Harvest Desk

The Salt
10:39 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Will Camu Camu Be The Next Amazonian 'It' Fruit?

Camu camu berries grow wild on trees alongside flooded rivers in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil and Peru.
Ronaldo Rosa Courtesy of EMBRAPA

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 3:13 pm

Editor's Note: Here at The Salt we get a lot of pitches from companies extolling the virtues of a new "superfood."

Recently, a company called Amazon Origins wrote to us about its supplement made with camu camu berry, "the Amazon's latest superfruit." According to Amazon Origins, World Cup fans were discovering the berry in Brazil and getting hooked. Camu camu, they claimed, would soon dethrone açai — another Amazonian berry that's earned a place in the crowded U.S. health food market.

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The Salt
7:48 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Calorie Counting Machine May Make Dieting Easier In The Future

A model of General Electric's automatic calorie counter, fitted over a plate of food.
Courtesy of GE

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 11:51 am

Part of losing weight boils down to making tweaks to the simple equation of calories in versus calories out.

Americans spend over $60 billion a year on diet and weight loss products, according to market research, but the weight often comes right back. That may be because it's such a hassle to count calories — tracking everything you order or cook at home.

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Harvest Desk
1:15 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Lobbyists Of All Kinds Flock To Farm Bill

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., (in green), watches as President Barack Obama signs the Farm Bill at Michigan State University on Feb. 7, 2014. (Courtesy David Kosling/USDA)

When U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow announced passage of the Farm Bill in February, she echoed a refrain from a car commercial.

“This is not your father’s Farm Bill,” she said.

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Harvest Desk
7:22 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Youth May Hold Key To Grain Safety

Colin Ebbers, 19, of Dakota, Ill. volunteers to be the victim of a grain bin fall during a demonstration by Stateline Farm Rescue, based in Orangeville, Ill.
Credit Jenna Dooley

A 9-year-old boy died in a grain bin last week in southwestern Wisconsin. While every situation is different, agricultural engineers continue to work on new ways to prevent such deaths. Those involved in the training industry say reaching the younger generation will be an important step to prevent entrapments.

   

Rescue Tools

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The Salt
2:35 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Teriyaki Tofu Burger From Gabutto Burger

"Slightly healthy."
NPR

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 3:18 pm

Here at Sandwich Monday, we love exploring the many varied cuisines of the world. So when we found ourselves in the food court of the Mitsuwa Marketplace Japanese supermarket just outside Chicago, we went directly for the burger stand, Gabutto Burger.

We ordered the Tofu Burger, marinated in teriyaki and deep-fried, which the menu describes as "slightly healthy."

Eva: "Slightly healthy" is how someone might lie about their figure on match.com.

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The Two-Way
8:59 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Sweet Deal? Chocolatier Lindt Buys Russell Stover

A store manager arranges merchandise in a Russell Stover Candy store in Overland Park, Kan., in this file photo. The candy maker is being bought by Swiss company Lindt & Spruengli.
Charlie Riedel AP

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 11:07 am

In a push for greater prominence in the American market, Swiss chocolate company Lindt & Sprungli has reached a deal to acquire Russell Stover, the company whose products include the time-tested Whitman's Sampler box of chocolates, a product featured in the 1994 film Forrest Gump.

The deal would make the combined company the No. 3 chocolate maker in North America, Lindt says in a news release announcing the deal. The company says the acquisition is the "biggest and most important strategic acquisition" in its history.

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Harvest Desk
5:59 am
Mon July 14, 2014

My Farm Roots: Smells Like Home

Growing up in Nebraska, Kari Williams spent many vacations visiting her family’s farms.
Credit Harvest Public Media/Luke Runyon

Most family vacations are remembered for endless car rides, packed tourist beaches and a string of poorly decorated hotel rooms.

But not former Nebraskan and current Coloradan Kari Williams. Her family vacation memories center on smells of cow manure, adventures on horseback and roosters with bad attitudes on farms in central Nebraska.

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The Salt
2:35 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Saskawhat? A Novel Berry Takes Root On Michigan Farms

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 1:23 pm

A new kind of berry has found its way into Michigan grocery stores. These dark purple fruits are called saskatoons.

This commercial cultivar of the wild juneberry is pretty common in Canada, but it hasn't been grown by farmers in the U.S. until recently. Here, the berry, also sometimes called the serviceberry, has been collected in the wild for generations.

One farmer who has started growing them in Michigan isn't quite sure how to describe the taste.

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The Salt
2:27 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Food-Mood Connection: How You Eat Can Amp Up Or Tamp Down Stress

A nutrient-dense diet may help tamp down stress. And these foods may help boost our moods (clockwise from left): pumpkin seeds, sardines, eggs, salmon, flax seeds, Swiss chard and dark chocolate.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Sat July 19, 2014 11:22 am

Eat more when you're stressed? You're not alone. More than a third of the participants in a national survey conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health said they change their diets during stressful times.

And many of us are quick to turn to either sugary foods or highly refined carbohydrates such as bagels or white pasta when the stress hits.

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Harvest Desk
6:06 pm
Sun July 13, 2014

EPA Promotes Water Rule To Farmers

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy speaks to reporters at Heffernan Farm in Rocheport, Mo., July 9, 2014. (Kris Husted/Harvest Public Media)

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency is touring farm country, trying to assure farmers that the agency isn’t asking for more authority over farmers and ranchers’ lands.

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Goats and Soda
4:38 am
Sat July 12, 2014

What If The World Cup Were Awarded For Saving Trees And Drinking Soda?

Leif Parsons for NPR
Leif Parsons for NPR

The World Cup is down to four teams: Argentina, Germany, Brazil and the Netherlands. We've seen how these nations perform on the soccer field. But how do they perform in the fields of health and development?

Poverty

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The Salt
5:46 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Are Organic Vegetables More Nutritious After All?

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 5:10 pm

There may never be an end to arguments over whether organic food is more nutritious. But a new study is the most ambitious attempt so far to resolve the issue — and it concludes that organic fruit and vegetables offer a key benefit.

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The Salt
4:03 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Spread Of Palm Oil Production Into Africa Threatens Great Apes

Gorillas in Virunga National Park in Democratic Republic of Congo, in 2013. Great apes like the gorilla have become increasingly threatened by the expansion of palm oil production in Africa.
Brent Stirton WWF/Canon/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 11, 2014 10:10 pm

In recent years, consumers have grown increasingly aware that the explosion of palm oil plantations to supply food companies making everything from Pop-Tarts to ramen noodles has taken a heavy toll on the environment.

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The Salt
12:21 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

If Exercise Feels Like Work, Mindless Snacking May Follow

In a recent study, participants who focused on the exercise of walking ate more M&Ms than people who focused on music while walking.
Daniel M.N. Turner NPR

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 1:35 pm

If we hit the gym, don't we deserve a little extra something, maybe something sinfully sweet? The idea that sacrifice begets reward is embedded in our collective thinking.

But a fascinating new study from the folks at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab shows how this thinking might backfire. Thinking of exercise as work can lure us into mindlessly devouring calorie-bombs, such as a big helping of pudding or extra handfuls of M&M's. And compensating for physical activity with sweet treats this way may lead to weight gain.

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Business
6:02 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Economists Say Inflation Is Tame; Consumers Aren't Buying It

Meat is displayed in a case at a grocery store in Miami. The index of retail prices for meats, poultry, fish and eggs was up 7.7 percent from a year ago — more than triple the overall inflation rate.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 11, 2014 8:15 am

Economists regularly issue reports calling inflation tame or mild, or some other word that suggests consumers shouldn't be feeling much pain.

One example: "Inflation has been tame and this is providing households with some relief" from economic stress, according to an assessment done this week by PNC Financial Services.

But if you happen to be buying gasoline or groceries, you may not be feeling relieved — at all.

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The Salt
5:49 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

'Captain Pizza' Saves The Day, But Doesn't Save Himself A Slice

Intrepid pizza purveyors in action: Frontier Airlines flight attendants pass out pies to the delighted passengers.
Logan Marie Torres AP

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 10:12 am

It's one of those stories that start in the middle. Midflight from Washington, D.C., to Denver on Monday, pilot Gerhard Brandner hit some bad weather that forced him to land in Wyoming. It was a mundane delay like most others. His Frontier Airlines plane was grounded on a tarmac in Cheyenne.

That's when the pilot made a decision that made him a national hero.

"I figure out, well, I'm getting hungry; I'll bet you the folks be hungry back there, too," Brandner says. "So I called Domino's."

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The Salt
5:49 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

This Fine Wine Made At An Italian Penal Colony Is No 2-Buck Chuck

Marquise Lamberto Frescobaldi (right), of the winemaking dynasty, talks with prisoners Brian Baldissin (left) and Francesco Papa at his vineyard on Gorgona island in June 2013.
Alessandro Bianchi Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 6:58 pm

Eighteen miles off Tuscany's coast, Gorgona is Italy's last island prison. Its steep cliffs rise up from azure Mediterranean waters. Here, a select group of convicts serves the end of long sentences by farming. And now, a legendary winemaker is training them to make high-end wine.

Mentioned by Dante in The Divine Comedy, Gorgona was for thousands of years a refuge for hermits and monks. Since 1869, it's been a penal colony.

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The Salt
3:33 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Alcohol Test: Does Eating Yeast Keep You From Getting Drunk?

The idea that it might be possible to keep drinking a delicious bottle of pinot noir or tall bottle of beer and go right back to work is a tempting one.
Alex Eben Meyer for NPR

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 1:35 pm

Sometimes we drink with the sole purpose of relaxing, or drowning the week's worries. But other times we just want to savor a special craft beer or vintage wine, or make that good meal taste even better.

And as we get older, we're warier of that third or fourth glass. The consequences of too much alcohol — the drowsiness, the confusion and the wobbling — are a bigger hindrance. And let's face it: A hangover at 36 isn't the same as one at 22.

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Shots - Health News
3:32 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Doctors Face Ethical Issues In Benching Kids With Concussions

If parents won't bench a child after a concussion, is it OK for the doctor to tell the coach?
iStockphoto

Doctors have gotten much better at diagnosing and treating sports-related concussions, which is a good thing since Americans suffer up to 4 million sports-related concussions a year.

But we're not so good at is following their advice.

Student athletes and parents sometimes balk at doctors' recommendations to avoid play until concussion symptoms are gone, or to cut back on schoolwork. Both have been shown to speed recovery, and getting another hit on a vulnerable brain increases the risk of long-term problems.

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Goats and Soda
1:42 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

He Never Really Liked Soccer Until He Made A Movie About It

Amputees in Sierra Leone have started their own soccer league.
Courtesy of Netflix

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 3:24 pm

Juan Rendon never really liked soccer.

Sure, he played the game and followed the professional leagues a bit when he was growing up in Colombia in the 1980s and early '90s. But he thought soccer was boring. And he came to believe it was corrupt as well, in an era when drug cartels and soccer clubs often had close ties.

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The Salt
2:29 am
Thu July 10, 2014

From McDonald's To Organic Valley, You're Probably Eating Wood Pulp

You can find wood pulp in several brands of packaged shredded cheese. It helps keep the cheese from clumping.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 10:30 am

Do not be alarmed, but you may be eating wood pulp. Or at least an additive that started out as wood.

If you buy shredded cheeses, including brands such as Organic Valley and Sargento, or hit the drive-through at McDonald's for a breakfast sandwich or a smoothie, or douse some ribs with bottled barbecue sauce, there's likely some cellulose that's been added to your food.

Cellulose is basically plant fiber, and one of the most common sources is wood pulp. Manufacturers grind up the wood and extract the cellulose.

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All Tech Considered
5:38 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

What Burritos And Sandwiches Can Teach Us About Innovation

When there's no bun involved, is it a sandwich? The KFC Double Down is bacon and cheese sandwiched between two pieces of chicken.
Sandra Mu Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 11, 2014 9:08 am

When you slap some meat inside two slices of bread, you have a sandwich, at least according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which enforces the safety and labeling of meat and poultry.

"We're talking about a traditional closed-face sandwich," says Mark Wheeler, who works in food safety at the USDA. "A sandwich is a meat or poultry filling between two slices of bread, a bun or a biscuit."

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The Salt
4:35 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Is Foster Farms A Food Safety Pioneer Or A Persistent Offender?

Foster Farms set up new procedures to deal with salmonella contamination after the USDA threatened to shut down its plants last fall.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 6:19 pm

Foster Farms, a chicken producer in California, just can't seem to stop bleeding bad news.

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All Tech Considered
3:54 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

A User-Friendly Gardening System For The Plant-Challenged

SproutsIO Inc. allows people to easily grow fresh produce inside a home or office. The system is a spinoff of research done at the MIT Media Lab.
SproutsIO Inc.

Originally published on Fri July 11, 2014 9:07 am

Don't have a green thumb but seeking the therapeutic nature of gardening? Want the convenience and satisfaction of growing your own produce at home? Not to worry: All you need is an electrical outlet, a flat surface and some water.

Meet SproutsIO Inc., a "plug-and-play" user-friendly microfarming appliance for people to easily grow fresh fruits and veggies inside their home or office.

Here's how it works:

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The Salt
1:40 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Play With Your Food: The Kandinsky-Inspired Fine Art Food Challenge

Kazimir Malevich/Tretyakov Gallery; Beth Novey/NPR

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 1:35 pm

We love to have fun with food, and as you may recall, we recently told you about a scientific experiment showing that people who ate a salad arranged like a Kandinsky painting said it tasted better and was worth more money than a typical pile of greens.

The experiment inspired us to challenge you to tweet pictures of your food as fine art. And boy, you delivered.

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The Salt
1:37 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Biologist Says Promoting Diversity Is Key To 'Keeping The Bees'

The decline of honeybees has been attributed to a variety of causes, from nasty parasites to the stress of being transported from state to state to feed on various crops in need of pollination.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 2:32 pm

Every year, more than half of the honeybee hives in the United States are taken to California to pollinate the state's almond crop.

Biologist Laurence Packer says this illustrates both our dependence on honeybees to pollinate many plants people rely on for food and the devastating decline in the domestic honeybee population in recent years.

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Goats and Soda
8:56 am
Wed July 9, 2014

This Kenyan Runner Can't See But He Has A Far-Reaching Vision

Joseph Kibunja guides blind runner Henry Wanyoike (in sunglasses).
Ryan Kellman NPR

When Henry Wanyoike and Joseph Kibunja first started running, it was out of necessity. The childhood friends had no other way to travel the three miles from their Kenyan village to school. So they made the barefoot trek every day, in both directions, regardless of weather.

Thirty years later, Wanyoike and Kibunja are still running together, only now, they're headed to the finish lines of races around the world — and often getting there first.

Although Kenya is known for producing champion runners, the duo stands out: Wanyoike is blind and Kibunja serves as his guide.

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The Salt
3:59 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

3 Kickstarter Food Projects That Leave Potato Salad In The Dirt

Would you pay someone $60,000 to make this?
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 9:14 am

Within days of asking for a total of $10 to crowdsource his first potato salad, Ohioan Zack Danger Brown raised tens of thousands of dollars. He promised people he would read their names aloud as he made this salad, which was apparently an irresistible draw.

Being the geeks we are, we asked our NPR Science Desk interns Nicholas St. Fleur and Kara Manke to do a little back-of-the-envelope calculation.

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The Salt
1:42 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

What It Takes To Make A Decent Cup Of Coffee In Space

Leave it to the Italians to design a capsule-based espresso system for astronauts who miss their morning cup.
Andrea Guermani Courtesy of Lavazza

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 3:47 pm

When our pals at the Two-Way wrote last month that engineers had finally come up with a way to brew some good Italian espresso on the International Space Station, we were thoroughly intrigued.

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The Salt
9:34 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Globe-Trotting GMO Bananas Arrive For Their First Test In Iowa

Ugandan researcher Stephen Buah and Professor James Dale hold bananas bred to be rich in vitamin A at Queensland University of Technology.
Erika Fish Courtesy of Queensland University of Technology

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 5:53 pm

Somewhere in Iowa, volunteers are earning $900 apiece by providing blood samples after eating bits of a banana kissed with a curious tinge of orange.

It's the first human trial of a banana that's been genetically engineered to contain higher levels of beta carotene, the nutrient that our body converts into vitamin A. Researchers want to confirm that eating the fruit does, in fact, lead to higher vitamin A levels in the volunteers' blood.

The volunteers in Iowa may not realize it, but they're playing a small part in a story that spans the globe.

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