Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Heirlooms vs. Hybrids? Really?

Dragon Carrot from Seed Savers ExchangeWithin the constraints of our planting and harvesting schedule, our seed purchases this year emphasize heirloom and open-pollinated varieties — something which, according to this New York Times article, may be misguided. The article pits open-pollinated heirlooms against “flinty” F1 hybrids, and makes choosing heirloom varieties sound like a silly luxury.

There’s a lot to be said for Mendelian genetics when it comes to raising vegetables. Lord knows that we appreciate the disease resistance and higher yields that hybrid (F1) vegetable varieties often provide, and it many cases those benefits won out when we were choosing seed. Zucchini, for example — it was off-putting that one of the few open-pollinated varieties we found boasted yields “almost as good as hybrid varieties!” as though that were shocking and miraculous. Hybrid often produce a more reliable product, at least in terms of quantity.

With that in mind, we hunted for heirloom varieties that were as good as or better than the hybrid vegetables on our list, and in many cases we were successful. In fact, we were so successful that more than 50% of the varieties we’ll grow for market this season will be open-pollinated, which we consider an achievement. There were several reasons for us to pay attention to the number of open-pollinated varieties on our seed list:

Food sovereignty. Growing open pollinated varieties means that, with some careful planning, we’ll be able to save seed from many of the crops we grow this season. Even better, by saving seeds from the strongest, best tasting, highest yielding plants, growers can develop strains that are highly selected for the region. Modern hybrid varieties don’t produce true seed, which means growers are forever dependent on major seed companies for next year’s seed.

Variety. Hybrids have generally been selected to suit the needs of large-scale growers whose crops must be uniform and able to withstand travel and a potentially lengthy stay on the supermarket shelves. That’s why supermarket tomatoes — beefsteak, on the vine, even cherry tomatoes — all look more or less the same. Compare that with heirloom varieties of tomato which, though less reliable, come in all shapes and sizes, from the brilliantly colored Hillbilly Potato Leaf to the oddly elongated Green Sausage to the delightfully fuzzy Garden Peach. We know that farmer’s market customers appreciate the variety and beauty afforded by open pollinated varieties.

A sense of place. Our global food system has had the unfortunate effect of homogenizing our diets, so that the foods we eat here in New England are no different than the foods they eat in Nebraska or New Mexico. Renewing America’s Food Traditions, a project of Slow Food USA, has produced a list of foods, unique to New England, at risk of disappearing altogether, and do you know what’s on that list? The Berkshire Polish tomato. Moon & Stars Melon from Seed Savers ExchangeA variety of tomato brought from Poland and refined right here in these good Berkshire hills. It’s a history that makes my heart race a little. I’m trying to get my hands on some seeds so we can help bring it back from the brink.

Perhaps most importantly, we feel that it’s important to keep growing these varieties so seed companies will keep producing the seeds — otherwise we end up with nearly-tragic stories like that of the Moon and Stars watermelon. Once widely grown, this pretty and delicious melon all but disappeared. Only one farm continued to grow and save Moon and Stars seeds — if they hadn’t, the particular flavor of that melon would have disappeared from the earth forever. Luckily seed savers stepped in to rescue the variety and now anyone with $2.75 (or a seed-saving friend) and a sunny backyard can have a Moon and Stars melon of her own.

Handmade Holiday

Our friend Sam (not his real name) grew up in a working class family, and each December his mother would put the family into debt trying to give her husband and children everything they might want for Christmas. She always ended up hurt and disappointed; Sam’s brother was never satisfied with his gifts, and Sam’s father always yelled at her for buying a gift for him, which he said was a waste of their money. Seeing his mother in tears year after year ruined Sam’s holiday spirit, and now that he’s an adult he doesn’t celebrate Christmas at all. Which is his prerogative, of course — what I mean to say here is not “oh, poor Sam,” but “oh gosh, how did we get here?”

There’s a lot of talk about the problem of consumer Christmas, but mostly it’s couched in philosophic terms about what it says about our society that a holiday ostensibly about the birth of somebody’s lord and savior is now more about iPods and jewelery and tickle-me-elmos. And I understand all that. I really do. But what really grips me is Sam’s story, and the idea that all around our debt-ridden country, these are the kinds of holiday memories being created. Our household is almost radically frugal, and I still feel that gift-giving anxiety. Cian has written about it here before.

This year almost all of our gifts will be handmade. We spent the better part of the year growing and preserving some the gifts that our families will find under their trees: strawberry-vanilla jam, roasted tomatillo salsa, pear sauce, dilly beans, the list goes on. Untold amounts of energy went into those jars. There were late nights and early mornings, lots of dishes, even some hysterical tears when it seemed like the tomatoes would never be done with. Over the past couple of months we’ve been opening a jar of each, just to make sure they’re good enough to give away, and you know what? They are. If they weren’t made by me, if I bought them in a store, they’d be artisan crafted local food products made with organic ingredients. But I recently saw someone, I can’t remember who, worry that her handmade gifts would be received like a child’s plaster handprints (“Oh, isn’t that sweet!”), and I’ve got that same worry in my gut.

A winter holiday is no use if it mostly inspires feelings of anxiety and disappointment. It ought to be about about family and friends and food and music and celebration at this time of year when we need it more than any other time, because darkness is scary and after all, we’re only human. Maybe you’re feeling some of the same things? Here’s what I keep reminding myself: I can not single-handedly change Christmas culture. I can only win people over, one jar at a time.

Retrospective

photo by CianSometimes in gardening, things get away from you. And by “sometimes,” I really mean, “every year.” This year we had weeds in the carrots get away from us. As well as a few other things.

On the one hand, carrots tend to grow fairly well with weed pressure. On the other hand, we never got a handle on it and the carrots are rather ugly because of that. The response we had, which worked well, was planting a bed of Bolero (a variety of storage carrots from Johnny’s) in August. At that point there’s significantly less time between when the seeds are planted and when the weed pressure starts to wane. A couple of times through with a scuffle hoe and hand-weeding only once and the youngest bed of carrots puts its elders to shame.

Tomatoes, on the other hand, didn’t have such huge weed problems. We went through once a week and hoed around them until they were towering over potential weeds. At that point we should have kept up the weekly weeding, but it fell by the wayside. With tomatoes this is especially important to keep up for deterring early blight, which is soil-borne and starts on the lowest leaves. The growers I know and have worked for don’t generally spray fungicides to delay early blight onset; they trim the lower branches first out of precaution (it allows better airflow, which discourages fungus) and later as a way for infected leaves to be removed before the fungus spreads. As you go through to trim leaves off, it’s easy enough to pull weeds, but I was taught always keep your hands out of the dirt when working with tomatoes to keep from infecting plants with early blight.

We did have the tomatoes get out of hand in terms of numbers. We never trellised the last 12 or so plants (in our defense, we had about 200). We basically ran out of twine one day and never went back to them. They sprawled everywhere, got pretty sick looking, and produced virtually nothing thanks to our neglect. We also didn’t pick fast enough on the trellised ones and lost some tomatoes to splitting and falling off the vines when ripe.

Aside from weedy carrots and too many tomatoes our biggest problem was definitely weddings. I mean weeding and picking around weddings. People had better start getting married in February, it will be much more convenient for us.

When life hands you tomatoes…

Here’s the thing: Last season we hardly had any tomatoes at all. Boardman Hill Farm planted somewhere in the vicinity of 500 tomato plants and we, as lowly interns, painstakingly clipped them to plastic net trellising as they grew, coming home at the end of the day with fingers stained yellow and black with tomato schmutz. We watched eagerly as they flourished and flowered, even though we were in the midst of one of the wettest seasons on record. By mid-July the early-maturing varieties were setting fruit.

By late July, the plants were all dead.

When the Eastern seaboard was hit with late blight last season (partially the result of infected seedlings shipped up from the South to be sold at box stores), farms much bigger than ours lost entire crops and an enormous portion of their revenue. We processed a mere half-bushel, enough for a batch of salsa which we then jealously guarded and rationed out over quesadillas until it was gone. I joked that I should write a book about the season called Eulogy for a Tomato (with apologies to David Masumoto, family farmer and author of Epitaph for a Peach). Every so often I could be heard to murmur wistfully “someday we will have a tomato…”

So when we planned our garden for this year, we decided we wanted a lot of tomatoes. I figured the more we planted, the better chance we had of bringing some of them through to harvest. We planted about 200 healthy, home-grown seedlings, and we were vigilant. We walked the rows twice a week, scouting for any sign of disease. We never, ever walked through the plants when they were wet, since water is the bodily fluid of plants. We even pulled a couple that looked sick, although they may have just been stressed. Better safe than sorry, Cian said, yanking up a 2-foot-high plant. In July, when late blight outbreaks were confirmed in Western Massachusetts and Northern Vermont, we invested in a backpack sprayer and bought some organic copper fungicide from our former farmer boss to protect our tomatoes. We weren’t taking any chances.

Thankfully the late blight held off until September, and the season was warm and dry and perfect for heat-loving crops like tomatoes. We were inundated. We lugged them up the stairs to our apartment in industrial black plastic totes, which we stacked in our living room and tripped over at night. In my pessimism over last season I had been hoping we’d get enough tomatoes to make a couple of batches of sauce and some salsa, but I had absolutely no idea what I was in for. We made quarts and quarts of tomato sauce, tomato juice and crushed tomatoes, three kinds of salsa, ketchup, barbecue sauce, bruschetta… the list goes on. We ran out of stuff to make, but the tomatoes kept coming. We couldn’t let them go to waste, so we put up fliers around town and spread the word to our friends and acquaintances. We sold some, and bartered some, and gave some away. At first we kept careful track, but it soon became clear we’d need an industrial scale to actually weigh all the tomatoes.

By our best estimates, we picked somewhere around 1000 pounds of tomatoes this summer. One thousand pounds of tomatoes, from a handful of tiny seeds, and every one of those tomatoes went through our hands — we picked them, washed them, processed them and packed them. Frost finally killed the plants on October 10th, but on the 9th we went out and picked as many tomatoes as we could manage, and we’re not quite done with them yet. Right now the very last pot of sauce is simmering on the stove, and a handful of underripe tomatoes are sitting on the windowsill, waiting to become surprising late-October tomato sandwiches. It was exciting and hectic and a little overwhelming, but far be it from me to complain about too many tomatoes. May next season be just as productive.

First Fruit

Portrait with Rhubarb by c. dalzellBotanically speaking, rhubarb is a vegetable, but a clever New York court decreed in 1947 that, since we use it like a fruit, we should call it a fruit. This suits me fine, since it means that even in Vermont (where we won’t have fresh local strawberries until late June at best) we can expect the first fruit of the season in May.

Some long time ago, my grandfather put a patch of rhubarb out behind the farmhouse. It grew next to an old shed still affectionately referred to as the chicken house, in the shade of a big thorn tree. I grew up eating the stuff — in the summer my cousins and I would pull big stalks off the plant and dip the ends in sugar, gnawing off big puckery bites and going back for more. As far back as I can remember, we young’ns were the only ones who ever picked it.

The chicken house came down a few years back, and this year the thorn tree finally stuck the wrong person and was cut into firewood, but the rhubarb patch is still there and thriving. When we visited my family last week I took the opportunity to harvest a couple of pounds. I can’t wait to move somewhere with a little bit of land, so I can take a division of that prolific plant.

Last week I broke out the canner and made a simple batch of rhubarb jam. It’s exciting to have something fresh in the pantry, and to already have something to show for this season: the first fruits of spring, all saved up in a jar.

(That hat, by the way? We picked it up on our visit to Hancock Shaker Village — another fixture of my childhood.)

Contraband

no commercial translationsA co-worker let me know that he was waiting out front for me. I met him and he gave specific instructions, “grab a paper bag, come out to the car, put the jar in the paper bag before you go back inside.”

Only a week before I had become aware of this scraggly looking man who brought contraband here at the same day and time every week. The street goes from being empty to peopled to empty again following the station wagon that brings this contraband. This dangerous, illegal substance that is sold out of the back of an old car?

It’s raw milk.

That’s it. That’s why all the discretion and concerns of who sees me make the exchange and that he parks on the opposite side of the street from the small grocery. The fact that everyone slips him cash as he hands over a nondescript paper bag.

What’s funny is that in Vermont, raw milk is legal to buy directly from the farmer. It’s never allowed to be just purchased at a farmer’s market (or out of a car trunk), though- pre-purchased deliveries and on-farm direct sales are legal if the farmer registers with the state and follows the regulations set by the state. The thing that he does that’s illegal is direct sales out of his trunk, likely because he can’t afford to build a new barn to the specifications required for certification. They likely require, among other things, that the hand-washing sink is not in the same room as the milk processing, so that you can clean your hands before and after sanitizing the processing room… outside of the room.

If we were in New Hampshire, raw milk sales would be legal on the farm, through home delivery, from a milk pasteurization plant (I really don’t understand this one), or at a boarding house if the milk is produced on premises and there is a sign announcing that the milk served is raw. That sounds like outdated legislation to me.

In New York it’s legal to sell raw milk if the sales are done on-farm and the farm is registered as a raw milk dairy with the state. In Massachusetts individual towns get to decide whether or not raw milk sales are legal. In Washington DC and some 17 or so states, raw milk sales are illegal under all circumstances. Five more states allow raw milk to be sold as pet food, but not for human consumption. Some other states require “cow shares,” which mean that the people are not purchasing milk, but accepting the portion of the milk that is fair based on their partial ownership of the cow.

More organizations are being vocal about how raw milk sales can be an integral part of small farms- allowing the farms to become more viable and more sustainable. It’s also considered a health food- many lactose intolerant adults (myself included) can tolerate raw milk, likely because it contains the killed-by-pasteurization microbes that help the body break down lactose.

The main argument against raw milk sales is that raw milk is risky due to it’s microbial activity. With healthy cows and clean equipment, the risk of infection due to raw milk consumption is very low. For anyone unhappy with the risk- the corner store will continue to offer industrial farms’ homogenized, pasteurized milk, even if it becomes legal in New Jersey, Delaware, Hawaii, and Iowa (among other states) to put raw milk for sale alongside.

Recent news on raw milk: USA Today

Lent lends itself to living simply

Holyrood Abbey by laszlo-photoI’m not just of Irish heritage, I’m of Irish Catholic heritage. Also Italian Catholic heritage. That means that even though I haven’t been a practicing Catholic in over a decade, I still think about Lent. And Lent, as anyone reading will likely not know, started last Wednesday after a night of meat eating for most and debauchery for a few. It continues until after the Easter vigil on April 3rd if you’re anxious to get back to what you’ve given up, or when you wake up on April 4th if you’re like my family (“No, you are not allowed to eat a creme egg. You have to wait until tomorrow!”).

For what would now be considered a traditional Lenten Fast is also a simplified meal plan started and ended with a day of true fasting. What is usually done is to have a small breakfast, a small lunch, and a sensible dinner, with no snacks between. There were at least some years where my father drank only water during Lent.

What I’m encouraging my family and friends to engage this year is not just to eat less food, but also to eat better food. Give up high fructose corn syrup (especially if you’re already giving up soda). Give up canned goods if you can afford to do so. Bake your own bread for the 7 weeks or eat whole wheat. Use the time you spend in the kitchen contemplating history, contemplating simplicity, contemplating the body and soul that you have and are choosing to nurture by filling it with natural foods.

And then after what, at least within my family, will be a ridiculous amount of chocolate and cursing (the two big things they abstain from) on Easter Sunday, this diet, or some semblance thereof, will likely no longer feel like abstention. It might just feel like good, real food.

The REAL surprise: HFCS is everywhere

www.nataliedee.com

www.nataliedee.com

The “Sweet Surprise” ad campaign tells us high-fructose corn syrup is fine in moderation — but is moderation really possible? Read on.

Have you seen the Sweet Surprise advertisements? Launched in the summer of 2008, the $30 million multimedia campaign aims to improve public sentiment towards high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Well, that’s my take on it. The Corn Refiners Association, who paid for the campaign, has a different explanation:

The goal of the campaign is to dispel myths and correct inaccuracies associated with this versatile sweetener and highlight the important role high fructose corn syrup plays in our nation’s foods and beverages.

The TV ads, which pit mislead HFCS-free followers against in-the-know HFCS fans, boil the campaign down to three points: high-fructose corn syrup is natural, nutritionally the same as sugar, and fine in moderation. The problem with those three points is that they entirely skirt the real issue. Let’s take the campaigns points one at a time.

Is HFCS Natural?

Manufacturers use a fairly complicated chemical process to turn corn into plain old corn syrup, made up of glucose, dextrose and maltose, and corn syrup into high-fructose corn syrup (fructose is sweeter than glucose, which is why food processors tend to favor it).

The FDA has ruled that products made with HFCS can be labeled natural as long as the corn syrup itself never touches glutaraldehyde, a highly toxic synthetic chemical used in its production. A year ago two U.S. studies found that about half of all tested samples of commercial high-fructose corn syrup contained mercury, which is a potent neurotoxin.

So yes, the FDA once stated that HFCS can be called natural — but they also used to think Bisphenol A was no big deal, and we see how that’s turned out.

Is HFCS nutritionally the same as sugar?

This one’s fairly true. Table sugar, or sucrose, is a disaccharide of glucose and fructose, and my understanding is that HFCS has only slightly more fructose than glucose.

Fructose has some marks against it when it comes to nutrition; it’s been loosely associated with obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, because the body processes it differently than other sugars. Agave nectar, a sweetener preferred by many natural-food types (who should all read this), has much higher concentrations of fructose than HFCS.

When it comes to HFCS, IS there such a thing as moderation?

“It’s fine in moderation!” the pretty blond in the commercial cajoles her HFCS-resistant beau.

It’s in that last little caveat that the Corn Refiner’s Association makes a sweet, sticky mess of the facts. High-fructose corn syrup may be fine in moderation, but it’s virtually impossible to moderate. It’s not just in the fruit drink at your kid’s birthday party; it’s in the sandwich you send her off to school with each day. It’s not just in the popsicle you share while picnicking in the park; it’s in the yogurt and cereal you eat while reading the paper together every morning.

See, government tariffs make sugar artificially expensive, and the Farm Bill’s outrageous corn subsidies (which, remember, come from that money you send to Washington every April) make corn syrup really cheap — and cheap corn syrup is a great way to add (empty) calories and flavor to processed foods.

In a world without cheap HFCS, soda would still be best enjoyed in moderation, but I doubt you’d find sugar quite so high up on the list of ingredients in Thomas’ English Muffins. It would be much easier to avoid overindulging in sweeteners if we weren’t pre-paying for high-fructose corn syrup with our taxes.

The average American consumes TWELVE teaspoons of HFCS a day, a fact which I can’t quite get over. If our food system placed more emphasis on whole foods — the kind that taste great without the addition of high-fructose corn syrup — maybe we’d be able to enjoy caloric sweeteners in moderation. In the meantime, it takes nothing short of an obsessive vigilance to keep our HFCS-intake to a minimum. Few people have the time, the tools or the money to avoid the high-fructose corn syrup that’s in virtually every class of processed food, so how exactly does the Corn Refiners Association expect us to consume it in moderation?

How can we avoid this stuff?

The obvious answer is to read labels, but when you’ve probably got better things to do than stand in the grocery store picking up loaf after loaf of bread looking for one that doesn’t contain HFCS. Here are some tips:

  • Choose whole foods whenever possible.
  • Check The Greenists’ HFCS-Free category for suggestions.
  • Consult the Accidental Hedonist list of foods containing HFCS (it’s a good idea to double-check these items, since I don’t know how up-to-date this list is kept).
  • Use The Good Guide to research HFCS-free products ahead of time (and if your grocer doesn’t carry an HFCS-free option, ask for it!)
  • [Cian adds] Shop at your local natural foods store, where someone else is paid to read ingredient labels for you. Ask employees for HFCS-free recommendations.

Winter Local

Current circumstances lead me to spend hours every week standing in the produce section of a grocery. Namely because I work there, but that’s only relevant because of the questions I am asked. Here is one of my favorites:

“Are these local?”

It’s hard to describe the chasm between what people perceive should be local and what it’s possible to get locally in Vermont in January. The way the seasons work is by warm weather slowly climbing up the coast and then inland in Spring, then in the Autumn it retreats in the opposite way it came. That means that in the landlocked mountains (Lake Champlain doesn’t count), there are often frosts all the way to the beginning of June and starting again in September. Depending on how far down the mercury drops in a night, crops can be completely wiped out, either in Spring or Autumn. An early frost means that there’s a lot less grocery stores can count on in January from the local farmers.

In January around here, the only way to grow vegetables is to have them in heated greenhouses. State of the art, well heated greenhouses. Very expensive, double or triple paned glass greenhouses. Most of the vegetable farmers around here (who are admittedly few as compared to the dairy farmers and meat farmers, and even those are dwindling) can’t afford a greenhouse like that, let alone a monstrously sized one to be able to house all the greens that would sell in one (let alone multiple) grocery stores over the course of a winter that can range from November through May.

And while I’m explaining what we can’t have local in January, I want to specify that “winter squash” is a bit of a misnomer. Winter squash is called that because it lasts into the Winter, not through it. Having winter squash in the grocery store in January means likely having at least some of it shipped from the Southern states or Mexico.

So what’s local in New England in January? Or at least, what can be?
- potatoes
- sweet potatoes
- leeks
- onions and shallots
- apples that have been in good storage
- root vegetables: parsnips, carrots, turnip, rutabega, and beets
- celeriac
- kohlrabi
- cabbage
- garlic

That sounds like a lot of onion, starch, and earthy flavors, but there are really good recipes where you can locally source all of your ingredients in the middle of winter, even in Vermont. Here’s a good one:

Celeriac Soup
- makes 4 servings -

Ingredients

4 tablespoons butter
1-2 celeriac (about 2 pounds), peeled and roughly chopped
1 large leek, sliced (about 3/4 pound)
1 smallish potato, diced (about 1/4 pound)
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
7 tablespoons (3.5 ounces) heavy cream
Salt and pepper
3 slices good thick bacon, cut into 1/2 inch strips
Procedure

1. In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the celeriac, potato, garlic, and onion, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook the vegetables gentle until they soften, about 10 minutes.

2. Add the stock, bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes until the celeriac is completely tender.

3. Meanwhile, fry the bacon in a skillet until just crispy, then drain on paper towels. (Or try some of these other garnishing options.)

4. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth (or use an immersion blender). Return to medium heat, and season to taste. Whisk in the cream and serve immediately, topped with the bacon.

recipe is from seriouseats.com

Keep Monsanto out of your garden

parsley seedling by CianGM-crop producing, seed patent-owning, farmer-suing Monstanto Corporation owns the seed company that supplies Burpee, Johnny’s and other favorite providers with some of their most popular seeds. Keep reading for details.

It’s seed catalog season. I poured over our Johnny’s catalog for an hour and a half last week, reading each and every description and fantasizing about spring. Later, leafing through the catalog for a second time himself, Cian said “I just want to grow everything. Even the cover-crops!”

I know we aren’t the only ones lusting after green growing things right now, and I’m sure it’s a boon to seed companies that farmers and gardeners order their seeds in the depths of winter, when we’re planting imaginary gardens that would put out more produce than we could ever use (if we even had the space for them).

Which is why now is an important time to ask if Monsanto will own your garden this year.*

In 2005, Monsanto bought a multinational corporation called Seminis, which produces and distributes more than 3,000 varieties of popular garden seeds. I mean really popular seeds; over the years they’ve distributed such well-known varieties as Early Girl and Better Boy tomatoes, Red Sails lettuce and Red Knight bell peppers.

Because of Seminis’ market share, it’s difficult for the seed companies we love to stop selling them altogether. The Organic Seed Alliance reports that

Seminis’ varieties account for 11 percent of Fedco Seed’s gross sales, and the numbers are much higher in categories like melons and squash. While Fedco founder C.R. Lawn expressed his personal inclination to have nothing to do with Monsanto, the volume of sales demands careful consideration.

(Fedco has since dropped all Seminis varieties.)

To keep Monsanto out of your garden this season, avoid buying seed produced by Monsanto-Seminis — and ask your gardener friends to do the same. The list of varieties they produce is too long for me to list here, but you can use Seminis’ website to research specific varieties. Make sure you look at products for both home gardeners and professional growers.

Johnny’s currently carries 21 varieties produced by Monsanto-Seminis, and they’re working on phasing out those varieties as suitable replacements are found. They sent Emily of Eat Close to Home this list of all the products in their catalog currently supplied by Monsanto-Seminis:

  • 103 SIERRA BLANCA onion
  • 224 FREMONT cauliflower
  • 240 HANSEL eggplant
  • 241 GRETEL eggplant
  • 568 BISCAYNE pepper
  • 642 DULCE pepper
  • 733 CELEBRITY tomatoes
  • 2038 KING ARTHUR pepper
  • 2063 BIG BEEF tomatoes
  • 2212 PRIZEWINNER pumpkin
  • 2260 FAIRY TALE eggplant
  • 2309 X3R RED KNIGHT pepper
  • 2365 ORANGE SMOOTHIE pumpkin
  • 2368 PATTY GREEN TINT summer squash
  • 2894 SERRANO DEL SOL pepper
  • 2954 CHEDDAR cauliflower
  • 2991 CANDY onion
  • 122 BEAUFORT tomatoes
  • 2794 GERONIMO tomatoes
  • 2700 MAXIFORT tomatoes
  • 2373 TRUST tomatoes

Alternately, you could get your seeds from one of the many distributors that isn’t supplied by The Devil Monsanto; High Mowing Seeds, Fedco, Seed Savers Exchange and Baker Creek are all good examples, and Botanical Interests, whose first-ever print catalog comes out very soon, carries only one Monsanto-Seminis variety (the “celebrity” tomato).

Monsanto has their fingers in our food system every step of the way — and if we’re not careful, before long it’ll be their food system. Check out The Organic Consumers Associations’ Millions Against Monsanto campaign for more.

*I’m speaking metaphorically, of course. Monsanto doesn’t own your garden unless you try to save seeds from one of their products. Then, watch out — they might come after you.