Harvest Desk

The Salt
6:12 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Coffee Horror: Parody Pokes At Environmental Absurdity Of K-Cups

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 8:55 pm

You want a cup of decaf. Your significant other is craving the fully caffeinated stuff. With the simple push of a button, Keurig's single-serving K-Cup coffee pods can make both of you happy.

But those convenient little plastic pods can pile up quickly, and they're not recyclable. And that's created a monster of an environmental mess, says Mike Hachey. Literally.

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The Two-Way
2:37 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Live, From Iceland: It's A Hamburger

An exhibit called "The last McDonald's hamburger in Iceland" now has a webcam devoted to it. The burger was purchased in 2009.
Bus Hostel Reykjavik

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 3:29 pm

They call it "The last McDonald's hamburger in Iceland." Purchased more than five years ago, it has been displayed in the Na­tional Mu­seum of Ice­land. Now a webcam has been devoted to the hamburger (with a side of fries), among the last sold by the American company in the country.

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The Salt
10:08 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Why Dump Treated Wastewater When You Could Make Beer With It?

Clean Water Services held a brewing competition in Sept. 2014, inviting 13 homebrewers to make beer from its purified wastewater (as well as water from other sources). Now the company is asking the state for permission for brewers to use its wastewater product exclusively to make beer.
Courtesy of Clean Water Services

Just when we thought craft beer couldn't get any zanier, we learn that Oregonians want to make it with treated wastewater.

Clean Water Services of Hillsboro says it has an advanced treatment process that can turn sewage into drinking water. The company, which runs four wastewater treatment plants in the Portland metro area, wants to show off its "high-purity" system by turning recycled wastewater into beer.

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Harvest Desk
9:54 am
Wed January 28, 2015

How Much Does Farming Feed The Carbon Cycle?

Crops in the Midwest take in and give off so much carbon that the impact can be seen across the northern hemisphere. (Courtesy USDA NRCS South Dakota)

Scientists have noticed a change in the atmosphere. Plants are taking in more carbon dioxide during the growing season and giving off more carbon in the fall and winter. Recent research shows the massive corn crop in the Corn Belt may be contributing to that deeper breath.

It comes down to the Carbon Cycle. Over the winter when corn fields lay dormant, corn stalks and roots break down, sending CO2 into the air. Then in the summer when a new crop is growing, it takes up carbon from the atmosphere.

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The Salt
3:48 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Watch 'Bob's Burgers'? Now You Can Eat Them, Too

Bob Belcher, titular hero of Bob's Burgers, bites into one of his creations. Each episode features daily burger specials with chuckle-inducing names. The burgers were born in the show writers' imagination and brought to life in Cole Bowden's kitchen.
Fox via Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 4:34 pm

The animated Fox series Bob's Burgers centers on the Belcher family, who is trying to run a halfway successful restaurant. A cult favorite, the show is full of pathos and humor — including the daily burger specials with chuckle-inducing names featured in each episode.

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The Salt
10:45 am
Tue January 27, 2015

Beef Packers Block Plan To Revive Growth-Promoting Drug

Cattle in holding pens at the Simplot feedlot located next to a slaughterhouse in Burbank, Washington on Dec. 26, 2013. Merck & Co Inc is testing lower dosages of its controversial cattle growth drug Zilmax drug in an effort to resume its sales to the $44 billion U.S. beef industry.
Ross Courtney Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 1:08 pm

For more than a year, a once-popular drug that makes cattle put on weight faster has been stuck in a kind of veterinary purgatory.

As far as the Food and Drug Administration is concerned, the drug, Zilmax, is legal to use. But large meat packers, which dominate the industry, have ostracized it after the drug was accused of making animals suffer. The drug's manufacturer, Merck, has been working on a plan to rehabilitate it. But that effort has stalled.

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Harvest Desk
7:51 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Poultry Industry Warily Watches Bird Flu Outbreak

The turkeys in this barn on Noel Thompson’s farm in central Iowa are tested routinely for disease, including avian influenza. No bird flu has been found in the commercial poultry industry in this country. (Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media)

Update: Avian influenza was found in a Foster Farms turkey flock in Stanislaus County, Calif., the company announced Monday. The outbreak is thought to be the first infection of this type of bird flu in a commercial flock in the U.S. In a previous version of this post, the location of the outbreak was incorrectly identified.

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The Salt
3:15 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Sandwich Monday: Girl Scout Cookie Coffeemate

Made with real Girl Scouts!
NPR

Used to be, you had to briefly stop eating Girl Scout Cookies while you finished your morning cup of coffee. But no more. Coffeemate is now making Girl Scout Cookie-flavored creamer, so you can now ingest them 24 hours a day, so long as you can find a friend to shove them in your mouth while you sleep. We decided to sample the caramel and coconut version, which is basically a liquid form of Samoas.

Miles: This is better than the Boy Scout Cookie coffee creamer, which tastes like pinewood derby cars.

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The Salt
2:11 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Tossing Out Food In The Trash? In Seattle, You'll Be Fined For That

Seattle garbage collector Anousone Sadettanh empties a small residential garbage bin into his truck in 2014. It is now illegal to toss out food with the trash in the city. Residents will get warning tags for now; the city will start imposing fines in July.
Elaine Thompson AP

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 3:38 pm

In Seattle, wasting food will now earn you a scarlet letter — well, a scarlet tag, to be more accurate.

The bright red tag, posted on a garbage bin, tells everyone who sees it that you've violated a new city law that makes it illegal to put food into trash cans.

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The Salt
6:39 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Will Environmentalists Fall For Faux Fish Made From Plants?

Chef James Corwell's nigiri sushi rolls made with Tomato Sushi, a plant-based tuna alternative, in San Francisco.
Alastair Bland for NPR

It's a dead ringer for Ahi tuna sashimi. It cuts into glistening slivers that are firm and juicy. And it's got a savory bite.

But this flesh-like food is not fish. It's made of tomato, and it's what San Francisco chef James Corwell hopes could be one small step toward saving imperiled species of fish, like bluefin tuna.

"What I want is to create a great sushi experience without the tuna," Corwell tells The Salt.

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The Two-Way
6:04 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

'Modern Farmer' Owner Says It Will Live On, Despite Staff Exit

Modern Farmer has a particular fondness for stories about anything having to do with goats.
Courtesy of Modern Farmer

A hip chronicle of ag life isn't dead yet, the owner of Modern Farmer says. The National Magazine Award winner lost its last paid editorial staff Friday, The New York Times reports. But the story comes with a clarification: Modern Farmer's owner says he'll publish again this summer.

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The Salt
3:10 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Brewers Gone Wild: Taming Unpredictable Yeast For Flavorful Beer

Allagash Brewing microbiologist and head of quality control Zach Bodah's favorite microscope picture of Brettanomyces (taken in house). The culture comes from Confluence Ale and is a blend of the Allagash house yeast and Brett yeast.
Courtesy of Zach Bodah/Allagash

Originally published on Sat January 24, 2015 9:38 am

Crack the vast menu at any self-respecting beer bar, and you're bound to run into a scientific name among the descriptions: Brettanomyces, affectionately known as Brett.

I've heard American brewers and beer geeks utter "Brett" in hushed, reverent tones before swooshing aromatic liquids made with it across their tongues. But this mysterious, mythic and increasingly popular strain of wild yeast also strikes fear in the hearts of brewers and microbiologists in the industry.

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The Salt
6:03 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Investment Fund Pours Cash Into Cleaner, Greener Fish Farming

World Resource Institute

Originally published on Sun January 25, 2015 3:28 pm

Like it or not, our seafood increasingly originates not in the deep ocean but on fish farms hugging the coasts. Aquaculture already supplies about half of the world's seafood, and global production is going to have to more than double by 2050 to meet demand, according to the World Resources Institute.

The business opportunity here is tremendous. Thousands of operations around the world now produce huge numbers of salmon, shrimp, mussels, tilapia and catfish, to name a few fish species that thrive on farms.

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Found Recipes
4:13 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Hostess Isn't The Mostest: Make Your Own Sno Balls At Home

Jennifer Steinhauer's version of the Sno Ball moves the marshmallow inside and skips the pink food coloring.
James Ransom Courtesy of Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House LLC

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 5:28 pm

When Hostess Brands announced it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2012, there was a lot of anguish on the Internet about the death of Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Donettes and the like.

And it got Jennifer Steinhauer, a New York Times reporter and food writer, wondering why anyone would even want a Twinkie in adulthood?

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The Salt
3:05 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

What's More Nutritious, Orange Juice Or An Orange? It's Complicated

To juice or not to juice? That is the question.
OakleyOriginals/Flickr

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 4:28 pm

We all could probably eat more fruits and vegetables. But if forced to choose between whole fruit or a glass of juice, which one seems more healthful?

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The Salt
5:13 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Why Some GMO Foods Don't Have Genetically Modified DNA

While reporting my story on how foods earn a label certifying them as "non-GMO," I came across a comment that struck me – and it might surprise you, too.

The comment came from Ken Ross, the CEO of Global ID. (He didn't make it into the final story.) Global ID is the parent company of FoodChain ID, one of the companies that traces ingredients to determine whether they contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

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The Salt
4:11 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Clean Up Those Contaminated Chicken Parts, USDA Tells Industry

About a quarter of the chicken parts we buy are tainted with salmonella, according to USDA tests.
snowpea&bokchoi/Flickr

Originally published on Wed January 21, 2015 7:30 pm

Right now, according to government surveys, about a quarter of the cut-up chicken you buy — and about half of all ground chicken — is contaminated with salmonella bacteria.

It's a surprisingly high number, and it was a surprise to the USDA's food safety officials, too, when they realized this about a year ago. Because up to that point, their efforts had been focused on whole chickens, rather than the cut-up parts.

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The Salt
5:18 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

Would Kids Eat More Veggies If They Had Recess Before Lunch?

A baked potato with toppings on a lunch tray at a school in Wisconsin. Students are less likely to eat fruits and vegetables if they're rushing to get to recess, researchers say.
Micheal Sears MCT/Landov

Schools are offering more and more healthy foods for lunch. And schools that participate in the National School Lunch program require students to choose a fruit and a vegetable side. Yet plate waste is a big problem in schools; as The Salt has reported, kids throw away anywhere from 24 to 35 percent of what's on their trays.

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The Salt
11:48 am
Tue January 20, 2015

How Your Food Gets The 'Non-GMO' Label

Demand is growing for GMO-free labels on food products, according to the Non-GMO Project, one of the principal suppliers of the label.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 1:41 pm

Demand for products that don't contain genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, is exploding.

Now many food companies are seeking certification for products that don't have any genetically modified ingredients, and not just the brands popular in the health food aisle. Even Cheerios, that iconic cereal from General Mills, no longer contains GMOs.

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The Salt
3:26 pm
Mon January 19, 2015

Chipotle's Pulled Pork Highlights Debate Over Sow Welfare

A sow nurses her piglets in a farrowing crate in an Elite Pork Partnership hog confinement building in Carroll, Iowa, in 2009.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Sun January 25, 2015 3:47 pm

About a third of all Chipotle restaurants are not serving carnitas at the moment, because the restaurant chain has suspended one of its major pork suppliers.

The restaurant chain has declined to identify the supplier and the exact reasons for the suspension. In its official statements, Chipotle said only that the supplier was not in compliance with the company's animal welfare standards.

But when David Maren heard the news, he had a pretty good idea what the problem was.

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The Salt
1:21 pm
Mon January 19, 2015

From Detox To Elimination Diets, Skipping Sugar May Be The Best Bet

Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 6:32 pm

When it comes to detox diets, we totally get the appeal.

Who's not drawn to the idea of flushing all the toxins out of our bodies — a sort of spring cleaning of our insides?

And yes, several years back, I even remember trying — if only for a day — the trendy cayenne-pepper liquid cleanse (as seen in this Mindy Kaling clip from The Office) as part of a cleansing/detox diet.

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Shots - Health News
2:33 am
Mon January 19, 2015

When Bariatric Surgery's Benefits Wane, This Procedure Can Help

Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 6:37 am

For most of her life Fran Friedman struggled with compulsive eating. At 59 years old she was 5 foot 2 and weighed 360 pounds. That's when she opted for bariatric surgery.

The surgery worked. Friedman, who is now 70 and lives in Los Angeles, lost 175 pounds. "It was a miracle," Friedman says, not to feel hungry. "It was the first time in my life that I've ever lost a lot of weight and was able to maintain it."

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Shots - Health News
2:33 am
Mon January 19, 2015

Sure You Can Track Your Health Data, But Can Your Doctor Use It?

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Wed January 21, 2015 6:10 am

Dr. Paul Abramson is no technophobe. He works at a hydraulic standing desk made in Denmark and his stethoscope boasts a data screen. "I'm an engineer and I'm in health care," he says. "I like gadgets." Still, the proliferation of gadgets that collect health data are giving him pause.

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The Salt
8:38 am
Sat January 17, 2015

United Noshes: Dinner Party Aims To Eat Its Way Through Global Cuisine

A sampling of dishes served at United Noshes dinner parties. From left: feta-stuffed peppers from Greece; noodles in cold broth from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (better known as North Korea); mojitos from Cuba; grilled quail with chili-ginger marinade from Congo.
Courtesy of Laura Hadden

Originally published on Sat January 24, 2015 11:09 am

The United Nations has 193 member states. And United Noshes aims to recreate meals from every last one of them, alphabetically, as a series of dinner parties.

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The Salt
12:09 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Food Trucks, Share The Lane. Food Bikes Are Merging Into The Business

Charlie Wicker of Trailhead Coffee Roasters makes all of his deliveries within the 6-mile radius of urban Portland, Ore., on one of his custom-built cargo bikes. He can also pull over to brew and serve coffee.
John Lee Courtesy of Trailhead Coffee Roasters

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 2:04 pm

When upscale food trucks roared into popularity a few years ago, the folks running them praised their rolling operations as far cheaper and simpler to launch than a bricks-and-mortar restaurant.

Now, entrepreneurs are finding similar advantages in food bikes.

Brewers, chefs, baristas and even farmers are turning to pedal-powered vehicles to bring their goods to consumers — and, sometimes, actually produce them on the street.

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The Salt
11:23 am
Thu January 15, 2015

Mojito Diplomacy: Chefs Plan Culinary Tours To Cuba

A vendor reaches out to catch a pineapple at a food market in the outskirts of Havana.
Ramon Espinosa AP

Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 2:11 pm

Miami Chef Douglas Rodriguez is known as the "Godfather of Nuevo Latino Cuisine" for the pan-Latin American style of cooking he helped pioneer. But, as the son of Cuban immigrants, his early cooking education was firmly rooted in the traditions of his parents' homeland.

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Fitness & Nutrition
6:51 am
Thu January 15, 2015

Trying To Lose Weight? Your Environment, Mindset May Need Work First

Sure, these Buffalo-chicken-and-kale-stuffed mushrooms look tasty, but they aren't the giant bowl of salt and corn syrup your brain really, really wants.
Matthew Mead AP

This January, either you or someone you know is probably trying to lose some weight. Either you or that person probably will fail. In fact, only 77 percent of people maintain their resolutions for a single week, and only 19 percent last two years (some claim the success rate might be as low as 8 percent).

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The Salt
2:22 am
Thu January 15, 2015

Tweaks To Cadbury Creme Eggs Not Going Over Easy In The U.K.

A box of five Cadbury Creme Eggs in London. The confectioner's decision to change the chocolate used to make the outer shell has left many in the U.K. in "shellshock."
Anthony Devlin PA Photos/Landov

Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 7:39 am

Easter is still far away, but in the United Kingdom, the weeks after Christmas are when stores begin stocking Cadbury's iconic Creme Eggs — those foil-wrapped chocolates filled with gooey "whites" and "yolks" made of candy.

For many people there, the eggs aren't just sweets — they're "edible time capsules that take consumers back to their childhood with every mouthful," as the U.K.'s Telegraph put it.

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The Two-Way
7:34 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

After Foie Gras Ban Lifted In California, Some Chefs Face Threats

Karlene Bley of Los Angeles spreads her torchon of foie gras onto bread during lunch at the Presidio Social Club restaurant in San Francisco. Last week, a federal judge overturned California's ban on the dish.
Eric Risberg AP

Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 11:59 am

Last Wednesday, a federal judge overturned California's ban on the sale of foie gras, the delicacy made from the livers of fatty ducks and geese that have often been force-fed. The ban was approved by California voters in 2004, and went into effect in 2012.

Since the ban was overturned, some chefs using foie gras in their menus have been receiving threats.

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The Salt
5:34 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

We Lie About What We Eat, And It's Messing Up Science

Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 3:15 pm

How many peanuts did you snack on last week? If you don't remember, you're not alone. We humans are notoriously bad at remembering exactly what and how much we ate. And if there's one pattern to our errors, it's that we underestimate — unintentionally and otherwise.

And yet, for decades, researchers who want to amass large quantities of data about how much Americans eat and exercise have had to rely on individuals to self-report this information.

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