March 25, 2008

Scrapin’ Up the Bits, Stank Style

In reading a New York Times article on the continued abuse of reliance on earmarks by members of Congress, I couldn’t help but notice the aroma of this bit o' pork:

Three Iowa lawmakers — Senator Charles E. Grassley, a Republican, Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat, and Representative Tom Latham, a Republican — sponsored a $196,000 item for research into ways to reduce odors from swine and poultry.

Ah, yes, in a time of remarkable political rancor, it's heartening to see that helping big factory farms find ways to mask reduce their illness-inducing stink is a bi-partisan pursuit. Democracy at its finest.

Speaking of Big Ag and polluted air, Elanor from the Ethicurean waxes eloquent about the rampant pesticide use on the melons and almonds and tomatoes grown in California’s Central Valley and its impact on the local community, including the children of the workers. Some of it is just… jarring.

Drift testing conducted at the school has found a "chronic" presence of pesticides at low-to-moderate levels in the school air. Chronic meaning constant. These kids are breathing in pesticides all the time.

And if you’re searching for a better understanding of how the big meat packers undermine food safety and quality in the pursuit of profit, Alan Guebert fills in some blanks. A taste:

Since 1980, the number of U.S. hog farmers has dropped from 667,000 to 67,000 while the percentage of hogs grown under contract to packers has risen from virtually zero to more than 70. Those two numbers are as related as ham and beans.

Finally, so much for my grand onion theory. Troy Bogdan of Pure Earth Organic Farm near Meadville, Pa., based on observation from 12 years of running an organic farm, sets me straight.

The reason an onion (especially the ones stored over winter) gets strong, is because it is getting ready to sprout. There is a natural time clock in each member of the onion/garlic (allium) family, and when "the alarm goes off," that means it's time to wake up from hibernation, and start to grow and get ready for reproduction. This in turn causes EXTREMELY strong flavors and scents.

If you see any of Troy’s delicious garlic for sale, be sure to pick some up.

1 comment:

farmer troy said...

Thanks for the plug, but we are now sold out of garlic till next season . . . we will have more to sell in Autumn of 2008.

We had a good year because (In my opinion) people are trying not to purchase garlic grown in China (due to recent news scandals)and are seeking out local sources and are willing to pay more for a quality product.

Check out our link embedded in our name to learn more about our farm and our products in the online farmer's market shopping cart.