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Elite Farms, Fruits, Produce

9 Delicious Wild Plants You Can Eat

Some people are hesitant to consume wild plants, but there are many delicious flowers and berries that can be safely enjoyed. When consuming wild plants, be sure that you have the plant positively identified. If it is noted that a plant is only safe when cooked, be sure that you follow these instructions. These nine tasty options can help you add exciting variety to your dinner table.

Dandelion
This humble weed is one of the most versatile in the kitchen. The entire plant is edible, from the flowers to the roots. Young dandelion greens make a delicious base for a salad. They can also be served steamed or boiled. Dandelion root is rich in inulin, a healthy soluble fiber.

Wild Blueberry
Growing in cooler regions of the Northeast like Maine and Michigan, the wild blueberry is one of the most antioxidant-rich fruits in the world. These berries are ripe when they are a soft blue color. Rather than purchase some from a grocery store, you can have fun foraging for their wild counterparts.

Daisies
It may seem odd to snack on a daisy, but both the leaves and flowers are edible. They make an attractive and tasty addition to a salad.

Asparagus
Asparagus grows wild in many parts of the United States. This green plant is delicious when roasted or steamed. It can make a gourmet side dish if served with hollandaise sauce.


To learn about five more edible wild plants, read on at EliteFarms.org

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Elite Farms, Fruits, Produce

Cranberry Bogs: Growing, Protecting, & Harvesting

You may have seen commercials featuring waist-deep reserves of water and floating berries, but how much do you really know about growing and harvesting cranberries? There are reasons behind the flooded fields and cranberry bogs; other methods of harvesting the fruits exist, as well.

Cranberry harvesting occurs in autumn, usually until mid-November. While all cranberries were once harvested by hand, the scale of cranberry production has rendered this method obsolete and inefficient. Because of the sheer volume of berries produced (between 5.45 and 14.4 tons per acre in 2016 alone), innovation has led to unique, time-saving methods of growing, protecting, and of course, harvesting them.

 

Irrigation

Though cranberries are not aquatic plants as media might have you believe, they do thrive in wetland environments known as bogs. In the off-season, cranberry plants can tolerate saturated soil, but this is not ideal for healthy growth. Utilizing an irrigation system to deliver an appropriate amount of water to the cranberry plants throughout the day, especially during the summer when temperatures rise and the air is dry, can help prevent damage from occurring.

Winter Flooding

Because of the risk of winterkill, or the event in which plants are killed by winter conditions such as low temperatures and frost, farmers had to identify the best way to protect their plants over the winter months. The most effective way to protect cranberry fields is by flooding them, providing a protective layer of water that freezes around the plants and effectively preserves them until spring.


To learn about how cranberries are harvested, read on at EliteFarms.org

How Brazil is Making Strides in the Corn Industry Elite Farms
Elite Farms, Produce, Uncategorized

How Brazil is Making Strides in the Corn Industry

How Brazil is Making Strides in the Corn Industry

The United States of America has been the world’s top corn exporter for years, but that may change in the near future. Andre Passoa of Agroconsult predicts that Brazil’s corn output will double within the next decade, which would allow it to match or even to beat America’s output. The USDA disagrees with that number, but it does agree that Brazil’s corn output will keep growing at a significant rate.

 

Economic Changes

The cost of growing corn in Brazil has been dropping for quite some time, and the productivity of farms has been rising. Combined with the increase of corn farming areas as well as the adoption of crops with favorable genetic modifications, there have been significant infrastructure improvements to turn corn into a strong export crop. Most of the improvements have been made to the production of second crop corn, which is a major asset for farmers in some of the most productive parts of Brazil.

 

The Power of Second Crop Corn

Second crop corn refers to the corn plants that are sown right after the farmers harvest the year’s soybeans. Most of the farms that grow it are in Brazil’s Center West states, which gives it a geographical advantage for export. The farms are fairly close to the country’s primary ports and relatively far away from the centers of animal husbandry. That helps to make it better for farmers to sell to foreign buyers rather than to ship the corn for use as animal feed. It is fairly easy to process because the farmers plant it after the soybeans have been harvested. The soybeans briefly clog the ports, but they can handle new shipments by the time the corn is ready.

 

An Ongoing Trend

The current increase in Brazilian corn production is really part of an ongoing trend. The country’s productivity has been steadily rising for more than a decade, and demand for corn in Brazil has not risen at the same rate. The country is continuing to adopt new varieties of corn and improve its infrastructure with some government support, so it is reasonable to assume that the trend will continue. Brazilians are already the second largest producer of corn in the world, so if anyone can challenge American dominance in the industry, it will be them.

Elite Farms, Fruits, Produce

How This Vegetable-Growing Startup Became 400 Times More Productive Than Traditional Farms

EliteFarms vertical startup

Looking back into human history thousands upon thousands of years ago, the advent of agriculture is what ultimately gave way for the human population to grow more rapidly than ever before; this eventually led to the world we know today. In other words, agriculture has been an essential part of the human race’s success since the beginning of time. That being said, that doesn’t mean even now, years and years later, it’s the most effective process.

Sure today, the world depends on far fewer farmers than it once did due to constant improvements in agricultural technology – modern farmers have greater yields per acre of land than any farmer of yesteryear. One thing has stayed the same since the dawn of agriculture, however – farmers have always used land as the foundation that their figurative grain silos of success are built on. Today’s agriculture sector benefits from countless modern marvels that make today’s farming relatively easy. Society also gets better-tasting food than our ancestors due to domesticated strains of plants.

Agriculture’s greatest minds bestowed upon modern farmers an idea.

Vertical farming is a relatively new method of farming that uses large metal racks that hold countless trays of miniature farms – in a sense, at least. The earth only has so much land space, though vertical farming is expanding the available room to farm tenfold at a minimum.

Vertical farming isn’t just a theoretical pipe dream of a practice – here’s a company that has been practicing it for years.

AeroFarms is a startup in the realm of vertical farming. The field isn’t the hottest in Silicon Valley, New York City, or Los Angeles, per se, though New Jersey’s own AeroFarms is certainly doing well for itself.

The agriculture technology startup employs precisely 120 people at its Newark-based warehouse. Its facility is essentially the same thing as packing acres of farmland under one roof; one wide-open farmland’s worth of vegetables, grains, other plants, and fungi is packed inside the middle of the city of Newark.

Being able to grow so much food without being forced to buy or rent many acres of land in a far-away rural area is also highly convenient. AeroFarms further finds itself able to sell its product throughout the city of Newark; just about all of the stores with produce in them within a few miles of AeroFarms use its products – that’s market domination.

Believe it or not, AeroFarms’ indoor crops’ yields are 400 times that of traditional, farms. Is vertical the next step into the farming future?

 

Elite Farms, Fruits, Produce

Seasonal Spotlight: Strawberry Season 101

Summer’s bountiful harvest is all around us and one of nature’s greatest gift is the strawberry. As the most cultivated berry in the nation, the strawberry is available as a farm fresh product in every state. With more than 600 varieties of this venerable fruit grown in the U.S., there is a strawberry for every taste and preference. Boasting healthy doses of vitamin C and other powerful antioxidants, strawberries are the perfect summertime treat. Here are a few tips on how to make the most out of strawberry season:

CHOOSING: When selecting strawberries, choose varieties that look plump and firm. The brighter berries will have the freshest and deepest taste. Running the strawberry through a smell test is an easy and effective way to ensure that you are choosing the freshest and juiciest strawberries. Also consider the variety and which season they perform best during. Earliglows are a great tart spring strawberry while Allstars are a heartier berry with a bit longer growing season.

WASHING: While you may be tempted to take your fresh picked strawberries straight to the sink, don’t wash the strawberries until are you are ready to eat them. Doing so will dry the berries out and dilute the flavor. The best way to clean the strawberries is to place them in a colander under running cold water, following this with a gentle pat dry with a clean towel.

HULLING: Because the green tops of the strawberries are not edible, special care must be taken to remove this inedible portion. The easiest way to do this is with a specially-designed strawberry huller. However, the task can also be finished with a simple knife. Place the tip of the knife into the base of the strawberry cap and gently turn until the green cap and white fleshy core pops right out of the berry.

FREEZING: Freezing any leftover strawberries is an ideal way to preserve the fresh summer flavor of these delectables. After hulling the berries, lay them flat on a baking sheet and then freeze overnight. Store them in a freezer in an airtight freezer bag until ready to use. When properly stored, frozen strawberries will keep fresh for up to one year.

SERVING IDEAS: Strawberries can be consumed plain or in a variety of dishes. Some ideas include using strawberries in salads, as the starring ingredient in pies and muffins, over shortcake with whipped cream, in smoothies, or as part of a fun summer cocktail such as a fruity sangria. Check out some fun recipes from BonAppetit.com here.