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Familiar Fare: The wild origins of common foods
How It All Began
by John H. Mitchell
by Laura Johnson, President
Amber Waves of Grain
The seeds of grasses, including some of the seeds of local so-called weeds, have been providing sustenance for human cultures ever since the rise of ancient civilization, and their wild ancestors still provide food for local wildlife.
by Joe Choiniere
The lowly potato of the Andean highlands, originally a small inedible tuber, has been shaped and cultivated and diversified into one of the staples of world cuisine.
by Gayle Goddard-Taylor
The Corn God
As a result of generations of cultivation by Native American farmers of Mexico and Central America, the small seed head of a tropical grass known as "corn" was slowly developed into one of the most important food crops of the world.
by Michael J. Caduto
From the Silk Road in Kazakhstan, the apple has traveled to Europe and thence across the ocean to the New World. John Chapman, aka Johnny Appleseed, spread the fruit from the Northeast all the way across the country to the Western frontier.
by Teri Dunn
Nomads and Ruminants
The contemporary herders of Mongolia offer a lesson in the manner in which domesticated ungulates were managed in prehistory. Rather than hunting individual animals, as with the buffalo of the American plains, herders of wild cattle, sheep, and goats slowly acclimated these grazing animals to human presence.
by Chris Leahy
Eat Your Invasives
One way to help get rid of certain invasive plants is to eat them. Several species of invasive plants, such as garlic mustard, were originally used as potherbs in the colonial period, and then they spread into the wild, becoming a nuisance and threatening native species.
by Russ Cohen
The Political Landscape
As members of the Mass Audubon community, many of us enjoy the forests that cover much of Massachusetts. But how often do we contemplate how special this landscape is and where its future lies?
by Heidi Ricci and Christina McDermott
Records—and some educated conjecture—suggest that the original Thanksgiving dinner was a far more varied and elaborate repast than the mashed potato and turkey dinners we serve in our time.
by Ann Prince
Wheat and the Boy
The importance of choosing local food and supporting family farms is even more significant than simply buying organic—both in terms of the monocultural practice as well as transportation and sustainability.
by Jim Leahy
Here at Drumlin Farm we grow eleven varieties of heirloom tomato because of the range of flavors and appearances the varieties provide us and our customers.
by Matt Celona