How about switching your regular side with one of these exciting, healthy alternatives and see the impact it will make in your life? We think it's worth the try!
Source: Briley, J., & Jackson, C. (2016). Food as medicine everyday: Reclaim your health with whole foods. Portland, OR: NCNM Press.
Change is good.
I knew I wanted to write this month about the exciting decision our family made to change the look and position of the United States flag emblem on Ralston Family Farms’ carton. We also made it larger and more centrally located on the carton so it would stand out in a crowded shelf. After all, we are all so blessed to live in the most stunningly diverse, beautiful, and free country on Earth!
We hear a lot, and I mean a lot, from adults right now about our country, but what does the flag mean to the younger generation? I decided it would be a great revelation to ask our grandchildren and our great niece this very question and let their answers be the meat of this blog. Their ages range from 1 ½ to 20 years old.
Please read below answers to the question from the kids. I hope their answers are as encouraging to you as much as they were to my family.
Question: When you look at the flag, what does it mean to you?
(Our 18 year old grandson who is heading off to college this year):
“It means one thing, Freedom.”
(11 year old grandson):
“It means freedom and independence . You have to work for freedom. When I look at the flag I think of hard work, power and respect.”
(8 year old granddaughter):
“It makes me feel safe. It means like, I think to me it represents all that’s good, you don’t disrespect it. It represents peace and freedom and justice”
(Almost 3 year old granddaughter):
*When shown picture of the flag: “That’s the flag!”
Question: What does it mean?
(18 month old granddaughter):
When shown picture of the flag: “That’s the flag!” and “Wow! Cute!”
Question: Is that the our country’s flag?
(Our 20 year old great-niece who is an entering junior at Ole Miss University. She is a MIDN 2/C Marine Op who is majoring in pre med Psychology with an emphasis on Forensics and a minor in Naval Science. Upon graduation she will be commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Marine Corps. Her ultimate goal is to become a fighter pilot. Think she might just have an opinion?)
“The flag is the oldest symbol of freedom. It represents the rights of every individual to have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It makes me feel a deep respect and pride for where I’m from. It’s almost indescribable. How do you put hundreds of years of history into words?
Old Glory has been denied and beaten, both foreign and domestically, but she still waves on the heart of every patriot. The Star Spangled Banner is on the faces of our children, in the badges of our Police Officers on Firefighters, and on the boots of our service men and women.
By the grace of God, our country and it’s people have thrived carrying the flag all the while from Washington waving it across the Delaware River to the present day where the flag still hangs in our homes, our classrooms and our hearts.
It’s been a tough battle and will continue to be, but the American dream lives on.
One of my favorite quotes is by Ronald Reagan,“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same.” I’m mighty proud of what God has blessed me with which is one of the reasons I joined the military. I swore to protect what the flag represents because I believe in it with my whole heart. She’s more than a piece of cloth, so as you drive to work, walk into school or close your eyes to sleep, remember how blessed you are to live in this great Nation, because freedom isn’t free.”
We are honored to be 100% American made and we are proud to show the flag on every carton of rice we produce.
May God Bless America!
A letter from Robin Ralston:
Have you seen #farmon in your Instagram feed? Well that’s exactly what we’re doing here at Ralston Family Farms. We are farming on and our 2020 rice crop of Jasmine, Basmati, Southern Long Grain, Nature’s Blend, Aromatic Purple and Red are planted and thriving. Their deep jewel colors are striking along the back drop of the Petite Jean Mountain. The plants are big enough now to sway in rhythm when a soft wind blows.This is nature’s dance, rejoicing in renewed opportunities.
Recently, while I was with my husband checking the rice fields the smell of Jasmine wafted up to meet me. One has to put on rubber boots and walk out into the field itself. You know, get up close and personal with the rice. We all know how wonderful it smells when we cook rice and how fulfilling it is when we eat rice, but did you know how the rice smells in the carton is the same as how it smells in the field?
Looking out among the field, I can see a myriad of green, reminding me of Ireland, which is sometimes called the "Land of Green." My family knows that I love all things Irish. It’s in my heritage and in my heart. There is a line in an Irish folk song that says, “ the soft wind blew down the glad and shook the barely”. In our glade it shakes the rice, but it struck me of how reminiscent that line is to the times we are living in now. Our world is being shaken by a wind, however we farmers can’t be shaken. We get up at daylight, go out our front doors and don't come back in until dark thirty so that the people in the country we love will have food to survive, and not just survive but also to thrive. So yes, we #farmon.
As I say, I love all things Irish but more so, I love the Lord. So I’m going to leave you with this Irish Blessing:
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
May the rain fall soft upon your fields And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
The sleeping buds are bursting into bloom. The cheerful chirping of the mother robin can be heard as she gathers food for her newly welcomed young. As the earth slowly wakes from its winter sleep, we begin our planting season. We believe that when you put care and deliberate thought into the way you work, what you get out is a better product. This better product starts even before planting, it starts with the seed. Maybe you have read about or even seen videos of our no-till planting practices, but have you ever wondered about the varieties of rice we plant? We are eager to share with you the varieties we have chosen and just what makes them so exquisite.
We are a vertically integrated operation. This means that we control our product from the seed that is placed in the ground, all the way to the package that is placed on the shelf. One of the many benefits of this integration is that we get to decide exactly which varieties of rice we will grow. Our rice is chosen using factors such as consistency, taste, and health factors.
Of all of the rice varieties that we grow, perhaps our most distinct rice is our Nature’s Blend. Now, as you walk down the aisle at a grocery store, you will likely see a great many blends on the shelf…what is so special about ours? Our Nature’s Blend is unique because it is grown as a blend IN THE FIELD. We don’t mix our varieties mechanically into a blend like most other rice companies…We plant it and harvest this way!
Nature’s Blend came about through a series of unplanned circumstances. When we planted these three varieties way back when, we had no idea how it would turn out in the field. We had intended to get a crop of each individual variety, but that was not what happened…We were crushed. It was a year wasted…or was it? After much contemplation, we decided to give a sample to a very well known and respected chef. He cooked some up and absolutely loved it! He informed us that we had something special. With this encouragement, we decided to take the risk and plant it as a blend. This “wasted” crop was now our foundation for every package of Nature’s Blend that we have sold since then! For this reason, our in-house name for this blend is God’s Blend, because we see His hand in it and we couldn’t be more grateful.
There are three varieties of rice that you will find in our Nature’s Blend: Aromatic Purple, Aromatic Red and Traditional Brown Long Grain Rice. Nature’s Blend is superbly healthy for you. This is due to the antioxidants found in the bran of the Aromatic Purple and Red. Our Purple rice is filled with a natural plant compound called anthocyanin, which is also found in blueberries! Our Red rice contains an antioxidant called proanthocyanidin, also found in dark chocolate. Finally, the Traditional Brown Rice beautifully complements the flavor of the Red and Purple with a truly traditional nutty flavor.
Perhaps you have heard of these powerful antioxidants, but perhaps not…So, what is so amazing about these little things? For starters, having many phytonutrients can reduce inflammation in the body. While inflammation is the body's natural response to damage, chronic inflammation has been linked with many medical conditions ranging from connective tissue diseases to cancer. In addition, some phytonutrients support immune system function and can have specific effects. For example, some phytochemicals act as anti-microbial agents, reducing the chance that pathologic bacteria or viruses will divide and grow in the body. They may also help to regulate the immune system, helping to maintain the very delicate balance between an overactive immune system (that can lead to autoimmune diseases) and an underactive immune system (that can predispose to infections or cancer). That is a lot of power packed into delicious Red and Purple packages!
There are so many reasons to love this variety and though this one isn't necessarily one that we picked out…it has certainly chosen us!
Find us at your local grocery store!
Everywhere we turn the terms "Uncertain Times" and "New Normal" rear their mysterious heads. Life during an outbreak can seem uncertain and far from normal. It feels as though our world has changed overnight and our desire to get a hold of the change makes us label them. What we know about life, however, is that it changes...constantly.
Big shifts in the way we do things can lead to anxiety and unrest if we aren't careful. We are so used to gradual change that the sudden ones catch us off guard. We take these things personally, just wanting to get back to the way things used to be, when our complaints were familiar and our fears old.
But what if we take this as an opportunity?
An opportunity to grow stronger in our faith by knowing the One who holds us is the One who shifts us.
An opportunity to put away old fears and refuse to accept new ones.
An opportunity to seek out what is true and honest and just and pure and lovely.
An opportunity to be both strong as steal and malleable as clay.
For centuries men and women have done just what we are doing now, relying on faith to meet the challenges of their time, and just like them we will make it through better than we were before.
Farm life seems to have a special place in the imagination of current culture. Farm house style is popular no matter where you live and simplicity is our national "happy place". It is the idea of a slower paced, back-to-nature lifestyle that has captured the hearts of the American public.
We tend to like our daydreams with a filter and adjust them along the path of least resistance, but the truth is that farm life is blessed because there is a blessing in hard work and determination. It is living out a grit and endurance in spite of what the day holds. We can't control the forecast, but we can decide if we are willing to get out in the rain.
Here are some farm truths we've observed along the way:
1. Without Vision the People Parish
Farming is about looking into a future that isn't built yet and deciding you will be the one to build it. That's the thing about land, it creates a foot print. There is a breadth and depth in which to dream. Where there is vision there is a goal, a next step and the desire to see it through.
"Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass." Psalm 37:5
2. Skills + Knowledge = Results
So much of life is fixing things. Everything is going well and then there is a bump in the road. Something is broken and requires a fix. For us this is usually a piece of equipment, but it can be applied to anything. Knowledge without skill is an exercise in futility. It's the almost(s) of life that break your heart.
"And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ." Col. 3:23-24
3. "I" always gives way to "Us"
Nobody ever did anything by themselves on a farm. At the very least there is always a need for somebody to open the gate or hold the flashlight. Farmers have servant hearts. We serve our land, our livestock, and our community. We serve everyone who picks up a carton of rice, pays the money they worked hard for, and trusts they are buying the best.
"And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15
Looking for a great way to spend some quality time together this Valentine’s Day?
Why not try something new…Cooking a meal together can be a great way to spend time together and HEY, it tastes great too! If you are ready to take your taste buds on a culinary adventure, then here we go!
These dishes, while all wonderful, are not meant to be used in tandem. I mean unless you just LOOOOVE rice, you probably don’t eat it for every course. So here are three suggestions for how to incorporate some of our delicious rice varieties in your Valentine’s Day meal…
RED RICE SALSA
For a new twist on an old classic, try our Red Rice Salsa! Made with all fresh ingredients and paired with red rice. This deliciously fresh dish is the perfect start to any meal, you can serve it cold or spruce it up even more by baking the rice salsa in an avocado.
The Main Dish
CHICKEN PARMESAN MEATBALLS & CREAMY RICE GRITS
As I’m sure you can tell, we are all about taking the classics and making them new. Our Main dish option is no different, here is a delicious twist on Chicken Parmesan. Chicken Parmesan Meatballs with homemade tomato sauce, served over creamy rice grits...My goodness guys, this one is a winner in our house!
COCONUT CREAM RICE PUDDING & VERY BERRY COMPOTE
Coconut Cream Rice Pudding and Very Berry Compote…Even the name sounds delicious! This sweet and creamy dessert is sure to excite the taste buds and the eyes with its beautiful bright colors. As an added bonus, this whole recipe comes together within a matter of 20 minutes! It is the perfect ending to your romantic dinner for two.
You may not hear about them much, but antioxidants are an important part of staying healthy and aging well.
Here are some potential benefits* of the antioxidants found in our Antioxidant Power Pack, a combination of Red, Purple and Nature's Blend:
Purple Rice is a specialty whole-grain Aromatic. Its deep rich color comes from a natural plant compound called anthocyanin, which is also found in blueberries, and it contains more antioxidants than a typical whole-grain brown rice.
Our specialty whole-grain Red Rice has a beautiful color that comes from a natural plant compound and antioxidant called proanthocyanidin, which is also found in dark chocolate, and contains more antioxidants than a typical whole-grain brown.
Nature's Blend is a long, whole grain aromatic rice that has been cross-pollinated in the field and harvested as a blend straight out of the ground. Its unique combination of Aromatic Purple, Red and Brown Rice has a nutty texture and is full of nutrition and antioxidants. This variety becomes a beautiful, deep purple when cooked.
All varieties are sustainably grown, milled, and packaged at Ralston Family Farms.
*Source: "The Importance of Phytonutrients for Your Health." https://www.verywellfit.com/phytonutrients-phytochemicals-2242002
There is a famous quote that says, “Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny.” We believe somewhere in the mix of all this is "watch your food, it becomes your forecast."
Over the past few years there has been a surge in the desire to know where the food we eat comes from. It is no longer enough for it to simply taste good, or even just to be good for our health, but it also has to tell the story of something great. Food is an outlet for our desire to take care of our families, help the environment, and nurture society. We want the food we consume and the money we spend to give back even greater than it ever has before.
Here are some ways Ralston Family Farms is more than just your average rice mill:
1. Family Owned & Operated
Ralston Family Farms is a single family farm offering only the rice that we grow. We are not a co-op and this is not a commodity. It is the legacy of generations of farmers who have passed down a love for growing good food. Just about all of us work here on the farm, day after day, to make sure our customers reap the benefits of this farming legacy.
2. Unique Size
Our farm is big enough to feed the country, but not so big it can't be managed by the family. Every decision is made with the big picture in mind- a food safety and quality culture that enhances the life of our customers and gives back to the environment. From marketing, to web design, to crop rotation, all of our choices run through the filter of family.
3. 100% Seed to Shelf
Our farm and mill are located on the same land. We are a one-stop-shop, meaning those who till the ground are the same as those who plant the seed and harvest the rice. After harvest, the rice is dried in our grain bins and milled by our hands on-site. It is packaged just a few feet from where it was prepared and shipped to your home or store from our loading docks. We know exactly which field your rice came from, in fact we can trace it back from the very carton that is in your pantry. We think this is pretty special and don't mind saying so.
There are many choices about which rice you can purchase, but the question is "What story does my food tell?" If your food is a forecast, we believe you should have the very best. Try us out and see what you think at www.ralstonfamilyfarms.com.
We love the winning combination of unique and traditional. Something both one-of-a-kind and long established. This is why we choose varieties that stand out from the rest: Red, Purple and a Nature's Blend that is all our own, harvested as a blend right out of the field.
Unique varieties call for some unique recipes.
Here are some favorites from our Recipes page:
Labels can often lose their meaning after the market gets a hold of them. Marketing departments can make a running list of consumer trigger words and label anything and everything they can get their hands on.
We don't have a big marketing team here on the farm, but we do know the old adage "if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and walks like a duck, then its probably a duck."
This is why we aren't scared to call our rice exactly what it is, the highest-quality artisanal rice on the planet. With our own hands we have grown, harvested, milled and packaged our product with care and attention from start to finish.
Not sure what artisanal means?
Here is our list of must have qualities:
1. Highest Quality Ingredients
On the farm we curate our seeds and varieties to offer the best and most exceptional offerings we can find. The difference is found in the taste, texture, and aroma of each grain.
2. Region Specific
Our unique location in the Arkansas River Valley makes our rice distinct. Because we are in a valley, our cooler night time temperatures help naturally protect against insects, while our proximity to the Arkansas River offers a sustainable means of irrigation.
3. Skilled Apprenticeship & Innovation
People have been milling rice for thousands of years and when it is done with care you can taste the difference. We consider what we do a craft born from time, experience, and technology.
4. Wholly Integrated
Because we are Farm to Fork we have control over every aspect from growing to production and we always keep your family in mind when making decisions.
5. Small Batch Milling
In order for us to provide the freshest product possible we mill our orders as we receive them. When a customer makes an order, that order is promptly placed on the schedule to be milled and packaged.
6. Philosophy & Purpose
We believe in being good stewards of our land. We farm using sustainable practices, meaning we use our resources responsibly so the land is strengthened instead of depleted. Learn more about our practices here.
Success is only success to the extent it blesses others. Ralston Family Farms loves to invest in relationships and community.
8. Commitment to Improvement
Henry David Thoreau said, "Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed...Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders." Improvement means replacing old seeds with new ones and watching them grow.
Try our artisanal rice today!
The idea of food as medicine is one that seems to be instinctual to everyone who consumes food. We all know the difference between what is healthy for us and what is unhealthy, what makes us feel our best and what slows us down. We know this, and yet we are often careless when it comes to making the right choices. The Standard American Diet (SAD) is sad for a reason. We eat what is convenient over what takes times. These habits have been ingrained within us and progressed in severity over the course of generations.
At least that is how it used to be. On the other side of this doom and gloom are those who want something better for themselves. They want the natural God-given healing that comes with eating healthy, wholesome foods.
Food has the potential to help us by maintaining our health, preventing disease, allowing the body to function at its best, and providing information to our cells and systems. With food we have the power to create our own health outcomes. Everything we eat is able to help us or to harm us and it is this ongoing truth that makes our food a "lifestyle medicine."
When we are proactive by consuming much needed nutrients we are able to:
1. Decrease and control inflammation
2. Balance hormones
3. Alkalize the body
4. Balance blood glucose levels
5. Detoxify the body
6. Improve absorption of nutrients
At Ralston Family Farms we are delighted to offer healthy whole-grains that benefit this thoughtful mindset.
Our specialty whole-grain Red Rice gets its rich color from a natural plant compound and antioxidant called proanthocyanidin, which is also found in dark chocolate, and contains more antioxidants than a typical whole-grain brown rice.
Our Purple Rice gets its unique color from a natural plant compound called anthocyanin, which is also found in blueberries. This all-natural grain has a beautifully strong aroma and exceptional nutrition.
If you would like the benefit of both the Red and Purple, try our Nature's Blend which is a natural cross pollination of the Red, Purple, and Brown, offering a the best of all three varieties.
As always, all of our rices are grown, harvested, milled and packaged at Ralston Family Farms.
Something interesting happens when you put a family together in business. The strengths of the individual becomes the strengths of the whole. We all sort of rub off on one another, making us as a family more like the best pieces of one another.
Core values are an essential part of any business, and they get a little easier to define when you have grown up with them all your life. The corner stone to our value system is our faith. We believe that we are blessed to be a blessing. In life one must both receive and extend. If we only receive we become gluttonous with our blessings. It is the extending that allows room for more receiving.
Our way of extending is through our "Family to Family" outreach program. Ralston Family Farms dedicates a percentage of our rice to food banks in our region and all over the state of Arkansas. This is not something we say for our own glory, but to glorify our God who has made it possible and our customers without which we could not keep running.
We are blessed to be a blessing.
Thank you for allowing us to provide food for those who would otherwise go without.
Thank you for allowing us to be a better family.
The Ralston Family
By Kristi Strain
I recently read an article from Sustainable Connections, and the question was asked, “Why Buy Local?” The article stated that when you buy from an independent, locally owned business, rather than a nationally owned business, more of your money is used to buy from other local farms and business.
I worked for Petit Jean Meats when I was in College several years ago, and I began working for them again last year, and for me, it is a perfect fit. Petit Jean Meats not only represents delicious ham, bacon and lunch meat but we provide jobs locally, and we are excellent partners in our community. What is amazing is that Petit Jean has been doing all these things for 90 years! My time spent between college and now was in a restaurant, a conference center, and a catering business. I have had the pleasure of feeding thousands of people. My Mom taught me from a very young age that quality is always the key. I have catered all over Arkansas and a few times in surrounding states and people know Petit Jean Meats.
So now, as I work in sales and marketing for Petit Jean Meats, I am proud to walk into a prospective client knowing that we are the best in the business, and we are local. Just as the article stated, locally owned businesses want to work with a locally owned business. Recently, I had the pleasure of filming a few of my favorite rice recipes with Ralston Family Farms. While we were shooting, we were laughing about having neighbors in the country. In the country, your neighbors might be ten to fifteen miles away or more. Ralston Family Farms and Petit Jean Meats are country neighbors!
Like Petit Jean Meats, the Ralston Family also works very hard to provide a quality product. When we first toured their facility, the cleanliness amazed me. Meaning when you think of milling something you think there would be a lot of “dust” but that was not true here. They have state of the art equipment, and it is very interesting how the whole process works. What also amazed me is they grow all the varieties of rice here locally, and they can tell you what field your rice came from and when it was harvested. Some people may not be interested in this; however, the people that do want to know are quickly gaining in numbers.
Growing up you always heard “you are what you eat.” Petit Jean Meats provides tasty lean proteins, and Ralston Family Farms provides yummy whole grains that are sustainable. So, for me buying local means, I am supporting my neighbors, I am strengthening my community, and I am aware of what I am consuming.
Taking care of our health is a full-time job and one that only we can do for ourselves. It is our responsibility to make sure our bodies have the fuel they need to thrive. The good news is that healthy doesn't have to be hard, simple switches can have a positive, long-term effect on how we feel and function.
One of the easiest and most beneficial ways to change a diet for the better is to include a variety of nutrient packed whole grains. Whole grains are grains that have not been refined, but contain all their original parts: the bran, endosperm, and germ. In this unrefined state, foods such as brown rice are rich in minerals, proteins, vitamins, and antioxidants.
Here are five benefits to choosing Brown Rice:
1. More Fiber
Whole grains are rich in nutrients and have high levels of bran, giving them high amounts of fiber that aid in digestive health.
2. Good for the Cardiovascular System
Brown rice is rich in selenium which is beneficial for a healthy heart. Consumption of whole grains such as brown rice helps to reduce the blockage of arteries due to plaque buildup. This protective action reduces the risk of cardiac disorders such as hypertension and vascular diseases. Studies conducted in this regard suggested that the tissue surrounding the grain of brown rice contains a component which acts against the endocrine protein angiotensin II, which plays a major role in the development of high blood pressure and atherosclerosis.
3. Supports a Healthy Weigh
The relationship between changes in intake of dietary fiber and whole grain and changes in weight among middle-aged women was documented in a study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2003). Researchers found women who consumed more whole grains consistently weighed less than did women who consumed less whole grains. Women who had the highest intake of dietary fiber had a 49 percent lower risk of weight gain. Unlike the advice to limit carbohydrates by some popular diets, this data indicates the importance of whole grain products to aid weight control.
4. Helps Manage Diabetes
Brown rice is beneficial for diabetics and hyperglycemic individuals. It has a low glycemic index which is helpful in reducing insulin surges and assists in the stabilization of blood sugar levels in the body.
5. Rich in Vitamins, Minerals and Antioxidants
Some of the phytochemicals and minerals found in whole grains may be associated with a lower risk of certain cancers, HSPH says. As a part of an overall healthy diet, whole grains may help improve cholesterol levels, and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, according to the AHA.
The following nutrients are found in whole grains, according to the AHA:
The United States Dietary Guidelines suggest eating three to five servings of whole grains per day to maintain a healthy weight
Ralston Family Farms grows five different sustainably grown varieties of whole grain rice, including Traditional, Jasmine, Basmati, Nature's Blend and Golden.
♥Nature's Blend is as special as it gets. A long, whole grain aromatic rice that has been cross-pollinated in the field and harvested as a blend straight out of the ground. Its unique combination of Aromatic Purple, Red and Brown Rice has a nutty texture and is full of nutrition and antioxidants. This variety becomes a beautiful, deep purple when cooked.
♥Golden Rice is a long grain, lightly milled, whole grain rice that is unique among varieties. Named for its beautiful golden color, this rice has a nutty texture and shorter cooking time than traditional brown rice, making it the perfect combination of healthy and convenient.
♥Basmati Brown is a long, slender-grained aromatic rice. This whole grain rice has a distinctively spicy fragrance and flavor and is sometimes referred to as "popcorn rice" because of its fluffy texture.
♥Jasmine Brown is a long-grain, fragrant rice. This highly sought-after variety has a light and fluffy texture, nutty flavor, and enticing floral scent with all the nutritious benefits of a whole grain. It will quickly become one of your favorites.
♥Traditional Brown is a nutritious, southern long-grain rice. Light and flaky with a superior milling quality, this variety is a classic.
If they all sound too good to choose, try our Whole Grain Variety 6 Pack and try them all!
Ralston Family Farms is proud to participate in the Arkansas Farm to School program.
Farm to School is an enrichment program that does just what the name suggests by connecting school kitchens with local farmers, creating a winning situation for all involved.
Over 95,000 students are reached by Farm to School in the state of Arkansas.* These students have access to fresh produce, food nutrition and hands-on learning experiences coordinated through the cooperation of educators and farmers.
It is encouraging to see students given an opportunity to learn first-hand where their food comes from and help them foster an awareness of the relationship between their plate and our fields.
What affects the land affects society and teaching students about agriculture offers them the opportunity to wrestle with important and challenging issues facing our planet.
When teachers incorporate a farm to school curriculum in their classrooms, they are offering opportunities to learn efficiency in process, diverse and complex ecosystems, cooperation between individuals and groups, and cross-curriculum skills such as math, language, and science. A good example of this would be a community garden where students are responsible for figuring the amount of plants needed to feed their school population, comparing fertilization methods based on a sustainability matrix, maintaining and harvesting the produce, and compiling menus to make sure none of their hard work goes to waste. These are real-life scenarios played out in classrooms and cafeterias across our state and nation.
We support programs that aid in a positive future for children, farmers, and the food we all love to love.
In the world of food there is a lot of back and forth between which types of diets are sustainable for the planet's future.
Factors such as nutrition, population growth, and changing climates must be taken into consideration, knowing that our diets not only affect these elements but are also effected by them.
Malnutrition and food scarcity are very real threats and both food producers and consumers have a responsibility to be knowledgeable and proactive about their individual roles in a much larger world system.
As a food producer, we at Ralston Family Farms, make the commitment to:
1. Use our resources wisely
2. Invest in technology
3. Make long-term decisions
But what can consumers do to make a difference in a seemingly too big problem?
The answer lies in the old adage... How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
Strategic choices within a sphere of influence seem to be the answer to most of the world's dilemmas.
Environmentalists and nutritionists recommend the switch from an ultra-processed, fast-food mentality to one that prioritizes plant-based and sustainable ingredients, defining these diets as "those with low environmental impacts which contribute to food and nutrition security and to healthy life for present and future generations. 'These diets are protective and respectful of biodiversity and ecosystems, culturally acceptable, accessible, economically fair and affordable, nutritionally adequate, and safe and healthy, while optimizing natural and human resources (FAO and Bioversity 2012)."
Scrolling through Instagram and other social media will prove that these are the exact food choices now considered "on trend." They are not only good for the world food system, but are good for the individual.
Three actions you can take to make a difference today:
1. Think local:
This has become easier and easier thanks to additions of local sections in grocery stores and online venues such as locallygrown.net.
2. Purchase only what you will use:
Food waste happens to us all. In order to stop the cycle we must be responsible in the amounts we buy and the use of those resources. What your parents said is true, there really is a child starving somewhere.
3. Include more plant based items in your menu:
You may not want to go all-out vegan, but research does suggest plant based proteins are not only agriculturally sustainable, but are healthier alternatives to meat based diets.
In this day and age the individual has more power to impact than ever before and it is up to us to decide what is important, press in, and do something about it.
Okay fellow consumer, we've got this!
Sustainable Diets for Healthy People and a Healthy Planet. United Nations System Standing Committee on Nutrition, 2017, Sustainable Diets for Healthy People and a Healthy Planet, www.unscn.org/uploads/web/news/document/Climate-Nutrition-Paper-EN-WEB.pdf.
FAO and Bioversity (2012b). Sustainable Diets and Biodiversity. Burlingame B, Dernini S, Rosen R, Meade B, Shapouri S, D’Souza A, Rada N (2012). USDA International Food Security Assessment 2012-22. US Department of Agriculture: Washington DC. http://www. ers.usda.gov/publications/gfa-food-security-assessmentsituation-and-outlook/gfa23.aspx.
We were proud to participate in Governor Hutchinson's Design Thinking Workshop on June 27, 2018 to discuss blockchain technology and food distribution.
Blockchain, developed by IBM, helps buyers and producers trace every aspect in the life of their food.
One of the most important aspects of Ralston Family Farms is transparency and traceability. It is important for consumers to know where their food comes from and how it is produced. We believe investing in technologies, such as blockchain distribution, is an investment in food quality and safety.
Governor Hutchinson mentioned Ralston Family Farms and our traceability practices in his weekly Radio Address, which can be found at: https://governor.arkansas.gov/news-media/weekly-address/blockchain-technology-could-revolutionize-arkansas-agriculture.
Or see copy below:
Blockchain Technology Could Revolutionize Arkansas AgricultureA roomful of business leaders gathered at Mosaic Templars in Little Rock this week to explore the possibilities of a new technology that is changing the way the world does business.
The technology is called blockchain. It is a system that can record and track data in an immutable ledger for government and business – from the mining and sale of diamonds to property records to medical records and almost any other product or service you can name.
In Arkansas, we are studying the potential for blockchain in agriculture. The technology can track a crop from the moment it’s planted to the moment someone eats it – from farm to table.
The recent case of E. coli that killed five people and made dozens of people sick eventually was traced to romaine lettuce that was grown in Yuma, Arizona. The search took days, a delay in which even more people ate contaminated lettuce. But even after investigators discovered the source, they couldn’t identify the farm that shipped the contaminated lettuce.
If the data had been stored in a blockchain, the Centers for Disease Control could have discovered the source in a matter of seconds. That would have reduced the number of people sickened and possibly saved lives.
This is a significant technology for Arkansas, where agriculture is our Number 1 industry. We ship food all over the world, and blockchain technology would allow consumers to develop a higher degree of trust in the crops we export.
Tim and Robin Ralston, who were among those who attended the workshop on Wednesday, see blockchain as a obvious step in the future of agriculture. Their family, which came from Scotland, has worked the land for ten generations.
The Ralstons already track their rice from the field to your fork. At Ralston Family Farm in Atkins, they grow, harvest, mill and package their rice, documenting it at every stop on paper and with computers. Their attention to these details makes blockchain technology a logical progression.
The benefits of blockchain to Arkansas farmers and to agriculture generally are immense. Anytime you can move record keeping from paper and pencil and ledger to digital, you have improved efficiency.
If Arkansas is going to lead the way with blockchain in the food-security industry, we must upgrade our rural broadband service, which is essential for our farmers and rural communities.
Blockchain is another key to growing the technology part of our economy and providing great jobs for Arkansans. I am grateful to IBM for participating in the summit on Wednesday, and I am eager to see how blockchain will add to our future.
We recently had the pleasure of meeting "Tater Man" (an alias he uses so he can work in the food industry and still give his unbiased reviews on restaurants and others in the same line of work) at a local Farm to School event. After discussing our mutual love of rice we invited him to the mill for a tour and were thrilled to learn he was inspired enough to blog about what he saw.
This is a repost of his blog.
We are honored.
The Ralston Family Farms
April 20, 2018
Friends, I come out of a blogging hibernation to bring you a post that I have been excited to write about for some time. I was first introduced to this family during a farm to school conference in Conway, AR. The sisters Jennifer and Ashley were there to represent their family farm and surround themselves with like minded folks looking to bridge the gap from farm to school. I was made aware that Arkansas ranks in the bottom 5 of the United States that is the least participative in the federal Farm to School initiative. After spending some wonderful time speaking to them that day I was astounded to learn that they were living and farming in Atkins, AR (my back yard), this was music to my rice loving ears. I had to know and see so much more.
Several weeks later we ended up being brought together at a round-table discussion looking to focus on ways to improve our Russellville and surrounding communities with more localized sustainable support. I left this meeting grinning ear to ear, just to spend that time with these leaders of our community discussing the very bright future for the Russellville School District, The greater Russellville and surrounding community farmers market as well as our Food 4 Kids efforts, was the best thing to happen this year. We have spent so much time as a nation traveling down the wrong road as designed by our ever growing food and grocery industry that somehow we have gotten ourselves to a point where farmers allover the country are struggling to support their very own homes and families. The agricultural industry cannot continue this way, we must see that the problem is not passed the point of no return but in fact very reversible.
To see a family who has realized that sustainability looks very different these days than it used to, is such a relief. They are a family dedicated to serving those around them and sowing the land around them. You can find this family’s story on their website www.ralstonfamilyfarms.com and view their wonderful rice. From what I understand they will have a few of their rice varieties in stores very soon and varieties available with your Blue Apron orders. I applaud you (Ralston family) and will continue to support you in every way possible for the sustainable future. Keep it up!
It is planting season again. The days are longer, the grass greener, and we are busy sowing seeds of anticipation for this year's harvest.
On the farm, as in life, there is a way to do everything and since our way is sustainably, we value making long-term choices.
When it comes to planting, no-till is our long-term solution for a better crop.
No-till farming, also called zero-tillage, is a way to plant crops without soil disruption through tilling.This method allows us to use the breakdown of organic materials in the field and the natural harvest process from the year before to reduce our use of resources, energy costs, and time.
Find out more by watching the video below.
Using Golden Rice creates one of those happy occasions when everybody at the table wins- the picky eater and the health-conscious mom.
Rice is mostly broken down into two distinct categories: white, which is loved by all, and brown, its often less-loved, healthy counterpart.
Not everybody is a fan of brown rice. The nutrition from brown comes from the bran and because of this it can be heavy for some and has a longer cooking time than white. But it is hard to easily dismiss the health benefits of choosing brown.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture*:
"Whole-grain brown rice contains 15 vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, and iron—all nutrients the body needs to grow and develop normally. In addition to these essential nutrients, there are bioactive phytochemicals in rice, as well as in other whole grains, vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, and seeds..."
Our Golden Rice retains most of these nutrients, meaning it is the best of both worlds. A rice that cooks and tastes like white but with the health benefits of a whole grain.
This is your go-to variety for that #dinnerwin.
Visit our store to learn more about Golden Rice.
*"USDA ARS Online Magazine Vol. 61, No. 4." AgResearch Mag. Accessed March 08, 2018. https://agresearchmag.ars.usda.gov/2013/apr/rice/.
Henry David Thoreau wrote, "Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around." We at Ralston Family Farms find a certain peace knowing we put our beliefs into practice.
We call this way of life sustainable.
This isn't just a buzz word to peak interest. It is a day-in and day-out way of doing things. It is how we make our decisions and who we say we are.
Here are three truths about sustainability at Ralston Family Farms:
1. Resource-First Mindset
Being accountable is the lifeblood of sustainability. By going out of our way to use resources in a manner that is renewable and responsible we maintain a sense of authenticity. It takes some ingenuity and a lot of hard work, but we don't mind. Using practices such as Zero-grade leveling and surface water irrigation utilizes the farm's natural assets.
2. Legacy Centered
We make a point to not only do no harm but to also improve the quality of the land we farm for future generations. We want to pass down both our farm and our values to our children and grandchildren and to do that we must be forward thinking in our actions. This is why we invest in the newest and most efficient technologies and methods.
3. Quality Counts
Quality has its own relation to sustainability. Making thoughtful choices about the way we farm and mill ensures premium results and when the results are food that is pretty important. We take feeding your family as seriously as we take feeding our own and we wouldn't expect you to eat anything less than the best. We inspect every part of the milling process from the time it first comes out of the bins to the final package.
To learn more about our sustainable practices visit our About Us page at ralstonfamilyfarms.com.
It's a great day on the farm! The Ralston family is pleased to introduce you to our new range of artisanal rice varieties and invite you to learn a little more about our core values and who we are.
Visit our store to order your favorite variety from Ralston Family Farms.
Questions? Comments? We would love to hear from you.