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Strawberry Aliens

Strawberry Aliens

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  • ½ Cup light whipped cream cheese
  • 2 Teaspoons strawberry preserves
  • 4 Cups large strawberries (about 24)
  • 48 mini chocolate chips
  • ¼ Cup pineapple shapes
  • 12 blueberries
  • 12 raspberries
  • 12 blackberries
  • 1 small banana, sliced


In a small bowl, whisk the cream cheese and preserves until combined.

Place the cream cheese mixture in a small plastic bag and snip off one corner to create a piping bag.

Slice ½ an inch off of the top of the strawberry (or leave the top for the “hair” and cut a small piece off the narrow part of the strawberry to make a flat bottom). Repeat for the remaining strawberries. Fill each strawberry with a small amount of the cream cheese mixture.

Place chocolate chips in the cream cheese mixture for eyes.

Skewer toothpicks with blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or shapes cut out of banana or pineapple and stick on top for “antennae” or “hats.”

Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey Recipes and Fall Cocktails

Fall in love with Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey this autumn! The first real peanut butter whiskey has put a nutty twist on several classic seasonal cocktails, heating things up with a Skrewed Up Coffee, Skrewball Hot Chocolate, Pumpkin Perocet or Spiked Peanut Butter Cider. Enjoy a Skrewed Up Coffee and Skrewball Hot Chocolate at The Buena Vista in San Francisco or get out your favorite Mug, Whip Cream or Marshmallow and get ready to cozy up with these flavorful fall cocktails in your own home by following the recipes below..

If you are looking for how to make skrewball drinks, skrewball recipes or general skrewball whiskey information, you will find it here.

Want to know where to buy skrewball peanut butter whiskey? follow this link:

The Basics of DIY Edibles

1. Decarbing Your Weed

While it’s no filet mignon, and you most likely won’t be gobbling down plain decarbed pot anytime soon – decarbing your weed is essential in ensuring your DIY edibles have the potent effects that every stoner is looking for.

What Does it Mean to Decarb Your Weed?

In short, decarboxylating your weed ensures your flower is psychoactive, or high-inducing. Applying heat to your cannabis converts THC-A into weed’s primary psychoactive compound – THC, thus “activating” it. To decarb your bud and prep it to be included in some delicious recipes, follow the link above.

Item & Recipe List/Alphabetized

There are currently 280 items in the game that can be obtained through Alchemy.  The recipes listed here are not the only recipes by which the item is obtainable, but the highest discovered recipes percentage-wise. (One or two secondary recipes may be included for ingredients that are easier to obtain).

*Some recipes may not work unless you buy a specifically colored recipe book. (Blue Book, Red Book, Yellow Book).

Currently a sampling page to simplify the item finding process, not all items have been added yet.

    ● Happiness/Fullness    |    ♥ cost     |    ★ ف Star    |    ☆   1/2 Star |
Item Name Icon % : Recipes Stats Obtained
Acorn Squash

72%: Chocolate Truffle + Eggplant + Small topaz

71%: Turnip + Quartz + Medicine/Inspector/Pickaxe

71%: Jam Cookie + Soup + Large Topaz

70%: Small Amethyst + Small Amethyst + Chu Bud

54%: Dolma + Eggplant + Small Topaz

14%: Artichoke + Eggplant + Lobster


64%: Turkey Dinner + Medicine + Medicine

64%: Turkey Dinner + Caramel + Caramel

60%: Ice Cream + Soft Serve + Super Cone

Very High

69%: Carrot + Rock + Strawberry

59% Strawberry + Strawberry + Strawberry
55% Strawberry + Strawberry + Broccoli

From Orchard

82%: Pizza + Cheese + Fruit Pop

64%: Rock + Rock + Fish 'n Chips

64%: Mac n Cheese + Caramel + Soap/Iron Ingot

62%: Mac n Cheese + Cookie + Inspector

61%: Rock + Water + Fish 'n Chips

69%: Fries + Fries + Inspector

55%: Mac n Cheese + Mac n Cheese + Cookie

Very High
Received randomly from poo

76%: Takoyaki + Turnip + Broccoli

21%: Eggplant + Eggplant + Eggplant


79%: Bee Net + Ultra Mushroom + Power Shroom

77%: Happy Poo + Weight Gain Potion + Weight Gain Potion

69%: Small Emerald + Small Citron + Small Citron

71%: Rock + Cherries + Water/Poison Shroom

66%: Rock + Apple + Water/Rock/Poison Shroom

60%: Strawberry + Strawberry + Quartz

From Store
From Orchard

64%: Grilled Pineapple + Roll Bun + Jam Cookie

61%: Rock + Poison Shroom + Cheese n' Crackers

54%: Rock + Rock + Cheese n' Crackers


73%: Small Topaz + Small Emerald + Strawberry

72%: Rock + Poison Shroom + Watermelon

71%: Small Topaz + Small Emerald + Popsicle

70%: Takoyaki + Strawberry + Inspector

64%: Rock + Rock + Watermelon

68%: Apple + Apple + Raspberry

68%: Inspector + Strawberry + Chu Bud

62%: Rock + Water + Lemon Drop

59%: Rock + Rock + Lemon Drop


30% : Rock + Rock + Strawberry H●

Received randomly from poo

74%: Cherries + Cherries + Ghost Poo

72%: Small Amethyst + Small Emerald + Small Citron

52%: Rock + Ruby Shard + Small Emerald

92%: Blueberry Poo + Pumpkin Pie + Candied Yam

81%: Cupcake + Weight Gain Potion + Iron Pickaxe

66%: Whoopie Pie + Whoopie Pie + Pear

62%: Inspector + Ice Cream Sando + Small Emerald

61%: Small Citron + Small Citron + Mochi

Movie Theatre (3)
Ad Gift
From Store

100%: Bread + Bread + Bread (Yellow Book) H


91%: Shrimp Tempura + Soap + Soap

90%: Movie Stub + Movie Stub + Roasted Fish

90%: Anchovy Pizza + Pickaxe + Rock

80%: Whoopie Pie + Broccoli + Bread

85%: Rock + Poison Shroom + Monster Poo

81%: Rock + Rock + Monster Poo

73%: Bee Net + Fruit Yogurt + Fruit Yogurt

51%: Perfect Milk + Ruby Shard + Small Citron

23% : Poison Shroom + Poison Shroom + Water

22% : Poison Shroom + Water + Water

Ad Gift
From Store

65%: Honey + Honey + Mushroom/Broccoli

64%: Honey + Honey + Honey/Bread

57%: Broccoli + Cookie + Water

70%: Roast + Rock + Power Shroom

68%: Rock + Poison Shroom + Taco

68%: Rock + Poison Shroom + Weight Loss/Gain Potion

Very High

65%: Bread + Meat + Weight Gain/Loss Potion


58%: Rice + Fish Stick + Strawberry H●


29% : Water + Water + Chocolate H●●●●

Very High
From Store (♥50)

65%: Rock + Poison Shroom + Broccoli

61%: Broccoli + Broccoli + Rock/Water


71%: Carrot + Carrot + Bread H●●●●

Very High

79%: Mushroom + Water + Carrot

76%: Yogurt + Mushroom + Carrot

73%: Water + Water + Inspector

72%: Rock + Water + Fruit Pop

70%: Water + Water + Fruit Yogurt


66%: Smoothie + Yogurt + Popsicle

61%: Carrot + Carrot + Fruit Pop


52% : Rock + Poison Shroom + Yogurt

From Store

67%: Strawberry + Strawberry + Blueberry

59%: Strawberry + Meat + Strawberry
58%: Strawberry + Strawberry + Strawberry

From Orchard

76%: Water + Apple + Raspberry

73%: Cherries + Strawberry + Rice

73%: Mochi + Strawberry + Water

Very High

59%: Yogurt + Yogurt + Yogurt H●●●

84% : Whoopie Pie + Rice + Rice

82% : Brownie + Grilled Fish + Roast

78% : Cheese + Caramel + Health Potion

75% : Candied Yam + Rock + Popsicle

70% : Quartz + Soda + Ice Cream Sando

69% : Carrot Cake + Movie Stub + Movie Stub

Very High
Cave Floor 2
Very High

70%: Water + Yogurt + Rice
69%: Water + Bread + Yogurt
61%: Water + Water + Strawberry
58%: Water + Water + Bread

Bake the best homemade mini cinnamon rolls with your kids and family. This fun, easy, recipe is from the secret American Girl Café vault.

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How To Make Easy Strawberry Roses

Valentine’s Day will be here before you know it! Do you get excited around this time? I’ve never been one for Valentine’s Day but I do love all the red & pink goodies and flowers that pop-up everywhere around this time of year. So much lovey-doviness in the air.

I don’t think my husband and I have ever celebrated Valentine’s Day in all the 14 years we’ve been married. Not sure why. He really does an incredible job at making me feel cherished throughout the year so I guess that’s why I don’t make a big deal out of it. Hear that honey? Don’t start slacking.

Since V-Day is right around the corner I thought now would be a perfect time to show you guys how to create some really easy strawberry roses. Now, you know if I’m doing a food “crafty” type tutorial then it’s GOT to be easy right? lol I’m so food craft challenged it’s not even funny! It’s an act of God that I even learned how to make cake pops or these chocolate covered pretzels!

Here’s 3 reasons why I LOVE LOVE LOVE these strawberry roses:

  1. These strawberry roses are easy! I can slice up one in a matter of seconds!
  2. They make simple stuff look all ooh la la! Use them to decorate cakes, cupcakes, ice cream, or to dip in melted chocolate or whipped cream.
  3. They are gorgeous and SEXXXAY. They really are so pretty to look at aren’t they?

I mean like 4 real if you’re going to serve strawberries with warm melted chocolate you might as well serve ROSE-shaped strawberries right to take it over the top a lil bit. If you can make a slit then you can make these strawberries roses no lie. It’s really that easy. I was blown away when I discovered how quick and simple they were to make.

Make as many petal layers as you’d like! I think the more layers the prettier! It does start to get fragile with lots of layers though. For the closed rose look, 2 layers is just right! Once you make your first one you’ll have the hang of it and then you can experiment with how many layers you prefer. Mixing them up would make for a really pretty strawberry bouquet!

Caitlyn Nicholas

Mumndad have a magnificent strawberry guava tree/bush/plant. Right now its loaded with ripe fruit which is just begging to be made into jelly. Strawberry guavas have lots of really hard little pips, so they'd be awful as a jam.

As always my greatest challenge with making jams and jellies is getting the damn things to set. You see I refuse, I just REFUSE to use jamsetter. I see it as an additive, and if my English Grandmother could do without it, then so can I.

Strawberry guava jelly is notoriously difficult to get to set. Being a life long adherent of Doing Things The Hard Way, for my first batch I ignored all the people on the internet and made the jelly in the usual jelly making way with just the guavas.

It did kind-of set, and it is delicious, but you sort of have to fold your toast in half and eat it in one mouthful if you don't want it down your front.

Batch 2 set like a dream because I added apples (so its strictly guava and apple jelly). Adding apples sets almost anything because of the high amount of pectin they have.

Strawberry guavas about to be transformed
Strawberry guavas
Apples - half the amount of guavas you have (eg 1kg guavas then 500g apples)
Lemon zest
Sugar - 3/4 to 1 cup of sugar per cup of juice you end up with (eg, 4 cups juice needs 3 - 4 cups sugar)

  • Wash guavas, chop apples
  • Put in pan, cover with water
  • Boil until fruit is mush, squishing with spoon
  • Strain juice through two layers of muslin, or a teatowel or whatever, just make sure it doesn't let any bits through
  • Give left over fruit mush to chooks
  • Add sugar
  • Boil until it reaches 105 degrees celsius - this could take a while, and don't stir too much
  • Let cool slightly
  • Pour into warm sterilised jam jars and seal

Total cost: $1.97 for the sugar, $1.50 for the apples

16 people love me:

I agree Jamsetta is like cheating as well, I was going to suggest adding some apple but you already have, sometimes just some apple peelings and cores will do the trick, I also started using a thermometer to correctly judge the setting point (instead of the jelly on the saucer) and had more success with that. Yummo I haven't had guava jelly in years although the last time I made it I ended up with guava toffee :( it still tasted very nice although very chewy.

The color is gorgeous. I bet it is delicious.

I love the colour of it too so warm and rich

Oh no, Guava toffee! Interesting to hear about just using the cores and peelings, will try that next batch. Yeah, I have had much much more success now I have a thermometer, not only in jam making but yoghurt making and soap making as well. Did drop thermometer in milk the other day though, still kind of works, but time for a new one I think.

yummy yummy. you are so clever.

I would trade some of my veggies for a bottle of your yummy jelly. I wish we have strawberry guava too!

That does look delicious! I've never heard of strawberry guavas before. We used to have a pineapple guava tree at our old place (unfortunately, I killed it somehow), and my daughter who was in first grade at the time wrote about it at school, tried to correct her from saying 'we have a pineapple guava tree', to 'we have a pineapple tree and a guava tree' lol.

I was a little the same when I first read this, I'm all, 'where's the strawberries in the recipe?' LOL. I wonder if we could grow something like this where we live

That should've said, the teacher tried to correct her. Brain fart:P

The whole pineapple, strawberry, guava thing is so confusing. I've been caught out by it as well :)

According to the diggers book ( Strawberry guava (psidium littorale var. longipes) grows from tropical climate down to ones that have heavy frost, and are tough-as once established. Mum was muttering that they are a native plant, but I'm not sure about that one.

Dear Caitlyn, I have a  huge strawberry guava bush in the garden all full of fruit.  Complete failure to jelly so far, created sauce - that is all.  Will try your method, perhaps a few quinces (the big yellow apple-like fruit if I find any, it is delicious and jellies really well) instead of apple for the next batch.  Cheers, Beatrix Vant, Victoria Australia - will let you know how it went in a few days (I refuse settling agents as well!)  Im on Facebook - the no picture one with Beatrix Vant. Wish me luck!

Looking forward to hearing how it goes. Another commenter suggested you don't need the whole apple, just skin and cores - going to try that next time - which might be next year, possums have discovered mumndads tree. Good luck :)

Dear Caitlyn, Syrup, syrup, syrup!  :(((
Heavy artillery coming tomorrow in the form of 5kg quinces (spelling?).

Hi Wendy,
Add the zest before straining. You want a clear jelly at the end. Good luck
Cait :)

Photographs by Michelle Montgomery and Peter Nitzsche

If Bill Hlubik has his way, there will be strawberry fields forever— or at least a little longer each year— in the Garden State. Hlubik and his team at the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station in New Brunswick hope to someday introduce new varieties that will extend the growing season beyond the traditional four weeks for June-bearing strawberries.

For now, however, it’s all about the flavor.

Hlubik, a professor at Rutgers University, is the co-researcher and developer of its newest variety of strawberry, dubbed the Rutgers Scarlet. It was bred to grow well in the state’s wide range of soils and to withstand the dramatic swings in Jersey’s climate. Most strawberries outside of New Jersey, especially California’s, have been developed for durability—how well they tolerate transport across the country on trucks. They were also bred to grow in soils and climates alien to New Jersey. Not so with the Rutgers Scarlet, Hlubik says. It’s pure Jersey. But the main reason the Rutgers Scarlet was developed, Hlubik says, was for its taste: “It was produced for consumers interested in the best tasting strawberries when picked and eaten fresh from the farm.”

The Rutgers Scarlet is sweet, Hlubik says, balanced with just the right amount of acidity. You most certainly don’t need to add sugar, and it tastes like a strawberry, which is an important trait in an era when grocery store strawberries often taste like nothing. The Rutgers Scarlet is also a beauty. It keeps its strawberry red color throughout, with no white middle. By all reports, from professional tasters as well as tasters- on-the-street, the Rutgers Scarlet is proving to be a plant-breeding success story. In a blind taste test of several varieties, the Rutgers Scarlet “came out on top of the list every time,” according to Dr. Beverly J. Tepper of the Department of Food Science at Rutgers University.

The Rutgers Scarlet made its market debut last year—in small quantities, mainly on the 13 New Jersey farms that trialed the strawberry for Hlubik. The development process began, however, about 12 years earlier for Hlubik and his team, and their effort built on professor emeritus Gojko Jelenkovic’s 25 years of work with strawberries before that. In other words, the Rutgers Scarlet is a strawberry 37 years in the making.

No genetic modification was used in developing the Rutgers Scarlet, Hlubik says, only old-fashioned plant breeding techniques—the traditional method of crossing pollen from one flower to another. Once perfected, the Rutgers Scarlet met all their growing goals.

“When we’re trying to develop a new variety,” Hlubik says, “we look for flavor, size, shape, color, yield, post-harvest storage quality and architecture of the plant.”

The Rutgers Scarlet performed exceptionally well in multiple categories: it clocked in with a high Brix rating, which assesses the sugar content its sweetness was nicely balanced with acidity, which enhances the strawberry’s flavor and gives it depth its size was good the yield was good to moderate and its color was a “very nice” red. But it was over-the-top pure strawberry flavor they were after most. “We believe we have achieved that,” says Hlubik.

One of the 13 farmers who trialed the new berry was Hlubik’s brother, Raymond, who runs the family’s 180-acre conventional farm in Chesterfield. He is no newcomer to trialing for Rutgers. Over the years, he’s tested new pepper and tomato varieties and was more than happy to run a trial with strawberries, beginning three years ago.

The results? Raymond says the Rutgers Scarlet produces well and has great flavor. He upped his original allotment of 150 Rutgers Scarlet plants to 400 this year, so there should be more available for purchase this season. “People asked for them at our farm market,” Raymond reports. “They bought them and came back for more.”

Some farmers, like Raymond Hlubik, are veterans at running trials for Rutgers. Jess Niederer of Chickadee Creek Farm in Pennington, where she grows organic produce on 19 acres, is one of the newbies. Last year was her first time trialing for Hlubik. She found the response to the Rutgers Scarlet to be wildly enthusiastic—her phone was flooded with calls about a special strawberry. “It’s rare for anyone to ask for a fruit or vegetable by name,” Niederer says. “And when it happens, you should give your customers what they want.”

Niederer, who sells at local farmers markets throughout Central Jersey, increased her previous year’s planting of 75 Rutgers Scarlet plants to 1,500 plants this year.

Niederer says that as a commercial farmer she looks for productivity and equal ripening rate, where the whole berry turns ripe at the same time. The Rutgers Scarlet performed adequately enough on both accounts to stay in her farm plan. But it was the strawberry’s “wow” flavor factor that guaranteed its spot. “It has the best flavor that you’re going to find,” she says.

Another young farmer who trialed the Rutgers Scarlet is Stephen Specca of Specca Farms in Springfield. A fourth-generation farmer, Specca is a senior at Rutgers majoring in agriculture, and he and his father trialed the Rutgers Scarlet last year on their family farm. So pleased was he with the Rutgers Scarlet’s performance and flavor that he doubled his plantings for his farm’s pick-your-own strawberry season this year.

Our Strawberry Roots

Glen Hasegawa sits back, feet up on his desk, in the refinished turn-of-the-century farmhouse where his family’s strawberry operation is run. He’s got a surfer’s lean muscularity and maybe a touch of that cocky attitude, too. On his right, a computer screen blinks. Periodically, his cell phone rings a walkie-talkie bleats.

Hasegawa is a graduate of the agricultural school at Fresno State. That explains the computer. He manages this farm and another one he owns with his brother. That explains the telecommunications. The surfer attitude? Well, the 32-year-old catches waves in his spare time.

But beneath that flashy modern surface, Hasegawa’s strawberry-raising roots run deep. His father was a California strawberry farmer and his grandfather before him farmed strawberries here, too.

Japanese Americans have been farming strawberries around here since the turn of the century, when the first big wave of emigrants from Japan reached the West Coast.

“My dad’s dad was a farmer,” says Hasegawa, “ever since he came over from Japan, anyway. In Nagoya, he’d worked in the textile business. When he came over here, he just took any job he could get as a laborer.

“That first generation really took to strawberries. I can’t really tell you why. They probably saw the potential. It’s not an easy crop to grow it takes a lot of hand work and a lot of patience. Maybe it just fit the demeanor of the Japanese Americans, as far as being able to stick with it.”

A survey taken in 1910 found that almost 80% of the strawberry growers in Los Angeles County were Japanese. When the Central California Berry Growing Assn., the first strawberry marketing co-op, was founded in 1917, the bylaws required that half of the board of directors be Japanese American. This was an extraordinary move at a time so virulently anti-Japanese that the California legislature four years before had passed a law effectively forbidding Japanese Americans from owning land.

The Japanese American relationship with strawberries began when farm laborers from Japan proved particularly able to adapt their homeland’s intensive growing practices to the small fields then available. “Strawberries could be grown on a small plot of land and were among the most profitable of crops in terms of potential yield and value per acre of land utilized,” wrote Lane Ryo Hirabayashi in “The Delectable Berry,” the program for a 1989 exhibit on Japanese American strawberry growers at the Japanese-American History Museum.

At about the same time, the berry market was booming, thanks to the invention of refrigerated rail cars, which permitted the fragile fruit to be transported beyond the city limits.

Japanese Americans farmed strawberries from Bainbridge Island off the north coast of Washington to San Diego. In the Los Angeles area, they were concentrated in the Gardena Valley, an area that included present-day Gardena, Compton, Palos Verdes, Long Beach, Torrance, Carson, Hawthorne, Lennox and parts of Inglewood.

From 1900 to 1910, the Japanese American population of Los Angeles exploded from about 1,200 to more than 8,400. Most were extremely poor and spoke little, if any, English, which forced them into farm labor--in particular, strawberry growing, where a foothold had already been established.

Beyond that, Hirabayashi says, many saw themselves as dekaseki-nin, which translates as “sojourners,” temporary workers who were looking for “occupations that were economically rewarding, but that did not require large financial investments or permanent commitments.” Such as working in the strawberry fields until they had made enough money to return home.

“Our families over there were very poor,” says George Yamamoto, a 63-year-old second-generation grower in Oxnard. His father came over in 1923 at age 16, along with his uncle. “The more people they could get out and earning money, or even just out of the house and eating less food, that was important.”

Yamamoto’s uncle returned to Japan after several years, but his father stayed, going home only long enough to marry. Even though they made America their new home, Yamamoto’s parents were typical in that English remained a second--or even third--language.

“My dad learned enough to do business, but my mom spoke more Spanish than she did English,” he says. “Working out in the fields with the workers, she had to learn to speak Spanish, but she never really had any social dealings with English-speaking people. She was always at work or with the kids.”

As with other immigrant groups, the Japanese Americans tended to seek out others who spoke the same language and to follow them in professions--whether or not they had any experience at it.

“As far as farming and helping each other out, all of my dad’s friends were Japanese-speaking people, all of them, without exception,” says Yamamoto. “They tended to create small clusters of friends who all spoke the same language and came from the same general area in Japan.”

Though characteristic of immigrants from other countries as well, for Japanese Americans, this was made even stronger by the Japanese tradition of kumiai, or mutual aid cooperatives, says Hirabayashi. And to a certain extent, these groups continue today. Naturipe, the grower’s association that evolved from the original Central California group, is still nearly 90% Japanese American.

“My dad and his friends started a Buddhist church in downtown Los Angeles [the Higashi Buddhist Temple, now moved to 3rd Street from its original location on San Pedro Street],” Yamamoto says. “To this day, whether they’re living up here in Ventura County or down in Orange County, a lot of the original members still drive there for church.”

The Japanese typically started as either day laborers (working for an hourly or piece wage) or sharecroppers (providing the labor and splitting the harvest with the landowners, who supplied land, tools and materials). Eventually, the more prosperous moved on to leasing land (paying a fixed amount of rent and keeping all of the profits themselves).

Because of the Alien Land Laws, though, it was extremely difficult for the first generation of Japanese Americans to make the profitable leap to landowner. These state statutes, which were passed in 1913 and strengthened in 1920--and which weren’t struck down until after World War II--forbade the ownership of land by first-generation Japanese.

Some got around the law by buying land in the names of their children or other American-born Japanese, but not many. In the 1940s, as few as 30% of the Japanese Americans involved in strawberry farming farmed their own land.

Still, strawberries could be profitable even on very small farms. Growers have raised families and sent children to medical school on farms that are less than 50 acres.

Even today, in an agricultural climate where farms of less than 100 acres are normally reserved only for farmers’ market-type operators, the average strawberry farm in California is 36 acres--roughly one-tenth of the average of other types of farms.

Though berries were and still are very lucrative (statistics from 1910 show a per-acre yield 2 1/2 times that of mixed vegetables), until the 1960s they were only harvested for five or six months. That left plenty of time for growing secondary crops, which were desperately needed to feed Southern California’s booming population.

As farmers became more prosperous, they were able to work more land and moved from the crowded central Gardena Valley to other parts of the area, where acreage was more plentiful--West Los Angeles, Orange County and beyond.

When 72-year-old Jim Tamai’s parents immigrated in 1917, they joined his uncle in the Imperial Valley, where they grew melons. “Imagine going from a crowded little island to there,” he says, gesturing with his rough, square farmer hands in the little trailer that serves as his office. It sits at the back of his home ranch--a vest-pocket field carved out of a nook just off Pacific Coast Highway. As he talks, a tiny mouse skitters across the screen on the rear window. Four of his kids work with him in the business his oldest son is an orthopedic surgeon in Alaska.

“There was nothing there then--of course, there’s nothing there now--but I guess there was a whole lot of farming ground, and that was something really different.”

Despite the movement into other types of farming, Japanese Americans remained the backbone of the strawberry industry, so much so that World War II and the banishment of West Coast Japanese Americans either to internment camps or areas far from the West Coast nearly brought about the industry’s collapse.

A Los Angeles Times story in 1942 pointed out that before the war, Japanese American farms grew more than 95% of Southern California’s strawberries.

In fact, California strawberry production, which had been as high as 27.4 million pounds just before the war, plummeted to 7.5 million pounds in 1944.

Of course, the loss of strawberries was nothing compared to the human cost.

“Being in camp really affected my father,” says Steve Murata, a 43-year-old third-generation farmer. “It’s really strange, but now when I go to Laughlin in the summer, it’s right on the river, it’s hot, it’s within a couple of hours of where [the camp] was, I sit there and think about my dad and my mom spending four years there.”

Rather than being interned, many farmers relocated, basically starting over again. “Instead of going to one of those concentration camps, my dad moved the family to Utah,” says Yamamoto. “He had a friend over there and they all worked thinning sugar beets, picking cherries and peaches and all that kind of stuff. Eventually, he and a bunch of his friends started farming there. They leased some land and grew celery and cabbage and that kind of stuff.”

After the war, though, as the strawberry industry boomed, Japanese farmers became hot prospects. Hirabayashi says Driscoll Strawberry Associates, a major grower’s cooperative, actively recruited returning internees, signing up more than 300 families from the Poston, Ariz., camp alone. Sheehy Berry Farms, which was pioneering new ground in Santa Maria, offered Japanese sharecroppers free housing and rice.

Strawberry production doubled in 1946 to 16.8 million pounds, then grew again to 37.3 million pounds in 1947. By 1950, California’s strawberry harvest was 81.3 million pounds--almost four times the prewar high. The West Coast’s share of the national strawberry market, which had been less than 20% before the war, amounted to 60% by 1955 (today California alone accounts for 80%).

The strawberry gold rush was on. Murata’s father, who had graduated from Drake University law school after the war, went back to berries. “You know how family businesses are,” Murata says. “In my family, all the girls are doctors, all the guys are farmers.”

The profitability combined with urban pressures from the postwar population boom also encouraged farmers to move to new areas, first to Orange County, then, in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, to Oxnard. By 1974, the once relatively unimportant Oxnard area had pulled even with Los Angeles and Orange County combined. Today, it has more than double the strawberry acreage.

Tamai’s father, who initially did landscaping work in West Los Angeles after the war, joined his brother in moving to Oxnard to farm for Driscoll in 1950. After a year, they leased their own land and planted strawberries. Today, he and his children work a total of about 75 acres on five small farms stretching from San Diego to Oxnard.

The Yamamotos returned to farming in West Los Angeles after the war. “But it wasn’t long before we had to move some of our operations down to Orange County,” he says. “We were getting surrounded by houses. And the Marina Freeway cut our property right in half.”

When Orange County started getting crowded, Yamamoto and his brother moved to Oxnard. “We saw that down there we were getting encroachment from all the houses and decided to move up here. It was basically an agricultural area, and it still is.”

The Hasegawas also moved from Orange County in 1970, selling their 30-acre farm in Fountain Valley for enough to buy 80 acres in Oxnard. “It was either a small farm or a good-sized housing tract,” he says.

But with each succeeding generation, fewer Japanese Americans remained on the farm.

“My parents’ generation didn’t want their kids having to do the same thing,” says Yamamoto. “They encouraged us to get an education they encouraged us to be an engineer or an accountant or a lawyer or a doctor. My dad’s generation didn’t want their children struggling as much as they did.

“For guys like us in the second generation, unless we really wanted to do it, we were encouraged not to do it. Not a whole lot of us stayed on the dirt.

“But it’s a funny thing. Now, some of those people’s children are coming back. I have friends, their kids were CPAs or lawyers, and they decided they didn’t like that lifestyle. They came back, and now they’re working for their fathers or grandfathers.”

It’s that old, irresistible combination of small farms and large profits, says Hasegawa: “I think the third generation looks at strawberry growing and sees how lucrative it is. I’m not even going to pretend to say that I work as hard as my dad did. I’m just trying to advance the business, hopefully using some technology he didn’t have. My father, though, he built this business with a shovel.”

Along with hundreds of other farmers just like him.

* Drennen tea towel and “Pensoso Decorativo” classes from Zero Minus Plus, Santa Monica, and The Woods, West Los Angeles.

This recipe is a variation on one by Sylvia Thompson, the author of the “Kitchen Garden Cookbook,” which has just been reissued in paperback (Bantam, 1997). There are many ways to tell when a mixture has reached the jellying point. I’ve tried them all and think the best is by feel. You will feel the syrup thicken into a jam, and when you lift the spoon from the mixture, a properly set jam or jelly drips off at different points, rather than running off in a smooth stream.

1/4 cup lemon juice (or combination lemon and orange juices)

Wash and hull strawberries. Pick out half, preferably the largest and firmest, add half of sugar and juice and crush with fork in bowl. Add remaining sugar, stir well and add remaining whole hulled berries.

Place in wide preserving pan over high heat. Cook, stirring, until mixture comes to full rolling boil. Transfer to mixing bowl and set aside, uncovered, overnight.

Next day, bring berry mixture to boil in wide preserving pan over high heat. Cook, stirring, until mixture jells. Ladle into sterilized 8-ounce glass jars to within 1/2-inch of top and cover with clean, new lids, screwing bands down tight.

Place jars in large kettle of boiling water and process 10 minutes. Remove from water and cool. Lids should not spring back when touched.

4 (8-ounce) jars. Each tablespoon:

35 calories 0 sodium 0 cholesterol 0 fat 9 grams carbohydrates 0 protein 0.08 gram fiber.


The addition of rose geranium is not as whimsical as it may seem. Strawberries are from the same botanical family as roses and, if you smell hard enough, rose geraniums have a trace of the flower’s perfume. Already-made meringue baskets can be bought at many bakeries.

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 cup sugar, preferably superfine

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon snipped rose geranium leaves

Beat egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar and sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition until whites are stiff and glossy and sugar is completely dissolved. Fold in vanilla.

Spoon egg white mixture into pastry bag. Pipe whites onto parchment-lined baking sheet in 6 3-inch disks smooth each disk with back of spoon. Attach star tip to pastry bag and pipe whites around outside edge of disk. Repeat twice to form three-tiered side of basket.

Bake at 250 degrees 1 hour. Turn off oven and leave meringues inside 6 more hours.

Wash and hull 1/2 pint berries. Crush with fork in large bowl. Add sugar and leaves and stir to combine well. Wash and hull remaining berries, cutting into bite-sized pieces. Combine with crushed berries and spoon into meringue baskets.

121 calories 39 mg sodium 0 cholesterol 0 fat 28 grams carbohydrates 3 grams protein 0.53 grams fiber

This remarkably simple recipe is adapted from Helen Evans Brown’s landmark “West Coast Cookbook” (Little, Brown 1952).

1/2 pound strawberries, hulled

1/4 cup very finely ground almonds

Cream butter with powdered sugar in food processor until light and fluffy. Add strawberries and puree. Add almonds and salt and pulse to mix. Serve with waffles or crepes or on toast.

58 calories 37 mg sodium 8 mg cholesterol 3 grams fat 8 grams carbohydrates 0 protein 0.05 gram fiber.


This recipe won first prize at last year’s “Pie Bake a la Beverly Hills” sponsored by the Beverly Hills Farmers Market.

4 pints strawberries, washed and hulled

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin

Mash about 1 1/2 pints strawberries with sugar in saucepan. Dissolve cornstarch in lemon juice and add to strawberry mixture. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and juice becomes transparent. Remove from heat. Dissolve gelatin in water and stir into strawberry mixture. Cool.

Cut remaining strawberries in half and gently stir into strawberry mixture along with bananas. Chill several hours or overnight.

Mix 1/4 cup flour with water to form paste. Cut shortening into remaining flour. Add paste to flour-shortening mixture. Mix with fork, then knead until dough comes together. Roll into ball, wrap tightly and chill before rolling out.

Roll out dough to 10-inch circle and gently place in 9-inch pie plate. Pierce dough with fork all around sides and bottoms to prevent air bubbles from forming. Bake at 425 degrees 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

Just before serving, pour strawberry mixture into crust, making sure best and biggest strawberries are on top.

6 to 8 servings. Each of 8 servings:

369 calories 3 mg sodium 0 cholesterol 14 grams fat 61 grams carbohydrates 4 grams protein 1 gram fiber.


*When you get strawberries home, refrigerate them immediately, preferably loosely wrapped in a plastic bag with holes poked in it to allow air to circulate. (Those new perforated vegetable storage bags work well for strawberries.)

*Moisture is an enemy of strawberries. Do not wash them until you’re ready to use them. And then be sure to wash them before you remove the caps--they’ll absorb water through the cut.

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As most of us made the switch to Vaping from smoking regular cigarettes, tobacco flavors are the most common first step into the Vaping experience for many of us. Tobacco flavors are very important here, because a lot of the time this is the make or break for people sticking to the change from smoking.

Thankfully there are a wide variety of different choices to choose from when it comes to tobacco flavors. And these are quite a simple choice for people to make as they usually mimic the name of the cigarettes they used to smoke.

From Marlboro to Camel, Pipe to Cigar – the possibilities are endless. It’s really a no-brainer, find an e-juice that resembles what you used to smoke and your good to go.

RY4, in its many different varieties, is often quite a popular choice for tobacco flavors. RY4 got its name from the creator of e-juice and e-cigarettes, Mr Hon Lik, who worked for the company called RUYAN.

They produced the first e-cigarette and its accompanying e-liquid back in 2004. RY4 was the name he gave to the recipe he decided to finally push out to the public and this name has stuck around ever since.

Quite a number of smokers use Menthol cigarettes and guess what? Yes, there is a plethora of Menthol infused Tobacco flavors out there to take your pick from. Menthol has also found its way into many other flavor profiles and is often used as a cooling agent in other recipes – more on this later.

Tobacco connoisseurs who are now into vaping can also enjoy NET vaping. This is called Naturally Extracted Tobacco and involves the process of steeping the tobacco leaves themselves in PG to draw out the natural flavor of the tobacco. This process eliminates the need for artificial flavoring and can yield some wonderful results.

Tobacco flavors are also the stepping stone from beginner vaping to starting to explore other flavor profiles. So we see a lot of tobacco flavors having the addition of either sweeteners, caramels, menthols or fruits etc. which start to expand the users options for delving further into different flavor profiles.

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