Kiku Exhibit at the New York Botanical Garden

Spent a lovely Fall afternoon at the New York Botanical Garden, checking out the Kiku exhibit at the New York Botanical Garden (see banner below).

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The chrysanthemum, kiku in Japanese, is the most celebrated of all Japanese fall-flowering plants, and hundreds of meticulously trained kiku will be on display in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. Special weekend events spotlight the arts of bonsai and ikebana, as well as taiko drumming, and celebrate the importance of flowers in Japanese culture.

Sheila and I have been to several chrysanthemum exhibits, but this is the first time that the Botanical Garden staff have “flown solo” without the support of experienced Japanese specialists.  They did a brilliant job.

This is a must-see exhibit to truly appreciate these floral sculptures that are so important to Japanese culture.

Note to Bayer: Bite My Varroa Mite

Varroa Mite

When politicos and business leaders announce that they are convening the “best and brightest” you can rest assured that nothing good will come of it, particularly if you happen to be a bee.   In a laughable attempt to show that they really care about destroying the bee population of Europe with their pesticides, Bayer claims to have discovered the “real” culprit:  the Varroa Mite.   On behalf of bee-lovers everywhere I send this open note to Bayer:  Bite Me!

Quoting from an informative article published on December 11 in the New York Times by Danny Hakim:

While honey bees are susceptible to many threats, like beetles and bacterial diseases, a growing body of research has focused on neonicotinoids. In October, a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examined how Bayer’s clothianidin “adversely affects the insect immune response and promotes replication of a viral pathogen in honey bees bearing covert infections.”

Twenty varroa mites, he said, can turn into 1,200 in a matter of months. “Only one mite is necessary to kill more or less a whole colony,” he added  (i.e. Mr. Tritschler, a beekeeper, making a cameo appearance on behalf of Bayer).

Standing nearby, Utz Klages, a corporate spokesman (for Bayer), said “we have all the experts here.”

“We will not solve the problem tomorrow, no doubt about that, but together I think we can develop some innovative solutions.”

Now, if the brakes of an automobile manufacturer were causing a few fatalities, the Lords of Public Safety would order an immediate recall in the best interests of the public.  Sadly for bees, Bayer toxins will not be recalled because politicians still relish the honey provided by lobbyists and their corporate sponsors.   Sometime “tomorrow” the problem might be solved, but by then there may be no bees left to sting the collective conscious of Bayer’s scientists.

Can we really afford to wait until the food chain is thoroughly altered by what can only be called corporate genocide?

Dallas Cowboys go Organic at Tom Spicer’s

Went to Tom Spicer’s on Saturday. Went looking for salad greens but he was out. So instead of sending me packing he said, come on out back. He took his kitchen knife with him and bundled up a plastic refrigerator crisper and went to the garden. Started going down the rows and steadily cut a little here and little there. By the time he was finished the bin was completely full and he had put in 5 or 6 types of mustard greens, 3 different lettuces, baby radish greens complete with radishes smaller than a pearl onion, radish flowers, fennel flowers, fennel greens, basil, small amount of mint, micro greens and arugula. (I have probably forgotten something he put I there and who knows if some common weeds made it into the mix. If it did, they were spectacular).

Tom Spicer's Dallas Mart

When the bin was full he took it over to the water spicket and thoroughly washed it but warned us we would want to do a final wash before using. After the rinse he placed it into a fine mesh bag (similar to a ladies laundry bag for lingerie) and used a badminton racket to strain the last of the greens out of the crisper. After twirling the bag around a couple of tomes in order to get most of the water out, he went over to the side of the garden where a GE washing machine (had to be 30 years old) and put the greens inside and set the machine to the SPIN cycle. After about a minute took the bag out, all the moisture was gone and we had fluffy beautiful greens. Doesn’t get much more organic or fresh than that!

Tom SpicerWent inside and he had just received some heirloom tomatoes. They really reminded me of the backside of a baboon they were so ugly but the taste was so sweet and juicy I got over it pretty quickly.  I bought 5 tomatoes, 4 Zephyr squash (gorgeous golden color in the shape of a zucchini), a couple of red onions, 2 watermelon radishes (when you cut into them they have a green rim and red heart that look just like a watermelon), two pints of just picked cherry tomatoes (both red and gold) and a ½ lb. of Sea Beans. If you have never seen or had sea beans you need to Google them. They are grown in marshy areas or seaside and are a great slightly salty, crunchy, stringy bean type creation that is wonderful.

When I got home used the mandolin to thinly slice the squash, onions and radishes, cut up the tomatoes to bite size, threw in the sea beans at about an inch long, tossed with balsamic vinegar and EVOO, added Maldon salt and freshly ground pepper and had one of the best fresh veggie salads ever.

Took a pork loin- butterflied it and stuffed it with fresh cherries that I had marinated with a little OJ and orange marmalade, and rubbed on salt, pepper, garlic powder. Trussed it up and put it on indirect heat with three pretty good chunks of Pecan for about two hours around 300 degrees. It finished off beautifully with a nice bark, pink ring and was juicy as it could be. The cherries kept their shape so when cut the pork was really a sight with the bark, pink ring, whitish meat, dark cherries and a speckle of orange rind. Great presentation piece.

The Pinot wasn’t bad either!

David Pinson