There is a company that is dominating our agricultural landscape like no other, in a myriad of ways with a scope so wide it is staggering. It has a near-monopoly on herbicides and seeds. It owns almost 100% of the market share of genetically modified seeds. It is the largest conventional seed company and it is the number one selling herbicide company in the world. It is a biotechnology corporation conveniently predicated on agriculture. The company is Monsanto and it is responsible for Round Up, a systemic, broad-spectrum herbicide containing the active ingredient, glyphosate, which Monsanto developed and patented in 1970. In addition to its inherent toxicity as a chemical pesticide, Roundup has now been found to aid the spread of fusarium head blight in wheat. This disease creates a toxin in the infected wheat, making the crop unsuitable for human or animal consumption. Canada’s wheat industry is currently being ravaged by this disease. At the same time, the widespread use of Roundup has resulted in the formation of “super weeds” — unwanted plants that have developed an immunity to these pesticides. This is just cracking the surface, really. Monsanto also has many pending lawsuits in attempts to prevent farmers from saving and replanting seeds, accusing farmers of patent infringement, even though replanting seeds is perfectly legal, as the first unrestricted sale of a patented item exhausts the patentee’s control over that particular item. Monsanto has retaliated aggressively by creating seeds that cannot be sown more than once: they have developed genetic modifications into crops so that the resultant plants are incapable of reproducing, and seed can’t be harvested, and also completely destroying biological self-sufficiency. Monsanto has taken nature into its own hands and reversed the laws of perennial production. While Monsanto owns the market on genetically engineered seeds, the GE crops are costing American taxpayers 12 billion dollars in farm subsidies just in the past three years alone. The GE crops have forced more usage of pesticides and are creating far less yields than natural crops. Monsanto is creating seeds that are failing farmers and are inbuilt with pesticides. They are the spearhead of monoculture, creating the world’s food staples with genes from bacteria which are then released into our food chain. Monsanto is the same company who is responsible for the creation of PCB’s and Agent Orange. This same company has harnessed control over the present and future of our food sources. From Canada to India, farmers’ livelihoods are being directly affected by Monsanto and the negative impacts of its technology. Monsanto is the embodiment of agribusiness and it stands to be the antithesis of sustainable and organic agriculture, agrarian values and the real solution to our world’s food crisis. Most breathtaking to me is that Monsanto is essentially conducting a huge biological experiment, holding farmers and humanity hostage along the way. There needs to be more public consciousness of Monsanto and the threat to our food safety that they have created. They have created international peril and nearly nothing can stop them. I know optimists and I know pessimists. When it comes to Monsanto, too often pessimism wins. Buy organic seeds and plant them. Save the seeds and harvest them year after year. Support your local and sustainable farmers who are free from the grips of Monsanto’s clamps. Know your food source and know that your food source is good for our world. Take the future of food out of Monsanto’s hands and you will be putting it in yours.
RIVER BOTTOM FARMS – HEIRLOOM TOMATOES REVEALED, PART III:
This mix features a variety of heirlooms which provides a myriad of flavors, colors, shapes and sizes. Highlights are the Oregon Spring whose earliest fruits are its largest and predominantly seedless, the White Wonder, which is creamy white and quite sweet, the Striped Cavern, which has a unique lobed-shape, brilliant color, meaty flesh and thick walls (great for stuffing) and the Striped Cavern, which is a grower’s dream: it’s shaped like a jalapeno pepper, has variegated coloring, is super meaty and has amazing flavor. Other varieties in the mix include Dr. Wyche’s Yellow, Missouri Pink Love Apple, Japanese Trifele, Copia, Anna Russian, Red Zebra and Sprite. They are here, they are ripe and they are revealing the full spectrum of the heirloom shapes, sizes and flavors that we love and MORE. Uber-limited quantities, but we have got each and every vine-ripe heirloom tomato from their fields.
COASTAL ORGANICS – PREMIUM SQUASHES AND SWEET TOMATOES!
Coastal Organics is hitting their prime this summer with unequivocally beautiful and delicious squash varieties and petit and sweet tomatoes that make your heart and mouth melt almost simultaneously. Their Certified Organic farm delivers harvests of baby crops as a trademark, but don’t think it is done without sacrifice. Harvesting baby crops is more labor-intensive and produces far less yields, which means round-the-clock agricultural care and a contract with Mother nature that can bring uncertainty, nerves and yet, more often sheer brilliance.
Baby Summer Squash Mix– a variety of Ronde Nice, 8-Ball, Green & Gold Zucchini, Sunburst (a.k.a gold patty pan) and Middle Eastern. You can also order individual squash varieties.
Baby Sunburst Squash – patty pans that are cute, small, crunchy, even slightly SPICY and ORGANIC!
Eight Ball Squash – stuff ’em, eat them whole, adore their brilliant shape and color and honor these seasonal beauties with culinary grace – let ’em shine!
Middle Eastern Squash – quintessentially perfect squash variety! Actually, that is what they are known to be: the idyllic squash. You do the math.
Green Zucchini Squash – Coastal Organics zucchinis are squeaky fresh, slim and texturally shiny (AND They’re organic!)…so perfect, you could eat them raw.
Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes – let’s just say the seeds are a “family secret” that Maryann Carpenter is not revealing to…anyone! Secrets never tasted so gooood!
Sun Gold Tomatoes – Maryann Carpenter swears by these bright orange sun-kissed beauties! They are a market stand-out and sell-out week after week. Their sun-kissed skins are proof that sweetness lies just beneath the surface*
WEISER FAMILY FARMS – MELONS, MELONS, MELONS!!
Cavaillon Melons – The esteemed French favorite is back! When the Cavaillon is ripe the skin turns a cream color, the ribbed stripes change to darker green and the stem begins to crack and pulls off easily. Fragrant and quite sweet!
Ogen Melons – Yellow with green striped skin. Sweet and aromatic green flesh. Soft like an avocado when ripe.
Butterscotch Melons – These small melons have a pale green skin and a two-toned green and orange flesh. Many people think the flesh tastes like butterscotch candy because it is so sweet, which is where the name comes from. Ripe melons are paler in color with a sweet sugary aroma.
Padron Chile Peppers from Happy Quail Farms!!!!!!!!!
White Corn from Gloria Tamai Farms (sweet and ready for the grill!), Heirloom Cherokee Tomatoes from Tutti Frutti, Zephyr Squash from McGrath Family Farms, Eight Ball, Middle Eastern, Sunburst and Summer Baby Squash Mix from Coastal Organics (awesome!!!), Meyer Lemons and Encore Tangerines from Garcia Organics, Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes from Coastal Organics are finally here and they are sweeeeet!, Micro French Breakfast Radishes and Spanish Radishes from Jaime Farms, Tiny Tiny Apricots (Elgian Marbles), Yellow Nectarines, WHITE Nectarines (candy!) and Yellow Peaches from Fitzgerald Farms, Green Onion Chives and Miners Lettuce from Yasutomi Farm, Pink Variegated Lemons from J.J.’s Lone Daughter Ranch (look for some uber-unique kumquats and kaffir limes!!), Rustic Arugula and Round Baby Carrots from Windrose Farm, and Ron Burgundy Fingerling Potatoes from Weiser Famly Farms.
Flageolets are here and naturally have smaller pods which means petite beans inside. Look for more shelling beans as the summer ripens. Vines are growing, flowers are budding and shells are taking shape. Once July heat fires up there will be a plethora at our fingertips: Black-Eyed, Black Soy, Cranberry, Calypso, Dragon’s Tongue, Dixie Butter, Persian, Purple-hulled Pink Eyes, Rattlesnakes…you get the idea. The farmers know you want them and they have assured me I will be the first to know when they hit the radar. That makes you as close to the source as possible.
Purple-hulled Pink Eyes
Back on track: Fiesole (Baby Purple) Artichokes from Life’s A Choke
Semi-Savoy Spinach from Rutiz Farms
Gapping: Bloomsdale Spinach from Weiser Family Farms and Icicle Radishes from Jaime Farms (two more weeks..)
Exiting: Jerry’s Berries, Firecracker Lettuce, Cara Cara Oranges, Sugar Snap Peas, Murcott Tangerines, French Leeks, Green Garlic, Meiwa Kumquats, Paige Tangerines, Tom’s Terrific Tangerines and Gold Nuggets from Garcia Organics, Black Kale, Baby Turnips (Coastal Organics) and Watermelon Radishes from Mcgrath Farms
White Corn from Gloria Tamai Farms: tender pale white kernels so sweet you’ll forget another color of corn exists…
Zephyr Squash – from McGrath Family Farms, limited quantities, sells out fast – pre-order!!!
Miners Lettuce – from Yasutomi Farms. Hydroponically grown European Heirloom seed with mild and sweet flavors. Nobody else is growing this and it is amazing!
Baby Heirloom Eggplants – from Jaime farms: hybrid mix of baby varieties such as Japanese, Italian, Varieagted, Thai, White, Finger – amazing presentation and flavor!
Heirloom Tomato Variety – from Tutti Frutti Farms
Pirella Lettuce from Coleman Farms
Baby Green Artichokes – round, meaty and mild, more heart than other varieties, as it is simply a tinier version of its larger counterparts that get more sun. 100% edible!
Baby Green Zucchini with Flower – Life’s A Choke Farms inject water into each squash blossom’s stem to ensure their freshness and livelihood. A wonderful and glamorous spring and summer menu accoutrement!!
Yellow Peaches – from Fitzgerald Farms. Sugar and acid strike the perfect balance making this the perfect peach!
Baby Summer Squash Mix– from Coastal Organics: a variety of Ronde Nice, 8-Ball, Green & Gold Zucchini, Sunburst (a.k.a gold patty pan) and Middle Eastern.
Persian Watercress – Rutiz Farms, a hot peppery leaf that has been an equally hot seller at the market. Very unique shape and taste!
Torpedo Onions – from Windrose farms – these really ARE torpedos!! I don’t often put succulent and onion in the same sentence…but I just did..for a reason!
Japanese Tomatoes – I am still in love with this hefty. Great pre-heirloom season variety nicknamed the “Tough Boy” for its heat-resilient texture and succulence!
Pencil California Asparagus – Skinny, tender, tasty purple-tipped and LOCAL! So thin it cooks in a flash!
Baby Celery – from Yasutomi Farm, more leaves than stalk, hydroponically grown, slender and almost herbaceously tasty stalks. The best baby celery available. Period.
Continue reading “FARMERS' MARKET REPORT: WEEK OF JULY 12, 2009”