Food Systems: Organic Might Not Be Pesticide Free

A study was conducted that examined trace residues of 68 pesticides on organic and conventional crops

Trace residues of the pesticides tested in this study were found on organic fruits and vegetables. “For 37% of the chemicals, the average residue on organic samples was actually higer than the averages on conventional…

The amount of pesticides found on both organic and conventional food were in trace amounts and, for the most part, lower than US EPA established tolerance levels.

Finally, it is important to note that pesticides are sprayed on organic food, albeit those pesticides are “certified” for use on organic food and, in most cases, may be differentiated from pesticides applied to conventional crops. However, there may be some overlap between certified-organic and conventional pesticides.

Forbes, March 6, 2017

Food History: Thinking about Pie

What is a pie?

The pies we know today are a fairly recent addition to a history that goes back as long as mankind has had dough to bake into a crust and stuff to put inside it. The purpose of a pastry shell was mainly to serve as a baking dish, storage container, and serving vessel, and in the past, these were often too hard to actually eat. For hundreds of years, a pie was the only form of a baking container used, meaning everything was a pie.

November 24, 2016

Food History: What Did the Pilgrims Eat?

What foods did the Pilgrims eat on that first Thanksgiving?

  • Wild fowl such as Turkey, Ducks, Geese, Quails, and Passenger pigeons
  • Possibly – cranberries (or other berries)
  • Corn (flour and porridge)
  • Venison

Some traditional foods NOT on the table were:

  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Potatoes, Sweet potatoes, Yams
  • Pie

November 23, 2016

Food Systems: Organic Acreage Increases!


These are exciting times for agricultural and food consumption and for prosperous folks in this country, we are so lucky to have the luxury of food choices! More growers find it profitable to produce organic crops and more consumers choose to support those growers.

Reposted from Facebook, November 10, 2016

Food: Pickled iceberg lettuce hearts and chilled lettuce soup

Iceberg lettuce is quite taken for granted. It is ubiquitous in the U.S.

Yet, it really is a luxury crop. It requires very specific growing conditions, a lot of hand labor, incredibly precise farming systems and requires a moderate amount of water (as compared to some crops) and moderate amounts of N. 

The author of this article discusses Iceberg Lettuce’s misplaced role in the gourmet world and recommends two unique ways to fix Iceberg Lettuce.

How adventurous are you? Are you ready for pickled Iceberg Lettuce hearts and Chilled Lettuce soup?


Food History: The Many Uses of Lettuce

Love potion? The Greeks thought that lettuce was an anaphrodisiac, (i.e. it suppressed the sex drive), while the Romans thought lettuce was an aphrodisiac (i.e. – well, never mind, we all know what aphrodisiac means!) Hmmm… 

Digestif or Appetite Suppresant?  For centuries, lettuce was eaten at the end of the meal and was seen as a “refreshing” food. Sort of a digestif. Then, someone decided that it should be eaten at the beginning of a meal because it stimulates the appetite (keep that in mind when as you try to lose weight). This debate rages on. The French still insist on refreshment, while the rest of the world focuses on gluttony.

Relaxant or stimulant? Through the centuries, there have been recommendations to eat a small bowl of lettuce prior to sleep and there have been recommendations to eat it when you want energy.

Confused? The best reason to eat lettuce is because, on some days, nothing tastes as good as a well made salad! 

Food: Eating Leafy Greens Tied to Cognitive Function

Popeye and NPR say to eat your leafy greens. 

“…healthy seniors who had daily helpings of leafy green vegetables — such as spinach, kale and collard greens — had a slower rate of cognitive decline, compared to those who tended to eat little or no greens.”

In a study of 960 seniors, those who ate greens scored in the upper quintile for cognitive function and “the rate of decline for [those] in the top quintile was about half the decline rate of those in teh lowest quintile.”… 

Aubrey, Allison. Eating Leafy Greens Each Day Tied to Sharper Memory, Slower Decline. NPR, Your Health. February 5, 2018.

Morris, M.C., et al. Nurients and Bioactives in Green Leafy Vegetables and Cognitive Decline: Prospective Study. Neurology, January 16, 2018.


Food Systems: Indoor Ag?

The possibilities of urban and vertical agriculture are fascinating. These systems have the potential to rewrite the rules about what crops are grown where. They have the potential to solve transportation, water, and land availability issues.

A large downside? These systems are truly factory farming and could require large capital investment. That could be a big barrier for entry-levels farms.  

Also! The likelihood these systems are more vulnerable to catastrophic failure from pest infestations and pathogenic pandemics.