Organic Food

Organic chemistry

Despite its Horizon brand, dairy giant Dean Foods really doesn’t get organic

Dean Foods is by far the largest U.S. dairy processor. According to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Dean processes 40 percent of fluid milk consumed in the U.S., which it distrubutes in a dizzying array of brands. Its dominance extends to organic milk, too — Dean’s Horizon brand is the largest supplier of organic milk. Dean’s Horizon organic milk generates plenty of controversy. For years, Horizon has been sparring with the watchdog group Cornucopia over its farming practices, like use of conventionally raised heifers on its certified-organic farms. Cornucopia also goes after Dean for putting additives in its “organic” products. The …

WELCOME TO PORTLANDIA

Your guide to a great green weekend in Portland

Portland’s swanky Sapphire Hotel.Photo: Sarah Gilbert Can you think of a greener city than Portland? Nope, didn’t think so. The City of Roses occupies a warm, squishy spot in the hearts of many a biker, climate hawk, and nature-lovah. We asked you to share your fave local breweries, organic cafés, and green hangouts, and compiled your best ideas into a car-free guide to a great green weekend in Portland. Friday night Click to enlargeFrom the Amtrak or Greyhound station, arm yourself with $2.05 and follow these directions to the Portland Hawthorne Hostel (they work if you’re coming from the airport …

Thank you very mulch

Bayview Greenwaste provides fertile ground for San Francisco’s urban agriculture revolution

Just a few years ago, they were abandoned freeways, dilapidated back yards, and institutional dumping grounds. But today, thanks to San Francisco’s urban agriculture renaissance, many of these pockets of underutilized land are being transformed. And one local company — Bayview Greenwaste — is playing a key role, by transforming waste into mulch, and giving it away. The city’s largest agricultural experiment to date may be the Hayes Valley Farm, which is growing on the former site of a freeway ramp. The ramp was demolished, but the lot sat empty for years as development funding wilted in the recession. Then, …

DIY Culture

Ask Umbra on making yogurt at home, with or without electricity

Send your question to Umbra! Q. Dear Umbra, I bought a yogurt maker in Germany eight years ago that consists of a glass jar and a sturdy styrofoam container. It cost about $20, works wonderfully, and doesn’t require electricity. Why can’t I find a similar product in the U.S.? KatherineCupertino, CA DIY that’s easy to digest.Photo: Johnny StilettoA. Dearest Katherine, It’s not every day someone writes to ask a homemade yogurt question. DIY yogurt has some hippie stigma around it. It’s as if yogurt-making is something only crunchy types who make their own granola do. (Also an unfortunate stigma, as homemade …

Pick your poison

What doesn’t kill you makes you gourmet

Editor’s note: The following essay and map are excerpted from Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas and are republished with permission by UC Press as part of Grist’s California agriculture series, an exploration of the people, farms, and issues shaping the state. Click for a larger version. The Bay Area is a tale of two valleys, places that call up very different associations. Napa Valley is the opposite of Silicon Valley, or likes to think so. Napa Valley is how the region is marketed, as upscale, arcadian, sensual, and leisurely; Silicon Valley is its other face, hectic, disembodied, corporate, and …

Now that's Italian!

Reinventing the supermarket: How New York’s Eataly falls short

Eataly is nice, but there’s still plenty of room left to reinvent the supermarket.Photo: Samantha DeckerThe American supermarket experience hasn’t changed much in a half century. It’s basically a connect-the-dots problem each consumer solves differently: How do you get in, get the things on your list, avoid those annoying people with the slow-moving carts, and get out as swiftly as possible?  In the process of solving the puzzle, we all get to know the commercial topography of our chief foraging zones very well: dairy, meat, breakfast cereals, canned soups. But then this: We get to the end of our shopping …

Thou shalt not commit food adulteration

Ask Umbra Book Club: The history of ‘adulterated’ food and gross-food urban legends

Give us this day our daily bread, as long as we know what went into it.Photo: LaCheryl PorterDearest readers, Last week, we kicked off our discussion of Bill Bryson’s At Home: A Short History of Private Life. You can catch up here. Let’s move our conversation into what is perhaps the heart of a house: its kitchen. And let’s talk about a touchy subject: food adulteration. No, not “food adultery.” (I’m not quite sure what that would be, although it sounds kinda titillating.) Food adulteration — the tainting of food with dangerous and disgusting additives — was something of a …

Pleased to meat you

Turning cows into steaks: inside a mid-scale slaughterhouse [VIDEO]

Photo: Kate SommersThere are many levels of animal eaters, farmers, and processors in this country. Even among the green-minded, we have passionate vegans and rampant paleo-style carnivores. There are those who support large farms for their efficiency, and those who want every farm to have only an acre of produce, a cow, and five chickens. As for meat processing, nearly everyone is freaked out for one reason or another. Most of us hate industrial meat processing; others fret that small-scale operations are dying out. Lorentz Meats is on the small side, but it’s growing. The small-is-beautiful types think Lorentz is …

Got 2.7 seconds?

We've devised the world's shortest survey to find out what kind of actions our readers are taking. You know you want to.

×