It's melon season!
—by Alison Einerson
Reasons to take up this month's Eat Local Challenge.
—by Katherine Pioli
Ah, the lovely tomato—so beautiful in its simplicity, elegance, versatility and nutrition. This is the garden prize we wait all summer for—whether we meticulously planted, fertilized and trained our plants on cages and twine, or we carefully select each fruit from our favorite growers at the farmers market. That first vine-ripe black krim or cuor di bue (shaped like a perfect ox heart!) sprinkled with a touch of sea salt, well...it's just heaven.
Every once in a while, without warning, my joints and muscles would get stiff and ache once in a while. When that happened, I would stumble around for a few days and then the pain would go away. But in a couple days or a week, it would return. I was totally baffled. How could a person have intermittent arthritis? No, I wasn't diagnosed. According to the Arthritis Foundation, any presumed correlation between nightshades and joint pain is unverified folk medicine; the foundation promotes pharmaceuticals instead.
Ferments seem to be the newest health craze. But the truth is they are a form of food preservation cultivated by our ancestors. Before the invention of refrigeration, there was fermentation. This was necessary to preserve the autumn harvest and supply food over long, arduous winters. Every culture across the globe has its unique form of fermentation and most cultures continue the tradition of aging, storing and eating these sour foods.
Eat well and stock up!
—by Alison Einerson
Tastes good, feels good, easy and inexpensive to make.
—by Nicole deVaney
I've never been to Chez Panisse. I've only read about it, imagined it. Its food is legendary, but just as vital as its revolutionarily simple yet divine menu is the philosophy of the great Alice Waters: from local farm to table with a focus on community. Bringing that philosophy to life in Salt Lake is Avenues Bistro, a comfortable little Avenues restaurant where I was greeted one recent afternoon by a friendly hostess, and an old chalkboard with the hand-written words: Community, Conversation, Cuisine.
There are still signs in my garden that tell of the once prolific abundance of food that grew there this summer. The long stalk of my black beauty zucchini, a four-foot long green boa constrictor with leafy appendages some reaching two feet across, displays dozens of stump scars where I severed the pulpy fruits from the plant's hearty rope of vine. I still harvest from it, a small anemic club here and there, but it's glory days are over. Like the tomatoes, the peppers, the green beans, the potatoes, everything is slowing down and pulling back towards the earth.
With the exception of the Wasatch Front, where we get an average annual 16 inches of rainfall, Utah is a true desert with an annual average rainfall of 10 inches. This puts the state in a continual zero-sum tug-of-war with the powers of nature, more specifically the power of osmosis. The 1902 Reclamation Act guaranteed Utah farmers cheap, subsidized water, no matter what the cost to the American taxpayer. Those costs are high and going up. Alfalfa, the state's traditional crop of choice, is a stark example. An acre of alfalfa needs somewhere between slightly less than three acre-feet of water per crop (with an average three crops per year) to over six acre-feet, depending on what irrigation system is used. The cost of this water to the American taxpayer is greater than the return to Utah farmers.