Interview with Mariah Rose Dahl
by Joe Romano, Marketing Manager
Earlier this year, GreenStar Marketing employee Mariah Rose Dahl entered GreenStar in a contest for the best display highlighting the mission of Gaia Herbs. Her display was picked as a winner, and she and others were invited to the Gaia Farm to see their operations. In the interview below, she shares some of what she experienced there.
Tell us about Gaia Farm.
The Farm is on 550 acres in Brevard, North Carolina. They grow about thirty-five different herbs on the farm, which supplies 25 percent of their crop needs. They were certified organic in 1997. Every year, they're recertified under the Oregon Tilth program, which looks at the supply chain from seed to equipment, how they manage the borders around the farm, crop rotation, pest management, what they use for winter crops, and soil test results. One interesting aspect that reflects the balance they're trying to create is the way they deal with pest management. Instead of trying to chemically wipe out Japanese beetles, which had become a serious pest, they brought in Tiphia wasps, which lay parasitic eggs in the beetle grub. The larvae consume the entire grub, and in the spring the wasps emerge and fly up into the tulip poplar trees, which I thought was a beautiful image of a natural cycle.
What did you notice about the day in the life of a farmer there?
By Jeffrey Juran
I can still recollect the childhood evenings when my mom made use of her pressure cooker, especially the sound of the vibrating round weight at the top letting off steam — and excess pressure — two or three times a minute. Little did I think...
The idea behind cooking in pressurized water-as-it-turns-into-steam is this: the increased pressure (which also contributes to better penetration of the water/steam) is accompanied by increased temperature, something experimentally confirmed and made into a usable formula by Robert Boyle and his assistant, Robert Hooke, three-and-a-half centuries ago. The first application of this principle — the first actual cooking demonstration — came less than two decades later. It would be another two centuries before attempts could realistically be made to popularize it, in this first go around, by making the cooker out of cast iron. However, another half-century plus passed — to the mid-twentieth century — before industry, no longer turning out parts for war aircraft, turned its factories towards such mass-fabrication, making consumer appliances such as pressure cookers out of aluminum. Competition proved stiff; design and manufacture were too often done on the cheap; reliability and safety too often went missing, and in the long run, the technology was not adopted. Pressure cooking even fell into disrepute — who wanted a pot blowing up in their kitchen? I don't know how often this might have happened — probably quite rare — but just the idea that it could, with that constant "reminder," the incessant sound of hot steam periodically hissing while it operated, while all very normal, couldn't be very enticing for potential users who weren't sure that there might be an upside.
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By Dan Segal
As more people choose clean, healthy, local food, it’s clear most of us have more than one reason for our choices. We may want to support farming methods we see as cleaner, safer and healthier for all creatures—an endorsement. We may want to keep more of our money in the local economy. For some it’s about community, the vibrant, essential bonds that good food nurtures. Of course all these reasons make sense, and at some level, they’re factors for just about all of us. Most peopl...