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Saving the earth one artichoke at a time

July 26, 2009

“We need to launch an Organic Green Revolution that fundamentally changes the way we grow our food.” Tim LaSalle, Rodale Institute CEO

A beautiful baby artichoke

A beautiful baby artichoke

Why organic? I mean it has been all the rage for years and we know innately that it is a good thing. But why buy it?

Organic farming started about 10,000 years ago and continued till the invention of synthetic fertilizers, which changed the way we do business with the earth.  After World War II, the world suddenly had a lot of ammonium nitrate that had been used for munitions through out the war. Someone got the brilliant idea to repurpose the chemical into agricultural. At the same time, pesticides, like DDT, that had been developed to control disease carrying insects around troops, was launched towards agriculture as well. Suddenly there was all this cheap fertilizer and easy ways to control the bugs available to the farmers. It took the earth by fire storm.

Things began to happen over the years. Like the birds started to disappear, the soil got poorer and poorer, vegetables began to taste…tasteless and farm animals became unhealthy. More things happened, varieties of produce began to disappear, small family farms were vanishing, ground water became contaminated, massive amounts of fish died, erosion escalated, and that was just the beginning.

An undercurrent began to flow through the farming communities called “organic farming.” The farmers and consumers began to realize they had been lead down the rosy path of greed and destruction. What happened to the practice of everything supporting each other?

Ya know, the one where healthy animals depended upon healthy plants (for their food), healthy plants upon healthy soil, healthy soil upon healthy animals (for the manure).

Instead of conventional farming which fosters reliance on chemicals and buying products that have to be manufactured from petroleum products. Organic agriculture works for a healthy balance of the soil, including using crop rotation and other techniques to improve soil fertility, instead of controlling the environment with chemicals. What a concept!

Here are some of the reasons to eat and garden organic;

~Organic farming practices use 40 percent less water and 70 percent less energy than conventional farms. This also reduces the amount of water run off and erosion significantly.

~ Buying local organic food is supporting the small farmer that cares. This takes the power away from giant corporations that only farm for money. Organic farmers also do not grow GMOs (genetically modified foods) which are really really bad.

~ Buying organic, pastured raised animal products directly supports humane and ethical treatment to animals, and it is better for us and our environment.

~Food tastes great with less filler: This has actually been studied and proven in labs. (I want to be a scientist!) Also organic produce stores better, most likely due to the lower levels of nitrites and higher levels of antioxidants.

~Better health comes from buying organic foods, which are free of harmful chemicals, artificial flavors, additives and full of nutrients and antioxidants. It also reduces disease, strokes and cancer.

~Gardening and buying organic promotes healthy soils teaming with life and rich micro-nutrients which sustains the earth and our ecosystems.

Buying conventional foods ultimately costs us much much more in the long run when we add up the trade offs. When you bite into that conventional apple you are directly supporting global warming, contaminated ground water and rivers, the destruction of the oceans, and the loss of wildlife and ecosystems. Remember that ultimately, you are what you eat.

Kingfisher Farms Seared Baby Artichokes

This recipe is from Jeff Trenary, of Kingfisher Farms. He happens to be a fantastic cook and this is one of his current favorite recipes. He has baby artichokes available right now. I also have a beautiful potato salad recipe posted on my blog at http://danazia.wordpress.com/.

6-8 baby artichokes

A large hand full of whole peeled garlic cloves

½ cup of white wine

A few tablespoons of olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

1 tablespoon of chopped parsley

Cut the top of the artichokes off and peel the outer tough layers off the flowers till they look like tight rosebuds. Peel the stem with a potato peeler then cut the chokes in half. Dig out any little fuzzy looking matter out of the middle of them. Heat up a big heavy skillet you could knock a bear out with, to medium high and add the oil. Lay the artichokes cut dies down in the oil and fry for a few minutes then flip them over and fry for a few more minutes. Toss in the garlic and fry a few more minutes then add the wine. Cover and simmer, stirring here and there till the wine is evaporated, about 5 -8 minutes.  Squeeze the lemon juice over the artichokes and season with salt, pepper and parsley. Serve immediately and enjoy the fact that you are saving the earth one artichoke at a time!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 26, 2009 6:31 pm

    Gorgeous photo. Of all the purpley green vegetables, the artichoke is my favorite. My mom, who is from Seattle, had to special order them at our rinky dink Piggly Wiggly in the Midwest for a treat for herself and me. The cashier always looked at us as if we were from Mars, such was the exotic-ness of an artichoke in Wisconsin.

    Thanks for reminding me how wonderful they are when they are locally grown.
    P.S…have you seen my book, The Farm to Table Cookbook? I think you might like it, there’s an artichoke recipe or two in it :)

  2. August 10, 2009 7:25 pm

    Love the photo of your purple artichoke. It’s simply beautiful and very artistic. I make my version with a balsamic glaze. IT is to die for. Check it out at http://www.phamfatale.com/id_86/title_Pan-Seared-Artichoke-with-Balsamic-Glaze/

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