Archive for August, 2009

How Green Was My Garden: Matina Mystery

Mystery tomatoes 001While picking my Matina organic tomatoes today I came across two shriveled up globes that I thought were just rotten or fungally affected tomatoes but when I went to pick them I found they were hard firm fruit with an aroma similar to sage. I have never in all my years of gardening seen anything like this grow from a tomato plant.

They are almost alien like and reminiscent of hedge balls you can purchase as a natural repellent for spiders in your home.

If anyone has any information to help me identify these strange tomato plant formations please let me know, I don’t know whether I am more intrigued or afraid at this point.  The Matinas are still producing wonderfully, and there were even juicy red tomatoes on the same vine and bunch as these strange green creatures.  There are only two that I can see out of three plants so far but it is indeed a Matina Mystery I would like solved.

Mystery tomatoes 003

How Green Was My Garden: Local Food and Two Movies

For those who appreciate community gardening and healthy food there is an upcoming two-film event at the Riverview that may be of interest.  Sponsored by Gardening Matters and Midtown Farmers market these two films are good documentaries regarding food and gardening issues that are pertinent in today’s environment.

Below is the announcement and information on the two-film event at the Riverview Theater.

Celebrating Local Food, Creating Permanent Community Spaces Gardening Matters and the Midtown Farmers Market invite you to a two-part film event:

The Garden
Wednesday, September 9th – 7p.m.
Riverview Theater

Food Fight
Wednesday, September 16th – 7 p.m.
Riverview Theater

Do we value our community spaces?  How do community gardens and farmers markets impact our ability to nourish ourselves and the neighborhoods in which we live?  What can and should be done to protect these spaces for the benefit of the common good?
The gardenThe Garden: In 1992, neighbors working together to grow food, feed families, build community, and repair blight established The Garden, a 14-acre community garden in South Central Los Angeles.  It became the largest community garden in the United States.  But behind closed doors at City Hall, the Garden was sold to a developer for less than fair-market value.  The Garden, an Oscar-nominated documentary by Scott Hamilton Kennedy, follows a group of urban farmers, mostly immigrants from Latin America, as they organize, fight back, and demand answers. View the trailer at

Food FightFood Fight: When we walk into a supermarket, it’s easy to believe we are in the midst of the widest possible selection of wholesome foods available.  Don’t be fooled: Chris Taylor’s film Food Fight documents how over the course of the 20th century, our food system has been co-opted by corporations whose interests aren’t always in providing our families with fresh, healthy, and sustainably-produced food.  But there are alternatives: beginning with the 1960’s counter-cultural revolution, Taylor’s film features some of the folks who have been taking our nation’s food production back into their own hands through innovative urban agriculture projects, schoolyard gardens, locally provisioned restaurants, and community farmers markets. View the trailer at

Featured Speakers: Following each film there will be a brief presentation/panel discussion to address the issues raised by the films. Chris Taylor, director of Food Fight will be at the screening on the 16th to discuss the documentary & answer questions from the audience. Additional speakers to be announced.

Tickets for both shows are $10 at the door, no advance sales.

Doors open at 6:30pm.

The Riverview is located at 3800 42nd Avenue South, Minneapolis, 55406.

Sponsored by the Midtown Farmers Market & Gardening Matters, with support from our Promotional Partners:  Birchwood Cafe, Common Roots Café, Environmental Justice Advocates of MN, Headwaters Foundation for Justice, Land Stewardship Project, MN Food and Justice Alliance, Peace Coffee, and Seward Co-op.

Please contact Jesse ( with any questions and we hope to see you there!

The Garden Facebook Page

Celebrating Local Food/Protecting Community Spaces Film Facebook Event Page

Film event


Issues like these are important to our community.  Locally, the Soo Line Community Garden in Minneapolis just received notice that they are considering the area for rezoning. Community meetings regarding the rezoning are being held August 31, September 1 and September 2.  All three will be in the Midtown Exchange building (920 E Lake St) from 6:30 to 8:00 PM.  A the same presentation will be given at 7:00 PM at each meeting.

Organizers have said that at present, the Soo Line Garden’s land has split zoning,  with half zoned residential (R2B) and half industrial (I1) which was was created 15 years ago at the request of the Whittier Alliance and the South Whittier Land Use Task Force to create an obstacle to possible development (one half would have to be rezoned before any project could go forward).  As part of the Midtown Greenway Rezoning Study it is now proposed that the lot where the Soo Line Community Garden lies  be zoned R1A, Single Family Residential.

Say Soo Line Community Garden leaders “We would like to see the City adopt an open space zoning category so that the zoning code can reflect the intended use of the land. Until such a category can be created we support the rezoning to R1A as the option which offers the best protection against any future development threat.”

While there is no immediate threat to the SLCG and it was not individually singled out for the rezoning, the organizers are requesting supporters to participate in the meetings so that the garden’s interests can be protected and any future threat minimized.

For further information on the rezoning meetings or the Soo Line Community Garden you can contact Russell Raczkowski (

Soo Line Garden: Annual or Perennial

Celebrating Local Food / Protecting Community Spaces Film Series

Minnesota State Fair Opening Day in 20 Seconds

Thanks to MPR you can now watch thousands of fair goers eat millions of calories in less than a minute. Mmmmm, I’ll take 18,000 pronto pups.


Minnpost reports

A record-setting crowd visited the 2009 Minnesota State Fair’s opening day Thursday. Minnesota Public Radio captured a portion of those 114,439 people from a video camera setup near its stage at the Fair and sped up the time from opening to closing to make this 20-second video.

So you know, go get something on a stick.
(What is the dude at 1:27 up to?)

I hear Summit has beer on a stick this year. I’d like to see you drink a day’s worth of that in twenty seconds.

Seriously, do it, send me your video.





Image Uploaded on August 20, 2009
by dogwelder

Just Another Music Friday – 8/28/09

It’s been a pretty inactive week around the Mpls MetBlog this week, though there has been a lot going on. For example, with the new site design we are back to allowing comments that don’t require registration.

On the music front I haven’t been going out and seeing shows over the last few weeks as the wife is almost ready to have our latest child. We still haven’t picked out a name for him and she doesn’t seem keen on naming him Knight DeCoded or really any of my outrageous name suggestions.


In music news there’s still much talk about the potential loss of the Uptown Bar and Grill and the Myth Nightclub

What are you thoughts on the loss(es)?

In the meantime, here’s a little local rock from Dumpster Juice to get your blood flowing.


What’s in your shuffle?


A little something from my garden

Purple Cosmo

Purple Cosmo

I may or may not write up a football post, but in the mean time I think you should check out the latest lolVikings, 3 and out.

Does this task force make me look angry?

The other day I was talking with a friend that associates with known Officers of the Law about the people that aggrevate police during stops and I mentioned that I make it a rule to never antagonize the police to which he replied “You mean, you make it a rule to never antagonize the police that can arrest you.”

A subtle distinction or a cautious reminder?

Turns out that apparently I piss off the police.

Why? Because I write about police activity, a big no-no which has grown into a taboo. We are supposed to respect, even fear, the police and be happy when, in the event of a criminal wrong doing, they show up and do their job.

You see, it’s gotten to the point where everyone is afraid of the police. The most innocent person gets nervous when trailed and tailgated by a police car, no matter that the driver wasn’t breaking a law. Just the mere presence of Police, aka those that are supposed to protect us, makes most people nervous. I think that isn’t right.

We live in a time when a bad teacher breaks a law and they get a harsher sentence because they “need to be held to a higher standard”, but when a bad cop breaks the law they need to be shown leniency. This effectively equates to the police are held to a lower standard and at a position above the law. You know it. I know it. We all know it.

Yet few, if any, journalists ever take on this miscarriage of justice. Why? Is it because they don’t want to become targets? Wouldn’t that imply that the police target people that aren’t criminals? (Unless you think all journalists are criminals which very well may be.) Why is it that as a society we accept this abuse of power?

Not long ago I asked if our state forfeiture laws should be suspended and a grand total of 8 people voted.

Despite the widely known fact that with current forfeiture laws police can take cash money, not charge the person with any crime, and the individual still won’t be able to get the money back in court.

Well today another bigger and badder report was released by the state ,Report: Strike Force rife with misconduct, letting us know once again that justice is not being served. The report revealed large scale property seizures that were either kept for personal use by law enforcement or held and sold cheaply to their friends and family.

The report concludes,

Something went terribly wrong at the Metro Gang Strike Force, and it should not be allowed to happen gain,” the report said. It recommended that there be no stand-alone Strike Force units that are untethered from a law enforcement agency, and the report urged the Legislature to consider revamping the state’s seizure and forfeiture laws.

I have questions and so should you.
Why is it that when I am outraged by this sort of activity and call for it’s end it’s because I don’t like the police?

So then what’s it called when the state investigation comes to the same conclusion?

Let’s be clear, I don’t hate the Police or cops. I realize that for the most part they babysit the scum of the earth. It’s a tough job, but it’s not like when filled out their application they promised to do the work for free and somehow forgot to check the “Dancing With Stars” option.

Also, let’s get right to it not pretend this sort of stuff isn’t rampant and isolated to one small group or a couple of rogue cops. If that were the case grandmas wouldn’t be afraid when trailed by police and soccer moms wouldn’t be getting tased. Everyone has a story

As long as there are events like this Task Force debacle and wrongly raided houses leading to medals of valor, I just can’t see much justice in our Justice System.

The featured commenter at the Strib complains,

Why aren’t these cops being prosecuted?
They are stealing – “not mis-appropriating”!!!! I hate the double-talk – call a thief a thief!

I guess the answer may very well be because the stealing in question was done by a bad cop, and not an ordinary citizen or someone held to a “higher standard”, like a teacher.

You know polls don’t mean much in reality, but it’s interesting that my recent poll about Brett Favre got three times more votes than the forfeiture poll which involved citizens of the country having their Constitutional Rights violated and their property stolen by those that are supposed to Serve and Protect.

You can chew me out in the comments, if you’d like, but save your typical arguements of “If you ever have a burglar, don’t ever call the police then . . .”

Those arguements are B.S.

Speaking of B.S. I can’t help but wonder why the Feds don’t investigate every judge that signs a search warrant, every confidential informant that gives secret testimony, and prosecute lies and collusion using the same RICO laws they use to fight organized crime. Recent events seem to reinforce the old joke about the most armed dangerous gang on the streets being the police.

And I’m supposed to be worried about pissing off cops for not liking their abuses of the law with the citizens they are supposed to protect?

That’s funny, because all I feel is disgust.

Someone let me know when it’s safe to go back in the water.


Here’s the full report H/T

How Green Was My Garden: Homegrown Tomatoes

“Home grown tomatoes, home grown tomatoes
What would life be like without homegrown tomatoes
Only two things that money can’t buy
That’s true love and home grown tomatoes.” – Guy Clark

Garden 007

After a long wait finally this summer’s tomato crop is coming in! You may find it strange that for a gardener who grows so many fresh tomatoes, I actually don’t enjoy fresh tomatoes myself.  For some reason I have never been able to enjoy the taste of a raw tomato; I need it doctored in salsa or sauce. But that is fine because I grow not only for myself, but for others, and I also plant enough varieties of tomatoes to ensure I have enough tomatoes for all my cooking endeavors as well.

This year seems to have produced a bumper crop of cherry tomatoes, though they are late.  I thought for a while I was only growing tomato vines, and not fruit, and then only green tomatoes, but this recent spate of hot weather has started to turn the green fruit red, finally.

Garden 006

The old standbys are doing well, Sweet 100, Rainbow Cherry, San Marzano, Roma, Amish Paste, Double Rich & Robrecco Paste. But this year I tried a new one organic tomato called “Matina” from Thomson & Morgan which has been an outstanding success.  I grew all my tomatoes from seed this year except the Amish Paste which I get each year from Mother Earth Gardens.

Tomato Matina

Tomato Matina

Other than the Amish Paste & Matina, I did not grow any heirlooms this year, choosing instead to grow more tomatoes for canning and roasting and saucing.  The Matina has been a huge suprise with the volume of yield and how wonderful they are for a nice salad or sandwich slicing tomato.  I even made a fantastic bruchetta with them and plan on using them in a nice salsa as well.  With the continued production of the plants there will also be some canning of them I am sure.

Surprise compost tomato

Surprise compost tomato

One of the surprises I received in my garden this year was a tomato plant that grew next to my compost bin. Obviously it was a plant that seeded itself from one of the plants I placed in the bin last year and somehow one of the tomatoes escaped. It appears to be a cherry tomato so the good news is it has enough time to yield perhaps a few fruits.

I am afraid to write that so far I have avoided many problems with tomato blight or disease for fear that I will jinx myself. Other areas of the country are experiencing severe bouts of tomato and potato blight.  The worst I have seen so far (knock on wood) is some blossom end rot on a potted tomato from uneven watering.  But now that it is warmer and more humid fungal diseases can start to take hold more easily so I will likely keep an eye on the plants, trim any leaves that show signs of yellowing or brown spots and use and organic fungicidal spray if necessary.

Because we also still are behind as far as the growing season goes I think I may look into building some form of greenhouse for my tomatoes to extend the season, some way to encase my raised bed in a big plastic tent to allow the temperature to be a bit warmer once the cooler fall temperatures arrive.

In the meantime, I will be enjoying this wonderful harvest of fresh tomatoes.  I’ve even  invested in a few kitchen gadgets over the years like my Wüsthof-Trident Tomato knife to my Tomato Press to make processing the tomatoes even easier.

One of my favorite food television programs was Jamie Oliver’s “Jamie at Home” where he specialized in cooking meals straight from his organic garden.  He had an entire episode devoted to tomatoes where he cooked a tomato salad, fusilli with salsa rossa cruda, an oven baked sausage ragu and pale pink tomato and vodka consomme. I think I’ll be tapping into that on the old Tivo soon.  But the other surprise I had in my garden has been a second yield of asparagus, only a handful of spears, but it was a fun discovery nonetheless.  And the discovery means I’ll be making one of my other favorite Jamie Oliver recipes for dinner this week, Chicken with asparagus & cherry tomatoes.  I have a lovely little chicken breast from Braucher Sunshine Harvest Farms that will be perfect for it.

I am not want for recipes or ideas that is for certain. I know Andy Williams says that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but it is hard to beat tomato season!

One Day of Cherry Tomatoes

One Day of Cherry Tomatoes

One perfect Matina

One perfect Matina

Totally Doin’ It with Art and Emily: MNKINO

We went to MNKINO, a monthly event at the West Bank Social Center where anyone can screen a short film based on the month’s theme. This month’s theme was “On/Off.” The theme of the next event, which will be held on September 22, will be “Transparency.”

Art’s Part

My first reaction to MNKINO was “BLEGH! This is the sort of stuff kids were making in high school!” And it’s true—it did feel very much like a film screening from my high school. But then I remembered that I went to the Perpich Center for Art(‘)s Education, and that the kids there were being balls-out experimental. And that was and is exciting to me.

The videos on display at MNKINO were all in this same vein. Some videos were made by talented videographers who didn’t know how to tell a story; some were made by true amateurs who tried their best and it showed. Some—and there’s no other way to say it—were really stupid. But you know what? That’s ok! They all put themselves out there to try something new based on a prompt that someone gave them a month ago.

I dare you to try it. I’m going to! The next theme is TRANSPARENCY!

Emily’s Part

I first heard about MNKINO when I went to Give & Take a few weeks ago, and I was all, “This is something Art would totally do!” So I was going to call him, but then I realized that he was in New York chaperoning a bunch of bitter 15-year-olds in tiny, tiny shorts on a trip where cell phones had been banned.

So I had to wait.

Then, when he returned to the Midwest, I told him about it, and he was all, “That is something I would totally do!” So we decided to go. (Art was actually going to participate with a sandwich-related movie, but we didn’t get around to it. But there’s always next month!)

So anyway, tonight was the night, and we were able to make it to the event after struggling to find a parking spot and then struggling even harder to figure out how to get into the West Bank Social Center. (It’s right above the Nomad World Pub, but you have to go into their little backyard area and navigate around a bunch of hipsters playing Bocce Ball to get up there.)

But of what I was able to see, it was a pretty cool event. People had some really interesting and different (except for two people who sort of made the same movie) takes on the theme of “On/Off,” some of which I even understood. (People who make movies are weird. But in a cool way.)

I’ll also probably be quoting a line (Blog, blog, blog . . . STRATEGY!) from the first movie I saw for quite a while.

Plus, it’s free (if you don’t count the Nomad charging us over $13 for two beers). So now you have no reason not to go.

That is so Favred up.

Yup, just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water WCCO announces Source: Favre Expected To Sign With Vikings Today

A high-level source with the Minnesota Vikings tells WCCO-TV’s Mark Rosen that quarterback Brett Favre is expected to sign with the team Tuesday.

Favre is on currently on his way to Minneapolis and is expected to sign with the team this afternoon, the source said.

WCCO-TV spoke with an official at the Hattiesburg, Miss., airport, who saw an airplane with the Vikings logo leave the airport Tuesday morning. The flight number for that plane has been blocked from tracking systems.

WISN-TV, in Milwaukee, Wis., has learned that the plane carrying Brett and Deanna Favre will land in Minneapolis around 12:10 p.m.

So is this a good thing?


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