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Three farms, one dinner [VIDEO]

On a recent visit to San Francisco, we had the great pleasure of preparing dinner with Samin Nosrat of the famed Tartine Bakery. While it doesn't regularly operate as a restaurant, once a month the bakery closes and Nosrat throws an epic dinner party. For this special after-hours event, we harvested ingredients from a diverse group of farms that showcase the bounty of the Bay Area: Riverdog Farm, Sunny Slope Orchard, and Pluck and Feather. Watch the delicious results:

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Sea-urchin fishing, crab tacos, and the delicious rewards of hard work [VIDEO]

Its not every day that you meet someone like Jason Woods. He is one of those people who would succeed at whatever he tried. In his case, he has loved to fish ever since he was a young boy. Over the years, he's tried his hand at most styles of commercial fishing and found his current setup to be the most humane. Jason doesn't waste anything; bycatch is not a part of his process. On many fishing operations, hundreds or thousands of pounds of fish will be killed or discarded in order to catch a few. With Jason, he hand-selects …

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Twins' desert solitaire with organic veggies [VIDEO]

Talk about your desert solitaire: We weren't sure what to expect when we drove 12 miles into a canyon in Utah to meet 70-year-old twins who live off the grid, grow organic vegetables, and give tours of the hidden Anasazi ruins carved into red rock. I've spent years pursuing pioneers and sages of organic food, but Bill and Bob Stone are among the most interesting people I have ever met. We spent two days with the brothers, sharing the rich life they've carved from the heart of the desert.

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Foraging in the Land of Enchantment [VIDEO]

After a turbulent hog-hunt in Texas, I'm happy to slow it down with a man who I aspire to be: John Duncan lives and camps out of his truck, but he also lectures on foraging for wild greens and mountain subsistence for the University of New Mexico. Wash off your city pressures and follow me as I join Duncan on a peaceful yet no-less-exciting search for the flavors of the montane forest:

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Hunting feral pigs in Texas [VIDEO]

Forget Porky Pig and Miss Piggy: In Texas, nonnative feral pigs are not looked fondly upon. There are millions, they breed rapidly, and each year they cause millions of dollars in damage to the agriculture industry and property. Plus, they trash natural ecosystems and threaten native species with their voracious appetite. The answer so far in Texas is to hunt them in any way possible -- even from helicopters. The long-term answer may lie in a balanced ecosystem, or perhaps by making it easier to sell their meat. But until then, they'll keep solving the problem with an old-fashioned, Texas-style …

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Ed Glaeser: Locally grown produce can shove it

Ed Glaeser, everyone's favorite urban economist, loves density and (he says) local, seasonal oysters. But he also says that, as a rule, locally grown produce can shove it, because in all cases density > any other public policy goal. Glaeser argues that urban farms will lead to less dense cities, which will increase the world's carbon emissions. Here's his math: Today, about 250 million Americans live on the 60 million acres of this country that are urban — which is about four people per acre. By contrast, America uses 442 million acres for cropland and 587 million acres for pastureland, …

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Supporting mom-and-pop stores in food deserts

The Obama administration's initiative to fight food deserts will help, not harm, mom-and-pop stores.Photo: arbyreedGary Nabhan and Kelly Watters are right that it will take a diversity of new and expanded fresh food stores to truly solve the crisis of inadequate access to healthy food in many low-income areas. Small grocery stores, farmers markets, and expanded convenience stores are all part of a comprehensive, sustainable solution to this challenge. But Nabhan and Watters miss the mark significantly when they assert that the $330 million federal Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) -- backed by the Obama administration and a bipartisan coalition …

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Hungry for catfish? Stick out your hand [VIDEO]

You gotta love Mississippi: It's a land of traditions, where tamales are popular and sticking your hand in a giant catfish's mouth is a reasonable way to catch it. We experienced both on our way through the piney woods and rivers of the Magnolia State. Mississippi lived up to its other nickname -- the Hospitality State -- when we showed up at another stranger's house and were welcomed by a bounty of southern hospitality and catfish. The actual act of noodling (or hand grabbin', hand fishin', etc.) for catfish is illegal elsewhere -- until recently, you'd earn a misdemeanor in …

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What a hoe! — and other secrets of an orderly garden

Lookin' sharp!Can you keep a secret? I think I'm in love. The object of my affection is about 5'4", slender, and she's the sharpest tool in the shed. Did I mention she's a redhead? I've taken her out twice now, and we danced around the garden like we were made for each other. I'm talking, of course, about my new stirrup hoe. Equally enamoring is our new low tunnel -- a temporary structure made of curved metal and special fabric that lets light and water in. My partner, Brian, keeps exclaiming, "How did we ever grow anything without a low …

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Great places, great food (and beer): part two

You can't have a great place without great beer.In part one of my musings on food and "great places," I painted a bleak picture of the U.S. food landscape: one in which a handful of companies churn out mountains of low-quality food, competing not to see who can put out the best product, but rather to see who can most deftly and deeply slash costs. The fixation on cost-cutting gives rise to all manner of dysfunctions, including the erasure of skilled food trades like that of the butcher and the rise of a vast, low-wage, low-skill army of food-system workers. …