Sunday Open Thread: Coffee and the Farmer's Market

There is little news being reported other than Republicans, and I'm not interested in them.

What's left? I finally made the switch yesterday from a drip brewer to a single serve coffee maker with pods. I should have done it a year ago. I forgot what fresh coffee tastes like. If you haven't switched yet, and you make coffee only for yourself every morning, try it. I was afraid the coffee would taste like instant or be too weak or not hot enough. All false. It's great and fast and no pot or filter to clean. I got the Keurig Special Edition B60.

Second new thing I did: I wanted to hear BTD on the radio on Sirius yesterday, which meant driving somewhere, but what's open at 9 am on a Saturday morning? The local Farmer's market. I am so tired of grocery store tomatoes. Even their heirlooms have little taste. Our farmer's market was excellent -- aside from tomatoes with real flavor, I got sweet onions that were picked hours before I bought them, Olathe corn on the cob and Pallisades peaches and the best melons I've had in years. Yes, Whole Foods has them too, but not as fresh. Go early and skip the crowds.

I'd rather write about the news, but for now I'm not seeing anything interesting, so here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    Coffee (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by cenobite on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 01:20:33 PM EST
    I roast my own, and there's three tastes your coffee should never have: bitter, burnt or grassy.

    Bitter means over extracted, and that's the most common mistake people make. Always use at least 2 coffee measures (which are 2 tablespoons each) of ground coffee per 6 ounces of water. I'm guessing that the popularity of the pod machines is that they guarantee the right ratio of coffee to water.

    Burnt means over roasted (see "Charbucks"). I never ever roast coffee past the second crack, because I don't like it to taste like charcoal. Coffee should be sweet without sugar, and if yours isn't, you're doing something wrong.

    Grassy means under roasted, and this is rare nowadays, but try a cup of any mass produced old-style canned coffee, and there's a good chance you'll taste this. It's a sour, nasty taste.

    I use a Behmor 1600 roaster, but you don't need a purpose-built roaster, I started with a whirly-pop popcorn popper with a thermometer in it. I roast 8 ounces at time (which turns into about 6 ounces roasted) and that lasts me about 2 or 3 days.

    To make my coffee, I use an AeroPress. Direct contact brewing like a french press, no solids like drip, fast so there's no over extraction.

    That's really cool (none / 0) (#68)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 08:40:05 PM EST
    Where do you get your unroasted beans?

    My garden plot is my farmer's market (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by scribe on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 01:43:02 PM EST
    I managed this spring to get a plot, about 15 x 25, in a local community garden.  This plot hadn't been worked a year or two, so after turning it with a shovel it needed 6 or 7 passes with a roto-tiller to bust up the weeds and get the weed roots loose and out of the way.  Then it was raking and working in some fertilizer and peat moss.  I had planted heirloom tomatoes inside to get them started early - spring comes late here - and green peppers, too.  When it was time, I transplanted them out, and planted onions, 4 or so kinds of lettuce, some beans, and loads of herbs.  It took a while, but they're finally coming in.

    My first tomato came ripe two weeks ago.  It never made it more than 6 feet from the plant where it grew because I ate it like an apple, fresh and sun-warm.  I'm getting one or two a day, enough for my use and occasional delivery to friends.  My lettuce - leafy varieties - is doing fabulously, yielding me large salads daily.  The beans are well on their way to a harvest, the herbs are lining up for a bountiful harvest, and the onions and peppers will be ready soon.

    And I can avoid the high cost of trucked-in supermarket produce.

    I like having a garden.   You should get one, too.  It's a useful, valuable skill to have for when things go to crap.

    Community garden. Great idea. (none / 0) (#47)
    by easilydistracted on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 01:52:41 PM EST
    Do you have to rent this plot or does the community gardners just exchange veggies?

    Rent (none / 0) (#74)
    by scribe on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 07:57:13 AM EST
    It's like $30 for the year.

    The folks who run the plot - an all volunteer operation - set aside a double plot for the locak soup kitchen so, when you get more seedlings of whatever than you need or can give away, they go in there and help support the soup kitchen with tomatoes, beets, chard, you name it.

    People do trade among themselves - lettuce for cucumbers and the like.


    Have enough land for my own (none / 0) (#69)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 08:47:28 PM EST
    Here's my list this year:

    Tomatoes, potatoes (3 kinds), onions, leeks, French filet beans, lima beans, peas, rhubarb, carrots, beets, brussels sprouts, broccoli, canteloupe, butternut winter squash, zucchini, artichoke, plus basil, thyme, rosemary.  (Much of this lot ends up going into storage or the freezer for winter eating.)

    Plus a small strawberry bed, a huge row of red raspberries, golden raspberries (courtesy of some wandering critter who'd apparently been into somebody's compost pile), an old-fashioned McIntosh tree and a couple of pear trees that produce small hard fruit that never actually seems to ripen on or off the tree (Not seckels!), which I'm going to try cooking this year and see if it helps.

    Growing your own food is one of the most intensely satisfying things you can do, IMO.


    Brew, drip, grind, whatever method (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by DFLer on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 08:07:12 PM EST
    Please buy Fair Trade coffee. Most co-ops sell it.
    It's important. I'm not sure if everyone's favorites listed above are Fair Trade or not.

    Amen to that (none / 0) (#70)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 08:50:23 PM EST
    and shade-grown, too, if possible.  (Much of the Fair Trade stuff is also both organic and shade grown.)

    Monoculture sun-grown coffee plantations put in place after clear-cutting woodlands are having a devastating effect on "our" birds, many of which spend the winter there but don't survive because they can't find enough to eat when their habitat is replaced by these plantations in which nothing much grows or lives.


    Iowa? Indiana? What's (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 08:56:26 AM EST
    the difference?  I keep seeing headline re stage collapsing @ Iowa State Fair?  But it was Indiana. (I think; but, what do I know?  Am @ an UNESCO World Heritage Site fjiord.  Who knew a fjiord could have such an appellation?)

    What's your brew of choice for the Keurig? (none / 0) (#2)
    by easilydistracted on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 09:11:12 AM EST

    I know this was directed to Jeralyn, but we have (none / 0) (#20)
    by Angel on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 11:26:01 AM EST
    the Keurig pot.  I drink the Bigelows Green Tea most mornings.  For coffee we like Tully's Kona blend - extra bold, Van Houtte Kenya - dark, Timothy's Italian blend, and the Donut House extra bold with a shot of half and half.  Yum!

    Tully's Kona blend (none / 0) (#26)
    by easilydistracted on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 12:03:30 PM EST
    X bold -- good choice. Enjoy while we can; I read that some sort of beetle is destroying the Kona crop.

    We had to backorder it a couple of months ago (none / 0) (#56)
    by Angel on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 05:25:20 PM EST
    but I didn't know why.  Let's hope they can eradicate those beetles.  

    So far (none / 0) (#32)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 12:43:39 PM EST
    The Barista Prima Columbia -- and the Green Mountain (except for Nantucket.)

    One of the reasons I got the Keurig was because Starbucks is switching to K-cups and Green Mountain this fall (it dropped the T-disks) and I want to be able to use Starbucks.

    I can't quite get used to not having to empty the drip filter and clean the coffee pot -- I feel guilty it's so easy.


    Starbucks Komodo Dragon Blend (none / 0) (#38)
    by easilydistracted on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 01:04:50 PM EST
    in a K-Cup...Hmm.

    I love our Keurig (none / 0) (#42)
    by rdandrea on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 01:22:02 PM EST
    But we both drink decaf and there's a pitifully small number of choices for extra bold decaf on the Keurig site.  Of the existing choices, we're partial to Tully's French Roast Extra Bold, Green Mountain Dark Magic Extra Bold, and Donut Shop Extra Bold.

    Extra Bold is important if you use the "Mug" setting of the Keurig as it puts more water through the K-Cup.  If you use the small cup setting, Extra Bold is not necessary.

    My favorite was VanHoutte's medium roast extra bold decaf, but they don't even show it on the VanHoutte site anymore.  The VanHoutte's decaf they have on the Keurig site in its place is not extra bold and tastes a lot like dishwater.

    You might consider getting one or two of these if there are specific coffees you like that are not available in K-Cups (not affiliated with the company).  They work much better than the Keurig My K-Cup, which leaks all over the place.  You just need to make sure the coffee you use is coarse ground.  They clean easily once cool.

    We keep a Brita Pitcher in the fridge and fill the Keurig with it instead of tap water.  Takes out the chlorine taste from the water.


    The loneliness that is demanded of mastery (none / 0) (#3)
    by Dadler on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 09:25:36 AM EST
    That's the final line from Llorca's THE NOVEL SOUND, as good a piece of acid jazz as you'll ever hear. Bippity boppity boo. (LINK)

    Headed to Castle Rock State Park for a little bouldering with young Dadler.  Have a good one, y'all.

    Fresh food is great. (none / 0) (#4)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 09:25:38 AM EST
    Over the years especially at sea I always have had ready access to fresh fish though not usually fresh vegetables or fruits.  We  encouraged fishing from the vessels for that purpose though it had to be regulated as to when and where.

    Near a harbor of course there were many opportunities of all kind, fish and produce.

    Near where I currently live, I have noticed a farmers market in the parking lot of a store front church (once a grocery store) so that it is large.  They have good produce and are close by.

    Anyway that reminds me of some stories my mom told of her brother, my uncle, when he came back from WWII.

    After he got off the boat, he went to a small grocery store near the harbor and bought fruit and vegetables (not the cooking kind) and sat on the curb in front of the store in his dress uniform and with his bag beside him and ate them.

    When he came to mom's for a meal one day, momma had set a wonderful table with the silver and all, and of course then in the South there was little air conditioning, just fans, and a fly buzzed over the dinning room table causing mom great concern as she tried to shoo it away, and my Uncle just raised his hand for her to sit down, and smiled and said something like 'not to worry, what's a little fly.'

    Keurig looks a little too handsome (none / 0) (#5)
    by brodie on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 09:45:46 AM EST
    Bodum French press I have produces great coffee.  Key is recently processed beans ground just right, just before brewing.  Anything much fancier than that raises the expectation bar too high.

    With Jeralyn on the farmers market -- fresh organic produce plus a place to meet friends and neighbors on the weekend.  Ours has a delightful Euro cafe-market setup.

    I'm not a big coffee drinker (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by andgarden on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 10:01:45 AM EST
    but everything I've read says that you produce the best coffee by grinding medium roast arabica beans immediately before brewing, that you brew at the right temperature, and that you do NOT attempt to keep the coffee hot with an external heat source.

    Cold brew coffee, which I have tried, is excellent. It's much lower in acid, tastes the way the coffee smells, and keeps in the fridge for two weeks.


    From my years ... (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 11:46:56 AM EST
    as a lowly PA, when you made excellent coffee or got chewed out six ways to Sunday, I learned the key to make coffee people rave about:

    A spotlessly clean system and very cold water.

    You have those two things and people will rave about your coffee even if you're using the cheapest beans.  You neglect those things even slightly and you'll get complaints even if you're using the most expensive blend money can buy.


    That's interesting about (none / 0) (#60)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 08:24:50 PM EST
    the super-cold water.  I'll give that a try.

    I'm happy with my coffee (small local roaster, organic, fair trade, equal exchange, shade grown, etc., etc., etc.), but I generally end up using room temp water.  I'll try running it longer and getting it really cold.



    We buy Eight O'Clock French Roast (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Peter G on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 12:10:24 PM EST
    whole beans (in the big bag), store them in an airtight container, and grind each morning what we intend to consume.  We make the coffee by pouring boiling water slowly through it in a Melitta filter cone.  If we could afford it regularly, rather than as an occasional treat, we'd buy our coffee instead from our old friends who own Halama Farms on the Big Island of Hawa'ii.  They grow unbelievable Kona coffee by hand, the best we've ever tasted.

    Using a Melitta suggests that you know (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by andgarden on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 12:26:51 PM EST
    what you're doing. I'm surprised you use a French Roast, though. Most coffee experts find it to be basically burnt.

    Oh, yes, and as Robot says, (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Peter G on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 01:33:44 PM EST
    a clean pot makes a world of difference in the taste.  The secret to a clean coffee pot, as I learned from a friend of a friend years ago, is to wash it by hand, not with soap or detergent, but with a small shake of baking soda and a little warm water.  The baking soda neutralizes the acid that adheres to the glass or metal, contributing significantly to bitterness.  (Same goes for coffee mugs and wine glasses, btw.)

    What do I care about "coffee experts"? (none / 0) (#39)
    by Peter G on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 01:13:27 PM EST
    And why should I?  Having tried several different varieties, we like the French Roast. Not too light, not too dark.  For us, that is.

    Hey if you like it, great (none / 0) (#40)
    by andgarden on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 01:17:06 PM EST
    I gather that some people gravitate towards the dark stuff because they think it's stronger (it actually has less caffeine).

    Mainly, it covers up the taste (none / 0) (#61)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 08:26:48 PM EST
    of poor quality beans.  It doesn't much matter what the actual quality/flavor of the beans are because it gets overwhelmed by the generic burnt taste.  If you like dark roast coffee, you can pretty much buy the cheapest beans you can find and do just fine. (Sort of like super-charred steak.)

    Yep, freshness crucial (none / 0) (#9)
    by brodie on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 10:19:03 AM EST
    Pour out your cup or two, then put remainder into quality thermos container -- not hot plate.

    Never heard of cold brew which looks interesting.  Though most acidity issues can be avoided by not adding milk or cream, which adds significantly to acidity level.


    Your point about milk or cream (none / 0) (#11)
    by andgarden on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 10:38:45 AM EST
    does not compute for me. Milk is basically neutral.

    Can't give cite right now (none / 0) (#14)
    by brodie on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 10:51:48 AM EST
    It's probably from a slender book I have re acidic vs alkaline diets -- and author is solid and credible in other assertions.  Health and diet experts I follow are from same "school", and combining milk/cream with coffee is verboten as too acidic.

    Milk Changes pH (none / 0) (#46)
    by ScottW714 on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 01:52:01 PM EST
    Fresh milk is relatively neutral, but as it ages, the bacteria that spoils it produces acid.

    You can test the freshness of milk with a ph strip.

    The change is significant, so I would suspect cream sitting out for a couple hours is far more acidic than fresh 1%.

    Use soy, it's a base.


    Ick, soy milk. . . (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by andgarden on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 01:56:40 PM EST
    Milk/cream in coffee (none / 0) (#52)
    by brodie on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 03:23:55 PM EST
    It's the combining the two that produces the added acidity according to my source.  Taken separately outside the body -- drink coffee black then drink milk/cream, that's ok.  

    I still use a dairy (none / 0) (#54)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 04:46:20 PM EST
    Their milkman delivers fresh milk and dairy once a week to a milkbox outside my front door. Really fresh. Glad some things don't change.

    I didn't think any dairy was (none / 0) (#66)
    by easilydistracted on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 08:33:07 PM EST
    still offering home delivery. I like it. I recall as a kid getting home delivery from Meadow Gold dairy. The "milkman" actually stood in the truck as he drove. Oh, that was real safe.

    I grind my own everyday (none / 0) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 10:27:52 AM EST
    It used to be that I could buy a big back of 8 o'clock whole bean easily too in our small town Alabama but now everyone has stopped selling the large bag and only selling the tiny bags.

    Yes (none / 0) (#17)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 11:21:03 AM EST
    We freshly grind our beans, use a drip machine and turn the machine off as soon as the coffee brews.  Then we nuke it if we want it hot, which we don't always want on summer days ;-).

    too many kids (none / 0) (#33)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 12:45:55 PM EST
    and strollers -- and people just meander aimlessly, like at the mall. I really just want the locally grown produce. Or maybe I'm just anti-social.

    Agreed (none / 0) (#62)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 08:29:11 PM EST
    I grow almost everything now myself so don't go to the farmers' markets much, but you really have to go first thing in the AM (or PM, if those are the hours) when they open before the crowds and the dabblers and strollers overwhelm the place.

    jeralyn, you've been had. (none / 0) (#7)
    by cpinva on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 10:03:48 AM EST
    if you want the best tasting coffee, freshly ground beans are the way to go. get yourself a decent grinder and drip maker, and you should be good to go. keep the beans in as air-tight a container as possible, in the refrigerator or freezer, between grindings, to maintain freshness.

    the aroma of the brewing coffee is enough, by itself, to set off happy synapse firings in your brain. a good carafe, to store the extra coffee in, is a must; it keeps the coffee warm and prevents evaporation, which is what causes bitteness.

    i've tried the "pod" coffies (such as keurig), they're ok, but will never approach fresh ground.

    Apparently putting beans (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by andgarden on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 10:11:24 AM EST
    in the fridge or freezer is basically a bad idea. You have to treat freshly roasted beans like freshly popped popcorn. Put it in a tight container on the countertop and use ASAP.

    Ground coffee has a shelf life of hours--maybe.


    storing coffee (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by noholib on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 11:02:21 AM EST
    I agree that the most important thing is to buy freshly roasted good-quality whole beans and not to grind them until shortly before use. I do put them in the freezer, then take out a small quantity every couple of days and leave them in cupboard or shelf in an airtight container.  Bringing them back to room temperature before grinding seems to revive the full flavor. Some boutique roasters use vacuum bags that have something (looks like a button) that releases some air into the bag; that seems to work wonders.  I also use a single-cup French press.  Delicious!

    That's what I do (none / 0) (#64)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 08:32:12 PM EST
    though I have a wonderful little 4-cup Melitta automatic drip machine they don't make anymore.  But keeping the beans in the freezer, taking out a couple days' worth at a time and grinding them just before brewing works very well, I find.

    disagree Cpinva (none / 0) (#34)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 12:48:18 PM EST
    I have the grinders and the I've had the best coffee makers. They all taste blah after a while. Even when I change the charcoal filter and descale. Too much work, and this makes a fresher cup of coffee. The pods are vacuum sealed, plenty fresh enough. Also, I bought a little filter to use in place of the pods in case I want to grind and brew my own. I'll let you know if I try it and it's any better.

    the bottom line, (none / 0) (#55)
    by cpinva on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 04:49:56 PM EST
    they're still "pods", not freshly ground, and therein lies the difference.

    Dunno that it matters if (none / 0) (#65)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 08:33:07 PM EST
    they're vacuum sealed immediately after grinding, does it?  It's the air that makes it stale, and if there's no air...

    Question re iPad (none / 0) (#12)
    by brodie on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 10:39:58 AM EST
    I recently went from two computers to none -- one given to daughter the other, an iMac,  then suddenly died (design or manufacturing defect in video).  Down to an iPhone -- which makes for very slow, pecking typing.

    Q:  will an iPad let me type quickly on its virtual keyboard?  Or am I stuck having to buy another desktop in order to type as rapidly as normal?

    I Have had Several Tablets... (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by ScottW714 on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 02:27:12 PM EST
    ... and typing on a piece of glass, even with feedback doesn't compare.  I have big hands and I can type relatively fast, but my brain needs the feel of the keys to type fast.

    The being said, I bought a bluetooth keyboard, which works well. They make a case for the iPad with a built in keyboard.

    Tablets aren't at the point of replacing computers.  The iPad sucks for surfing the web because it doesn't support Flash.  It's the reason I bought an Iconia.  Better for my needs: good for traveling, checking email, and low surfing, but I rarely use it at home.  

    Tablets are phones with big screens.  
    IMO tablets are a couple years out from being a primary computer substitute.

    Look at mini laptops/netbooks, they are more suited to replacing a desktop than a tablet.  Your phone carrier probably has a couple and will discount it if you sign up for a data plan.


    Thx for rec re minilaptop, netbook. (none / 0) (#51)
    by brodie on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 03:07:00 PM EST
    Will take that under advisement.

    Things getting awful fancy these days in the electronics area, particularly touch technology.  Looking forward to the next step -- mind-machine interface, as they supposedly found in the crashed disk at Roswell.


    It's going to more like the phone (none / 0) (#13)
    by andgarden on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 10:43:15 AM EST
    than an actual computer. You can buy an external keyboard, however.

    I have the iPad and it's hard to type on the (none / 0) (#22)
    by Angel on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 11:30:57 AM EST
    screen keyboard, and I have small hands!  I'd get the external keyboard if I were you (I did that).  Speed can be an issue depending on where you are at the time.  And beware of the automatic spellcheck, it's nightmare.

    Well, since the virtual keyboard on the iPad (none / 0) (#16)
    by byteb on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 11:02:29 AM EST
    is much bigger than the iPhone or iTouch, I found it a great deal easier to use. You're not limited to "thumb" typing. And as Andgarden pointed out, you can always get a keyboard to plug in if a virtual keyboard is not comfortable for writing longer documents, etc.

    Thanks re iPad (none / 0) (#21)
    by brodie on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 11:27:12 AM EST
    Didn't occur to me to consider external keyboard, but then I am well behind on recent fancy computer technology.  I'm strongly inclined to go iPad w/external keyboard.

    Farmers market (none / 0) (#18)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 11:23:04 AM EST
    Farmers market is awesome.

    For fresh tomatoes tho, growing your own even in a container works great....I actually have TWENTY FOUR tomato plants growing in containers right now.  That is definitely too many, but I grew them from seed and I couldn't sacrifice any of them...and that's after I gave a bunch of them away!

    If you grow in pots (5.00 / 2) (#44)
    by rdandrea on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 01:35:35 PM EST
    And can control the soil chemistry, Rutgers has brought back some of its hybrids from the old days when tomatoes were bred for flavor rather than simply for holding up during shipping.

    My dad used to grow Rutgers Ramapos in the garden when I was young.  Great sweet taste and none of that cardboard "bred to ship" texture.  I've got 8 Ramapo plants going this year.

    Being hybrids, they are more disease-resistant than heirlooms.

    They don't particularly like the heavy clay alkaline soil of Western Colorado, but they do really well in pots of at least 5 gallons. (South Jersey, where the tomatoes are grown, has very sandy soil.)

    More on the taste tests that brought back the old hybrids here.

    Might be worth a try for some of you next year.  You can order the seeds online from New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station.  Instructions in the link above.


    Ramapos!! YAY! (none / 0) (#67)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 08:37:55 PM EST
    By far the best tomato I've ever grown, and I've messed around with a lot of different varieties over the years.

    I was all set to plan only Ramapos this year (can't grow from seed indoors for various reasons), only to discover my wonderful local organic nursery got their seed order mixed up and didn't get any.  Bummer!

    I got the straight Rutgers instead, and they're almost, but not quite, as good.

    Delighted to see another Rampo devotee here.


    I have about the same number (none / 0) (#27)
    by nycstray on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 12:06:56 PM EST
    of plants. I also grew from seed and had the added problem of wanting to try a few different varieties (about 16?). I gave a bunch away too, so what that means is some of the folks I would share with will also already have more than enough tomatoes! I have a list of things I want to do with them like making my own catchup (in very small containers since I rarely use it), paste, all kinds of sauces etc. Methinks I'll be an even bigger canning fool this year than in the past :P

    You have me beat (none / 0) (#37)
    by cenobite on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 01:00:48 PM EST
    I have 14, 10 in earthboxes and 4 in planter bags. I started mine from seed, too. Last year I bought a plant that was infested with leafhoppers and it pretty much ruined my season.

    Things are looking good this year, though. I had to plant late because of work and weather, and I'm just getting the first cherry tomatoes now. The season is very long here, so that's not a problem.



    Farmers Markets are becoming a (none / 0) (#50)
    by caseyOR on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 02:36:30 PM EST
    daily occurrence here in Portland. During the prime spring-early autumn time, there is a farmers market somewhere in the city everyday except Friday. Saturday remains the day of choice with many markets around town, but still, farm fresh nearly everyday if you want it.

    Starting this fall we will have three year 'round farmers markets in the city, as well as one in the 'burbs, all open on a different day of the week.  A number of local farmers are extending the growing season with the use of hoop houses and greenhouses. This is a wonderful development for both the farmers and their customers.

    Additionally, a expanding number of CSAs are offering both summer and winter shares.

    We are still a long way from regional food independence, and short of a total breakdown in the world economy, I don't see that happening. That said, if I decide I can live without bananas and citrus, I could feed myself year 'round with only locally-produced foodstuffs. Except for coffee, of course. :-)

    Nearly all the markets now accept food stamps, too.


    One down (none / 0) (#19)
    by MO Blue on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 11:25:31 AM EST
    Tim Pawlenty, the former two-term governor of Minnesota, has ended his campaign for President after a disappointing third-place finish at the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa. Pawlenty wound up a distant third behind the winner, Michele Bachmann, and Ron Paul.

    Pawlenty's candidacy was very much predicated on winning Iowa, a neighboring state to Minnesota. He hoped the momentum from that early victory would slingshot into other states. He spent months in Iowa and put up the first TV ads of any candidate there. But he never gained traction, either there or nationally. link

    Timmy just not crazy enough for Republicans in Iowa.

    Embarrassing pick to win nom by (none / 0) (#23)
    by brodie on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 11:40:05 AM EST
    Lawrence O'Donnell.  His eventual remainderman for the GOP ends up being the first sent to the remainder table.  One of the more cringeworthy predictions in this political season.

    Me, I'm sticking with Perry and Whoever (Romney) to run unsuccessfully against a comeback O.  Perry just too conservative for general electorate, and question of who he would run with is almost beside the point, like Goldwater and Whatshisname.


    Considering some of O'Donnell's (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by MO Blue on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 11:58:08 AM EST
    less than insightful analysis it does not surprise me that he would pick Pawlenty.

    I believe that the Republican Party powers that be are more than willing for the crazies to win the nomination for 2012 and save fielding a candidate to win in 2016. Obama serving a second term will provide them with the best of both worlds - getting long desired conservative policies passed and having the Democratic Party take the blame for the failed policies while proving that government is the problem and not the solution.

    IMO their focus in 2012 will be on maintaining a majority in the House and becoming a majority in the Senate.      


    If you visit Red State (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Politalkix on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 12:50:23 PM EST
    you will find that many have started to think that Rick Perry is the 2nd coming of Ronald Reagan. They think that he can pull off testesterone laden, hardcore conservatism with a smile to the Presidency.
    I guess you are thinking differently :-)!

    I don't (none / 0) (#31)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 12:38:21 PM EST
    know if it's not being crazy so much as there's only room for one so-called "moderate" and Romney seems to have taken all the oxygen available for that position.

    The rest are banging it out for head crazy.


    Not oxygen, it is cash (none / 0) (#36)
    by Politalkix on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 12:51:54 PM EST
    This sets up (none / 0) (#75)
    by jbindc on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 08:14:20 AM EST
    Pawlenty to be a huge fundraiser and speaker for the party and a potential VP candidate (since he is now out of the fray of a campaign).

    The local Farmer's market..... (none / 0) (#30)
    by desertswine on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 12:35:32 PM EST
    Thats what I did yesterday too. But it wasn't a farmer's market, it was just a rosdside stand. Best corn and watermelon ever!

    Thinking about coffee... (none / 0) (#53)
    by jeffinalabama on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 03:37:53 PM EST
    since I'm heading to Colombia next week (unless the doc changes my plans, a distinct possibility but not necessarily a probability)

    I'm thinking of buying some of the fresh-roasted smooth shade-grown blends from some friends' orchards and shipping them back.

    Depends on the price... sometimes shipping from Colombia is absolutely nonsensical. If I can send some Sello Rojo up here, I'll let y'all know, and we can work something out!  Kdog and Jim, y'alls is free. Degenerate gamblers have to stick together. Dadler, still playing? It means free coffee...

    Jerlayn, If I can get it, you'll get a a 500g bag for free also... because you put up with us and you maintain this site!

    Put us in for a purchase (none / 0) (#57)
    by Peter G on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 05:47:03 PM EST
    of a 500g bag, if you can pull it off.

    I'm sure I could find a home (none / 0) (#58)
    by andgarden on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 06:19:56 PM EST
    for a kg of it.  500g for my dad and another for my mom. I just would't tell either. . .

    I'll take a 500g bag, if (none / 0) (#63)
    by caseyOR on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 08:29:14 PM EST
    you can get it up here. I do love good coffee.

    If the orders keep coming (none / 0) (#71)
    by CoralGables on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 09:29:39 PM EST
    you'll have to sail the pirate ship to Colombia to handle the cargo.

    Maybe we should add coffee (none / 0) (#72)
    by caseyOR on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 10:48:04 PM EST
    to our list of items for sale or trade. Cheap caviar and Colombian coffee.

    Maybe TL can market Jeff's Colombian coffee (none / 0) (#73)
    by Peter G on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 11:18:32 PM EST
    thru Cafe Press.  The name of the store is certainly apt.

    And bringing in coffee is easier than bringing (none / 0) (#76)
    by jeffinalabama on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 01:18:43 PM EST
    emeralds in, for for example, through customs.

    How about a free emerald (none / 0) (#77)
    by Peter G on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 10:05:34 PM EST
    with every fifth bag of coffee purchased?