Our weekly serving of off-the-menu items – a few popular favorites from the week, as well as a few morsels that may have slipped your notice.

How Sicilian Farmers are Responding to Climate Change

Although Sicily is known for its lemons and oranges, farmers often find it difficult to sell citrus in an oversaturated market. Searching for a new source of revenue, some farmers are taking advantage of the warmer weather that climate change has brought by turning to tropical crops. In the markets of Sicily you can now find locally-grown mangoes, bananas, and papaya!

Designing Architecture for Plants

Vo Trong Nghia Architects is working to bring city-dwellers closer to nature. Their latest project – Houses for Trees – incorporates garden plots and plants into the exterior design of each home. In a dense, urban area where buildings can easily block light, the studio searched for ways to design light, airy spaces, making it easier for plants to grow.

The Bug That Made your Easter Candy

Remember that glossy, sugary coating on the outside of jelly beans, hot tamales, and dozens of other candies? That classic candy lacquer is shellac, a resin secreted by the lac bug and used as a varnish for centuries. This piece by The New York Times gives the low-down on the little bugs behind some of our favorite candies, paying homage to their unacknowledged hard work.

Introducing Farmshelf II

The push towards urban agriculture, coupled with a desire for the best quality produce, has prompted restaurants and grocery stores to begin growing food on site. Among the technologies making this possible is Farmshelf, a simple, plug-in farming system that allows businesses to sell the freshest produce possible.

Honoring Farmers through Food Photography

While photos of delicious food fill our Instagrams almost every day, it’s rare that we think about the farmers who grew the fruits and veggies we’re looking at. Photographer Aliza Sokolow is using her work to highlight the effort and skill that goes into growing crops. Focusing on the vivid colors of the produce she finds, Sokolow often photographs undiscovered and unique crops, publicizing the new plant varieties that farmers are experimenting with.