Message from Mary
Polar vortex , or is it just winter?
Even if you lived in a warm part of the U.S., you probably heard the term “polar vortex,” which has become popular shorthand for describing this season’s bitterly cold winter blasting down from the Arctic. Polar vortex was new term to me, but I learned that it’s really nothing new.
It was coined by researchers in the 1950s to describe the weather pattern that circles the Arctic, spinning west to east and trapping cold air in the high latitudes. Sometimes the spinning weakens and cold air escapes the vortex and zooms south. Weather experts track the polar vortex to help forecast cold air masses and predict winter storms.
For all the media hype about the polar vortex happening this year, it’s really just winter.
Winter seed catalog ritual
If you haven’t yet ordered your 2014 seeds, it is time to stop procrastinating. The beautiful photographs in the 2014 seed catalogs make it easy for all of us to imagine those grown plants in
Farmers’ Markets Today
A Visit to O’Hare’s Urban Garden
If air travels take you through Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, take a few minutes to visit the O’Hare
Urban Garden nestled between Terminal 2 and 3 in the mezzanine It is worth taking time to the see the world’s first aeroponic garden inside an airport terminal.
Advantages of a vertical aeroponic garden include less space than would be needed for a conventional garden, year-round cultivation, higher production yield per square foot, no weeds to pull,and typically less expensive, Bright growing lights over the garden highlight the 928-square-foot area and the technology that makes seed-to-harvest possible. The whole area around the garden is quiet and calming, with chairs comfortable enough to relax and escape the hubbub of the busy terminals. Such airport diversions make travel much more pleasant and interesting.
No bees = fewer produce choices
Whole Foods Market has teamed up with The Xerces Society to educate people about the decline in the bee population and how valuable bees are to the world’s food supply. One dramatic example visually showed what a produce section would look like if there were no bees to help pollinate many of the usual foods.
All foods that are reliant upon bees for pollination were removed from the produce department at the Whole Foods Market in University Heights, R.I. Of the 453 products usually on the market’s produce shelves, 237 were pulled – 52 percent of the normal produce mix in the department. Among the popular items removed were apples, onions, avocados, carrots, mangos, lemons, limes, honeydew, cantaloupe, zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, cucumbers, celery, green onions, cauliflower, leeks, bok choy, kale, broccoli, broccoli rabe, and mustard greens.
“More than 85 percent of the plant species on earth require bees and other pollinators to exist, and these plants include some of the most nutritious parts of our diet,” said Eric Mader, Assistant Pollinator Conservation Director at The Xerces Society. The organization works with farmers nationwide to help them create wildflower habitat on field edges and to adopt less pesticide-intensive practices.
For more information online, visit this website: wholefoodsmarket.com/sharethebuzz or xerces.org/bees/.
Disney introduces fruit and veggie mascots
With a theme of sustainable international food supply, fresh produce will be at center stage of Expo 2015, the world fair in Milan, Italy, May 1 through October 31, 2015.
Eleven fruit and vegetable-based characters developed by Disney artists will serve as official mascots of the event. The animated food characters include a clove of garlic, a watermelon, a banana, a fig, a blue corn cob, a mango, an apple, a pomegranate, a pear and a trio of radishes. Each will have a different personality.
The official symbol of Expo 2015 is the smiling face comprised of the same eleven products. The Expo’s director, Giuseppe Sala, said the mascots are designed to help present a positive message about good habits, group teamwork, and individual endeavor.
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