June 22nd, 2011
07:00 PM ET
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As long as Eatocracy has been around, we've been evangelizing for heirloom vegetables. It's not just that they're generally bred for exquisite flavor and variety, rather than durability and uniformity; they're also a link to our past and may very well determine the future of our food system.

As Southern chef Sean Brock says, "These ingredients tell stories about families, regions and the lessons we’ve learned from everyone else. They tell history. They tell about time and place. They enlighten us."

June 20th, 2011
11:30 AM ET
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Live from the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen - You say "tomato," we say "where'd it come from?" Managing editor Kat Kinsman explains why community gardens, farmers markets and online initiatives like LocalHarvest.org can help ripen up your summer.

Homegrown lettuce – hold the E. coli
May 30th, 2011
02:00 PM ET
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Thinking of nixing lettuce from your diet after reading about the deadly E. coli outbreak in Germany and domestic lettuce recalls?

Not only can at-home growers skip this risk - you'll also save money, enjoy a nearly endless variety of organic and heirloom options and have fresh salads at their fingertips all year around - even without an outdoor garden.

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Filed under: Gardening • Greens • Health News • Heirloom • Make • Recalls • Tainted Food • Vegetables • Vegetables

Notes from Zone 6b - eat shoots and leaves
May 13th, 2011
07:30 PM ET
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Eatocracy's Managing Editor Kat Kinsman attempts to vegetable garden on a roof deck in Brooklyn, NY in USDA Hardiness Zone 6b. Feel free to taunt, advise or encourage her efforts as this series progresses.

I'm slightly miffed with everyone who ever neglected to tell me that not only are radish greens totally edible - they rival schmancy, pricey salad standards like arugula, escarole and mache for crunch and distinctive flavor. All you've got to do is wash and chop them, and if you have radish greens around, there's a goodly chance you have radishes as well. Oil, dash of vinegar, dusting of pecorino - boop! Salad.

Notes from Zone 6b – it's aliiiiive!
March 28th, 2011
04:15 PM ET
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Eatocracy's Managing Editor Kat Kinsman attempts to vegetable garden on a roof deck in Brooklyn, NY in USDA Hardiness Zone 6b. Feel free to taunt, advise or encourage her efforts as this series progresses.

There was a light coat of snow on my compost heap last week, but down in the basement, the purslane has sprouted.

Nope, that's not code for anything - I'm not signaling an all-clear for the Kremlin to come set up shop in my cellar. It was a hailing, flurrying 30°F in Brooklyn a few days ago, but under grow lights, a story beneath the frozen asphalt, spring has arrived. While the glasswort and sorghum have yet to sprout, I'm almost shamefully obsessed with monitoring the progress of the seedlings that have deigned to germinate in my basement since I tucked them into the soil just over a week ago.

iReport – The Fabulous Beekman Boys: What has growing your own food taught you about life?
March 23rd, 2011
01:30 AM ET
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When Josh Kilmer-Purcell and his longtime partner Dr. Brent Ridge stumbled across a 19-century mansion for sale in the tiny, upstate New York village of Sharon Springs during an apple picking trip, little did they know they'd lay down roots.

Josh, a New York Times bestselling author, ad executive and former drag queen and Brent, a former VP of Healthy Living for Martha Stewart, spent the next several years transforming the Beekman Mansion's mostly abandoned barn and surrounding acres into the sustainable, working farm that now fuels their burgeoning goat soap and cheese brands at Beekman 1802. It also serves as the core of their reality show, The Fabulous Beekman Boys and Josh's memoir 'The Bucolic Plague'.

As the pair connected with the land, establishing their heirloom vegetable garden and learning to grow nearly everything they ate, they realized they had also planted the seeds of self-discovery.

Notes from Zone 6b – growing glasswort and sorghum in a Brooklyn basement
March 22nd, 2011
02:15 PM ET
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Eatocracy's Managing Editor Kat Kinsman attempts to vegetable garden on a roof deck in Brooklyn, NY in USDA Hardiness Zone 6b. Feel free to taunt, advise or encourage her efforts as this series progresses.

I'm growing glasswort in my basement. Okay, technically, I am trying to germinate glasswort in my basement.

It's a dumb thing to do, but that doesn't seem to be stopping me. The stuff (also known as "sea beans" and "saltwort") pops up unbidden along saline-rich seacoasts and salt marshes and last I checked, my basement was host to neither. Or at least not since the Great Basement Flood of '10, and that was mostly sewer overflow. Yet, that's where I'm attempting to germinate a handful of seeds under grow lights in anticipation of warmer temperatures.

It would be a weird little victory, but I want it. In the face of chaos, both global and close to home, I garden. Hands in the dirt, grime under under the nails, food in the mouth. It's the natural order of things, it happens with or without my assistance, and occasionally asserting my place in the chain has brought me comfort.

5@5 - Chef Sean Brock
August 26th, 2010
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

We interrupt our regularly scheduled Eggtocracy coverage to take a look at the greener side of life.

Sean Brock is the executive chef of the historic McCrady's Restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina, where his modern farm-to-table cuisine most recently earned him the 2010 James Beard "Best Chef Southeast" award.

As a passionate champion for replenishing those varieties of crops at risk of dying out, Brock currently tends to one and one-half acres on Thornhill Farm in McClellanville, South Carolina, where he plants and grows a number of heirloom crops. As we explained earlier, "Heirloom seeds come from plants that have remained genetically unchanged and have been open-pollinated (by insects, birds, wind, etc.) for at least 50 - or some say 100 - years. This means no hybridizing with other varieties of plants."

He's on a mission to bring vanishing vegetables back to the table, and here to tell you why.

Five Reasons to Use Heirloom Ingredients: Sean Brock

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Filed under: 5@5 • Bite • Gardening • Heirloom • Ingredients • Sean Brock • Southern • Think

Heirloom tomatoes explained
August 16th, 2010
06:00 PM ET
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Food writers - myself definitely included - are frequently guilty of being so far inside our precious little world of edibles that we can't see the arugula for the amaranth. This hit home last weekend as I was trawling my local farmers market, found a stand selling heirloom tomatoes for $2.99 a pound and started fist pumping like I'd hit the Powerball.

It's not too much of a stretch to say that it's been nearly two years since I had a really smashing tomato. Last year, my own garden succumbed to the blight that wiped out major portions of the Northeast's heirloom tomato crop, and the few available for purchase were priced to gouge. This isn't to say I have led a tomato-free existence since 2008. It's just that, as I noted to a nearby shopper, once you eat a Wapsipinicon Peach, a Black from Tula or a Cherokee Purple, there ain't no going back to the grocery store.

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