Monday, June 14, 2010

In a Pickle, In the Jam!

Oh my... summer is here and the fresh food is rolling in.  First up on my plate is the strawberry.  The most luscious, delicate and reddest of fruits. Can you think of a better way to enjoy them than to pick them yourself?   Thankyou Urka Farm in Traverse City.

There are a million things that you can do with strawberries, and I like to eat them fresh, first and foremost.  But, when you've tired of strawberries on your cereal, your ice cream, your smoothies and your shortcakes, and you've picked 20 lbs. and you have 18 left over and you find yourself in "quite the pickle", the obvious solution is fresh, homemade strawberry jam, withOUT packaged pectin.  Having failed previously at my attempts to make a natural pectin jam, I decided to consult the books and the blogs again, to see if I could solve my problem.  I found a wonderful discussion about Strawberry Jam without boxed pectin from MothersKitchen.  I also found a simple remedy in a book about preserved foods called Preserved written by Nick Sandler and Johnny Acton.
So, I sat down on a rainy Saturday morning and came up with my own recipe.  I made the jam in the simplest way that I could.  I made a natural pectin from 5 chopped up granny smith apples combined with 1 large lemon also cut up into little pieces.  I boiled this concoction for about 15 minutes, until the fruit turned to mush. This was the technique noted in MothersKitchen.
In the mean time, i LIGHTLY boiled 16 cups of whole fruit strawberries with the juice of one large lemon.  In Preserved, the authors contend that the juice of the lemon extracts the pectin from the seeds of the strawberries. I boiled twice as many  strawberries with the juice of one lemon  for one hour (very light boil).
In the mean time, I pushed the apple and lemon pulp mixture through a sieve in order to have 2 cups of this mixture that would also serve as a pectin.  The strawberries slowly turned to mush and did not boil over into a foamy mess.
Then it was time to add the sugar.
  I try to limit my sugar intake, so even though both recipes recommended about twice as much sugar, I opted to use about half, or 7 full cups of sugar to the 16 cups of now boiled down strawberries.  I also added the apple mixture to the pot. In essence, I combined the recipe from Preserved with the recipe that I found on MothersKitchen. I boiled this new mixture for about 30 minutes, stirring constantly and slowly coaxing the mixture to rise up to 220 degrees, the magic number for the sugar to reach a setting point.  After testing my jam to see if it was ready by dropping a dollop onto a saucer, chilling it to see if I could coax a wrinkle, I was ready to jar up my jam.
Okay, I'm not an expert cook- but I managed to make some incredible jam.  Into the sterilized Ball jars they went. And my leftover pounds of berries will be gracing the insides of PB&J sandwiches and the tops of crusty pieces of toast for at least another year.

Bo Yummee!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Which came first? the chicken or the CHICKEN FARMER!!!

Oh my gosh.  What fun!!  Raising chickens in the back yard.  So, what came first… the chicken farmer or the chicken??
most likely the backyard came first!!

Meet the Casey family, urban chicken farmers (along with other various callings!) from the inner city of Traverse City, Michigan.  They aren't your typical chicken farmers, since this is somewhat of an experiment for the young family who has taken to loving and naming the chickens such affectionate names as "Butter", "Sweetheart" and "Owlie".  But their flock (i mean progeny) is delightfully diverse, a very progressive notion for the contemporary urban farmer.  And don't be mistaken, these chickens are loved.  They have the best coop, the best compost and more freedom than "ButterBall" from Pilgrims Pride could ever imagine!  I don't think that these gals will ever end up on somebody's plate. I hope not.  They are individuals... with their own personalities... i mean chickenalities...

What's going on??? What does this all mean?

Welcome to 2010 and the new Michigan economy!  
Where else could you live on an urban farm inside the city limit???  
(answer; Detroit)
Maybe the Casey family is setting a new trend or maybe Traverse City is just a small step behind Detroit.  In any event, urban farms are springing up all over Michigan and the country. The notion to return to our roots and to live more sustainably entices us.  We're tempted to grow our own herbs, gather our own eggs and even if it is on a 50x100 foot city plot, we're reconnecting. Nature beckons us. She is our faithful friend.  
It is the way forward.
To love the chickens...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Happy Mother's Day 9 Bean Rows

Mother's Day is Sunday and I could wax poetic about my mom, my wonderful fan and most likely the only person who reads my blog regularly...  I'll salute her, in my own special way when I am with her this weekend.  But for now and on a broader scale, I am thinking about all of the farmers and gardeners and people that tend to bees and vineyards and orchards. I am thinking about all of the people that nurture and care for our Mother Earth.


  Last Sunday I spent the day planting cabbage and leeks, parsley and brussel sprouts for Nic and Jen Welty that own 9 Bean Rows Farm and CSA.  I belong to their CSA.  That means, I pay for my seasonal harvest up-front, helping to offset their investment costs and  in return once a week, I receive a bountiful box full of veggies, salad mix, eggs, a loaf of fresh bread, some fresh herbs and oftentimes, items that Nic has foraged from a nearby forest. I get the freshest produce possible, free of pesticides, herbicides and other nasty things that don't belong in my food. I know that Nic loves his farm and tends to the soil and earth the way that I would want a farmer to do; lovingly, sustainably. I know my farmer personally.  I trust him to feed me the most delicious, nutritious leafy things possible.  Work on their farm is entirely voluntary. I participate because I too love the earth, love to eat  and I love to experience the work  that farmers have to do to grow my food. And anyway, I am a closet farmer.  I have a few blueberry bushes, way too many strawberries and not enough of anything else. The original Japanese CSA-style farms are called in Japanese " teikei", which translates to "putting the farmer's face on food".  
   So Nic and Jen, and to all of the other people that tend to Mother Earth, I salute you this Mother's Day.  Thankyou for your hard work and your love of the land. I eat because you grow- what a wonderful partnership all of us have.

Here is my recipe for Tuscan Bread Salad that uses 5 items (croutons, ramps, oregano,parsley and fresh lettuces) from my weekly CSA share adapted from a recipe originally created by Robin Robertson who wrote Vegan Planet.

Croutons  (about 4-5 cups)
6-8 freshly picked Ramps, chopped coarsely
3 TBSP. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. sugar or other sweetner
1 tsp. fresh oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup virgin olive oil
Fresh ground black pepper
1 lb. cherry tomatoes cut in half
1/2 cup vellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1/4 cup minced parsley leaves
a variety of fresh lettuces

1. In a blender or food processor, combine the ramps , vinegar, sugar, oregano, and salt and process until smooth.  With the processor or blender running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream through the feed tube, processing until blended.
Season with the black pepper.
2. In a large serving bowl, combine the bread cubes, tomatoes, bell pepper, olives and parsley.  Pour the vinagrette over the salad mixture and toss to combine.  Let the mixture stand at room temperature for 20 minutes to allow the flavors to develop before serving.
3. Toss with 6  cups of a variety of fresh lettuces.


Friday, April 30, 2010

Superfood for Wanderers

This morning our conversation went something like this…
Him: Did you read the article about the "The Ten Best  Superfoods for Women" in your blah blah magazine?
Me: No. 
Him: You should read it.  They said that strawberries have just as many antioxidants as blueberries and white mushrooms are….
Me:  Of coarse. They are whole foods.  It doesn't matter what real food you are talking about-every real and whole food has valuable nutrients. How can there be 10 such  super foods?
Him:  hmmmm

I hate to get on my high horse.  And those of you that know me personally know I can't even get on my high horse because my horse is rather short- but, - I really don't think food value is a mystery.  What is a mystery is that we continue to discuss the "best foods to eat" and "superfoods" and "what's in now".  My philosophy has always been, as Michael Pollan has said, "If it comes from a plant, eat it.  If it is made IN a plant, avoid it."  
That's pretty simple.
I don't like to take vitamin supplements either.  I'm into food, what can i say. 

And  i've added foraging to my grocery experience.  It brings a new dimension to my walk in the woods. Now, when i walk, I peer at the ground and notice the succession and arrival of certain plants.  Everything has a name and a purpose in the fragile forest ecosystem.  In fact, it's hard for me to find a "weed".  First there were ramps, now the trillium and columbine and where are those morels?  It must be difficult to find a morel. I've been looking for a couple of days now, spending inordinate amounts of time peering under forest leaves and in general wandering. My wandering hasn't produced much, a few photos of this and that; mossy stream beds, red trilliums and blooming cherry trees.  My dog is happy though.  She sniffs and scatters about looking for something to chase while my nose leads me unpredictably through the woods.

Everything is slowly waking up. Emerging from it's earthly sleep. The big draw right now in northern Michigan, apart from the elusive morel, is the  snowy limbed cherry trees that blanket the hills in quiltlike patterns.  I love this season. It's a glorious time of the year. I'm waiting for the cherries and looking for morels, two of my favorite "superfoods". I don't need a blah blah magazine to tell me of the health benefits either. But, I can't eat those blooms, so where in heck are those morels?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day for Locavores

The chicken or earth day? Earth day or every day?  Every day or earth days?

For me and most locavores every day is earth day. Being someone who appreciates local food is also someone who loves the earth and her glorious bounty. I can think of no greater way to celebrate earth day than to adopt a more locally grown and fresher diet.

Here are 10 ideas for the Traverse City locavore to embrace for Earth Day. 

1. Eat an entire meal that you prepare from food grown no more than 100 miles from Traverse City.
2. Fast and bring awareness to yourself and your table that 33% of the world is well fed, 33% is under-fed and 33% of people in the world are starving.
3. Carpool.
4. Eat vegetarian for one day.  According to Environmental Defense, if every American skipped one meal of chicken and substituted vegetarian food every week, that would be the same carbon savings as taking 500,000 cars off the road for an entire year.
5.Purchase food from a farmers market.  Support your local farmer by making a purchase from her and add money into the local economy. Better yet, join a csa!
6. Plant an edible plant.
7. Walk or bike over to watch the earth day parade on Saturday.  The parade starts at Central Grade School on 7th street at 1pm.
8. Help clean up the beach in Traverse City on Saturday 9-5pm. Call 922-4910 for more information.
9. Share a meal with friends.
10.Walk or take a hike.
11. Eat a cage free egg.
11. Drink a local beer- (okay, this is going on and on ad nauseum, but you get the idea and you really can celebrate in so many locavorian earth-wise ways!).

You see, we know it's all about loving the earth, savoring the bounty, treading lightly, slowing down and having something left over for the next generation. In order for us to move forward on this planet  to a more sustainable life-style, we have to embrace some of the practices of yesterday. Fortunately for me, i see local food as a fresher and healthier choice for me, my community and the planet. I love fresh food, direct from the earth, grown in the soil that i walk on.   I really can't think of a better way to celebrate the earth than to be a locavore!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Ramp On!

The foraging season has begun.  First up is the wild leek. I've never foraged before and I eagerly looked forward to venturing into this new activity for acquiring my food.  As I  headed into the woods, I realized that I hadn't thought this gathering thing thoroughly through. I realized that though I brought the right size of spade, I hadn't considered some other things.  Like, what did it look like? (I know, goofy.) What is the environment that i would find it in?  As luck would have it, I found a ramp, but I couldn't find a wild leek! So, the trip was a bust!  I was hesitant to pick my first ramp. I decided that I wasn't prepared enough and I had better do a little homework before I started pulling things out of the ground.

 Imagine my surprise when i learned that ramps and wild leeks are the same thing. They grow  abundantly in our Michigan forests. Their soil habitat is sandy and moist and you most often find them on hillsides or very near a stream- typical northern michigan landscape.  They have broad, smooth, medium green leaves with a long stem attached to a scallion like root bulb.  The lower stem has  a deep purple or burgandy tint. And the easiest way for me to identify it,would be to smell and even taste it.  It tastes like a cross between an onion and a garlic.  It's pungent, spicy with a hint of  "nature".  I could certainly find that.
And I learned that wild leeks are high in vitamin C and A, and are full of beneficial minerals and their peppery flavor can replace an onion in just about any recipe.  The Indians in our region revered the ramp for it's healing properties and welcomed their arrival in the earliest of spring after a long, bland winter diet.

So, before I headed into the woods, i figured that i should  bring the right tools and abide by what i call an unwritten code of conduct for the ramp forager... 

1. Make sure to not be on private property or be certain to obtain permission from the owner before foraging. There are places where plants are protected and it is not legal to remove any specimens.
2. Don't leave a big mess and don't be a hog.  When collecting a rooting plant, always leave plenty of healthy specimens or better yet, leave at least half in the rootbound group.
3. Make the disturbance  hard to notice.  Replace moved around dirt and fill up any holes.  Use leaf litter to cover the area that  I disturbed. 
4. Use the appropriate tools to extract my leeks.  A small hand held spade or a dandelion weed can easily separate bulbs. 

Easy enough.  And off we went.

And here is an adaption of Julia Child's famous Leek and Potato soup. This recipe is simple and yummy.  Substitute 1/2 the amount of wild leeks for the leeks in this recipe and you will have a delicious and healthy winter spell-breaking winner!!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Maple syrup season with Pat and Fel

I got the call late on monday night. If i was going to catch the maple syrup season with Pat and Fel, I would have to come out tomorrow- it was going to be their last day to collect sap.  The warm temperatures, though greatly loved and appreciated by me,  didn't make for an especially abundant season, so they had decided to wrap things up early this year.
I am a bonafide pancake queen. Ask anyone who eats with me. Maple syrup, the real stuff of coarse, is by all accounts, one of my favorite breakfast foods along with a pancake or two. Never mind the 53 grams of sugar per teaspoon! So, I am tickled beyond belief to have the opportunity to actually experience first hand, the collection of and preparation of this precious ambrosia.

Pat and Fel's place is tucked deep into the woods of Northern Michigan on a parcel of land that has been in Fel's family for at least the last 140 years.  They live in an old farmhouse on an original farmstead with a beautiful weathered barn built by hand from rocks and pine planks. They are "authentic Michigan" in every sense of the word.  Each year they collect sap from maples that dot their farm and boil it down on a large outdoor covered fire pit. This year they even had the help of two neighbor boys, Jacob and Christian.

All of us load up into a pick up truck and drive out to a stand of old maples and quickly and efficiently  collect the sap from bags and buckets hanging throughout the woods. Once the sap is collected into clean white buckets,we make our way back to the farmhouse where the outddor kitchen firepit is located. (it's next to their gothic outhouse and just a spit and a throw from the old cabin that was resurrected on their land.) The smoky fire flavors the air. And I quickly decide that this is the first ingredient, and a precursor to the luscious, woodsy musk of the syrup.  Pat and Fel alternate tending the coals with their buddy Heidi  and the sap boils away until the amber liquid carmelizes. (About 2 days.) There is no mistaking it, it is starting to resemble maple syrup and the boys are slurping up mugs of the sweet stuff.

My experience is complete when Pat offers me a taste of her heady syrup over a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Oh my gosh, warm and flavorful, rich and wonderful, michigan maple syrup is nothing short of liquid fulfillment.

You can't buy Pat and Fel's labor of love maple syrup.  But you can find maple syrup made by locals all over our area.  I found some wonderful handmade syrup at the Farmer's Market at the Village Commons this past weekend.  It was made by the Hagers in Williamsburg, Michigan.  

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Locovore finds LocaBeer

That crazy pumpkin head stops me in my tracks every time!  It's as though that dark night creature is some kind of sorcerer.  The big carved head seduces me to  swallow his golden-amber potion. (!)  And I am transformed. This beer, this brew is sour and delicious, bitter and hoppy, new and unusual and transports me back to the cobblestone streets of Europe, when rowdy bloats scrambled arm in arm in the wee hours, struggling to remain upright on the slow and painfree journey home after a night of frenzied beer drinking.  

Ron Jeffries, the brewmeister at Jolly Pumpkin is a bonafide artisan brewmaster.   His specially wild yeast fermented  beers are gaining rapid national recognition.   The beers are aged in wine barrels which contain naturally occurring microbiological cultures that produce complex flavors.  As of now, he is the ONLY brewmaster in the United States that is willing to …"take the time (and risk) to let natural bacteria take its course…" reported the LA Times in July 2009. Some people describe these complex flavors as though they are speaking about a fine wine…"The nose is gorgeous: notes of citrus rind, dried stone fruit (think apricot and mango), coriander and a prominent aroma of stable."- noted the Wine Enthusiast.  Other less genteel beer drinkers characterize the flavors  as "leathery, earthy,musky, funky and even sweaty horse hair character". I love that the common theme derives from a "stable-like" experience. That to me means barns, red barns, like the ones that dot the mission peninsula filled with happy, full bellied farm creatures. Special  and unique to our locale.   This is how beer used to taste and look, before the advent of pasteurization and industrialization.

I would be leaving something out if I didn't also comment on the restaurant and bar that the Jolly Pumpkin Tavern is… it is quintessential.  It is a blend of northern Michigan with a roaring good fire in the wood burning fireplace and Old Europe with the rough-hewn beams that grace the ceiling.  The food is wonderful too.  The Rocket Arugala  salad with fried parsnips (whoever heard of that?) is a perfect blend of delicate flavors and I can never get enough of it. The wood fired pizzas are unusual and perfectly prepared.   I am transported.  I am in a genuinely great pub.  Goodbye Bud - Light.  Hello Bam Biere. 

Check out their website and menu at

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Tapas with Folgarelli's

If you've ever thought that a local, one evening cooking class would be "too academic" for your taste(buds), let me remind you that a single cooking class is usually a fun, experiential  way to broaden your skills and enjoy a deliciously, lovely meal with a group of like minded foodavores.
I was looking forward to learning more about Chef Ron's (Folgarelli's Market) interpretation of Spanish Tapas, since he does such a marvelously good job with fresh pizza dough and tortellini's  (oh no, my secret is out) that I can find anytime in the freezer section at Folgarelli's. I shop there pretty regularly, since the food is fresh and top notch.  Where else can you find fresh Italian Asiago cheese and olives in vats, capicolla that melts in your mouth?, even a bottle of wine (I've never been dissatisfied)-ah, but i digress…
 What a treat to learn that the class would be held at Donna Folgarelli's house!  How intimately warm and inviting, and in true Italian fashion, with a kitchen large enough to entertain her entire family. And for this one special night as she kept our wine glasses full, we felt like her family- encouraged to enjoy the preparation of the food as well as  the enormously satisfying consumption of our many "little dishes" .

"Fresh" was the theme for the night, and I was so impressed with Donna's insistence that only the finest, freshest ingredients were used for our dinner.  Local fresh farmed chicken breasts, fresh red peppers, onions, fresh basil  and flat leaf parsley… I could go on and on, but i'm sure you can squeeze your own mustard! 
Chef Ron walked us through the steps necessary to make an appetizer of Shrimp and fresh vegetable Cevichi (pictured above), a fresh Gazpacho soup, an Artichoke and White Bean with Fresh Parsley and Garlic Vinaigrette Salad,  a main entree of Spanish Serrano Ham and Chicken Rolatta with an amazing red pepper and manchego cheese stuffing and to top that all off, the grand pooba dessert was a light and delicious Sponge cake with pears and Cabrales Bleu Cheese Sweet Cream Sauce (main course and dessert pictured above above). He was terrific and fun!  And by the way, three beautiful Spanish wines were served throughout the evening. I really did feel "weightless, precise and impressively persistent, with a filigree quality that is alluring"! ( that was one of the lines from the description of the Martinsancho verdejo- Rueda Spain 2008 )  And oh yes, that special wine is available at the store. 
  Oh my gosh, i really can't think of a better way to spend a thursday evening. Everyone had soo much fun!
 By the way, does anyone know what happened on Survivor ?  :)

Monday, March 8, 2010

"Let them eat... Bread!"

If you could see Jen Welty of 9 Bean Rows form and shape 20 loaves of artisan bread, pop them into a wood-fired oven,  and then stick around for the baking, you too would quickly fall under the spell of our local bread savant.  Her recipe is simple, but the ingredients go beyond the flour, water, salt and an especially fresh and living yeast mixture that resembles sour dough starter.  It's one part love of the craft combined with one part authentic ingredients  infused  with her girl scout ability to  perfectly prepare a wood-fired oven. Her loaves are delicious. Crusty, nutty brown, cooked to heavenly perfection. 

Artisan bread is a wonder. Made as it was along time ago. Loved by all, but eaten by just a few- Fortunately,we can here in Traverse City, because of skillful artisan bakers like Jen Welty. Her bread is available through 9 Bean Rows CSA or you can find her or her husband Nic on Saturday mornings at the Village Farmers Market. If you get there early enough, be sure to try one of her famous  croissants.  The almond is my favorite, but she has chocolate and plain ones too. They all are a piece of heavenly, orgasmic delight!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Microgreens and Me

Have you seen  microgreens at the Farmer's Market? Have you tried them? They are usually found hiding under or around the more familiar lettuces and greens. Farmers and chefs know them well. They are delicately beautiful and they pack a punch of flavor or color when added to a salad or a sandwich.   Microgreens are cut early, usually when the plant is only a inch or so high and just a few weeks old.  They're even smaller than baby greens and their flavor is robust and full. The bull's blood microgreens are actually a baby beet plant and their flavor is that of an earthy, sweet beet.  The Bull's blood beet plant is an heirloom plant that dates from about 1840.

You can order them on-line from Marx Foods and including shipping and handling they retail for $64.50 for 4 ounces.  Let's see, that's $16.00 per ounce.  Luckily for me, I found  them at the Farmer's Market for $4.00 per ounce. I washed them in sparkling, clear water, dried them, then dressed them with my fresh green salad.  Talk about a rainbow of colors.  Green lettuce, orange carrots, creamy white pinenuts, red tomatoes and purple microgreens, wow! What a delicious and healthy salad! 
And if you haven't tried microgreens in a while, experiment with some that you find at the Farmer's Market.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Locovoyeur in February

It's one week to March and already I am ready for spring.  February taxes my ability  to be a locavore.  There aren't many fruits or vegies grown in the winter in Northern Michigan. Apples from local orchards held in cold storage are still plentiful, and even on sale sometimes now.  The exception is HoneyCrisp apples- their price continues to go up as the supply goes down- they are delicious.  But, there are local frozen and some fresh vegies and fruits, and they are plentiful in our regular grocery stores. You don't have to shop at Oryana to find local frozen Montmorency cherries or fresh apples from Friske Orchards or honey from Sleeping Bear Farms  or prepared foods like jams made at local farms.  In fact, there are a slew of them produced right here  in Northern Michigan. Turn around and take your pick. We have  an opportunity to "shop locally" in the winter. It may not be fresh off the farm, but at one time it was fresh and it still is local.

I'm probably like you, a little warm from cabin fever...I want to shop fresh from the farm- I want crisp leaves of lettuces and strawberries and long, stiff strands of asparagus in my reuseable shopping bag . :-)

In the mean time... I'll eat apple strudel tart at  The Cook's House (delicious! )  sip coffee with a little cream from Shetler's Dairy and wait for spring.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Eating for Sustainablility

It takes alot of corn to fatten a steer.
But it is alot quicker than waiting for a grass fed steer to "beef" up for slaughter.
Corn fed steers are ready for slaughter after a relatively short life of about 14 months.  75 years ago,  steers were 4 or 5 years before they were ready for slaughter.  Remember cowboys?  Cowboys roaming the grassy prairie lands with their  cattle  have been replaced by CAFO's (concentrated animal feeding operations). Agribusinesses' CAFOs have made it possible for Americans to have their cow and eat it too. By confining large numbers of animals in small spaces, fattening them quickly with corn ( not a natural food for a ruminant like a cow), keeping them alive with antibiotics and processing them assembly fashion helps to keep the price low.  It is now possible for us to eat meat 3 times a day and  half pounds and pounds at a time without a serious hit to our wallets.
In some ways, that does't by itself seem like much of a problem.  But, what are the hidden costs of producing meat this way?

For the next few posts, I'll detail a number of ways that meat production negatively impacts our planet and is unsustainable.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

You are what you eat!

IF you are what you eat, do you want to venture a guess as to what you are?  Maybe perhaps a  walking, talking chicken McNuggett?  A tall, mocha, non-fat soy latte?  Are you any bit of fast food? Oh, I know, you eat lots of healthy things; whole wheat crackers, Special K and Cheerios, Vanilla low-fat yogurt 
I have news for you.  According to Michael Pollan author of Omnivore's Dilemma- Americans are fairly  unaware of the large amounts of corn that have slowly seeped into our diet in the form of high-fructose corn syrup.  Do you drink a soda every day?  How about washing down those tasty tortilla chips?  If you grab a beer, guess what- you are still drinking corn, fermented from glucose refined from corn.  And that is just the beginning of an unimaginably long list of foods and products  that contain corn syrup or some kind of modified starch product derived from corn.  Even toothpaste, cosmetics, cleaners ( I know that you don't ordinarily eat that), matches, coatings on vegetables, adhesives and all sorts of other things are made with corn. 

We are the "corn people".