guest post -> dan g. (and a giveaway!)

by Holly on September 29, 2010

in giveaway,guest posts

‘Ello loves! I’m taking the night off in order to let Dan Grifen steal the Everythingtarian spotlight to bring to us some information on a food topic we don’t often hear about – biodiversity. We hear so much about eating local foods that this point of view – one that encourages buying and tasting new, often more exotic crops – is one I found extremely interesting. If you read on, you’ll perhaps just maybe if you’re lucky also find a giveaway at the end…


Grocery Variety and Sustainability Go Hand-in-Hand

“In other environmental issues we tell people to stop something,
reduce their impact, reduce their damage,”
– U.S. Ecologist Gary Nabhan

Since the beginning of the green movement, there has been a rise in the number of organizations and businesses that are doing their part in the promotion of sustainability through conservation. As human beings, we’re told to reduce our carbon footprint, consume less unhealthy foods, and spend less time in the shower! But let’s take a minute to step back and look at this from a different perspective; one that Gary Nabhan strongly suggests.

Gary Paul Nabhan, PhD., is a Arab-American writer/conservationist whose extensive farming work in the U.S./Mexico borderlands region has made him world-renowned. Nabhan is known for his work in biodiversity as an ethnobotanist. His uplifting messages and attitude towards life and culture has granted us access to multiple beneficial theories including his latest: eat what you conserve.

According to The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, about three-quarters of the genetic diversity of crops have been vanishing over the last century and currently, a dozen species now provide 90% of the animal protein eaten globally. In accordance, just four crop species supply half of plant-based calories in the human diet.

Nabhan claims that by eating the fruits and vegetables that we are attempting to conserve/save, we’re promoting the granular dissemination of various plant species. But this goes beyond what we typically buy in supermarkets, particularly because of price and abundance. We must remember to try new things and immerse ourselves in the very concept of diversity. Keep in mind the benefits of splurging for that costly fruit/vegetable supremely outweigh the cons. Not only are you promoting biodiversity and further eliminating the needs of farmers to remove rare, less purchased crops off their agenda, but you’re also effectively encouraging healthier lifestyles.

Agriculturist Marco Contiero mentioned, “Biodiversity is an essential characteristic of any sustainable agricultural system, especially in the context of climate change.” With sustainable crop efforts being lead by the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) and International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the duo plans to provide a more sustainable crops that can withstand natural disasters, thus avoiding food shortages like Haiti is experiencing. Contiero goes on to state, “We need to ensure this is the basis for the future,” which is exactly what Doug Band, the CGI and the IRRI are doing by engaging in sustainability efforts.

So remember, next time you’re in the supermarket picking out a common varietal of navel oranges or strawberries, turn your attention to something that’s a bit more exotic in nature. The same goes for salads/salad ingredients; shop outside the norm, picking spices and vegetables that you wouldn’t normally incorporate into your everyday diet. During such an economic downtime, it isn’t always easy to maintain the same level of grocery shopping intrigue, but we must also not forget that in this sundry of foods we can find fun!

Dan Grifen – Supporter of all things green and progressive


Interesting stuff, no?

There are so many ways to look at, analyze and view food in our big wide world, it is truly incredible. We can’t forget how food affects the very farmers who grow these crops or the effect it has on our body – like perhaps, our brain?

Earlier this year, I was asked to contribute to Posit Science’s ThinkFood Cookbook – a diverse collection of recipes from some of the web’s top food bloggers featuring specifically chosen ingredients (tomatoes! eggs! curry powder!) proven to fuel and sharpen the mind.

For contributing to the book, not only did I get a free copy for myself, but I also received a free copy to give away to one of you Everythingtarian readers!

If you win, not only will you possess my recipe for Sundried Tomato, Spinach and Goat Cheese Mini Quiches in your very own hands…

…but you’ll get recipes from Heather and Tina, as well as some extra treats thrown in the giveaway package (homemade Pumpkin Molasses Cookies, anyone?) for good measure.

So, what do you have to do to win the cookbook? In accordance with Dan’s informative guest post, just leave me a comment and answer me this question:

What is the most exotic fruit or vegetable you’ve ever eaten?

That’s it!

I will announce the winner Sunday night.

Peace, love and sustainable eating.


Megan (Braise the Roof) September 30, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Really interesting post…I can’t say I’d ever been enlightened on this subject! I eat a lot of different fruits and vegetables (always have- my family eats rutabaga on Thanksgiving instead of sweet potatoes), but one of the more unique I’ve eaten is lotus root. It doesn’t taste like much but it’s very pretty!

Stephanie September 30, 2010 at 2:19 pm

gosh, now that i’m thinking about it, i have no idea what the most exotic fruit/veg i’ve ever eaten is!

for now, i’ll go with salmon berries, fresh off the bush in juneau, alaska. i was lucky to get to them before the bear we discovered on the other side of the bush did…. :)

Stephanie September 30, 2010 at 2:30 pm

ooh wait! i know a weird one: the cherimoya fruit. also known as the “custard apple,” it has a very unusual taste, kind of like melon crossed with really ripe pineapple. inside it possesses a creamy white flesh dotted with large black seeds about the size of a penny. it looks kind of like what i imagine a dragon’s toe would look like (green and scaley). we tried it plain (and weren’t huge fans) than tried it mushed up and frozen (which was better- the texture really lent well to a faux ice cream). but CAUTION- if you eat the skin of the cherimoya, you can suffer temporary paralysis! the seeds are also toxic, and if broken open and crushed can be used as an insecticide.

Allison W. September 30, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Hmm I don’t know if this is that exotic, but I’ve tried those weird apple pear hybrids. I think I prefer my apples straight up. Cool book!

Megan September 30, 2010 at 5:07 pm

ditto on the pear/apples, pomegranates are pretty exotic for me since they’re only in season a short while. My friends and coworkers think i eat a lot of weird veggies but edamame and sweet potato are pretty mainstream to me!

Emily H September 30, 2010 at 5:50 pm

Well, not sure of the name, but I ate a piece of fruit straight off a tree in the Dominican Republic!

Ellie September 30, 2010 at 5:56 pm

Dragonfruit in China!

Kristen D September 30, 2010 at 7:41 pm

i think it was called a kaki fruit. but whatever it was what weird tasting and my mom and i couldn’t figure out if we were supposed peel or eat the whole thing !

Jessie September 30, 2010 at 8:19 pm

These aren’t the most exotic fruit ever, but there’s a kumquat tree in my parents’ backyard that I’ve tasted the fruit from. Not sure if it’s their tree or what, but the kumquats were so bitter and yucky! I still get points for trying them though, right? ;)

Megan @ The Oatmeal Diaries September 30, 2010 at 8:40 pm

“Eat what you conserve”- I like that. I’m part of a sustainability group at school so this was right up my alley!
SO cool you are featured in that book! Most exotic fruit/veg I’ve ever had… wow this makes me feel so uncultured. Awhile back I ate plantains in Antigua and thought it was the coolest/most exotic thing ever! Then I realized they are basically bananas. But I think it still counts!!

Kaleigh September 30, 2010 at 10:10 pm

A lychee!! It made me feel like I was eating an eyeball!

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) September 30, 2010 at 10:46 pm

great post…most exotic…

how bout picking mangos and papayas off trees in costa rica and eating them straight from the trees of the rainforest!

Sarah B. September 30, 2010 at 10:54 pm

I love giveaways! The most exotic fruit I have ever eaten was dragon fruit…I didn’t really like it though :)

Laura T. September 30, 2010 at 11:13 pm

hmm i havent really had any “exotic” fruit..maybe some mangos or guava?

Courtney Sanders September 30, 2010 at 11:52 pm

The most exotic food I have tried is dragon fruit! it’s pink on the outside and white with seeds on the inside. My grandma and grandpa (who live on the Yucatan Penisula of Mexico) serve them for breakfast every morning when I visit!

Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down) October 1, 2010 at 7:44 am

That is so cool to see your name in print!! I would totally love to have a recipe published someday. :D

As far as exotic fruits/veggies, I’d say that the Asian pear is probably as far reached as I’ve ever eaten. Or coconuts, if that counts. :mrgreen:

Sami October 1, 2010 at 9:13 am

mmmm that quiche recipe looks awesome!

annnnnnnnnnnnnddd the cookbook is pretty sweet!

the most exotic things i’ve tried were probably starfruit, asian pears, or maybe coconut milk straight from the coconut.

Nic October 1, 2010 at 10:43 am

I think I’m going to print this post and show it to my husband to justify the crazy stuff that I come home with from the grocery store :)

Strangest veggie I’ve had: szechuan peppers. Real szechuan peppers. They don’t allow them in the US because (I believe) they have the potential to harm the citrus crop. But the hubs and I were in Japan and tried them… they make your tongue all tingly and numb! Super cool!

Nichole October 1, 2010 at 11:37 am

I really enjoy reading your blog and today’s post really inspired me.

I think the most exotic fruit I have tried is starfruit. I eat mangoes normally and coconut as well.
Not very EXOTIC at all actually. haha

VCK October 1, 2010 at 12:07 pm

Persimmon. Did not much like.

Rachel October 1, 2010 at 4:01 pm

The most exotic fruit I’ve ever eaten, and that I grew up eating, are kumquats. My grandma, who lives in Florida, has several kumquat trees on her property and I used to love to just eat them right off the tree!

katie October 1, 2010 at 10:40 pm

thats hard.. but prob papaya IN brazil! SO GOOD!

Dee October 2, 2010 at 2:22 am

Hmm.. good question..

I was in Maui last year, and remember trying a berry that tasted like milk. Couldn’t even begin to tell you the name of it, so we’re just going to deem it the milk berry… mmmk? :)

Emily October 2, 2010 at 1:39 pm

I would say lotus root and passion fruit would be the most exotic types of produce I’ve tried.

Joann October 2, 2010 at 8:05 pm

Not really “exotic”, but I traveled to an oasis in Tunisia and ate dates frsh from the palms. They are absolutely amazing!

Chrissy October 2, 2010 at 10:43 pm

The most exotic fruit I’ve had is a Grapple: an apple that’s been infused with grape flavor! so weird… my taste buds were very confused!

Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum October 3, 2010 at 2:16 pm

The most exotic fruit or vegetable… maybe raw coconut. It’s not very good. Also, mangos fresh from the tree in the Philippines. Not the most exotic fruit, but much better than the ones in the US!

laura October 3, 2010 at 3:33 pm

can’t say I’ve had to many experiences (if any) with exotic fruits/veggies…mango maybe? I really need to get out… October 4, 2010 at 12:09 pm

most exotic fruit would be dragon fruit or horned melon <3

Meghan October 4, 2010 at 9:07 pm

I feel like a lot of fruits and veggies that I eat are “exotic” to some but to me the most was a starfruit…there was really no taste to it, wasn’t a fan! I would loveee that quiche recipe :)

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