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Michael Pollan: On the Steve Jobs of agriculture
By Tim Carman

Michael Pollan knows how to make tough information easy to swallow.
(Jahi Chikwendiu - WASHINGTON POST)
Michael Pollan may have one of the hardest jobs in the country: trying to encourage Americans to eat better — or at least better understand the current food system and how it has led to a diet that’s slowly making us sick.
The author and activist’s work sometimes leads him away from his computer and to venues like the Strathmore, where late last month he managed to pull off a careful balancing act. Pollan had to explain modern food manufacturing and complex agricultural policies while simultaneously keeping a music hall full of people entertained. He used props from the supermarket (sometimes known as processed foods). He used humor. He even used scare tactics.
On stage, he’s sort of like the Gallagher of the food movement, smashing old concepts instead of old vegetables.
I had a chance to sit down with Pollan for about 40 minutes before his Strathmore talk, which wasn’t nearly enough time to broach all the questions I had for him. Below is an edited excerpt of our conversation, the first of several planned for the All We Can Eat blog.
All We Can Eat: At an earlier stop on your tour, you told a Cleveland audience, “Really intelligent young people are getting into farming. Some will crash and burn, but someone will be the Steve Jobs of agriculture.” What do you imagine the Steve Jobs of agriculture will look like?
Michael Pollan: [Laughs.] I think the challenge is going to be to come up with farming systems that are sustainable, by which I mean don’t require a lot of fossil fuel and that are nevertheless quite intensive. The ability to produce large amounts of food in small spaces.
We have some examples. I think Joel Salatin is a possible contender. Will Allen, the urban farmer who has a very complex system involving fish and greens and other vegetables, where fish waste feeds the greens and the greens clean the water for the fish. So I’m talking about people who can come up with new rotations and new relationships between species to maximize production. I think there is a lot of experimenting going on.
The amazing thing is that it’s done without any help from the government. Very little research money goes into this. It’s just visionary farmers just figuring out how to do it. So I’m not talking about inventing a new vegetable we’re all going to want, but I’m talking about systems, devising innovative systems to use biology to grow food without a lot of fossil fuel inputs.
AWCE: I saw recently that Americans spend about 7 percent of their income on food. By contrast, China spends 33 percent of its income on food, France, 13.5 percent, and Japan, 14.2 percent. Americans seem to have this incapacity to spend more on food. How do you begin to change that?
MP: I think it’s an enormous challenge, because right now cheap food is baked into our economy and our society. It wasn’t always this cheap. When I was a kid, it was 18 percent of our income went to food, twice what it is now, at least. But we, beginning really with the Nixon administration, figured out ways to drive down the cost. This was a matter of agriculture policy and technological breakthroughs.
AWCE: Earl Butz.
MP: Earl Butz, exactly. And coming up with a system that promoted overproduction on the farms, and then that led to all this innovation in processing. How do you take all that cheap corn and soy and turn it into food? Or feedlots: Figuring out how to put animals in these highly concentrated operations and the use of pharmaceuticals that allow that to happen. So that has been the focus of our food system since the ’70s — driving down the cost of food.
We’ve gotten really good at it, but it turns out…that cheap food has enormous costs. In the same period of time that we went from spending 18 percent of our income on food to under 9 percent of our income on food, we’ve gone from spending 5 percent of our national income on health care to 17 percent of our income on health care. So we’re paying for that cheap food with our higher health care costs.
It’s not the whole story, obviously. There are other reasons that health care costs have gone up, but we could trade off spending more money for higher quality food and save enormously on health care costs. But there are no two entities putting those two things together. The government doesn’t put it together. They have agriculture policies that breed a health care crisis that they have to pay for with Medicaid and Medicare. The government operates at cross-purposes. The whole society operates at cross purposes.
AWCE: So how do you put that horse back in the barn?
MP: I don’t know the answer. I really don’t know the answer. I mean, it’s not enough to say we all should pay the true costs of food. We have to give people enough money to pay the true costs of food. It’s a bigger problem than the food movement alone can solve. It’s a social problem.
One of the reasons that Americans tolerated the decline in income from the ’70s to today, in real income…is that food was getting cheaper. People would not have tolerated that if food were getting more expensive or staying the same. So our ingenuity in driving down the costs of food, in the end, has subsidized the decline in wages. So we’re going to have to deal with the wage side, too, if you’re going to make food more expensive.
I mean, there are other things you can do. The government can shift the emphasis of its agricultural policies to make produce more affordable and soda less affordable. Right? Because we’re subsidizing soda right now. We have to align agricultural policy with health policy. That’s the challenge, in a nutshell.
AWCE: As you have mentioned, just cutting the ag subsidies to corn and soy is…
MP: It’s not going to solve the problem.
AWCE: Because a lot of these crops can’t be subsidized. They’re not durable. They don’t have the shelf life.
MP: Right, you can’t subsidize broccoli. A silo full of broccoli would be a compost pile. [Laughs.]
AWCE: A lot of people think, just cut the subsidies and subsidize something else. It doesn’t seem…
MP: It sounds right, you know, we should subsidize what we want to see more of. But the reason we got into subsidizing commodity crops is that they’re storable commodities. That’s the definition. So if you end up with an oversupply of corn, you can put it in a silo for five years, no problem.
If you want to encourage consumption and production of produce, you need to work on the demand side. I think that’s pretty well understood. You have to figure out a way — incentives for produce sections and supermarkets — to get the prices down. Vouchers to food stamp recipients expressly designed to buy produce, which would be very controversial. Food stamps advocates don’t believe there should be any restrictions on what you can buy with food stamps.
But let’s say you had a supplement, a $10-a-month produce supplement with your food stamps. That would do a great deal for moving the needle on American agriculture, and it would do a great deal for health in the population that struggles most with obesity and diabetes.
AWCE: That dovetails with something I wanted to ask you. Rule No. 13 in your recently updated book, “Food Rules,” says: “Shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle.”
MP: [Laughs, anticipating the question.] Did you read that Journal piece? [Note: The story is about food manufacturers wanting to insert their products in the produce aisles.]
AWCE: The Journal piece. To me it was like: For every idea that the food movement comes up with, you’re dealing with a much larger business entity...
MP: And more intelligent. [Laughs.]
AWCE: That says, ‘I can go around this.’ How do you begin to compete with corporate America that can take every idea you, or anyone else in the movement has, and turn it against you?
MP: It’s a great question. Since I’ve been involved in this conversation with the public about how to eat and coming up with rules, there has been time after time where they have figured out a way...to take a rule and turn it into a new marketing campaign for junk food.
Haagen Dazs with their five campaign. I said — and I’m not the first to say this — ‘Don’t buy anything with more than five ingredients.’ They went out and started boasting, and it was the same five ingredients they had before. They didn’t change anything. Tostitos ran a TV ad where this woman picks up a thing that looks like Pringles or something, and she looks at the ingredients and says, “There are more ingredients in these chips than I’m going to have people to dinner.” Then she puts them back, and she takes Tostitos: “Only three ingredients!”
Now this latest thing, where we’ve been celebrating the produce section and the peripheries where you have this real food, so now the package-food people want to get in on that. And they’re very bold about it. They say, “We want the halo that comes with produce.” Well, that’s totally deceptive.
Fortunately, the supermarkets are resisting. They understand they’ve got something special, and the supermarkets are not in the same boat. We can generalize about Big Food, but supermarkets can make money selling many different things. They can make as much money selling fresh produce as they can package goods — and according to some I’ve talked to, even more. So they've got a cash cow in the produce section, and they’re not going to let Kraft [mess] it up. I mean, if they can help it.
So, yeah, the rule about shopping the peripheries is being eroded. What I did on the marketing was added a rule that said... “Don’t buy any foods that you see advertised on TV.” Anybody with that kind of marketing budget is selling packaged foods. Okay, the prune growers sometimes will get it together and get a public service ad on about prunes. The supermarket thing...well, that’s just another argument for going to the farmers market. They haven’t gotten in there yet.

Coming Monday: marketing food to children, the economy’s effect on the food movement and America’s ongoing love for McDonald’s.

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蔬菜對溫度日照條件的要求

蔬菜對溫度日照條件的要求
全日照  8個小時日照 瓜類、茄果類、豆類、山藥、豆薯(地瓜)。番茄、黃瓜、茄子、辣椒等喜溫中、強光性
蔬菜夏秋季生產,玉米、青椒、西瓜、南瓜、西紅柿、茄子、芝麻、向日葵類。
其次是根莖類,如:馬鈴薯、甜菜、胡蘿蔔、白蘿蔔、甘藷、山藥等等。至少需半日照,才能生長,芋頭雖喜歡全日照,但比其他蔬菜耐蔭。 
需要中等光照大白菜、甘藍、芥菜、蒜、洋蔥。 

長日性蔬菜白菜、甘藍、芥菜、蘿蔔、胡蘿蔔、芹菜、菠菜、萵苣、蠶豆、豌豆、大蔥、洋蔥。

短日性蔬菜豇豆、扁豆、莧菜、空心菜。         

中光性蔬菜黃瓜、番茄、茄子、辣椒、菜豆

菜豆

菜豆喜溫暖,不耐高溫和霜凍。菜豆種子發芽的適溫為20-30℃;在40℃以上的高溫和10℃以下的低溫,種子不易發芽。幼苗生長適宜氣溫為18-25℃。花芽分化的適宜氣溫為20-25℃,過高或過低溫度易出現發育不完全的花蕾、落花。

菜豆對光照強度的要求較高。在適宜溫度條件下,光照充足則植株生長健壯,莖的節間短而分枝多,開花結莢比較多,而且有利於根部對磷肥的吸收。當光照強度減弱時,植株易徒長,莖的節間長,分枝少,葉質薄,而且開花結莢數少,易落花落莢。

菜豆根系強大,能耐一定程度乾旱,但喜中度濕潤土壤條件,要求水分供應適中,不耐澇。生長期適宜土壤濕度為田間最大持水量的60%-70%,空氣相對濕度以80%為宜。開花結莢期對水分最敏感,此期土壤乾旱對開花結莢有不良影響,開花數、結莢數及莢內種子數減少。土壤水分過大時,下部葉片黃化,早脫落。空氣濕度過大會引起徒長、結莢不良。

菜豆具有深根性和根瘤菌,對土壤的要求不甚嚴格,但仍以土層深厚肥沃、排水良好的輕砂壤土或粘質壤土為好。土壤過於粘重、低溫、排水和通氣不良則生長不良,炭疽病重。菜豆喜中性至微酸性土壤,適宜的土壤pH為5-7.0,其中以州6.2-6.8最適宜。菜豆最忌連作,生產中應實行2-3年輪作。

菜豆生育過程中,主要吸收鉀和氮較多,還要吸收一定量的磷和鈣,才能良好發育。結莢期吸收磷鉀量較大。磷鉀肥對菜豆植株的生長發育、根瘤菌的發育、花芽分化、開花結莢和種子的發育等均有影響。缺乏磷肥,菜豆嫩莢和種子的品質和產量就會降低。缺鈣,幼葉葉片捲曲,葉緣失綠和生長點死亡。缺硼,則根係不發達,影響根瘤菌固氮,使花和豆莢發育不良。 耐陰半陰(大概3-4小時日照) 應選擇耐陰的蔬菜種植,如萵…

黑檸檬

黑檸檬
Dried lemons are actually limes and are used heavily in Persian Gulf and also Iranian cuisine where they add a strong bitter flavor in addition to sourness. They are made by boiling ripe limes in salt water, and then sun drying until the insides turn black. The outside color varies from tan to black. They are sold whole or ground.

Black Lime is a spice used in Middle Eastern dishes. It is made by boiling fresh lime in salt water and sun drying until the insides turn black. The outside color varies from tan to black. It is sold whole or ground.

黑檸檬實際上是使用萊姆,並且在波斯灣和伊朗料理中被大量使用,除了酸味外,它們還添加了強烈的苦味。它們是利用鹽水煮成熟萊姆,然後曬乾,直到內部變黑。外部顏色從棕褐色變化到黑色。他們可以整顆或切片販售。
黑檸檬是用於中東菜餚的香料。它是通過在鹽水中煮沸新鮮的檸檬並經天然乾燥,直到內部變黑。外觀從棕褐色變成黑色。
USE Black limes are usually used in legume, seafood or meat dishes. They are pierced, peeled or crushed before adding them to the dish. After cooking they become softer and edible. They can also be powdered and added to rice dishes. Powdered black lime is also used as an ingredient in Gulf-…

為何冰箱冷凍室非得是零下18度?

為何冰箱冷凍室非得是零下18度? 不少家庭的冰箱有led面板,可顯示冷藏室和冷凍室溫度。每次看到那個零下18℃,不少人,包括筆者在內就會禁不住提出一個小疑問:為什麼冷凍室溫度非得是零下18℃?最多零下1℃不就結冰了嗎?搞這麼低溫度實在是浪費電呢。

聰明如很多人是這樣推測的

百思不得其解,於是很多人,包括筆者在內就開始推測後面的機制了。冷凍室的零下18℃其實不費電,相反,它是節約電力的一個好措施。為何?

冰箱隔一段時間,內部溫度升高後,它就要啟動壓縮機,嗡嗡嗡的。頻繁啟動壓縮機不僅耗電,冰箱的壽命也會降低,還有就是很吵人。怎麼辦?簡單,先把冷凍室的溫度搞得低低的,比如零下18℃左右。


然後,冷凍室的冷氣往上走,來到冷藏室,如此,就能長時間保持冷藏室的溫度處於0到8℃以內了。

待冷凍室的冷氣散失過多,溫度升高到零下幾度時,再啟動冰箱的壓縮機把溫度再次降到零下18℃,如此,冰箱的啟動次數就變少了。

實際是這樣嗎?很遺憾,不是。

原因之一:不一樣的水

水到零度以下就結冰了,這是絕大多數人的認識。然而仔細一想,這不適用於冰箱的冷凍室。因為冷凍室存放的不是上百升礦泉水,而是各種各樣的食物。

食物中含有大量水這沒錯,但這些水同時含有大量的鹽、糖等物質。就像每1升海水中大約含有35克鹽,所以平均起來,要到零下1.33℃時海水才會結冰。

因此,要想把食物凍結,並不是溫度只要達到水的冰點就可以,得保證足夠低的溫度,食物中的水才能凍結,這很重要,因為食物中只要有液態水存在,這就等於是為各種細菌的繁殖提供了必備條件。

圖為牛肉薄片在不同溫度和不同時間內測得的牛肉中凍結水量的曲線。

當牛肉薄片的溫度為零下4℃時,只有70%的水分被凍結;溫度下降到零下9℃左右時,也還有3%的水分未凍結;即使牛肉薄片的溫度降低到零下18℃時,也不是100%的水分都被凍結住。

原因之二:嗜冷微生物

根據微生物對不同溫度的適應範圍,可將微生物分為三大類,嗜熱菌、嗜溫菌和嗜冷菌。在食物的冷藏和冷凍過程中,我們面對的「敵人」是嗜溫菌和嗜冷菌。

一般來說,能引起食物腐敗和食物致毒的嗜溫菌,在低於3 ℃情況下不產生毒素,當然,個別菌種例外。

而對於嗜冷菌,一般得在零下10 ℃到零下12 ℃時才會停止生長。

有的黴菌甚至要到零下15~零下18 ℃時才會停止生長。

瞧,我們以為,零下幾攝氏度後微生物就被殺死或停止繁殖了,但…