Harvest Desk

The Salt
5:10 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Kalettes, Broccoflower And Other Eye-Popping Vegetables For 2015

Broccoflower was originally grown in Holland and hit the U.S. market in 1989. It's remained a relatively specialty item since then, but culinary experts say it may soon become more widely available.
Brand X Pictures Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 5:22 pm

Does a cross between Brussels sprouts and kale sound like your vegetable dream come true? Maybe so, if you're someone who's crazy for cruciferous vegetables and all the fiber and nutrients they pack in.

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The Salt
4:06 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Why The White House Wants To Go After Seafood Pirates

A crab pot full of snow crabs, fished out of the Bering Sea.
Josh Thomas Courtesy of WWF

Originally published on Sun December 14, 2014 9:02 pm

Americans eat more seafood than just about anyone else. Most of it is imported from abroad. And a lot of it β€” perhaps 25 percent of wild-caught seafood imports, according to fisheries experts β€” is illegally caught.

The White House is now drafting recommendations on what to do about that. Fisheries experts say they hope the administration will devote more resources to fight seafood piracy.

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Found Recipes
3:34 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Pork Schnitzel: One Chef's Secret To Marital Bliss

Chef Jay Bentley makes his pork schnitzel with panko instead of the more traditional bread crumbs. He gets his pork from growers who raise heritage-style pigs that are allowed to forage outside.
Courtesy of Jay Bentley

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 7:30 pm

Jay Bentley will break out the bread crumbs and his meat mallet when he wants to make his wife very happy.

"She's the brains in my family, you know? Anytime she wants schnitzel, she gets it," he says.

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Strange News
4:15 am
Thu December 11, 2014

For The Sophisticated Souse, Fabric Infused With A Whiff Of Whiskey

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 7:13 am

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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The Salt
2:51 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Women's Work Is Never Done On The Farm, And Sometimes Never Counted

Owner Mary Kraft at Badger Creek Dairy outside Fort Morgan, Colo.
Luke Runyon KUNC/Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 10:45 am

The average American farmer is a white man in his late 50s. Or at least, that's who's in charge of the farm, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

But the number of female-run farms has tripled since the 1970s, to nearly 14 percent in 2012. And if you dig a little deeper, you'll find women are showing up in new roles. But because of the way farm businesses are structured, women's work often isn't included in those USDA counts.

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The Salt
5:36 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

More Drinking, Less Buzz: Session Beers Gain Fans

Chris Lohring founded Notch Brewing in 2010. The company's lineup includes a Czech pilsner, a Belgian saison and an India pale ale. All of the brews are session beers β€” meaning their alcohol by volume, or A.B.V., is less than 5 percent.
Courtesy of Notch Brewing

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 5:33 pm

Tailgating, camping trips and wedding receptions are just some of the occasions when many Americans down a few beers in one sitting. For those who prefer high-alcohol microbrews and other craft beers, that can lead to trouble.

But a growing trend is offering another option: Session beers emphasize craft-beer taste with alcohol as low as or lower than big-brand light beers.

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The Salt
4:52 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

From Potatoes To Salty Fries In School: Congress Tweaks Food Rules

When it comes to salty french fries or pizza served at lunch, schools may get more time to dial back sodium content, thanks to a provision in the federal spending bill headed for a vote on Capitol Hill.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 10:00 am

The gargantuan budget bill that lawmakers on Capitol Hill are expected to vote on Thursday does more than dole out federal dollars to keep the government running.

It also tweaks federal nutrition rules.

For starters, the bill β€” aka, the 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill β€” includes a provision that will give school food directors more flexibility when it comes to adopting 100 percent whole grain items, such as pasta and biscuits, in school breakfast and lunch meals.

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Intelligence Squared U.S.
3:56 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Debate: Should We Genetically Modify Food?

Samuel LaHoz Intelligence Squared U.S.

Many plants we eat today are a result of genetic modifications that would never occur in nature. Scientists have long been altering the genes of food crops, to boost food production and to make crops more pest-, drought- and cold-resistant.

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Economy
3:54 am
Wed December 10, 2014

Cheap Crops Mean Tight Times For Midwest's Fledgling Farmers

Like many beginning farmers, Grant Curtis wants to invest in his operation, but expectations of low prices are tying his hands.
Abby Wendle Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 5:18 pm

Farmers who just got into the business in recent years found it was a good time to both plant and harvest.

"We were all spoiled little brats the past two years, with $5, $6, $7 corn, yep," says farmer Grant Curtis.

He's sitting in the captain's chair of his combine on a brisk, overcast day in western Illinois. He's driving back and forth over rows of corn on his family's farm. Then he arcs the 80,000-pound machine off course towards a single stalk he missed.

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Food
2:30 am
Wed December 10, 2014

Best Cookbooks Of 2014 Offer Tastes And Tales From Around The Globe

Andrea Nguyen's Banh Mi Handbook: Recipes for Crazy-Delicious Vietnamese Sandwiches is the perfect gift for your friend who has an app tracing the routes of half a dozen food trucks on her phone.
Ten Speed Press

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 8:30 am

2014 was a year for faraway cuisines to take up residence in U.S. kitchens β€” cookbook authors cast their nets for flavors from Paris, the Middle East and Southeast Asia; from the ancient spice routes and every point in between.

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The Salt
8:02 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Mexican Megafarms Supplying U.S. Market Are Rife With Labor Abuses

At the end of the day, Roma tomatoes are ready for transport in Cristo Rey in the state of Sinaloa. Half the tomatoes consumed in the U.S. come from Mexico.
Don Bartletti Los Angeles Times

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 8:06 pm

"Product of Mexico" β€” it's a label you see on fruit and vegetable stickers in supermarkets across the U.S.

It's also the name of an investigative series appearing this week in the Los Angeles Times.

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The Salt
5:58 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

In Europe, Ugly Sells In The Produce Aisle

Intermarche/Vimeo

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 5:20 pm

In Europe, the ugly ducklings of the produce aisle are increasingly admired for their inner swans.

Call it the return of unsightly fruit.

Retailers (at least in Europe and the U.S.) by default now cater to the perfectionist shopper who prefers only the plump, round tomato or the unblemished apple to grace the fruit bowl. But many fruits and vegetables, while edible and nutritious, don't measure up.

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The Salt
3:17 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Venison As Benison: Food Banks Score From Deer Overpopulation

Ralph Roloff trims meat from a deer donated to the Help Us Stop Hunger program in State Center, Iowa in 2007.
Scott Olson Getty Images

White tailed deer are so common in Washington, D.C., that my kids barely take note, even if I have to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting them.

But the National Park Service says there's a problem beyond the risk of driver-deer collisions, which lead to an estimated $4 billion in damages each year. The overabundance of deer are a threat to native vegetation.

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Arts & Life
4:11 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Don't Let The Kasha Vanish: Diners Band Together To Save CafΓ© Edison

The CafΓ© Edison serves what might be called Jewish soul food β€” blintzes, matzoh ball soup and kasha varnishkes.
Jeff Lunden

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 9:49 am

Yesterday, about 50 protestors β€” and some media outlets β€” gathered on West 47th Street near Times Square for a rally to save the CafΓ© Edison, a diner whose clientele includes everyone from Broadway luminaries to tourists. People carried signs, local politicians spoke, and a quartet sang β€” to the tune of "Silver Bells" β€” an ode to the cafe's matzoh balls.

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Food
3:58 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Olive Oil Producers In 'Crisis' From Weather, Pests And Disease

Damaged olives hang in the grove belonging to Augusto Spagnoli, an oil producer from Nerola, near Rome. Producers and experts declared Italy's 2014 olive harvest the worst in history, due to adverse climatic conditions that helped the olive fly proliferate, thus destroying the olives before they could be harvested.
Alessandra Tarantino AP

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 5:15 pm

There's been a dramatic drop in oil production, but it's not barrels of light sweet crude. It's olive oil.

Curtis Cord, publisher of the Olive Oil Times, tells Audie Cornish on All Things Considered there are many reasons why production has fallen so much in Italy and Spain this year.

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Business
3:58 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Big Mac Whacked: McDonald's U.S. Sales Continue To Slide

McDonald's says that same-store sales in its U.S. locations dropped nearly 5 percent in November, continuing a downward trend.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 12:34 pm

McDonald's is not loving its financial numbers these days. The fast-food chain reported that same-store sales in the U.S. tumbled 4.6 percent in November compared with a year ago, as the company continues to struggle to find solid footing.

"McDonald's news this morning was jarring," says John Gordon, a consultant with Pacific Management Consulting. He has either worked in or tracked the fast-food industry for four decades. Monday's announcement, he says, had his colleagues abuzz.

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The Salt
3:20 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Sandwich Monday: Doritos Loaded

Doritos Loaded: Just nachos that keep their feelings on the inside.
NPR

Doritos are everywhere. They're in taco shells at Taco Bell, they're in pizza crusts in Australia and they're sneaking up behind you right now with murder in their eyes. 7-Eleven has introduced the Doritos Loaded, shorthand for "vaguely Doritos-shaped fried thing stuffed with cheese."

Robert: This is what happens to Doritos after they eat too many Doritos.

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The Salt
2:07 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

How Afghanistan Vets Are Trying To Cultivate Peace Through Saffron

At about $15 a gram, saffron is the world's most expensive spice. Rumi Spice has a unique model of employing Afghan farmers who are growing it that aims to double or even triple their annual income.
Cristina Hirschkorn Courtesy of Rumi Spice

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 5:02 pm

When you think of saffron, dark red strands from Spain or Iran may come to mind. But the delicate spice, one of the most expensive and labor-intensive in the world, grows well in another country long plagued by conflict: Afghanistan.

Rumi Spice, a small, enterprising company in Brighton, Mass., is trying to build an Afghan saffron connection for lovers of the spice in the U.S., and cultivate peace through trade.

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The Salt
12:05 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Fringe No More: 'Ancient Grains' Will Soon Be A Cheerios Variety

The new box of Cheerios + Ancient grains cereal.
General Mills

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 9:26 am

So-called "ancient grains" have moved with breathtaking momentum from America's culinary dissident fringe toward the mainstream β€” and now they've arrived. After all, what's more mainstream than Cheerios? In January, General Mills will introduce a new version of its flagship breakfast cereal, called Cheerios + Ancient Grains.

The new version of Cheerios will contain small amounts of quinoa, Kamut wheat and spelt along with the traditional oats.

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The Salt
3:57 pm
Sun December 7, 2014

Female Butchers Are Slicing Through The Meat World's Glass Ceiling

Master butcher Kari Underly cuts into a hog during a "Women in the Meat Business" workshop in Chapel Hill, NC.
Leoneda Inge North Carolina Public Radio

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 12:30 pm

Kari Underly is slicing through half a hog as if it were as soft as an avocado ... until she hits a bone.

"So what I'm doing now is I'm taking out the femur bone," she explains to a roomful of about 30 women watching as she carves the animal. "The ham is a little bit of a drag, if you will, 'cause we have to make money, and not everybody wants a big ham."

Underly is a fit, 46-year-old master butcher from Chicago. Her father and grandmothers were butchers. She put herself through college cutting meat. These days, she encourages other women to enter the business.

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Food
9:40 am
Sun December 7, 2014

Siblings Build A Butcher Shop For 'Meat'-Loving Vegans

No need to wonder what's in this bologna; The Herbivorous Butcher lists every ingredient on its website: Tofu, vital wheat gluten, tomato juice, tapioca flour, tomato paste, nutritional yeast, vegan beef bouillon, canola oil, soy sauce, agar agar, red beet powder, sugar, salt, liquid smoke, onion powder, garlic powder and celery seed.
Jonathan A. Armstrong Courtesy The Herbivorous Butcher

Originally published on Sun December 7, 2014 12:44 pm

Take a moment to imagine platters of andouille sausage, barbecue ribs and bacon. Now think of all of those dishes without meat.

It might seem like a contradiction, but brother and sister Kale and Aubry Walch β€” yes, Kale β€” are opening the first vegan butcher shop next spring in Minneapolis, to be called the Herbivorous Butcher. They plan to bring their customers all of those delicious meat flavors, minus the meat.

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Goats and Soda
4:21 am
Sun December 7, 2014

The Decreasing Loneliness Of The Indian Long-Distance Runner

India's new wave of runners is ready to race. This crowd took off at the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon on Nov. 23.
Zheng Huansong Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 7:42 am

I began running about a year ago. I'd just moved to New Delhi, after living in the United States for 11 years. The stress of the move was getting to me, and I desperately needed exercise.

But finding a regular route wasn't easy. Running on the sidewalk is next to impossible here in Delhi. Every few seconds I had to get off the sidewalk to avoid bumping into a street vendor's cart or a patch of sidewalk claimed by Indian men to pee on.

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The Salt
4:19 am
Sun December 7, 2014

A Pop-Up Cafe Caters To Hikers Along The Pacific Crest Trail

Hank Magnuski (left) feeds hikers at his pop-up Sonora Pass Cafe. Some of his diners also took the opportunity to use his wi-fi.
Lisa Morehouse

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 12:47 pm

Hikers who complete the whole 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail say the only thing they talk about more than their aching feet is food. They have to carry it all, except when they get surprised by a little trail magic – like what happens near California's Sonora Pass.

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The Salt
4:18 pm
Sat December 6, 2014

Getting Your 'Shine On Is Becoming Increasingly Legal

Cynthia Thomas puts labels on bottles of moonshine near Union Springs, Ala., Friday, Oct. 25, 2013. Last year, High Ridge Spirits β€” Alabama's first legal distillery since Prohibition β€” joined the growing trend of more than 600 craft distilleries operating around the country.
Dave Martin AP

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 8:31 pm

Moonshine might bring to mind an illegal backwoods still in the mountains of the South, carefully hidden to evade authorities. In recent years, though, legal distilleries have been popping up in sort of a moonshine renaissance β€” and artisanal hooch is now a thing.

In Alabama, legal moonshine starts in an 80-gallon kettle in a horse barn in rural Bullock County. The man in charge is Jamie Ray.

"This where I'd steep the grain. I'll add a sack of rye to this ... Let it seep for a couple of hours and that converts the grain to a simple beer," Ray says.

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The Salt
2:50 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

Why Did Vitamins Disappear From Non-GMO Breakfast Cereal?

The Original Grape-Nuts, which now bear a non-GMO label, no longer contain vitamins A, D, B-12 and B-2.
Claire Eggers NPR

Originally published on Sat December 6, 2014 5:18 am

Remember when Cheerios and Grape-Nuts went GMO-free? That was about a year ago, when their corporate creators announced that these products would no longer contain ingredients made from genetically modified organisms like common types of corn, soybeans or sugar beets.

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The Salt
11:31 am
Fri December 5, 2014

It's Brown, It's Barrel-Aged, It's ... Gin?

Anthony Keels, bar manager at Verbena in San Francisco, serves up a cocktail made with barrel-aged, dark gin. Keels calls this gin a game-changer.
Stacy Adimando for NPR

Originally published on Fri December 5, 2014 2:01 pm

While many know gin for its light, bright and dry characteristics β€” citrusy, herbal flavors that go so well with tonic water β€” another gin sits at the opposite end of the spectrum. Malty, lightly tannic, and with the subtle sweetness and spice of a young whiskey, dark, barrel-aged gin is pushing the frontiers of this spirit forward.

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Harvest Desk
6:02 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Tougher Times Put Young Farmers Dreams On Hold

Like many beginning farmers, Grant Curtis wants to invest in his operation but expectations of low prices are tying his hands. (Abby Wendle/Harvest Public Media)

Grant Curtis remembers the day he went shopping for his first tractor.

β€œIt was an eye opening experience,” he said. β€œWalking into a dealership, getting the prices, walking back to the bank and pleading my case. Saying, β€˜I want to get back to the farm, but I need a way to do that.’”

Curtis, in his early twenties at the time and without farmland of his own, joked that the only thing he offered as collateral was sweat. But grain farming is a seriously expensive business.

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The Salt
5:56 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

A Burger Joint Pays $15 An Hour. And, Yes, It's Making Money

A worker at Moo Cluck Moo, a fast-casual burger and chicken chain in suburban Detroit, prepares a meal. Workers at Moo Cluck Moo all make $15 an hour.
Zachary Rosen for NPR

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 10:56 am

Fast-food workers rallied around the country Thursday, calling for a minimum wage of $15 an hour. But in suburban Detroit, a small but growing fast-casual burger and chicken chain has already figured out how to pay higher wages and still be profitable.

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The Salt
4:02 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Who Made That Flavor? Maybe A Genetically Altered Microbe

Mattheos Koffas (left), a biochemical engineer at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Andrew Jones, a graduate student in his lab, with a flask of microbe-produced antioxidants.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 2:37 pm

For practically our whole history of cooking and eating, we've gotten our spices and most flavors (not to mention all of the other basic nutrients that keep us alive) straight from plants.

But researchers and biotech companies are starting to produce some of these nutrients and flavors β€” especially the high-priced ones β€” in their laboratories.

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The Salt
1:08 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Is The Food Babe A Fearmonger? Scientists Are Speaking Out

Vani Hari, known as the "Food Babe," speaks at the Green Festival in Los Angeles on Sept. 12. Hari has made a name for herself by investigating ingredients in Big Food products that she deems potentially harmful. But critics accuse her of stoking unfounded fears.
Jonathan Alcorn Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 14, 2014 9:01 pm

In an age when consumers have become increasingly suspicious of processed food, the Internet has become a powerful platform for activists who want to hold Big Food accountable.

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