What blew away the great ocean views and came to rival the nashi orchards and even the coolest vegetable stand in the village was the discovery of a most recently hatched praying mantis. As we snacked on takenoko and shallots dipped in miso, one of the other guests called excitedly from the deck. We tore ourselves away from the great food to find this little guy dangling from the egg case until moments before he called home. Despite his miniscule size and seemingly precarious position, he proved quite nimble within moments and prepared for battle if we came too close.
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