Category: Food & Food Support Systems

Brilliant Broccoli

Broccoli, officially known as Brassica oleracea, variety italica, is a well-known member of the mustard family (Brassicaceae, formerly Cruciferae) that also includes its cousins such as, cabbages, kale, romanesco, and broccoli rabe. Broccoli, a native of the Mediterranean and Asia Minor area, was grown by the Romans in ancient times, but didn’t show up until the early part of the 18th century in England. Mention of broccoli in the Americas […]

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Cool Kohlrabi

The name kohlrabi is a German term meaning cabbage turnip (Kohl = cabbage and Rabi = turnip). Aptly named, kohlrabi (Brassica oleracea variety gongylodes) is indeed related to the cabbage and the turnip, as they are all members of the Brassicaceae or Cruciferae Family (mustard family) along with others like kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and romanesco. All those members of the Brassicaceae family descend from the wild cabbage. Time Gone […]

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Tasty Radishes

Radishes (Raphanus sativus), with their zingy flavor and firm texture, are a vegetable I have grown to love. This member of the Brassicaceae or Cruciferae (Mustard) family, which also includes garden favorites such as Romanesco and Cauliflower, come in many varieties. The varieties of radishes are classified by their planting times (early, mid, or late), their root shape (flat, oblong, round, half-long and long), and their color. There are some […]

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Celtuce or Stem Lettuce

Celtuce goes by many different names including Stem Lettuce, Chinese Lettuce, and Asparagus Lettuce. Celtuce (Lactuca sativa var. augustana, angustata, or asparagine) is the most unique of the five lettuce varieties. Originating in the Mediterranean, like most lettuces, it then arrived in China around 600 A.D., making its way to the western world in the 19th century. Not Like the Others What makes Celtuce so unique is that, unlike the […]

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The Local Food Movement as A Catalyst for Community

In the last couple of decades, the local food movement has gone from a fringe movement to a major player the national food industry. Almost every major urban center around the country has several farmers markets, community supported agricultural programs and other innovative ways to bring farmers and consumers closer together. The local food movement improves access to healthy, organic food, strengthens the local economy, and improves community relationships. What […]

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Astonishing Arugula

The appetizing annual Arugula (Eruca sativa) is also commonly known as rocket salad or sometimes called colewort, garden rocket, gharghir, roquette, rucola, rucoli, and rugula. While often viewed as a lettuce, this sharp-tasting leafy green is actually is a member of the Brassicaceae family of plants (aka mustard plants) which includes some other well-known veggies such as kale and cauliflower. Arugula is known for its signature spicy, peppery flavor, but […]

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Loose-Leaf Lettuce

Just as its name implies, Loose-leaf or simply Leaf lettuce doesn’t produce a head like Crispheads. Instead, it grows leaves loosely arranged on a stalk, in a rosette cluster. Loose-leaf (Lactuca sativa L.) can come in varying colors, including a gamut of greens and range of reddish purples, as well as differing leaf shapes. The flavors of the many varieties are typically mild and slightly sweet. Just as the Crispheads, […]

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How to Build a Solar Dehydrator to Preserve Food

If you are a gardener, you understand the abundance that comes during harvest season can be overwhelming. Instead of frantically searching for friends who will take away your fresh tomatoes or spending hours over a hot stove on a humid summer day making hundreds of canned tomato sauce, a solar dehydrator might be an option for you. One of the easiest ways to preserve food is through dehydrating. Instead of […]

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Need Variety? Just Add Potatoes!

If variety is the spice of life, then potatoes must have the spiciest life of all. Nearly everything about potatoes is variety dependent. The differences in color (skin and flesh), flavor, texture, size, baking quality, and even their starch content are all reliant upon the variation of this spiffy little spud. A Tale of Two Tubers There are two varieties of potatoes originating over 5,000 years ago that are considered […]

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Romaine Lettuce

As all lettuces are, Romaine lettuce (Lactuca sativa. var. longifolia) is from the Asteraceae family, which also includes artichokes. Romaine is widely referred to as Cos lettuce, and in some areas is known as Roman or Manchester lettuce. This leafy green vegetable will produce a head, but unlike other head lettuces, Iceberg and Butterhead, it produces a much more elongated head. Plus, this lovely lettuce is more heat tolerant than […]

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Ground Cherries

Small, husk wearing, fuzzy leaved little gems, these golden cherry tomato looking fruits may be one of the lesser known members of the nightshade family. However, once discovered you won’t forget their sweet, tart pineapple-mango-strawberry-tomato cross taste. This charming little member of the Physalis genus, which includes other husk covered fruits such as tomatillos and Chinese lanterns, are a delight to grow in the garden and enjoy in the kitchen. […]

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Sweet Butterhead Lettuce

So, we just discussed the Crisphead variety in our last article on lettuce. There is still another head lettuce within the five distinct lettuce varieties known as Butterhead lettuce (Lactuca sativa var. capitate). The Butterhead lettuce has a slightly sweet buttery taste and forms a looser leafed head than that of the Crisphead. This lettuce is also known as Butter, Boston, or Bibb. While Butter and Boston are just other […]

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