- Loaves and fishes: The Charlotte Observer reports local hunger nonprofits are bracing for an influx of clients who may lose access to food stamp benefits this spring. Read more here.
- If you build it: With the Geer St. Food Corridor, Durham is building a sustainable local food supply system. Read more here.
- “Anti-sunshine”: WRAL reports a coalition has filed a federal lawsuit challenging NC’s new ag-gag law. Read more here.
- Unsafe in any flavor: Civil Eats explains why the FDA moved last week to ban PFCs in food packaging and re-evaluate some food additives, and why some say it’s too little, too late. Read more here.
Food of the week: sunchoke
Also known as the Jerusalem artichoke, the sunchoke is, confusingly, wholly unrelated to artichokes. It’s a tuber from the sunflower family with a nutty flavor reminiscent of a butter-drenched artichoke heart. The sunchoke is a winter root vegetable, not ready for harvest until after the first frost. They’re fairly easy to grow in North Carolina, as noted by the growers at Blue Horizon Farm:
Lazy gardeners, such as myself, really appreciate Jerusalem artichokes because they are very disease resistant and can out compete most weeds. The plants can grow over six feet tall, which makes them rather spectacular and leaves the ground under their leaf canopy to be very shady, thus reducing the chances of weeds surviving. Jerusalem artichokes are tailor-made for organic gardening. Even the large-scale commercial growers of this crop rarely use pesticides.
The sunchoke is often cooked like a potato. It also be eaten raw like jicama, though Bon Appétit warns you might want to take it slow, as the inulin starch found in the tubers can cause gastrointestinal distress for some. You can find sunchokes at farmers markets and grocery stores across N.C. during the winter months.