Harvest Desk

Science
4:20 am
Wed April 15, 2015

Fun With Physics: Finding The Speed Of Light With Peeps

Originally published on Wed April 15, 2015 11:31 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Salt
2:42 am
Wed April 15, 2015

The Space Station Gets A Coffee Bar

ESA/NASA

Originally published on Wed April 15, 2015 1:14 pm

In space, all they have is instant.

"For an instant coffee, it's an excellent instant coffee," says Vickie Kloeris, who manages the space station's food supply for NASA. Astronauts are allotted up to three freeze-dried cups (pouches, actually) a day, and Kloeris says it's "extremely popular."

But, she adds, "Can it compete with brewed espresso? No."

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The Salt
2:35 am
Wed April 15, 2015

Redistribute California's Water? Not Without A Fight

Workers pick asparagus in early April at Del Bosque Farms in Firebaugh, Calif. This year, some farmers in the state will get water, others won't, based on when their land was first irrigated.
David Paul Morris Bloomberg/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 15, 2015 10:09 am

The state of California is asking a basic question right now that people often fight over: What's a fair way to divide up something that's scarce and valuable? That "something," in this case, is water.

There's a lot at stake, including your very own nuts, fruits and vegetables, because most of the water that's up for grabs in California goes to farmers. This year, some farmers will get water, and others will not, simply based on when their land was first irrigated.

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The Salt
5:34 pm
Tue April 14, 2015

How AeroPress Fans Are Hacking Their Way To A Better Cup Of Coffee

Twenty-four competitors put their brewing techniques to the test last week at the World AeroPress Competition in Seattle.
Jonathan Vanderweit Courteys of World Aeropress Championship

Originally published on Thu April 16, 2015 2:14 pm

Perhaps it takes a hacker to lure a hacker.

And Alan Adler, 76, is the ultimate hacker. A serial inventor based in Silicon Valley, Adler has 40 patents to his name. But among coffee aficionados, it's an incredibly simple device that's earned him accolades: the AeroPress.

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The Salt
2:59 pm
Tue April 14, 2015

Tea Tuesdays: The Evolution Of Tea Sets From Ancient Legend To Modern Biometrics

Ryan Kellman NPR

Originally published on Mon April 20, 2015 3:19 pm

People have been drinking tea for so long that its origin story is rooted in mythology: More than 4,700 years ago, one popular version of the story goes, a legendary Chinese emperor and cultural hero named Shennong (his name means "divine farmer") discovered how to make a tea infusion when a wind blew leaves from a nearby bush into the water he was boiling.

By the 4th century B.C., as Jamie Shallock writes in his book Tea, the beverage had become part of everyday life in China — though in a very different form than we might recognize today.

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The Salt
2:42 pm
Tue April 14, 2015

Why The FDA Has Never Looked At Some Of The Additives In Our Food

Food on display at a Miami supermarket. Advocacy groups say they're concerned that Americans are consuming foods with added flavors, preservatives and other ingredients that have never been reviewed by regulators for immediate dangers or long-term health effects.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 15, 2015 2:38 pm

This piece comes from the Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative news organization.

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Harvest Desk
11:53 am
Tue April 14, 2015

What Dropping The Cuba Trade Embargo Could Mean For Midwest Farmers

Farmers like the ones that plant these flooded rice fields in southeast Missouri see Cuba as a new market for their crop. (Kristofor Husted/Harvest Public Media)

When President Obama announced in late 2014 that he would work toward ending the embargo on trade with Cuba, it wasn’t just tourists perking up their ears. Midwest farmers and ranchers see communist Cuba as an untapped market for goods from the American Heartland.

One of those farmers is Paul Combs, a rice farmer from southeast Missouri. Cuba can be an important market for farmers like Combs, who already depend on exporting their products.

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Shots - Health News
11:31 am
Tue April 14, 2015

Is That Corporate Wellness Program Doing Your Heart Any Good?

The "My Life Check" calculator gives a personalized readout on heart-healthy behaviors.
via American Heart Association

Originally published on Wed April 15, 2015 1:13 pm

Odds are your employer has a wellness program that prods you to exercise and eat healthy. But that program may not be doing all that much for your health, according to the American Heart Association, and attempts to measure the benefits of wellness programs often fail.

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The Salt
4:57 pm
Mon April 13, 2015

Kitchen Science: We Used Peeps To Calculate The Speed Of Light

NPR's Skunk Bear NPR

Originally published on Mon April 20, 2015 3:20 pm

In the week after Easter, we had a lot of old Peeps lying around. No one seemed that interested in eating them, so we used them to measure the speed of light.

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The Salt
4:25 pm
Mon April 13, 2015

Clear Fruit Brandies Pack An Orchard Into A Bottle

A pear in a bottle at Westford Hill Distillery's orchard in Ashford, Conn.
Courtesy of Westford Hill Distillers

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 1:26 pm

Every springtime in the lovely Alsace region of France, people stand in blossoming pear orchards, sliding glass bottles over tender young pears. The workers fasten the bottles securely to nearby branches, and then wait a few months for each tiny pear to grow and ripen in its own little glass greenhouse.

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The Salt
2:54 pm
Mon April 13, 2015

Sandwich Monday: Breakfast In A Tin

Contains egg nugget.
NPR

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 10:14 am

[Sandwich Monday note: Gillian is our resident British Person.]

Americans often look upon British food as bland and stodgy, so for this week's Sandwich Monday, I decided to prove everyone wrong with my offer of Hunger Breaks All Day Breakfast: a can of baked beans, sausage, bacon and "egg nuggets." After a trip across the Atlantic, we blitzed our meal in the microwave, then poured it back into the can for the complete experience. A cup of strong tea and drizzle are optional.

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The Salt
6:53 am
Sun April 12, 2015

Beyond Almonds: A Rogue's Gallery of Guzzlers In California's Drought

Leif Parsons for NPR

Originally published on Wed April 15, 2015 4:54 am

California is parched. Wells are running dry. Vegetable fields have been left fallow and lawns are dying. There must be some villain behind all this, right?

Of course there is. In fact, have your pick. As a public service, The Salt is bringing you several of the leading candidates. They have been nominated by widely respected national publications and interest groups.

There's just one problem: Not all of these shady characters live up to their nefarious job description. Let us explain.

1. Almonds

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Food
6:25 am
Sun April 12, 2015

The Winds Of Zanzibar Blow Just Right For Spices

Originally published on Sun April 12, 2015 10:01 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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The Salt
4:27 am
Sun April 12, 2015

Adventures In Vietnam — Street Food, Love And Taking Chances

Courtesy of Ecco Publishing

Originally published on Sun April 12, 2015 10:01 am

When English journalist Graham Holliday got tired of his office job in the U.K., he knew he wanted a change — a big one.

So he packed up and moved to Asia, first to Korea to teach English and ultimately, to the place that would be his home for nine years: Vietnam. As soon as he arrived, he was determined to immerse himself in Vietnamese culture — and for him, that meant food.

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The Salt
3:55 pm
Sat April 11, 2015

Eating To Break 100: Longevity Diet Tips From The Blue Zones

A distinct version of the Mediterranean diet is followed on the Blue Zone island of Ikaria, Greece. It emphasizes olive oil, vegetables, beans, fruit, moderate amounts of alcohol and low quantities of meat and dairy products.
Gianluca Colla Courtesy of Blue Zones

Originally published on Wed April 15, 2015 1:02 pm

Want to live to be 100? It's tempting to think that with enough omega-3s, kale and blueberries, you could eat your way there.

But one of the key takeaways from a new book on how to eat and live like "the world's healthiest people" is that longevity is not just about food.

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Sports
6:43 am
Sat April 11, 2015

Compression Clothes' Advantage Could Be Placebo Effect

Originally published on Sat April 11, 2015 9:54 am

Copyright 2015 KERA Unlimited. To see more, visit http://www.kera.org/.

Transcript

TAMARA KEITH, HOST:

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The Salt
2:57 pm
Fri April 10, 2015

Lunch, Not Landfill: Nonprofit Rescues Produce Rejected At U.S. Border

Yolanda Soto runs Borderlands Food Bank in Nogales, Ariz. Each year, the nonprofit rescues millions of pounds of nutritious and safe fruits and vegetables rejected near the U.S. border and redirects them to needy families across America.
Lisa Morehouse for NPR

Originally published on Mon April 13, 2015 10:07 am

Just across the border from Nogales, Ariz., rows of northbound trucks line up for inspection. Over half of the produce that's grown in Mexico and imported — $4 billion worth — comes through this border crossing. Most gets distributed to all parts of the U.S. and Canada, but some fruits and vegetables get rejected before they leave the city of Nogales.

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The Salt
9:59 am
Fri April 10, 2015

Cooking With Emoji: We're Taking Eggplant Back From The Bros

Unicode/Apple

Originally published on Thu April 16, 2015 1:39 pm

Last week, Amanda Hess at Slate laid out the evolution of a situation truly distressing to our food-loving hearts: Over the past couple of years, it seems, the purple, elongated eggplant found on the emoji keyboard on smartphones "has risen to become America's dominant phallic fruit."

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The Salt
2:55 pm
Thu April 9, 2015

Is It Time For A Warning Label On Sugar-Loaded Drinks?

A mock-up of a warning label for sodas and sugary drinks proposed in California by public health advocates.
California Center for Public Health Advocacy

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 4:15 pm

We've said it before, and we'll say it again: We consume a lot more sugar than is good for our health. Because of this, the next generation of Americans will struggle with obesity and diabetes more than any other. The most obvious culprit is the added sugar in sodas and other sugary beverages, like sports drinks or teas.

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The Two-Way
8:52 am
Thu April 9, 2015

Sabra Hummus Announces A Recall Over Listeria Fears

Sabra has announced a voluntary recall of some products, including Classic Hummus, after a sample tested positive for Listeria.
Sabra via Facebook

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 1:35 pm

A nationwide recall has been announced for some 30,000 cases of hummus made by the Sabra company, due to possible contamination. The FDA says the recall is voluntary and no illnesses have been reported.

The recall covers several products with a "best by" date of May 11 or May 15 (see details below). The products are predominantly the "Classic" variety of the hummus, in a range of sizes.

The FDA says anyone who has bought the packages should either dispose of them or take them back to retailers for a refund.

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All Tech Considered
6:08 am
Thu April 9, 2015

Weighing Privacy Vs. Rewards Of Letting Insurers Track Your Fitness

Patient Gary Wilhelm looks at his medical data on a smartphone that is synchronized to a new Fitbit Surge on his wrist.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 6:11 pm

Would you be willing to hand over your health information to a life insurance company, in exchange for financial rewards?

Activity trackers have become increasingly popular over the past few years, tracking everything from how many steps you walk to your location throughout the day.

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The Salt
2:26 am
Thu April 9, 2015

These Vintner Monks Turn Wilderness Into The Divine Gift Of Wine

The St. James vineyard at the Abbey of New Clairvaux. The 20 brothers of the abbey belong to an order with a tradition of winemaking that dates back nearly 900 years.
Lisa Morehouse for NPR

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 6:34 am

In a tiny Northern California town called Vina, there's a winery that's definitely off the beaten track. That might be because this region's better known for olive groves and cattle ranches than grapes. For these, vintners, though, it's spiritual work.

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Code Switch
4:00 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

The Navajo Nation's Tax On Junk Food Splits Reservation

About 15,000 families on the Navajo Nation live without electricity. So all of their food has to be non perishable.
Laurel Morales Fronteras

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 10:19 am

This month, the Navajo Nation did something that no other tribe has successfully done and only Berkeley, Calif., has passed something similar: taxing junk food and soda.

It is an attempt by Navajo leaders to trim obesity rates that are almost three times the national average. But half of the tribe is unemployed and say they can't afford more expensive food.

Read more
The Salt
3:49 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

The Latest Item On McDonald's Shifting Menu: A $5 Burger

The new Sirloin Third Pound burgers will be offered at McDonald's starting later this month, for a limited time.
Courtesy of McDonald's

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 5:39 pm

McDonald's has been struggling in recent years to keep pace with fast-casual chains like Five Guys and Chipotle Mexican Grill.

So the fast-food giant is testing different menu options to lure back customers. Starting later this month, McDonald's diners will be able to choose a $4.99 sandwich — the Sirloin Third Pound burger.

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Health Care
3:35 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

With Discounts For Healthy Behavior, John Hancock Courts Privacy Concerns

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 8:37 am

John Hancock announced a new program promising discounts for policyholders who wear a fitness tracker, exercise more and go to the doctor. The life insurance company says that if people live longer healthier lives, everybody wins. But privacy advocates worry about all the electronic monitoring.

Read more
The Salt
10:58 am
Wed April 8, 2015

In Korea, Spam Isn't Junk Meat — It's A Treat

Spam is a staple in South Korea's supermarkets.
Matt Stiles NPR

Originally published on Mon April 13, 2015 2:37 pm

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The Salt
3:36 am
Wed April 8, 2015

Aspiring Craft Brewers Hit The Books To Pick Up Science Chops

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 11:20 am

Here's how popular craft brewed beer is these days: On average, a new brewery opens its doors every single day in the the U.S.

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The Salt
5:45 pm
Tue April 7, 2015

Tea Tuesdays: How Tea + Sugar Reshaped The British Empire

The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp by Rembrandt, 1632. Here, Tulp explains musculature matters. Elsewhere, the good doctor was promoting the health virtues of tea.
Rembrandt Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 1:30 pm

Coffee and tea both landed in the British isles in the 1600s. In fact, java even got a head start of about a decade. And yet, a century later, tea was well on its way to becoming a daily habit for millions of Britons — which it remains to this day.

So how did tea emerge as Britain's hot beverage of choice?

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The Salt
4:47 pm
Tue April 7, 2015

California Farmers Gulp Most Of State's Water, But Say They've Cut Back

Fields of carrots are watered March 29, 2015, in Kern County, Calif. Subsidized water flowing in federal and state canals down from the wet north to the arid south helped turn the dry, flat plain of the San Joaquin Valley into one of the world's most important food-growing regions.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 6:54 pm

When Gov. Jerry Brown announced the largest mandatory water restrictions in California history April 1 while standing in a snowless field in the Sierra Nevada, he gave hardly a mention to farms.

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The Salt
11:35 am
Tue April 7, 2015

Hold The Mammal: Daring To Make Dairy-Free Cheese From Nuts

Kite Hill's "soft-ripened" cheese made from almonds develops a bitter rind like that on Brie cheese.
Alastair Bland for NPR

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 1:50 pm

On the fringes of the cheese world, a quest for non-dairy cheese that tastes like the real thing has been underway for years.

Products made mostly of soy protein or coagulated palm oil, often heavily processed and artificially flavored, have dominated the (very) narrow vegan cheese section of the supermarket. But these products have long underwhelmed the palate with their thin flavor and reluctance to melt on a hot pizza.

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