Net Food Digest
This Week on the Web
If you fear fresh produce has been bred to tasteless uniformity for the sake of extended shelf-life, a visit to this week's Market Basket column on the Ketchum Kitchen website will likely provide an epiphany of sorts. Brought to you by San Francisco-based Ketchum Public Relations Worldwide, a firm that is also in the business of testing recipes and tracking food trends for its clients, Market Basket focuses on seasonal items that are fresh each week. At review time, pears were the featured goodie.
This week's Market Basket provides detailed information on the National Clonal Repository in Corvallis, Oregon. Thanks to this virtual gene bank for plants, disease and rampant selective breeding will never efface centuries-old pear varieties and other plants. Getting that heirloom variety you remember from childhood is as easy as a visit to Corvallis. If Plant Pathologist Joseph Postman had his way, future visits to the supermarket will find consumers faced with the daunting task of choosing a single pear from among the 2,000 varietals that repositories like his have managed to save. Fans of variety will be happy to learn that the USDA sponsors about 30 such ventures around the country.
In addition to in-depth background information on each week's featured item, Market Basket offers tips for selection and storage, combining both practical and trivial information. Oddly enough, this week's accompanying Market Basket Recipes section had nothing to do with pears, however a link to the recipe files of the Oregon-Washington-California Pear Bureau is provided for your gathering pleasure.
Katherine Withers Cobbs is a San Francisco freelance writer , editor and designer who recently worked on Time-Life Asia's "Quick & Tasty Series -Books and Video" (Time-Life Asia, 1996) and the upcoming "Williams-Sonoma Seasonal Celebration" series (Time-Life Books, US, 1997).