- Author: Diane Nelson
Edible landscapes are growing like zucchini in the sun as more people recognize the health and economic benefits of designing their yards with pretty plants that taste good, too.
“Sales of fruits and vegetables have remained strong, even during this recession when sales of other plants have lagged,” said Ron Hoffman, owner of Morris Nursery in Riverbank,Calif., echoing the sentiments of many in the state’s nursery industry. “People enjoy growing their own produce and they want plants that do double duty.”
And when they choose brightly colored edibles — like, say, Neon Lights swiss chard or Bronze lettuce — they can have their landscape and eat it, too. But designing and...
- Author: Ann King Filmer
While many of us cherish the mystique of popping a wine cork, screw caps are becoming more commonplace in the wine industry. Half a century ago, screw caps were associated with cheap rotgut wine, but now they have replaced corks in many premium wines and at many of the world’s best wineries.
Wine bottles are sealed primarily in three ways — natural corks, synthetic corks or screw caps. All have their advantages and disadvantages, and most certainly their proponents and opponents. While synthetic corks never gained much of a foothold in the wine industry, screw caps are being studied more frequently for their efficacy and quality.
While screw caps were originally thought to be airtight, resulting in the...
- Author: Alec Rosenberg
Everyone was dusty, tired and ready to relax. Pizza dinner had just ended on the third night of outdoor education in the Santa Cruz Mountains, but it wasn’t quite time to go.
A counselor brought out a bucket containing all of the food leftovers from the plates of the sixth graders, their teachers, naturalists and parent chaperones. It was empty. The crowd cheered: The group had met its goal of zero waste.
The camp made me think about how much food we throw away on a regular basis. Americans waste almost 27 percent of all the food produced in the United States each year. That’s the equivalent of around one pound of food a day for each American.
How can we do better? At the camp, they...
- Author: Marissa Palin
I often look at foods and wonder, “Who’s idea was it to eat this?” Some foods just don’t look like they should be food, including huitlacoche.
Huitlacoche is corn smut — a fungus that often infects sweet corn during times of drought. It enters the plant through the ovaries, and replaces the corn kernels with large tumor-like spores that look like really ugly mushrooms. Farmers in the U.S. have spent millions of dollars trying to eradicate the infection. The UC Davis Student Farm has a bad case of corn smut this year, and it’s threatening to ruin their entire crop.
But it may not be such a bad thing. Often known as the...
- Author: Eve Hightower
Peppers in an array of colors, shapes, sizes and flavors grown at the UC Davis Student Farm are igniting interest in plant breeding and the astonishing botanical diversity of the Capsicum genus, to which all peppers belong.
“Fifty-two varieties is a wonderful candyland for me, but it’s just a few of the many varieties in the world,” said graduate student Ildi Carlisle-Cummins, who works on a partnership project between the Student Farm and researcher Allen Van Deynze.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the pepper project is meant to...