Harvest Desk

The Salt
2:20 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Real Vanilla Isn't Plain. It Depends On (Dare We Say It) Terroir

Three scoops of vanilla ice cream made with vanilla beans from Mexico, Tahiti and Madagascar.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Fri August 29, 2014 3:05 pm

Banish the phrase "plain vanilla" from your lexicon.

Why? Because vanilla is one of the most complex spices around, boasting at least 250 different flavor and aroma compounds, only one of which is vanillin, the stuff that can be made artificially in a lab (and is used in a lot of processed foods).

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Goats and Soda
10:28 am
Fri August 29, 2014

A Peace Corps Stint In Madagascar Gave Him A Vision Of Vanilla

The orchids that produce vanilla beans have no natural pollinators in Madagascar; the plant must be pollinated by hand — a labor-intensive process with little margin for error.
Courtesy of Madécasse

Originally published on Fri August 29, 2014 2:45 pm

Madagascar-grown orchids produce most of the world's vanilla beans, but vanilla extract isn't manufactured in country. Former Peace Corps volunteers-turned-entrepreneurs Tim McCollum and Brett Beach, co-founders of the Brooklyn-based Madécasse brand, aim to change that. They want to produce the world's first "bean to bottle" extract, made entirely in Madagascar by local people using all-local materials — right down to the packaging.

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The Salt
4:12 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

When Zero Doesn't Mean Zero: Trans Fats Linger In Food

About 84 percent of food products that contain trans fats still carry a "zero gram" label, which may mislead consumers, researchers say.
Tony Dejak AP

Originally published on Fri August 29, 2014 1:44 pm

Last we heard, the once ubiquitous trans fats had mostly disappeared from packaged cookies, muffins and french fries.

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Harvest Desk
8:38 am
Thu August 28, 2014

USDA Predicts Farm Income Drop This Year

Credit Bill Wheelhouse/Harvest Public Media

Farmers’ can anticipate a sharp drop in income this year, according to a new report from the U-S Department of Agriculture. The U-S-D-A predicts the lowest amount of net farm income in five years.

The USDA expects farmers’ profits to fall by about by fourteen percent from last year’s record amount, thanks mostly to a massive drop in crop prices.

Although farmers are expected to produce record levels or corn and soybeans this year, the bumper crop will cause prices to slide and Midwest farmers will feel the pinch.

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The Salt
2:43 am
Thu August 28, 2014

How Foster Farms Is Solving The Case Of The Mystery Salmonella

Bob O'Connor, a Foster Farms veterinarian, holds an 11-day-old chick at a ranch near the town of Merced, in California's Central Valley.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 12:57 pm

Foster Farms, California's biggest chicken producer, has been accused of poisoning people with salmonella bacteria. After an outbreak last fall, the U.S. Department of Agriculture threatened to shut down three of the company's plants.

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The Salt
5:26 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Diplomats And Lawyers Try To Define 'Culturally Acceptable Food'

Tractors sit on a sugarcane plantation on the land of a Guarani-Kaiowá indigenous community in Brazil, where Oxfam has alleged "land grabs" unfairly take land from the poor. The United Nations is drafting voluntary guidelines for "responsible investment in agriculture and food systems" in response to such concerns.
Tatiana Cardeal Courtesy of Oxfam

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 5:31 pm

Here's a fine topic for a graduate seminar in anthropology: What makes food culturally acceptable? Cue discussions of values and taboos, tastes and traditions.

Now make room for diplomats and lawyers, because this question has popped up, improbably, during international negotiations at the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome.

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The Salt
3:43 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

At Houses Of Worship, Women Serve Food For A Higher Purpose

Ramaa Reddy Raghavan/Feet in 2 Worlds

Originally published on Fri August 29, 2014 3:09 pm

Behind the scenes of the feasts and meals at houses of worship, there's almost always an army of women (and a few men) who peel potatoes, stir stews, mash chickpeas, slice onions and make by hand the various breads essential to the central meal. They see this service as their religious calling. Here are a few stories from women in the New York City area.

Buddha's Food Is Simple By Design

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All Tech Considered
3:31 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Weekly Innovation: A Sad Desk Microwave For Your Sad Desk Lunch

When not in use, this desk oven can be stowed upright and can serve as a whiteboard.
Steve Gates

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 7:02 pm

Too busy to walk all the way to the kitchen to heat up a meal? The prototype for the BrainWave desktop microwave is the answer. It's exactly what it sounds like: a phone book-size microwave to heat up your frozen lunch, at your desk.

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Goats and Soda
12:19 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Lizards And Worms Should Not Be On The School Lunch Menu

Indian schoolchildren eat their free midday meal.
Narinder Nanu AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 1:54 pm

Rice and lentils was the free lunch on Aug. 22 at the Government Model Senior Secondary school in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh.

Teachers took a look at the meal.

They found worms.

Lunch was not served. Seven hundred students reportedly went home hungry after their school day.

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The Salt
6:31 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Science Crowns Mozzarella The King Of Pizza Cheese

Any way you slice it, Americans are obsessed with pizza. One in eight of us are noshing it on any given day, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And the average American consumes pizza about 39 times a year, according to the NPD Group, a market research firm.

The signature of a great American-style pizza is not the toppings du jour but the cheese: hot, gooey mozzarella, with big, dark splotches of caramelization.

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Business
4:02 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Canadians Fret Merger With Burger King Will Change Tim Hortons

What's on the menu at Tim Hortons? Coffee and doughnuts --” and also sandwiches and pastries.
meddygarnet Flickr

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 11:59 am

Never heard of Tim Hortons, the Canadian coffee-and-doughnut chain that U.S. fast-food chain Burger King recently announced it was buying? In Canada, that's like asking an American, "What's Starbucks?"

The brand affectionately called Timmy's is everywhere in Canada. Tim Hortons has more than 3,000 stores across Canada as well as about 600 in the U.S.

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Harvest Desk
6:33 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

New Law Allows Illinois Study Of Industrial Hemp

Credit flickr/Chris H

Gov. Pat Quinn has signed a law allowing universities and the Illinois Department of Agriculture to study industrial hemp.  

The Chicago Democrat signed the measure Tuesday creating a pilot program.  
Industrial hemp is in the same species as marijuana but has a negligible amount of marijuana's active ingredient. Hemp can be used in the production of plastics, fuel, textiles and food.  

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The Salt
5:11 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Colorado's Pot Brownies Now Come With Instructions

Edibles available at LoDo Wellness Center, a retail marijuana and medical marijuana dispensary and grow facility in downtown Denver.
Matthew Staver Landov

Originally published on Fri August 29, 2014 3:09 pm

When Colorado legalized recreational marijuana use earlier this year, it also opened the door for food products infused with the psychoactive ingredient, THC, to anyone over the age of 21. That means bakers and food companies now have to ensure new products aren't contaminated with foodborne pathogens. And they have to make sure they're not falling into the hands of children or are too potent to eat.

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The Salt
4:57 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

High Prices Aren't Scaring Consumers Away From The Meat Counter

Meat is displayed in a case at a grocery store in Miami in July. Pork and beef prices are up more than 11 percent since last summer.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 7:41 pm

You may have noticed when grilling steaks or hot dogs this summer that they cost more than they did last year. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, pork and beef prices are up more than 11 percent since last summer.

Supply and demand determine price, and the pork supply comes from places like Riley Lewis' hog farm near Forest City, Iowa.

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Trade Lingo
3:46 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Beware The 'Waitmare,' And Other Restaurant Frights

To turn something so beautiful into a thing of evil, it takes a terrible fear indeed.
Geoff Peters Flickr

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 7:51 pm

All summer long, All Things Considered has been asking listeners to share their "trade lingo." This means words or phrases that might make sense to you or your colleagues at work — but just about no one else.

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The Salt
12:40 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Bronx Baker Turns Dominican Cakes Into A Sweet American Dream

Yolanda Andujar and her daughter Astrid bake together every weekend. Andujar primarily makes the cakes while Astrid, a graphic designer by day, makes elaborate decorations using fondant and bright colors.
Néstor Pérez-Molière Courtesy of Feet in 2 Worlds

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 2:49 pm

For many immigrants arriving in the U.S., opening a family food business can be a pathway to economic stability. While many fail, one Dominican woman in the Bronx has managed to get her family off food stamps, send her kids to college and share her heritage with new friends and neighbors. And it all started with cake.

Not just any cake — but bizcocho Dominicano, flavored with rum and vanilla extract, and layered with tropical fruit spreads and meringue.

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NPR Story
3:59 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Cereal Consumption Hurt By Grab-And-Go Foods

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 10:47 am

Copyright 2014 Michigan Radio. To see more, visit http://michiganradio.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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The Salt
2:40 am
Tue August 26, 2014

The 'Greening' Of Florida Citrus Means Less Green In Growers' Pockets

An orange showing signs of "citrus greening" this spring in Fort Pierce, Fla.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 2:42 pm

Orange juice has been an important part of breakfast tables since the 1950s, after development of frozen orange juice concentrate made it both convenient and affordable. Back in the 1960s and '70s, TV spokeswoman Anita Bryant even told Americans that "breakfast without orange juice is like a day without sunshine."

But today, sales are the lowest they've been in decades.

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The Salt
1:21 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Do-Rite Fried Chicken Doughnut Sandwich

Fried upon fried.
NPR

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 12:48 pm

True story: The first time we went to get this sandwich, they told us they couldn't make it because they were out of glazed doughnuts. We said we'd take it on any kind of doughnut; they said only glazed will do. When we went back to try again, there was a woman at the front of the line having the exact same discussion with them. The third time was the charm — the fattening, fattening charm.

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The Two-Way
7:19 am
Mon August 25, 2014

California Quake Means Big Damage For Napa Valley Wineries

Winemaker Tom Montgomery stands in wine and reacts to seeing damage following an earthquake at the B.R. Cohn Winery barrel storage facility on Sunday in Napa Valley.
Eric Risberg AP

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 12:18 pm

Luckily, a historic magnitude-6.0 earthquake in California over the weekend has not resulted in the loss of any human life.

The wine country, however, was deeply affected. While it's still too early to tell just how much the quake will cost Napa Valley, what's clear is that some wineries lost some of their most cherished reserves, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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The Salt
2:29 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Grocers Lead Kids To Produce Aisle With Junk Food-Style Marketing

A kids healthy snacks display at Giant Eagle.
Courtesy of Giant Eagle

Originally published on Fri August 29, 2014 3:09 pm

Despite all the cheerleading for healthy eating, Americans still eat only about 1 serving of fruit per day, on average. And our veggie consumption, according to an analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls short, too.

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The Salt
4:01 am
Sun August 24, 2014

Are Food Boats The Next Food Trucks? Don't Count On It

Around the country, a handful of vessels like the Ice Cream Boat peddle food on oceans, lakes and rivers.
Courtesy of Tim Titcomb

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 1:36 pm

Two rings of a bell, that is. In Cotuit Bay, near Cape Cod, those rings signal the arrival of the Ice Cream Boat. Captain Tim Titcomb maneuvers the 15-foot Carolina skiff along the sandy beaches of Sampson's Island, where beach-goers await Good Humor Chocolate Eclairs and Popsicles.

When I first encountered the seasonal fixture of the Ice Cream Boat last summer, I thought: This is genius. It's like a food truck, afloat.

And it turns out the Ice Cream Boat is not alone. There are a handful of vessels around the country peddling food from oceans, lakes and rivers.

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The Salt
5:55 pm
Sat August 23, 2014

Hypoallergenic Nuts: A Solution To Nut Allergies?

It was just a baby-tooth-sized nibble of a peanut butter sandwich, but it was enough to send 18-month-old Gus into a violent coughing fit. Within minutes, his skin erupted into hives and his eyelids swelled shut. His mother, Laura Hass, rushed him from their Palm Beach, Fla., home to the ER. At a red light, she glanced in the rearview mirror — her son's head hung limply to one side, his cries replaced by silence.

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The Salt
4:09 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

A Food Crisis Follows Africa's Ebola Crisis

A street market remains empty in Monrovia's West Point slum as part of quarantine measures to contain the spread of Ebola in Liberia.
Zoom Dosso AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 22, 2014 10:03 pm

In the shadows of West Africa's Ebola outbreak, food shortages are starting to develop.

This time of year is traditionally the lean season in West Africa, when last year's harvest of rice or groundnuts is mostly exhausted. Until recently, people were quite hopeful about the approaching harvest this year.

"The rainfall situation was very good," says Shukri Ahmed, a senior economist with the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome. "We were actually developing an optimistic forecast for crop production this year."

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The Salt
11:34 am
Fri August 22, 2014

Nestle Nudges Its Suppliers To Improve Animal Welfare

Nestle, the world's biggest food company, manufactures and markets a wide range of food products including dairy, meat, poultry and eggs.
Susana Gonzalez Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 22, 2014 1:27 pm

Chances are you haven't considered the tail of the cow that made the milk that goes into your Nestle Crunch bar or the cheese in your (Nestle-made) Lean Cuisine frozen dinner.

But as animal welfare groups report, many dairy cows have their tails partially amputated, or docked, to help keep their udders clean. Not only is docking painful, but it also pretty much disables the cow's personal fly switch, making it more susceptible to fly attacks.

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Harvest Desk
8:58 am
Fri August 22, 2014

What Goes Into The Price Of Your Tomato?

Vegetable farmer Tom Goeke of St. Charles, Mo., sells his Red Deuce tomatoes wholesale at about $1.50 per pound. (Kristofor Husted/Harvest Public Media)

Late summer in the Midwest is tomato season. For tomato growers around that country, it’s time to pick their bounty and calculate their earnings.

While sun and rain might be free, tomato farmers have to carefully weigh everything else they put in to growing their crop. Research and the development of new tools – from novel seed varieties resistant to diseases to additional fertilizers – has changed the input costs for growers.

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Food
3:56 am
Fri August 22, 2014

Author And His Daughter Cook Around The World And You Can Too

Originally published on Fri August 22, 2014 10:19 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Kids helping in the kitchen - not everybody thinks that's such a good idea.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

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The Salt
3:29 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

Can Quinoa Take Root On The 'Roof Of The World'?

Grown for thousands of years in South America, quinoa crossed the Atlantic for the first time in the 21st century, according to the United Nations.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu August 21, 2014 3:30 pm

For thousands of years, quinoa barely budged from its home in the Andes. Other crops — corn, potatoes, rice, wheat and sorghum — traveled and colonized the world. But quinoa stayed home.

All of a sudden, quinoa is a trendy, jet-setting "superfood." And as we've reported, some American farmers are trying to cash in on its new-found popularity.

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The Salt
11:48 am
Thu August 21, 2014

California Drought Has Wild Salmon Competing With Almonds For Water

A young Chinook salmon, called a smolt, near Vallejo, Calif., on April 24, 2014. North Coast tribes and environmentalists fear that the smolts and Chinooks may not survive this year's low river flows and warm water.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 2:55 pm

The ongoing California drought has pitted wild salmon against farmers in a fight for water. While growers of almonds, one of the state's biggest and most lucrative crops, enjoy booming production and skyrocketing sales to China, the fish, it seems, might be left high and dry this summer—and maybe even dead.

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The Salt
4:58 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

No. 1 Most Expensive Coffee Comes From Elephant's No. 2

Elephants, unlike humans or civets, are herbivores. The fermentation happening in their gut as they break down cellulose helps remove the bitterness in the coffee beans. Here, an elephant receives medical treatment from the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation.
Michael Sullivan NPR

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 4:27 pm

I s#&% you not: The world's most expensive coffee is now being produced in Thailand's Golden Triangle, a region better known for another high-priced, if illegal, export: opium.

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