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Year's harvest

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We didn't get recipes. We didn't talk to that many experts, sommeliers, gourmands, gourmets or gastronomes. Or send our photographers to take sumptuous spreads of haute cuisine. For this year's Food Issue, we're checking in with the serious enthusiasts and the "lifers."

We visited the farmers markets, talked to kitchen staff, visited with "freegan" Dumpster divers. We broke bread with suburban dwellers turning to country folkways, asked executive women chefs whether kitchens are as macho as they sound. We even crept into the basement of a Zen temple. And what we found was, um, tasty. As ably demonstrated by our essay from a kitchen vet and former pearl diver, you can't go wrong talking to the people laboring on food's frontiers and frontlines. Enjoy!

Profiles in forage
by Michael Jackman
When food gets political, some become conscientious eaters.

Oasis-building
by Samantha Cleaver
Fighting for freshness in a 'food desert.'

Women in the kitchen
by Daniel Johnson
Why there aren't more female executive chefs.

Sweet dreams
by Todd Abrams
A man's mission to cultivate an appreciation of mead.

Really cooking
by Achille Bianchi
A fast, hot and dangerous glimpse of the back of the house.

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