Uncategorized Archive

Furniture from Mycelium

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

The house is filled with the earthy smell of mushrooms cooking. It's not a welcome-to-winter soup simmering or a ragout thickening; I'm baking a little mushroom footstool in the oven.

That's not all that's baking in that house, you may be thinking…

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/homeandgarden/article/Philip-Ross-crafts-furniture-from-mycelium-4116989.php#page-1

Roasted Squash Soup (Recipe)

Sunday, October 28th, 2012
Roasted Squash Soup
This recipe makes some delicious squash soup, which is a healthy way to keep yourself warm as the evenings turn cool. If you like a creamy, herby, or spicy soup, there are some flavor variations included below. I recommend using a sweet, dense-fleshed winter squash such as butternut, buttercup, or kabocha. Alternatively, you could use half squash and half sweet potatoes. Recipe makes 4-6 servings.


4 cups roasted winter squash, peeled and cubed (Note: this is about two medium sized squash. Roasting directions are below.)
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
1 stick celery, diced
2 large carrots, diced
3 cups vegetable stock
1 cup dry white wine, such as Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1-2 cups water for roasting
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste (amount also depends on the saltiness of your stock)
Optional Creamy Addition: half a cup of cream, “half and half”, soymilk, coconut milk, or almond milk
Garnish with: a spoonful of Greek yogurt or a sprig of fresh parsley in each bowl
Optional herb and spice twists (if you wish, choose one of these and add a greater amount of the flavoring if needed):
Parsley: Half a cup of chopped parsley. Puree squash soup first and then add the parsley at the end, just before turning off the heat.
Pumpkin pie spice: Half a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
Curry: 1 teaspoon of curry powder
Nutmeg: Pinch of fresh ground nutmeg
Ginger: Half an inch of ginger root, peeled and finely chopped, added at saute stage
BBQ: 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce
Citrus: Half a cup of orange juice, plus the zest of one lemon or lime
Spicy: 1 small jalapeno pepper, diced, added at the saute stage
Healthy: Half a cup or one cup of finely chopped garden greens, such as spinach, chard, arugula, kale, collards, or mache. Puree squash soup first and then add the greens at the end, cooking them for just a minute or two before turning off the heat.
Roasting the Squash
Wash the squash. Cut it in half and scoop out the seeds. In a large roasting pan, place squash halves cut side down and then fill bottom of pan with a cup or so of water. Cook in oven at 375 F degrees, adding more water if the pan dries out. Cook for 30 minutes or until squash is fork tender. Remove from oven, let squash cool, and peel off skin. Cut roasted squash into one inch cubes.
Recipe Directions
1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the diced onion and saute it for two minutes. Then add the garlic, carrots, and celery, sauteing it until the onion is translucent. If the garlic starts to turn brown, pour in some vegetable stock and immediately move onto the next step (or else it will turn bitter).
2. Add the roasted, cubed squash, the dry white wine, and the vegetable stock. Add the salt, pepper, or any optional flavoring. Bring soup to a boil, cover pot, and reduce heat to a simmer. Let it cook for 10-15 minutes until all ingredients are soft, then turn off heat and let soup cool for awhile.
3. Puree soup using blender, food processor, or hand blender. Once it is smooth, pour pureed soup back into the big pot. Taste it and season it as needed, using salt and pepper as well as any of the optional herb or spice flavorings. Add the optional cream or cream substitute. Stir in any of these new ingredients and, if necessary, cook the soup a little longer. Then turn off the heat, serve, and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from "Butternut Squash Soup" at Allrecipes.com

Grameen is installing 1000 solar home systems a day…in rural Bangladesh!

Friday, July 27th, 2012

In one of the poorest countries on the planet a renewable energy service company is installing one thousand solar home systems - a day. Not in its capital or busy urban centers, but where 80 percent of the population lives - in rural Bangladesh. The company, Grameen Shakti, literally translates as rural energy. By the end of the year it will have installed a total of one million solar systems and now has expansion plans to install five million systems by 2015. Shakti  is succeeding where business as usual has failed, and in the year of Sustainable Energy for All, it's a success story we should all know by heart.


This is just the first paragraph of a tremendous post from the Sierra Club's Compass newsletter/blog. It shows that renewable energy can succeed in the poorest countries and can help develop rural communities and livelihoods. Please click here to access the whole story.

Long Orange Firecrackers

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

In our home garden, we just picked carrots this week. From one raised bed, my kids unearthed an armload of long orange firecrackers. Picking carrots, potatoes, and root/tuber vegetables is such a satisfying harvest. There is something special about bringing up buried treasure: you're never quite sure what is hidden until you pull it out of the ground.

Most people love the taste of carrots, which are very nutritious and versatile in the kitchen. Their sweet, earthy flavors are a welcome addition to almost any dish, sweet or savory. But quite honestly, the only carrots that get cooked at our house are the ones we buy in the store. The ones we grow don't make it to the kitchen; they are so much tastier that they are eaten first.

Homegrown carrots are so good we tend to eat them all raw. When the kids are pulling up carrots, they don't even want to wash them before taking a bite. Once the roots are rinsed, my kids will eat two or three large carrots before they slow down. We put them in school lunch boxes and they disappear. There's no shortage of vitamin A this time of year.

As soon as we pick carrots, a light bulb flashes in my head. It's the reminder to plant more carrot seeds, which I plan to do very soon!  Carrots prefer cool temperatures, so in the hot days of late summer, give them plenty of water and perhaps a little shade.

In a mild climate, you can grow carrots year-round. If your winters are cold, hard frosts and temperatures in the teens will kill off the foliage, but carrot roots can remain in the ground even into winter. Just cover them with a thick mulch, say six inches of leaves, straw, or sawdust, which should protect the roots for now. If your soil stays workable, you can dig them up as needed over the winter. Otherwise, you should get them out before the ground freezes up solid or else wait until early spring to pull them out. When you buy seed, you can look for overwintering varieties if this is what you plan to do.

For more information on growing carrots and other hardy cool season vegetables, please see my Fresh Food From Small Spaces book and several of my online articles/e-booklets, which are available here. If you're a parent, involving kids in the garden is the best way to get them interested in eating their veggies. Carrots may be the easiest place to start. If your kids don't like the ones from the store, wait till they taste real homegrown carrots!

Some Sick Chickens and Eggs in Your Food Supply

Friday, April 20th, 2012

The U.S. government is attempting to cut the jobs of 1,000 poultry inspectors to save $85 million per year. The new plan is to have the poultry industry "self inspect" themselves (after all, the same concept worked well with Wall Street, right?). One poultry industry inspector will now be responsible for "inspecting" the dizzying number of 175 chickens per minute. So unless a bird is keeled over dead, it will be pretty tough to spot any discrepancies. Especially when the inspector's paycheck comes not from Uncle Sam, but from the same company that is pumping the steroids, hormones, antibiotics, and growth stimulants into these birds to squeeze out every penny of profit from their sick business of raising tortured/poisoned animals on an industrial scale for meat and egg production.

Here is a better plan: put a chicken coop in your backyard. The hens in our backyard have a coop that sits atop a fenced run which they reach with a ladder, saving horizontal space. Whenever I am home, I let them into a free range area as well, which includes letting them till one of my raised beds at a time (a few portable dog fences go a long way to protect the rest of the veggie garden). These birds eat kitchen and garden scraps, bugs and grubs, grass, clover, and weed seeds (in addition to some organic feed and scratch grains).

In return, they provide us with more eggs than we can eat each week, while fertilizing and tilling the garden soil. As anyone who enjoys homegrown eggs will tell you, REAL eggs are nothing like the commercial ones. Something like 1/3 of what you feed your chickens goes into the eggs. We have clover growing everywhere, plus plenty of extra kale, chard, lettuce, and broccoli greens that grow pretty much year-round. Give the chickens a pile of any of these greens (and I mean an ARMLOAD, not a handful) and each hen will eat at least a human-sized salad per day. This is just one example of what we feed them, but just imagine how nutritious those eggs are. In fact, the yolks come out so dark they are nearly orange with all those vitamins and minerals. At the end of the day, my kids are getting the benefits of a lot more vegetables than the vegetables they actually eat, along with plenty of omega-3s.

The government has done a very poor job looking out for us in the area of food safety. Commercial meats, eggs, and dairy products are chock full of harmful stuff. The poor animals lead tortured lives, are pumped full of imbalanced and toxic foods and supplements, and produce imbalanced and toxic meat, eggs, and dairy products. These products result in unhealthy omega balances, which lead to high cholesterol (the bad kind) and who knows what kinds of ailments, from attention deficit disorders to cancers. We'll never know the full extent of the health problems, but I do know that if you eat high quality, homegrown food at least some of the time, your health is likely to be better. There are a lot of "free range" eggs in grocery stores these days and I applaud the movement, but notice they do not have to say how large the free range area is, nor do they have to tell you if that area is covered in concrete. Don't trust the government to look out for your food safety. Take charge of your own food production, or even 5% of it.

We could save the government a ton of money on health care if people learned how to grow a little of their own food at home. Even in a small home, this is possible (check out my book, Fresh Food From Small Spaces, if you doubt that you can grow some food from an apartment/condo/townhouse/etc.). And in addition to a salad garden or a couple of tomato plants, please consider adding a small chicken coop and a couple of hens.

The time has come to be more self-sufficient, not only with veggies and fruits, but also with eggs. Now is a great time to get started!

News article Link: http://news.yahoo.com/usda-let-industry-self-inspect-chicken-191142649–abc-news-topstories.html

Dairy cows happier on waterbeds

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

Dairy Farmer Spoils Cows with Waterbeds…Apparently, the cows are happier because their joints feel better, and make better quality milk. Who knew? Follow link below for a local news article and video clip.

Link: http://www.fox8.com/news/petplace/wjw-dairy-farmer-spoils-cows-with-waterbeds-txt,0,2493141.story

Squash is the answer to all your problems

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

We have been enjoying homegrown acorn squash that's sweeter than anything in the store. It grew in a bed which was prepared using the junk from our chicken coop, so I felt even more satisfaction that it was sustainably produced. Also coming from that same raised bed were corn, yacon, and all the green beans we could eat all summer: a regular Mesoamerican three sisters garden plus the Andean "y" root. Our yacon tastes like sugary watermelon crossed with celery.

And to complete the sustainable cycle, chickens will really go to town on the inside pumpkin/squash scoopings, all that hairy wet stuff, and the peels. I chop the seeds in half first and they are a great source of nutrition for the birds. Putting them in a food processor for about 10 seconds would make them easier for the birds to eat also. If you have extra cooked squash, chickens will eat it right up to the peel every time. Their egg yolks come out the same color, full of vitamins and minerals.

In looking at online squash recipes, I came across a great article on the CNN Eatocracy page. I couldn't agree more with their encouragement for more people to cook and consume this veggie, which is a nutritional and culinary miracle.

Squash is the answer to all your problems

Original article source: http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2011/11/08/how-to-cook-squash/

How fantastic are fall and winter squash? They're packed to the gills with antioxidants, dietary fiber, Vitamin A and carotenes, fill you up for just a few calories, and can be prepared in approximately seventy billion ways, from sweet to savory. Plus they're in season right this very second, generally cheap as the dickens, and add glorious color and fabulous flavor to your holiday feasts.

But how do you tackle the beast? Butternut squash can be unwieldy to butcher, some varieties like turban, hubbard and kabocha look all gnarled and knobbly and scary, and how the heck do you cook them?

Let's quash all those worries right this second, starting with selection.

Buying and storing

Don't try it 'til you've knocked it. A prime candidate will feel heavy and firm, with no visible nicks or soft spots. A fully grown squash will have slightly matte skin, rather than glossy; the flesh will be a bit sweeter. Look for deep, rich color on the exterior and a dry, rounded stem still attached, if possible.

A winter squash will keep from one to three months if it's stored in a cool, dark place (and not near apples which will cause accelerated decay), but if you know you'll be consuming it sooner, a brightly-colored or curiously shaped squash can make a fabulous table decoration.


Butternut squash presents a particular challenge because of its oblong shape. To halve it, slice off the top and the bottom so it sits flat on a secured cutting board. Rest it on the widest end, and using a heavy knife, slice down vertically. If you face resistance, use a mallet – ideally rubber – to tap gently on the tops of both sides of the blade. Work as slowly as you need to.

For more spherical squash, depending on the variety and how you're going to cook it, you can either cut a circle around the stem, angling inward with a paring knife and scooping out the seeds, cut the top off like a lid, or cut in half along the meridian or equator. Many winter squash have very thick skins and flesh, so again, use a sharp, heavy knife and take your time to avoid accidents.

In any case, you'll need to scoop out the seeds and guts as cleanly as you can, using the edge of a spoon. For an extra treat, rinse the seeds clean in a colander, shake them dry and discard the guts. Then spread the seeds on a sheet pan, spray or drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and roast in a 300° oven for 10-20 minutes or until golden brown. Keep an eye on them so they don't burn, and once they've cooled, eat them as-is or sprinkle with paprika, cumin or your favorite spices.

To peel or not to peel?

Peeling squash is, frankly, a pain, but for some preparations, it's key. If you're going to be roasting cubes of squash, nothing beats the caramelized flavor of browned, irregular edges. So take the time to smooth down knobs and delve into divots with a vegetable peeler or cheese slicer while the squash is still whole.

If you're going to be working with the squash in a method that's less texture-dependent, leave the skin on and bake the squash, halved at 300°, with the cut side down until it's soft enough to peel off. Pouring boiling water over squash in a baking dish also aids removal.

Plenty of squash varieties have perfectly edible and delicious skins that actually add extra flavor and texture, while some are simply too thick to be pleasant. Roast it up, take a nibble, see what you think, and either scoop or savor.

Cooking methods

There's really no wrong way to cook a squash, making it one of the versatile vegetables around. They're great grilled, pureed, steamed, broiled, boiled, baked, fried, mashed and more. Here are a few of our favorite preparations to grace a holiday table.

Halved, roasted squash on the savory side
This works especially well with butternut and delicata squash.

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.

2. On a cutting board, carefully cut the squash in half. Make sure to trim off any hard stem parts and scrape out innards.

3. Prick the flesh with a fork, brush or spray all surfaces lightly with oil, sprinkle the cut side with a little salt and place face-down on a cookie sheet.

4. Roast for 40-50 minutes until you can easily pierce the squash with a fork.

5. Once it's cook enough to handle, peel off the skin, then chop, cube, mash, stuff or leave whole and serve.

It's smashing with a little bit of melted butter, Kosher salt, and coriander or paprika. Add grated Parmesan if you're feeling especially wacky, or stuff with your favorite rice pilaf or seasoned breadcrumbs. Spherical, thick-skinned varieties like acorn or hubbard can be used as bowls for your favorite cream soup.

Halved, roasted squash on the sweet side
This is aces for smaller acorn or sweet dumpling squash as well as sweet pumpkins and makes a dramatic, stand alone serving vessel.

1. Pre-heat oven to 400°F

2. Slice acorn squash in half vertically and scoop out the seeds. Score the insides of the squash a few times on each side and brush with melted butter. Sprinkle some brown sugar and a pinch of salt on the cut sides, along with a drizzle of maple syrup if you'd like it a bit sweeter.

3. Place the halves, cut side up in a baking dish with 1/4 cup of water at the bottom of it. Bake for 1 hour, then check for tenderness; the flesh should be quite soft and the tops browned. Check again at 10 minute intervals until they reach desired doneness.

4. Let the halves cool slightly and serve as-is, cut-side up, with a fork to scoop out the deliciousness.

Cubed or sliced roasted squash
This is simply divine with pumpkin, turban, butternut, speckled pup or kabotcha varieties.

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.

2. Peel the squash using a vegetable peeler. For stubborn spots, stabilize the squash on a cutting board and carefully remove with a paring knife.

3. Cut the squash into 1" thick rounds, remove guts and seeds with a spoon, and then slice into even thickness or stack slices to cut into cubes evenly.

4. Brush or spray cubes or slices with oil, or toss in a bag with oil to evenly coat all sides.

5. Place slices or cubes on a cookie sheet, sprinkle lightly with salt and roast 20-25 minutes until fork-tender and the edges are brown, then serve immediately.

To really punch up the flavor, finely chop rosemary or your other favorite herbs and sprinkle them over the squash before cooking. It's also a divine topping for pizzas or flatbreads, atop salad greens with goat cheese, or stuffed into a sandwich with leftover turkey.

Mashed or pureed squash
1. Follow the instructions for Halved, roasted squash on the savory side.

2. When the squash is cool enough to peel, simply place the flesh it in a bowl, mash it with butter and salt and serve.

It's also delicious mashed with maple syrup, orange juice, smoked paprika, salt and butter to taste, or pureed with a standard or immersion blender (make sure it's cooled first!) with milk, butter and a little bit of ginger.


Occupy and Oil: A Tale of Two Quotes

Monday, November 21st, 2011

The Occupy Wall Street movement is about addressing inequality. I am a strong supporter of taking back our country from those who have sucked away so much of its capital. Though my local Occupy movements have become somewhat fractured and the message is becoming more muddled, I have been impressed with the organization overall. Frankly, it is hard to keep people on the left united and focused on anything for very long, and yet these protests have managed to keep everyone's eyes on their positive message for a meaningful period of time. Excellent work. As the winter weather comes and local governments' tolerance wanes for the Occupations, let's make sure we keep the pressure on our policymakers to make the rich pay their fair share. Here is an inspiring quote which says it all:

"We can either have a democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”–U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

Separately, let's not forget that the world is running out of affordable oil and gas at an alarming rate, and that we need to develop alternative sources of energy as quickly as possible (20 or 30 years ago would have been nice). This would help our economy tremendously and could provide the impetus we need to transform our financial system to a more sustainable base. Without prompt action, our economy is about to drop off a cliff much steeper than anything we have seen yet.

Statements from Obama administration officials continue to leave me with the impression that they understand this urgency, and yet we have not seen them take a meaningful lead on this. If the peak oil (and various other peak resources) situation is as urgent as everyone seems to think, verging on a crisis, then where is the vision and where is the action to transform our system of energy and economics? Here's the latest quote from Hillary Clinton on this, delivered in conjunction with the creation of a new State Department agency geared toward energy diplomacy. Hopefully, they're planning to do more than just talk, talk, talk:

"You can't talk about our economy or foreign policy without talking about energy. With a growing global population and a finite supply of fossil fuels, the need to diversify our supply is urgent." –U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton

Lobbying firm's memo spells out plan to undermine Occupy Wall Street

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

By Jonathan Larsen and Ken Olshansky, MSNBC TV

A well-known Washington lobbying firm with links to the financial industry has proposed an $850,000 plan to take on Occupy Wall Street and politicians who might express sympathy for the protests, according to a memo obtained by the MSNBC program “Up w/ Chris Hayes.”

The proposal was written on the letterhead of the lobbying firm Clark Lytle Geduldig & Cranford and addressed to one of CLGC’s clients, the American Bankers Association.

CLGC’s memo proposes that the ABA pay CLGC $850,000 to conduct “opposition research” on Occupy Wall Street in order to construct “negative narratives” about the protests and allied politicians. The memo also asserts that Democratic victories in 2012 would be detrimental for Wall Street and targets specific races in which it says Wall Street would benefit by electing Republicans instead.

According to the memo, if Democrats embrace OWS, “This would mean more than just short-term political discomfort for Wall Street. … It has the potential to have very long-lasting political, policy and financial impacts on the companies in the center of the bullseye.”

The memo also suggests that Democratic victories in 2012 should not be the ABA’s biggest concern. “… (T)he bigger concern,” the memo says, “should be that Republicans will no longer defend Wall Street companies.”

Two of the memo’s authors, partners Sam Geduldig and Jay Cranford, previously worked for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. Geduldig joined CLGC before Boehner became speaker;  Cranford joined CLGC this year after serving as the speaker’s assistant for policy. A third partner, Steve Clark, is reportedly “tight” with Boehner, according to a story by Roll Call that CLGC features on its website.

Jeff Sigmund, an ABA spokesperson, confirmed that the association got the memo. “Our Government Relations staff did receive the proposal – it was unsolicited and we chose not to act on it in any way,” he said in a statement to "Up."

CLGC did not return calls seeking comment.

Boehner spokesman Michael Steel declined to comment on the memo. But he responded to its characterization of Republicans as defenders of Wall Street by saying, “My understanding is that President Obama is the single largest recipient of donations from Wall Street.”

On “Up” Saturday, Obama campaign adviser Anita Dunn responded by saying that the majority of the president’s re-election campaign is fueled by small donors. She rejected the suggestion that the president himself is too close to Wall Street, saying “If that’s the case, why were tough financial reforms passed over party line Republican opposition?”

The CLGC memo raises another issue that it says should be of concern to the financial industry — that OWS might find common cause with the Tea Party. “Well-known Wall Street companies stand at the nexus of where OWS protestors and the Tea Party overlap on angered populism,” the memo says. “…This combination has the potential to be explosive later in the year when media reports cover the next round of bonuses and contrast it with stories of millions of Americans making do with less this holiday season.”

The memo outlines a 60-day plan to conduct surveys and research on OWS and its supporters so that Wall Street companies will be prepared to conduct a media campaign in response to OWS. Wall Street companies “likely will not be the best spokespeople for their own cause,” according to the memo.  “A big challenge is to demonstrate that these companies still have political strength and that making them a political target will carry a severe political cost.”

Part of the plan CLGC proposes is to do “statewide surveys in at least eight states that are shaping up to be the most important of the 2012 cycle.”

Specific races listed in the memo are U.S. Senate races in Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin, Ohio, New Mexico and Nevada as well as the gubernatorial race in North Carolina.

The memo indicates that CLGC would research who has contributed financial backing to OWS, noting that, “Media reports have speculated about associations with George Soros and others.”

"It will be vital,” the memo says, “to understand who is funding it and what their backgrounds and motives are. If we can show that they have the same cynical motivation as a political opponent it will undermine their credibility in a profound way.”

Stupid clucking insurance company

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Last month, I received a letter from my homeowner's insurance company, notifying me that my policy would not be renewed. The reason? My policy was terminated because I keep chickens in my backyard. Per the letter I received from these cluckers, "chickens make the risk unacceptable." Never mind that, a week earlier, one town away, a pregnant woman was mauled to death by her pitbull. Insurers understand the need to have vicious dogs around pregnant women and small kids, but chickens? Good lord, what horrific damage a couple of quiet, egg-laying hens might do. Just think of all that scratching, pecking, and fluttering. Personal injuries, property damage, emotional distress, think of all the claims. Come on. Seriously, does anyone really think hens are dangerous? From what planet do these people hail?

If you have read my "Fresh Food From Small Spaces" book or some of my previous blog posts on this site, you will know that I strongly advocate keeping chickens for eggs. It is a small, simple, and rewarding step towards greater local food production and self-reliance. Plus, chickens are a lot of fun, they're great around small kids, they eat some of our compost scraps, and you can use not only their eggs (for eating) but their manure litter (as garden fertilizer). My chickens have a spacious, well-constructed coop and run, and are let out regularly for limited free-ranging (limited only because I don't let them into my raised veggie beds). It's code-complaint, the hens are fairly quiet (much quieter than the ravens in the tree behind their coop), and the neighbors don't mind.

There is little or no risk involved in keeping chickens. But like any natural pursuit (just ask the raw milk folks), the government and economic powers will do their best to make life as difficult as possible for anyone who tries to return to a simpler way of living. Cities and counties all around the country can sometimes be a barrier, but many of them have been getting on board with the backyard chicken thing these last few years. Recently, a record number of ordinances have been revised to allow people to keep a few chickens for egg-laying. But apparently, insurance companies have not caught up yet; backyard chickens do not factor into their actuarial formulas.

So we found another insurer who doesn't seem to care. But I'm half expecting to get another letter saying that my policy won't be renewed because I grow lettuce, because "lettuce makes the risk unacceptable." Instead, I'm supposed to pay 20 times as much to buy store-bought organic lettuce in a plastic bag that has been shipped for hundreds of miles. The next one will be denied for melons, because "melons make the risk unacceptable". No, I'm supposed to buy the listeria-laced ones at the supermarket and play Russian roulette like everyone else. And I sure hope the next surprise home inspection doesn't unearth my worm bin. Policy denied for earthworms? "Earthworms make the risk unacceptable"? It wouldn't surprise me one bit.