Thursday, August 27, 2015

Tomato 101

by Andrea Yoder
Summer isn’t summer without fresh tomatoes!  With thousands of varieties to choose from, I’ll admit, it can be a bit overwhelming trying to decide which ones to grow.   We carefully select our varieties based on characteristics including flavor, size, texture, color and disease resistance.  In this week’s blog, we’d like to introduce you to some of the varieties we are currently picking. But first, let’s cover a few tomato basics.

We start all our tomatoes in the greenhouse in May. Actually, we plant two crops about 2-3 weeks apart. Our goal is to get a crop out early in the season after we’re free and clear of the threat of frost. We put the second crop in so we can start harvesting from it when the first one is starting to wind down. This way we can extend our tomato season as long as possible. Tomato plants can grow very quickly in warm temperatures, so it is important to regulate temperature in the greenhouse to try to achieve slow, steady growth. If we do this correctly, we’ll end up with a shorter plant that has a strong stem to support it instead of a leggy, tall, weak plant that takes longer to get established when transplanted into the field.

 It is becoming more common for growers to grow tomatoes in hoop houses which provide more protection for the plants. Unfortunately we don’t have 1.5-2 acres of hoop houses to grow in this way, so we implement the best practices we can into our field production system. We plant all our tomatoes on raised beds covered with plastic mulch which allows water to drain better in heavy rains so the roots don’t get too saturated. Plastic mulch also helps to absorb more heat to warm the soil, especially important in a cool spring when the plants are first being established.

Since the beds are covered with plastic, we have to provide a means for irrigating the plants. We run drip tapes under the bed. Richard has a moisture sensor he puts in the field and checks it frequently so he knows when the plants need to be watered. It is important to provide tomatoes with even watering so the plant isn’t stressed and so the fruit doesn’t crack when it is ripening.

 If you’ve never seen our tomato fields, I must say they are a beautiful picture of artistry. We have chosen to implement a modified “Florida Stake & Weave” method of production. This means we put wooden and metal posts in between the plants and then use twine to tie the tomatoes up. The twine is woven around the posts with the plant in between the strings to create a structure to hold the plant up as it grows. We call this tying tomatoes and usually do this about 6 times for each crop. The benefit of this system is that it lifts the plants up off the ground so the fruit stays clean and isn’t subject to rotting on the ground. It also allows better airflow through the dense foliage and helps the plants to dry out more quickly. Bacteria, fungi, and molds thrive in moist environments. We try to eliminate that “perfect” environment for disease to start and spread.

We never work in the tomato field until the plants are dry or we increase the potential to spread disease from one plant throughout the entire field. In addition to the plastic covered beds, we also put straw mulch in between the beds to prevent dirt from splashing up on the plants or fruit. There is a lot of work involved in growing tomatoes, but the end result is well worth all of the necessary steps that are taken.
Tomatoes may be considered a staple food in many American’s diets.  From a culinary perspective, tomatoes are used all around the world.  They are a New World (South America) crop thought to have been spread to Old World Europe by Spanish explorers.  They have since made their way all around the world and are included in the cuisine of many cultures including Mediterranean, Spanish, Italian, French, South American, Central American, Asian and American cultures.  They pair well with a variety of other ingredients including garlic, onions, basil, mint, oregano, thyme, cilantro, olives, olive oil, cheese, cucumbers, peppers, lemon, seafood, curry, etc.  The key to tomatoes is to keep it simple!  This week’s blog features two different simple sauce recipes, one more European in nature and the other represents a use for tomatoes in Indian cuisine. 

Many choose to preserve tomatoes for use in the off-season.  Drying, freezing and canning are all options and there are a lot of resources available to guide you in your efforts.  One of the easiest ways to preserve tomatoes is to simply cut them into chunks, skin and all, and cook them down in a pot with a wide opening to allow the moisture to cook off and thicken the tomatoes.  Once they are cooked down, cool them slightly, puree in a blender and freeze the puree in freezer bags or containers.  This simple, basic tomato puree can then be turned into spaghetti sauce, chili, tomato soup, etc. 

Before we look at the individual varieties, I want to make a comment about storing tomatoes.  The ideal storage temperature for tomatoes is about 50-55°F.  At temperatures less than this, tomatoes will suffer chill injury that affects the texture of the skin and flesh as well as robbing the tomato of its flavor over time.  If you receive some tomatoes that are still a little on the green side, it’s best to ripen them on your kitchen counter and eat them or preserve them as soon as they are ready.  We do not recommend storing tomatoes in the refrigerator for more than a few days at most.

So what is tomato flavor?  The flavor characteristics of a good tomato are actually an element of the balance between sugars and acid.  A tomato with good flavor will have a balance of sweet and acid.  Low acid tomatoes have a more mild flavor.  If the acid level in a tomato is high, it can throw off the balance.  Texture is also somewhat involved in this flavor conversation.  Some tomatoes are more fleshy and thus have a more firm texture while others may have softer flesh and a larger seed cavity.  The nice thing about having so many tomato varieties to choose from is that you can tailor how you choose to use the different varieties in ways that best fit the tomato and allow it to shine!  It also makes for a more interesting plate when you can combine different colors & textures of tomatoes.

Alright, let’s dive into the different varieties and learn more about each.

Red Slicer Tomato
Red Slicers:  This is one of the most common tomatoes, an old standby.  The varieties we grow have a nice balance of sweetness and acidity.  As far as texture goes, they are fleshy enough to hold up on a sandwich, yet still with enough moisture and acidity to create a pleasant eating experience.  These tomatoes are kind of an all-purpose tomato that is excellent on sandwiches, in salads, used for salsa or cooked into a sauce.

Golden Slicer Tomato
Golden Slicers:  Our golden varieties have been chosen specifically because they are good yielders, but also because they have a deep orange color, consistent sizing and a bit of sweetness.  In general they have more flavor than many gold varieties which are known to be lower in acid.  These are similar in use and texture to a red slicer tomato and add a beautiful contrast to a tomato plate.
Japanese Pink Tomato

Japanese Pink:  The Japanese certainly know
how to do tomatoes.  This is another all-purpose tomato that has a nice balance of acidity and a discernible sweetness and is our top vote for “all-around”  tomato.  It’s a bit softer than a red or gold slicer, yet still able to hold up nicely on a sandwich.  The reason the pink tomatoes are pink is because the skin is transparent allowing you to see the true color of the flesh.  Peel a piece off and hold it up to the light…you can see for yourself!

Black Velvet Tomato

Black Velvet:  This has become our favorite black tomato in recent years.  It’s classified as a “Heritage” variety which means it’s an improved heirloom.  The fruit is rosy mahogany when ripe and will always have a slight greeness on the shoulders.  It’s a very fleshy tomato and will never get really soft like many other tomatoes, hence the squeeze test is not a good way to check ripeness.  You’ll know this tomato is ready to eat when the bottom starts to get a nice red blush that extends down the sides of the tomato.  The flesh inside has a pretty pink blush with a nice smooth texture and a sweet, tangy flavor.  It makes for a stunning display on a tomato platter or in salads.

Red Riviera Tomato
Red Riviera:  This is another improved heirloom variety that is a descendant of the Italian oxheart.  It has somewhat of a pleated pear appearance with deep red skin and flesh when ripe.  Its flavor is mild when raw, but the flavor really shines when cooked into sauces.  It’s a very popular tomato in Italy and we’d have to agree it’s a keeper.
Orange Russian Heart Tomato

Orange Russian Heart:  This is a true heirloom that is also an oxheart type of tomato.  This tomato is a beautiful golden yellow color with streaks of red on the outside as well as the flesh inside.  You’ll recognize this tomato by its heart shape with fruit weighing anywhere from 8 oz to well over 1 pound! It’s a very mild, low acid tomato with a hint of sweetness.  It’s best eaten fresh in salads, on sandwiches or to adorn a tomato platter.
Solar Flare Tomato

Solar Flare:  This is a new heirloom tomato we’re trying this year.  It’s a beautiful rounded red tomato with faint gold stripes that shimmer in the light.  The flesh is smooth, juicy and sweet.  This is a great tomato for fresh eating.
Great White Tomato

Great White:  This is another new heirloom trial this year, but unfortunately it may not have made the cut in the area of disease resistance.  Nonetheless, we’re enjoying this unique white tomato.  It is a large, white beefsteak tomato that isn’t truly white but rather a pale yellow with hints of red blush on the bottom.  It’s a mild, low-acid tomato that doesn’t strike you as much of anything remarkable while you’re eating it, however slow down and pay attention to the aftertaste that lingers on your palate as this is where the flavor of this tomato stands out.
Red & Yellow Grape Tomatoes

Red & Yellow Grape Tomatoes:  This is a standard pop-in-your mouth tomato, but within this class there can be a lot of variation in flavor and texture.  This year we’re doing some red grape trials for one of our major seed companies.  One of the trials is being bred for higher levels of lycopene, which is very noticeable in the bright, deep red color it displays when fully ripe.  It also has proven to be very tasty and sweet with a more complex flavor profile than many grape tomatoes.
Sungold Tomatoes

Sungold & Sunorange Tomatoes:  Those who know the sungold tomato appreciate it as one of the sweetest, most flavorful tomatoes on the market.  The downside of a sungold is its thin skin which makes it prone to splitting.  This year we grew a variety very similar to sungold, except that it has a thicker skin.  I have to admit it tastes pretty darn good, although sungold still has a slight advantage on flavor.
Roma Tomatoes

Roma Tomatoes:  Often described as a plum or paste tomato, romas are most often used for making sauce, salsa and preserving.  The reason they are used for sauce and such is because they are a fleshier tomato so you get more bang for your buck and less water.  This makes a nice sauce without spending more than a day in the kitchen.

Simple Tomato Sauce

This simple recipe is included in Alice Water’s cookbook, Chez Panisse Café Cookbook.

Yield: About 2 Cups
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced fine
3 garlic cloves, chopped fine
2 pounds sweet, ripe tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped
1 tsp salt
Bouquet garni (bundle) of fresh parsley, thyme and basil sprigs

  1. Warm the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed nonreactive saucepan over medium heat.  Cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until softened and slightly browned, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and let it sizzle for half a minute.  Stir in the chopped tomatoes and salt, and add the herb sprigs, bundled together with kitchen twine.
  2. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the flame to low.  Simmer the sauce, uncovered, for 30-45 minutes;  it will thicken as it cooks.  Remove and discard the herb bundle. Taste for salt and adjust.  The sauce will keep for 5 or 6 days refrigerated.

Note:  For a more refined sauce, pass through a food mill or puree in a blender.

Tomato Chutney

This recipe was featured in Cooking Light Magazine in 2003. It was a contribution by Veenu Chopra of New Delhi, India. She included this note with the recipe: “This recipe for tomato chutney was taught to me by my mother. It’s been a favorite since childhood.  An easy, everyday sauce, the chutney’s best features are that it’s light and that it’s a good accompaniment to steamed rice and any curry.”  
Yield:  About 2 cups
Cooking oil, as needed
2 cups finely chopped onion
½ tsp finely chopped garlic
½ tsp finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
4 cups chopped, seeded, peeled tomatoes
¼ cup raisins
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 tsp finely chopped fresh mint
1 tsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
½ tsp salt
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp ground red pepper

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with enough oil added to lightly coat the bottom of the pan.  Add onion, garlic and ginger;  saute 6 minutes or until onion begins to brown.  Add tomato and remaining ingredients, stirring well to combine.
  2. Bring to a simmer;  cook 17 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates (chutney will be thick). 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Silent Spring #6-The Challenge

by Sarah Janes Ugoretz
On the left: Mustard greens left to flower for beneficials.
Upper right: Harvest lane planted with rye & clover.
Lower right: Bumblebee on flowering vetch.
Well, here we are folks—at the end of our Silent Spring series. As you look back and reflect on what we’ve done here—the topics we’ve explored and the questions we’ve asked—I hope that you feel two things: empowerment and motivation. Empowerment in the sense that, if we’ve done our jobs correctly, you are walking away with an arsenal of knowledge and understanding which you can further develop as you continue to engage with these issues. And motivation because if you’re like me, you’ll be thinking of ways in which you can actively use what you’ve learned as a means of bringing about positive change. With this in mind, I want to use this space to share examples of a few ways in which our fellow humans have reacted to the widespread use of harmful pesticides. I’ll also suggest a number of things you and I can do in our own individual capacities in confronting these issues head-on.

Let’s look first to Portland, Oregon. For those of you familiar with Portland’s progressiveness (and perhaps the show Portlandia), it may not come as a surprise that in April 2015, the City Council voted unanimously to ban the use of neonic pesticides. In Portland—as remains the case in many hundreds of cities across the country—city parks, athletic fields, roadsides and other publicly shared green spaces were regularly treated with neonics, glyphosate and other pesticides. Just as residents were growing more and more concerned, the Oregon Department of Agriculture brought to the fore data they had been collecting over the past two years. Basically, they were able to directly link several large-scale bee death incidents to the application of neonics on public spaces. As such, when the ordinance banning neonics was put forward, it was categorized as a “public health issue requiring emergency action” (Anderson, 2015). Now, as the ban goes into effect, Portland’s parks are working to develop a pest management plan—a step intended to demonstrate to the general public that “successful pest management is possible with practices that protect bees and other pollinators” (Reuters, 2015a; Anderson, 2015).

In passing this ordinance, Portland joins eight other U.S. cities, including Spokane, Washington and Shorewood, Minnesota, which enacted their own bans in years previous. Meanwhile, our neighbor to the north has set forth its own inspiring example. Three Canadian provinces—Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick—have banned the use of cosmetic pesticides on lawns, citing this law as a means of safeguarding humans, animal life and the environment from unnecessary exposures to harmful chemicals (David Suzuki Foundation, 2009). As the most commonly used insecticide in the world, neonics are not confined to agriculture. Rather, they are equally popular—and are applied at a much higher rate—in urban, non-agricultural settings (City of Boulder Colorado, 2015). Yards, trees, flowers and shrubs are often treated with neonics, some of which have a half-life as high as three years (Hunt & Krupke, 2012). Even the plants you purchase from nurseries and home improvement stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot are likely to have been grown from or treated with neonics (Keim, 2014). Primarily in response to public pressure, both of these stores have recently begun to explore the feasibility of removing neonics from their business operations (Reuters, 2015b).
Though all of the above actions are a step in the right direction, we don’t have to look too hard to see that politics and loopholes often go hand-in-hand. For instance, Portland’s ban allows for neonics to remain in use on a site-by-site basis, while Ontario’s ban continues to permit the use of glyphosate in certain circumstances. Lowe’s, although it has committed to eliminating neonics by 2019, has included the caveat that this will occur “as suitable alternatives become available” (Reuters, 2015b). Considering this and also referring back to last week’s conversation on the precautionary principle, we should acknowledge the very real possibility that our government is not going to act fast enough in addressing the growing use of and serious implications tied to these harmful pesticides. Therefore, it is people like you and I—in conjunction with conservation groups and other concerned actors—that are likely going to be the ones to accomplish real and lasting change.

Field Road Pollinator Habitat
As we consider what we can do in our day-to-day activities and throughout our communities, it is important to understand that we’re not alone in this. As trailblazing organizations like the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation and the IPM Practitioner fight to protect pollinators and other beneficials, they’re also putting their time and energy into empowering us to serve as environmental stewards. In addition to their many opportunities for more formal involvement, the Xerces Society offers important reference publications that you can access from the convenience of your kitchen table. For instance, their guide on pollinator plants outlines which are among the best suited to our specific region of the country. As members of the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, which was started in response to the White House’s National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators, they also outline the value that you can contribute through something as simple as a window or patio planter. The IPM Practitioner, on the other hand, publishes a quarterly that discusses various ways in which to address a wide number of pests—ranging from mice and roaches to carpenter ants—in a chemical-free manner.

We must also consider the power that we have as consumers. “Voting with your dollar” is a phrase that has been around for a while, but it remains an action that carries great weight. Much as we support farms like Harmony Valley through our organic food purchases, we can do the same in our home and garden purchases. As you shop, be discerning—read labels, ask questions, and do your best to make sure your purchases align with your principles. Don’t be afraid to take a stand—whether that be through putting a “Pesticide Free” sign up in your yard or, as a group of women did in Stoughton, Wisconsin, publicly organizing and drawing attention to the way your city deals with weed management (Livick, 2013).

As we draw our formal conversation to a close, I want to briefly return to Quarles, who has done incredibly important work around further demonstrating the importance of sustainable, chemical-free agriculture in the age of pesticides. Despite the rather serious dilemma in which we find ourselves, Quarles (2008, p.13) encourages us to regard this not as a cause for doom and despair, but as “an opportunity for change.” And so, with this in mind, Richard, Andrea and I—along with the rest of the Harmony Valley Farm family—want to pose to you a challenge. Throughout this next year, we’d like to ask you to share with us the ways in which you have joined us in this effort. Send your stories and share your photographs. Every action counts, no matter how small. In one year’s time, we’ll take a moment to share these wonderful actions as we reflect on what we’ve collectively accomplished as a Harmony Valley Farm community and as stewards of the earth.


Anderson, J. (2015, April 1). Portland bans ‘neonicotinoid’ pesticide. Portland Tribune. Retrieved from

City of Boulder Colorado. (2015). Protecting pollinators. Retrieved from

David Suzuki Foundation. (2009, March 4). Ontario protects health and the environment through pesticide ban [Press release]. Retrieved from

Hunt, G., & Krupke, C. (2012). Neonicotinoid seed treatments and honey bee health. American Bee Journal. Retrieved from

Keim, B. (2014). How your bee-friendly garden may actually be killing bees. Wired. Retrieved from

Livick, B. (2013, April 8). Residents push city to stop using toxic chemicals in local parks. Connect Stoughton. Retrieved from

Quarles, W. (2008). Protecting native bees and other pollinators. IPM Practitioner: Monitoring the Field of Pest Management, 24(1-4), 4-13.

Reuters. (2015a, April 1). Portland bans neonicotinoid insecticides on city lands to protect declining honey bees. HuffPost Green. Retreived from

Reuters. (2015b, April 9). Lowe’s to stop selling neonicotinoid pesticides that may be harmful to bees. HuffPost Green. Retrieved from

Vegetable Feature: Sweet Corn

by Andrea Yoder
Harvesting Sweet Corn!
 The corn is iced immediately after being picked.
There are some crops we grow to make money and others we grow to make friends.  Sweet corn is not a terribly profitable crop, but it is one that we fuss over quite a bit with the goal of growing corn that will make you stop and say “Man that’s good corn!”  Due to the cool, wet spring, we didn’t get as many corn plantings done as in some years, but the ones we did get planted have proven to be Fantastic…Stellar….Awesome!  These are fitting adjectives to describe this year’s corn-eating experience, but they’re also the names of several varieties of sweet corn we grew this year.

Variety selection is very important with sweet corn.  There are hundreds of corn varieties to choose from, but the challenge is finding the ones that produce well in our growing conditions.  First of all, we do not grow genetically modified sweet corn. The varieties we grow produce very sweet & flavorful corn that you’ll find to be very tender with nicely filled out ears.  The tenderness is because our varieties have a thin pericarp which is the “husk” that covers each kernel of corn.  Unfortunately, there is a lot of “ok” corn available in the marketplace, and there’s a lot of corn that really just doesn’t taste very good at all.  Over the years we continue to trial new varieties, but we keep turning back to the ones that give us the best quality product and best eating experience.

Sweet Corn Fence with Hawk, Streamers, and Scare-Eye Balloons
Our corn field looks like a disco party waiting to happen!  We have to protect the corn from all the critters that would like to help themselves to this tasty treat as well.  First we put up a 6’ tall fence all around the field.  Next we run an electrical wire about 6 inches off the ground…to keep out small creatures such as raccoons.  Now it’s time for the party decorations including silver reflective streamers and colorful scare-eye balloons that deter birds. We also put out a few hawk decoys that, while they don’t look very scary to a human, the blackbirds seem to respect.

After we go through all of this hullabaloo to produce a great tasting ear of corn, the final step is to KEEP IT COLD!  The sugars in corn can quickly convert to starch if the corn is not handled properly.  It’s important to keep corn cold from the time it’s picked until you’re ready to eat it. We ice the corn immediately in the field, and then again when it comes into the packing shed.  It’s important that you do your part as well to store your corn in the refrigerator and eat it within a few days.  Contrary to popular belief, the garage is not the best place to store sweet corn.  If you have limited refrigerator space, you can remove the husk and put the ears of corn in a plastic bag to store in the refrigerator.

Corn can be enjoyed by eating it directly off the cob, or you can cook it on the cob and cut it off.  Fresh corn cut off the cob can be used to make a lot of different dishes including salads, fritters, dips, fried rice, etc.  Don’t throw the cob away!  Corn cobs actually have a lot of flavor on them.  Add them to a pot of chicken or vegetable stock to add some great summer flavor.  I like to do this to make stock that I then use to make a delicious corn chowder.

Corn season is always way too short, but we hope you’ve been enjoying the ears in your box this year.  We are hoping for about one more week of corn, so savor your final bites of the season!

Grilled Corn and Ricotta Dip
This recipe was adapted from the recent August/September 2015 edition of Saveur magazine.  
This is an issue worth reading and is full of tasty recipes featuring summer vegetables. 
Yield:  3 cups
3 ears corn, shucked
¾ cup heavy cream
¾ cup ricotta
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp finely chopped thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, diced
Finely chopped chives and scallions, to garnish

  1. Heat the oven to 325°F.  Heat a grill pan over high and cook the corn until charred on all sides, 25 minutes.  Cut the kernels from the cob, and puree two-thirds of the kernels in a food processor with the cream, ricotta, flour, and thyme.  Season with salt and pepper and stir in remaining kernels.
  2. Scrape the dip into an 8-inch baking dish, sprinkle with Parmesan, and dot with butter;  bake until bubbly, about 1 ½ hours.  Garnish with chives and scallions to serve.

HVF Serving Suggestions: Serve with fresh wedges of sweet pepper or carrot sticks.  You could also spread it on top  of a slice of toasted French or Italian bread and top off with slices of fresh tomato, or keep it very simple and just scoop it up with tortilla chips or crackers.

Corn Studded Corn Muffins with Mascarpone
This recipe was featured in the recent August 2015 issue of Food & Wine magazine.  This issue includes some great recipes for all the summer vegetables we’re enjoying right now.  Pick up your own copy or check out the recipes on their website.

Yield: 12 muffins
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup finely ground cornmeal
½ cup sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp plus one pinch Kosher salt
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 cup fresh corn kernels (from about 1 ½ ears)
½ cup mascarpone cheese
1 ½ Tbsp honey

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and 1 tsp of salt.  In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the buttermilk and melted butter.  Whisk in the dry ingredients, then fold in the corn kernels.
  2. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups.  Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean.  Let the corn muffins cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the mascarpone with the honey and a pinch of salt.  Serve with the muffins.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Silent Spring #5- Reflections on the Precautionary Principle

by Sarah Janes Ugoretz
After spending the last several weeks exploring the implications that pesticides like neonicotinoids and glyphosate have on our pollinators and other beneficials, this week we bring the precautionary principle into the conversation. Now more than ever, we can be brutally honest and ask ourselves: how did we get here?

The precautionary principle (PP) was first formulated and invoked in the 1980s, primarily through the implementation of the Montreal Protocol. Its basic tenant mandates that: “When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically” (Raffensperger, 1998). In the event that this is true, the burden of proof falls to those who endorse and promote the activity, not the general public. For example, in accordance with the PP, instead of waiting until people become sick, the responsibility of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is to extend to the public a reasonable expectation that we are shielded from danger. An informed, transparent, and democratic process must accompany the application of the PP, and the possibility of taking no action (as in, not moving forward with the marketing, sale, and widespread use of a potentially harmful pesticide) must be given equal weight when considering the range of alternatives (Raffensperger, 1998).

Unfortunately, as we touched on in our earlier conversation about glyphosate, the FDA is often presented with industry studies—studies that are conducted entirely by corporations like Monsanto and Dow Chemical Company and that are, apart from FDA review, classified. By attaching a commercial-in-confidence label to these reports, corporations manage to side step having to offer up their studies for review and assessment by external scientists, researchers or even the general public—groups who are less likely to be burdened by any conflicts of interest (Leu, 2014). As the Union of Concerned Scientists has noted, “By creating obstacles to independent research on its products, [corporations like] Monsanto make it harder for farmers and policy makers to make informed decisions that can lead to more sustainable agriculture” (Union of Concerned Scientists, 2012).

In the U.S., we depart starkly from Europeans, Canadians, Australians and others who tend to subscribe to the notion that it is better to prevent damage than to repair it. As Mark Bittman has commented, “We ask not whether a given chemical might cause cancer but whether we’re certain that it does” (Bittman, 2015). For an interesting contrast, let’s take the European Commission, which, in 2013, voted to impose a two-year ban on the use of certain neonics. Faced with incomplete data and uncertainty as to whether neonics are irrefutably related to the decline of bee populations, the European Commission erred on the side of caution in imposing the ban. The U.S., on the other hand, is still reviewing the evidence. According to Jim Jones, Assistant Administrator for Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the EPA is allowing science to inform the regulatory actions they do and do not take. Operating in this manner allows them to “make sure that [they] make accurate and appropriate regulatory decisions as opposed to [doing] things that could lead to meaningful societal cost without any benefit whatsoever” (Plumer, 2013). As Plumer has commented, where the European Commission is siding with the environment on this one, the U.S. is clearly letting economic considerations take center stage. “It’s still not clear that neonicotinoids are to blame, and pesticides are a billion-dollar industry, so regulators are moving slowly in setting restrictions” (Plumer, 2013).

Unsurprisingly, there are many in the U.S. who question the usefulness and the practicality of the PP. These critiques primarily fall in line with the question of weighing risks. Michael Specter, longtime staff writer at The New Yorker, insists that we “…have to be aware of blindly invoking the ‘precautionary principle’” (Specter, 2015). After all, risk is subjective and safety is difficult to prove. But when we really get down to it, what truly needs protecting here? The economy, silly! As we know (and as we can deduce from Mr. Jones’ comment above), the pesticide industry is a billion-dollar entity and in the U.S., we’re hooked on industrial agriculture, quick fixes and cheap food. All of these things are intimately tied to the convenience that comes with agro-chemicals. To move away from pesticides like neonics and glyphosate would be to unravel the model of agriculture we’ve worked so diligently to put in place since chemical fertilizers first appeared on the scene after World War II and Earl Butz so tenderly cooed, “Get big or get out” (Philpott, 2008).

Over 20 years ago, Farmer Richard spent some time in Holland. During this time, he met with several Dutch farmers, a majority of whom grew vegetables in greenhouses using hydroponic methods. They recounted to Richard that some months before, they had noticed a decline in the aquatic life and, by extension, the water birds that lived near and fed from the canals that traversed their region. The farmers quickly traced the problem back to their hydroponic systems—the water that was being discharged was making its way into the canals, and it was taking the farmers’ fertilizer and other chemicals along for the ride.

Despite being competitors in the same marketplace, these farmers came together to collectively recognize the problem and identify a solution. Though the cost was considerable, the farmers decided that the most effective solution would be to install recycling systems, which would work to clean the discharged water. Driven by the conviction that making this change was the right thing to do, and having faith that consumers would be willing to pay a few cents more for their produce, the farmers invested in the necessary infrastructure. Before long they began to notice that, in the absence of polluted water, the canals’ rich aquatic life had begun to rebound, along with other valuable species like birds.

This “do the right thing” mentality and attitude made a lasting impression on Farmer Richard—one that he has carried with him over his many years of farming. Where the Dutch farmers recognized the need for and ultimately embraced change, many farmers in our country tend to stick to the status quo—despite the fact that we need to adjust the overarching principles that drive large-scale conventional agriculture. As Farmer Richard has noted, here we are more likely to see farmers banning together in opposition to change. In advocating for “right to farm” laws (often with backing from the Farm Bureau), it becomes less likely that farmers will have to take a serious look at and acknowledge the detrimental impacts some of their farming practices are having on the health of their families and friends, employees, pollinator helpers and their own land.

In reflecting on our current state of affairs—our country’s ongoing dependence on pesticides and our populace’s relegation by the FDA to the de facto status of guinea pigs—I found this commentary by Mark Bittman (2015) particularly appropriate: “We don’t need better, smarter chemicals along with crops that can tolerate them.” Rather, Bittman argues that what we truly need is fewer chemicals and a heavy infusion of agroecology—intercropping, crop rotation, organic fertilizers, cover crops and other methods that are ecologically informed, environmentally safe, and demonstrated to be economically beneficial.
We should hold tightly to this image, as a future reality to strive for. In the meantime, however, at a time when our regulatory bodies are slow to take preventative, protective action on our behalf, we can use our own knowledge and understanding in deciding whether or not to apply the precautionary principle on a personal level, a household level or, as we’ll see next week, on a city-wide level….because it’s the right thing to do.


Bittman, M. (2015, March 25). Stop making us guinea pigs. The New York Times. Retrieved from

Leu, A. (2014). The myths of safe pesticides. Austin, TX: Acres U.S.A.

Philpott, T. (2008, February 8). A reflection on the lasting legacy of 1970s USDA Secretary Earl Butz. Retrieved from

Plumer, B. (2013, May 3). Why are bees dying? The U.S. and Europe have different theories. The Washington Post. Retrieved from

Raffensperger, C. (1998). The precautionary principle: A fact sheet. Science & Environmental Health Network. Retrieved from

Specter, M. (2015, April 10). Roundup and risk assessment. The New Yorker. Retrieved from

Union of Concerned Scientists. (2012). Eight ways Monsanto fails at sustainable agriculture. Retrieved from

Vegetable Feature: Edamame

by Andrea Yoder
Alvaro & Luis Harvesting Edamame
This week’s featured vegetable is edamame, otherwise known as fresh soybeans.  Edamame is a favorite summer-time vegetable that’s gained popularity over the years.  You may associate soybeans with other soy foods such as tofu, tempeh and soymilk, but fresh edamame is much different. \

 We’ve carefully selected the variety of edamame we grow and have chosen a variety that originated in Japan where it is grown specifically for fresh eating.  Most varieties of edamame available commercially are also used for making tofu.  These varieties do not have the sweet flavor of the edamame we grow and have much more of that “beany” characteristic.  Tofu beans also often have darker “hairs”  on their pods which give them a dirty appearance.  The edamame we grow has light colored “hair”  which makes them much more attractive.

Edamame should be stored in the refrigerator to preserve the sweetness of the bean.  While they can be stored and cooked in their pod, the pod is not edible.  The easiest way to extract the bean from the pod is to cook it first.  One method is to bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the edamame and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the beans are tender.  Drain the water off the beans and run cold water over them to stop the cooking. Now you can easily pop the beans out of the pods.
Edamame Plant

Once cooked, the fresh soybeans inside can be eaten raw as a snack or added to other preparations including fresh salads, summer vegetable sautes, or dishes such as the fried rice recipe in this week’s newsletter.  Edamame is often served in its pod as a snack.  In addition to boiling, you can also roast edamame.  If you are roasting it, first toss the edamame with a bit of oil and salt or your favorite seasoning.  Roast in the oven until the beans are tender, then serve hot.  When you eat them, you can put the whole pod in your mouth and then pull it out between your teeth to extract the beans from inside the pod as well as the seasoning from the outside of the pod.  If you’d like to preserve edamame, simply follow the procedure above for blanching or boiling them.  Once you’ve cooled them, put in freezer bags and pop them in the freezer.

Edamame and Sea Salt
Recipe featured in Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu.
Yield:  3-4 servings
1 ⅓ pounds edamame
1 ½ tsp sea salt

  1. Fill a large stockpot with water and bring to a boil over high heat.  Boil the edamame about 3 to 4 minutes, depending on the size of the beans.  Scoop out with a strainer into a medium-sized crockery bowl and toss with sea salt.  Serve immediately.  The edamame should be so hot you can barely touch them.  
  2. Grab a handful and eat quickly because they cool quickly (and are particularly good burning hot).  Don’t forget to prepare the cold beer (if you like) and a bowl for the empty pods.  Boil in batches for a big crowd so you can keep serving them hot.  If you have any left over, save the pods in a resealable plastic bag, then pop the beans out the next day and fold into a vegetable salad, or any curry or stewlike dish.  
VARIATION:  Heat an iron wok over high heat and throw in a couple of handfuls of raw edamame pods.  You want to make sure that each pod is in direct contact with the surface of the pan.  Toss with two flat-edged wooden spoons to ensure even heat distribution.  Cook until the skins are blistered and a little juice runs out.  Taste to check for doneness.  Sprinkle with sea salt, toss once or twice, and serve hot.

Fried Rice with Edamame and Corn
                                                  by Andrea Yoder
Yield:  4-6 servings
3-4 Tbsp vegetable oil, divided
4 eggs
¼ tsp salt plus more to taste
8 ounces ground pork (optional)
1-2 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 medium onion, small diced
1 cup small diced carrot
1 Italian frying pepper, diced
½ pound fresh edamame in the pod, blanched
½ cup fresh corn kernels (cut from 1-2 cobs)
3 cups cooked rice
3-4 Tbsp soy sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
  1. First, heat a medium skillet over medium heat and add 1 tsp of oil.  When the pan and oil are hot, add the beaten eggs and ¼ tsp salt.  Scramble the eggs until they are cooked through, yet soft.  Remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet or wok, heat ½-1 Tbsp oil over medium heat.  If you are using ground pork, add the pork now and cook until browned.  If you are omitting the pork, go on to the next step.
  3. Next, add the garlic, ginger and onion.  Increase the heat to medium high and continually stir the mixture to prevent the ginger and garlic from getting to brown.  Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes or until the onions are softened.  Next add the carrots and the frying pepper and  continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the corn and cook for an additional minute.
  4. Add 2 more Tbsps of oil to the pan and tip the pan to distribute the oil evenly.  Next, add the rice and continue to move the rice so it is evenly distributed in the pan.  Continue to stir-fry the mixture until the rice is thoroughly heated, 3-5 minutes.  
  5. Next, add 3 Tbsps of soy sauce, the fresh edamame, and freshly ground pepper.  Reduce the heat to low and cook for a few more minutes.  Adjust the seasoning with more soy sauce if you like and additional salt if needed.  Stir in the scrambled egg and serve hot.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Vegetable Feature: Tomatillos

by Andrea Yoder

Tomatillo blossom
Tomatillos are an interesting “vegetable,” which are technically a fruit.  While we plant them alongside our tomatoes and they are often referred to as a “green tomato,” they are a bit different.  Tomatillos  grow on massive plants that are similar to a tomato plant, but with more of a wild, vine-y appearance.  Their main stem is thick and sometimes resembles a small tree trunk.  The plants grow over seven feet tall, so we put stakes in between and tie the plants to them progressively as they grow in order to keep the plant upright and the fruit off the ground.  Tomatillos grow from pretty little yellow blossoms which are a favorite food source for bumble bees and other pollinator creatures.  The fruit is hidden inside a husk that looks like a little paper lantern.  You know the tomatillo is ready to pick when it fills the husk completely.  While most tomatillos are green, this year we’re trialing a purple variety that will be dark purple when ripe.  It’s supposed to have a more pronounced, sweet, fruity flavor.  We’re hoping to send some your way in a future delivery.

Tomatillos can be eaten raw or cooked.  They have a mild flavor with a slightly tart and sometimes fruity flavor.  In their raw form they are firm with a dense flesh, but when you cook them they break apart and become more like a sauce.  Before you use them, you need to remove the outer husk which is not edible.  The fruit inside might feel a little sticky, which is normal.  Just give them a quick rinse and you’re ready to go.  Tomatillos are most commonly used in salsa verde, a popular green salsa made with onions, garlic, lime, jalapeños and cilantro.  This salsa can be prepared with either fresh or cooked tomatillos.  If you want to kick the flavor of your salsa up a notch or two, roast the tomatillos and other vegetables on a grill or open flame before you put them into the salsa.  But don’t stop with just salsa, there are a lot of other ways to utilize tomatillos! They can be incorporated into soups, stews and a variety of sauces.  They are also a delicious ingredient in fresh vegetable salsas and salads.  Another tasty preparation is to cut thick slices of tomatillos, bread them and pan-fry them.

Tomatillos growing in the field.

Tomatillos are super-easy to preserve for use in the off-season.  Simply remove the outer husk and wash and dry the fruit.  They can be frozen raw in a freezer bag.  When you’re ready to use them, simply thaw them and use them in soups, stews or cooked salsas.  The texture when thawed will be soft.  We’ll be offering tomatillos as a produce plus item soon!

If you’re looking for some interesting recipe suggestions, check out  In their cooking section they have a “Seasonal Produce Recipe Guide” that features many of the vegetables in your box this week including tomatillos.  It’s a great resource to find some tasty ideas this summer!

Chilled Buttermilk Tomatillo Soup

Recipe featured on in their “Seasonal Produce Recipe Guide” for Summer.

Yield:  4 servings
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium-size onion, coarsely chopped
1 pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and quarterd
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
3 cups chicken stock
1 tsp ground cumin, plus a pinch for garnish
2 Tbsp coarsely chopped cilantro, plus  
4 sprigs for garnish
1 cup buttermilk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat if the onion begins to brown.
  2. Add the tomatillos, garlic and jalapeño and cook for 5 minutes. Raise the heat to medium-high, add the chicken stock, cumin and cilantro, and cook 10 minutes more. Remove from the heat and cool.
  3. Pour the mixture into the bowl of a food processer and puree until smooth. Add the buttermilk, salt and pepper and pulse to combine. Transfer to a bowl and chill in the refrigerator.
  4. Ladle the soup among 4 bowls and garnish each with a cilantro sprig and the cumin.

Tomatillo Dressing

Recipe borrowed from Vegetables Every Day by Jack Bishop

Yield:  1 cup
4 medium tomatillos, husk removed
1 Tbsp lime juice
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Wash the tomatillos and cut into quarters.  Place the tomatillos, lime juice and oil in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Use the dressing immediately or refrigerate in a covered container for several days.  Shake well before using.

Silent Spring #4 - Glyphosate-Roundup's Best Friend Part 2

by Sarah Janes Ugoretz

This week, we’ll keep our attention squarely focused on glyphosate, the active ingredient in commonly used herbicides like Roundup. While we considered the potential as well as the demonstrated implications glyphosate has on human health in the previous article, this week we’ll explore what glyphosate’s widespread proliferation has meant for animal life and for our environment in general.

Bee in Tomatillo field.
Thirty years ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared that glyphosate might be a cancer-causing agent. By 1991, however, the agency had reversed its stance, citing—rather ironically—the same study on which it had based its original, precautionary decision. Fast-forward to March 2015 and this study has once again found itself in the crosshairs, as a 17-member panel of researchers compiled by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) listed it as supporting evidence in its declaration of glyphosate as a human carcinogen.

In exploring glyphosate’s potential as a human carcinogen, IARC panelists examined circumstances under which glyphosate might cause cancer. While Monsanto and others have pointed to a preponderance of negative studies, the IARC stands firm in its insistence that even a handful of positive studies—those that suggest there is a linkage—can justify naming a substance as hazardous. In the case of this highly cited study, three of the 50 mice exposed to a specified amount of glyphosate developed an unusual type of kidney cancer. According to Dr. Aaron Blair, a retired National Cancer Institute epidemiologist and chairman of the IARC researchers, “that type of tumor is rare…they literally don’t occur, but they occurred when rodents were dosed with this stuff” (Pollack, 2015).

Researchers’ sights are not solely set on understanding the connection between glyphosate exposure and cancer, however. In general, the primary question guiding many is more broad and centers on understanding the potential health effects of low dose exposure over an extended period of time. This is a question we do not yet have an answer to. Yet as studies continue to develop—especially longitudinal studies—we may begin to put more of the puzzle pieces into place. In Germany, for instance, researchers found glyphosate in the urine of dairy cows, rabbits and humans at levels ranging from 10 to 35 parts per million (ppm) (Krüger et al., 2014). Recall from our discussion last week that chemicals like glyphosate are biologically active at parts per billion (ppb) levels (Hemmelgarn, 2015). Upon dissection, the tissues of each cow’s kidneys, liver, lungs, spleen, muscles and intestines were found to contain similar amounts of glyphosate residue as their urine. As Leu (2015, p. 91) explains, “this means that glyphosate is not being passed through urine without affecting the organism, and that meat and dairy are an additional source of glyphosate for humans.”

Bee in strawberry blossom.
A number of studies have also documented the various ways in which glyphosate has resulted in teratogenicity (birth defects) in animals. In 2003, researchers found that of those tadpoles exposed to glyphosate at rates commonly found in the environment, 55 percent experienced deformities to their tails, skulls, mouths, eyes and vertebrae (Lajmanovich, Sandoval, & Peltzer, 2003). Meanwhile, Dallegrave et al. (2003) found that rats that were exposed to glyphosate produced offspring that were more likely to have skeletal abnormalities. Perhaps most significantly, a 2010 study demonstrated the ways in which glyphosate actually causes teratogenicity (Paganelli, Gnazzo, Acosta, López, & Carrasco, 2010). Paganelli et al. found that at levels as low as 0.5 ppm, glyphosate is able to disrupt the retinoic acid signaling pathway—a crucial biochemical mechanism. All vertebrates (yes, that includes humans) use this mechanism in order to ensure that bones, organs and tissues develop at a specific time and in the correct place within embryos. If malformations begin to occur, the mechanism enables corrective action. Disrupting this mechanism is akin to scrambling a motherboard—essentially, signals may be sent at the wrong time, resulting in the incorrect formation of organs and tissues and leaving malformations uncorrected.

Much like neonicotinoids, research suggests that glyphosate also has sub-lethal impacts on honeybees. Honeybees that were fed sub-lethal doses of glyphosate spent more time—and more often took indirect paths—returning to their colonies. As the authors note, the navigation of these honeybees appears to be impacted by consuming concentrations of glyphosate that are commonly found in agricultural settings—a factor that may have “long-term negative consequences for colony foraging success” (Balbuena et al., 2015).

Bee in melon blossom.
Environmentally speaking, glyphosate residues—primarily glyphosate’s degradation product, aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA)—have been detected in soil, air, surface water and seawater. Studies show that these residues persist and accumulate over time with ongoing agricultural use (Leu, 2015). While glyphosate attaches firmly to soil initially, these particles eventually migrate throughout the environment until they finally dissolve in water (Grossman, 2015). The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recently sampled a collection of rivers, streams, ditches and wastewater treatment plant outfalls in 38 states. Their findings revealed that a majority of those waterways tested contained glyphosate residues, as did 70 percent of rainfall samples (Grossman, 2015).

Though glyphosate’s weed-killing capabilities have had a number of major environmental impacts, one has received a great amount of attention as of late: the decimation of milkweed plants.  As the usage of genetically modified (GM) Roundup Ready crops have proliferated throughout the Midwest, the application of Roundup has wiped out enormous tracts of this plant, which serves as the monarch caterpillar’s sole source of food (Pleasants & Oberhauser, 2012). In the last 20 years, it is estimated that the North American monarch butterfly population has declined by 90 percent. This decline coincided with the loss of over 165 million acres of habitat—owing primarily to the pervasive use of glyphosate (The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, 2014). The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently conducting a review to determine whether to place the North American monarch population under Endangered Species Act protection. Tierra Curry, a senior researcher with the Center for Biological Diversity, believes that this is the “most powerful tool” we can leverage to save America’s monarch population (The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, 2014).
In agricultural applications, glyphosate has been touted as a tool that will ultimately assist in reducing pesticide use, as Roundup ready crops will theoretically thrive with fewer applications of only one herbicide throughout the growing season. However, as many conventional farmers have come to rely almost exclusively on Roundup year-in and year-out, weeds that have been able to survive have spread their seeds. Now, what we’re left with is an evolutionary inevitability—Roundup resistant weed species. Facing this new dilemma, agro chemical companies are looking to develop the next GM varieties of corn and soybeans that can withstand chemical formulations like those that make up 2,4-D and dicamba, which can be described as potentially more dangerous than glyphosate (Bohnenblust, Vaudo, Egan, Mortensen, & Tooker, 2015). Unsurprisingly, this has been embraced as a “new era,” representing “a very significant opportunity” for chemical companies like Dow Chemicals (Johnson, 2013).

We opened our first Silent Spring article with news that The White House had taken an historic step in revealing the National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators. Investing in the protection, restoration and enhancement of pollinator habitats is a critical piece in proactively responding to the rapid decline of various pollinator populations within North America. In a similar vein, designating North American monarchs as an endangered species would, in theory, work to protect them and increase their odds of long-term survival. However, without a rigorous plan to curtail the use of harmful pesticides like neonicotinoids and glyphosate—classes of compounds and chemicals which we now know more than ever are undeniable points of concern for the health of humans, animal life and our environment more broadly—these efforts may ultimately be for naught. Even with the establishment of widespread tracts of native prairieland, pollinators and other beneficials will continue to be exposed to these harmful chemicals for the simple fact that they are not sedentary organisms. They move. They pollinate. As Dr. May Berenbaum says, “pollinators are [a]…keystone species. You know how an arch has a keystone? It’s the one stone that keeps the two halves of the arch together…If you remove the keystone, the whole arch collapses” (PBS Nature, 2007).

Next week, we’ll turn our attention to the precautionary principle and how it has—or has not—been applied in relation to the adoption and widespread application of such substances as neonicotinoids and glyphosate.


Balbuena, M. S., Tison, L., Hahn, M., Greggers, U., Menzel, R., & Farina, W. M. (2015). Effects of sub-lethal doses of glyphosate on honeybee navigation. The Journal of Experimental Biology. doi: 10.1242/dev.117291.

Bohnenblust, E.W., Vaudo, A.D., Egan, F., Mortensen, D.A., & Tooker, J.F. (2015). Effects of the herbicide dicamba on non-target plants and pollinator visitation. Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry, online 17 July.

Dallegrave, E., Mantese, F.D., Coelho, R.S., Pereira, J.D., Dalsenter, P.R., & Langeloh, A. (2003). The teratogenic potential of the herbicide glyphosate-Roundup in Wistar rats. Toxicology Letters, 142(1-2), p. 45-52.

Grossman, E. (2015, April 23). What do we really know about Roundup weed killer? National Geographic. Retrieved from

Hemmelgarn, M. (2015). Little things, big impacts. Acres, U.S.A.

Johnson, N. (2013, October 14). Roundup-ready, aim, spray: How GM crops lead to herbicide addiction. Grist. Retrieved from

Krüger, M., Schledorn, P., Schrödl, W., Hoppe, H., Lutz, W., & Shehata, A. (2014). Detection of glyphosate residues in animals and humans. Journal of Environmental and Analytical Toxicology, 4(2).

Lajmanovich, R.C., Sandoval, M.T., & Peltzer, P.M. (2003). Induction of mortality and malformation in Scinax nasicus tadpoles exposed to glyphosate formulations. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination Toxicology, 70(3), p. 612-618.

Leu, A. (2015). Glyphosate under the gun: World Health Organization weighs in. Acres U.S.A.

Paganelli, A., Gnazzo, V., Acosta, H., López, S.L., & Carrasco, A.E. (2010). Glyphosate-based herbicides produce teratogenic effects on vertebrates by impairing retinoic acid signaling. Chemical Research in Toxicology, 23(10), p. 1586-1595.

PBS Nature. (2007). Silence of the bees.

Pleasants, J.M., & Oberhauser, K.S. (2012). Milkweek loss in agricultural fields because of herbicide use: Effect on the monarch butterfly population. Insect Conservation and Diversity, 6(2), 135-144.

Pollack, A. (2015, March 27). Weed killer, long cleared, is doubted. The New York Times. Retrieved from

The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. (2014). Monarch butterfly moves toward endangered species act protection [Press release]. Retrieved from