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.
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.
Climate change and global trade combine to make it ever more likely that new pests and diseases will threaten food supplies. A classic example is playing out now in Puglia, the region that includes the heel of Italy’s boot. The disease is caused by a bacterium — Xylella fastidiosa — that clogs the xylem vessels that carry water up from … Read More
I confess, quaffing a Lynch-Bages or a snifter of Hennessy, I have wondered how it is that such fine upstanding Irish names come to be associated with cognac and claret. There my wonderings ended, until a recent visit to Ireland, where, in Cork and Kinsale, I found answers. Starting in the 17th century an intrepid band of Irish emigrants set … Read More
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
The great medieval bake off, selling off or selling out, iceberg, Native American cuisine, cast iron. Random enough for ya?Continue reading
Gluten insensitivity, Key limes, food manga, Oz excesses, new yeasts and egg-free chutzpah.Continue reading
Gluten sensitivity, natural leavens, the Mediterranean diet and olive oil, almonds and some thoughtful little essays.Continue reading
Brexit unreality (yes, really), Romania locally, Berlin hopefully, obesity economically, beer diversity and sugar uneconomically.Continue reading