That sweet little patch of budding bushes is turning into fat blueberries even as I type. The bushes are in full leaf, of course, and as we've worked in the nearby fields planting, harvesting, pruning, and staking, the blueberries working away each day, too. We've got a few still in the freezer from last year, and I'm hoping to harvest enough for at least one batch of jam. There's a U-Pick place just up the bike path near the nashi orchard, so just maybe my berry dreams can come true!
Drying pods of heirloom Hutterite Soup Beans. Since moving to Japan eight years ago, one of my greatest challenges as a farmer-gardener has been to find heirloom or open-pollinated seeds. The majority of seeds available are not GMO (genetically modified organisms) as Japan, at this point, doesn't accept this material. Most seeds, though, are nearly all F1 varieties. Heirloom and F1 Varieties In plant breeding, F1 is the name given to the first generation of a cross between two true breeding parents. For example, if I decide to cross an Amish Paste Tomato with another heirloom variety tomato such as Emmy, in hopes of getting a gold paste tomato, the resulting generation of fruit is F1. In order to get that tomato of my culinary dreams, I'll need to choose members of that first generation that are headed in a direction I like - early ripening, medium-sized fruit, good taste - and save their seeds. I'll plant them and repeat the process again and again over time unti