Missing the Mountains

Last year at this time we were on Nettles Knob south of Valle Crucis making our preparations for the Summer Games on Grandfather Mountain. The one thing that we missed because of the games was the Watauga County Farmers Market. It looks like we’ll be missing it again this years simply because we’ll be missing the mountains themselves this summer.

I do subscribe to Watauga County Farmers’ Market Message so at least I can keep up with what is happening in the mountains I dream of. This weeks message contains this news…

The Boone area has long been known for it’s unpredictable weather, and so far 2007 has done it’s part to keep the tradition. Our farmers have once again proven themselves to be up to the challenge, and a wider variety of fresh food shows up every week. One thing you can count on, the market will be open Wednesday and Saturday mornings – Rain or Shine!

We will be celebrating Independance Day at the market this Saturday, helped along with the music of a certain local jug band. You won’t want to miss it!

Bill Moretz is planning to harvest the first of his eggplants this week. He expects to offer two varieties to start: Charming with purple stripes and Megal which is a dark purple French variety. Bill will also have fresh raspberries and blueberries at the market. Roger and Don Owens will have more of their homegrown Mountain Spring tomatoes to offer along with plenty of cucumbers and other garden offerings. James Wilkes expects to have fresh cut sunflowers ready for Saturday. James will begin to harvest his yellow squash and maybe some zucchini.

Local cooks are using the bounty in their recipes as well, and Rebecca Kaenzig will be preparing individual blueberry and pecan pies for you to enjoy along with her fresh brewed coffee.

Daylilies are popular with collectors, and many vendors at Watauga County Farmers’ Market have a collection of their own. The coming weeks will bring flowers of different shapes and sizes in reds, purples, yellows in every combination. These hardy plants thrive in our climate in every situation but full shade. If shade is what you have, stop by and talk to Erik Selvey about holly ferns, Japanese painted ferns, and many other plants suitable for less sunny spots. Erik will also have blooming butterfly bushes and blue pincushion plants this Saturday.

The interior of your house can reflect the colors of the season as well, and Megan Long can help with hand crafted soy based scented candles decorated with geometric shapes or North Carolina landscapes from the mountains to the beach.

Buttons for the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association 2007 High Country Farm & Garden Tour will be sold at Watauga County Farmers’ Market up until August 4th, the first day of the tour. This year’s tour features 3 new farms, and 6 of the farms are vendors at the market! The online map of farms is still being updated, but you can test it at http://cfsa.highcountryorganicfarms.org/node/4. Buttons are also available for sale online at http://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/.

You can visit their website at Watauga County Farmers’ Market for directions and updated info.

Saturday Morning Web Wandering

I slept in a bit today and I have to go in to work this afternoon to take care of a project we ship tomorrow, but this morning after reading my email I went link wandering. Here are some of the things I found I feel I should pass along…

Somehow I didn’t keep up with the schedule for the return of Bill Moyers to PBS so I missed his documentary on “The Buying of the War”. Somehow the regular schedule for his new show on Friday had permeated what I call my brain, and the fact that the special would be on Wednesday didn’t…Oh well, I’m sure it will be replayed at some point.

In my wandering this morning I did stumble on a site that is new to me, COA News. This led to a link to an Amy Goodman interview with Bill Moyers on Democracy Now this week, which led me to this quote…

Bill Moyers – “I would like to be nice about it. I would like to be diplomatic about it. But the fact of the matter is there’s a cancer eating at the heart of democracy, and it’s money in politics. If free speech means you have to buy it, then only those who can afford it have free speech. And that’s contemptible.”

If you have the time the video is very good.

Source: Independent News Portal COAnews: coanews.org : How the U.S. News Media Helped the Bush Admin Sell the Case for War

The link that led me to CAO News was an article about Local Foods by Brita Belli of The Environmental Magazine.

Local is the New Organic

It used to be that organic was enough. That organic label told consumers their food was safer, fresher and more likely to have come from a small, reliable farm than a mega-farm-factory. Then, last year, Wal-Mart started selling organic products. Suddenly, organic didn’t seem so special.

Last fall, an outbreak of E. coli bacteria in California- grown organic spinach that left three dead and hundreds sick shone the national spotlight on the question of where food comes from. Most produce people eat, organic or not, travels thousands of miles to reach the shelves of their local supermarket. The journey exacts a huge toll on the environment as refrigerated tractor-trailers packed with green tomatoes and bananas crisscross the country, burning diesel and spewing pollution and greenhouse gas. And the potential for unsanitary handling and nutrient depletion exists at every stop along the way.

I have been linking to posts like this for some time. It appears that the local food “movement” is on the verge of reaching viral status around the country and the world. If we have many more food disaster’s like the ones from the last year where we are beginning to understand that the people we once thought were protecting the safety of our food aren’t, for whatever reason, we will have to protect ourselves. You can’t do that if the food you are buying come from across the country or around the world.

Source: Independent News Portal COAnews: coanews.org : Local is the New Organic

10 Reasons to Buy Local Food

This list came from Julia and Andy’s Website. I discovered them last year during the spinach and e coli problem. Andy wrote an article about why he took himself out of the packaged greens distribution network. I liked the way he wrote and signed up for their newsletter. These are headings from the list, if you are interested in the body of each topic, use the link at the end.

10 Reasons to Buy Local Food

  1. Locally grown food tastes better.
  2. Local produce is better for you.
  3. Local food preserves genetic diversity.
  4. Local food is GMO-free.
  5. Local food supports local farm families.
  6. Local food builds community.
  7. Local food preserves open space.
  8. Local food keeps your taxes in check.
  9. Local food supports a clean environment and benefits wildlife.
  10. Local food is about the future.

©2001 Growing for Market. Permission to print and photocopy is granted.

Source: Ten Reasons to Buy Local Food

10 Reasons to Buy Local Food

This list came from Julia and Andy’s Website. I discovered them last year during the spinach and e coli problem. Andy wrote an article about why he took himself out of the packaged greens distribution network. I liked the way he wrote and signed up for their newsletter. These are headings from the list, if you are interested in the body of each topic, use the link at the end.

10 Reasons to Buy Local Food

  1. Locally grown food tastes better.
  2. Local produce is better for you.
  3. Local food preserves genetic diversity.
  4. Local food is GMO-free.
  5. Local food supports local farm families.
  6. Local food builds community.
  7. Local food preserves open space.
  8. Local food keeps your taxes in check.
  9. Local food supports a clean environment and benefits wildlife.
  10. Local food is about the future.

©2001 Growing for Market. Permission to print and photocopy is granted.

Source: Ten Reasons to Buy Local Food

Spring brings thoughts of gardens…

“Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake.” – Wallace Stevens

Barbara Damrosch has a new column out. It seems to be timed to remind all the gardeners out there to start thinking tomatoes. Particularly the small pop’em in the mouth kind.

Cherry bombs, the exploding kind, must have been named after cherry tomatoes, the edible kind, which burst in your mouth with a charge of candy-sweet juices. Pop one in and another must follow, whether you’re raiding the shopping bag in your car or gorging your way down a garden row. The outdoor route is pure luxury, when the little orbs are warmed by the sun, their vitamin C at magnum force.

I can remember a time not many years ago when I couldn’t help but wonder at my lack of luck with these little ruby colored jewels of the garden. My plants were beautiful, flowered profusely, even set little green fruit in large numbers. For some reason though, there were never more than a handful of ripe tomatoes. Then one day I spotted youngest son in the garden by the cherry tomato plants, and as I watched he stripped all the ripe ones off the plant to eat right there in the garden. I quit wondering then and there and the next year I planted more plants…

Source: A Stalk on the Wild Side – washingtonpost.com

Reading Barbara’s column led me back to her and Eliot’s website
where I reread Eliot’s “Authentic Food – Authentic Farming” article from The Mother Earth News.

The label “organic” has lost the fluidity it used to hold for the growers more concerned with quality than the bottom line, and consumers more concerned with nutrition than a static set of standards for labeling. “Authentic” is meant to be the flexible term “organic” once was. It identifies fresh foods produced by local growers who want to focus on what they are doing, instead of what they aren’t doing. (The word authentic derives from the Greek authentes: one who does things for him or herself.)

Eliot goes on to lay out specific standards for the term “Authentic” to be used as a descriptive label for food products. He has spent a lot of time in the Organic movement and a lot of thought has gone into his standards. He closes the article with this statement…

“Authentic” growers are committed to supplying food that is fresh, ripe, clean, safe and nourishing. “Authentic” farms are genetically modified organism-free zones. I encourage all small growers with local markets who believe in exceptional food to use the word “Authentic” to mean “Beyond Organic.” With a definition that stresses local, seller-grown and fresh, there is little likelihood that large-scale marketers can steal this concept.

Go spend some time with Eliot and Barbara, it’ll be time well spent.
Source: “Authentic Food – Authentic Farming”

Spring brings thoughts of gardens…

“Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake.” – Wallace Stevens

Barbara Damrosch has a new column out. It seems to be timed to remind all the gardeners out there to start thinking tomatoes. Particularly the small pop’em in the mouth kind.

Cherry bombs, the exploding kind, must have been named after cherry tomatoes, the edible kind, which burst in your mouth with a charge of candy-sweet juices. Pop one in and another must follow, whether you’re raiding the shopping bag in your car or gorging your way down a garden row. The outdoor route is pure luxury, when the little orbs are warmed by the sun, their vitamin C at magnum force.

I can remember a time not many years ago when I couldn’t help but wonder at my lack of luck with these little ruby colored jewels of the garden. My plants were beautiful, flowered profusely, even set little green fruit in large numbers. For some reason though, there were never more than a handful of ripe tomatoes. Then one day I spotted youngest son in the garden by the cherry tomato plants, and as I watched he stripped all the ripe ones off the plant to eat right there in the garden. I quit wondering then and there and the next year I planted more plants…

Source: A Stalk on the Wild Side – washingtonpost.com

Reading Barbara’s column led me back to her and Eliot’s website
where I reread Eliot’s “Authentic Food – Authentic Farming” article from The Mother Earth News.

The label “organic” has lost the fluidity it used to hold for the growers more concerned with quality than the bottom line, and consumers more concerned with nutrition than a static set of standards for labeling. “Authentic” is meant to be the flexible term “organic” once was. It identifies fresh foods produced by local growers who want to focus on what they are doing, instead of what they aren’t doing. (The word authentic derives from the Greek authentes: one who does things for him or herself.)

Eliot goes on to lay out specific standards for the term “Authentic” to be used as a descriptive label for food products. He has spent a lot of time in the Organic movement and a lot of thought has gone into his standards. He closes the article with this statement…

“Authentic” growers are committed to supplying food that is fresh, ripe, clean, safe and nourishing. “Authentic” farms are genetically modified organism-free zones. I encourage all small growers with local markets who believe in exceptional food to use the word “Authentic” to mean “Beyond Organic.” With a definition that stresses local, seller-grown and fresh, there is little likelihood that large-scale marketers can steal this concept.

Go spend some time with Eliot and Barbara, it’ll be time well spent.
Source: “Authentic Food – Authentic Farming”

Stalking the Vegetannual | by Barbara Kingsolver | Orion Magazine March-April 2007

Fred First pointed a link at this article. Thanks Fred. The entire article is worth the read but I found the last paragraph very important…

Locally grown is a denomination whose meaning is incorruptible. Sparing the transportation fuel, packaging, and unhealthy additives is a compelling part of the story. But the plot goes beyond that. Local food is a handshake deal in a community gathering place. It involves farmers with first names, who show up at the market week after week. It involves consumers who remember that to be human is to belong to a food chain, wherever and whenever we find ourselves alive. It means remembering the truest of all truths: we are what we eat. Stepping slowly backward out of a fuel-driven industry of highly transported foods will alter more than a person’s grocery list. Such small, stepwise changes in personal habits aren’t trivial. Ultimately, they will add up to the story of who we were on this planet: what it took to keep us alive, what we left behind.

Source: Stalking the Vegetannual | by Barbara Kingsolver | Orion Magazine March-April 2007

Walking the Berkshires

GreenmanTim has some interesting things to say about a proposal for a traveling meat processing plant. If America wants to reach a more sustainable means of feeding ourselves this could be one of  the methods needed to reach that level. Tim writes some very interesting articles on his site, this one was quite informative as usual. If you are interested in sustainable agriculture, go check out the rest…

What they lacked were meat processing and packaging services.

This is a critical problem not only for New England but across much of the United States, where just 4 mega-corporations process 80% of America’s meat.  There is increasing demand for locally-produced meat, raised without antibiotics or hormones, and people are willing to pay a premium for the security of knowing where their food comes from and who produces it.  they also care about supporting local agriculture and the regional farm economy.

Source: Walking the Berkshires

Good Morning World

To all my friends on the Blue Ridges and points north…Throw another log on the fire, winter ain’t done with y’all yet. Here we switched to a breeze off the gulf so our temperatures are moderating. It’s a balmy 45 degrees outside right now and heading back up into springtime temps again today.

For all of the wine drinkers out there the Washington Post is reporting that “Ernest Gallo, 97, who with his brother Julio reaped riches from California grapes, shaping the drinking habits of a nation and creating a wine fortune from a small investment, died March 6 at his home in Modesto, Calif.” Maybe their is something to all of these purpurted health benefits in drinking wine…97 years old.

And then there’s this…

IN LAST WEEK’S issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, a new study on antioxidant supplements, pills that magazine covers in the 1990s trumpeted as potential miracle drugs for their putative cancer-fighting power, concludes that they do not help users live longer and might even increase the risk of death. It’s a reminder that you can’t rely just on bottle labels to make smart choices about which pills to take.

Source: Don’t Take Your Vitamins? – washingtonpost.com

So what’s one to do, everything that was good is now bad, everything that was bad is
now good. Does anyone spouting all this nonsense really have any clue about what they are talking? I read an article long ago that quoted government reports on the nutritional value of common fruits and vegetables. They compared the values from different decades and the drop across the board was amazing. Now we are being told that the supplements we have been told to take may actually increase our risk of dieing, the diet we have been told to eat is making us obese, the medicines we are prescribed are killing us…And yet on every TV station, in every magazine, and on most billboards we are bombarded with ads for these very same products…

The title of this post came about from looking at my stats on sitemeter…Seems I had as many international hits as I had from the USA. Good to see you all…

Research Links Obesity to Mix of Bacteria in Digestive Tract – washingtonpost.com

For those of us who are weight challenged, this could explain why eating salads for ever don’t make a big difference in your weight… 

Obese people have more digestive microbes that are especially efficient at extracting calories from food, the researchers said, and the proportion of these super-digesting organisms ebbs as the people lose weight. Moreover, when the scientists transplanted these bacteria from obese mice into lean mice, the thin animals start getting fat. This provides more support for the provocative theory that the bacteria that populate the intestine play an important role in regulating weight.

Source: Research Links Obesity to Mix of Bacteria in Digestive Tract – washingtonpost.com