Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Future of Food

I just got finished watching the Future of Food and boy did it get me riled up. I can't help but get angry when watching movies like this about our food system. This one was almost as bad as Food, Inc. which is another great movie that everyone should watch. The Future of Food focuses mostly on genetically modified foods and the big nasty impact they can have. It's all pretty disgusting and I hate the way things are headed.

I just can't stand that big seed companies like Monsanto get patents on their GM seeds, farmers use those seeds, the plants spread to other fields, farmers who never wanted the GM plants find them in their fields, Monsanto finds those plants and since they have a patent they can sue the farmer for patent infringement even though the farmer never wanted those plants on their field. Farmers have no way of keeping seeds from contaminating their crops but are still at the mercy of the big companies that have the seed patents. I hate that these companies are gaining tons of control and influence over our food. We're losing genetic diversity of our crops if farmers are basically forced to buy seeds from these companies to avoid harassment by these companies.

It drives me crazy that these genetically modified foods aren't even labeled! How can we possibly avoid them if we don't know what they are? I guess the most foolproof way of avoiding GMOs at the moment is to buy directly from farmers who don't use genetically modified plants through things such as CSA programs and farmer's markets. I'd love to see our food controlled by sustainable farmers instead of these big companies who are ruining the lives of the small farmers, destroying biological diversity that is so essential to protecting us from famine and disease, and doing untold things to the health of our bodies.

There's definitely a lot more that is discussed in the movie, so for more information on all of this, check out their website. It looks like you can watch the whole thing straight from there.

This is a little bit of a tangent, but when writing this I have to say that I was a little disgusted to find that the spell check recognizes Monsanto as a real word. Walmart is not even recognized. How crazy influential does a company have to be to get it's name in spell checks?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Flavored Yogurt

The last time that I made yogurt I decided to do some experimenting with different flavors. I prepared my yogurt like I usually do, but before I put the yogurt into a storage container, I prepared a few 8 oz. mason jars. I made one coffee flavored by heating up a small amount of water, dissolving some instant coffee and sugar into it, then letting it cool. The others I made strawberry and raspberry flavored by putting a few spoonfuls of jam in the bottom of the jar.

After I had my milk heated up and had stirred in my yogurt starter, I poured some of the yogurt mixture into each jar. I stirred up the coffee one but left the jam on the bottom of the others.

I then stuck them in a warm place with the rest of my yogurt to sit over night.

The coffee one turned out fabulous, although next time I want to make it a bit stronger. The jam ones are delicious as well. This was a nice change from my typical plain yogurt and I'm definitely going to continue experimenting with this.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Latest Pickings

Check out my latest pickings from the garden.

I got chard, green beans, cilantro, basil, oregano, parsley, a giant mound of lettuce and a bunch of beets. I love having a garden.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Should I be worried?

I have to admit that I'm getting a little scared. My tomato plants are getting ginormous! All 13 of them. I planted so many so I'll be able to do lots of canning, but now I'm starting to get a little nervous.

Do you think maybe I over did it and will be buried under tomatoes soon?

Come to think of it though, I tend to get this feeling almost every time I embark on a big canning project. Last year it seemed like a great idea to get 100 lbs of apples. But once I was in the midst of all of the canning, the 100 lbs didn't seem to be the greatest idea. Now that I've forgotten the pain and run out of applesauce, 100 lbs doesn't seem like too much after all.

It happened again with the strawberries. Once I started working on canning and freezing, I was definitely overwhelmed with all 50 lbs of strawberries. However less than a month later I'm wishing that I had had more to freeze.

Maybe the tomato canning will be overwhelming as well, but a few months later I'll probably forget how much work it was and wish I had planted more tomatoes. Needless to say, these 13 plants are going to keep me very very busy.

The other thing I worry about concerning the tomatoes is that in just over a month I'll be making my way down to Chile for about 2 1/2 weeks, and I'm not sure exactly what to do if my plants produce tons of tomatoes while I'm away. Maybe I'll be able to put my mother to work for me :)

In addition to the plants getting big, they are starting to make little tomatoes! Imagine that! It still amazes me when things actually grow and produce things- it's like magic.

Check out my roma's. I planted planted 8 of these suckers since they are good for canning.

Here are my cute little cherry tomatoes.

And the big ol' beefsteak tomatoes.

I've got to say, I'm feeling a little bit more relaxed now after looking at those perty tomatoes. Think 13 plants is going to be enough? ;)