Counterfeit Canned Tomatoes

❝ Rossetto Kasper wrote: “What is it with San Marzano tomatoes? Their PR shines; every chef recommends them, but I wonder how many have actually tasted them next to American tomatoes.”

❝ What seems to be the issue with San Marzano tomatoes is widespread fraud. They command a higher price than regular canned tomatoes, and as with any other premium brand, counterfeits follow. Unlike faux Chanel bags, though, you can buy San Marzanos in legit stores, which is why the sheer number of knockoffs is jaw-dropping. In 2011, Edoardo Ruggiero, the president of Consorzio San Marzano, told the small Italian importing company Gustiamo that at maximum 5 percent of tomatoes sold in the U.S. as San Marzanos are real San Marzanos. So according to the guy who oversees the certification of those tomatoes, at least 95 percent of the so-called San Marzanos in the U.S. are fakes…

❝ With all this fraud going on, I wondered if chefs even used San Marzanos…Food writers are working with ingredients that home cooks can easily find at the neighborhood grocery store, where all the San Marzanos are fakes. If you’re at the grocery store, Muir Glen is your best bet. But good chefs don’t shop at the grocery store and test out all sorts of specialty suppliers to find the best possible ingredients available.

RTFA. Learn what’s really available, see what trained chefs use, what good home cooks can use to make a great Italian tomato sauce.

Thanks, Om Malik

Replanting a forest from the air

❝ Wildfires are consuming our forests and grasslands faster than we can replace them. It’s a vicious cycle of destruction and inadequate restoration rooted, so to speak, in decades of neglect of the institutions and technologies needed to keep these environments healthy.

DroneSeed is a Seattle-based startup that aims to combat this growing problem with a modern toolkit that scales: drones, artificial intelligence and biological engineering. And it’s even more complicated than it sounds…

❝ Earlier this year, DroneSeed was awarded the first multi-craft, over-55-pounds unmanned aerial vehicle license ever issued by the FAA. Its custom UAV platforms, equipped with multispectral camera arrays, high-end lidar, six-gallon tanks of herbicide and proprietary seed dispersal mechanisms have been hired by several major forest management companies, with government entities eyeing the service as well.

RTFA. Please. Interesting, useful tech being used for progressive ends benefitting our species. Perhaps, if sufficient numbers of human beings get off their rusty-dusties and build political movements to support and involve solutions like this – we can turn around some of the decades of profits-before-anything-else ideology that has destroyed so much of this world, this nation’s potential.