Category: Food & Food Support Systems

Lets Celebrate Celeriac

Whether you call it celeriac or celery root, this member if the Apiaceae family (carrot family) is quite the distinctive looking tuber. Celeriac (Apium graveolens var. rapaceum) is the variety of the celery plant that is cultivated for its roots as opposed to its stalks, as is the plant we often just call celery. In fact, unlike stalk celery, celeriac’s stalks and petioles are inedible. History Celeriac was cultivated from […]

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Tropical Food Forests

One of the biggest myths of the industrialized food system is related to the issue of productivity. The massive monocultures of wheat, soybeans, corn, and other products that are cultivated by GPS-controlled combines and fertilized with heavy doses of chemical fertilizers are upheld as the standard of maximum productivity of the land. Following from this myth, we are led to believe that if it wasn’t for the genius of industrial […]

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Beautifully Unique Romanesco

I’m not sure if I like Romanesco because I enjoy the way its name rolls off the tongue, because it’s such an odd conical shape and bright green color, or because I adore all produce hailing from the Brassicaceae or Cruciferae Family (aka mustard family) that also includes the likes of broccoli, cauliflower, and kale. It could also be because it’s a delicious edible flower with what seems like endless […]

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The Sisterhood Tradition: Three Sisters Companion Planting

A three sisters garden is a way to grow a nutritionally complete meal the way nature intended. It’s a classic component in permaculture homesteads. In fact, it’s been a classic for over seven hundred years. The three sisters garden was one of the main food production sources for the Iroquois and many other tribes across North America. The traditional “sisters” are corn, beans, and squash, although there are other plants […]

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Tasty Tomatillos

With fossil records dating back 52 million years ago in Patagonia, Argentina, the tomatillo (genus Physalis) is one historical fruit. This member of the Solanaceae family, which consists of all nightshades including tomatoes, potatoes, tobacco, peppers, and eggplants, was cultivated by the Aztecs and has been a staple food for areas in and south of Mexico. This tangy little summer annual, resembles a tomato, but stands out because it wears […]

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Charismatic Cauliflower

two beautiful cauliflowers

Brassica oleracea, the cool season crop cousin of the cabbage is completely captivating, and is commonly called cauliflower. Say that five times fast! That may get complicated, but the cauliflower would understand that. That’s because this member of the Brassicaceae family (mustard family) along with kale, cabbage, broccoli, and broccoli rabe, is known for being a temperamental grower. Complexities of Cultivating Cauliflower If you decide to plant cauliflower, and I […]

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Strawberries

Bush of red strawberry growing in a garden

Beautiful, red, sweet, and juicy, this brilliant berry is adored by many. It’s a common site in stores and farmers markets, and sought out for its bright color and scrumptious sweetness. Even the scent of the strawberry is quite popular and mimicked in many beauty products, candles, and cleaners. While the strawberry is rather popular today, it has been around since antiquity, growing wild and used mainly as an ornamental, […]

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How To Get Natural Good Bacteria

How To Get Natural Good Bacteria

In the world of fermented goods, the good bacteria, mould and yeasts are the unspoken hero. I will call them Good Guys from now on. Before the invention of fridges, most produce were pickled, cured, salted and/or smoked to preserve them for the winter months so that food is available and life can continue. Nowadays most people are living daily. We buy food daily or weekly at most, believing that […]

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Cooking the Three Sisters: Maize, Beans and Squash

Maize, beans and squash form the famous polyculture known as the Three Sisters. Grown from Mexico to Chile, from ancient Incans to modern natural farmers, the trio cooperates symbiotically in the field. It also does so in the kitchen: three simple yet delicious dishes combine as a wholesome meal. Taught by Juan, a natural farmer in the mountains above Cali, Colombia, who learned it from an old campesino, who said […]

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Cucumbers: Cat Assassins?

You may have seen videos going around on social media showing cats being terrified by Cucumis sativus sneaking up on them. While this may sound like a vicious predator of the domestic feline, in reality, it’s the modest cucumber. While not an actual danger to your cat, although cats may disagree, the cucumber is a creeping vine plant member of the Cucurbitaceae family, which includes pumpkins, zucchini, and various melons. […]

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Inimitably Asparagus

There are so many things that make Asparagus one distinctively unique vegetable. From the way it tastes to the way it grows, nothing is typical for this peculiar perennial. Once grouped together in the same Liliaceae (lily) family as onions and garlics, asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) is now separated out into the Asparagaceae family. While asparagus may have just been relatively recently reclassified, it’s nothing new in the world of vegetables […]

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The Incredible Edible Eggplant

Solanum melongena is referred to by many different names depending on location. Some may refer to it as aubergine, brinjal, or, as I call it, the eggplant. This member of the nightshade family is related to potatoes, tomatoes, and tobacco, and comes in dozens of varieties, with colors ranging in hues of white, green, and purple. Eggplant History The eggplant has its origins rooted in south and eastern Asia, with […]

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