MAD Inspiration

WinterPathW

Winter is a time to reflect, to question and to envision a path forward. I found insight in this talk by Italian ethno-botanist Andrea Pieroni at the MAD symposium in Copenhagen.

Pieroni speaks about the language of food, science and culture. He believes science needs to step back and learn from traditional knowledge, that the scientific taxonomy of plants doesn’t tell us the human stories about communities of people, plants and their relationships. How plants are celebrated, prepared or eaten is often narrated in the context of traditional names of common plants. Andrea states that the cultural information becomes lost in the language of science.

Andrea’s challenge to build a platform to educate young people and all of us about where our food comes from inspires us.

We have built our vision of this educational platform on our farm, check out the 2015 workshops. Now we need you to share the vision, help us make 2015 Quillisascut Farm workshops the best ever! Sign-up, tell your friends, the table is set.

Here is Andrea Pieroni at the 2012 MAD Symposium.

It’s A Wrap

How do you wrap your trash?  Why do you wrap your trash?

Do you think it is strange that we are promoting the use of reusable shopping bags, some cities are even banning plastic shopping bags, but the discussion of swaddling our garbage in virgin plastic is never on the chopping block?

Okay, this isn’t the first time I’ve had this rant. A few weeks ago it came up on a friends Facebook discussion, well actually her rant was perfumed garbage bags (Who thought that one up? Probably, the same person who dreamed up perfumed toilet paper.)

My thoughts, why do we need plastic garbage bags? Not long ago I bought a stainless steel garbage can, when I got it home I realized it was designed to be used with a plastic bag; it didn’t have a bottom and there was a plastic loop on the top to hold a garbage sack. So, I took it back and searched for a stainless steel can that has a removable plastic liner with a handle that makes it easy to carry. It is simple to clean- it can be hosed out, scrubbed with a long handled brush and the water dumped on the compost pile.

I am getting old and  forgetful, I can’t remember when plastic garbage bags became common. My Mom used a paper grocery sack. I do remember my first restaurant job, no plastic garbage bags in that restaurant. Part of my daily routine was lining the cans with newspaper. I guess they had to stop doing that when they started recycling paper? The following year I worked at another cafe, we were very modern with our plastic garbage bags. So cool!

So, how do you wrap your trash? Would you consider giving up wrapping your garbage in plastic?

Glass Gem Corn

Every garden year a new variety comes along and becomes my obsession. I saw a photo of Glass Gem Corn on Pinterest, my friend Sylvia See had pinned it from Native Seed Search. I fell for it, hard, I NEED to grow this corn, so right away I looked it up on their website. At that time they were taking reservations for this years seeds, and I signed-up via their online list.

Yesterday Native Seed Search sent out a special email to the 7000 people who were on the list, opening up the sale of this years Glass Gem corn seeds. They are listed in a secure section of their website that can only be accessed with a special code, with a limit to one packet of 50 seeds per person. I quickly selected a packet and loaded it in my shopping cart.

Then I went about selecting a few other seeds, a gardener can never have too many seeds. Native Seed Search has an incredible selection, here are the packets I purchased: Tabasco peppers, for lacto fermented Quilli-basco sauce come this fall, Wenk’s Yellow Hots, which are very productive and one of our favorite hot fresh or pickled peppers and Del Arbol de Baja California Sur, a chili I have read about but never grown. Also, a pack of King Richard leeks fit for a king.

The Glass Gem corn looks like it should be kept in a jewelry box. If we have a productive crop from these seeds, if the corn can mature in this northern climate, I promise to have seeds to share with you next year. I will keep you posted how it goes. Of course I don’t yet have the seeds in my hand and as every gardener knows there are many variables to a healthy harvest.

You will have to wait on any photos, but I promise to keep you updated on how the corn does in this region. If you want to see images and read more about the history of Glass Gem Corn follow the link to the Native Seed blog.