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Seeds, the very foundation of organic

March 29, 2011

“If there’s one advantage cauliflower does have, it’s that it is so darn adaptable!” Mark Sisson

Spring is actually beginning to poke its soggy head up. The daffodils are the heralds of this arrival with their sunny faces promising fairer days. The earth is quickening and I feel it. A little itch is starting somewhere deep inside me that only gardening can scratch.

There is something so satisfying about growing your own food. Knowing where it comes from and all the love and work in it, just makes it that much more delicious.  One aspect of gardening that has become very important to know is where your seeds come from. The seeds are the very foundation of it all.

This was brought starkly home to me last spring when I was in an upscale gardening store in Portland. I picked up a packet of seeds that was so beautiful in its luminous paper envelope with a hand drawn picture. I wanted it. I turned it over and read “seeds grown in China.” What?? China? I put them back on the shelf and walked out of the store.

Important safety tip folks, check where your seeds are grown. It has to be listed on the package. My favorite place to buy seeds is from “Territorial Seeds” which is based and grows all their seeds in Cottage Grove Oregon. Another small farm that I love to buy from is “Wild Garden Seeds.” They are in Philomath, Oregon and have a delightful selection of lettuce seeds.

Another very important piece of getting to know your seeds is understanding about GMOs (genetically modified organisms). GMOs are the Frankensteins of the biology world.  They most commonly refer to a crop plant that has been genetically modified in a lab to enhance desirable traits, such as insect resistance.

Beautiful Cheddar cauliflower

As you have probably heard, GMOs have created a fire storm of controversy. They sound like a good idea but they are the classic case of technology getting ahead of common sense. We have no earthly idea of the long standing ramifications this tech could bring to the world.

The gentle monarch butterfly has been an unfortunate victim of this technology. The wind blown pollen of a GMO corn crossbred with milkweed, the monarch butterfly’s primary food source. This made the milkweed inedible to the butterfly and a huge die off happened. This corn had been modified with a gene from an herbicide.

They have no idea of how many species of insects have been damaged by this technology. There is speculation that the honey bees are another innocent victim. So, if these GMOs can wipe out butterflies and bees, what about other species? What do these mutant plants do in our systems?

The moral of the story is know your seeds. Buying organic local seeds from conscious growers is a sure fire way to make sure you don’t get monsters growing in your garden patch. (Ever seen “Little Shop of Horrors”?) Heirloom varieties also are a safe bet such as the cauliflower “purple of Sicily.”

Cauliflower is a plant that, as of now, hasn’t been tampered with. It likes cool weather so is ridiculously easy to grow here. Do yourself a favor and grow the yellow and purple varieties. They are so gorgeous and packed with oodles of nutrients and antioxidants.

This cauliflower dish is a lovely one to make in either spring or fall as these beauties are easy to find. I have made this easy dish many times and it is a favorite with everyone. You can use broccoli in this dish too.

Indian Spiced Roasted Cauliflower

¼ extra virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon of ground cardamom

2 teaspoons of ground coriander

1 teaspoon of cumin

1 teaspoon of fresh cracked black pepper

1 large head or two small heads of cauliflower

1 large red onion, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon of sea salt

Preheat your oven up to 425, we want it hot! Lightly oil a baking dish large enough to hold all the cauliflower in one layer. Mix all your spices and olive oil in a large bowl. Add the onions and the cauliflower to the bowl and toss till everything is well acquainted.

Dump the mix into the baking pan and spread evenly over the pan. Put in the oven and roast for about 30 -35 minutes, stirring half way through the baking. When they are done roasting, sprinkle with salt and serve in a lovely bowl.

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 29, 2011 6:44 pm

    Sounds delicious! I’m always looking for cauliflower recipes. It’s one of my family’s favorite vegetables. Thanks!

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