Here in Orange County New York with its “black earth’ and proud agricultural heritage there are festivals this time of year honoring just about every food you grow in the ground or herd on the range.

My town, Monroe, has its cheese festival (although no one actually sells cheese). And the local newspaper lists many more, with the notable exception of beets. This is especially strange

Well, here is my ode to the lowly beet from and

The good beet

  • Very low in saturated fat and cholesterol
  • Good source of vitamin C, iron, and magnesium
  • Very good source of dietary fiber, folate, potassium and manganese

The bad beet

  • A large portion of the calories comes from sugars
  • Beeturia is the red or pink color to your urine or stool when you eat too many — it’s harmless
  • Contains oxalic acid: Avoid if you have existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems
  • Oxalates can also interfere with calcium absorption

Graphs showing the nutritional content of beets along with recipes and cooking suggestions abound at the above links. Just avoid the temptation to drown beets in vingar like mom used to do.

Illustration: Swallowtail Garden Seeds

10/1/06 11:06 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.