An Autumn Ritual: Making Homemade Thai Chili Paste

In our household, the autumn ritual of preserving our garden through canning, freezing, and juicing is a family gathering in the kitchen. I love the opportunity to fend off those first few cold nights with a steaming hot kitchen, the house windows fogged up from all the blanching, poaching, and hot water baths. We play jazz music on the stereo, and even after the kids go to bed, I’m often putting up the last few jars until 2 am. It’s one of my favorite parts of the year. There is only one exception to the rule here, the evening where my wife and kids can’t get far enough away from the house while I’m working. Despite that fact, this remains one of my favorite nights of all…processing hot peppers.


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The Environmental Cost of Cheap Food: Part Two

Yesterday, I wrote about two of the biggest ecological challenges we face, both caused directly by agricultural practices, and both driven by the U.S. appetite for cheap food. Factory farming and its effect on oceans was the focus of yesterday’s blog post. Today, I will examine a vital collection of forests that are literally losing ground to the raising of one small (in size) but significant (in sales) crop: shrimp. In South America and Southeast Asia, mangrove forests once lined the coasts. Mangroves are amazing trees. These salt-tolerant plants grow directly in the ocean, sinking a thicket of aerial roots into inter-tidal areas. The roots trap sediments and protect the shoreline from the battering waves of tropical storms.

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The Great Scapes

scapes1Before last week, I didn’t know what garlic scapes were. I’d never seen them, smelled them, or touched them, and I most certainly did not know where they came from. But our Harmony Valley farm share delivered local, organic scapes to Minneapolis last week - and oh, how far my family has come in one short week.

According to Mother Earth News:

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