Turkish Tales: A Food History Odyssey

Nena BreakfastThe last day leaving Turkey was certainly bittersweet. I was sent off with great fanfare by the staff at Hotel Nena with my last scrumptious Turkish breakfast. Grilled eggplant, olive tapenade, salty feta cheese, and sesame bread adorned my plate. Speeding away from the old city of Sultanahmet   I reminisced on the amazing array of food I have enjoyed during my visit. How integral that food is to the history of ten thousand years of humanity. I am certain I have tasted the spirit of cultures stretching back many centuries, well before written history. Agriculture played an instrumental role in this region throughout the ages, beginning with the first humans planting seeds in Western Anatolia, now the high plains of Turkey. This unique Turkish odyssey embodies the very history of food and agriculture, and the flavors of delectable Middle Eastern-Mediterranean cuisine. Continue reading

Turkish Tales – IFOAM World Congress

IFOAMMy early morning taksi (taxi) takes me across the bridge from Asia into Europe across the great Bosphorous River. My excitement is barely contained at the thought of a World Organic Congress! This is the IFOAM’S 18th Organic World Congress, convened every three years by the global organic community. Lucky for me, this year Istanbul is the host city, with its delicious backdrop of tastes and flavors!  Continue reading

Turkish Tales – An Organic Odyssey

Istanbul Blue MosqueI arrive in Turkey for the IFOAM conference late on a Saturday, nearly on the other side of the world. I have landed in the ancient city of Istanbul, once Constantinople as named by the great ruler Constantine. The formidable walls that protected the city for 1,000 years are now crumbling. They tumble into the Sea of Marmara, along with restaurants and homes. Groups of men huddle around fires beneath the ancient stones for warmth and camaraderie. It is exotic and beautiful.  My driver takes an abrupt turn off the main road and suddenly we negotiate small winding cobblestone streets, never intended for vehicles. As we twist and turn through the maze of ageless buildings, I wonder how I will ever find my way in this labyrinth. The hotel at last and I finally go to sleep after a full twenty-four hours of travel. Continue reading

Eat Real, Get Real, Why Food Day is a return to our roots

Organic farmGrowing up in Iowa in an era much simpler and much more naïve, we did not have one “food day”. Real food was as much a part of our lives every day as the great seasons that rolled across the prairie. My German grandparents lived next door and cultivated a garden instead of grass for a backyard. Arbors of succulent concord grapes defined rows of string beans, tomatoes and sweet corn. My grandfather was in charge of the growing while my grandmother commanded the preserving, basting, baking and pickling! Pretty much everything we ate every day was real, local and organic. How else would one eat? Continue reading

Non GMO-Month heralds a David and Goliath battle!

Non-GMO infographic_lgAs I head off to the IFOAM Conference in Istanbul, I reflect that October is celebrated as Non-GMO Month. Celebrate we should, the Non-GMO Project has made many remarkable gains. Annual sales of products carrying the Non-GMO Project Verified seal now total more than $8.5 billion, growing more than 20% annually!  My local New Leaf Store in Santa Cruz is one of more than 2,000 retailers who are participating in the celebration, bringing awareness and eliminating the presence of GMO ingredients in our food supply. Continue reading