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First Aired - 08/30/2010 12:00PM Download MP3 (Full Episode)
Hosted By
Nat
Sponsored by
Fairway
This week on The Naturalist Bernie sits down with Alex Bolesta, Ariana Rickard, Chin-Li Yan, and Pierre Bull for a discussion on silk and the incredible creatures that make them: silk worms. The secret of silk's origin was kept secret for literally thousands of years, and not without purpose, for silk is stronger and tougher than tensile steel, and a piece of silk the size of a pencil could hold a 747. Tune in for a group discussion on how a tiny little worm can build fortunes and yet is still kept as pets in China. This episode was sponsored by Fairway: like no other market.

Photos: Silkworms in their various stages

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Silkworm Silk (17:29)
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Ariana Rickaio, Silkworm Nursery at the AMNH, Alex Bolesta, Chin-Li Yan raises silkworms, The Silk Road, live silk worms at the exhibit, a silk worm is not a worm but an insect, native to Asia, spins a cocoon of very fine and strong silk, the tiny point protects the heart, some people say silk worms are blind, lots of kids in China grow silk worms as pets and buy them in the grocery store, you also need mulberry leaves, a park ranger at Inwood Hill said a hundred years ago NYC tried to import lots of silk worms and mulberry trees from Asia but grew them outside instead of indoors and they died, but now we have a lot of mulberry trees in Inwood, the pioneers in Utah were encouraged to plant mulberry trees and silk worms to be self-sufficient, the Mormons are very industrious, most common color of cocoons are white, first life stage of worm is egg where the larvae develop, they stay inside the cocoon as a pupae, when the silkworms hatch out you can barely even see them, they multiply their weight ten thousand times in ten weeks, their silk glands are modified salivary glands, they move their head in a figure eight pattern to get the liquid silk out, when the liquid comes into contact with air it turns to silk, gravitiy pulls the silk out not Spiderman Style, stronger than steel, there is a difference between cocoons and moths, there are a lot of Taiwanese legends about Silk Worms, Shi Ling Tsu, a catholic priest brought a catholic priest into Europe and broke the thousand year old secret of silk, 5,000 year old industry, Whole Foods Market,
Spider Silk (25:23)
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Spider silk, Golden Silk Orb Weaver, they use the silk to make webs rather than cocoon, spider silk is 2x stronger than silk worm silk and the same strength as tensile steel, strength is a measure of how much stress the material can take before breaking, toughness refers to the amount of energy a material can absord before breaking, both types of silk consist of protein chains, small chemical differences between the two account for color, the strenght comes from the physical difference between the two (the way the proteins link together etc), theres a lot of interest in using spider silk in the biomedical field and defense technology (bullet proof vests!), there have been attempts in the past to bring back classic silk making, there is an 11ft by 4ft tapestry made entirely of Golden Orb Weaver Silk, 1 million spiders made the tapestry, they were caught in the wild, chandedlier made of silk worm cocoons, 12,000 cocoons arranged around lights, the length of the strand depends on how much they have been eating, ten cocoons unraveled would be higher than Mt. Everest, it takes pounds and pounds of cocoons to make silk, it takes 630 cocoons to make a silk shirt, they unravel the cocoons then weave them, the weaving is mechanical, lots of website provide information about raising silk worms and selling them, Silk Worm Naming Project, naming silk worms after your friends on facebook, silk worm joke!, silk is used for surgery, spider silk the thickness of a pencil could hold up a 747 jet,

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First Aired - 08/09/2010 01:00PM Download MP3 (Full Episode)
Hosted By
Eat-your-words
Sponsored by
Wfm
This week on Let's Eat In Cathy sat down with Sherri Brooks Vinton, author of the preserving guide "Put ‘em Up!: A Comprehensive Home Preserving Guide for the Creative Cook from Drying and Freezing to Canning and Pickling". Sherri offered some very knowing advice on the sometimes scary prospect of pickling and canning, a kitchen process that does not offer the same room for improvisation as others. Learn how to make the bounty of summer last into the deep dark winter months! This episode was sponsored by Whole Foods Market.

Sherri Brooks Vinton

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Let's Eat In, Cathy Erway, Heritage Radio Network, farm friendly llc, chief's collaborative, women's chief and restauranteurs association, Put Em Up: a comprehensive home preserving guide, home gardening and growing edibles is very popular, some people may have too much of some stuff and want to save it, in the Northeast we need to save up for later when things get dismal, Cathy sees eggplants, Mardi Gras Dubloons, eggplant cucumbers and carrots, gold green and purple, pickling things together means the flavors meld and you need less to fill a jar, you have to stick to the recipe when you're canning, being a mad scientist means you're less shelf-stable, refrigerator pickle, drying herbs, drying string beans, leather britches, dried string beans are leathery so they're good in a casserole or stew, dried sweet corn, sofrito, pear butter, sauerkraut, don't use a metal pot to make sauerkraut, aluminum is a reactive metal so the high acid can make pickled thing taste weird, make sure the cabbage is submerged under the liquid or it will oxidize and turn brown, adding brine is OK when making sauerkraut, the liquid creates and airtight seal, non-submerged cabbage will ROT and not ferment!, cold packing, lacto-fermentation can be scary but is not the scariest thing, botulism, botulism needs a very airless non acidic environment to grow, fermenting is not airless so it won't kill you even if it goes bad, The Real Food Revival, sustainable agriculture, a network of informed eaters and chefs has exploded since 2005, go out there and make friends with your local farmer!, a motorcycle ride coast to coast, experiencing new cultures through their food, the iconic vision of the heartland, 4H clubs, a lot of fries and not a lot of farms, just corn and soy were popular mid-country and they're the building blocks of processed food, an underground network of farmers and eaters, Jimmy's 43,
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Sheri's kitchen looks like a mad scientist's lab, fermenting drying and percolating, you can reap a lot from just a little work, making kimchee is non-active and you can get a lot from a little work, orange marmalade has a reputation of being prissy and proper but is really minor in terms of work, having a shelf full of things you've made is great, homemade pear sauce, ginger pickled peaches, bread and butter pickles, adding a dab of jam to salad dressing with oil and vinegar, was preserving part of Sheri's upbringing?, Eastern Europeans have a great tradition of preserving, the whiff of brine when going the LES, garlic pickles, dill pickles, carroway seeds in sauerkraut, modern recipes are important when you have NOT been taught by your grandma because there are so many traditional methods, family recipes are more learned than written, some preserving methods are not as safe as others and aren't as foolproof, use kosher salt not iodized salt!, salt is really important in fermenting recipes but is just a flavoring when canning, a stigma of preserved foods is that they're too salty or too sugary, Pamona's Universal Pectin allows scaling of sugar, most pectins require LOTS of salt, Agua Fresca, you can freeze agua fresca, the first step to creating jelly is making agua fresca, the difference between a jam and fruit preserves, Sheri cannot grow anything in the garden, you don't have to grow food to preserve food!, ask your farmer for flats or bushels or pecs, pickled beets will last for up to a year on your shelf, always get your produce directly from the farmer, using grocery store produce won't work because its not fresh off the vine so its not coated in wax and far from the peak of flavor,

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First Aired - 05/16/2010 12:00PM Download MP3 (Full Episode)
Hosted By
The-main-course
Sponsored by
Fairway
This week on The Main Course, Patrick & Katy are joined by Angela Miller, Manny Howard & Ron Silver. Angela & Manny talk about their farming discoveries, and Ron discusses how Bubby's came to be and what he thinks of local ingredients.
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Erica De Mane, Joy Harris, The Miller Agency, Hay Fever: How Chasing a Dream on a Vermont Farm Changed My Life, Consider Barnwell Farm, cheesemaking, Union Square Cafe, Peter Dixon, goat cheese, how did the farm come to life?, they wanted to make pure food for the community, Chris Gray, farmers markets, how has her life as a literary agent influenced her?, she helped writers nurture their careers, farmer has made her a sharper agent, you have to make quick decisions as a farmer, publishing can be very polite, she has learned to be a lot more direct, be positively constructive, make a decision and get on with the work, they enlisted the local inspectors for help, Sullivan County, goats milk cheese, aged goats cheese, Peter has created a product line of four goat cheeses and four cow cheeses, partner farm, Jersey Girls, opting to get your hands dirty, Chester County, cheese mobile, learning regulations, young people who want to set out and farm without financial support could benefit from a mobile unit, to achieve artistry you need to constantly consult, tastings, cheese councils, understanding seasonal components of the milk, monitor the fat, customers want to buy the flavor they got last time, you can get Consider Barnwell anywhere in the northeast, internet sales, American Cheese Society, Anne Saxelby, Saxelby Cheesemongers,
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Ron Silver, Bubby's Restaurant Bar-Bakery, Japanese love American nostalgia, they love pie, who doesn't love pie?, Admiral Perry, Yokohama, Japanese cuisine is the most refined in the world, amazing detail, French Culinary Institute, looking for sources for good farming in America is a challange, in Japan most of the ingredients are incredible, the concept of commodity farming does not exist there, warehouse farming boom, bento box, nachos, pump your own cheese, they used to be an amazing snack, Howard Cosell, gumbo houses, Louisana, great burger town, pastrami burger, New York City Food Film Festival, George Motz, Hamburger America, celebrating food and recipes, Ron started Bubby's as a pie company in 1990, Ron wanted to be in the Pillsbury bake off, $25,000 prize money,
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Manny Howard, My Empire of Dirt: How One Man Turned His Big-City Backyard into a Farm, Manny has a severed finger from farming, from a table saw, we now think about what we eat more than ever before, local doesn't mean best, Yemen, turning a backyard into a farm, Manny used to write for magazines, it cost $11,000 to transform his backyard into a farm, 800 square feet, 20 x 40, Flatbush, being a farmer is like being a doctor without having a medical degree, collared greens, eggplant, squash, onions, he needed to have animals on the farm for the shock factor and media attention, New York Magazine, mosquitoes, the backyard wasn't even usable before he made a farm, hydroponic equipment, rabbits,

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