Category Archives: Kitchen & Gardening

Bilberry Sunday

The Organic Kitchen Garden 2017 wall calendar

Image from The Organic Kitchen Garden 2017 wall calendar. Colander of blackberries © Sonja Dahlgren. Click image for more info.

In Ireland, the last Sunday in July (July 31 this year) is known as Bilberry Sunday, although it seems the custom of going to the mountains to look for bilberries has somewhat died out. I found one reference online to a festival in Ardagh, Ireland, in 2015 where the participants climbed Bri Leith (also known as Ardagh Hill) to collect bilberries.

I read of one old custom where the girls would bring home bilberries and bake them into a cake to present to the one they loved. But Máire MacNeill, in her book on the festival of Lughnasa (August 1), says the boys make the girls bilberry bracelets, which are left behind when it’s time to return home. Either way, this is a courting festival like May Day, three months earlier. Continue reading

Beautiful Vegetable Portraits: Lynn Karlin’s Pedestal Series

Originally posted on Mother Earth News by Laura Dell-Haro.

Simply Raw 2016 wall calendar

Image from the Simply Raw 2016 wall calendar. Click image for more info.

Gardeners are inspired to grow their own vegetables for a variety of reasons: food purity, food security, family and cultural traditions, fresh flavors, stress relief, improved nutrition, and many more. Our tomatoes grow sweet with lip-smacking flavor, but also heavy with intent and purpose.

Certainly, identifying your own incentives is critical to making it through the darkness of winter, flush of spring weeds, and stifling summer heat to, ultimately, the bounty of the harvest season. In the elegant vegetable portraits presented on these pages, photographer Lynn Karlin brings an oft-overlooked motivation to light: reverence for beauty. Continue reading

Farm to Table: Then and Now

Image from our Farm to Table 2016 wall calendar featuring recipes and tips from Ann Lovejoy. Click image for more info.

Image from our Farm to Table 2016 wall calendar featuring recipes and tips from Ann Lovejoy. Click image for more info.

From the Farm to Table 2016 wall calendar by Ann Lovejoy — A hundred years ago, more Americans lived on farms than in cities. Most food was locally grown, and seasonal foods were enjoyed fresh or not at all. As food-preserving methods improved, our fascination with convenience took us to dubious depths of overprocessing. After decades of fast food and speedy dining, Americans hungered for a new relationship with food. Today we have come full circle. Inspired by Italy’s Slow Food movement, we prize the local and the sustainable, the authentic and the handcrafted. What’s more, America’s changing demographics have enormously enriched our dining choices with international flair. Continue reading

Artist Spotlight — Rob Kesseler: Microscopic Photography

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge “Treat,” we’re thrilled to share more from Rob about his fascination with seeds and his process in capturing these stunning images – treats and mysterious wonders of nature. ~ Amber Lotus

Images from our Pollen Seeds Fruit 2016 wall calendar. Click image for more info.

Images from our Pollen Seeds Fruit 2016 wall calendar. Click image for more info.

From childhood, my love of flowers has always been an instinctive response to the sheer diversity of colors and shapes, and I think this is reinforced by the cyclical nature of the way they appear and are transformed throughout the seasons. There is a reassuring regenerative spirit of familiarity to see a tiny shoot emerge from the ground into full-blown blossom, and I never get tired of looking at the annual spring spectacle.

Looking is a somewhat undervalued skill rooted in our primitive needs to identify pattern, form, and shape in order to facilitate secure passage through life. The more intensely we look, the better our cognitive powers to interpret and translate our response into new physical form.

A lens, in both its physical and contextual form, gives a point of focus that enhances clarity of observation and nourishes our vision. It is both the lens of my own eyes and those of the various microscopes I use that nourish my creative drive and provide me with the stimulus to share my passion with others.

Process

The images are created using a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). I prepare the specimens by coating them with a micro-fine layer of gold before bombarding them with a beam of electron particles and focusing them through powerful magnets onto a screen. The resulting images have phenomenal resolution at high magnification, anything up to X 10,000. But I often work with larger specimens at low magnification, taking up to fifty shots that are subsequently pieced together in the post-production phase. Continue reading

Artist Spotlight — Lynn Karlin Wins Gold with Simply Raw

September 2015
Press Release Excerpt from the Garden Writers Association:
Lynn Karlin Receives 2015 Gold Award for Best Talent or Product

Simply Raw 2015 wall calendar. Click image to see the 2016 edition.

Lynn Karlin based in Belfast, Maine, received the Garden Writers Association Gold Award for Best Talent or Product in the Photography category for Simply Raw, a vegetable portraits calendar.

This national award recognizes individuals and companies who achieve the highest levels of talent and professionalism in garden communications.

“The Garden Writers Association Media Awards showcase the writers, photographers, editors, publishers, and trade companies that have pursued excellence in gardening communication in print or electronic communications,” says Larry Hodgson, president of GWA. “The Media Award winners have been judged by industry experts and show significant distinction and merits that exemplify exceptional work.” Continue reading

Autumn Equinox: Harvest Season

RAW16-11-blog

Image from our Simply Raw 2016 wall calendar featuring vegetable portraits by Lynn Karlin and raw food recipes by Matthew Kenney. Click image to see more.

There are two great feasts that mirror each other across the calendar at the times of the equinoxes. Around spring equinox (with its corresponding holidays of Easter, Passover, and Naw-Ruz), we enjoy the first fruits of the season: fresh greens, eggs, cheese, lamb. At the time of the autumn equinox (with its adjacent festivals of Sukkot and Michaelmas), we enjoy the fruits of the harvest.

This year’s autumn equinox will occur on September 23. Depending on where we live, we might be harvesting the last tomatoes or the first pumpkins, sweet corn or succulent apples, ripe grapes or ripe grain. This is also a time to celebrate the transformation mysteries as fruit, grain, and grapes are transformed into cider, bread, wine, and beer. Continue reading

Rosh Hashanah

Hebrew Illuminations 2016 wall calendar

Image from the Hebrew Illuminations 2016 wall calendar featuring artwork by Adam Rhine. Click image to see more.

I love that there are so many New Years in the year and especially when the New Year lines up with what feels like a new beginning for me: the autumn season and the start of the school year. In the Jewish calendar, the New Year is called Rosh Hashanah and begins with the new moon of the seventh month, which usually falls in September. This year, Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown the evening of September 13. Continue reading

Dirt Makes Us Happy

Plant the Seeds & They Will Grow journal featuring artwork by Leslie Gignilliat-Day. Perfect for all your gardening notes.

Plant the Seeds & They Will Grow journal featuring artwork by Leslie Gignilliat-Day. Perfect for all your gardening notes!

From the A Year of Healthy Living 2015 wall calendar by Ann Lovejoy — Gardeners often seem to be happy people, and now we know why. Recent research indicates that getting our hands “dirty” gives our brains a boost of serotonin. Mycobacterium vaccae is a soil dweller that offers humans who dabble in dirt a lovely lift. Like so many health advances, the first recognition of mood elevating effects from M. vaccae came about accidentally, when a dose intended to boost immune response serendipitously created an antidepressant effect in advanced cancer patients. Continue reading