Monday, April 12, 2010

Heirloom Beans in Markets

Is it my imagination or is it difficult to find heirloom beans in the market? I've been trying to find Adzuki bean for the past two weeks in order to make a particular recipe.  I figured my typical organic natural foods market would carry it since that's where we'd generally pick them up. They weren't there.  I then went to a national natural food market and they didn't have any.  So off to a couple of gourmet markets.  They didn't have any.  What a surprise!  I guess once I finally find them I'll need to buy a few extra to plant so I can save my own seed.

We've started several beans in the garden but with the scarcity of quality heirloom beans I'm thinking of starting more to save.  

Do you know of a source to purchase heirloom beans for bulk purchase for recipes?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Fennel & Caterpillars

Bronze fennel grows like an invasive weed in my garden.  If it wasn't such an incredibly beautiful plant, I might consider radical removal.  Luckily, it has other uses and benefits beyond the culinary endeavor. I'm told it's quite delicious although I can never bring myself to consuming it since the taste of anise is expressly forbidden in my stomach.  But, it does make a perfect filler for flower arrangements.  Here's a rather surprising discovery, butterflies seem to love this plant.  While yanking out bulb after bulb I began noticing some of the most colorful caterpillars co-habitating on the leaves.  They were a florescent yellow, green and black. Some were red, black and white.  Others were a bright green, white and black.  It was a delightful discovery.

While I had a trashcan full of fennel, I gently placed those leaves with caterpillars aside in the garden so they could continue their transformation.