Wine-Braised Pork with Chestnuts and Sweet Potatoes
4 lb boneless pork shoulder 
2 tsp kosher salt 
1 tsp pepper 
1 onion, chopped 
5 garlic cloves, crushed  
3 cups chicken broth 
� cup white wine 
5 parsley sprigs 
3 thyme sprigs 
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled  
and cut 
2 cups vacuum-packed roasted chestnuts

Season the pork with 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Heat large casserole over medium high heat and add the pork and � cup water. Brown on all sides until the water is evaporated about 10 minutes.  


Add onion, garlic, chicken broth, wine, parsley and thyme to pork. Cover and simmer over med-low heat about 2 � hours, turning once.  


Add sweet potatoes and chestnuts, cover and continue cooking 30 min.





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Branching Out with Faith Appelquist



Questions, suggestions or comments are welcome.

Contact Faith at (612) 618-5244 or by email 


Sequoia of the East


How terribly unfortunate to have your name associated with one of the greatest ecological disasters ever to befall North America. Samuel B. Parsons of Flushing, NY has that honor. In 1876 he ordered a shipment of chestnut trees from Japan (Castanea crenata) and sold them as "Parson's Japan" in his nursery. Two of these trees are still growing very well in Connecticut. The trees harbored stowaway spores of a pathogenic fungus, (Cryphonectria parasitica), to which Asian chestnut trees-but not their American cousins-had evolved resistance.  


From there, the blight was spread by mail order, carried far and wide by American hunger for novel additions to their gardens. In the 50 years since the pathogen's introduction it spread through the entire native range. Four billion American chestnut trees from Maine to Georgia were gone. Forever. Today the American chestnut (Castanea dentata) is 'functionally extinct'. Only a handful of fully grown chestnuts remain, along with millions of stump and root sprouts which developed after the parent was killed. These sprouts are loaded with orange pustules dripping with spores, which continue to be reservoirs of disease.  


The nuts are unlike other nuts in that they are soft, sweet and very low in fat. They have excellent protein, complimentary to both beans and maize, and are high in vitamin C. Besides the fresh chestnut uses of roasting and going into stuffing, dried chestnuts can be ground for flour and used in bread and pasta.  


The American Chestnut Foundation is working on a blight resistant tree. 


In the grocery stores this holiday season, you may come across chestnuts in many forms. They are not American chestnuts.  


Chances are the nuts are imported from European (Castanea sativa or sweet chestnut) trees. 








American chestnut can reach heights of 100 feet. The wood
served as an important source of lumber, because the species has long, unbranched trunks and is rot resistant.         

Why Did My Roses Wilt So Quickly?
What Can I Do?


  • Re-cut flower stems under running water.Remove at least one-half inch of stem to expose a fresh surface.
  • Remove excess foliage.Excess foliage exposed to the air increases water loss. Submerged leaves decay and hasten the decline of cut flowers by encouraging microbial growth.
  • Use warm water.Place stems in 100-110F (38-40C) water, because warm water moves into the stem more quickly and easily than cold water.
  • Use those little packets of floral preservative.
    Commercial floral preservatives contain the basic components of the life support system for the cut flower: a biocide, an acidifier, and sugar. Use one packet per quart of water.

    Biocides are chemicals that kill the bacteria, yeasts and fungi that feed on the sap that seeps from the cut flower stem. It's an amazing sequence of events: You cut a rose stem and place it in a vase of water. Bacteria starts to grow, and within 3 hours, there are 30 million bacteria in the vase! These bacteria plug the tiny straw-tubes that conduct water to the flower. As a result, buds fail to open, necks weaken and bend, and leaves wilt. The acid helps water move up the stem more easily and the sugar acts as a flower food.
  • Check your arrangement daily, and add water to the vase as needed.
  • Preservation Solution Recipe:The first formula calls for mixing a can of a non-diet citrus soda (7-Up) with 3 cans of water and 1.2 ml of household bleach (use medicine a dropper). The second formula calls for 2 tablespoons of fresh lime or lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1/2 tablespoon of bleach and 1 quart of water. These solutions contain the major active ingredients necessary for a good preservative solution, i.e. sugar, citric acid, and a biocide.
For more information on extending the life of your flowers.
Wishing you all the peace, joy, and love 
of the holiday season. Season's greetings!

photo credit: Stephanie Town

Thanks for reading. Happy Planting! 


Faith Appelquist

President & Founder


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