Sunday, February 26, 2012

Is this soda serious?

Last week, I caught a few minutes of a news program dedicated to a Coca Cola machine that allows you mix your own flavor through the use of a touch screen (rather than the teenage tradition of just moving your cup around under each fountain nozzle). I thought the machine, called the Coca Cola Freestyle, was brand new but apparently it has been serving up empty calories and cavities since 2009.

Not to be outdone, Pepsi has kept up in the flavor game by offering their own array of unusual flavors that are sure to turn your stomach:

Ice cream flavored Pepsi is available in Russia. White yogurt flavored Pepsi is available in Japan. I can't believe people are really drinking this stuff. (See more here)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Green Matters: Urban Farming Pioneers

"The essence of the pioneering decision is: Those who choose to change their paradigms early do it not as an act of the head but as an act of the heart."
- Arthur Baker

This Friday, February 24th 2012, Brookside Gardens is hosting their third and final food-focused symposium titled: Green Matters: Urban Farming Pioneers. The all-day event will highlight innovative approaches to feeding the world's population and feature the following speakers:

For more information and to register for the conference, visit the Brookside Gardens: Green Matters website.

Super-Sized Snakeheads

Check out the size of these invasive snakehead fish brought in from the Potomac Watershed by a ProFish Blue Cat Fisherman. Alewife Executive Chef Chad Wells (pictures) says these are the biggest he has seen and reminds us that there is nothing in the Potomac that can compete with these creatures:

"I've seen thousands, caught and cooked hundreds. This was the scariest batch I have seen. One of these weighed over 12 pounds after it had been gutted - so it was probably over a 16 pound fish. It scares me when I see size like this on these fish. It goes to show how fast they grow. There is nothing native to the Potomac that can compete with fish like this. Even scarier? They are only going to get bigger and more abundant."


Cecil County Couple Challenges Zoning Law for Pet Goat

An interesting article was published in The Baltimore Sun this morning regarding a goat turned pet in Cecil County, MD. The Balunsat couple purchased Snowbird for several hundred dollars through a newspaper advertisement and have raised her alongside several other animals since she was just a kid.

Snowbird, who lives in a home with less land than zoning laws require for animal husbandry, was not the original complaint. A rooster was - and the family already got rid of it (seemingly without objections). Neither the law or the family involved are concerned with whether or not the goat (or chickens, dogs, etc) qualify or act as working animals - or about the natural needs/purposes of/for the animal in question. 

The idea of farm animals in urban areas has been a hot topic lately as many urban and suburban neighborhoods are circulating petitions to allow residents to keep chickens for the purpose of fresh laid eggs. University of Maryland Extension sheep and goat expert, Susan Schoenian, points out the separation human beings have had from farm animals and processes and that there is a growing movement back towards that connection. 

But this particular case does not appear to be affiliated with the growing "backyard farmer" movement - which begs the question: What is it that draws human beings to animals? Is it for food? Survival? Companionship? Or a need to nurture? 

To keep up with Snowbird's story,
'like' her Facebook page.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Purple Squirrel

What's better than waking up to find a baby seal has entered your house and snuggled up for a nap on your couch? Not much. But if you happen to love squirrels and have an affinity for all things purple (because it is your niece's favorite color), hearing about a bright-colored, bushy-tailed little fella like this is a pretty nice way to start the day.

Connie Emert, of Jersey Shore, Pa., spotted the purple squirrel dining on bird seed a few times before her husband Percy trapped it on Sunday. Experts at have speculated that the squirrel may have fallen into "some purple ink of purple paint at some point." I suspect the squirrel is nature made because nature is just that awesome. 

Read the full story and listen to the news report here

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Atlantic Sturgeon Officially Endangered

Although fishing for the Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrhychus) has been banned for a decade, the federal government formally acted on a petition from the National Resource Defense Council and declared the prehistoric-looking fish endangered last Tuesday, January 31, 2012.

The fish have been scooped up in commercial gill nets harvesting other species along the East coast and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's fisheries service is hoping to decision will reduce that bycatch. Each year, a few dozen Atlantic sturgeon have shown up in Chesapeake Bay fishermen's nets. So if you catch one by mistake,just toss it right back in.

Read more here and here.