The USDA deputy secretary Kathleen Merrigan did a Q&A with The Washington Post about challenges for the organic food market. A decade ago, Merrigan helped to develop the rules that are now applied to organics. In the interview she refers to the current stage of organics in this country as the “age of enforcement.”

Kathleen Merrigan, deputy secretary at the Agriculture Department, sat down with The Washington Post to discuss the agency's eight-year-old National Organics Program and the challenges ahead for the organics market, which is growing as much as 20 percent a year. In an investigation published last year, The Post pointed to several problems in the program, including the agency's failure to discipline violators and to properly test products labeled organic. The USDA's inspector general issued a report last month identifying the same problems and calling for changes.
Click here to read the full interview.



Slate has a piece on why strict vegans shouldn’t feel bad about eating oysters. The piece itself is interesting, but the comments beneath are even more interesting. Make sure you continue on to them when you’re done reading the piece. In addition to the usual attacks that some commenters who don’t agree with the author will make, there are lots of people’s definitions of what makes a true vegan.

Last summer, I visited a friend in San Francisco whom I hadn't seen in a while. Normally in such cases, I must gently remind my host that I eat neither meat, nor dairy, nor eggs, but my friend beat me to it: "I recall that you are a vegan," he wrote, "though one that appreciates fine oysters." Finally, someone who understands me. The trip went off without a hitch—I tore into some fantastic Point Reyes bivalves to go with my green salad, and friendship and comity were reaffirmed.
Click here for the full piece.



Last year, I told you about NYC’s il Buco restaurant and the events that were planned for Earth Day. The restaurant sources only sustainable and local ingredients, and it has another great bunch of events, customer discounts, and fund raisers planned for this year’s Earth Day. Check out the restaurant’s website for details about what’s going on from April 19-24.



Last week, I introduced you to Alice Water’s video series called The Green Kitchen. I didn’t realize it at the time, but she has a new cookbook called In the Green Kitchen, and our lifestyle blogger Siel gave it a test drive this week by making the guacamole recipe from the book.

What I thought my kitchen wanted was a food processor — but apparently my kitchen needs a mortar and pestle. That’s what I learned while reading Chez Panisse’s uber eco-chef Alice Waters‘ new book, In the Green Kitchen, which features 30 basic cooking techniques from Alice’s fellow eco-chefs. A mortar and pestle’s called for in the basic recipes for balsamic vinaigrette, pesto sauce — and even guacamole!
Click here to read Siel’s full review.


Enjoy your weekend!


Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Weekend reads: Oyster eating vegans & enforcing organics
The USDA deputy secretary Kathleen Merrigan did a Q&A with The Washington Post about challenges for the organic food market.