One Bad Apple...

By Joe Romano,

Marketing Manager

The goldenrod is 
yellow, The corn is 
turning brown, The trees in apple orchards, 
With fruit are 
bending down.

— Helen Hunt Jackson

applesontreeEve ate one. Teachers love them, too. They keep doctors away, and they are as American as baseball, at least when baked in a pie. Long lauded as a panacea for health, good looks, and longevity, it has, sadly, come time to ask, "Is the American apple safe to eat?"

In a major step toward bringing genetically modified (GM) apples to market, the US Department of Agriculture announced a decision on Friday, the 13th of February to allow "Arctic" GM apples to be grown in the wild with no further oversight. The USDA claimed that "the GE [genetically engineered] apples are unlikely to pose a plant pest risk to agriculture and other plants in the United States." Arctic apples won't become available in most produce aisles until 2017 at the earliest. The reason behind the genetic modification of one of our most familiar foods? To keep it from getting brown when it is no longer fresh.

So, what does the USDA mean when they say "unlikely to pose a risk"? For years, those concerned about GMOs have been told that they are "safe" and that there is a "scientific consensus" to back that up. A quick look at the literature confirms that story. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), a group that stands by both evolution and human-caused climate change, states uncategorically,

The science is quite clear: crop improvement by the modern molecular techniques of biotechnology is safe ... The World Health Organization, the American Medical Association, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the British Royal Society, and every other respected organization that has examined the evidence has come to the same conclusion: consuming foods containing ingredients derived from GM crops is no riskier than consuming the same foods containing ingredients from crop plants modified by conventional plant improvement techniques.

Read more: One Bad Apple...

 

Starting at the Beginning: Fruition Seeds

By Kristie Snyder,

GreenLeaf Editor

fruition coverIt all starts with a seed. Whatever your produce of choice, wherever it came from, it started with a seed. Those heirloom tomatoes you wait for all year? Started with a seed. That loaf of fresh-baked bread — started with a seed. Your morning bowl of oatmeal — seed. Seeds are foundational to all of plant agriculture, yet they're often the overlooked component in a sustainable food system.

Petra Page-Mann and Michael Goldfarb started out as small-scale farmers with little awareness of what went into seed production. Over time, they became concerned about a lack of regional seed varieties, the loss of seed diversity, and the concentration of seed growers into a few huge companies. To allay these concerns, they created Fruition Seeds, a company that offers certified-organic, non-GMO, open-pollinated seeds specifically bred for Northeastern growing conditions.

Based in Naples, NY, about 60 miles west of Ithaca, Petra and Michael not only grow stocks of reliable heirloom and open-pollinated seeds for farmers and home gardeners alike, but they collaborate with farmers across the Finger Lakes, including, in this area, GreenStar suppliers Remembrance and Blue Heron Farms. Recognizing that every grower has unique needs, Fruition Seeds works with farmers to improve or create varieties suited specifically to their farm and market — refining old varieties for better performance, breeding entirely new varieties, and "untangling" hybrid seed stock (breeding its offspring into open-pollinated varieties that resemble their parents).

Read more: Starting at the Beginning: Fruition Seeds

GreenStar Toasts Finger Lakes
 Cider Week

By Tina Wright

14 9 Belleweather bottlesNew craft hard ciders are jumping into the market almost monthly, according to GreenStar's Grocery Manager Adam Morris. He says, "Cider sales are on the rise as more and more people recognize the great taste, the fact that cider is naturally gluten-free, and their desire to support the local food web." Craft ciders are starting to give craft beers a run for their money. GreenStar sold $17,721's worth of hard cider in 2013.

A longtime supplier to our store, Bellwether Hard Cider in Trumansburg has been a lonely outpost of hard cidery on the fringe of Finger Lakes wine country for years, but now they have enough local competition to easily help float the third annual Finger Lakes Craft Cider Week, October 3-12.

The local cider week includes one of the newer cider makers to be carried by GreenStar, Harvest Moon Cidery from Cazenovia. Adam says, "I'm personally very happy to see local apple farmers finding a niche for value-added products in the form of hard ciders. Each local or regional cider we carry represents another strand in the local food web, and I'm proud that our co-op helps get these ciders to customers in the Finger Lakes."

Read more: GreenStar Toasts Finger Lakes
 Cider Week

 

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New in Produce

Local is (the new) Back!

Andrew Hernandez,
Produce Manager

Local produce is back! Look for Good Life's asparagus, and local greens from Blue Heron and Remembrance.

It's hard to believe it's May — spring is fully upon us and the weather is delightful. It seems like just yesterday we were in the cold grim grip of February's icy grasp, but this month marks the beginning of the bounty of local produce! The Good Life Farm brings us asparagus (check out their "Asparaganza" celebration on May 23), while Blue Heron Farm will have spinach by the end of the month and continues to offer their wonderful seedlings. Remembrance Farm brings us their packaged arugula, spicy greens mix, baby kale, tatsoi, and field greens, ready for your immediate consumption. So consume and enjoy, and be mindful of how lucky we are to have all of this wonderful food from such wonderful farms and farmers, and their hardworking staff. And don't forget, we're stocked with all the soil, growing mix, and compost for all of your home gardening needs.

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