TIME

Mark Bittman’s Skillet Pear Crisp

Mark Bittman Skillet Pear Crisp
Grant Cornett for TIME

Skillet Pear Crisp

Makes 4 to 6 servings
Time: 15 to 20 min.

6 tbsp. (3⁄4 stick) butter
1⁄2 cup chopped
walnuts or pecans
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1⁄2 cup rolled oats
1⁄4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1⁄3 cup packed brown sugar
1⁄2 tsp. cinnamon
Salt
2 lb. pears, unpeeled but trimmed, cored and chopped

1. Put 5 tbsp. butter in large skillet over low heat. When butter is melted, add nuts, lemon zest, oats, coconut, packed brown sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of salt; toss to coat. Cook, stirring frequently, until topping is golden and crisp, 6 to 8 min. Remove from the pan; no need to wipe it out. (The topping can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container up to a day or so in advance.)

2. Put 1 tbsp. butter in the skillet over medium heat. When it’s melted, add fruit and cook, stirring occasionally until pears are soft but not mushy, 5 to 6 min. Scatter the topping over the warm fruit and serve. (This recipe can be made with any fruit you like, including berries, apples and mangoes. Adjust cooking time based on firmness of the fruit.)

-Recipe adapted from How to Cook Everything Fast (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

TIME

Mark Bittman’s Vegetable Soup

Mark Bittman Vegetable Soup
Grant Cornett for TIME

Vegetable Soup

Makes 4 servings
Time: 20 to 40 min., depending on the desired texture

1⁄4 cup olive oil plus more for drizzling
1 large onion, chopped
Salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 cups any chopped frozen vegetables
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1. Put olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until it softens a bit, 2 to 3 min. Add garlic, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 2 to 3 min.

2. Meanwhile, organize packages of vegetables on your counter from firmest (longest–cooking, like squash or beans) to most tender (like spinach and other greens). Start adding the vegetables, firmest first, stirring occasionally until they thaw and begin to get tender. (Timing will vary by vegetable; test frequently.)

3. Continue adding and stirring, adjusting the heat to prevent burning, until the vegetables in the pot begin to brown in places. Add the stock, raise the heat to high, and cook, stirring once or twice, until the soup comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to a steady bubble and cook until the vegetables are as tender as you like. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then pour the soup into 4 bowls, drizzle with more olive oil and serve.

-Recipe adapted from How to Cook Everything Fast (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

TIME Food

Mark Bittman’s Whole Roast Chicken

Mark Bittman Chicken
Grant Cornett for TIME

Whole Roast Chicken

Makes 4 or more servings
Time: about an hour, largely unattended

1 3-to-4-lb. whole chicken
4 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper
4 whole heads garlic (optional)
2 lemons, halved (optional)

1. Heat oven to 450°F. Put a heavy roasting pan with a wire rack (optional) on a low rack in the oven. Trim any excess fat from chicken, rub with 2 tbsp. of olive oil, and sprinkle inside and out with salt and pepper. Slice garlic crosswise to trim off tips and reveal cloves.

2. When oven is hot, put chicken, breast side up, in the middle of the heated pan. Tuck garlic and lemons around the outside and drizzle with remaining oil. Roast, undisturbed, for 40 to 50 min.; the chicken is done when a quick-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 155°F to 165°F or when its juices run clear and there are no traces of pink in the meat.

3. Transfer chicken to a platter and let it rest for at least 5 min. If you’re eating the chicken right away, quarter it or cut it into parts and serve with the garlic, lemon and some of the pan juices. To store in the fridge, let the chicken cool, then cut it into parts. Store it with the garlic and lemon in a freezer bag or tightly sealed container for up to a week.

-Recipe adapted from How to Cook Everything Fast (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

TIME society

I Don’t Think My Small-Batch Food Is Elitist

Canned food
Jill Fromer—Getty Images

I wanted to connect, in some small way, to my Nani and to that cultural tradition of preserving food

xojane

This story originally appeared on xoJane.com.

The closest I ever came to canning with my grandmother was nearly twenty years after she died. It was the only time I had ever canned with my mother, and I was clearly the one in charge, despite that my mother had helped my Nani blanch and then skin tomatoes, pack them, steaming, in quart jars, and then transfer them to their own boiling pot, a dozen or more summers in a row.

My mother escaped the yearly canning ritual as soon as she could, and Nani continued to put away a few dozen jars a year — most ended up in her weekly pot of sauce served for Sunday dinner with the extended family — until she grew too weak to stand at the stove.

Years later, I taught myself to can (or preserve food in jars with a heat sealing process) as an adult. That one summer, when I had convinced my mom to join me and she bought a bushel of roma tomatoes, we combined our reusable canning jars, and processed thirty quarts in about four hours of sweaty work, coming in at a cost of around a dollar a jar. We had pots lined up in the basement kitchen — a particularly Italian American set-up that Nani also had — and jars waiting to be filled, with a sprig of basil and a squeeze of lemon in the bottom.

By the time we finished, our t-shirts were soaked in sweat and our matching curly brown hair smelled like marinara. We each had enough jars to last us a winter of dinners, and my mother was pleased with our work. But more so with our time spent together and the knowledge that we could can, if we wanted to. She hasn’t mentioned making this a yearly ritual; she’ll buy her tomatoes from the supermarket, thank you very much.

That summer morning, while my mother recalled how Nani would cut slits in the tomato skins to help them come off easier after their quick dip into the boiling water bath, or when she told me how it had been her job as a child to put her hands in the jars to squish down the whole tomatoes to fit in as many as possible, I realized why I had bothered teaching myself to can in the first place. I wanted to connect, in some small way, to my Nani and the cultural importance of preparing and preserving food through this traditional knowledge, even if cost was no longer a reason with our industrial farms and mass production techniques that make metal cans of tomatoes shipped from Florida cheaper than a bushel of “seconds” grown up the road.

I live in Brooklyn now, hundreds of miles from my Nani’s kitchen, with my musician husband and baby boy. I prefer locally sourced produce and wear skinny jeans. I call myself a writer, a teacher and a scholar, but I also make my own cheese, can my own tomatoes, and ferment my own kraut.

By most people’s assessment, I am part of the gentrifying class of young(ish) people, often called hipsters, who have helped revive the do-it-yourself lifestyle, but from a seeming place of privilege. They — we — can because we can. There has been a recent influx of those (mostly part of the educated social middle class) with financial and social freedom starting new food-based businesses, spending hours a week sourcing and preparing food and drink from scratch to sell to others a handmade a jar, bottle, round, or wedge — often at a price that places these products in the luxury category.

This “artisanal food revolution”, as it has been called, is also seen as being supported by consumers who have the same financial freedom to pay these seemingly inflated prices for products that to varying degrees resemble their mass produced counterpart. While evidence of this change is food culture is apparent anecdotally, according to the National Associate for Specialty Food Trade “specialty food” (that the industry self-defines as “exemplifying quality, innovation and style” derived from such qualities as “originality”, “authenticity”, “ethnic or cultural original”, “limited supply” among other characteristics) grew at a rate of 19.1% in 2011, and within that category 26% of consumers specifically sought out food described as “artisanal” despite there being no definitive definition for the term.

A growing number of people are seeking these foods on some level, I assert, as being a conduit between the traditionally made and preserved foods of their past or their parents’ or grandparents’ past, and the present where this is often no space, time, or knowledge to create these specialty foods themselves.

While it may only cost my mother and me around a dollar a jar to can a quart of tomatoes (with almost no additives), we had already paid for and used the jars, which could run more than a dollar each, and the kitchen space and our collective eight hours of work time was free. Translate a home canning operation to a professional one, and it becomes more clear how a jar of “artisanal” tomatoes would cost upwards of ten dollars in today’s retail market.

And I won’t pretend that there aren’t plenty of people — many of them my peers and neighbors — who don’t hesitate to buy that hand packed jar from the farmer’s market or specialty shop. This food of the poor has become, for many, an indulgence.

Yet my predilections for the homemade come from a place that isn’t financially robust. I am also someone who was brought up in rural Western New York in a county with the third highest poverty rates in the state, about as far from the City as you can get. My father’s mother only had an eighth-grade education, and tended a large garden and froze, canned, fermented and otherwise preserved much of her harvest to feed her family of seven.

My maternal grandmother — my Nani — worked outside of the home to support the family flight school business, both as the office manager at the airport and for outside employers in the evenings. However she still made Sicilian specialties — peach brandy, canned tomatoes and sauce, foraged burdock patties — in part to save money, but also as much to preserve her culinary heritage. The foods she made represented the time she spent in Italy as a child, tasted like her mother’s cooking, and reminded her of how far she had come since she was the preschooler who arrived at the United States via Ellis Island.

The preparation of these foods also connected her to her sisters and daughter who would gather together on a hot summer day to process enough tomatoes for the extended family for the rest of the year. Thus “artisanal” — or traditional, handmade, small-batch food as it is generally understood to mean — of my childhood wasn’t made from a place of privilege, but out of necessity, tradition, and community.

My life is very different from both of my grandmothers’. And in fact, neither taught me to preserve food when I was young because, as my paternal grandmother said, “Why would you have to?” I might have convinced my Nani to show me her recipes had she not died when I was in high school. And today, still, my first thought when I see a mason jar of preserved food — even in certain parts of Brooklyn — I think “economy” and not “luxury.”

For both of my grandmothers, canning made financial sense. They either grew their own produce or bought it in bulk from a nearby farmer and processed many jars at a time, reusing the glass and rings from year to year. For my grandmother who didn’t work outside of the home, the garden and the food preservation was her contribution to the family’s long-tentative bottom line.

But even when both had reached a point where they were financially comfortable, my grandmothers continued to spend hours in their steamy kitchens, producing shelves lined with preserved tomatoes and pickles and fruit. Because they always had. Or they enjoyed the time spent with family during this yearly ritual, or maybe because both women, born in the wake of the great depression, were always putting away for a less prosperous day. Just in case.

There have been a number of critiques of the small-batch food industry as being elitist, privileged, and distracting from the larger issues facing our global and domestic food sourcing today. Many of them are valid — it can appear out of touch to encourage buying local or organic produce, say, when there are numerous food deserts in the United States with limited access to any fresh food. And spending eight dollars on a jar of artisanal pickles is a choice that only a certain percentage of the population has the luxury of considering.

But I also take issue with the wholesale critique of the handmade, small-batch, artisanal, or craft — call it what you will — food industry as catering only to a certain financial class. I interviewed many of these small start-up food entrepreneurs and while some came to their business with strong financial backing, for many it was a leap of faith. Others lost their jobs in the recession and starting their own business, working sixty, eighty hours a week to process, promote, and distribute their product was a labor of love.

Perhaps they were honoring their family’s food culture, as some told me, or wanted to be more intimately involved in food sourcing for environmental or social reasons. For many farmers, the decision to make small-batch farmstead cheese was the difference between bankruptcy and economic sustainability as they could sell the cheese for ten times as much as the milk, with mainly manpower as the additional expense. And even as many of these artisans are selling food to the middle and upper-middle class, most wouldn’t be able to afford their own products as they budgeted for their weekly groceries.

I know the issue of class is more complicated than this — that certain groups of people, while they may be financially insolvent now, are more prepared to weather an economic downturn because of education and access. And that the issue of privilege can be looked at through race, gender, ethnic, and even rural and urban lenses, among others. But I also want to argue that small-batch food is not just food for the privileged, by the privileged.

In the United States, it is food made by those on the verge of losing their farm who see a path toward keeping land that has been in the family for generations; it is food made using recipes passed down from elders, whose flavors and techniques were in danger of being lost forever; it is food made by the young professional who started a small business after she was laid off, and whose huge student loans meant that taking a minimum wage job wasn’t a financially viable option.

In San Juan, Puerto Rico, it is food made by twenty-something-year-olds who learned about small-batch foods by visiting family in Brooklyn and were inspired to revive their own cultural heritage using locally sourced foods. In Sicily, it is the embracing of the Arab community, longtime residents who had, until recently, been treated as outsiders, through their cuisine. In Lima, Peru, it is the ceviche masters who are striving to find a sustainable way to source seafood so that their culture’s food can survive into the next generation.

Artisanal food can be elitist. It can exclude people by sheer cost, and the movement to “do-it-yourself” can exclude others who don’t have access to knowledge or who don’t have the time to spend hours in the kitchen. Certainly there are many more pressing issues in our modern world than figuring out how to sustainably source handmade pickles. But small-batch, handmade food is also many more things — as it was for my grandmothers, it can be very inexpensive, it can promote community and it can keep traditions alive. And today, with myriad stresses on our environment, it can promote a more direct connection to the land itself.

Today I may spend hours in a sweltering kitchen boiling jars in the heat of summer to remember my Nani and the sacrifices she made to feed her family and preserve her Sicilian culture, because I have the privilege of time to connect with her in a visceral way. But I also buy small-batch goods when I can afford it to support small businesses who are trying to package this sense of history and tradition for those who don’t have the time or knowledge.

And it is my trust that I am helping to preserve this culture for everyone — rich or poor, educated or not. For if we don’t keep this knowledge and these skills alive with the individuals, we will have no choice about how to source our food.

Suzanne Cope is an author and professor living in Brooklyn.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Fast Food

Drive-Thru Lanes Wait Times Hit Record High

Wait times experienced a record jump in the past year

The drive-thru lane at fast-food restaurants isn’t so quick these days.

The amount of time drivers spend waiting in line is dramatically increasing, according to the 2014 Drive-Thru Performance Study from trade publication QSR Magazine.

In 2013, drivers spent 180.83 seconds on average in line, USA Today reports, but now that average has jumped to 219.97 seconds — a roughly 40-second jump. Though the study increased its sample size in the past year, studying 2,188 trips at 17 fast-food companies instead of last year’s seven chains, those extra 40 seconds make for the longest wait time in the 17 years of its study.

The change is significant for the $200 billion-plus fast food industry, which finds big chains getting more than 60 percent of their business from the drive-thru lane. It’s also significant considering the study found that fewer cars are hitting up the drive-thru line in the first place, signifying a growing preference for accuracy, service and healthier items that are slower to prepare.

[USA Today]

TIME Paycheck Friday

5 Unique Junk-Food Gadgets for Under $70

Come on, you're making some decent money now. Live a little! Consider blowing your paycheck on these worthy splurges.

Condiment Gun ($9.99)

condiment_gun
ThinkGeek

Take a moment right now to reexamine your life. Have you lived it to its fullest? Think long and hard about your past condiment dispersals. Have they all been from easy-open packets and plastic containers?

It’s time to live – LIVE! – thanks to this condiment gun. Load it up with your favorite fatty, sugary slatherables (there are two cartridges), pull the trigger and blast your way to satiety – no concealed-carry permit required.

[ThinkGeek]

Hand-Crank Flan Maker ($49)

flan-egg
Japan Trend Shop

For starters, I was not aware that flan was made simply by jumbling an egg around for a couple minutes, boiling it for 30 seconds and then dumping some caramel sauce on top of it. That seems way too easy, but what do I know? I can’t even make toast, which is supposed to be easy.

This adorable hand-crank apparatus promises “custard flan-style desert” by following the aforementioned steps, and as a bonus, offers this must-see video detailing the process. The somber scene of an egg jovially singing the flan-making song before watching one of his friends being spun to death should not be lost on anyone:

[Japan Trend Shop]

Indoor S’mores Maker ($69.95)

smores
Hammacher Schlemmer

Admit it: You bought this thing without even reading about it. What combination of words could I possibly cobble together with my extremely limited vocabulary in order to do this product justice? It’s an indoor S’mores maker.

Again, this is an indoors S’mores maker. It allows you to make S’mores inside.

Blizzard? No problem. Hurricane? Fine with me. Armageddon? Leave me alone, my chocolate has reached the perfect melting point. There’s even a circumferential tray that holds your marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate. Come on, now.

[Hammacher Schlemmer]

Car Grill ($50)

car grill
12 Volts Plus

You’ve heard the sayings: Work smarter, not harder. Time is money. Madge, I soaked in it.

Maybe strike that last one, but the first two are relevant here. Won’t you just look like a genius using your morning commute to fry up some greasy, crackling pig meat on this 12-volt grill. Hey, throw a hash brown on there while you’re at it. Crack an egg or two.

No need to feel guilty, either. The sloped grill drains grease down into a bottom-mounted receptacle that definitely (probably, maybe, who knows) won’t cause any spillage when you sink your front tire into that pothole or bottom out while going over that speed bump.

[12 Volts Plus]

App-Connected Baking Kit ($69.99)

perfect bake
Perfect Bake

You’re not anal; you’re particular. If a recipe calls for a cup of flour, who are you to eyeball it? Quit playing God!

Thankfully, this app-connected baking kit ensures that everything gets measured out perfectly – right down to the ounce.

Put a bowl on the scale, connect the scale to your phone or tablet and pull up one of the hundreds of included recipes. The app will tell you which ingredients to add and will adjust the measurements on the fly if you overpour. Not that you would ever, ever, ever overpour. Can you imagine? What a nightmare! You’re not anal. You’re not anal.

[Brookstone]

Past Nonsense:

TIME society

The Case Against Eating Ethically-Raised Meat

Cow in shed
Rolfo—Getty Images/Flickr RF

Raising animals well ignores the other problems with raising animals for consumption

PatheosLogo_Blue

This article originally appeared on Patheos.

After writing about why atheists should be vegans, I got a lot of responses from readers who said that it’s okay to eat ethically-raised meat. Shouldn’t we pursue those, the argument goes, instead of completely abstaining from animal products? I find these arguments somewhat compelling—after all, if people with ethical concerns left the meat market, that would leave the meat market driven by people with no ethical concerns for how their meat is treated. But I’ve become convinced for a number of reasons that it’s better on the whole to completely abstain from animal products. I came across an article on The Daily Beast, though, that I thought was interesting. It briefly profiles Dan Honig, a former vegetarian with a Masters degree in bioethics who started a high-quality and purportedly ethical meat supplying company. The Daily Beast reports:

To get a Bioethics Master’s Degree at NYU, students must complete an internship. Even though [Honig's] undergraduate studies had led him to be a vegetarian, he decided to intern with a small pork producer. He was curious to see firsthand what an alternative food system looked like. In the interview for the internship, it was when Honig mentioned that he was a vegetarian that the pork producer became interested in hiring him. [...] Indeed, it was his experience working with smaller farms and meat processors that made Honig believe that there can be ethical way to eat meat. That was when he adopted his current practice of eating meat, albeit only occasionally and only when he knows where the meat came from.

It’s worth noting at the outset that I would be much happier if everyone viewed eating meat this way, and the world would be a much better place. But I think there are a lot of reasons this view is mistaken, and why even views like this shouldn’t be taken as a victory for meat-eaters.

1. Even if there can be ethical meat, it’s extremely rare. Almost all animals we farm and consume come from modern factory farms, and no one with even passing knowledge of factory farming practices could seriously maintain that they resemble ethical treatment for any sentient creature. Honig tells The Daily Beast, “It’s a system of mass torture. It’s bad for the animals and it’s bad for us.” According to the ASPCA, 99% of farm animals in the U.S. are raised on factory farms.

2. From any ethical system, raising animals to kill them seems morally off. Though Honig distances himself from Utilitarianism and instead endorses a duty-based ethical system, unnecessarily ending a life you have a duty toward doesn’t seem morally compatible. It’s not obvious what kind of relationship could possibly include “duty not to harm” but not “duty not to kill.” There’s a local goat farm about thirty minutes from where I live, and they pride themselves in how well they treat their goats. I was delighted that this farm existed, because it seemed like the type of place that would make animal products morally worth eating. I discovered, though, that they kill their goats, who otherwise have lived to be well into their teens, once they’re only two years old. It’s better to treat these goats well for two years than to treat them poorly for two years, but it’s still very hard to see how it can be moral to end their lives so soon if you feel like you have a duty to their wellbeing.

3. Raising animals well ignores the other problems with raising animals for consumption. Even if animals raised for food are raised and killed morally (if the latter is even possible), this still ignores the host of other issues involved in eating meat. Beef per pound has an extremely unsustainable carbon footprint and uses an inordinate amount of water. No ethical meat will be good for the environment.

4. Ethical meat is a luxury good. Honig mentions this as a problem, and I’m not sure it’s avoidable—-ethical meat is expensive and rare. It’s a luxury good. If cost is to be an argument against vegetarianism or veganism, it goes doubly for any ethical meat. The Daily Beast writes:

“We’re pretty expensive,” [Honig] says. “Our customers can demand $50 for an entree.” While he donates 1 percent of his company’s revenue in the form of beef, he thinks the solution to the problem that ethical meat is restricted to the rich will have to come in the form of social innovations.

It seems much easier, and much more ethical, though, for this social innovation to include drifting away from animal-based diets. Any solution, such as subsidizing ethical meat, could be more effective and better for the environment through subsidizing vegan goods.

5. We still don’t need to eat meat. Once we’re in the position where we no longer need animal products to survive (which I take it includes the vast majority, if not all, of anyone who is reading this blog—eating disorders, specific dietary needs, and economic restrictions aside), it becomes harder to justify this luxury. No matter how painlessly or ethically it seems you could kill an animal, it’s still the case that you’re ending a life when you don’t need to for no reason better than that you want your meal to taste a bit better.

Vlad Chituc is the editor of NonProphet Status. He is currently a researcher in psychology, philosophy, and economics at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

Read more from Patheos:

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

MONEY groceries

Walmart Tests New Drive-Thru Concept in Match Made in Heaven

Honey Boo Boo and her family go Extreme Couponing
If Walmart's pickup grocery option is successful enough to spread around the country, Honey Boo and other shoppers will be able to retrieve groceries without having to go inside stores. Jason Winslow—Corbis

It's now possible to go grocery shopping at Walmart without leaving your car.

This week, Walmart started testing a new concept called Walmart Pickup – Grocery, a service that allows customers to order online from a selection of 10,000 grocery and household products and schedule a pickup time for as little as two hours or as far as three weeks in the future. The experiment is taking place at a Walmart warehouse in the northwest Arkansas town of Bentonville, where Walmart is headquartered.

By launching the concept, Walmart joins a long list of grocery services all created with the common goal of basically eliminating the need to “go” grocery shopping by actually strolling through store aisles. We’re talking about online grocery delivery options from the likes of Amazon and Instacart, as well as drive-thru and pickup services akin to what Walmart is doing, via more established players such as Relay Foods and Peapod, which work with local supermarkets and often also offer delivery. For all of the above, the big selling point is convenience, saving shoppers the time and hassle involved in the boring but necessary task of gathering of groceries.

Walmart is only testing the service in one location, but the move is noteworthy nonetheless because it’s the world’s largest retailer here dipping its toes into what many see as the future of grocery shopping. And rest assured that Walmart is learning from the experiment, and that if it’s successful, shoppers will see the pickup option spread around the country.

“Certainly I know there are folks that are thinking about that and trying to figure out ways to meet the customer’s ever changing demands,” Mitch Fevold, the grocery manager at the Walmart where the test is taking place, said to a local TV station.

Fevold explained that after customers place their order and schedule a pickup time, they pull up to a large drive-thru area with a roof overhead that bears some resemblance to a gas station. Instead of a gas pump, the customer finds a touch screen kiosk, which he taps to alert store staffers that he’s arrived and ready for pickup. “The groceries are then loaded up and the customer would actually have the opportunity to review fresh products,” Fevold said.

At least in this test case, Walmart’s pickup service is being run out of a “click-and-collect” facility, a warehouse-type building where only employees are allowed inside, rather than at a Walmart retail location that welcomes shoppers. The concept is very similar to the Zoomin Market, a drive-thru-only grocery store concept opened earlier this year in Kansas.

Also interesting: For now at least, Walmart’s service is offered at no charge above the cost of the customer’s order. That’s how competing services like Peapod worked originally too. But as of early September, Peapod, which works with large supermarket chains such as Stop & Shop and Giant, instituted a $2.95 fee for store pickup, with a minimum order of $60. Alternately, customers can opt for a membership pass granting unlimited pickup and delivery, ranging in price from $39 for three months to $99 for a year.

TIME Food

This New Method of Farming Could Change Where Our Food Comes From

"It could be that the best strawberries in the world come from Detroit"

Caleb Harper, founder of the CITYFarm Research Project, and his team at MIT’s Media Lab in Cambridge, Mass. appear to have found a way to grow food four times faster than it does in nature, using a new farming method called “Aeroponics.”

Unlike regular hydroponics, a growing method that uses water instead of soil, the plants at CITYFarm do not sit in still water, but rather have their roots suspended in a “fog chamber” which sprays a nutrient-rich mist.

The CITYFarmers take great care to monitor each aspect of the plants’ growth, to see which conditions work the best, including a technique of limiting light to red and blue.

“This is the spectrum of light that the plants need to grow extra plant material,” Harper explains–and the rest of the spectrum besides red and blue only serves to provide heat.

Harper believes that Aeoroponics not only grows fuller, more developed plants, but could be a solution to local farmers looking to provide sustenance to booming city populations.

“We all know the phrase, ‘the best X comes from X’”, he explains, instead proposing that “the best X comes from the environment that created it.”

“There is a new way to think of using fabrication space, especially if you look at a city like Detroit.”

By building a similar set up, which requires no soil or great tracts of land, “it could be that the best strawberries in the world come from Detroit.”

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