Small-scale spirits Microshiners are big in craft distilling

microshiner-banner

Perhaps the most astonishing thing about craft distilleries is how fast they’re spreading, at least where they’re allowed. British Columbia has gone from 5 to 50 in about three years. The USA now has more than 1000 registered small distilleries, almost a third of which are so-called “seed to sip” farm distillery operations. The British Isles too have seen a mushrooming of small distilleries. This episode is just a taste of things to come.

elkstone banner

A visit to Elkstone Farm in Colorado How do you grow food when the growing season is less than three months long?

It’s all very well trying to eat local in a place like Rome or San Francisco, where the climate is relatively benign all year round and you can grow a great deal of produce without too much difficulty. But what do you do when you are at an altitude of more than 2000 metres with a growing season that is usually less than three months long? You do what you can, which in the case of Elkstone Farm, near Steamboat Springs in Colorado, means building four greenhouses, one of which is capable of ripening figs, citrus and even, occasionally, bananas. But it isn’t all greenhouses. Outdoors there’s a tangle of many different kinds of annual and perennial crops, which during the short growing season provide an abundance of fruits and vegetables.

pamirs banner

Back to the mountains of Pamir A book about Pamiri culture and agriculture wins a global award

In 2007, Frederik van Oudenhoven travelled to the Pamir mountains in Central Asia to document what remained of the region’s rich agricultural biodiversity. Almost 100 years before, the great Russian botanist Nikolai Vavilov became convinced that this was where “the original evolution of many cultivated plants took place.” Soft club wheat, with its short ears, rye, barley, oil plants, grain … Read More

Extra matter