Friday, September 30, 2011

Do You Want "Baby-Cut Carrots" with That? Wangari Maathai. James Dean. Women's Vote. Drought.


If you are opting for the packaged carrots, real baby carrots will be marked as such, and mature cut carrots will be marked as baby-cut carrots.


There is nothing innocent about these baby carrots

"Carrots, in one form or another, date back approximately 10,000 years, where it is believed that seeds were harvested for medicinal purposes. Our modern day carrot originated in the Iranian Plateau, in what are now Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. This prehistoric root has gone through a few natural makeovers moving from a bitter and tough root to our modern day tender and juicy carrot, yielding a multitude of colors and sizes. Today, carrots rank among the most loved vegetables worldwide.

Baby carrots are a specialty harvest that is a small, slender carrot. As the name indicates, they are immature carrots that are densely planted and intended for early harvesting. These babies are sometimes preferred in the culinary industry because they tend to be coreless, juicier, and sweeter than the mature carrot. They also make for a better presentation."
Tired of the wastefulness he was seeing, Mike Yurosek whittled "babies" from grown-up castoff carrots.

"In 1986 and in a marketing stroke of genius, a California farmer named Mike Yurosek invented what is now most widely known as the baby carrot. Tired of throwing away deformed, rotted or imperfect mature carrots, he decided to cut out the bad parts and reshape the roots to the well-known little cylinders. These baby-cut carrots gained popularity quickly and today have become a profitable portion of the carrot industry."
Taking a closer look at the process, the mature carrots are cut in half using a green bean cutter; then, a potato peeler peels and shapes the pieces into the little carrots so widely used today. We proudly and happily serve them to our kids as a good source of nutrients and snack on them in the office as a healthy food choice. But do you really know what you are eating?

Baby-cut carrots are in fact washed and/or dipped in a chlorine solution to eradicate bacteria and plant pathogens. This special dip will also allow the preservation of the so called carrot for longer shelf life. In some cases, a sticky substance may surface on these carrots when the package is opened.
The chlorine is used for antimicrobial purposes and is a widely accepted practice for all pre-cut, ready- to-eat, packaged vegetables. This is the same chlorine that is found in pools, the same chlorine used in tap water and the same chlorine found to cause a variety of cancers. Incidentally Mike Yurosek passed away in 2005 after a long battle with cancer.

Fifty carrot farmers pooled resources to launch a $50 million campaign to promote the baby-cut carrots. The marketing campaign is aimed at increasing popularity of the carrots with teens and tweens. Using junk food packaging, vending machine distributions and extreme fast food advertisements, the goal is to give the made-over carrots a sexual, sporty look and appeal making them cool to eat. The new branding tactics will most likely change the way kids look at these vegetables and the hip packaging will be an attractive choice, leaving the health-conscious parent in a catch-22."
Learn more:

About the Chlorine:

"Chlorine is also used on most chicken and meat at some stage of the processing as well as to purify drinking water so it is unlikely to disappear from the food processing stage anytime soon."
"It is true that these cut-and-shaped carrots are rinsed in a chlorine wash to eliminate bacteria (including E. coli and Salmonella) that can cause food-borne illnesses. Afterward, they're rinsed again with potable water to remove the chlorine.
Most other pre-cut vegetables and fruit are treated the same way. If the warning you received said that the white film that develops on stored baby carrots is the "chlorine rising to the surface," that's not true either. The film is a result of the dehydration of the cut carrots - you would see the same thing if you cut a regular carrot and stored it in the refrigerator.
I'm not a fan of baby carrots because I don't like their taste. I prefer organic whole carrots. But there's no health reason to avoid baby carrots if you like them. Look for organic ones. To give them their due, since baby carrots were introduced, carrot consumption in the U.S. has increased 33 percent."  By Andrew Weil, M.D.    More at:
Scientists are at work on some more environmentally friendly alternatives such as combining lactic acid and peracetic acid to kill bacteria on vegetables and fruits.


"Anyone who has ever grown carrots in their garden knows that carrots don't always grow in perfect shapes. Some are bumpy and lumpy and ugly, and even if they taste wonderful, they won't sell in a supermarket if they don't fit that ideal carrot shape.  Culls are carrots that are too twisted, knobby, bent or broken to sell. In some loads, as many as 70% of carrots were tossed.
That bugged Yurosek.  And apparently, feeding tons and tons of ugly carrots to livestock wasn't the answer.  
And there are only so many discarded carrots you can feed to a pig or a steer, "After that, their fat turns orange," he said.

I believe this. As someone who once went on a baby carrot binge and subsequently turned a light shade of orange, I can attest that beta carotene is a strange substance indeed.

It's the taste, stupid

I stopped buying baby carrots a while ago. It just so happened that I was at a farmer's market a couple summers ago, and ended up buying some dark purple carrots out of curiosity. I thought that they might taste strange, but when I tried one, I was surprised to see that they tasted like... well, like carrots. But the carrot taste was something that I realized I hadn't experienced in at least 10 years.
As someone who had been eating baby carrots for a long time, I had honestly forgotten what a carrot tastes like. Baby carrots are nice — they are usually crispy and sweet, but they are largely flavorless. They don't have that carrot-y taste and smell. It's a tough taste to describe, but it's very distinct.

There are many varieties of carrots, of course, but most carrots that you can buy in a supermarket, the kind with a top of green leaves and visible roots, taste and smell distinctly different than a baby carrot, which doesn't taste or smell like much of anything."
More at:

Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Dies at 71

Wangari Maathai in 2005 in South Africa's Newlands Forest. More Photos »
NAIROBI, Kenya — "Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan environmentalist who began a movement to reforest her country by paying poor women a few shillings to plant trees and who went on to become the first African woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize, died here on Sunday, 25th. Sept. 2011.  She was 71."
More at:

Someone famous, but not so notable, died on this day:
"On 30th. Sept. in 1955, movie star James Dean dies at age 24 in a car crash on a California highway. Dean was driving his Porsche 550 Spyder, nicknamed "Little Bastard," headed to a car race in Salinas, California."

"On this day in 1889, the Wyoming state convention approves a constitution that includes a provision granting women the right to vote. Formally admitted into the union the following year, Wyoming thus became the first state in the history of the nation to allow its female citizens to vote.
Whatever the reasons, while the Old West is usually thought of as a man's world, a wild land that was "no place for a woman," Westerners proved far more willing than other Americans to create states where women were welcomed as full and equal citizens."

Escapees RV Club -- Club News
HughesNet Will Decommission Horizon 2 Satellite Soon
"HughesNet is decommissioning the Horizon 2 satellite at the end of October. If you are a tripod Internet user and are assigned to Horizon 2, you will need to contact a dealer to have your satellite reassigned.
If you are a HughesNet user and will potentially be affected by this change, take a moment to visit our "What's Hot" page and review the "how to" article submitted by Larry (Laurence) Holbrook, SKP # 91027." The article can be found at www


As it was The Feast of Trumpets, we hadn't planned to work on anything.   But I had some urgent medical paperwork to be sent to an office in Huntsville, TX, 22 miles north of here.  Snail mail would have taken too long, so I was going to drive up there.   As I couldn't reach them by phone, I drove to their other office in Conroe, 10 miles away, and asked them to make sure that everything was filled out satisfactorily.  They faxed it to Huntsville.

While I was in Conroe, I stopped at our favorite thrift shop and bought another water hose timer for 50 cents, they are $15 at Lowe's, a new box of 100 Melita cone coffee filters for 50 cents, and another little leather purse, black this time.  I also left the paper recycling in their bin.

My very old Maytag washing machine has been ready at the repair shop for a couple of weeks, so I picked it up.  He said it is still a good old machine and sounded great.  Charged me $30, and that included a new belt!
Dizzy Dick, you asked me to find out how to tell which were the good old Maytags.   Mark said that they have pins holding the lid on, not like the later ones with screws.  That is the visible difference that those certain "good" years had.  The better construction is the part that you can't see.

I stopped at Walmart to return something.  They don't usually have anything I want, but I did buy some gouda cheese, that's one of the ones which has cancer-fighting things in it, along with Emmental and Jarlsberg. 
"And here’s a newsworthy tidbit that should get cheese-obsessed foodies particularly excited: A marker in cheese known as vitamin K2 also has properties that inhibit tumor blood-vessel growth. A European study found that individuals who consumed higher quantities of cheese throughout their lives decreased their risk of cancer, particularly lung and prostate cancer. Specific types of northern European cheeses, such as Swiss Emmental, Dutch Gouda, and Jarlsberg, showed particular benefits."   More at:

On my way home there was a tree service going along the road cutting down the trees which had died in the drought.

In Houston: "The drought is about to claim yet more of Houston's green - this time $4.5 million in tax dollars to remove trees that have died of thirst.
Houston's driest year on record has prompted City Hall to mandate lawn-watering restrictions, hire extra crews to fix water main breaks, ban barbecuing and smoking in city parks and call for park visitors to bring rakes with them to help municipal employees scoop up pine needles and other dead vegetation." 
BIG JOB: A rollerblader cruises past dead trees in Memorial Park. Parks and Recreation must spend 13 times more than in a normal year for the cleanup. Photo: Melissa Phillip / © 2011 Houston Chronicle
BIG JOB: A rollerblader cruises past dead trees in Memorial Park.  Parks and Recreation must spend 13 times more than in a normal year for the cleanup.
More at:

At 3.10 PM there was a big scary clap of thunder. 
Oh! Goody! Goody!  We are going to get some rain! 
But Oh, No!  It thundered all around us, but didn't even put a drop on our thirsty trees. 

Walmart had some Newman's Own organic cat food in the past, but they don't seem to carry it anymore.   The cats like it for a change from Wellness.  Wellness doesn't come in very many flavours.  Our SPCA boss doesn't want us to feed them fish, and they don't like turkey, so that just leaves chicken, and I am sure they get tired of that.  Even though the kittens eat all the time, they do have their likes and dislikes.

So I will have to get some other brand of canned organic cat food at Petco when I go there for Adoption Day on Saturday.

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