photo: State Library of New South Wales via Flickr

OK, all my special peoples – Aunt Toby is back and if not better than ever, at least not still installed on a semi-permanent basis in the F-gate lounge at Phil-tha-delphia Airport. Air travel is NOT better than ever. But we ARE back home and the horrific heat seems to have been broken. So…to the news!!

You Always Knew Blueberries Were Good – Lab animal studies appear to show cholesterol lowering benefits from eating blueberries. “..Yokoyama and his co-investigators reported that all the hamsters that were fed blueberry-enhanced rations had from 22 to 27 percent lower total plasma cholesterol than hamsters fed rations that didn’t contain blueberry juice byproducts.
Levels of VLDL (very low density lipoprotein—a form of “bad” cholesterol) were about 44 percent lower in the blueberry-fed hamsters.” Eatcher Blues

Cabbage Family Veggies Proven to Fight Cancer: “Sulforaphane, one of the primary phytochemicals in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables that helps them prevent cancer, has been shown for the first time to selectively target and kill cancer cells while leaving normal prostate cells healthy and unaffected… It appears that sulforaphane, which is found at fairly high levels in broccoli, cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables, is an inhibitor of histone deacetylase, or HDAC enzymes. HDAC inhibition is one of the more promising fields of cancer treatment and is being targeted from both a pharmaceutical and dietary approach, scientists say. “Cabbage Good

German E. Coli Outbreak: Sprouts – yes…Cows? Not necessarily.
“As we have heard before, the report cited above says that the current strain is probably a recombinant of two pathogenic E. coli types, and that “(B)ased on the strain analysis of the serotype O104:H4, BfR believes that it is likely that the transfer of the pathogen to the affected food could have been caused in the current outbreak event via humans or from humans via the environment.” In other words, we’re back to: Use the toile and then wash hands thoroughly, people. German E. Coli Strain Human?

More domestic acquaculture, please?
“Foreign aquaculture accounts for around half of the 84 percent of seafood imported by the U.S., a very small percentage of which is inspected by public health authorities before entering commerce…Jane Lubchenco, under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator says the administration is seeking to promote “sustainable” domestic aquaculture as “an additional source of healthy seafood to complement wild fisheries,” while supporting both the economy and ecosystems.

The agencies will be developing a National Shellfish Initiative in partnership with the industry and will be implementing the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Plan for Aquaculture, a plan that paves the way for offshore aquaculture development in the Gulf. The move comes a year after the devastating Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill that severely impacted the local seafood economy.

Some consumer and environmental groups are skeptical of the new policies.

“Industrial ocean fish farming is a filthy way to produce fish, and contrary to NOAA’s claims, it is not a sustainable means to supplement the U.S. seafood supply, protect ocean resources, or promote a healthy economy in the United States,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Washington, DC-based Food & Water Watch, who also criticized the plans to allow “factory fish farms” in the Gulf of Mexico.” NOAA Pushing Domestic Fish Farming

Bad Enough Animal Feeds Are Medicated, But this is even worse – Super-Rats Up Next? “The licensed medicated feed mill located in Culpeper, VA was inspected last Jan. 25 through Feb. 11 and received a May 17 warning letter about “significant deviations” from Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) for Medicated Feeds, which causes its medicated product to be considered adulterated, under the law…Spoiled feed and damaged bags on the floor, along with trash, were providing a steady food supply and attraction for rodents, mice, and other pests. Rodent excreta pellets were found throughout the building. Drug components used in the medicated feeds had not been properly controlled to assure their identity, strength, quality and purity once they were incorporated into a product. Rodent excreta pellets were found inside a bag of Deccox 6 percent, a Category I Type A medicated article. Pesticides were not being handled or stored in a manner to prevent cross-contamination with feed products. Insecticide was being improperly stored with drugs, and rodenticide was being used in other areas of the facility without proper controls.” Yum..yum.
Most Antibiotics Flowing Through Medicated Feed Mills Which Are Careless

Looks like we have our own sprout problems, especially with producers like this guy
: “Additionally, and as a very likely route by which contamination happened in the outbreak, the FDA noted: We observed that micro-greens were being grown using the compost you generate at your facility. We acknowledge that in your letter dated February 6, 2011, (b)(4). Because the pathogen implicated in the outbreak that occurred between November 1, 2010 and February 9, 2011 was isolated from run-off from your compost, we strongly recommend that all compost you use to grow food is treated with a scientifically valid process to kill pathogens, and that you have an adequate monitoring program to verify your process.” Oh yeah.
US Sprout Grower Full of S**t

And in garden news so close I can see it from my front door (versus being able to see Russia from a kitchen window..): Gardeners will wax practically ecstatic about the qualities of compost. Great compost can literally transform a garden (and we can certainly prove it here at Chez Siberia, where the DH literally dug the beds out with a pick ax from the only area we had available, which was made up of rocks and fill from where the contractor had dumped all the stuff from creating a basement. He dug down 18”, removed all the rocks over the size of a golf ball and then filled the holes with composted animal bedding and manure. We add new compost every year after we clean up the beds for the winter). This year, due to some septic work we need to get done, we lost the use of one of the beds and the DH went over to our town landfill to pick up compost when he wanted to pot up some extra tomato plants he had. When we got back from our little trip, I finally got a good look at those potted up tomatoes – ‘peely-wally’ as my dear old Mum used to say. And definitely not looking like the other tomato plants that had been planted in the garden. And what was in the pots looked definitely suspect – very ‘wood chippy’ if you know what I mean. So I searched on a tomato problem diagnosis site and found this great place with photos – match up how your plant looks and you will know what the problem is. Tomato diagnosis by photo. As I suspected, the problem (chlorosis – yellowing and small leaves and the twisting, cupping and small leaves) is being caused by lack of nutrients – or, in this case, too much of not broken down enough wood chips and not enough nitrogen. The wood chips are binding up the nitrogen and minerals and the plants are not getting it. And that is causing the poor growth and deformations. Not to be someone who gives up and throws good tomato plants into the compost bin, I got some much BETTER compost (out of our compost bins, so I know it has been working for a year, has had soil, a bit of manure, plants etc. in it) and repotted the plants. I’m hoping they will have enough nutrients now to start looking like these last plants instead of what they look like right now.

Have a good week – eat something colorful and wash it first.