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v. gautam

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  1. Here is part of a blog of a recent visitor from the USA: http://pleasuremountain.wordpress.com/2007...nd-of-sikandar/ http://pleasuremountain.wordpress.com/2007/11/22/banzai-uma/ A couple for Goa at: http://www.gourmetindia.net/forums/index.php?showforum=12 More Goa advice will be found at the blog of the Deccan Heffalump. http://thecookscottage.typepad.com/ email him for personal recommendations, he is from the Goa area. You could also ask the advice of our forum moderator Episure, about Bangalore restaurants. http://www.gourmetindia.net/forums/index.p...t=40entry7686 Bangalore Restaurants South Indian Vegetarian: MTR [my note: this is quite a hectic affair:a sit-down place, beginning at 11 a.m. multi-course, multi-servings of vegetarian food, eaten with your hand. Please take an Indian colleague, a Karnataka or Tamil person who has experienced the place before and knows the territory and culture. Presumably you will be going on a business trip, so you will have more than one Indian counterpart happy to show you the ropes. Please also note, and this is very very important on weedays, the punishing traffic from wherever your office might be to MTR. A weekend, Saturday, may be good. MTR is an experience that should not be missed] "For south Indian vegg., next place everyone should try is GOPIKA in Malleshswaram " says another knowledgeable person. Also at Malleshswaram, for superb dosas, Central Tiffin Room. Please understand that South Indian Veg. cuisine is wildly deliciousto myself and many others, not so to many, including many Americans who far prefer the meatier Mughal and even Indian non-veg. cooking to the acquired/inherited taste of the vegetarian cuisines, which are tart and laden with asafetida. See post #52. However, dosas are a universal favorite, not to be missed:there is the traditional "ridge-and valley" style and the more modern crisp ghee roast and paper butter styles. The former is pictured in the blog above. New Kisna Bhavan also serves superb dosa as does Gopika. From one of the owners' relatives: "Although Gopika and New Krishna Bhuvan have come to be associated as one, they really are two different restaurants. NKB is the older, more traditional establishment; Gopika is more recent. I prefer to sit in NKB for its old-world ambience. ...stay away from the Punjabi, Chinese, and some of the outlandish fusion, and stick to the traditional Karnataka specialties there. Especially recommended are neer-dosa, Mangalore Kotte Kodabu, ragi dosa, button idli with sambar, rava dosa, etc." "The Fish land restaurant near Majestic serves very good coastal seafood. The Crab masala and Kane fish fry is simply superb. The best thing is the freshness of the ingredients." KC Das for Bengali sweeets, rosogollas, sweet yogurt. "Samarkand, Gem Plaza, Infantry Road, Bangalore. The most amazing North West Frontier - Afghani, food you will taste ever..... biryani" ["Hypnos, the adjoining pub, has a dance floor, a Grecian-styled ambience (as the name suggests) and some amazing contemporary music .Warning! If you plan to drop by on a weekend, better call ahead and reserve your table. If they allow you to, order your biryani in advance as well." Address Samarkhand Gem Plaza 66, Infantry Road Bangalore -- 560 001 Phone: (080) 51113364 http://in.rediff.com/getahead/2005/dec/12biryani.htm] post 29: "For a slightly different experience eat similar cuisine in a 'Rail Coach' at 'Sahib Sindh Sultan' managed by the same owners at the Forum mall- Koramangala. A trip to eat a South Indian meal served on a banana leaf is well worth the travel: Halli Mane - Malleshwaram MTR - ask anybody Woodlands - near Mallya hospital A recent discovery for me- Kanua (off Sarjapur road in a cul-de-sac) for great Mangalorean coastal cuisine. The Sunday brunches at the 5 star Hotels are excellent value for money at around Rs.1000 with wine/cocktails. If you are stuck for choice then opt for the Zen at the Leela for a lazy afternoon with a choice of Pan asian and Indian food. You have try Indo chinese food at Mainland China - church street and pan asian at the newly opened Saigon on the same stretch above Ruby Tuesday. " Biryani Merchant at Castle Sreet: Mr. Vishy Senoy, Prop. For further information and reservation contact – Biryani Merchant at 080-51128081
  2. v. gautam


    Crinoid girl, There is a detailed discussion in the Indian cooking forum of what the term "pure desi ghee" means. I believe Gabriel Lewis upthread was one of the postersthere and asked detailed questions. What pure desi ghee does NOT include is clarified butter made from sweet cream butter. We revisited this topic once more recently in Gourmet India. Chef Crash's wife threw out desi ghee "because she found its flavor unappetizing": a great deal of time, labor, expense and trouble is taken to evoke exactly those flavors! It is like throwing out gorgonzola for smelling "bad" and using process American cheese instead, which is American dairy butter, to an Indian, especially one from the North!! Pure desi ghee only made from churned yoghurt, cow or buffalo milk. Here, the microorganisms creating the diacetyl flavors and more thrive at high temperatures; they are of the coccus type of bacteria, and for convenience sake, say the temperature around 111F or a tiny bit higher is ideal for them to set the milk. European-style cultured butter made with psychrophilic organism [loving cool temperatures] also can be melted/baked slowly to produce acceptable ghee. Utah-style Muenster cheese from Cache Valley [NOT Muenster from Europe] can be melted to give very high qulity ghee although extracting the fat from the protein matrix is a bear. There is a secondary process employed in India using the semi-fermented "skin" or clotted cream, but this does NOT yield the perfect desi ghee in term of flavor range or liquid crystallinity. A great many brands are sold in the US that are clarified butter and butter oil but call themselves ghee. That is legal but one should NOT confuse those with true PURE DESI GHEE, which also may have picked up hints of smokiness from wood or dried cowdung fires. The pure desi type will last a long time in the open ans the controlled oxidation, note again, controlled oxidation and crown ether formation adds certain notes to it. That is not the case with butter oil or clarified butter made from sweet cream butter. For ordinary good ghee, deep frying and cooking, canned brands from India like Amul and Vijaya are sufficient. North American brands like Swad, Nanak and Vrindavan are fine for ordinary use as well. If you go to Mumbai, you may taste the truly high quality pure desi ghee at the Parsi Dairy. To Penny LAne, Your reason for why onions and garlic are forbidden are not correct and merely perpetuate wrong ideas about the Hindu religion and society. This is not correct. When one does not know something about another religion, better to say, I do not know. You know from personal experience the harm half-truths about Islam has been causing it.So why do the same to Hinduism? Sanatana Dharma is how Hindus choose to identify their religion and themselves, Hindu being a term given by Persians to those living around the Sindhu River, Hindu in Persian. Food can suffer from 3 doshas or contaminations/impurities, one of which is JATIDOSHA, "inherent in its nature." Alliums fall in this category. Just as pigs are inherently unclean to Jews and Muslims. No whys about it. Speculations about passions et al. is your privilege. This food can be sattvic, rAjasik and tAmasik, and various permutations and combinations of these. Some combinations may be unhelpful for certain types of people engaged in certain pursuits. Alliums are so for those engaged in spiritual endeavors. THroughout the Hindu, Buddhist and jain world alliums are avoided by the orthodox. It has spread to even the Mahayana diet followed in the temples of Vietnam and even certain parts of China: no shallots, leeks, scallions. Why people do certain things is their business, as in why Jews choose not to eat shellfish or fish without scales. There is no need for explanation. Indian vegetarianism is complex and founded on suppositions that may be different from what you and I may choose to believe to be sensible. Vegans have their own dynamic. In India, various vegetarians have their own taboos: some will not eat underground plant parts: potaoes ginger etc. Others will not eat lentils, lens culinaris, beetroot, carrot, watermelon. In strict orthodox terms, only cow milk is vegetarian, but buffalo milk is consumed under dispensation. And so on. As you can see from the example of the USA alone, people are sensitive about food issues.
  3. Rancho_Gordo, If you are happy with the Ultrapride, none could be happier than I!! I feel naturally defensive hoping that people don't feel cheated by an Indian machine that actually is extremely well-built for the purpose it was envisioned. It also performs excellently for things like Thi rice noodles. I am glad that an experienced masa maker like yourself has given Ultrapride his imprimatur. Rachel, Regarding indian grinding stones, you need t be very circumspect. The ones on sale manufactured in Bangladesh, 12 inches wide by 18 inches long anf the bigger size are merely barely sufficient for very quick spice grinding. The quality is poor, the indentation is poorer. Note that after the stone is sliced into a block and smoothed, with a steel point and hammer a master mason engages in a rhytmic tapping and engraves a series of indentations in delightful patterns. The deppth of these have alot to do with the success of the grinding. as does the material andthe shape an weight of the roller, about which in a moment. These indentations wera out with frequent use and need to be renewed. Not a problem where these crafts are common, but a headache where they are not. Another task for you to accomplish by yourself, safety goggles and all; not too many minutes required. The roller needs to be of top quality, not quite cylindrical but polyhedral within the cylinder shape, if I can use the tem. The top and botton faces slightly flattened from the round, so that the "sides" of the cylinder are distinctly visible as a curvilinear edge. There has to be a balance between pure roll and drag/push fo maximum efficiency. However, a slightly different style of the flat slab used in Bangalore is pictured in post 175 here: http://www.gourmetindia.net/forums/index.p...topic=63&st=160 The curved metate is very different and more efficient with respect to masa, than te flat Indian grindstone. he hollow very large black granite or schist South Indian grindstone with the perfectly balanced mushala, or upright roller one style pictured here : post 181: http://www.gourmetindia.net/forums/index.p...=180entry8864 The round deep style is favored fro grinding wet grain and legumes. Your palm cups the roller "head" to use an approximate term and uses its centered balance and weight to keep it spinning, allowing its weight to crush the grain against the side walls. You bend it ocassionally, think about your hand sitting on top of the head of a figure skater who is spinning, and you are able to bend her a bit so that the tip of her "spindle" does not quite leave the center, but the sides, the slightly planar edges tranfer angular momentum [don't take my physics as accurate!] in a way as to mash the grains against he side more. You are widening the circle, pushing the roller HEAD through a larger CONIC section. There are two major types of roller design, based on the ellipse. As you can see, each takes a lot of careful craftsmanship. PLUS, you need to ensure that they are NOT made of SOFT export quality granite but the HARD schist-type. If you are in CA, around Sunnyvale, Bay Area, LA, anywhwere and everywhere in CA and Washington where expatriate Indians gather place an ad in Freecycle. many of the South Indian families have been foisted their treasured grinders by anxious mothers-in-law. Sitting and gathering dust, they may be persuaded to be sold or given away free. These would be the best quality. These grinders, the particular Vegetarian diet they represent and brains go together, remember that. So wherever there are industries and professions requiring maximum brain power there you will these grinders on the West Coast, and correspondingly busy lives with less time to use them. There lies your opportunity.
  4. I have not made masa dough in an Ultrapride, but with regard to dosa or idli batter, the instructions warn to add water, and only then to add the soaked rice or dal in small quantities, making sure the batter is stone ground in a liquid environment. I had thought that maize, even nixtamalized, would be much tougher to gring than the rice and urad dal. More importantly, adding the amount of water I would think safe for the Ultrapride would produce too liquid a dough. whereas, in my mind, a metate ground dough would add much less water than required by the Ultrapride. Now, while I have not used nixtamal with either an Ultrapride or a metate, I have used the Indian equivalents of the metate, both the flat stone and roller, and the carved schist mortar and its own particular pestle -like upright roller from childhood and have familiar with the dynamics of grains ground in them and doughs produced. The dough is much drier, as one can strictly control the amount of water added, and this depends on the degree of effort one wishes to expend as wel as the size, geometry and balance of the equipment being used. So I remain a bit mystified by the Ultrapride being able to turn out a suitably dry masa dough [without burning out in a shorter time frame than it otherwise might!!], but will accept your verdict for now! Note that I am an enthusiastic promoter of Ultrapride [no commercial connection whatsoever] as many on eGullet may attest, but not of the other brands, for extremely good reason. So when my excitement is somewhat muted, it is not for lack of appreciation of that brand. BTW, they are selling a model with a 10 year guarantee in India which they are yet to bring out in the USA. So for people in the UK or elsewhere with 50 cycle, 220volt AC, please try to buy your machine from a UK dealer or get it from India. It will be half the USA dealer price. P.S. Forgot to ask: what type of flint or dent corn is used to make your masa? That may have some bearing on the ability of the machine to process the nixtamal.
  5. Adam, Thank you very much for the valuable reference, although I am sorry to be disabused of my marvellously memorable Bug Nut! The product sounds quite interesting, delicious even. Pineaple juice must be a strong proteolytic enviroment, so we can expect a richly flavored sauce high in glutamates, with the addition of the sugar, tartness and flavo components of fruit and fish. I wonder how this is employed by its inventors, because your reference indicatestwo products using papaya and pineapple that must have come fairly late through inspired experimentation. gautam
  6. Is anyone familiar with Kem Bug Nut, a fermented fish product of Thailand's central and lower Mekong provinces? How is it used? Thanks.
  7. Are guinea fowl raised for eggs in Japan and are these eggs to be found? In Europe and the US, 2 types of guinea fowl eggs are sold. One is from the Pearl guinea, raised as a barnyard fowl, by hobbyists and free range poultry keepers. The second is from guinea fowl specially bred for laying and raised in deep litter, just like hens, in semi-intensive or intensive poulty farms. The eggs are supposed to especially tasty and prized by many, including those recently arrived from Africa. Unlike the bland ostrich and emu eggs, there really is a taste bonus in guinea eggs. Besides, they are more resistant to breakage and spoil less readily in ambient temperatures, a useful factor for developing nations. Samuel N. Nahashon, Ph.D. Team Coordinator - Research Professor Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Research Tennessee State University Cooperative Agricultural Research Program snahashon@tnstate.edu Field of Specialization: Poultry Nutrition and Genetics Current Research Areas: Optimize nutrient requirements and management practices for improving reproductive and production efficiency of the guinea fowl.
  8. Rancho Gordo, Re: the mechanized Indian Stone Grinder, I looked at the ones Andiesenji had linked, but did not see the benchmark there, the Ultrapride series, sold by Innoconcepts in the US. However, as you may already have realized, this machine is dedicated to a special task: wet grind rice and urad dal [ split, hulled Vigna mungo or black gram]. This the Ultrapride does very well indeed. It also grinds smaller amounts of "chutneys' with an attachment. In short, it is designed as the ideal machine for the vegetarian South Indian family, fixing the whole range of their favorite batters and sides extremely well. It does rice noodles and rice batters superbly as well. As I noted in another thread, it does not have the weight/power in its roller assembly to handle heavier grains like maize. Nor are the Indian "blender" machines like Sumeet or Preeti going to do the job via their Osterizer type "cutting" blades, powerful though they are. Both types of Indian machines, the stone grinder and the cutting blades, work best, or work only, in a very liquid environment suitable for batters but not MASA DOUGH.
  9. Looks fantastic to me, and tastes very very good too, I'll wager. I would run from chicken sashimi, but would run to such a spread! Why be in thrall to some mysterious "canon" or the other? If delicious things go in, mushrooms, peppers, canned sausages, et al. and so does love, how could the results not be excellent?
  10. Dear Hiroyuki, Re: strawberries, below is the contact for the most active strawberry breeding program in Japan that I know of. Perhaps you will find the best information, even some sample plants, from Dr. Igarashi. One thing you need to clarify in your expectations, is that most strawberries presently sold in Japanese stores are 1) forcing varieties 2) day neutrals 3) subjected to artificial chilling to produce early crops 4) more or less bred for the greenhouse in mind 5) bred for the Japanese consumer's presumed preference for very high sugar:14%, and a certain soft texture. This level predisposes the fruit, when grown outside to extremely high disease incidence. Consider that the next highest sugar level, created by the Dutch consciously to enter the Japanese market is only about 8%! Akihime is certainly well-known for both its high Brix and softness! It is not necessarily a good outdoor subject, nor is Nyoho! The same might be said of another famous and exceptionally important European hothouse strawberrry of the past decades and century, Jucunda. Tochiotome does slightly better in this regard. The naming of the strawberry has little to do with its hardiness or suitability for field cultivation under Tochigi conditions. However, you are correct to be cautious in thinking about cold-hardiness and general garden worthiness in Shiozawa. In general, these day neutrals, unless they have a particular tender bloodline, might be expected to survive your Shiozawa winters that do not fall much below -20 C, but your caution is not unfounded. Still, it is a great cultivar in the Japanese style of the supermarket berry. Getting away from that style, you may want to see what Japan used to grow before greenhouses were affordable for everyone: these are the field cultivars, excellent, because one has the Alpine blood and may be quite aromatic when well grown. Not all that sweet, though, which will come as a shock to moderns! Finally, some choice and very hardy cultivars, especially the US and sweden. As an experiment, I put the supposedly Mara de Bois in a 5 gallon plastic pot outdoors and it has survived -11F and total freezing just fine as I look out and have been checking for the past several days. Pots are much worse than the Mother Earth; there is no reverse flow of heat from her breast up into the atmosphere, an important component for survival. So, the reputedly tender M de B has done just fine in an icebox. Whether it is budhardy, is another matter, which we shall see. Strawberry Breeder & Expert Isamu Igarashi Morioka Branch of National Research Inst of Veg, Ornam, Tea 92 Nabeyashiki Simokuriyagawa Morioka, Iwate Japan Phone: 0196-41-2031 Fax: 81-196416315 Forcing or Greenhouse cultivars Tochiotome: Vigorous and produces runners well. The leaves are large and dark green. The degree of dormancy is similar to 'Nyoho', the most popular cultivar for forcing culture. The number of lfowers per inflorescence is 15 on the average. The yield is higher than 'Nyoho'. Fruits are as large as 15 grams, conical, and have very shining scarlet color, so they look very good. They have firm peel and flesh so the keeping quality is high. They are very sweet , weakly acid, and very juicy, so the taste is excellent. The resistance to anthracnose and powdery mildew is similar to 'Nyoho'. Pedigree: Kurume 49 (Toyonoka x Nyoho) x Tochinomine (Kei 511(Florida 69-266 x Reiko) x Nyoho) Hokowase: Fruits are small, soft, sweet, non- acid. The degree of dormancy is deeper than 'Nyoho'. The most popular cultivar for forcing culture. The number of flowers per inflorescence is 15 on the average. The yield is higher than 'Nyoho'. Fruits are large as 15 grams, conical, and have very shining scarlet color, so they look very good. They have firm peel and flesh so the keeping quality is high. They very sweet, weakly acidity, and very juicy, so the taste is excellent. Their resistance to anthracnose and powdery mildew is similar to 'Nyoho'. Pedigree: Kogyoku(Fairfax self seedling) x Tahoe Hyogo Experiment Station Kobe, Hyogo Japan Nagoya-oomi. Cultivar name: Tonami-zairai-shikinari. FIELD CULTIVARS Kagayaki.: brilliant appearance, old cultivar for field culture Fujisaki 068 . Comment: Hanaoka Tamotsu cultivar release introduced in 1950 ( processing variety for northern cooler Japan; but Alpine type, aromatic? - George M. Darrow. 1966. The Strawberry. p. 305. Some Non-Japanese cultivars worth inquiring about: 1. Mara de Bois [CIREF, France]; also, Cijosee, Cirafine. 2. Earliglow [uSA, June-bearing] 3. Fort Laramie & Ogallala [uSA, day neutral] 4. Snowvit [sweden]
  11. Jimmy, No wonder that you picture bowls that are largely empty or in imminent danger of becoming so!!!! So what does a FULL bowl of your favorite look like? I have grave doubts we shall ever see that lovely!
  12. Hi Nakji-san [ anyone going to Japan begins an apotheosis, hence the honorific, maybe -sama soon!], I would hazard, unless you have a very sunny balcony [8 hours+] and even then, to consider an indoor growing situation. In the US, an ordinary shoplight with 2 ordinary fluorescent bulbs is quite sufficient. On sale, that should cost one about $(8+6). I don't know about electricity costs, but consumption is not too high, nor is heat output too large in a cold climate like the Northern Tier of the States. It is about a meter long, so space might be an issue in Japanese households. Other, smaller light fixtures could be employed. Please try to use them in conjunction with a south, east or west window, in that order, to supplement natural light as far as possible. Since photosynthetic light effectiveness decreases as the square of the distance away from the artificial source, and because all the aromatics like rosemary and oregano will give of their best when grown on the dry side and stressed by both drought and light, you will need to think through how many pots you are going to end up with, their sizes, and how they will fit under that lighted space. The middle will be the brightest, the ends a bit weaker. So your mediterraneans will go in the middle, your cilantros and mitsuba at the ends. If you are harvesting your meds often, they will need that light and any sun they get to replace the leaves. Light + water = food; water & air are nutrients too! So, the polluted air on balconies in certain parts of Tokyo will indeed have a deleterious effect on growth; therefore, indoor plantings will do much better. [in Nature, the high light intensities, including UV initiate some damage and evoke a segment of the biochemical pathway responsible for all those wonderful aromatics: we hear the praises of Dalmatian sage and the thyme blossom honey from the slopes of Mt. Hymettus in Greece, but not from Devonshire!] The plant tops will be but 2 or 3 inches away from the bulbs. Different species like oregano and rosemary may seem to occupy different heights, one a low scrambler, the other much taller. however, by training the rosemary and pruning, you can flatten out its shape, if that is not too much trouble. In any case, when it is young, it is still too small to worry about these problems, but you may like to think ahead. Or buy 2 or 3 rosemary plants, if you use a lot: I mean 4 inch pot sizes. You decide, I am not trying to micromanage your little herb patch from here!! But do plan for your projected vision when thinking about a table or some support underneath them. Garbage bags or plastic sheeting to prevent water damage to other bits of furniture. Potting mix needs to be light: a proprietary mix, lightened perhaps by a bit more composted conifer bark, or a bit more perlite. You are going to be feeding them a starvation diet: compost tea, e.g. sterilized bagged manure, a few spoons placed in their containers and water applied. More fertilizers means lush growth and dilute tasting herbs. Please do NOT let me scare you away by making this venture & shopping list seem impossible and difficult. It is NOT. Just break it up into small chunks and accomplish one thematic part at a time: electrical matters one weekend, soil matters another, pots & plants the third and so on. However, please do not get waylaid by any gadgetry that promises marvellous results for an extortionate price: aeroponics and the like. This sort of stuff is bad enough in the US, and with the Japanese fondness for high tech, I can imagine how much worse it might be there. Please trust me here. This is my profession, I have been at this since 1984, and have been present at the birth of aeroponics and very advanced hydroponic systems. Don't waste your money when $10-15 will work splendidly and the expensive systems probably will not! P.S. for Hiroyuki-san: re: strawberries in your own squares: if you do not have some Tochiotome, then, please consider getting a few plants this spring. The reason for the tasteless strawberries lies in the clean culture: hydroponics!! versus your honored father's carefully nurtured soil ! P.P.S. If beseeched most humbly, any chance of that plant-mad gentleman adopting me? Shall bring many, many grape, pear, apple and other varieties!!
  13. Have not seen the website, but there is a perennial, Cyphomandra, sometimes called the "tree tomato." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamarillo Is this the plant being referred to? It is not hardy where winters are much below O Celsius, and I doubt it would make a good indoor plant for most situations because of light and possibly disease issues. It could be overwintered indoors without a problem, certainly. It is only when one expects fruiting that light and other environmental parameters become limiting. Several regions of the United States, e.g. Santa Barbara, CA, can grow the plant outdoors. The California Rare Fruit Growers association will have more information about it. BTW, re: yield from tomato vines, many enthusiasts who enjoy hanging out at a site named Tomatoville.com reliably report 75 lbs/vine; 40lbs is not unusual in ordinary cultivation. The person who discovered the variety EARL'S FAUX regularly gets the higher figures from his cultivar; you are welcome to check his posts, he is a most affable person. Here is another tomato grower http://www.selectedplants.com/ Check out his plants and his yields:http://www.selectedplants.com/ Climbing Tripl-crop [available from Sandhill Preservation Center, Tomato Growers Supply, etc.], Climbing Italian Pink and similar cvs. like Rose [Johnny's Selected Seeds], even Marianna's Peace and Crnkovic Yugoslavian in my personal experience, can yield very heavily indeed. With a long enough growing season, these indeterminate vines can be persuaded, by a knowledgeable gardener and ideal location to become perennial or at least yield over a period of 6 months running. in that case, a very large figure per plant is possible, trellised. But, the grower needs intimately to understand the issues of plant water relations as it relates to height, manage height to very low trellises, understand the meristematic behavior of these indeterminate tomatoes, be able to prune and encourage side shoots in optimal fashion, manage temperature & disease stress. So yes, given a susbstantial background and other favorable factors, as a game, if you invest a lot of time and attention on your pet tomato, high FRESH yields MAY be achieved. But note 2 things: 1) high fresh weight does not mean the same thing as high dry mass. We can do interesting things to the tomato's root system as well, to induce high fresh yield, without increasing photosynthetic rate. 2) high total yield does not take into account Leaf Area Ratios. At that point, all of this jugglery will begin to look less attractive. From the perspective of Yield physiology, there are NO MIRACLES. No one has invented magical systems, least of all amateurs sitting in garages and selling to the public. Just like weight loss hucksters claiming to know something that physiologists do not, why would people spend a lifetime studying plant science and still feel that they know almost nothing whereas these fellows claim that they know it all?
  14. MoGa, Your mentioning a non-traditional substitute in the form of pickled beets, and red perilla reminded me of something that may have a somewhat japanese application. It does not fit in anywhere except salad dressings and I thought I might as well include it here. I see bags of perilla seed in Korean groceries and wonder what they go into? In the Indian Himalayas, these seeds are toasted just so and ground up as you do sesame in a suribachi. Boiled sliced potatoes are dressed with this paste to which roasted ground sesame may also be added. From that point on, your taste takes over. In the Himalayan context, crushed garlic, and a thick syrup that is quite sour made by boiling down the very juicy wild lemon, Citrus jambhiri, is added. Finely chopped green chilies, or chillies crushed in the suribachi to release their rind oils may also follow. Salt, of course. Any other alliums you may fancy, e.g. a soupcon of diced onion, but not necessary. The potatoes should be dressed when they are very hot, to absorb the sourness, and then let sit.
  15. Rona, Thanks for your hard work!!! Sorry you took ill. It means you will have to return, won't you? Re: the yellow horned fruit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiwano However, IMHO such glowing descriptions comprise a major public relations triumph of the New Zealand fruit industry: 99% of the time you will find this creature to taste of nothing or taste disgusting. Plus, it is an invasive weed, given the right opportunity! Re: the snakefruit, it is the fruit of a tropical palm, the salak:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salacca Again, a note of caution: salak fruit can range from excellent to poor. Those harvested fresh from the equatorial islands of Indonesia are known to be very good. Many on sale in the markets of SE Asia are said to dry-ish, sour or otherwise bad-tasting. So, don't judge all salak by the ones you may happen to buy in ordinary markets. Wait until you go to Bali and get them harvested fresh.
  16. Thanks for all the trouble you have taken to post the pictures and describe them. Question about supermarket/regular chicken in Taiwan: does it taste appreciably better than the supermarket US broiler (say Perdue, not a "good" brand like Bell & Evans) where whole joints are used, e.g. 3-cup chicken, red-cooked etc.? I have seen pictures of the Taiwanese commercial poultry breed and the Japanese Hinai Jidori [that actually derive from US commercial parental stock], and would like your feedback. Also, what about other meats and eggs, if you could notice any difference? Thanks very much. Gautam
  17. Hi Ken, Sorry about about your unfortunate experiences which must have cost you must, in money and heartache. As you can see, there is a huge gap in their perceptions about the word and meaning of "private" and of the conception of "service." Perhaps they have become spoiled by believing they are living in a "sellers market" given the current upsurge of tourists to Kerala. If you would not mind a suggestion, our fellow eGulleteer, Peppertrail, Ms. Ammini Ramachandran hails from a very distinguished family in Kerala. She has covered herself with laurels in the cooking as well as the cookbook world with her self-published works that have won many awards. While she herself specializes in the vegetarian cooking of Kerala, she is the logical go-to person for recommendations about sound cooking teachers. These may, in fact, be people who may not advertise, but who will teach, based on her personal recommendations. You can guess that someone like this may turn out to be far superior than the purely business-oriented crowd. Anyway, do write her a message. She is verybusy and may be qite unable to accommodate your request, perhaps because she may not know someone whose expertise matches the range of dishes in which you are interested. In that case, you are no worse off than now. In passing, as you well know, Kerala has different ethnic cuisines and sub-genres within each: for example, the " Muslim or Mahapillah/Moplah cooking is best developed in the northern districts BUT in any large city like Cochin, wealthy families would have female retainers who have served them for generations. These are the true experts for a particular range of dishes favored, say, by the upper crust within the Muslim population. It is here that references and contacts from someone like Ms. Ramachandran MIGHT provide you an entry that no commercial school could ever do. But I should not raise your hopes up falsely! Then there is the Muslim households of an income group just a little bit down the ladder, say comfortably middle class. Here, the ladies of the house are the expert cooks and preservers of the tradition. Third are the Muslim "restaurants" with THEIR subgenres: Kozhikode style biryani, Kerala parotta with its distinctive accompaniments [e.g. and many other uniquely "restaurant food" where one or more famous "joints" [and they are joints!] have achieved extreme expertise. The Syrian Christians with their branches are one of the aristocracies of Kerala. Therefore, you would NOT expect to find the same and type of eating places as above offering Syrian Christian specialties, fine examples of which would exist almost exclusively within homes. These are the oldest Christians. Catholics are yet another strata of Kerala quite separate from the Syrian Christian socially and historically. Their food too is not the same. These are the second oldest Christians. Church Mission Society Christians are the latest entrants into the Christian fold in Kerala, and they were and are socially separate and distinct from the above two groups. You may guess as to their cooking. The Hindus of Kerala also have some interesting culinary sub-genres. Ammini's exceptional book: Grains Greens and grated Coconuts will give you a good idea of what these are. Happy cooking.
  18. Another good reference: Dakshin: Vegetarian Cuisine from South India by Chandra Padmanabhan
  19. Nakji Re: cilantro, this is one species that would not produce roots by cuttings either in a jar of water or in a pot. It is an annual, and as Ohba mentions, not happy with heat. You can sow any cilantro "seed": those that are packed to be sold as herbs, as well as those purchased whole from spice markets like Indian or Asian groceries. Some points to remember: Seeds purchased from spice markets come from various parts of the world, like Morocco or India. These types of coriander/cilantro have different responses to daylength, i.e. flower according to different schedules, depending on the latitude in which they evolved to their current form. In Japan, this may not be a big issue until one starts moving into the 38-40N+ zones. Anyway, all that will happen is that you will find your seedlings quickly changing leaf form into finely dissected leaves and beginning to flower when they are very small, if you were using seed from your Asian grocery. So you just use these small plants, and plant more in succession. The Asian grocery is hugely less expensive than the seed vendors, who can be truly extortionate, feeding off public ignorance or couldn't-be-bothered attitudes. A tiny packet of 1-5 grams may cost $1.29-1.49 in the US as a seed packet in the Herb rack while that will buy you 0.5 lb of seed/whole coriander in the Indian grocery!! Each coriander "seed" is actually 2 seeds, so 2 potential plants per seed! Coriander is sensitive not just to daylength [photoperiodism] but also to temperature [thermoperiodism]. Consequently, to supply certain markets, varieties have been bred in the US that are somewhat less affected by heat e.g. cultivars Santo and Caribe, sold by Stokes Seeds, Canada/USA and FEDCO/Maine , USA, among others [including suppliers from Japan, now you know the cv. names to ask for]. Note, however, that there are no perfect solutions, and flavor between ecotypes, and cultivars can vary. How much cilantro you use is another issue: you may decide to set up 3-4 pots and sow staggered crops, 2-3 weeks apart, depending on your use rates. At home, you can nip with scissors the older leaves, leaving the younger ones to continue growing for a little while longer. If you are going to use roots for gaeng pastes, then you will need older plants with thick but not overmature roots.
  20. Agriculture in our sense of the term is thought to have evolved from the West African [ here we are confining ourselves generally to the SubSaharan civilizations] forest belt and moved east along with its progenitors as they gradually intermingled with the the East African cultures. The coastal areas of the east may have had incidental contacts with both the Indian and Malesian agricultural civilizations for a long time. The immigration fro the Indonesian archipelago into the Malagasy islands and southern Africa was ancient. Etymological traces like "poopA' for flour =Sanskrit ApUpa in eastern Africa, certain palm tapping processes and the like point to early contacts that need to be studied for their agricultural exchange: many major ancient food crops in India, millets, sesame [sudan], citrullus, tamarind, jute [yes, a major food initially, greens!!] etc. had African origins, and not necessarily via a land bridge. I am sorry I cannot answer your glaberrrima question having no personal knowledge, but would recommend to you two volumes made available online through the efforts of the US National Academy of Science: Lost Crops of Africa Part I: Grains; Part II: Vegetables; Part III : Fruit [in production] http://www7.nationalacademies.org/dsc/crop...eport_brief.pdf In passing, let me say that our much maligned US government has undertaken to research and publish a great body of agricultural/horticultural/livestock science : exceptional works of enormous value in this national Academy of Science series, and made them available free of cost online. The effort and value of this initial work and organization is immense. Sadly, all the other "civilized" nations, wealthier and apparently wiser that take such joy in denigrating the USA in so many ways have never thought to build upon the fantastic work initiated by America, and crucial to very poor societies and subsistence farmers. It is time they stepped up to the batter's mound!! Sorry to be such a curmudgeon. You will see how wonderful these books are! Returning to the nightshades and the many types of bitter nad slightly toxic leaves, e.g. Cleome, our garden Spider Plant, consumed in Africa, first, I would not advise anyone to duplicate these practices. Plants and cultural practices, preparations for cooking, vary greatly from place to place and modulate edibility/toxicity. Additionally, many cultures in Africa are noted for GEOPHAGY, the consumption of specific types of soil or clay minerals concurrently with their favorite greens. Adsorption of plant toxins may be at least one reason behind this. One interesting African solanum that actually has donated its genes to some early American eggplant breeding, Dr. Meader at the University of New Hampshire, a cold land, successfully utilizing Solanum aethiopicum genes in his early-maturing and famous eggplant Applegrreen African eggplants have descended from a common ancestor and may be used for fruit or their huge leaves. You can grow them in many parts of Japan, and seeds may be had for free from the AVRDC, TAIWAN [see below]. http://www.actahort.org/books/752/752_96.htm http://www.actahort.org/books/752/752_51.htm AFRICAN EGGPLANT - FROM UNDERUTILIZED TO A COMMERCIALLY PROFITABLE VENTURE Authors: M.L. Chadha, H. Hasan Mndiga EVALUATION OF AFRICAN EGGPLANT FOR YIELD AND QUALITY CHARACTERISTICS Authors: M.O. Oluoch, M.L. Chadha African eggplant (Solanum aethiopicum L.) was domesticated from the wild species Solanum anguivi Lam. Both species are found throughout the tropical Africa. The immature fruits of S. aethiopicum are used as vegetable in stews, and sometimes eaten raw. The leaves and shoots picked from the same plants or from leafy cultivars are also used for cooking. Fruits of bitter cultivars are used as medicine in many African countries. Small-scale growers account for at least 80% of the total production. Leaves of S. aethiopicum are especially important in Southeastern Nigeria, Cameroon and Uganda and it’s the most popular vegetable in Kampala market. Combined mean data for species comparison showed that S. aethiopicum lines gave significantly higher fruit yields (47.4 t/ha) than other species tested while S. anguivi lines gave significantly higher seed yields (1512 kg/ha). S. macrocarpon lines showed the lowest mean fruit and seed yields when compared to the other species. lines AB2, NA, N15, Manyire Green, OAA(089)N18, Heart shape, and N24 giving mean fruit yields of over 57 t/ha. The Total Soluble Solids (TSS) content among selected lines varied from 4 to 12 with lines Tengeru white, Ex-Dar and DB3 giving TSS contents of over 10. promising lines of African eggplant like Tengeru White, DB3, AB2, Manyire Green Most of the farmers interviewed in Manyire village located in the Arumeru district of Tanzania revealed that they are growing variety Tengeru White because of its high yield and good demand in the markets. Until recently, Dr. Madan Lal Chadha was the Director, AVRDC-RCA [Regional Center for Africa] Arusha, Tanzania. He was a source for the seeds, distributed freely on request. He now has been transferred to India. His replacement is not known to me, but whoever today is in charge of seed distribution at Arusha may be discovered by contacting: Ms Lilia Tan- Habacon, Human Resources Manager, AVRDC - The World Vegetable Center, P.O. Box 42, Shanhua, Tainan 74199, Taiwan; e-mail: lilia.tanhabacon@netra.avrdc.org.tw Re: lagenaria, is this the same gourd that is dried for sushi? The young leaves and shoot tips of this as well as similar parts of kabocha are very much enjoyed in India, and surprisingly, by Sicilians, including those in the USA. In India [bengal], these are cooked with small chunks of eggplant, kabocha, potato or taro, lightly sauteed shrimp or just shrimp heads, and finished with a mustard paste and a few drops of mustard oil and whole hot green thai peppers added for their aroma.
  21. Regarding Africa's inland fisheries, as with its indigenous rice, & many of its native food and forage species including the ancient and vital dioscoreas e.g guineensis, all have suffered a disturbing degree of displacement: by alien species, and by elements out of place. For examples, the East African lake regions harbored some of the richest diversity of cichlid fishes ( e.g. Tilapia and its relatives), more than 500 species alone of this family in the great lakes of that region. In a hasty and poorly-conceived plan to "improve" fisheries, the voracious Nile perch was introduced, wiping out this extraordinary global resource. [strangely, an African catfish, removed from its natural habitat and evolutionary checks and balances, today has become a major destructive force in Bangladesh, similar to the Nile Perch, threatening to wipe out a great number of native species there! Some wicked people, bent on quick profit, also have released piranha species in heavily frequented water bodies of Bangladesh!] The Ibo and Tropical West African dishes share an underlying method of cooking: A chicken, preferaby a free-range, somewhat mature fowl, is simmered with some onions and a bit of stockfish until nearly cooked. If one is using tender fowl, one would need to adjustt he timing so that the flesh does not turn too soft and fall apart. You may joint the bird to your taste. Meat on the bone is used, but in japan, boneless thighs may be preferred? Some giblets [hearts, gizzard] necks and backs could also be added, if you like. The meat is fished out with a strainer and set aside. The stockfish should be gently flaked into the broth; there would not have been allthat much to begin with; sometimes, only the frames and heads of the dry fish are used. Diced onions and some aromatic green peppers [not hot; perhaps you could use shishitou? poblanos + bell peppers] are sauteed/sweated in vegetable oil, the chicken pieces added back and stirred around for a bit to take up some of the flavor and dry up the moisture and then the broth is gradually added back in and brought to a simmer. Now you add the staff of life for all of West Africa: the standard green stew that at home includes a huge variety of greens and leaves that vary by locality: baobab, Cleome, Solanum aethiopicum, Solanum nigrum, and so many, many more. We shall merely add chopped spinach or young chard. You could add young kabocha leaves or lagenaria leaves sliced fine. In addition, Agaricus mushrooms, the ordinary sort, sliced or quartered, go in and make a pleasing textural contrast. In Japan, you have many more interesting fungi to use: oyster mushrooms and such. I have not forgotten salt, knowing I need not remind a Japanese of that staple of life!!! Then comes a choice: very thinly sliced fresh okra [Do you recognize the ancestors of Cajun cooking, right down to the combination of meat and fish?] so they can release their mucilage and thicken the stew. Or, you could grind de-hulled pepitas/pumpkin seeds, very lightly toasted, into a powder and incorporate this into the stew as a thickener. Either the okra or the pepita. You are done. The same pattern from Ghana: chicken gizzards and hearts in a flavored broth. Separate dry and wet, slice meat into convenient pieces. Sautee onions, add meat. Return broth. Add blanched/drained/squeezed [ohitashi style], very finely chopped turnip and mustard greens [or your choice], let simmer until tender and done enough for your taste, thicken a bit with pepita powder. Eat all three [see below] with rice, or ersatz fufu made of instant potato flakes and semolina stirred into boiling water: this is probably student cooking!!! You can certainly make the Ibo curyy/chili thingy because this is the basis of that famous pan West African dish Jollof Rice. You can substitute Madras curry powder, Vietnamese curry powder, or Japanese curry blocks with ease. Tex-Mex chili powder is Ancho + New Mexico chiles chile de-seeded, cumin seed, both very lightly toasted, and ground in a coffee blender dedicated to spice grinding, garlic powder, Mexican oregano or ordinary oregano, a bit of black pepper. So, the procedure is the same: chicken in stockfish broth. Separate wet & dry. Saute diced onion and green pepper. add chicken, shift to one side, add curry powder, Mex chile powder, so that they have a chance to cook a bit in the pan without scorching. If using japanese curry block, not to worry about this step, just use cumin powder and some Korean kochukaru powder, and a bit of oregano and a bit of garlic powder: that would be your chili substitute. So the chicken will smell nice, add a bit of tomato puree or crushed tomato, canned, fresh, whatever; stir for a bit. Add the broth back. For the Ibo stew, you add the greens, i.e. spinach, mushrooms, okra. Serve over rice, fufu, couscous or mashed potatoes. Season to taste. For the Jollof rice, you are circumspect with the broth and par-cook rice, long grain or to your taste, maybe even sauteed in oil and aprt-cooked in scant water. Then the chiken and gravy [no vegetables or thickener here] is added to the rice, covered, and baked or cooked on "dum" [to use an Indian term] until the rice has absorbed all the goodness and is exactly right. So this pilaf is the famous Jollof Rice.
  22. Ohba, Sorry for this belated response, just noticed your post of Nov.9 2007. As I cannot find a location for you, may I assume you are writing from Japan? Question: Do countries permit seed to be imported from abroad? Regulations vary and there are certain classes of "forbidden" seeds that vary by nation and require quarantine and/or accompanying phytosanitary certificate. However, the general rule is that small quantities of flower or vegetable seeds packed and sealed by reputable firms may be sent by mail if so declared on the accompanying invoice. In practice, this rule is observed mainly in the breach. hat is not always advisable because some diseases are extremely dangerous and can threaten entire industries: citrus canker can be seed-borne and smuggled plants of stone fruit have carried plum pox/Sharka virus into the USA. While many viral diseases can be seed borne, in practical terms, tomato and pepper seed mailed for strictly amateur gardening purposes are relatively innocuous, although not necessarily a safe practice. The same seeds purchased from a reputed seed firm in the US [e.g. Tomato Growers Supply] and who then legally mail your order to Japan would be in keeping with international codes of conduct even if not necessarily much safer from a biological perspective. Such a company would have all the different types of peppers, eggplants and tomatoes you are looking for and are known to be reliable providers of true-to-type material. Question: Starting fennel and chillies from seed. Fennel seed now available to you will germinate with varying degrees of success, depending on its source. Other types of fennel may be had from Moroccan and Indian shops [spice markets]. These too will germinate and give you a fennel harvest. Note that each plant can grow very large. Are we talking about the fennel that produces seed or the type that produces the thickened stem? If the latter, then you will need to find a seed seller who offers seed of this type. A great many US and Italian seed houses stock this. Franchi Sementi is a very fine Italian seed source, and they would have distributors in Japan. Chillies from these same places will provide seeds that will also germinate, as will packets of Thai chillies purchased in Asian groceries. So will seeds from Mexican chiles. You will get at least a few plants, if you sow a fair number of seeds. With Japan's long growing season and latitude, maturity and flowering will not be a problem. Dry habaneros will give you habanero plants, but not chipotles, that are smoke & heat dried. Question: bay and tarragon plants. Bay leaf can be purchased as small cuttings from specialized herb nurseries in Japan. These same places probably will offer French tarragon plants, which will live for many/some years if kept in a dry, free-draining mix: plenty of coarse perlite in proportion to composted conifer bark, peat moss and coarse horticultural vermiculite. No soil, just some leaf compost, if possible, in the container, and away from heavy rain. If you cannot find live plants, which would be very strange given Japan's advanced horticulture and love of French/Italian food, then there are specialized seed houses elsewhere that sell seeds of these two species. It is claimed that tarragon from seed is different from the "true" French variety in flavor, but you must be the judge of that. But first, please do make a search for the plants. Please call your agricultural university or agricultural extension department or its Japanese equivalent for advice about how to locate these specialized herb nurseries. P.S. If you are in the US and looking for Japanese & Korean seeds, then your choices are quite large.
  23. Helen, I had the good fortune of sharing a house with several Africans from Nigeria [ibo] and Ghana, both men and women and excellent cooks. My teacher was a well-known Africanist specializing in Senegal and at that time I myself was encouraged to research the agricultural development and economic history of Rwanda-Burundi and the Mozambique floodplains. So, the cooking of the Ibo country, and occasionally, Senegal, was a familiar smell and taste in our kitchens, and the academic and practical merged into a wonderful whole. To the [mature] cowpeas you mention, another 2 elements areadded to complete a very important food of the western coast [the bulge] that includes the Ibo country, the Cameroon coast [camaroes =prawn in Portugues], Ivory Coast etc. Cowpea fritters : mashed dried soaked cowpea containing dried or fresh shrimp, fried in palm oil. This important food has been transferred to Brazil, especially to Bahia province, in this exact form. Elsewhere, it has been modified in various ways, often to include bacalao, as in the Caribbean. People may argue that this is an Iberian influence, but there is a strong African component at work here as well. The most disconcerting element is the enormous significance of dried cod or stockfish, not salt cod, in the cooking of this part of west coastal Africa. It supplanted an enormous native tradition of dried and smoked marine life, as well as freshwater fishes and land snails. These last are still one of the defining flavor-givers in inland Senegalese stews as opposed to coastal ones, but even the reknowned coastal fish dish that i can pronounce but not spell correctly [owing to the idiosyncracies of French phonetics and orthography] depends on the smoke-dried Giant African Snail for its particular body. Today, Nigeria ranks among one of the largest importers of "stockfish" from the Scandinavian countries. At least 22 grades are recognized, and many types of northern whitefish today take the place of cod, and heads and frames nowadays have to suffice for the poorer people. This is a sad development, as traditionally, more than 500 species of freshwater fish alone were available to the African cook both as flavoring and food, smoke-dried. Smoke-drying is a process of drying bush meat and fish over a very low wood fire that at the same time supplies a modest amount of smoke for preservation. The great traditional religious center at Ife, now in Nigeria, had a whole class of foods prepared in particular ways, by women "priests" [not the correct term] of deities. For example, okra, an African vegetable, was sliced paper thin, to eaxcerbate their mucialginous texture, and only for this specialized ritual food offering. However, okra, sliced thin to thicken stews is very much a desirable element in many Ibo dishes, that may also include egusi, a special type of watermelon grown for its seed kernels, used as thickeners, like a nut paste. In the humid forest region, before the tapioca was introduced from South America, various species of Dioscorea, the true yams, were [and are] the favored staple starch, followed by Colocasia [an Asian introduction] and Xanthosoma [a similar plant, whose leaves are tastier than its corms]. We see this reflected in the West Indian "calalloo" made precisely from taro or Xanthosoma leaves, and this is a typical food directly transferred from its West African home. African Rice, Oryza glaberrima, is another prized but more localized food that is rapidly disappearing with the introduction of Asian rice. While cultivated in vast paddies since ancient times, its shattering characteristic has not been bred out unlike most domesticated foodgrains, and this has restricted its spread . Anyway, I was taught some "authentic" Ibo dishes, one of which apparently could be duplicated in the US by combining equal parts of American chili powder [as in McCormick's , for tex-mex Chili] and McCormick's or Frontier Spice American style Indian curry powder in a 50:50 mixture. Don't ask! The results are very pleasing, though, if you would care for the recipe.
  24. Today, March 21, being Navroze, the auspicious New Year's day for many Parsis, here's something about the day's festivities : http://www.thestar.com/DesiLife/article/347365
  25. Dear Helen-san, Your mention of keeping laying hens as a child [in NZ] makes me wonder if there are the equivalent of the American 4H program for school kids in Japan. Kristin might be more familiar with its activities: among other things, children are encouraged to raise livestock, even on a very small scale, say 2 hens, or bantam fowl of production breeds. Japanese quail also provide a good number of eggs from a small space, not necessarily wholly caged, but with a small run. Pictures of some backyards and sideyards show enough space for a small number of birds, enough for a small family, providing housing codes allow such. I wonder if this is at all practical in Japan? Recently, many towns and cities in the USA have had to re-write their livestock ordinances to allow small numbers of laying hens and quails, but not cockerel, in urban yards, so vociferous has been the demand. Winter snows/temperatures below Hokkaido are not a problem for many breeds like the Australorp/Jersey Giant types, the Marans and most production Rhode Island Red/ Hampshire Red types, their bantams, and many other less prolific egg layers. Winter protection for quail is very simple, because they are so small and naturally adapted to the Japanese climate. Hearing Kristin-san mention eating watermelon but once or twice a season, i feel shocked because her little backyard is perfect for growing the small-fruited dwarf watermelons with Japanese genetics, Yellow Doll, Peace etc. in 4 cu.feet bags of pottin mix; to add to these fond delusions, i now imagine a pair or two of hens! I shan't inflict such torture, even imaginary, on the esteemed Hiroyuki-san, although the watermelons are indeed very tempting, and his side yard is just perfect for a Bosc pear! And, his very bright children engaged with gardening were what originally led me to ask about the 4H type programs! Thanks for your forbearance.
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