TV’s Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

I love television. Not only does this tool inform the masses, it inspires and educates. But over the past decades it seems that television has shifted considerably to appease viewers.

There was a time when families would gather around their bunny-eared set and watch the news (which was only on once or twice a day) or an I Love Lucy episode. I would really enjoy witnessing a hoop-skirted ponytail wearing Rydell High senior watch today’s tv. Can you imagine? “What’s the real world, and why are those girls kissing people they don’t know?”


This simpler time kept tv as a tool, not a way of life. Whereas today we utilize tv not only for entertainment, but to inspire recipes for dinner or how to DIY a home project. Some may argue that tv users today are lazy.

However, it is the medium of television that brings the world into our homes and our homes into the world.


Today, companies like Netflix and Hulu allow users to access tv from mobile devices and computers. Tv is anywhere at anytime. I often find myself watching an episode of Celebrity Ghost Stories on my phone between classes, but somehow manage to end up back on the Food Network at home just in time to be inspired for dinner.

As long as users recognize that tv is a tool, and not a way of life than this medium will continue to enhance lives. So please watch responsibly, and do not become lost in the boob tube.



Opinions are like armpits….they get hairy

Communication has changed drastically over the past decade, and as we enter into a new world of new new media we find ourselves craving an instinctual urge to have our voices heard. Today, almost every task is performed using some type of media; which may be convenient, but also has its disadvantages. Sure, we can easily purchase and item on Amazon and then write reviews to help assist others. When it comes to news consumption, more and more consumers are grabbing their coffee and hitting their home button rather than picking up a physical newspaper. The world we use to know is becoming smaller and smaller through constant access to information that was once immediately unattainable, promoting a sense of dromology.

Opinions are like armpits, everyone has them, and most of them stink. However, it is the right of an American to express one’s opinion, and the news has become a channel in which Americans may air their armpits…. I mean opinions. This medium provides users the ability to satisfy that craving to be heard. Unfortunately, most comment sections become a means for bashing and impolite mannerisms; which completely defeats the purpose of news comment sections.

The thought that comments may dictate (self-sensor) the writer, prior to publication poses an interesting aspect. Shouldn’t we, the readers, provide some level of criticism – but when is it too much?



Farmer’s Markets in, Around and About Around Jacksonville


45dae15d7b1c10c69b60202f7de3ae4aJacksonville, with roughly 200 hundred farmers year-round, is home to one of the oldest Farmer’s Markets in Florida. Since 1938,  the Jacksonville Farmer’s Markets has provided River city residents, from the beaches to Riverside, locally grown food and a wide assortment of goodies for all ages. In one’s quest for the organic adventure, healthy-goers can pick up a bushel of freshly picked strawberries in a variety of convenient locations.

Located on 1810 West Beaver Street (U.S. 90), about 1 mile west of downtown Jacksonville, just north of the Riverside/Avondale area, and conveniently accessed from both I-95 and I-10 exits, the Jacksonville Farmer’s Market is open 365 days of the year from dawn until dusk. Produce makes its way from South Georgia and North Florida to your table, and of course, it’s only the freshest.

So while Whole Foods, Earthfare and Trader Joes might seem enticing as far as convenience, set aside some time to drive (or ride a bike preferably) to the Jacksonville Farmer’s Markets and support local businesses. Not only will you feel better about the fuel you put into your body, but you will be rewarded with the thought of supporting those closest around you. I should also mention the incredibly low prices compared to those stores listed above, and many vendors will even allow and encourage negotiations.

The Snap of the Rubber Glove – The Cottage Food Act Part III

blog photo 3Restaurants, hotels and even Jacksonville’s Farmer’s Markets must succumb to the wrath of food inspectors. However, if there is nothing to hide than there is nothing to fear. For our safety as consumers, these food detectives can spot even the slightest mistake in any process of food distribution.

Although Cottage Foods may not send in Gordon Ramsey, the FDACS reserves the right to investigate any Cottage Food operation anyplace, anytime. If one refuses to allow the FDACS to inspect their production area, the FDACS may take disciplinary action and charge up to $5,0o0 in fines (This is starting to sound like the end of a COPS episode). I keep reading this guide waiting to see ,”if you cannot afford a food lawyer one will be provided for you.”

In all seriousness, maintaining a sterile and healthy environment for the food that is produced is not only the responsibility of those making the food but also our right as the consumer to have peace of mind.

The Cottage Food Act Part II – Labeling

Blog Photo 2As a consumer with severe food allergens, no one appreciates food labels more than me – the thought of going into anaphylaxis and stabbing myself with an Epi-Pen is not an action I care to take on a nice breezy Saturday afternoon. Thankfully, the event so colorfully illustrated above, rarely occurs as a result of the strict Cottage Food Law’s requirement of labeling.

According to the Cottage Food Law, “a cottage food operation may only sell cottage food products which are prepackaged with a label affixed that contains the following:

1. The name and address of the cottage food operation.

2. The name of the cottage food product.

3. The ingredients of the cottage food product (in descending order of predominance of weight).

4. Allergen information as specified by federal labeling requirements.

5. If any nutritional information is made, appropriate nutritional information as specified by federal labeling requirements.

Also, all Cottage food vendors must print in at least 10 type font and a color that provides a clear contrast to the background label: ‘Made in a cottage food operation that is not subject to Florida’s food safety regulations.'” The Cottage Food act requires vendors to label eggs, milk, wheat, peanuts, soybeans, fish and tree nuts.

For those suffering from food allergies, labeling truly is a life saver. By providing the information listed above, vendors (and Cottage Foods) prevents any confusion in life-threatening situations. Labeling also prevents Cottage Foods from being held liable for the consumption of the foods listed above by those allergic.


The Cottage Food Act, Not to be Confused with Cottage Cheese…Part I

Blog Photo 1As many stroll amongst the farmers markets that lace the greater area of Jacksonville, one cannot help but ask the question – is this sanitary? Many market-goers assume that each pie or cake has been made with gloves, but how does one know if they are not picking an ill-ridden slice of quiche? To answer this daunting question – yes, legally each item sold within the confines of a Jacksonville Farmer’s market must be up to par with the Cottage Food Act.

For each farmer (seller) to be in compliance with the Cottage Food Act they must produce each item within their own residence. Now, before eyebrows raise, consider that each farmer must have their “production” area inspected prior and post to manufacturing of products. In order for a farmer’s home to be considered a “residence” for food production it must only contain a single kitchen with appliances designed for common resident’s use and only one stove or oven that is labeled for non-commercial use.

Within the Cottage Food Act, there are certain foods that are not permitted to be sold during a Jacksonville Farmer’s Market to include:

1. Fresh or dried meat or meat products including jerky.

2. Canned fruits and vegetables, chutneys, vegetable butters and jellies, flavored oils, hummus, garlic dip and salsas.

3. Fish or shellfish products.

4. Raw seed sprouts.

5. Bakery goods which require any type of refrigeration such as cream, custard or meringue pies and cakes or pastries with cream cheese icings or fillings.

6. Milk and dairy products including hard, soft and cottage cheeses and yogurts.

7. Cut fresh fruits and or vegetables. Juices made from fresh fruits or vegetables. (I know right?!?)

8. Ice and/or ice products

9. Barbeque sauces, ketchup and or mustard.

10. Foccaccia-style breads with vegetables and/or cheeses.

The good news, Jacksonville farmers may create loaf breads, rolls, biscuits, cakes, pastries, cookies, candies, confections, honey, jams, jellies, preserves, fruit pies, dried fruit, dry herbs, seasonings, hommeade pasta, cereals, trail mixes, granola, coated and uncoated nuts, vinegar, flavored vinegars, popcorn, and popcorn balls within their homes.

Despite the lengthy list of no-no’s above, the Cottage Food Act allows local to share their culinary creations with the city of Jacksonville. So the next time you walk by a cake and wonder if it has been made in a sanitary environment, keep in mind the strict regulations the cook went through to provide you with such a tasty treat.

When Diets Become Worrisome – Jacksonville’s Scary Fad


memeAs Jacksonville’s health improves, citizens are beginning to taste their new figures. Daily runners, yoga gurus, and mixed greens with homemade vinaigrette fill downtown’s streets during the lunch hour. However, with new trends comes impatience and risk. Many find themselves skipping meals or burning more calories than consumed. The distinct line between healthy and unhealthy diet fads becomes blurred once pounds begin to shed.

Cleansing (detox), a recent consumer health fad, has swept up many Jacksonville residents. Despite its controversial nature, this diet consists of fasting and consuming only liquids for an extended period of time and many experts agree that this craze may be beneficial for the body. David Kampfe, Jacksonville-based personal trainer certified in Functional and Kinetic Treatment with Rehab agrees with this diet, “As long as you’re combining juicing with some type of fasting for proper digestion and cleansing effects, it can be a good way to get nutrients while resting the diet tract.”

On the other hand, many skeptical dieticians feel this juicing kick can cause bodily harm if used incorrectly. “We can live a long time without food; we just need the fluids. You can’t live without fluids. Cleansing will affect your energy levels, the intensity of your workouts and the sharpness of your brain,” said Janis Mena, a coordinator of nutrition services at the University of Florida’s Student Healthcare Center. The goal of cleansing should provide users with an increase of energy, but if abused, this diet can be dangerous.

Ultimately, this dietary regime has the potential to improve or deteriorate one’s health. With proper nutrition and exercise, one may attain a fully-functioning body. Diets vary, but one cannot stress researching the best suit and the importance of following the directions correctly. The excitement of losing weight should never outweigh one’s health.