Friday, March 12, 2010

Guest Blogger: The World's Fare

This week's guest blogger, Diane at "The World's Fare," precedes her latest (and very informative) entry on the noble rutabaga with this quote from Garrison Keillor, whose enthusiasm for our favorite root vegetable is unsurpassed anywhere on the planet: 
"So many people confuse rutabagas with turnips. They're not alike at all. Rutabagas have a pleasant yellow-orange color, large friendly-looking leaves, and a smooth dense texture. Turnips are fish-belly white and purple on top like a bad bruise and have hairy leaves and taste brackish, like swamp water. Rutabagas are the root crop that any sensible person would prefer."
Garrison Keillor on "Prairie Home Companion"
Finally, ARSI takes long-delayed pleasure in announcing that The Oregonian, via Diane's blog and its own OregonLive website, has finally recognized Forest Grove as the Rutabaga Capital of the World Since 1951.

We look forward to joining Diane and The Oregonian in getting out the word on all the festivities that are planned for the International Year of the Rutabaga.

[Painting by John Cummings especially for ARSI, ©2010]

Sunday, February 28, 2010

12th Annual Rutabaga Curling Championship - the winning roll

The dramatic winning roll of this world-class annual event at the Farmer's Market in Ithaca, New York, which took place in December 2009.  ARSI sends its congratulations to all participants for another spirited contest.

And here's a look back at the memorable Podium Moment and victory speech from the 2008 competition:

And, finally, a rousing Rutabaga Chorus from the choir in 2008:

Friday, February 12, 2010

Artist of the Month: David Gilhooly and his "Frog Series"

Gilhooly's Work of the Month:  "Frog Seducing a Rutabaga in an Overstuffed Armchair" (1974)

This courageous and groundbreaking work, best viewed as an animated GIF, delicately explores the amorous lives of a rutabaga and a frog.  It's part of the collection of the Burlington Art Centre (Ontario), which describes the work as follows:

"Frog in blue jeans and a sleeveless shirt with a turnip [sic.] on its knee in a stuffed rose-coloured armchair with wooden feet; made during the time Gilhooly was in Canada."  [With respect, I suggest that it's time for the curators of the BAC to appreciate the obvious differences between rutabagas and turnips.]

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Rutabagas in literature: "From beyond the stars..."

As the literary influence of the rutabaga expands on earth, new horizons are rapidly opening up in space.  Quentin Dodd's novel is a case in point.  

Publisher's Weekly offers the following summary:  

"In the spirit of Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker series comes a spunky debut novel about teenage science-fiction fans recruited by feuding alien races to serve as commanders in a major battle. Everyboy Walter Nutria agrees to help the Lirgonians, who look "like chubby middle-aged men... [in] too-tight pajamas with built-in feet, mittens, and hoods." His almost-girlfriend Yselle ("It's not like we've been out on dates or anything, but we watch movies together all the time," says Walter) is strategizing for their enemy, the Wotwots, who look like giant rutabagas. It's a wild ride, especially since the spaceships break, mysterious mice keep stealing everything in sight, and neither group of aliens has any military skill or even common sense. They're especially given to kvetching about each other: "I don't have to take this from the culture that plays kazoos at its weddings!" screams the Wotwot captain. Eventually, the teenagers convince the aliens to unite in persecution of the havoc-wreaking Space Mice, and they all wind up saving the universe from a power-mad villain named Doctoral Candidate X. This is not for readers who like their characters rational: people risk their lives out of boredom and believe unbelievable lies. But Dodd's agenda is laughs, and his extravagant imagination matches well with his flippant writing style. A lighter-than-air read that opts for wit over logic. Ages 10-up." 

Thursday, January 28, 2010

At last: A recipe for Rutabaga Pudding

Kudos to Kara L. Kraemer of the Yakima Healthy Foods Examiner for her informative comments about the rutabaga and two tasty recipes: mashed rutabagas and winter rutabaga pudding, as well as a passing reference to ARSI's website.  

[Photo: rutabaga pudding fresh out of the oven, sprinkled with nutmeg.]

Friday, January 08, 2010

Outrageous Canadian tariff on Rutabagas

UPDATE (January 28, 2010):  The Canadian government escalated the border incident described below by confiscating the entire shipment of ARSI rutabagas and placing them in "permanent quarantine" in an abandoned uranium mine near Radium Hot Springs, B.C.  The rutabagas were sealed inside a concrete shell at a depth of 6,879 ft., allegedly to "protect future generations from this highly-toxic, genetically-modified product."  ARSI's team of litigators has filed a formal protest under NAFTA export rules.

On January 6, 2010, a tractor-trailer carrying a shipment of 2,680 kilograms of Grade A rutabagas was blocked by Canadian customs authorities near Sumas, Washington. The rutabagas were recently harvested from ARSI's experimental rutabaga fields outside Forest Grove, Oregon. They were destined for the tables and palates of the thousands of athletes and spectators who will be attending next month's Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler, B.C.

The stated reasons for blocking the shipment were specious. Canadian border authorities demanded:
1. That ARSI pay a tariff in the confiscatory sum of $2.44 CDN per kilo;

2. That the rutabagas be placed in quarantine for six months to demonstrate that they are free of a rare fungus known as Karelian clubroot (Puccinia sparganioides); and,
3. That the experimental rutabagas (ARSI Lot #2009-ZX2375-VNB4) be shown to be "safe for human and animal consumption" before they can be admitted into Canada, preferably by "providing at least three peer-reviewed articles from reputable horticultural journals." 
While she was detained at the border for over six hours, ARSI's truck driver overheard a Canadian customs official making the following remark to an inspector: "And if they manage to do all that, we'll come up with another list. That garbage will never get past the border as long as I'm wearing this uniform."

The refusal to admit the shipment is rapidly escalating into an international incident that could threaten the close ties between Canada and the U.S. ARSI's legal counsel has requested that the Obama adminitration file a formal protest and take further legal action "including, but not limited to, trade sanctions against producers of Canadian rutabagas and turnips."

At last report, the rutabagas are being stored temporarily in a warehouse near Sumas, Washington. As the photograph (left) shows, they have been carefully crated and remain in excellent condition.

The real reason for all the bureaucratic obstacles seems clear enough: Canadian rutabaga and turnip farmers, especially the huge co-ops in Saskatoon and Halifax, Nova Scotia, have always opposed ARSI's genetic innovations and open competition in a free market.

ARSI encourages its friends and supporters to contact their representatives in Congress to demand immediate measures to reverse this insupportable decision by Canadian customs authorities.