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A Little Patagonia in the Night

http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/09/the-entrepreneur-who-wants-to-save-paradise/380116/

“A world-class tourism destination takes a world-class brand,” replied Lehner, a 26-year-old Harvard graduate with dark hair and a chic summer style I wasn’t used to seeing in Aysén: colored jeans and tucked-in tank tops. “It’s not what some guy in Cochrane would suggest. I don’t think Yellowstone’s success was based on what locals thought about it 10 years in.”

 Not exactly like Rockefeller. Philanthopy or meddling, indeed.  You be the judge.

The Marglobe Tomato

I’ve said it before …and I kinda have to duck when I do …but perhaps my favorite heirloom tomato is the Marglobe.

Among heirlooms, a shining star it ain’t.  In fact, even with all the efforts to save disappearing seeds …the Marglobe may be one that was saved, and then, will disappear again.

The venerable Seed Savers Exchange did a lot to rescue this variety from ignominy but no longer lists it for sale.  I saved some seed from a crop but they didn’t germinate.

The reason for my reflexive defensiveness when praising the Marglobe is that it’s not a grandma heirloom.  It wasn’t one of the varieties that was handed down through generations on tiny plots in remote areas.  Marglobe is a commercial heirloom.

Ya get it?  I’m glad the Marglobe has chops because I need all the chops I can get when discussing the relative merits of Brandywines (Sudduth’s Strain, of course!), Aunt Ruby’s German Greens, Black Krims, Zebras, Ponderosas and Mortgage Lifters.

And it’s tough on me because …I love all those tomatoes and include as many of them in my garden as possible.  I love all of their deep sweetnesses and herbal complexities.  It’s just that Marglobe tastes so …TOMATOEY. 

If you love tomato juice (not every tomato lover does) the Marglobe screams to be juiced.  It has an acidity that many of the …dare I say, exotic heirlooms (DUCK!) don’t have.  Plus, it’s a perfect tomato color and perfectly round, doesn’t split open and is one of the original blight resistant types.  It grows and fruits and seems to beg to be left alone to do it!

Not that I care about those cosmetic qualities …I’m here for the taste …but it seems that for all it’s unassailable heirloomness …the Marglobe doesn’t have the Street-Cred or Garden-Path-Cred of the others.

My mouth waters just writing this.  There’s a big “Ratatouille” syndrome going on here, I’ll admit.  Marglobe was probably the tomato that I ate as a 1960’s kid in Indiana and, if it wasn’t the tomato you grew up with in New Jersey during that time, it was definitely a forebear.  One of its offspring filled just about every Campbell’s Tomato Soup can that you ever ate.

But it’s not just nostalgia or tounge muscle memory.  On a great platter of assorted heirloom tomatoes at the height of summer, I like a slice of Marglobe every other one.  It clears the pallet.  Every other slice, it reminds me of a time when tomatoes, even commercial tomatoes, were still delicious and available to the masses if only on a seasonal basis THE WAY GOD INTENDED.  Sheesh, I’m getting old.

The best seed for it, I’ve found, is available in garden sections of bigbox stores and says Livingston Seed Co. somewhere in fine print on the envelope.  If you see some, drop me a line …I still haven’t found any this year.  Beware of Marglobe Supreme and other variants.

Try it yourself come tomato planting season!  I think you’ll love it.  Save the seeds, they could be the last of their kind.

Best DIY Chicken Coop Video Evah

This actually could be the best youtube instructional video ever.  It probably should be a required course for anyone thinking about doing ANY youtube video of any kind!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTt5OsR8qBQ

No music, no narration.  It really has made watching all other instructional vids very difficult for me …and that’s a damned shame!  Because you Northern Hemisphere types are putting your home & garden project to bed for a long winter’s nap …and I have to get started on a butt-load of projects (yep, a chicken coop is one of them.)

I wish I’d found this last.

Hey!  Tell me!  Is this video strictly “guy” territory …or do women appreciate this just as much?

Is there a Cowspiracy?

 
I just watched the movie Cowspiracy.  I liked it a lot.  I recommend it to you.
That might surprise you …the film is anti-beef and ends up anti-animal eating in general.
It’s got some flaws.  Although the film is from 2014, it’s working from some old, somewhat discredited data as regards grass-fed beef …but on the whole it really does a good job.
 
It’s especially good at pointing out the confusion that any sane person experiences when trying to look into factory farming and the mega-agro-industry for the first time.  I really can relate to that from both sides of the fence.
It compares “apples to oranges” only briefly (although prominently) and fails on arithmetic once or twice …but the 90 minute running-time is worthy of your attention and efforts like this should be encouraged by anyone who loves both food and the planet.  The film makers were brave.
You may agree or disagree with its conclusions …but you won’t consider it a waste of your time.  In fact, I think you’ll join me in welcoming a good, strong, young voice to the debate.
Eat less meat …raise more hell!  Go get the film and watch it.
http://www.cowspiracy.com

An E-book on Homebrewing

I don’t know if I just got lucky …or if I just researched the holy-hell out of brewing before I got started. 

Either way, I discovered a way that allows anyone to begin to brew EXCELLENT beer in your home or tiny apartment, no matter how small, no matter what your budget, no matter what your skill level.

The e-book will be free …and there will be a PayPal tip-jar if you think it was useful.

I believe that it WILL be useful to you, no matter what your brewing skill level.

More to come soon,
Mike

Hello again, Blogspot!

For the last few years, Facebook has sucked bloggers away from their blogs in great numbers …that includes me.

Well, no more!  It’s been hard to divorce myself from FB …but I’m muddling through it.

It’s back to basics and this will give me an opportunity to concentrate on “food, politics, and the politics of food in Argentina” …but with a bit of a new twist.

I hope you like the new direction and, if you do, please use whatever social media platform you prefer to tell your friends.

More to come,
Mike