Posts Tagged ‘mexico’

Industrial Hemp

For decades, farmers and environmental activists have been trying to legalize nonpsychoactive hemp for cultivation in California. The plants require far less water and fertilizers than cotton, need no herbicides or pesticides, and produce fibers that can be used in everything from paper to clothing. The crop can renew itself every 90 days, making hemp and excellent natural and biodegradable material. Last week, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 566 into law allowing hemp to be grown domestically. California joins nine other states and over 30 countries in its decision to raise hemp. Already a $500 million industry in the state, California will now no longer have to rely upon importing hemp to support manufacturing demand.

The bill was introduced in 2005 by Senator Mark Leno. Since its initial proposal as HR 32 in 1999, the legislation was vetoed  four times by three different governors. Governor Brown struck down the bill in 2011 citing a gap in state and federal policies, although he acknowledged it was “absurd” that the state had to count on Mexico and Canada to provide hemp. With his approval, farmers will now be able to raise “nonpsychoactive types of the plant Cannabis sativa L. and the seed produced therefrom, having no more than 3/10 of 1 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) contained in the dried flowering tops.”

“I have great confidence in a recent statement by Attorney General Eric Holder,” Leno told the SF Bay Guardian. “He’s said that if a state puts into place a legal allowance and regulatory scheme, that the federal government would not interfere with marijuana. Now, we need clarification between hemp and marijuana, but there’s no sensical way that that could be interpreted that hemp is excluded, given that hemp’s not a drug.”

Bambu Batu offers a few hemp items in the shop, but looks forward to seeing more sustainable, locally-grown fibers on the market!

Morgana Matus

One of the perks of being the caretaker of the Bambu Batu blog is that I, Morgana Matus, can engage in a little shameless self-promotion from time to time. Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to announce that I have started a photoblog over at morganamatus.com that will be a chronicle of my past adventures, explore visual culture, and be a repository for terrible puns. In the coming months, I will be posting images taken in Norway, Hawaii, Costa Rica, Mexico, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Napa Valley, Lake Tahoe, Big Sur, and San Luis Obispo. You can expect tales from trekking in the frozen north, slogging through the jungles of Central America, and fooling around in clown college.

So, next time you are surfing the web, stop on by! And I promise, no more shameless self-promotion. That name again, Morgana Matus.

Wild chanterelle mushrooms

Someone you know may be a member of a secret society.  Shortly after a rain, clad in heavy slacks, long sleeves and sturdy shoes, they leave the comfort of their living rooms and televisions to hunt for gold in the oak forests of California.  What they seek cannot be melted into a ring or fashioned into a trophy, but certainly can be heated in a skillet and transformed into a miracle of culinary science.

Going alone or with clandestine companions, the locations of their wanderings are kept secret so as not to give away the position of their hauls.  They dodge poison oak, slog through mud, and scramble up steep slopes.  What these adventurers are tromping around the wilderness for is the enchanting, delectable chanterelle mushroom. Underneath the cap, pseudo-gills run all the way down the stipe, or stalk.  The emit a fruity, peppery fragrance that fills the air when cooked.  Extremely high in vitamin C, vitamin D and potassium, these delicacies formerly reserved for the tables of nobility are as healthy as they are flavorful.

Cantharellus cibarius, or the golden chanterelle, is a funnel shaped fungus that appears in veins or clusters across Europe, North America and Mexico.  They have also been found as far afield as Asia and Africa.  Popping up along amidst leaf litter and detritus of the forest floor, chanterelles have been discovered near birches, conifers, beeches, oaks and, occasionally among chaparral.  Here in San Luis Obispo, the positions of large crops of these little beauties are kept under wraps, as they can be sold at market for nearly ten dollars a pound.

However, with a little luck and the knowledge of an experienced mushroom hunter, you can capture some chanterelles of your own.  Take care to only pick mushrooms of which you are certain, and when in doubt, leave them in the ground.  It should be mentioned that there is a species known as the “false chanterelle”, and for beginner and amateur mycologists confusion is not worth the risk of slight gastric distress and embarrassment.

For help identifying and cooking the golden chanterelle amongst many other mushies, pick up a copy of All the Rain Promises and More by David Arora.  This guide is filled with excellent descriptions, photos, and stories from fungus fanatics.  Easily stored in a pocket or backpack, the little volume will inspire you to tromp about the backcountry in search of nature’s most fascinating organisms.  After sauteeing nearly fifteen pounds of a recent haul this season, you will definitely spot this hunter in the hills of San Luis Obispo scanning the logs and dirt for tasty morsels and objects of scientific curiosity.  See you on the trail!

FURTHER READING: For a superior guide to identifying wild mushrooms, check out Roger Philips’s Comprehensive Guide to Mushroom Identification, available from Amazon.

RELATED POSTS: To see what else can be done with fantastic fungus, be sure to take a look at our article on the Mushroom Death Suit.

Photo Credit: Wild Chanterelles

DISCLOSURE: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. This means that, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a small commission if you click through those links and make a purchase. 

bamboo in mexico

Ever have a hard time getting to the bathroom in a foreign country? Sometimes they can be devilishly camouflaged, like this lavatory near Atitlan, Mexico. My brother found it just in time.

The bamboo in Mexico is resplendent, but finding a bathroom can be priceless!

UPDATE:

Before you get to the snarky comment below, allow me to correct myself. This priceless photo actually comes from Panajachel at Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. In those days, my brother used to travel extensively in Mexico. He was in the folk art business.

At times, no one really knew where he was. He spent long periods of time in the deep jungles of Chiapas, fraternizing with the Zapatistas. And once in a while he would hop over the border to Guatemala. The Central American highlands have always been a good place to source exotic wood carvings and unusual, artisanal masks.

It must have been on once such excursion that he found himself in a thick grove of bamboo canes and manmade bamboo structures. There he was, communing with nature, when suddenly nature called upon him. Conveniently enough, the bamboo bathroom was there too, and for once, my brother turned out to be in the right place, at the right time.

This was a classic stroke of serendipity, the kind of thing we bamboo lovers live for. Perhaps there’s more bamboo in Guatemala and southern Mexico that we don’t even know about. If so, it seems to be pretty poorly advertised, like a lot of things in an overgrown jungle of an underdeveloped country. So please let us know if you come across any.

In the meantime, if it’s an unforgettable, international bamboo experience you’re looking for, please be sure to check out out fabulous article on the 20 best bamboo gardens in the world. It will surely inspire you to pack your bags and board the next plane for Tokyo, by way of Honolulu.

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