Nourishing Conversations – Forgotten flavors?

I think probably a good many people who happen to come across this blog via a search engine expect to find tips about nourishing food, instead they find interviews and thoughts about nourishment in all its guises, and I like to think that they dwell long enough to consider what nourishment means for them before they move on. Today however they will get just what they are looking for, that is if they are interested in heritage turkeys, heirloom vegetables and beans….

Have you ever noticed that when you first become aware of something you suddenly see it everywhere? Well for me this week it was the concept of biodiversity. ‘Biodiversity is often used as a measure of the health of biological systems’ and it seems to me that everyone is talking about it, or more likely that I am just catching on….

My awareness predictably started off through a few mentions on the TV food shows, ‘Emeril Green’ anyone? Emeril can now be found cooking in a flagship Whole foods store, walking the aisles with folks searching for healthy options and anti allergan foods and Sandra Lee was busy filling her slow cooker with great root vegetables to create wholesome dinners.

Then the daily tip site Ideal Bite sent me my daily tip about Heritage Turkeys… I had never heard of such a thing…the theory being “that preserving heritage animals preserves biodiversity – they may have beneficial genetics (disease resistance, climate adaptability) that more common breeds may not.”

This was followed very quickly by an article written by Melissa Breyer of Care2 sent to me via another web subscription ‘Cool Beans: Go heirloom’. Here Melissa educates us about the difference between heirloom plants and the manufactured supermarket ‘all too perfect’ variety. She has a point, I recently bought what some might consider ugly, but I thought rather beautiful heirloom tomatoes, not only did they look incredibly interesting, more purple than red with an amazing rosette of green, they tasted wonderful..

The Slow Food Foundation states that “30,000 vegetable varieties have become extinct in the last century, and one more is lost every six hours”…every six hours??? Now does that bother me more than the disappearance of the Polar Bear or of the ice caps themselves… probably not but I do feel that I am only just getting to know and love my organic heirlooms and it seems that it could be a brief romance… So I am still not exactly sure what this all means for me and my family but if I am trying to be pesticide free, be more loyal to the farmers market and more aware of our resources and food heritage then the idea of biodiversity is definitely food for thought.

Eating my vegetables voraciously.

© The Red Barn Cooperative – Working together to nourish lives
A Red Barn Coaching initiative

Would you like to read about nourishment in all its guises twice a week? We issue ‘Nourishing Conversations’ to our subscribers every Monday and Thursday, click here to subscribe by email or if you prefer to use an RSS reader you will find the orange chiclet up on the right…

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2 Responses to “Nourishing Conversations – Forgotten flavors?”

  1. 1 Bridget August 14, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    Woah! Who would have thought vegetables could become extinct??!! Very worrying.

  2. 2 Lynetta January 9, 2012 at 8:49 am

    Yes, not only vegetables and grains become extinct, but so do fruits and barnyard animals. Today the average person knows three apples, “Yellow” “Red” and “Green” – while at the beginning of the 20th century the average person knew the flavors of at least 17.

    Further, the meats we eat, and what we “think” we like, has been irrevocably changed by commercial production. Many barnyard animals, with distinctive flavors as well as the hardiness to withstand many different kinds of conditions, have been lost.

    The best way to save the heritage breeds, ironically, is to eat them. I’m a foodie and I raise heritage chickens. The standard “meat chicken” you buy in the supermarket was harvested at 6 weeks. The flesh is mushy both because of the extreme youth and because they have a preference for lying next to the feed trough and doing nothing – which saves feed, since they don’t waste energy in “useless” exercise. My heritage birds are harvested between 14 and 24 weeks old and the flavor and texture is superb. It’s like a different animal.

    Meat chickens can’t be kept longer – the speed of weight gain and weak skeleton leads to broken legs and heart attacks. Instead of being hardy, they are delicate and prone to illness.

    very sad that we’ve lost the flavor of true chicken.

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