February 15, 2012

Anti-factory farming: Chipotle Super Bowl Ad

I was completely overwhelmed (in a good way) by the Everybody Eats: Cultivating Food Democracy conference I attended last weekend (which is part of the reason I haven't posted about it yet). I didn't watch the super bowl, but I have seen a few people mention this Chipotle commercial that aired during the game. It just about sums up how I feel right now.

Sorry if you've already seen this, but if you don't watch much television (like me), you probably haven't watched this yet. It's great, isn't it?

February 10, 2012

Everybody Eats Conference

I just got home from a semi-treacherous drive to see the first key-note speaker of the Everybody Eats Conference in Lansing, MI. If you're in the area, tomorrow is jam-packed full of really interesting session on urban farming and food democracy.

from: http://foodsystemsworkgroup.org/everybodyeats.html

Pattengill Middle School 626 Marshall Street  Lansing, MI

"This conference, which builds on the first two will focus on bringing people together to explore the 
great opportunities for maximizing resources, supporting local farmers and businesses, better 
and smarter utilization of our resources, addressing health and hunger issues assessing in our 
community, and opportunities to create food independence for the future."

February 8, 2012

Blooms of Another Kind

This past weekend was sunny, warm, and gorgeous! I took advantage of the weather and cleaned up some of my hard-shelled gourds from last year's garden. The gourds have been hanging out in the garage developing a nice bloomy rind (kind of like cheese). Eventually they will dry out completely and become very hard.

The mold bloom on each gourd is almost like a piece of art!

This Bule-type gourd with bumpy skin is particularly interesting!

You can see where the skin has split on this gourd. After scraping off the moldy skin, each gourd will take on a light tan color. It's amazing that they can go from something so gross looking to something decorative (that you wouldn't mind sitting on the dining room table).

February 6, 2012

2012 Seed Purchases (Part 3): Seed Savers Exchange

Back in November, Seed Savers Exchange had a 50% off sale on "last-season's" seeds. I had never ordered from them before, so I thought it was a good time to try them out. I've grown the soybean before, but everything else will be new for the 2012 vegetable garden. Here's what I ordered (and the descriptions provided by Seed Savers Exchange):

Bean, Golden of Bacau
(Phaseolus vulgaris) Donated to SSE by friends in Bacau, Romania. Very productive, 6-10" long flattened golden Romanotype beans. Excellent sweet flavor. Even when the seeds begin to form the pods are still stringless, tender, and sweet. Best for fresh use but can also be frozen. Pole habit, wax, 60-70 days.

Cucumber, Mexican Sour Gherkin
(Melothria scabra) Newly rediscovered heirloom. Produces abundant crops of 1-2" fruits reminiscent of tiny watermelons that fall off the vines when ripe. Sweet cucumber flavor contrasted by a surprising sourness, as if they are already pickled. Great for growing on a trellis. 60-70 days.

Soybean, Envy

(Glycine max) Developed by the late Professor Elwyn Meader at the University of New Hampshire. Upright 24" plants produce an abundance of all-green beans, excellent quality. Great short-season variety. 75-85 days.

Squash, Galeux d'Eysines

(Cucurbita maxima) (aka Galeuse d’Eysines, Courge Brodée Galeuse) A French heirloom squash from the Bordeaux region; noted in Vilmorin’s Les Plantes Potageres (1883). Seed carried by La Ferme de Ste. Marthe and collected by SSE member Amy Goldman at the 1996 Tranzault Pumpkin Festival. Attains weights of 10-20 pounds. Best used for beautiful table centerpieces or eaten in stews and soups. Harvest squashes slightly immature as they tend to crack. 90 days.

Pea, Golden Sweet

(Pisum sativum) Collected at a market in India. Tall 6’ plants with beautiful bi-colored purple flowers and bright lemon-yellow pods. Best eaten when small, excellent for stir-fry. Seeds are tan with purple flecks, can be dried and added to soups. One of the few yellow edible podded peas in SSE’s collection of 1,200 peas. Edible podded, 60-70 days.

February 3, 2012

2012 Seed Purchases (Part 2): Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

This past Christmas, I asked my parents for a gift certificate to either Pinetree Garden Seeds or Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. They chose Baker Creek and gave me $25. Strangely enough, I had a difficult time spending all $25 (mainly because most of the varieties on my wish list were cheaper at Pinetree), but eventually I found enough things to use the entire gift certificate. I've grown the fava bean before, but everything else will be new for the 2012 vegetable garden! Here's what I ordered (and the descriptions provided by Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds):

Broad Windsor Fava Bean 
75 days. Yields gourmet high-protein beans on upright nonbranching
plants. An old English favorite. 

Mammoth Red Beet
100 days. Huge, up to 20 lbs. each with large yields per acre. Highly used for livestock feed in the 1800's. Or picked small for table use. 

Tepehuan Canteen Gourd
This gourd was collected from the Tepehuan people at
Santa Rosalia, Chihuahua, a Sierra Madre mountain town
in Mexico. Green fruit are tear-drop shaped and 6”-8” tall.
They have a nice hard shell. Great for crafts 

European Mesclun Mix
Grow this mix of greens for one of the tastiest salads ever! Flavors range from sweet-mild to sour-hot-tangy, and colors come in red, purple, yellow, and green. Colorful lettuce, radicchio, arugula, endive, orach, mizuna, kale, mustard, corn salad and more. A favorite with market growers. 

Extra Dwarf Pak Choy
The perfect baby vegetable for marketing, this tiny pak choy is picked when just 2 inches tall! It has dark green, wrinkled leaves with thick, white petioles and can be used whole to make amazing salads and stir-fries! Very tender and delicious! 

Corn Salad or Mache-Verte D'Etampes
This variety was popular in 1880’s France. It
produces flavorful, deep green leaves, and the small
plants are fairly cold-hardy. In 1885 Vilmorin said,
“They bear cold weather remarkably well, and they
have the advantage of losing their freshness less than
those of any other kind while they are being brought
to market.” 

Costoluto Genovese
The fluted, old Italian favorite that has been around since the early 19th century. Fruit are rather flattened and quite attractive with their deep ribbing. This variety is a standard in Italy for both fresh eating and preserving; known for its intensely flavorful, deep red flesh. This variety has also became very popular with chefs in this country. 

White Queen
70-75 days The favorite white variety of many tomato collectors, this heirloom is said to have been introduced in 1882 by A.W. Livingston, though many people question the exact date of introduction. 4-8 oz. fruit have one of the best flavors of all tomatoes, being fragrant, fruity and intensely sweet. It's creamy white in color and very attractive. A productive variety that has become very rare. 

Garden Huckleberry
(Solanum melanocerasum) 75 days. Large purple berries that are cooked and sweetened, (do not eat raw). Great in pies; huge yields of fruit all summer long. Plant 14 inches apart. Strong tall plants do not have to be staked. Grow plants like peppers. Great for anyone wanting quick easy berries and a huge yield. Originated in Africa. 

Baker Creek includes a free (random) packet of seeds with every order. This year I got 'Red Romaine' lettuce.

February 1, 2012

Winners of Heirloom Tomato Seed Giveaway

The two (randomly selected) winners of the Heirloom Tomato Seed Giveaway are:

Commenters #7 and #14:

aStarToSteerHerBy who would like Polish Linguisa, Yellow Brandywine, and Martino's Roma.
Jill who would like Black Krim, Amish Paste, and Yellow Brandywine.

P.S. I was really surprised how many of you requested yellow brandywine! 
Congrats to the winners! I'll be mailing you your seeds in the next couple days.

2012 Seed Purchases (Part 1): Pinetree Garden Seeds

I've been ordering seeds from Pinetree Garden Seeds for years now. They are by far my favorite seed company. They have a good selection and the prices are low. I like that you can order a packet of 25 tomato seeds for $1.50 rather than having to shell out $3 or $4 for a packet of 300 seeds (when am I ever going to need 300 tomato seeds of the same variety?). All of the varieties I ordered this year will be new for the 2012 garden. Here's what I ordered (and the descriptions provided by Pinetree Garden Seeds):

Dinosaur Kale
HEIRLOOM 1885 Also known as Tuscan Black Palm or Lacinato. A unique kale with very large, rounded, well filled, meaty leaves. Plants are large, hardy, and vigorous, and the flavor is bold.

Lancelot Leek
Substantially earlier than others and of high quality. The earlier you start it, the better it will perform. Transplant to the garden in April/May and "hill up" several times for long well blanched leeks. Flavor is mild.

Rouge Vif D Etampes Pumpkin
HEIRLOOM This unique 1800s French pumpkin, Cinderella to us here in America, is popular with chefs for soup bases because its mild flavor doesn't overpower other ingredients. Fruits are flattened and concave on top, about fifteen inches across and six inches high. The skin color is a brilliant reddish orange, more dramatic than the yellow-orange pumpkins you are used to. The flavor is just great, in pies or any winter squash recipe. Plants are vigorous with 15 foot vines. 

Ailsa Craig Onion
HEIRLOOM 1887 British. This fine large onion has gained a considerable following in the past several years. Bulbs in excess of 3 pounds are possible, but the real virtue of this variety is the quality. Color is a snow-white, centers are bull's eye single, tops are vigorous, and the flavor is very sweet. Great for slicing raw. Every year that we grow it we reaffirm that Ailsa Craig is the biggest, the earliest, and the best.

Red Marble Cippolini Onion
HEIRLOOM The extremely dark red color goes to the core of the bulb. Flat onions are 1 1/2 inches wide and 1 inch high. This is a very hard onion and good keeper. Also good for braiding.

Delicata Squash 
HEIRLOOM 1894 A favorite of many Pinetree employees, Delicata is a good choice for the home gardener. The vines are relatively compact. Fruits average about eight inches in length, are half as wide, so they are a good size for a meal. Color is a creamy green with lengthwise darker green stripes. Flesh is an attractive orange and flavor is very sweet. As a bonus, Delicata is also a very good keeper for a small squash and the flavor even seems to improve as the winter passes. We have a particularly good strain of this variety.

Black Cherry Tomato
Indeterminate. Long vines are covered with distinctive, very dark purple fruit. You get the exceptional flavor of a Brandywine in a cherry tomato.

Riesentraube Tomato
Indeterminate In German the name suggests a giant bunch of grapes and that pretty well sums it up. The plant can produce 20-40 fruits per cluster. They are an elongated cherry shape with a pointed end. The flavor is quite acid, not too sweet.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...