Sunday, April 10, 2011

Duck eggs straight from the farm

A few blocks away from my house is an old farm. They sell eggs. Real fresh eggs with bright golden yolk. Large in size, beige, ecru, blue green. So precious! My photo shows how they are packaged, one dozen stacked inside a paper bag filled with shredded paper. I bought three dozen since the farm is only open on the weekends. I want to make some baked custard and omelets!

One more thought..."duck" eggs. You might think it might be a strange tasting experience, but, No!, duck eggs taste exactly like chicken eggs. The thought came to my mind too, but they looked so "AUTHENTIC" I had to get them. I tried them out on omelets first. You won't know until you've tried, but they were absolutely tastey and golden yellowy, and you can't ever tell the difference. The farm is located on Grand Teton in the northwest side of Las Vegas. The owners are farmers originally from Missouri, but they moved to Nevada thirty years ago to get away from the harsh winters in good ole MO. Now, there's an added bonus to going to get fresh eggs: you meet real authentic people! Their farm on Facebook is here

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Inside the Emerald City

It's that time of the year, April, Spring, the season of my birth. I dream of green pastures, for the rich renewing colors of nature, of new growth grass and flowers and plants.

Time to sweep away the grays and winter whites, I say! I love this photo taken in Guadalupe capturing the deep jewel-like tones of nature. Let's keep our Earth pristine!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Saffron fields and the handmade life

saffron kashmir 05
A family in picking saffron flowers from their field at Pampore, 17 kms from
Srinagar on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway (click photo>flickr)
What does Saffron Fields have to do with handmade? You might already connect saffron with the words expensive and cooking spice. Yes, it is a spice, and its high cost comes from the way it is harvested. Saffron consists of the threads (or stigma) taken from the Crocus sativa plant. Each plant grows to about eight inches high and yields about five purple flowers. Each flower contains six petals, in the midst of which are the stigmas, bright red-orange threads. The threads are broken or pulled off by hand. There is no machine that can harvest the delicate threads. They must be dried quickly over coals or wood for ten to twelve hours, then sealed in glass containers, after which it can last for several years. It takes 75 thousand flowers to yield a pound of dried saffron. This means, in order to yield a decent harvest, many plants are cultivated to bloom at the same time. The average price for a pound of saffron in the West is approximately a thousand dollars.

A family in picking saffron flowers from their field at Pampore, 17 kms from Srinagar on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway (click on photo to go to flickr account). The combination of long hours of hand labor performed by families and community, depending on where it is harvested, and the timing required to harvest and preserve the threads--including the various uses to which it is put--make saffron a valuable commodity. So this is the comparison I make - we are a world of hand crafters producing items with a variety of uses. As creators of a useful commodity, we work hard and plan diligently to get our products to fruition, then we take it to market. From afar, a field of saffron is a beautiful quilt of purple flowers mixed with the brown color of the earth. For me, that saffron field is a symbol of vision, dedication, and toil, all the virtues that symbolize a handmade life.

Special note: The saffron business allows mothers in many saffron growing economies to stay at home to make a living! Thumbs up!