Glück Auf is loosely translated as "good luck to us all".

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Decade of Water - A map of how water supply changed from 2003 to 2012

I've been gathering tons of information to help make a decision about where to homestead. Water-related data like this is particularly important. See also Joel Skousen's book called  "Strategic Relocation".

Source: NASA Earth Observatory

Adapting to climate change will require more than fortifying coastlines and preparing for warmer temperatures. It will require a careful look at how we manage our water resources. Nearly a decade of observations from the twin GRACE satellites shows that some parts of the United States could face hard times in coming years.

This map shows how water supplies have changed between 2003 and 2012. GRACE measures subtle shifts in gravity from month to month. Variations in land topography or ocean tides change the distribution of Earth’s mass; the addition or subtraction of water also changes the gravity field. In the past decade, groundwater supplies have decreased in California’s Central Valley and in the Southern High Plains (Texas and Oklahoma)—places that rely on ground water to irrigate crops. Eastern Texas, Alabama, and the Mid-Atlantic states also saw a decrease in ground water supplies because of long-term drought. The flood-prone Upper Missouri basin, on the other hand, stored more water over the decade.

“Groundwater reserves, the traditional backup for water supplies during extended periods of drought, are in decline globally,” James Famiglietti (University of California, Irvine) and Matthew Rodell (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center) noted in a paper published in Science. This means that the water issues they observed in the United States are issues that other countries face as well.

The problem is only going to get worse over time, according to the most recent climate report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “The contrast in precipitation between wet and dry regions and between wet and dry seasons will increase,” warn scientists in the report. In Famiglietti and Rodell’s words, “the dry regions of the world will become drier, whereas the wet areas will become wetter.” This means that those places that now rely on groundwater because they are dry will need groundwater even more in the future. The current decrease in water reserves highlights the need to monitor and manage ground water resources for the future.

“Worldwide, groundwater supplies about half of all drinking water, and it is also hugely important for agriculture, yet without GRACE we would have no routine, global measurements of changes in groundwater availability,” said Rodell. “Other satellites can’t do it, and ground-based monitoring is inadequate.”

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health

I can't remember how I found this book but I had to share because it is just packed full of great information. This book includes a great mix of advice about which varieties of fruits and vegetables are most nutritious; how to select, store, and prepare them, along with many short but fascinating stories about the history behind the foods we find in the produce section at the grocery stores and at farmers markets.

Our ancestors were hunters and gatherers and their diet consisted exclusively of natural wild food that was eaten fresh or processed minimally. This book offers a great deal of information that can help you maximize the nutrients you receive from the time and money invested in your food. After reading this book I am inspired to seek out the seeds of the recommended varieties and to figure out which of these fruits and vegetables grow best in my aquaponic garden and which grow best in a traditional soil garden.

You can hear or read the transcript of a brief 19 minute interview with the author on NPR's Fresh Air.

Below I've included a few quotes along with a fairly long list of the most nutritious fruit and vegetable varieties recommended by the author.

Source: Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health by Jo Robinson Kindle Edition
See also: EatWild.com
Find seeds: Mother Earth News Seed and Plant Finder

"Investigative journalist Jo Robinson describes how 400 generations of farmers have unwittingly squandered a host of essential fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. New research shows that these losses have made us more vulnerable to our most troubling conditions and diseases--obesity, diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic inflammation, and dementia." (From the book description on Amazon)

"We now know that one of the consequences of cultivating the sweetest and mildest-tasting wild plants was a dramatic loss in phytonutrients. Unwittingly, when our ancestors rejected strong -tasting fruits and vegetables, they were lowering their protection against a long list of diseases and troubling conditions. Throughout our history of agriculture, our ability to transform our diet has far exceeded our understanding of the way those changes impact our health and well-being." (p. 10)

"You will learn the names of some of the most nutritious varieties of fruits and vegetables available today. I have gleaned this information from more than one thousand research journals published in the United States and abroad." (p. 16)

"You will also learn new ways to store, prepare, and cook fruits and vegetables to enhance their flavor and retain or increase their health benefits." (p. 17)

"Hunter-gatherers who consumed calcium-rich wild greens had much denser bones than we do today, despite the fact that they consumed no dairy products." (p. 23)

Below are a few examples of the pearls of wisdom included in this book:

  • "Pungent-tasting onions have eight times more phytonutrients than sweet ones." (p. 14)
  • "A Granny Smith apple gives you three times move bionutrients than a Golden Delicious and thirteen times more than a Ginger Gold." (p. 14)
  • "White-fleshed peaches and nectarines ... have twice as many bionutrients as yellow-fleshed varieties." (p. 14)
  • "The globe artichoke ... is one of the most nutritious vegetables in the grocery store." (pp. 14-15)
  • "Most berries ... increase their antioxidant activity when you cook them." (p. 15)
  • "Simmering a tomato sauce for hours— the traditional Italian method— does more than blend its flavors; it can triple its lycopene content." (p. 15)
  • "Cooking carrots whole and then slicing or dicing them after they’ve been cooked makes them taste sweeter and increases their ability to fight cancer." (p. 15)
  • "Watermelons become more nutritious if you leave them out on the counter for several days before you eat them." (p. 15)
  • "Potatoes can be stored for weeks or even months without losing any of their nutritional value ..." (p. 15)
  • "... broccoli begins to lose its cancer-fighting compounds within twenty-four hours of harvest." (pp. 15-16)
TIPS AND ADVICE ABOUT SALAD VEGETABLES
  • "Compared to spinach, one of our present-day 'superfoods,' dandelion leaves have eight times more antioxidants, two times more calcium, three times more vitamin A, and five times more vitamin K and vitamin" (p. 23)
  • "As a general rule, the most intensely colored salad greens have the most phytonutrients." (p. 25)
  • "When a lettuce plant has leaves that are tightly wrapped like a cabbage’s, the phytonutrient content tends to be very low." (p. 25)
  • "All bags of mixed greens, no matter their exact composition, have more phytonutrients than salads made from iceberg or romaine lettuce alone." (p. 29)
  • "As soon as you bring the greens home, pull off the leaves, rinse them, and soak them for about ten minutes in very cold water ... dry them with a towel or in a salad spinner ... tear up the lettuce before you store it, you can double its antioxidant value. ... Eat the greens within a day or two, because the tearing also hastens their decay." (p. 30)
  • "... we cannot absorb some of the most important nutrients in salad greens unless the dressing or the meal it’s eaten with contains some type of fat. Olive oil, according to a 2012 Purdue University study, does the best job of making those compounds more bioavailable." (p. 37)
  • "Apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar (especially naturally aged balsamic vinegar), and fresh lemon juice are also good sources of antioxidants." (p. 38)

RECOMMENDED VARIETIES OF SALAD VEGETABLES (pp. 41-44)

  • Arugula
  • Frisée (also called curly endive)
  • Rosso di Chioggia
  • Rosso di Treviso
  • Blackjack
  • Cimarron
  • Cocarde
  • Concept
  • Dazzle
  • Eruption
  • Fire Mountain
  • Flame
  • Galactic
  • Lollo Rosso (also called Lolla Rossa)
  • Merlot
  • Merveille des Quatre Saisons (also called Marvel of Four Seasons and Continuity)
  • Outredgeous
  • Prizehead
  • Red Iceberg
  • Red Oak Leaf
  • Red Sails
  • Red Velvet
  • Revolution
  • Rouge d’Hiver
  • Ruby Red

TIPS AND ADVICE ABOUT ALLIUMS

  • "Garlic , onions, shallots, scallions, chives, and leeks— the allium family— have been celebrated throughout history as savory vegetables, essential condiments, and lifesaving medicine." (p. 47)
  • "One milligram of allicin, the main active ingredient in garlic, is equivalent to 15 international units of penicillin." (p. 49)
  • "Common bacteria are one thousand times more likely to become resistant to our modern antibiotics than to garlic." (p. 50).
  • "In a 2009 test-tube study, quercetin, the main phytonutrient in onions, killed a type A flu virus better than the prescription drug Tamiflu" (p. 50)
  • "According to the Canadian investigators who conducted the study, “Garlic was by far the strongest inhibitor of tumor cell growth.” (p. 50)
  • "You can cook garlic and reap all its benefits if you make a simple change in the way you prepare it. Chop, mince, slice, or mash the garlic and then keep it away from the heat for ten minutes." (p. 51)
  • "If you want to get all garlic’s protective properties, remember this mantra: Press, then rest." (p. 53)
  • "The hardneck has closer genetic ties with wild garlic and therefore has retained more of its medicinal properties." (p. 55)
  • "There is only one kind of prepared garlic that is worth its salt: freeze-dried garlic. (p. 56)
  • "when you store garlic, its pungency and allicin content can increase tenfold. (p. 57)
  • "In a 2004 test-tube study, extracts of strongly flavored onions destroyed 95 percent of human cancer cells of the liver and colon; extracts of sweet onions killed only 10 percent. (p. 58)
  • "The smaller the onion, food chemists have discovered, the less water it contains and therefore the greater its concentration of phytonutrients. (p. 58)
  • "the high concentration of bionutrients in onion skins makes them the most nutritious part of the vegetable. Although eating the skins would be unpleasant, you can save them and add them to soup stocks" (p. 60)
  • "Unlike garlic, onions can be exposed to heat as soon as you slice or chop them without losing any of their health benefits." (p. 61)
  • "little-known fact is that shallots are superstars of nutrition. Ounce for ounce, they have six times more phytonutrients than the typical onion." (p. 64)
  • "The nutrients [in leeks] are most concentrated in the leaves and the green portions of the stalk— the parts that most people discard. If you want to use the leaves, buy the smallest leeks you can find, because their leaves will be more tender."(p. 65)
  • Garlic chives "are a boon to gardeners because their violet flowers attract bees but their roots and stems repel less desirable insects." (p. 67)
  • "Ounce for ounce, garlic chives have more antioxidants than the hottest red onions." (p. 67)

RECOMMENDED VARIETIES OF GARLIC (p. 69)

  • Chilean Silver
  • Inchelium Red
  • Music
  • Persian Star
  • Pink Music
  • Romanian Red
  • Spanish Roja

RECOMMENDED VARIETIES OF ONIONS (p. 71)

  • Western Yellow
  • Empire-Sweet (Highest in antioxidant value of the common sweet onion varieties
  • New York Bold
  • Karmen (also called Red Karmen)
  • Purplette
  • Red Baron (Matures in 60 days)
  • Red Wethersfield
  • Red Wing

TIPS AND ADVICE ABOUT CORN

  • "The corn we eat today looks nothing like its wild ancestor, teosinte." (p. 74)
  • "teosinte has twice as much protein as our modern corn and significantly less starch." (p. 74)
  • "Blue corn , which has been sacred to the Hopi and other southwestern American Indian nations for several thousand years, is extremely high in anthocyanins" (p. 75)
  • "in 1946 ... a military research project ... study the effects of intense radiation on plants and animals. ... irradiated seeds ... planted in a secure government facility near Washington, D.C. ... most of the corn seeds grew into plants that were freakish and short-lived ... samples of all the viable kernels were collected and sent to a central seed bank called the Maize Genetics Cooperation Stock Center for future research. ... shrunken-2 or sh2 mutation had turned a normal corn gene into a sugar factory! ... had difficulty germinating ... struggled to grow during the first critical weeks. ... a geneticist named John Laughnan ... spent years fixing this flaw ... finally succeeded by crossing sh2 with several old-fashioned cultivars of sweet corn." (pp. 80-82)
  • "plant breeders have been using advanced breeding techniques to “stack” multiple mutations onto a single variety of corn, creating a new phenomenon called augmented supersweet corn." (p. 83)
  • "choose the most colorful varieties of corn available. (p. 85)
  • "Deep yellow varieties have up to fifty-eight times more beta-carotene and the related compounds lutein and zeaxanthin than white corn." (p. 85)
  • "USDA stated in a recent bulletin, [corn] 'growers in the southern United States spray insecticides as many as twenty-five to forty times per season.'" (p. 86)
  • "chill the ears as soon as you pick them, then eat them that day." (p. 87)
  • "The less contact corn has with water, the more nutrients stay in the kernels. ... If you microwave corn in its husks, no water comes in contact with the corn, so all its nutrients are retained." (p. 88)
  • "canned corn is even higher in carotenoids than fresh corn." (p. 91)
  • "Steam frozen corn without thawing to retain the most nutritional value." (p. 91)

RECOMMENDED VARIETIES AND TYPES OF CORN (p. 93)

  • Blue Jade (Matures in 70– 80 days, Short stalks, 3–4 feet tall. Good for cool climates.)
  • Double Red Sweet
  • Floriani Red
  • Golden Bantam
  • Hopi Blue (Matures in 75– 110 days. Grows to 5 feet tall)
  • Seneca Red Stalker (Field corn, Large 8–9-inch ears)
  • White Eagle (Field corn)

TIPS AND ADVICE ABOUT POTATOES

  • "apio (Apios americana), a wild vegetable that has many common names, including Indian potato and potato pea ... have three times more protein than our modern potatoes." (p. 97)
  • "The Purple Peruvian potato (Solanum tuberosum subsp. andigena) is a small knobby potato" (p. 100)
  • "Although peeling potatoes gets rid of many of the contaminants, the peels are the most nutritious part of the vegetable." (p. 102)
  • "Mountain Rose, Purple Majesty, and All Blue— were bred specifically to increase their nutritional content." (p. 104)
  • "Mountain Rose was found to be highly effective in inhibiting human breast cancer" (p. 104)
  • "Purple Majesty potatoes can lower the blood pressure of people with hypertension." (p. 104)
  • "Old potatoes have a low rate of respiration and can be stored for several months without losing any of their nutritional value. Their thick skins also prevent rapid moisture loss." (p. 105)
  • "If you cook potatoes and then chill them for about twenty-four hours before you eat them, they are magically transformed into a low-or moderate-glycemic vegetable. ... Bake potatoes today, chill them tonight, and then reheat them for dinner tomorrow. Your blood sugar response will be reduced by as much as 25 percent." (pp. 105-106)

RECOMMENDED TYPES AND VARIETIES OF POTATOES (p. 108)

  • All Blue
  • All Red (also called Cranberry Red)
  • Mountain Rose
  • Nicola
  • Ozette
  • Purple Majesty
  • Purple Peruvian
  • Ranger Russet
  • Ruby Crescent (Earthy, nutty flavor)
  • Russet Norkotah (Matures in 60– 75 days;

TIPS AND ADVICE ABOUT CARROTS, BEETS, AND SWEET POTATOES

  • "orange carrots did not exist until four hundred years ago, when two plant breeders in the Netherlands crossed a yellow mutant carrot from Africa with a local red carrot." (p. 114)
  • "think twice before you buy so-called baby carrots ... baby carrots are misshapen mature carrots that have been whittled down ... The outer part that’s thrown away ... is much more nutritious than the inner core that remains." (p. 115)
  • "buy carrots with their green tops still attached." (p. 116)
  • "carrots are better for you when cooked." (p. 116)
  • "cook carrots whole and then slice or chop them after they've been cooked" (p. 116)
  • "whole-cooked carrots retain more of their natural sweetness." (p. 117)
  • "carrots are best for you when you eat them with some type of oil or fat." (p. 117)
  • "purple varieties of carrot are more nutritious than all other colors" (p. 118)
  • "Eating beets also relaxes and widens the blood vessels, allowing greater blood flow throughout the body." (p. 123)
  • "Research shows that the leaves [of beets] have more antioxidants than the roots themselves." (p. 123)
  • beets "have more antioxidant properties than all other common vegetables in the grocery store except for artichokes, red cabbage, kale, and bell peppers." (p. 123)
  • "Beets get their red hue from phytonutrients called betalains. Betalains are proving to be good cancer fighters." (p. 123)
  • "Beets, like corn, do not lose their nutritional value when they are canned. In fact, they become somewhat more nutritious." (p. 126)
  • "sweet potatoes have a much lower glycemic index than white potatoes —45 compared with 75–100." (p. 130)

RECOMMENDED VARIETIES OF CARROTS (p. 131)

  • Atomic Red (Matures in 70–80 days)
  • Bolero (Matures in 70–80 days)
  • Carlo
  • Cosmic Purple (Matures in 65– 75 days)
  • Deep Purple
  • Nutri-Red (Grows best when day temperatures are between 45 and 75 degrees)
  • Purple Haze

RECOMMENDED VARIETIES OF BEETS (p. 133)

  • Bull’s Blood
  • Cylindra (Leaves are sweeter than those of other varieties of beets. Plant closer together than you would other beets because they grow longer rather than wider)
  • Detroit Dark Red (Low in geosmin, so they do not have an earthy taste)
  • Red Ace

RECOMMENDED VARIETIES OF SWEET POTATOES (p. 134)

  • Beauregard
  • Carolina Ruby (Requires lots of space)
  • Diane
  • Hawaiian
  • Stokes Purple (Rich, winey flavor)

TIPS AND ADVICE ABOUT CARROTS, BEETS, AND SWEET POTATOES

  • "Fully ripened tomatoes, however, are impossible to ship. ... shipped to regional warehouses, where they are force-ripened with precise amounts of ethylene gas. When the warehoused tomatoes become red enough to satisfy consumers— but not fully ripe— they are distributed to nearby stores." (p. 144)
  • "tomatoes with the darkest red color have the most lycopene." (p. 146)
  • "Small, dark red tomatoes have the most lycopene per ounce, and they are also sweeter and more flavorful." (p. 146)
  • "Small tomatoes also have more vitamin C than their beefier relatives." (p. 146)
  • "The intensely flavored Red Pear heirloom tomato has an astounding twenty-seven times more lycopene than the typical supermarket tomato." (p. 149)
  • "You’ll get the most health benefits if you grow more red-colored grape, cherry, and currant tomatoes." (pp. 149-150)
  • "the worst thing you can do is to store tomatoes in your refrigerator. When the internal temperature of a tomato dips below fifty degrees, it stops producing flavor and aromatic compounds. Worse, the flavor it has already acquired begins to fade." (p. 151)
  • "Tomatoes, like a few other fruits, are better for you cooked than raw. In fact, the longer you cook them, the more health benefits you get.tomatoes are akin to medicine. Just thirty minutes of cooking can more than double their lycopene content" (p. 151)
  • "The most nutritious tomatoes in the supermarket are not in the produce section— they’re in the canned goods aisle." (p. 152)
  • "processed tomatoes are also more flavorful than the typical supermarket tomato. Tomatoes grown for the food industry are picked when red-ripe, and they are processed immediately , sometimes within a few hours. No flavor is lost along the way." (p. 152)
  • "When the volunteers were exposed to enough UV rays to produce a moderate sunburn, the people who had been consuming tomato paste were 40 percent less red overall." (p. 153)
  • "Unlike most other canned tomato products, tomato paste has no added salt or sugar; it’s the concentrated essence of ripe tomatoes." (p. 153)

RECOMMENDED TYPES AND VARIETIES OF TOMATOES (p. 154)

  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Black Cherry
  • Elfin (Matures in 55–60 days. Plants are only 9–18 inches tall. Can be grown in containers)
  • Gardener’s Delight (aka Sugar Lump, Highest in lycopene of 40 varieties tested in a recent survey)
  • Giant Belgium
  • Hawaiian Currant (marble-size heirloom. Very high in lycopene. Holds fruit on clusters until ripe.)
  • Jet Star (Good for slicing and canning.)
  • Juliet (grape tomato with an intense, sweet flavor. Matures in 60 days)
  • Matt’s Wild Cherry (A wild tomato discovered in Mexico in recent years. In some climates, the vines will grow twenty feet long and keep producing tomatoes into the fall.)
  • Oxheart (High in lycopene compared to other large varieties. High in lycopene compared to other large varieties.)
  • Red Pear
  • San Marzano (Heavy walls with little juice. Considered the best for sauce and paste by some chefs. Compact plant size.)
  • Sara’s Galapagos (Wild variety discovered on the Galápagos Islands in the twenty-first century. Keeps well on the vine.)
  • Sun Cherry (Matures in 55–68 days. Grows in long clusters of 20 fruits.)

TIPS AND ADVICE ABOUT CRUCIFERS

  • "their flowers have four petals arranged in the shape of a cross, which is why they became known as crucifers."
  • "crucifers offer more health benefits than all but a few fruits and vegetables."
  • "In order to preserve all the nutrients in broccoli, it must be chilled as soon as it is harvested , kept cool, and then eaten within two or three days."
  • "The cut end of the stem should be moist and smooth ... Whole heads of broccoli are more nutritious than pretrimmed florets."
  • "If you’re a gardener, the freshest broccoli will come from your own garden. It’s a good practice to plant several varieties that mature at different times so you can have a continuous supply throughout the summer and fall."
  • "Eating broccoli raw gives you up to twenty times more of a beneficial compound called sulforaphane than cooked broccoli. Sulforaphane provides much of the vegetable’s anticancer properties."
  • "One of the best ways to cook broccoli is to steam it for no more than four minutes. Steaming retains the most nutrients and also prevents the formation of unpleasant odors and flavors."
  • "Brussels sprouts kill more human cancer cells than all other crucifers."
  • "Rub two heads of cabbage together. If you hear a squeak , they are reasonably fresh."
  • "cabbage does not respire very rapidly, so it can be stored in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator for weeks without losing many of its nutrients."
  • "If you steam cabbage for five minutes or less, it produces only a small amount of hydrogen sulfide. In order for cabbage to be done in five minutes, though, you need to cut it into half-inch slices or chop it roughly."
  • "Red cabbage is the antioxidant king. It has six times more antioxidant activity than green cabbage and three times more than savoy cabbage."
  • "The intensely purple Graffiti cauliflower has two and a half times more antioxidants than the standard white variety."
  • "Romanesca cauliflower and other green cauliflowers have about four times more glucosinolates than white cauliflower."
  • "All varieties of kale grown today are good sources of cancer-fighting, heart-protective glucosinolates."
  • "One serving of kale has more calcium than six ounces of milk and more fiber than three slices of whole-wheat bread."
  • "Store kale in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator and use it within a few days."

RECOMMENDED VARIETIES OF BROCCOLI

  • Atlantic
  • Brigadier
  • Cavolo Broccolo
  • Majestic Crown
  • Marathon
  • Needs lots of space.
  • Packman (ready 55 days after setting out transplants.)
  • Purple Sprouting (Grows to 24– 36 inches tall.)
  • Deadon (Delicious, sweet flavor.)
  • Mammoth Red Rock
  • Red Express (Compact plants)
  • Ruby Perfection (Bright magenta leaves)
  • Celio (Sow in April for a September or October harvest.)
  • Emeraude
  • Graffiti (Bright purple heads.)

RECOMMENDED VARIETIES OF KALE

  • All varieties of kale in the supermarket are high in cancer-fighting compounds and antioxidants
  • Tuscan (AKA Cavolo Nero and Lacinato. Sweeter and milder than many other varieties.)
  • Red Russian (Matures 50 days after setting out transplants or 25 days if you want to harvest them as baby greens)
  • Redbor (Matures 65 days after setting out transplants.)
TIPS AND ADVICE ABOUT LEGUMES (BEANS, PEAS, AND LENTILS)
  • "When grains and legumes are eaten in the same meal, a complete protein is formed that has the same high quality as the proteins in meat, eggs, and dairy products."
  • "A number of North American tribes planted corn, beans, and squash in a single mound, a technique we now refer to as companion planting."
  • "One way to get more food value from green peas is to buy edible pod peas, also known as sugar snap peas and snow peas . The pods have more fiber and antioxidants than the peas themselves."
  • "Fresh black-eyed peas, for example, have almost five times more antioxidant activity than common"
  • "one serving of cooked pinto beans has more antioxidant activity than six cups of cooked cauliflower or twelve cups of cooked carrots."
  • "nothing beats a bowl of lentil soup"
  • "Make your pea soup from dried yellow peas instead of green peas, and you will get six times more antioxidant protection."
  • "those who consumed beans or lentils two or more times a week had a 24 percent lower risk of breast cancer."
  • "In a 2011 survey of the top one hundred antioxidant-rich foods in the United States , canned kidney beans and pinto beans were ranked first and second, respectively."
  • "Black lentils— tiny lentils that are rarely found in supermarkets —are the most nutritious of all."
  • "Although most soybeans produced in this country are genetically modified, this is not true of edamame."
  • "Fresh soybeans are more nutritious than most other fresh beans and peas."
  • "for the most nutrition and flavor, buy fresh edamame on the vine from Asian food markets."
  • "The easiest way to prepare fresh, unshelled edamame is to boil them in salted water for five minutes. (The pods prevent the nutrients in the beans from leaching into the water.)"

RECOMMENDED VARIETIES OF FRESH PEAS AND BEANS

  • Royal Burgundy
  • Royalty Purple (Needs wide row spacing or a fence for climbing.)
TIPS AND ADVICE ABOUT ARTICHOKES, ASPARAGUS, AND AVOCADOS
  • "Artichokes have a higher ORAC value than all the other fruits and vegetables in the supermarket."
  • "Artichokes have another virtue. They are high in inulin, a probiotic (beneficial microorganism) that nourishes the growth of “good” gut bacteria that can compete with deadly strains of E. coli and other disease-causing bacteria."
  • "Rub two artichokes together and they should squeak."
  • "If you shop for artichokes in a farmers market or grow your own, look for violet-colored varieties, such as Violetto or Violet de Provence."
  • "boiling artichokes increases their antioxidant levels, an exception to the general rule that boiled vegetables are less nutritious."
  • "Steamed artichokes give you almost three times more antioxidant protection than boiled artichokes."
  • "In contrast to those of most other fruits and vegetables, the outside leaves of artichokes have only one-tenth as many bionutrients as the tender inner leaves."
  • "canned artichoke hearts are loaded with antioxidants."
  • "Artichoke hearts packed in extra virgin olive oil are a healthful choice."
  • "wild asparagus has almost twice as many phytonutrients and five times as much vitamin C as our domesticated varieties."
  • "the description of the highest USDA grade for asparagus states that the butt end should be at least a half inch in diameter."
  • "A variety called Purple Passion has up to three times more antioxidants than the standard green varieties."
  • "Asparagus that is harvested when only six or seven inches of stalk have emerged from the soil is much sweeter than asparagus that is harvested when it is ten inches above ground."
  • "Research shows that cooked asparagus is better for you than raw asparagus. If you steam asparagus, the recommended method, you increase its antioxidant value by about 30 percent."
  • "One serving [of avocados] gives you more antioxidants than a serving of broccoli raab, grapes, red bell peppers, or red cabbage . Avocados are also a good source of vitamin E, folate, potassium, and magnesium."
  • "Adding sliced avocados to a salad can increase the amount of beta-carotene and lutein you absorb from the greens by as much as 1,500 percent."
  • "Hass avocado, the large, black, bumpy-skinned variety sold in most supermarkets, has from two to four times more antioxidant value than most of the other varieties in the store."

RECOMMENDED VARIETIES OF ARTICHOKES

  • Green Globe (Start with crowns, not seeds.)
  • Imperial Star (Annual artichoke)
  • Violet de Provence (grows in USDA zones 7 and above.)
  • Violetto (Produces an abundant crop for at least 4 years.)
  • Apollo
  • Guelph Millennium (Highly productive for up to 6 years.)
  • Jersey Knight (Good in warm climates.)
  • Jersey Supreme
  • Purple Passion (One of the highest in phytonutrients.)
  • Monty’s Surprise.

TIPS AND ADVICE ABOUT APPLES

  • "The varieties that are the most nutritious include Braeburn, Cortland, Discovery, Gala, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Idared, McIntosh, Melrose, Ozark Gold, and Red Delicious." (p. 226)
  • "Pruning the trees into a spindle shape also makes the canopy of leaves smaller, which exposes more of the apples to direct sunlight." (p. 227)
  • "Apples last up to ten times longer when you store them in your refrigerator as opposed to on the kitchen counter." (p. 227)
  • "An unpeeled apple can give you 50 percent more phytonutrients than a peeled apple." (p. 228)
  • "the peels add a pleasing tang to the dessert." (p. 229)
  • "holding a bottle of apple juice up to the light. You should not be able to see through it. There should also be a layer of sediment at the bottom of the bottle." (pp. 231-232)
  • "The Orange Pippin website (http:// www.orangepippin.com/ apples) is an invaluable resource for apple lovers." (p. 233)
  • "Some suppliers will custom-graft a tree for you. Tell them which variety of apple you would like and whether you want the tree to be a dwarf, semidwarf, or standard size. It’s nutrition, size , and flavor made to order." (p. 234)

RECOMMENDED VARIETIES OF APPLES (pp. 234-237)

  • Braeburn (Lower in phytonutrients than most of the following varieties)
  • Cortland (Does not brown readily)
  • Discovery (Does not store well)
  • Fuji (One of the most nutritious of the 12 most common varieties)
  • Gala (Good dessert apple with mild flavor)
  • Granny Smith (It has 13 times more phytonutrients than Ginger Gold)
  • Honeycrisp (The peel is especially high in phytonutrients)
  • Liberty (Higher in phytonutrients than Granny Smith)
  • Melrose (One of the best keepers. Its flavor improves during storage)
  • Red Delicious
  • Belle de Boskoop (Best for zones 6–9, Needs two different apple varieties for adequate pollination)
  • Bramley’s Seedling (Best for zones 5–7, Needs two pollinators)
  • Golden Russet (Best for zones 4–10. Late-season apple. Scab-resistant. Vigorous; winter-hardy)
  • Haralson (Best for zones 3–7. Stores for 6 months. Biennial bearer. Resists apple scab and cedar-apple rust)
  • Liberty (Best for zones 4–10. Midseason apple. Ideal for organic production)
  • McIntosh (Best for zones 3–7. Midseason apple. Partially self-fertile but does best with a pollinator)
  • Northern Spy (Best for zones 3–7. Late-season apple. Biennial tendency)
  • Ozark Gold (Best for zones 4–9. Early-to-midseason apple. Highly disease-resistant)
  • Redfield (Best for zones 3–4. Used for cider and baking, not for eating fresh.)
  • Red Jonagold (Best for zones 5– 8. Late-season apple. Requires a pollinator.)
  • Rhode Island Greening (Best for zones 4– 10. Late-season variety. Deserves a place in more home orchards.)
  • Spartan (Best for zones 4–8. Early fall apple and a heavy bearer. Benefits from having a pollinator)
  • WineCrisp (Best for zones 4–8. Midseason apple.)

TIPS AND ADVICE ABOUT BLUEBERRIES AND BLACKBERRIES

  • "Hunter-gatherers valued wild berries above all other fruits because they were abundant, naturally sweet, and easy to dry for later use." (p. 239)
  • "Most pemmican recipes combined three basic ingredients— dried meat or fish, dried fruit, and some type of oil or fat. Berries were the most commonly used fruit." (p. 240)
  • "Although few of our cultivated varieties measure up to native berries, most of the berries in our stores are nutritional superstars nonetheless." (p. 241)
  • "In a recent nutritional analysis of eighty-seven different varieties of blueberries, the Rubel had the highest antioxidant value and the second highest anthocyanin content. ... You can also order Rubel berry bushes from some plant nurseries or over the Internet." (p. 243)
  • "Blueberries, more than most other fruits and vegetables, show great promise in fighting our so-called diseases of civilization. ... tumors ... blood pressure ... arterial plaque buildup ... inflammation. It has also prevented obesity and diabetes in rats that were fed a high-fat, high-calorie, and high-sugar lab chow—in other words, a replica of the typical American diet." (p. 244)
  • "Researchers at the USDA’s Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University ... tested the anti-aging effect of blueberries on middle-aged rodents. ... eating the fruit had done more than slow the aging of their brains: it had reversed it." (p. 244)
  • "small group of men and women whose average age was seventy-six. ... At study’s end, the wild blueberry juice drinkers scored 30 percent higher on tests of memory and cognition than those who had been given the other juice." (p. 245)
  • "Don’t rinse off the bloom (the natural waxy coating) until you eat the [blueberries], because it preserves its juiciness and fights surface bacteria." (p. 247)
  • "Frozen blueberries are available in supermarkets year-round. Research shows that they are almost as nutritious as fresh berries. ... Some stores carry frozen wild blueberries, which are an even better choice." (p. 247)
  • "Cooked blueberries, believe it or not, have greater antioxidant levels than fresh berries." (p. 248)
  • "The standard temperature setting for home-dried fruit is 120– 130 degrees Fahrenheit. If you increase the temperature to 190 degrees, you will shorten the drying time and preserve twice as many nutrients." (p. 250)
  • "Most blueberry varieties do best in the cool climates of the northern states and Canada ... but if you live in the South and are in USDA plant hardiness zones 8 through 10, plant the following varieties: Sharpblue, Floridablue, Avonblue, Blue Ridge, Cape Fear, Gulf Coast, O’Neal, or Georgia Gem." (pp. 250-251)
  • "Many varieties of blackberries have more anthocyanins than blueberries and a lower glycemic load." (p. 251)
  • "Loganberries, boysenberries, and marionberries are man-made varieties of blackberries. ... Surprisingly, all three of these human inventions are more nutritious than most blackberries." (p. 252)

RECOMMENDED VARIETIES OF BLUEBERRIES (pp. 254-256)

  • Aronia berries (Best for zones 3–7. Also known as chokeberries. Each bush can grow to 6 feet high, 6 feet wide, and bear 40 pounds of fruit.)
  • Bluechip (Best for zones 3– 7. Early-to-midseason variety.)
  • Bluegem (Best for zones 6–9.)
  • Bluegold (Best for zones 4–7. Late-season variety. compact, round bush grows to 4–6 feet tall.)
  • Brightwell (Best for zones 6B–9. Midseason variety. Bush grows to 6– 8 feet tall. Good for hedges or borders.)
  • Brunswick (Best for zones 3–6)
  • Burgundy Maine (Best for zones 3–6. Plants are about 1 foot tall.)
  • Burlington (Best for zones 4–7. Late-season variety. Easy to grow.)
  • Centurion (Best for zones 6–9. Late-season variety . Upright growth.)
  • Chandler (Best for zones 4–8. Late-season variety.)
  • Climax (Best for zones 6B–9. Extra-early variety. Abundant crop. Good ornamental.)
  • Coville (Best for zones 5–7. Ripens in late July or early August. Grows to 3–4 feet high and 4–5 feet wide.)
  • Darrow (Best for zones 5–7. Ripens in August. Mature size is 5 feet by 5 feet.)
  • Earlyblue (Best for zones 4–7. Early-season variety. Grows to 4– 5 feet tall.)
  • Early May (Best for zones 6–9. Needs two pollinators.)
  • Elliot (Best for zones 4–8. Late-season variety.)
  • Northcountry (Best for zones 3–7. Early-to-midseason variety. Hardy, compact bush grows to 4 feet tall. High yield. Good ornamental.)
  • Northsky (Best for zones 3–7. Midseason variety. Reaches 2 feet tall and can be grown in a container.)
  • Rancocas (Best for zones 4–8. Midseason variety.)
  • Rubel (Best for zones 4 –8. reaches 6–7 feet tall. A wild plant that has been cloned but not altered. Consistent producer.)
  • Sharp Blue (Best for zones 7–10. Good for warm climates. Needs a pollinator.)

RECOMMENDED VARIETIES OF BLACKBERRIES AND BLACKBERRY HYBRIDS (pp. 257-258)

  • Boysenberries (Best for zones 6–10. Midseason berries that tolerate heat. Canes have thorns and require trellis.)
  • Chester Thornless blackberries (Best for zones 5–8. Ripens in July. Exceptionally cold-tolerant. Self-pollinating. )
  • Hull Thornless blackberries (Best for zones 5–8. Midseason variety. Semierect canes require trellis.)
  • Jumbo Thornless blackberries (Best for zones 3–9. Requires trellis.)
  • Loganberries (Best for zones 5–9. Fruits from midsummer to midautumn. Frost-and disease-resistant. )
  • Marionberries (Best for zones 7B–9B. Fruits in mid-to late summer.)
  • Waldo blackberries (Best for zones 6–10. Midseason variety.)
  • Wild Treasure blackberries (Best for zones 5–8. Cold-tolerant. Fragile canes require careful handling.)

TIPS AND ADVICE ABOUT STRAWBERRIES, CRANBERRIES, AND RASPBERRIES

  • "Traces of sixty different agricultural chemicals have been found on conventionally raised strawberries." (p. 264)
  • "Strawberries come back year after year ... If you plant them in the early fall, they will develop strong roots before winter sets in and produce a good crop the first spring." (p. 265)
  • Wild strawberries, with their bright red runners, make an excellent ground cover. You’ll have the best luck finding them in nurseries that specialize in native plants. Look for Fragaria virginiana." (p. 265)
  • "Eating as little as one serving [of cranberries] per week, according to a 2009 study, can lower the risk of a bladder infection by more than 50 percent." (p. 266)
  • "Wild red raspberries grow in all temperate regions of Europe, Asia, North America, and China." (p. 268)
  • "[raspberry] canes produce so many offshoots that you will be able to dig them up and share them with your friends and neighbors." (p. 269)
  • "Frozen strawberries are almost as nutritious as fresh ones ... Thaw in the microwave to retain the most nutrients."(p. 271)
  • cranberries need "moist to boggy soil that is high in acidity (pH 4.5–6.5)." (p. 273)
  • "All Black Raspberry varieties (All black raspberries are high in antioxidants and have anticancer properties" (p. 274)
  • "Black raspberries should not be planted within 75–100 feet of blackberries or any other type of raspberry because of the likelihood of cross-pollination." (p. 274)

RECOMMENDED VARIETIES OF STRAWBERRIES (pp. 271-272)

  • Bounty (Best for zones 4–10. Recommended for northern states.)
  • Camarosa (Best for zones 7– 9. Early-season berry.)
  • Chandler (Best for zones 5–8. Grows best on the West Coast and in the Southeast. Freezes well.)
  • Earliglow (Best for zones 4–8. Bears fruit in early June. resistant to disease.)
  • Honeoye (Best for zones 3–8. Bears fruit in June.)
  • Late Star (Best for zones 5–8. June-bearing.)
  • Ovation (Best for zones 4–8. Exceptionally late variety. Disease-resistant.)
  • Selva (Best for zones 3–9. Fruits within three months of planting and continues to fruit throughout the summer.)
  • Sweet Charlie (Best for zones 7–9. Well suited for the southeastern states , California , Oregon, and Washington.)

RECOMMENDED VARIETIES OF CRANBERRIES (p. 273)

  • Early Black (Best for zones 2–7. Popular variety that was selected from the wild)
  • Howes (Best for zones 2–7. Popular variety that was selected from the wild)
  • Ben Lear (Best for zones 2–7. Popular variety that was selected from the wild)
  • Stevens (Best for zones 2–7. A hybrid created by the USDA for greater disease resistance and productivity.)

RECOMMENDED VARIETIES OF RED AND BLACK RASPBERRIES (pp. 273-274)

  • Caroline (Best for zones 4–9. Delivers two bumper crops— one in late June and another from August until September.)
  • Heritage Red (Best for zones 3–11. Late fall –bearing variety that fruits from late August until first frost.)
  • Summit (Suitable for zones 3–11, does best in mild climates. High resistance to root rot.)
  • Bristol (Best for zones 5–8. Vigorous, upright canes do not require staking. Ripens in July. Self-pollinating.)
  • Jewel (Best for zones 4–8. Tall, vigorous, productive plant.)

TIPS AND ADVICE ABOUT STONE FRUITS

  • "Peaches, nectarines, apricots, cherries, and plums are the most popular stone fruits in this country." (p. 276)
  • "Peaches and nectarines are identical except for one gene that codes for “fuzziness” ... peaches appear spontaneously on nectarine trees and nectarines show up on peach trees." (p. 277)
  • "choose white-fleshed [peach and nectarine] varieties rather than yellow-fleshed varieties" (p. 280)
  • "The skin of peaches and nectarines is the most nutritious part. ... If you eat the skins, buy organically certified fruit. Year after year, peaches and nectarines are counted among our most contaminated fruits." (p. 280)
  • "Some individual peaches had traces of up to sixty-seven different chemicals" (p. 280)
  • "The stone fruits sold in farmers markets are ripe and freshly harvested, and most of them are organically grown as well." (p. 281)
  • "Be on the lookout for peaches with red flesh, which are known as blood peaches. As you can see by the graph below, they are the most nutritious of them all." (p. 281)
  • "Freezing preserves more antioxidants than canning. ... Thaw the frozen fruit in the microwave to retain the most nutrients." (p. 281)
  • "apricots have from three to eight times more phytonutrients than peaches or nectarines." (p. 283)
  • "you wait until midsummer to buy apricots, they are likely to be riper and more nutritious than those that are available earlier in the year." (pp. 283-284)
  • "A ripe apricot is plump and tight-skinned. Its skin is yellow or orange, with only minimal amounts of pale yellow. Finally, it gives a little when you touch it gently in the middle." (p. 284)
  • "One [apricot] variety to look for is the Royal Blenheim, or simply Blenheim." (p. 284)
  • "Sun-dried apricots have about half the phytonutrient content of the fresh-picked fruit. For greater retention of nutrients, purchase apricots that have been 'tunnel-dried' or 'hot-air dried,' which is a speedier process." (p. 284)
  • "The standard temperature setting for home-dried fruit is 120–130 degrees Fahrenheit. If you raise the temperature to 190 degrees, you will create a more nutritious product." (p. 285)
  • "The Prunus virginiana wild cherry tree is native to the United States." (p. 285)
  • "Chokecherries, it’s been discovered in recent years, are extremely high in phytonutrients, surpassing all other wild fruits, including wild blueberries." (p. 286)
  • "The most popular sour cherry is the Montmorency. Studies show that Montmorency cherries can reduce pain and inflammation, including pain caused by strenuous exercise." (p. 288)
  • "Another sour cherry to look for is Balaton. ... It, too, has proven anti-inflammatory properties." (p. 289)
  • "Tart cherries that are dried without added sugar have more antioxidant value than those dried with sugar." (p. 289)
  • "You can plant dwarf or semi-dwarf [cherry] trees, which makes it much easier to harvest the fruit and safeguard it from birds." (p. 289)
  • "Fresh cherries have bright green stems that are supple but firm." (p. 289)
  • "US cherries have three times more pesticides than imported cherries" (p. 290)
  • "When you harvest cherries or bring them home from the store, refrigerate them right away. Place them in a microperforated plastic bag to allow a slow exchange of gases." (p. 290)
  • "The Indian plum and all other wild plums are highly nutritious." (p. 291)
  • "The Australian Kakadu plum has more vitamin C than any other food analyzed to date ... The Kakadu has five times more antioxidants than the typical blueberry." (p. 291)
  • "Press them between your palms; ripe plums have a slight give. If you wait until July to buy plums, they are likely to be riper and more flavorful than those harvested earlier in the year." (pp. 291-292)
  • "Prunes are proving to be higher in antioxidants than many other nutritious fruits, including most varieties of blueberries and strawberries." (p. 293)
  • "Dried plums are an overlooked, inexpensive superfood. Although they are high in natural sugars, they are rich enough in antioxidants to reduce most of the negative effects of the sugar." (p. 293)

RECOMMENDED VARIETIES OF PEACHES AND NECTARINES (pp. 295-296)

  • Champagne (Best for zones 7–9. ripen in mid-August.)
  • Indian Blood Cling (Best for zones 4–8. Ripens in mid-September. Does best with a pollinator.)
  • O’Henry (Best for zones 6–9. Midseason harvest. self-pollinating. Higher in antioxidants than most other yellow-fleshed varieties.)
  • September Sun (Best for zones 5–9. Late-season peach that ripens from late August to early September.)
  • Snow Giant (Best for zones 4B–8B. Late August harvest.)
  • Snow King (Best for zones 5–9. August harvest. Self-pollinating.)
  • Spring Crest (Best for zones 5–9. Early-season variety.Ripens from late May through Medium-size peach with little fuzz.)
  • Arctic Snow (Best for zones 5–9. Late-harvest variety. Ripens from the last week of August to the first week in September.)
  • Brite Pearl (Best for zones 5–9. Not cold-hardy.)
  • Crimson Gold (Best for zones 5–9. Ripens in July.)
  • John Boy II (Best for Zones 5–9. Earliest-ripening nectarine.)
  • Red Jim (Best for zones 5A–9B.)
  • Zee Fire (Best for zones 5–9. Ripens in May. Good for warm climates)

RECOMMENDED VARIETIES OF APRICOTS (p. 297)

  • All varieties (Apricots are more nutritious than peaches and nectarines.)
  • Blenheim (Best for zones 4–8. Ripens from June to early July. Self-pollinating.
  • Goldstrike (Best for zones 4–8. Ripens in early July. Rapid-growing tree. Requires a pollinator.
  • Hargrand (Best for zones 4–8. Fruits in mid-to-late July. Self-pollinating and disease-resistant. Very high ORAC value)
  • Harogem (Best for zones 4–8. Fruits from June through July. Resistant to brown rot and perennial canker. Ten times higher in beta-carotene than the average peach.)
  • Robada (Best for zones 5–8. Fruits from late May to mid-June.)
  • Wilson Delicious (Best for zones 5–8. Ripens in early July. Self-pollinating.)

RECOMMENDED VARIETIES OF CHERRIES (p. 298)

  • Balaton (Best for zones 5–8. July harvest.)
  • Bing (Best for zones 5–9. Requires a pollinator.)
  • Early Black (Best for zones 5–8. Ripens in mid-June.)
  • Hartland (Best for zones 5–9. Midseason producer. Requires a pollinator. Highest in antioxidants of sweet cherries in a recent survey.)
  • Montmorency (Best for zones 4–9. Ripens in June. Proven anti-inflammatory properties.)
  • Royal Anne (Best for zones 4–9. Ripens in late May and early June. Partially self-fertile AKA Queen Anne)
  • Summit (Best for zones 5–8. Early-season cherry ripens in mid-June. Requires a pollinator. small stone.)

RECOMMENDED VARIETIES OF PLUMS (pp. 299-300)

  • Angeleno (Ripens in mid-September. Late-season variety.)
  • Autumn Sweet (Best for zones 5–8. Late-season variety.)
  • Black Beaut (Best in zones 5–9. Ripens in early June. One of the first plums to ripen in the summer.)
  • Black Diamond (Best in zones 5–9. Early-to-midseason variety.)
  • Cacak’s Best (Best in zones 5–8. Midseason variety. Requires pollinator.)
  • Castleton (Best in zones 4–7. Ripens in August. Self-pollinating.
  • French Damson (Best in zones 5–9. Ripens in mid-September. Pest-and disease-resistant.)
  • Italian Prune (Best for zones 5–9. Self-pollinating.)
  • Longjohn (Best for zones 5–9. somewhat willowy in shape. Partially self-pollinating)
  • Red Beaut (Best for zones 5–9. Ripens in late May. Requires a pollinator.)
  • Stanley (Best for zones 5–9. Late-summer harvest. Self-pollinating, but does best with another pollinator.)

TIPS AND ADVICE ABOUT GRAPES AND RAISINS

  • "Wild muscadine grapes are round, large, dark purple fruits that grow on unruly vines . Native to the southeastern United States, they once extended from Florida to Delaware and then west to Texas." (p. 303)
  • "Muscadines are almost 30 percent sugar — 25 percent sweeter than most of our table grapes." (p. 304)
  • "muscadines have more overall antioxidant value than any of our table grapes." (p. 304)
  • "Since the 1960s, most US grape producers have been spraying them with a plant hormone called gibberellic acid. The hormone elongates them, which increases their overall size by as much as 75 percent. Virtually all the Thompson seedless grapes sold in the United States have been 'gibbed.'" (pp. 306-307)
  • "Welch’s Concord grape juice had a higher ORAC value than all the other juices" (p. 308)
  • "Whether the sulfur dioxide use is noted or not, it is safe to assume that most conventionally raised grapes have been fumigated." (p. 310)
  • "Pick up a bunch by the stem and give it a gentle shake. The grapes should stay on the vine." (p. 310)
  • "Reject bags of grapes that are sticky or moist or contain loose grapes" (p. 310)
  • "97 percent of all the grapes tested had residues from at least one type of pesticide." (p. 310)
  • "Once you harvest or buy your grapes, cool them as quickly as possible." (p. 311)
  • "Do not rinse the grapes before storing, because the added surface moisture will promote decay." (p. 311)
  • "Currants are made from Black Corinth grapes, a variety with very small fruit. Currants have more antioxidants than traditional raisins or golden raisins. They are aromatic and a lively blend of sweet and tart. Use them in place of raisins in many of your recipes. If you buy them in bulk, they are likely to be less expensive than raisins." (p. 317)
  • "Currants comprise only 1 percent of the US raisin market, but they are available in most supermarkets. We should eat more of them. They have more phytonutrients than most dried fruits, including golden raisins." (p. 314)
  • "In Europe, currants are an essential ingredient in many traditional breads, pastries, coffee cakes, and even meat dishes. Substitute currants for raisins in some of your recipes." (p. 314)
  • "Thompson seedless is the lowest in nutritive value." (p. 314)
  • "Concord grape juice is an inexpensive, widely available, low-cost beverage that has more phytonutrients than much more expensive juices." (p. 316)

RECOMMENDED VARIETIES OF GRAPES (p. 315)

  • Autumn Royal (Best in zones 7–8. Does not require a pollinator.)
  • Concord (Best for zones 4–9. Ripens in September. Self-pollinating. Can withstand cooler temperatures than many other varieties.)
  • Crimson Seedless (Best for zones 6–10. Ripens from late September through October.)
  • Glenora (Best for zones 5–8. Self-pollinating. Begins to bear after 2 years.)
  • Noble (Best for zones 7–9. Ripens from early to midseason.)
  • Red Flame Seedless (Best for zones 7–9. Self-pollinating. Second-most-popular grape in the United States.)
  • Red Globe (Best for zones 7–11. Harvest from September to October.)
  • Ribier (Best for zones 7–10. Ripens from August through October.)

TIPS AND ADVICE ABOUT CITRUS FRUITS

  • "Oranges, food scientists have discovered in recent years, contain more than 170 individual phytonutrients." (p. 319)
  • "The most effective method to disguise the immaturity of the oranges was to harvest oranges before they were ripe, ship them to warehouses, and then expose the fruit to precise amounts of ethylene gas, which triggers the ripening process in many fruits. ... But ethylene exposure does not ripen the flesh of oranges, as it does with tomatoes; it simply alters the color of their skins. The oranges may look ripe, but they are more acidic, less sweet, and have fewer bionutrients than fully ripened fruit. ... survey all the oranges in a given display. If the skin of the oranges ranges in color from yellow to deep orange, then you know they have not been degreened. (If they had been degreened, they would all be the same color of orange.) In this case, simply choose the orangest oranges you see." (pp. 324-325)
  • "you can increase your odds of bringing home ripe fruit by selecting the largest fruit in the display." (p. 325)
  • "If you buy organic oranges, you will know for certain that they have not been degreened." (p. 325)
  • "Citrus fruits can be kept in the refrigerator for about two weeks." (p. 326)
  • "A 1990 study determined that blood oranges grown in California have a darker flesh color and as much as thirty-five times more anthocyanins than those grown in Florida and Texas." (p. 327)
  • "Consider planting a blood orange tree. The Moro variety has an unusually high level of anthocyanins. Buy a seedling tree this year and you will have your own supply of blood oranges in the years to come. You can also grow a tree in a pot in your office or home. With proper care, even these indoor trees will bear fruit." (p. 327)
  • "Surprisingly, the most nutritious part of an orange is not the pulp, the juice, or its bright neon skin. The greatest concentration of phytonutrients is in the pith, the spongy white tissue that lies just beneath the skin." (p. 329)
  • "The most flavorful and nutritious orange juice is the juice you squeeze at home— provided you select the right varieties." (p. 332)
  • "Consuming grapefruit juice or fresh grapefruits can interfere with the action of some prescription drugs and a few nonprescription drugs." (p. 334)
  • "Medications that are known to be influenced by grapefruits include some that lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, calm anxiety, and reduce the risk of the rejection of organ transplants." (p. 335)
  • "Grapefruits that are harvested after December are less likely to be degreened because they are closer to true ripeness." (p. 335)
  • "Limes are no longer grown in this country in any quantity because they are vulnerable to the Asian citrus canker, a disease that devastates citrus trees." (p. 336)
  • "adding a squirt of lemon to your teacup or teapot before you brew green tea increases the amount of the phytonutrients in the brew and also enhances your ability to absorb them." (p. 338)
  • "ripe limes are yellow, not green." (p. 338)
  • "Lemons and limes, like other citrus fruits, can be kept at room temperature for about a week." (p. 338)
  • "Freezing preserves the phytonutrient content of the juice and its flavor." (pp. 338-339)
  • "Ounce for ounce, the peel of citrus fruits has many times more phytonutrients than the flesh." (p. 339)
  • "You can save money by eating the peels of the fruit you bring home. However, I don’t recommend that you do this unless you buy organic fruit." (p. 339)
  • "Grapefruits harvested after December are less likely to be force-ripened with ethylene gas." (p. 342)
  • "citrus fruits are grown only in climate zones 9–10." (p. 341)
RECOMMENDED VARIETIES OF CITRUS FRUITS (pp. 341-342)
  • Blood oranges (The Moro variety is the highest in anthocyanins. Peak season is from January to mid-April.)
  • Cara Cara (Peak season is from December to April.)
  • Valencia (They are available from February to October, but peak season is from May to July, when most other US varieties are out of season.)
  • Washington navel (The new crop arrives in stores in October, but the oranges are more likely to be ripe after November.)
  • TANGELOS: Any variety (More nutritious than most oranges, tangelos have the tang and color of tangerines.)
  • Clementine (Clementines are an early-season mandarin orange. Free of seeds,)
  • Satsuma (seedless and very easy to peel.
  • Tangerine (Their flavor is sweet, less sour, and more intense than most oranges.)
  • GRAPEFRUITS: White varieties (have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol and to block the growth of several different types of human cancer cells.)
  • GRAPEFRUITS: Pink varieties (sweeter than white grapefruits)
  • GRAPEFRUITS: Red varieties (The most nutritious varieties include Rio Star, Star Ruby, Rio Red, and Ruby Red, in that order.)

TIPS AND ADVICE ABOUT TROPICAL FRUITS

  • "When we eat tropical fruit, we are eating globally, not locally, racking up thousands of miles on the “foodometer” and burning significant amounts of nonrenewable fuel." (p. 345)
  • "We eat more bananas than any other fruit— more than apples and oranges combined." (p. 346)
  • "Bunches of bananas can have from five to one thousand individual fruits. The skins can be red, black, green, pink, purple, or green with white stripes." (p. 346)
  • "Plantains are the primary source of carbohydrates for some twenty million people worldwide." (p. 347)
  • "The deeper and more vivid the color of the flesh, the better it is for you." (p. 348)
  • "In large supermarkets you will find the red banana, a red-skinned, pudgy fruit. The skin turns almost black when ready to eat, making it look like a miniature overripe Cavendish. When you peel back the skin, you will see the succulent, salmon-colored flesh, which is high in carotenoids and vitamin C." (p. 349)
  • "Some supermarkets carry three-inch-long baby bananas, or niños— also called Lady Finger bananas. The flesh of this yellow-skinned variety is also richer in carotenoids than the Cavendish." (p. 349)
  • "If you buy green bananas, you can store them at room temperature until they ripen, which takes about a week." (p. 349)
  • "Pineapples are our second -most-popular tropical fruit. Like bananas, they are relatively high in sugar and low in phytonutrients." (p. 350)
  • "the sweeter pineapples are the more healthful choice. Although they have 25 percent more sugar than the Cayenne" (p. 351)
  • "Pineapples are harvested when ripe and do not continue to ripen once they’ve been harvested." (p. 351)
  • "To choose a fresh pineapple, look for crown leaves that are a deep green color with no signs of fading or browning. If you can pluck a leaf from the crown, it may be over the hill." (pp. 351-352)
  • "a much larger variety of papaya that has four aliases—Caribbean Red , Caribbean Sunrise, Mexican, and Maradol. Grown primarily in Mexico and Central America, the fruit is shaped like a truncated football and weighs between two and five pounds . This red-fleshed papaya has twice as many carotenoids as the golden Solos." (p. 352)
  • "Color is the most important clue to ripeness. A ripe papaya is mostly yellow or orange-yellow. Press the rounded end of a papaya and it should have a slight give, but the stem end should be firm, not soft." (p. 352)
  • "A ripe mango can be as sweet and creamy as a peach." (p. 353)
  • "As is true for peaches and nectarines, the redness of a mango is not a good indicator of its ripeness." (p. 353)
  • "The fruit should have the distinctive aroma of a mango without any hint of ammonia, which is a sign of an overripe fruit. Their firmness is another clue. When you press the fruit gently between your palms, it should have a slight give." (p. 353)
  • "No matter which mangoes you choose, they are guaranteed to be more nutritious than the varieties of bananas, pineapples, or papayas that are available in this country." (p. 354)
  • "In the United States, guavas are cultivated in Hawaii, Florida, Texas, and California." (p. 354)
  • "Red-fleshed guavas have an ORAC value 60 percent greater than white guavas, but white guavas are still highly nutritious fruits." (p. 354)
  • "To choose a ripe guava, look for one that yields to gentle pressure when pressed between your palms. It should be free of soft spots, dents, and scars." (p. 354)
  • "Bananas are relatively high in sugar and low in phytonutrients. ... good source of potassium." (p. 357)
  • "Guavas are more nutritious than bananas, pineapples, papayas, and mangoes. Red -fleshed guavas are the most nutritious of all, but even the white-fleshed varieties offer important health benefits." (p. 358)

RECOMMENDED VARIETIES OF TROPICAL FRUITS (p. 356)

  • Baby bananas (also called niños)
  • Red bananas (They are ready to eat when the skin is a dark magenta color with brown streaks.)
  • Burro bananas (Let these fat and stubby bananas ripen until the flesh is yellow for the best flavor.)
  • (Golden, extra-sweet varieties)
  • Del Monte Pineapples
  • Gold Extra Sweet Pineapples
  • Hawaii Gold Pineapples
  • Maui Gold Pineapples
  • Caribbean Red Papayas (also called Caribbean Sunrise, Mexican, or Maradol, twice the carotenoids and lycopene as the more common, golden-fleshed varieties.)
  • Solo Papayas
  • Ataulfo Mangoes
  • Haden Mangoes
  • Francis Mangoes
  • Uba Mangoes
  • Guavas (Red or pink)
  • Brazilian Dwarf Bananas (also called apple banana and Dwarf Brazilian)
  • Hawaiian Bananas varieties
  • Rainbow Papayas (genetically modified to resist the ring spot virus.)
  • Sunrise Papayas

TIPS AND ADVICE ABOUT MELONS

  • "Most melons are refreshing fruits with limited nutritional value." (p. 371)
  • "Most of the melons that are sold in the summer are grown in the United States, but in spring, fall, and winter they are imported from other countries." (p. 360)
  • "Melons are about 95 percent water, so whatever nutrients they contain are highly diluted." (p. 360)
  • "Lycopene, we now know, provides the red color. Dark red watermelons are one of the best sources of this phytonutrient . In fact, some varieties have 40 percent more lycopene per ounce than ripe tomatoes." (p. 361)
  • "How do you know when a watermelon is ripe? Look for one that is beginning to lose its gloss. Then examine the “ground spot,” the part of the melon that was in contact with the soil. It should be yellow, not green or white. When you tap the watermelon, listen for a hollow sound rather than a flat thump." (p. 361)
  • "In recent years, “personal” watermelons have come on the market. These smaller fruits weigh about two pounds— the ideal size for one-or two-person households. Interestingly, they have more lycopene than most larger melons." (p. 362)
  • "Keep a watermelon on your counter for several days and it will have 50 percent more lycopene than it did when you bought it." (p. 362)
  • "Watermelons grow best in areas where the summer daytime temperatures are between 70 and 90 degrees and the nighttime temperatures stay above 60." (p. 362)
  • "choose cantaloupes with deep orange flesh, which is an indication of their overall carotenoid content." (p. 362)
  • "To pick a ripe melon, look at the stem end. The fruit should have a slight depression , or an “innie.” If it has a bit of a stub, or an “outie,” it was probably picked while still green and won’t have had time to develop its full flavor." (p. 363)
  • "scan the seed catalogs for cantaloupes with deep orange flesh." (p. 363)
  • "Raspberries and cantaloupe are a good combination, as are blueberries and honeydews." (p. 363)
  • "Cantaloupes, with their deeply netted skins, hold on to more bacteria than smooth-skinned melons." (p. 363)
  • "The green honeydew melon, our sweetest melon of all, is also the lowest in nutritive value." (p. 364)
  • "A ripe honeydew melon feels heavy for its size, and its skin is cream-colored, not green. The stem end depresses slightly when you press it with your thumb. If it depresses too far, the melon is likely to be soft and mushy rather than ripe and crisp. Shake the melon. If the seeds rattle, it’s overripe." (p. 364)
  • "stop watering [melon] plants about a week before they ripen, their flavor will become more concentrated." (p. 364)
  • "Casabas have an extended shelf life, which makes them popular with producers and retailers." (pp. 364-365)

RECOMMENDED VARIETIES OF MELONS (pp. 369-370)

  • Precut watermelons (buy those that have the most intense red color— your guarantee of high lycopene content.)
  • Precut cantaloupes (cantaloupes that have the deepest orange flesh.)
  • Honeydews (Orange-fleshed varieties)
  • Casabas (not as nutritious as cantaloupes or as sweet as honeydews. They are very juicy.)
  • Dixie Lee Watermelons (Best for zones 5–9. Matures 90 days after transplanting outdoors.)
  • Extazy Watermelons (Best for zones 5–9. Matures 90 days after transplanting outdoors.)
  • Lycosweet Watermelons (Best for zones 5–9. Matures 98 days after transplanting outdoors.)
  • Millennium Watermelons (Best for zones 5–9. Matures 85 days after transplanting outdoors. Needs a seeded pollinator.)
  • Mohican Watermelons (Best for zones 5–9. Matures in 85 days after transplanting outdoors. Needs a seeded pollinator.)
  • Summer Flavor #710 Watermelons (Best for zones 5–9. Matures in 80– 90 days after transplanting outdoors. Does not need a pollinator.)
  • Bleinheim Orange Cantaloupes (Best for zones 4–11. Matures in 90– 100 days. Does best in warm or hot growing conditions.)
  • Charentais Cantaloupes (Matures in 75–90 days. Can be direct-sown in warm climates when soil temperatures reach 70 degrees.)
  • Durango Cantaloupes (Matures in 90 days. Does better in cool conditions than some varieties.)
  • Oro Rico Cantaloupes (Zones 5–11. Matures in 90– 95 days. )
  • Honey Gold Honeydews (Does well in humid, tropical conditions and hot, dry conditions.)
  • Orange Delight Honeydews (Zones 5–11. Matures in 100 days.)
  • Orange Dew Honeydews (Zones 5–11. Matures in 105 days.)

RECOMMENDED INGREDIENTS FOR FRUIT SALADS (pp. 366-367)

  • Apples with their skins
  • Berries of any kind, especially wild berries, fresh, dried, or frozen)
  • White-fleshed peaches or nectarines with their skins
  • Bing cherries
  • Royal Anne cherries
  • Sour cherries
  • Red-, blue-, or black-skinned plums
  • Dried currants
  • Red or black grapes
  • Navel oranges
  • Valencia oranges
  • Cara Cara oranges,
  • Blood oranges
  • Tangelos
  • Dark red grapefruits
  • Red papayas,
  • Mangoes (ripe or green)
  • Red guavas
  • Red bananas
  • Dark red watermelons
  • Dark orange cantaloupes
  • Orange honeydew melons
  • Nuts or seeds, such as pecans, walnuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds (fresh or toasted)
  • Fresh mint or basil

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Natural and Man-Made Energy Effficient Architecture Examples at Zion National Park

As I was discussing earthships with my dad last night, he suggested that I look into Zion National Park. Mike Reynolds' earthship designs use many of the same techniques as the Zion National Park visitor center to maintain a comfortable temperature while eliminating or reducing the need for conventional heating and air conditioning systems.

Source: Zion National Park

Since the time of the Ancestral Puebloans, visitors to the Zion National Park area have been awed by natural sandstone canyons, mesas, and rock sculptures. Carved by the Virgin River, the narrow canyon provided shade, cool breezes, and natural cooling in the summer and warm rock surfaces in the winter. In 1919, the park was established to preserve the natural beauty of the area for generations to come. In creating the Zion National Park Visitor Center, the National Park Service, working with the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, has stayed true to the tenets of protecting Zion's natural beauty by creating a sustainable building that incorporates the area's natural features and energy-efficient building concepts into an attractive design, saving energy and operating expenses while protecting the environment. The visitor center, like Zion National Park, serves as an example of how the nation can protect its most precious resource: the earth.

With Surf Like Turf, Huge Algae Bloom Befouls China Coast

The algae blooms seem to be feeding on nutrients from fertilizer that is carried from farms into the sea.

Source: <a href="http://mobile.nytimes.com/2013/07/06/world/asia/huge-algae-bloom-afflicts-qingdao-china.html">New York Times</a>

BEIJING — In what has become an annual summer scourge, the coastal Chinese city of Qingdao has been hit by a near-record algae bloom that has left its popular beaches fouled with a green, stringy muck.
...
A group of researchers believe that the algae that washes up around Qingdao originates farther south in seaweed farms along the coast of Jiangsu Province. The farms grow porphyra, known as nori in Japanese cuisine, on large rafts in coastal waters. The rafts attract a kind of algae called Ulva prolifera, and when the farmers clean them off each spring they spread the algae out into the Yellow Sea, where it finds nutrients and warm conditions ideal for blooming.
...
While farmers have long grown seaweed along the Jiangsu coast, the rafts expanded much farther offshore starting in 2006, which may have contributed to the recent blooms, according to an article published by Dr. Keesing and his colleagues. The answer to curtailing the blooms may lie in disposing of the algae that clogs the nori rafts on land.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Growing Spirulina At Home

Source: <a href="http://www.algaeindustrymagazine.com/growing-spirulina-at-home/">Algae Industry Magazine</a>

Spirulina is in fact an extremophile, capable of growing in extremely alkaline water inhospitable to almost every other organism. Most other algae grow in essentially pH-neutral water, which supports the growth of a vast range of algae—including types that produce toxins—as well as doing nothing to inhibit the growth of other potentially harmful organisms such as bacteria. In my biofuel-algae work, we’re constantly fending off invasive species. It’s not just an academic concern. Since it is generally hard to control the growth of possibly harmful stuff (and although it’s fun, we think you should look at your culture under the microscope every day), this aspect of Spirulina cultivation is pretty key to growing pure and safe cultures on a DIY basis.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

How Rob Rhinehart Stopped Eating Food

Several months ago, a man named Rob Rhinehart decided he would create a food substitute that contains all of the nutrients needed without any unnecessary "food" ingredients. He calls his creation "Soylent" which is probably named after the science fiction film "Soylent Green". From reading his blog posts, it seems that Rob was most interested in reducing the time and money spent fueling his body, but he claims that he feels much better and is much more healthy.  I love food too much to give it up, but this is a very interesting project.

Source: Rob Rhinehart

I hypothesized that the body doesn't need food itself, merely the chemicals and elements it contains. So, I resolved to embark on an experiment. What if I consumed only the raw ingredients the body uses for energy? Would I be healthier or do we need all the other stuff that's in traditional food? If it does work, what would it feel like to have a perfectly balanced diet? I just want to be in good health and spend as little time and money on food as possible

There are no meats, fruits, vegetables, or breads here. Besides olive oil for fatty acids and table salt for sodium and chloride nothing is recognizable as food. I researched every substance the body needs to survive, plus a few extras shown to be beneficial, and purchased all of them in nearly raw chemical form from a variety of sources. The section on the ingredients ended up being quite long so I'll save that for a future post. The first morning my kitchen looked more like a chemistry lab than a cookery, but I eventually ended up with an thick, odorless, beige liquid. I call it 'Soylent'.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Researchers Find Genetic Diversity Key to Survival of Honey Bee Colonies

Source: North Carolina State University

Dr. David Tarpy took genetic samples from 80 commercial colonies of honey bees (Apis mellifera) in the eastern United States to assess each colony’s genetic diversity, which reflects the number of males a colony’s queen has mated with. The more mates a queen has had, the higher the genetic diversity in the colony. The researchers then tracked the health of the colonies on an almost monthly basis over the course of 10 months – which is a full working “season” for commercial bee colonies.

The researchers found that colonies where the queen had mated at least seven times were 2.86 times more likely to survive the 10-month working season. Specifically, 48 percent of colonies with queens who had mated at least seven times were still alive at the end of the season. Only 17 percent of the less genetically diverse colonies survived. “48 percent survival is still an alarmingly low survival rate, but it’s far better than 17 percent,” Tarpy says.

“This study confirms that genetic diversity is enormously important in honey bee populations,” Tarpy says. “And it also offers some guidance to beekeepers about breeding strategies that will help their colonies survive.”

Friday, May 31, 2013

Bees Confiscated or Destroyed by the Illinois

This story caught my attention because bees are high on my list of animals I would eventually like to have and I had no idea that some, if not all bee keepers must notify the government about their bees and that their bees are subject to inspection and confiscation.

Source: Northwest Illinois' Prairie Advocate

Terrence Ingram reported the theft of $5000 of his bees and bee hives after Illinois Department of Agriculture inspector Susan Kivikko examined his apiary and determined that “foulbrood [was] present” in 15 samples of his bee colonies. Ingram later received a “Disease Notice” and a copy of the “Bee Disease Diagnosis” submitted by Kivikko to the USDA Bee research Laboratory in Maryland. Ingram was later informed that his apiary was infected with foulbrood, and that treatment by burning was ordered in accordance with Sec. 60.50(b) of the Illinois Bees and Apiaries Act.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Breeding the Nutrition Out of Our Food

Source: New York Times

Studies published within the past 15 years show that much of our produce is relatively low in phytonutrients, which are the compounds with the potential to reduce the risk of four of our modern scourges: cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and dementia. The loss of these beneficial nutrients did not begin 50 or 100 years ago, as many assume. Unwittingly, we have been stripping phytonutrients from our diet since we stopped foraging for wild plants some 10,000 years ago and became farmers.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Living Off The Grid On Lasqueti Island

On lasqueti.ca they describe the island as a place where residents live "a self-sufficient lifestyle reminiscent of an earlier century. Lasqueti ís the place where the conversation is more likely about solar panels or composting toilets than about microwaves or toasters -- foreign objects for most of the 400 residents. Nobody can work a five-day week away from home because it takes three days work just to survive -- to cut firewood, to maintain power, water, and waste systems, to work in your garden to produce your food."

Also, "Statistics Canada says is the most highly educated community in British Columbia."

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

One-Third of U.S. Honeybee Colonies Died Last Winter, Threatening Food Supply

Source: Wired Science

Nearly one in three commercial honeybee colonies in the United States died or disappeared last winter, an unsustainable decline that threatens the nation’s food supply.

Multiple factors — pesticides, fungicides, parasites, viruses and malnutrition — are believed to cause the losses, which were officially announced today by a consortium of academic researchers, beekeepers and Department of Agriculture scientists.

“We’re getting closer and closer to the point where we don’t have enough bees in this country to meet pollination demands,” said entomologist Dennis vanEngelstorp of the University of Maryland, who led the survey documenting the declines.

“If we want to grow fruits and nuts and berries, this is important,” said vanEngelstorp. “One in every three bites [of food consumed in the U.S.] is directly or indirectly pollinated by bees.”

Scientists have raced to explain the losses, which fall into different categories.

  • Colony collapse disorder.
  • Neonicotinoids make bees more vulnerable to disease.
  • Varroa destructor mites weaken bees by sucking their hemolyph, the insect analogue of blood, and also transmit .
  • Nosema ceranae parasite.
  • viruses and other parasites transmitted by the Varroa mites
The honeybee catastrophe could also signal problems in other pollinator species, such as bumblebees and butterflies, that are not often studied.

“Thinking of honeybees as our canary in the coal mine, a monitor for environmental conditions, is very appropriate,” Cox-Foster said. “With honeybee colonies, you have the ability to open them up and see what’s going on. There are many other species needed for pollination, but with most of those, we don’t have the ability to see what’s happening.”

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Indoor farm creates life changing opportunities for unlikely farmers

Source: WGN-TV

A 90-thousand square foot warehouse in Bedford Park sat vacant for years, but is now the largest indoor aquaponic vertical farm in the United States.  And the first vertical farm to receive USDA national organic certification

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Shellfish Aquaculture in a Salt Marsh

I spend some of my spare time searching property listings all over the US to help improve my understanding of real estate trends in all of the markets where I may eventually want to buy land. A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled across two relatively cheap parcels of land for sale in Gloucester, MA.
View Larger Map

The description for both properties is as follows: Wetlands, unbuildable. Sold as is. Estate sale, Subject to Administrator obtaining a license to sell. Closing to be 5 days from date license to sell is granted. Cash only, no contingencies/cash to be verified at time of offer. Water View, possibly a prime spot for bird watching and/or hunting if legally permitted. Listing broker and or Administrator make no representations whatsoever about use. Buyer and/or buyer agent to perform all due diligence.

The real estate agent was unable or unwilling to provide additional information and suggested that I ask the building inspector for Gloucester to find out what I might be allowed to do with this land. So, I did quite a bit of research and reading to try to form my own opinion about possible use of this land. Apparently the reason these parcels are so cheap is because each parcel consists almost entirely of salt marsh and very little adjacent land. Massachusetts and several other states in New England have designated quite a bit of coastal areas as protected land and they prohibit most building and impose restrictions on land use to prevent further degradation of the coastal ecosystem.

Maybe it's just because this property would be so affordable, but the idea of owning a salt marsh appealed to me for some reason. So I did quite a bit of research and reading about salt marshes, estuaries, shellfish, and environmental issues. Below are several of the most interesting things I found:

  • Gloucester, Massachusetts, Code of Ordinances Sec. 12-11. - Statement of jurisdiction.
    (a) Except as provided by this article or permitted by the Gloucester Conservation Commission (the "commission") no person shall remove, fill, dredge, alter or build upon or within any resource areas or the buffer zone.
    (b) The following areas, also referred to as resource areas, are subject to protection under this article:
    (1) Any bank, any freshwater wetland, any coastal wetland, any beach, any dune, any flat, any marsh, or any swamp, bordering on the ocean, any estuary, any creek, any river, any stream, any pond or any lake.
  • Shellfish Aquaculture in Massachusetts - September 2000 Private aquaculture involves licensing tracts of marine intertidal and subtidal areas for private use to grow a variety of commercial shellfish species, including quahogs and oysters. Local shellfish hatchery and nursery businesses often support public and private aquaculture operations and municipal restoration programs.
  • Biorock® Mineral Accretion Technology For Reef Restoration, Mariculture and Shore Protection The Global Coral Reef Alliance is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to growing, protecting and managing the most threatened of all marine ecosystems—coral reefs. We primarily focus on coral reef restoration, marine diseases and other issues caused by global climate change, environmental stress and pollution.
  • Electrical Restoration of oysters and saltmarsh at a New York City Estuarine Wetland Oysters receiving low amounts of electrical current increased in length 5.82 times faster than controls, and oysters receiving higher amounts of current grew 9.30 times faster than controls over the 2011 summer growing season.
  • Gloucester Shellfish Department - Permits and Fees The Shellfish Department is responsible for monitoring Gloucester shellfish harvesting areas and enforcing both Gloucester shellfishing regulations and State of Massachusetts laws in order to conserve and protect the city's shellfish resources and promote public health.
  • Cultured Aquaculture Species Northern Quahog Clams prefer sediments that are a mixture of sand and mud with some coarse material. They range from the intertidal zone to 15 m. The seed reach approximately 10-15 mm in year 0, and approximately 25-30 mm shell length by the end of year 1.

    During the first year of life the animals are subject to high losses from invertebrate and vertebrate predators, chiefly crabs. They become less susceptible to predators when they reach 20-25 mm shell length, and only large crustaceans (lobsters), large snails, a few fish and birds can consume mature hard clams. The average life span has been estimated to be between 12-20 years, but clams older than 50 years have been reported.

    Ongrowing techniques: Clams are planted in plots in the intertidal or shallow subtidal zones. In most areas these are covered with a plastic mesh (6.4 or 12.7 mm square mesh) to prevent predation losses. In some locations clams are planted in mesh bags which are staked to the bottom. Plot maintenance involves regular (at least weekly) monitoring to check the mesh for damage and to remove fouling. Clams reach market size in 1-1.5 years in southern waters and 2-4 years in more northern locations.

    Hard clam seed (10-12 mm size) typically cost from USD 25-30/1000. Other costs are nominal, but include the cost of the mesh, any hold-down devices and ancillary field gear. The main costs other than the seed are the boat, its engine, and the labour required to tend the plots. Typically, survival to market in the plots averages 50-70 per cent. Below 50 per cent it becomes unprofitable to grow clams. Occasionally, survival exceeds 70 per cent, but that cannot be expected as routine.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Xantrex 802-1500 Xpower 1500 Watt Portable Powerpack

This power pack appears to be similar, but is probably inferior to the GoalZero Yeti 1250 Solar Generator.

Source: Amazon

Supplies up to 1,500 watt household electricity 1,500 watt inverter and 51Ah AGM battery AC and DC plug included Portable, wheeled design Excellent alternative to generators.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Why Insects Should Be in Your Diet

Source: The Scientist Magazine

Insects can be produced more sustainably and with a much smaller ecological footprint than vertebrate livestock. They are very efficient at transforming a wide variety of organic matter into edible body mass. For example, cows consume 8 g of feed to gain 1 g in weight, whereas insects can require less than 2 g of feed for the same weight gain. This is partly due to the fact that insects are poikilothermic, or “cold-blooded,” and thus use less energy to maintain body temperature. This efficiency reduces the amount of animal feed needed to generate the same amount of “meat,” cutting the amount of water used for irrigation; the area of land dedicated to growing food for livestock; and the use of pesticides that can be expensive, harmful to the environment, and pose a risk to human health.

Additionally, many insects, such as flies, crickets, grasshoppers, and beetles, can consume agricultural waste or plants that humans and traditional livestock cannot. By converting biomass that is not consumable by humans into edible insect mass, insects don’t compete with the human food supply, as do vertebrate livestock such as cows and chickens, which are primarily fed with grain and corn.

Insects are also easy to farm in large quantities using very little space. Compared to many other animals, insects have substantially higher fecundity—they reproduce more prolifically—and shorter life spans, so they can be grown rapidly. For example, house crickets can lay 1,200–1,500 eggs in a 3- to 4-week period, whereas beef cattle require about four breeding animals for each animal marketed. Insects also use much less water than vertebrate livestock because they obtain hydration directly from food. Finally, insects give off lower levels of greenhouse gases than cows.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Arduino Rasp Pi Environment Controller

I have already purchased a Raspberry Pi and a USB driven Velleman kit that I plan to use to control eight relays to turn pumps, lights and heaters on and off based upon schedules and sensor readings. While I was trying to find a simple way to connect various environmental sensors, I stumbled across this open-source project that uses Arduino to accomplish almost everything I had hoped to accomplish with my aquaponic greenhouse automation.

Source: Open-Source project at SourceForge.net

An Arduino and Raspberry Pi based Environment Controller. Main Components: MEGA 2560, SSD-1963 Touchscreen, DHT-11 Humidity Sensor, LM35 Temperature Sensor, a Light Dependent Resistor, and a Phidgets P1130_0 - pH/ORP Adapter with cheap BNC pH probe (electrode) off eBay (see wiki for full parts list)

Also includes a Python Script and a PHP webpage for controlling the Arduino remotely (developed for Raspberry Pi - but should work on any linux machine or a windows machine with some modification to the code)

Displays a graph of all sensor data (customizable)

Arduino Rasp Pi Environment Controller Web Site

Categories

Features

Complete Touchscreen User Interface
Water Timers and Light Timers
Manual Control of Relays
Set Water Pump and Light Schedules

The following is meant for running on a Raspberry Pi: Includes a Python Script to recieve serial messages from arduino and stores the variables in seperate files Includes a PHP Web Page for monitoring realtime sensor values, remote control of relays/light settings/water settings/system settings, view realtime graph and upload firmware remotely!

Survey Study of and Stocking Densities for Tilapia-Shrimp Polycultures 10NSR3

Source: Oregon State University

Ecological Basis for Tilapia-Shrimp Polyculture In nature, tilapia are omnivores. Young tilapia graze on algal and bacteria films scraping most hard surfaces with tongue and teeth. As they grow they also become effective filter feeders of phytoplankton and predators of zooplankton. Larger tilapia are less effective filter feeders but begin to graze heavily on macrophytic algae and aquatic plants. In extensive farming situations, tilapia filter feed on algae, prey of zooplankton and scrape films from any hard surfaces in the pond. In intensive farms, most nutrition is derived from pelleted feeds, although fish will continue to spend time scraping algal and bacterial films from all surfaces.

In nature, shrimp feed first on phytoplankton and then zooplankton during larval stages. As juveniles and adults they are omnivores and detritovores. Their natural behavior is to search the bottom substrates for decaying plant and animal material. They also constantly pick up sand grains and pieces of organic matter and graze off the algae and bacteria, drop the grain or particle and go onto the next item. In farmed settings shrimp feed on pellets and natural productivity in the pond. Research by Samocha et al. (1998), has demonstrated that shrimp can be reared in systems with little water exchange, taking advantage of the natural abilities of shrimp to thrive in conditions with high bacterial loading so long as dissolved oxygen levels and other water quality factors are maintained.

There are several variations on tilapia-shrimp polyculture: simultaneous, sequential, and crop rotation. In the simultaneous instance the fish and shrimp are grown together in a pond or raceway, in the sequential case the water is moved from one growing unit to another, and the crop rotation alternates tilapia and shrimp. There appear to be distinct advantages with each of these systems.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My First Aquaponic Garden

I built the Aquaponics system inside our greenhouse between late November and late January. I included clay media grow beds and Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) channels in my design so that I can try growing various plants with and without media. All water is pumped up from a 100 gallon stock tank that is buried in the ground. I added a small quantity of weak ammonia solution to the water to start the process of building up the bacteria that are required to convert the ammonia from fish waste to nitrites and then to nitrates which are vital nutrients for the plants. And finally, I planted a few lettuce, tomato and cucumber plants from our heirloom and organic seed collection.

In the future, I plan to add one or more grow beds with traditional planting soil and possibly rafts, aeroponics trays, and/or vertical towers for further experimentation and comparison. My primary goal is to learn as much as possible about the various modern farming techniques and produce as much fresh vegetables and protein as possible.

More details will be added later.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Quinoa production in a greenhouse

According to a recent blog post at the Guardian,

The appetite for [quinoa] has pushed up prices to such an extent that poorer people in Peru and Bolivia, for whom it was once a nourishing staple food, can no longer afford to eat it. Imported junk food is cheaper. In Lima, quinoa now costs more than chicken. Outside the cities, and fuelled by overseas demand, the pressure is on to turn land that once produced a portfolio of diverse crops into quinoa monoculture.

NASA tested hydroponic cultivation of several varieties of Quinoa in controlled greenhouse environments.
See: Quinoa: Candidate Crop for NASA's Controlled Ecological Life Support Systems

Quinoa responded well to controlled environment production practices with large increases in seed production, maintenance of short canopy stature, and increased harvest index, as compared with the field.