When retired French soldier Pete Pieri settled in Walla Walla around the turn of the 20th century, he planted onion seed he had brought from Corsica. His new neighbors, Italian gardeners who had settled there earlier, admired the ability of the onion to winter over in the ground, which gave it a good size for an early summer harvest. The bonus, notes Walla Walla horticultural historian Joe Locati, was its mild flavor. The Italians called it the “French onion” (though it was actually Italian), and by 1910, it was about the only summer onion grown in the area.
Dan Snyder can remember when local grocery stores would only buy one case of Cougar Brand Smokies at a time. Now, it’s unusual for them to buy fewer than three or four. And when they run out, the Washington State University Meats Lab manager’s phone starts ringing.
The meats lab building is tucked into the parking lot behind the Lewis Alumni Centre. It is primarily a teaching facility, used for animal science classes and agriculture industry professionals to learn how to evaluate live animals and grade and process animal carcasses. It’s also home to one of the most popular meat products on the Palouse.
These are not your ordinary grocery store strawberries.
They are nothing like those California berries, bred for size, long truck rides, and shelf-life, locked in plastic clamshells under the florescent lights of the produce section,.
The berries of Washington are juicy, fragile, flavor-packed fruit. Because Northwest berries are mostly grown for processing, their texture and flavor are paramount, says Patrick Moore, WSU’s strawberry breeder.
And what grows best here are typically berries bred for this environment. Hood, an Oregon variety, is one of the most widely-grown in the region. It has large, dark red fruit and a clean, sweet taste. And like the rich, deep … » More …
A Washington apple? you say. You might respond, correctly, that Washington and apples are almost synonymous. After all, we produce more than half of the nation’s eating apples. Visit a market in Mexico, Thailand, Houston, or Saudi Arabia, and there, you will find Washington apples.
Still prominent among the selection is the iconic Red Delicious. Up through the 1980s, it represented more than three-quarters of Washington production. But now, other varieties, the sweet Gala, the tart Granny Smith, the intensely sweet-tart Pink Lady, are steadily usurping the Red’s status.
But neither in the era of the Red’s dominance nor in this new age of increasing … » More …
Eugene Thrasher, a trained Washington State University Beach Watcher with more than a thousand volunteer hours under his belt, has been digging and eating clams in Washington for half a century. Thrasher is the guy to ask if you want to learn how to find and dig a clam.
Follow him through a clam dig at Penn Cove on Whidbey Island, and then learn about types of clams found in Washington. Finish up with a dose of Northwest icon Ivar Haglund singing “Acres of Clams.”
Displaced by the salmon and eclipsed by the oyster, the clam is perhaps the forgotten star of the Puget Sound. But once it was the main seafood symbol of the region. Even before restaurateur Ivar Haglund made his “Acres of Clams” restaurant a Seattle landmark, the clam’s status was lodged on the shores of Northwest Native American lore. In fact it had a role in the origin of man. According to Haida tradition, Raven discovered a large clamshell on the beach and looked inside to find dozens of little people. Lonely for someone to play with and trick, he coaxed them out of the shell … » More …
Cultivated thought : : Near the end of an otherwise lackluster speech to the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society in September 1859, Abraham Lincoln suddenly shifted gears heading into his peroration.
Having compared two conflicting theories of labor, he continued, “This leads to the further reflection, that no other human occupation opens so wide a field for the profitable and agreeable combination of labor with cultivated thought, as agriculture.”
Although my son would likely question the intellectual appeal of spreading manure, Lincoln’s observation resonates, at least in moments when the laborer/scholar is not exhausted.
Lincoln went on to suggest what fields might provide food for agricultural … » More …
This summer saw the publication of a study of the nutritional value of organic versus conventional foods by scientists with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Based on a review of 55 articles they judged of satisfactory quality, the scientists, led by Alan Dangour and funded by the governmental Food Safety Agency, concluded that “there is no evidence of a difference in nutrient quality between organically and conventionally produced foodstuffs.”
Preston Andrews, WSU professor of horticulture and a prominent researcher of nutrient value of organically grown food, is irked by the report, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, both by its … » More …
In the 1960s, 24.3 percent of Americans were overweight. Now, over 60 percent of us are. Even though other countries are hot on our heels, we are still the plumpest folk in the world. Does it matter? » More ...