Agriculture

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A handful of U.S.-based spice companies are sourcing from domestic growers

A Jamaican man harvesting ramps for Burlap & Barrel
A Jamaican man harvesting ramps for Burlap & Barrel
This Jamaica resident along with his colleagues spend each year tapping maple trees in the Adirondacks; this year, their return home was delayed because of the pandemic. Omar, pictured, ended up helping Burlap & Barrel harvest ramps before returning to Jamaica when the season was over. Photo: Burlap & Barrel via Instagram

Earlier this year, Burlap & Barrel pulled off a culinary magic trick: They extended ramp season. The New York City-based spice company has made a name for itself among chefs and home cooks by selling direct-sourced, single-origin — and wildly delicious spices — from across the globe. But this past May, instead of flying to India for turmeric, Egypt for caraway seeds, or Guatemala for cardamom (thanks to Covid-19 travel restrictions), co-founders Ethan Frisch and Ori Zohar drove due north to the Adirondack Mountains to forage ramp leaves during the wild plant’s famously fleeting season.

Frisch, a chef and humanitarian…


Food can (and should) shape how you vote

In the nearly two years since Heated launched, we’ve built on Mark Bittman’s lifework by addressing inequality in the food system. We’ve also tried to encourage readers to look at our lives through the lens of food: How we grow food. How we treat food and restaurant workers. How we feed ourselves and each other.

We can always do better — and one way (we hope) we can commit to improvement on a more grand scale is in how we vote which, this year, means voting for Joe Biden. Below we’ve got 22 posts that explore the intersection of power…


Never has voting been more important

“Vote” written on a letter board.
“Vote” written on a letter board.
Photo: Jenna Ardell/Getty Images

My/our positions on the hot issues of our time are not exactly hidden, although we mostly talk about food. But for the last 15 years, I have maintained that hiding behind the fun and excitement of “food” and cooking is cowardly: How food is produced, how it’s processed, and what we eat are about how we treat the land, each other, and ourselves. It matters, and so food policy matters.

So, right now, we have to be direct: You gotta vote, and you gotta vote for Joe Biden and for every single Democratic candidate on your ballot. (There may be…


Eggs, like so many things, are a seasonal product

Chickens roaming in a yard in the fall.
Chickens roaming in a yard in the fall.
Photo: Kris Wong

People are always surprised when I tell them that I have to buy eggs from the grocery store in winter. I have a flock of nine chickens in my backyard. Surely that means fresh eggs year-round?

But eggs are actually a seasonal product: As the days get shorter, chickens left to their own devices will slow their laying and then stop until spring. Since the industrialization of egg farming — which moved chickens indoors into buildings that can be artificially lit year-round — egg season, for humans and industrial laying hens alike, largely doesn’t exist anymore. But it does in…


Millions of voters in farm country are being ignored by both parties

Overhead drone shot of a farm vehicle harvesting wheat.
Overhead drone shot of a farm vehicle harvesting wheat.
Photo: Ollo/E+/Getty Images

Between 2009 and 2017, while Tom Vilsack was head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 30 percent of Wisconsin’s dairy farms went out of business. So why has he become Joe Biden’s main surrogate in farm country?

Between 2004 and 2016, dairy exports more than quadrupled. That might sound like it’s good for farmers, but if you’re interested in the survival of local dairies — which provide the economic base of some rural communities and are much more inclined to care for the land — it’s exactly the wrong strategy. Exports benefit global agribusinesses and monopoly dairy cooperatives because they…


It could be ‘cat-facing’

Aerial view of a shallow bamboo tray filled with a single layer of red/brown/green heirloom tomatoes.
Aerial view of a shallow bamboo tray filled with a single layer of red/brown/green heirloom tomatoes.
Photo: Carolyn Baumel via Unsplash

I learned a new garden term this year: “cat-facing” tomatoes.

Before this, I considered deformed tomatoes as just that: a bit wonky on the end with rough scarred places. I did not give any thought to why this happens or how it affects the quality of the fruit. But once I become interested in a concept, I have to delve into exactly what it means.

In this article, I refer to the blossom end of a tomato. For those who are unfamiliar with the growing habits of tomatoes, the “blossom end” of a tomato is the bottom: the opposite of…


But more optimistic about the future of the country

The Wright family at the farm.
The Wright family at the farm.
Photos: Marc Deliz

Six years ago, Yvonna Kopacz-Wright, Brett Wright, and their two daughters left their home in Harlem, setting up shop in Palisades, New York, on a 6-acre farm. Without much of an idea of what they wanted to do in the beginning, today the pair are full-fledged beekeepers at what’s now called Lomar Farms, with 10 hives (plus a bunch of chickens) and a thriving business that is evolving in a beautifully surprising way.

Demand for their products — homemade candles, bath and body products, and, of course, honey––is way up, and even their kids’ friends help out. “Each bee has…


The romance of neoliberal peasant farming blinds us to our collective power

Photo: Texas Co-Op Power

Let’s get this out of the way, first:

  • I am a small farmer, operating on 40-ish acres in Virginia’s Northern Neck.
  • I am not paid by, in hock to, in league with, or particularly happy with Big Agriculture. I’m just a guy who’s been in the small-sustainable farming business long enough to understand that the model is fatally flawed, and mature enough to say it out loud.
  • To my friends who run and staff farmers markets: This essay is hard on farmers markets. …


Agriculture

Here’s why it matters

Aerial view of five farmers harvesting Chinese cabbage in Thailand.
Aerial view of five farmers harvesting Chinese cabbage in Thailand.
Photo: Anucha Sirivisansuwan/Moment/Getty Images

By Dr. Lewis Ziska

Balance is, without question, important in plant biology: Too much or too little sun, the right amount of rainfall, the right temperature range, and the necessary soil nutrients are critical to maintaining a healthy and diverse plant community.

But that stability is being threatened by climate change; in part because of peripatetic changes in climate, but even more by what is happening with carbon dioxide, the primary global warming gas. For the recent geological past (a couple million years, perhaps longer), there hasn’t been enough carbon dioxide in the air to maximize photosynthesis, growth, and yield…


Agriculture

The agricultural system we’ve built depends on them

Migratory beekeepers moving hives at night, as seen in the 2019 documentary ‘The Pollinators.’ Photos courtesy of Peter Nelson

Travis Schock is a migratory beekeeper: a honeybee farmer who travels the country with his hives. He and the bees get paid to pollinate, and already since February they’ve traveled thousands of miles across multiple states: from their overwintering grounds in Sebring, Florida, out to the California almond orchards, back to Sebring for the Valencia orange bloom, and up to the Michigan cherry field he’s driving through when I call. It’s pouring rain, the cherries are in full bloom, and he’s worried a few hives may have tried to swarm. …

Heated

Food from every angle: From Medium x Mark Bittman

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