Banana Bread  
3 to 4 over-ripe bananas
1 cup sugar
1 2/3 cup flour
1/3 cup oat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 stick butter, melted
2 eggs
1 tsp almond extract

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans


Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9 x 5 loaf plan. 
In large mixing bowl, mash bananas and sugar. Add eggs, almond extract and butter to banana mixture. 

In a separate bowl combine flours, soda, and salt. Add flour mixture to banana mixture and mix just until batter comes together. Fold in nuts.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 min to 1 hour.





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Branching Out with Faith Appelquist


 Questions, suggestions or comments are welcome.

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


Paradise Lost?


Are you worried about rapid global climate change today? If not, you should be. Last November I attended the first ever Minnesota Climate Adaptation Conference held at the Science Museum. Meteorologist Paul Douglas said something that got my attention. Someone said to Paul, "Paul, what's the big deal about global temperatures moving 2 degrees higher? Warm winters are not so bad." Paul responded "How do you feel when you run 2 degrees warmer? Pretty bad, huh, rash, nausea, pain, fever, alive but sick. "

I would like to share some predictions presented at the conference:

  • Increased temperature; warmer winters with more rain events and lower snowfall.
  • Increases in extreme precipitation; more spring thunderstorms followed by very long dry spells.
  • Increases in dew points, tropical-like atmospheric water vapor.

Some implications for gardeners:

  • Increases in mosquito, tic borne diseases, and allergies because of high pollen count.
  • A longer growing season; good for tomatoes, bad for trees.
  • New noxious weeds.
  • Change in plant hardiness zones; good for marketers trying to sell us more plants.
  • Increased survival of microorganisms, insects and pathogens.
  • Change in depth and duration of soil freezing.
  • Minnesota is gradually becoming more like a savanna climate (think the set of The Lion King)
  • And they say rattlesnakes are marching north.

Higher temperatures translate into greater survival, elevated reproduction and more generations per year of pests.


Kentucky coffeetrees sit in a pool of water in January. Elevated winter temperatures result in rain instead of snow.   

Climate change is not in the future, it is with us now. We can adapt, change or suffer. What steps can we take toward sustainability? Well, that's another newsletter! 


For more information on changing climates, review the 2013 Report of the Interagency Climate Adaptation Team   


Put a Cork In It


Whenever I open a wine bottle with a real cork, I instinctively want to save it. As wine makers have begun to use plastic stoppers and screw caps, I have this feeling that cork will soon be delegated to ancient history, like the wooden Fisher Price toys I used to play with.  

So where does that cork in your bottle of wine come from? The answer is most likely Spain or Portugal, where over half of the world's cork is harvested. The 'cork oak' or Quercus suber can live about 150 to 200 years. It evolved an 8-inch layer of bark to protect itself from the frequent fires that occur in the region. The bark layer is painstakingly pulled away by hand and never involves the death of the tree. In about nine years, the tree regrows another layer of bark, making cork a renewable and sustainable resource.

The pairing of corks and wine has been dated as far back as the first century BC. French vintners starting mass using of cork in the mid-seventeenth century. Winemakers use cork because of its porous nature, citing benefits to the wine such as slight oxygen exposure to promote optimal aging. Additionally, the soft structure of cork allows the material to expand after it's inserted into the wine bottle, thus providing a tight seal against wine leakage.

Personally, I enjoy the novelty of a glass bottle and old-fashioned cork. And, I especially like the thought that in some small way, I'm bonding with such fascinating specimens, the Cork Oak trees.

For more information on cork stripping of trees


The stripping of the bark leaves a strange but fascinating landscape
of denuded trunks.

Strength and gentleness must be used in equal measure during the extraction.   

It has been an honor and a pleasure to work with you this year. Wishing you the best of holidays and a prosperous 2014!


Faith Appelquist

President & Founder


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