Crop Spot: Romanesco

Agriculture, Crop Spot, Eat Local, Find Local Food, Mieko Diener

Romanesco hits a sweet spot for me as a nutrition science geek. It is beautiful, nutritious and delicious, but best of all, the chartreuse buds spiral into Fibonacci sequence fractals. What more could you want, except for maybe some ideas on how to prepare it? 

Crop Spot: Pawpaw a.k.a. “Michigan Banana”

Crop Spot, Eat Local, Find Local Food, Learn More, Mieko Diener

If you’ve never heard of the pawpaw, you are not alone. This mysterious fruit is native to the Midwest, but defies commercial production and is rarely seen in stores. However, with increasing interest in native crops and local agriculture, you can expect to hear more and more about the pawpaw, officially named Asimina triloba, and with many fun, colloquial names including “Michigan banana” and “hillbilly mango”.  

Crop Spot: Garlic

Find Local Food, Health, Kelly Wilson, Learn More, Uncategorized

What is related to onions, leeks and lilies, keeps mythical creatures at bay, enhances the flavor of many dishes, and has antimicrobial properties? If you guessed Allium sativum (aka garlic), then you are correct!

Hailing from Central Asia and Northern Iran, records show garlic has been cultivated and used for culinary and medicinal purposes for nearly 5,000 years. There are two subspecies of garlic which all varieties can be categorized into: hardneck or softneck. Hardneck garlic produces a hard central stalk and scape (which can be harvested for a delicious vegetable side dish or pesto). Hardneck garlic tends to be a bit more flavorful and have larger, easier to peel cloves than softneck varieties. Softneck garlic has no hard central stalk, smaller cloves, and is the type we typically see in the grocery store (Note: nearly all garlic in US grocery stores is imported from China).