Until the mid-19th century, Japan was seen as a mysterious Oriental land, closed to most westerners and virtually all Americans. In the 1850’s, with Commodore Perry’s forcible “Opening of Japan” the situation changed dramatically. Japanese trade goods and art became available, captivating the imagination of a generation of Americans. Plants were part of the cultural avalanche. One such is Yokohama squash, a superior winter squash that had evolved through centuries of painst
In January, my family again took a two-month trip to Thailand with short stops in Tokyo, Taipei, and Abu Dhabi. We had waited to return to Thailand until our second daughter, Malia, was about 15 months old. In early January, 2015, we packed up the kids and drove toward St. Louis to start this journey that I had been on four times before over the last 12 years. We were excited to return to this land of great food and so many traditional cultures and foods.
The Pepino Melon (Solanum muricatum) also called Pepino Dulce, Melon Pear, Melon Shrub and Pear Melon, is a fruit bearing shrub that has been cultivated by the people of the Andes region since pre-Columbian times. The cream-colored fruit with purple streaking is similar in size to a Roma Tomato. The flesh resembles a mixture of a honeydew melon and cucumber, hence the name Pepino meaning "cucumber" in Spanish, and the melon reference in its name. Despite its name, the Pepino Melon is actually more closely related to other fruits in the Solanum genus, such as the tomato and eggplant.
When I began to thaw out my grandfather's seed collection back in the 1960s, many heirloom treasures emerged from the dark depths of the freezer where they had been stored. One of the best known peppers I discovered was the popular Fish Pepper, which is now offered by many seed companies, including
The Monarch butterfly is one of Mother Nature's most fascinating and beautiful gifts. They have an incredibly complex migratory journey and an awe-inspiring metamorphosis pattern. Unfortunately, studies have shown that the Monarch butterfly may go extinct within our lifetime. The Eastern and Western Monarch butterfly have both shown sharp and startling decline in the last decade, and in 2018, the populations dropped more precipitously than ever.