Harvest Desk

Harvest Desk
12:14 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Ag & Business Joining Hands To Fight EPA Water Regs

Grass waterway, farmers say would be subject to regulation under proposed EPA rules.
Credit Illinois Farm Bureau

The state's business community is lining up with farm groups in an effort to stave off some new federal water regulations.  

The Illinois Farm Bureau has the backing the of manufacturers and the state Chamber of Commerce as it works to derail proposed rules. Rules it says would lead to the Feds getting more of a say in how farm land is used.  

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The Salt
6:50 am
Sat September 6, 2014

Better With Butter? Here's Why Americans Are Consuming More

iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 1:24 pm

A growing number of Americans seem to believe that everything is better with butter.

"I love butter," says Ashleigh Armstrong, 29, as she sips coffee at a cafe in Washington, D.C.'s Union Station. Among her favorites: "Anything from Julia Child's cookbooks."

There's no margarine in Ashleigh's refrigerator. "I'm not going to have the fake stuff," she says, adding that she'd rather indulge a little in rich foods and burn it off at a spinning class.

And no, she's not worried about cholesterol. That's her grandmother's generation's concern, she says.

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Shots - Health News
3:36 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Stinky T-Shirt? Bacteria Love Polyester In A Special Way

The bacteria that stink up polyester shirts are different from the bacteria that stink up armpits.
Getty Images/Stock4B Creative

Originally published on Mon September 8, 2014 7:46 am

Sure, exercising can make you stronger, happier and healthier. But it can also make you stink. And that polyester workout wear isn't helping.

Anyone with a drawerful of T-shirts knows that the synthetic ones can get sour after just a brief jog, while old-school cotton T-shirts remain relatively stink-free all day. And now science explains why.

The bacteria that flourish on a sweaty polyester T-shirt are different from those that grow on cotton, researchers at the University of Ghent in Belgium found.

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The Salt
3:02 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

A Coming-Out Party For The Humble Pawpaw, Native Fruit Darling

A pawpaw ripe for the picking
Zac Visco for NPR

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 1:27 pm

If you've never tasted a pawpaw, now is the moment.

For just a few weeks every year, this native, mangolike fruit falls from trees, everywhere from Virginia to Kansas and many points westward. (We discovered them several years back along the banks of the Potomac River when we ran into some kayakers who were snacking on them.)

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The Salt
9:42 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

Across The Country, Fast-Food Workers Rally For $15-An-Hour Pay

Protesters demonstrate outside a McDonald's in Chicago. Hundreds of workers from McDonald's, Taco Bell, Wendy's and other fast-food chains were expected to walk off their jobs Thursday to push the companies to pay their employees at least $15 an hour, according to labor organizers.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Fri September 5, 2014 9:58 am

Fast-food workers in cities across the country, from Los Angeles to Chicago to Hartford, Conn., rallied for higher wages during a day of demonstrations Thursday.

Union organizers, backed by the Service Employees International Union, are building a campaign for $15-an-hour pay.

At the corner of 87th Street and South Wabash in Chicago, an intersection that has a McDonald's on one corner and a Burger King on the other, workers chanted "$15 an hour" or sang "We Shall Not be Moved" as they blocked traffic.

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The Salt
2:48 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

Chill Out, Pie-Makers. There's No Butter Shortage Looming

Originally published on Thu September 4, 2014 3:27 pm

As you may have heard, butter is back. Lots of us are spreading it on our toast and even adding it to our coffee. (By the way, we've both tried that, and we're not fans). We may even be thinking ahead to holiday pies.

But over the last few weeks, there have been several reports suggesting that supplies are dangerously low, creating the prospect of a butter shortage.

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The Salt
10:20 am
Thu September 4, 2014

The Science Behind Baking Your Ideal Chocolate Chip Cookie

Turns out cookie customization is easier than it seems.
Tessa Arias Handle the Heat

Originally published on Thu September 4, 2014 2:50 pm

You like soft and chewy. He likes thin and crispy. If only there were a way to bake chocolate chip cookies to please everyone.

There is! And, no, it's not Martha Stewart's way. It's science.

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Harvest Desk
9:04 am
Thu September 4, 2014

Farmers In Great Plains Work Through Modern Day Dust Bowl

Farmer John Schweiser, 80, has had to take shelter from recent dust storms. He also lived through the Dust Bowl in the 1930s.
Credit Harvest Public Media/Luke Runyon

When the wind picked up from the south on John Schweiser’s farm outside Rocky Ford, Colo., the sky would go black. A charging wall of dust would force the 80-year-old farmer and his wife to hunker down in their ranch-style farmhouse.

“You’d look up and here’d come this big ol’ rolling dirt,” Schweiser said. “You couldn’t see how high it was.”

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The Salt
7:42 am
Thu September 4, 2014

Russians React To Western Food Ban With Pride, Resignation

Customers shop for produce at the Danilovsky Market in Moscow. The food import ban prevents the import of almost all fresh food from the U.S., Europe and other Western countries. What's left in the market is grown locally or by Russian allies.
Karoun Demirjian

Originally published on Thu September 4, 2014 2:57 pm

In Moscow, apples are starting to look a little worse for wear. Soft cheeses are in shorter supply. And if you want fresh fish from the market — well, you're going to be paying a premium for it.

But one month into the food ban Russia imposed on most Western imports of produce, meat, fish and dairy, the city's grocery shelves are still stocked. And average Russians don't seem particularly perturbed about the ban, an answer to sanctions over Russia's involvement in Ukraine.

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Food
5:38 am
Thu September 4, 2014

Hankering For A Hot Dog? Try The 66-Pound Hot Dog Sundae

Originally published on Thu September 4, 2014 8:51 am

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

The Salt
5:16 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Perdue Says Its Hatching Chicks Are Off Antibiotics

Chicks in the Perdue hatchery in Salisbury, Md. The company says an increasing number of its chickens are now raised using "no antibiotics, ever."
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Tue September 9, 2014 1:42 pm

Perdue Farms says it has ditched the common practice of injecting antibiotics into eggs that are just about to hatch. And public health advocates are cheering. They've been campaigning against the widespread use of antibiotics in agriculture, arguing that it's adding to the plague of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

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The Salt
1:00 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Millions Struggle To Get Enough To Eat Despite Jobs Returning

People shop in a Miami grocery store on July 8. USDA says that despite the drop in unemployment, the number of food insecure Americans has not declined because higher food prices and inflation last year offset the benefits of a brighter job market.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 3, 2014 2:27 pm

The number of U.S. families that struggled to get enough to eat last year was essentially unchanged from the year before, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report on "food security."

The agency says that about 17.5 million families — or 1 in 7 — were food insecure last year. That means that at some point during the year, the household had trouble feeding all of its members. In 2012, the number was 17.6 million.

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Goats and Soda
10:01 am
Wed September 3, 2014

Locusts Eat The Crops Of Madagascar — And Each Other, Too

via YouTube

Originally published on Wed September 3, 2014 10:45 am

For the third year in a row, skies over Madagascar are black with millions of locusts — the insects of biblical fame that gobble up crops and ravage landscapes, mostly in countries where people barely get by.

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The Two-Way
3:44 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

New U.S. Rules Protect Giant Bluefin Tuna

Originally published on Tue September 2, 2014 5:32 pm

In an effort to reduce the number of giant bluefin tuna killed by fishing fleets, the U.S. is putting out new rules about commercial fishing in the Gulf of Mexico and parts of the western Atlantic. The rules have special protections for giant bluefin — fish that have grown to 81 inches or more.

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All Tech Considered
3:16 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

Want To Dine Out? You May Need To Buy Tickets — Or Bid On A Table

Restaurant reservations are changing with technology — now some restaurants are selling prepaid tickets, while others are considering holding auctions.
Richard Thomas iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed September 3, 2014 4:04 pm

The practice of making a restaurant reservation, outside of a tiny minority of extra snooty places, is egalitarian. Tables are given on a first-to-reserve basis, and then, at the appointed time, diners are directed to their seats and the meal begins.

But reservation technology is changing, led by a new set of companies and some of the hottest chefs in America. And as they offer alternatives to the standard method of reserving a table, the new technological possibilities force us to examine a cultural practice that first got going in 18th century France.

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The Salt
10:48 am
Tue September 2, 2014

There's Much More To Apples Than Meets The Eye

Surprise! This is what it looks like when you cut into a Redfield apple.
Clare Borboza Bloomsbury

Originally published on Tue September 2, 2014 6:11 pm

One of my favorite Far Side cartoons shows four triumphant cavemen with a giant carrot hoisted onto their shoulders, with the caption, "Early vegetarians returning from the kill."

That's kind of what it looks like every autumn weekend when my better half, Dan, comes home from the farmers market with a half-bushel of apples balanced on his shoulder.

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The Salt
1:25 pm
Mon September 1, 2014

These 5 Crops Are Still Hand-Harvested, And It's Hard Work

At left, a woman holds the saffron crocus during the saffron harvest in Herat, Afghanistan. At right, saffron flowers are collected in Saint Hippolyte, eastern France. Since the stigmas need to be picked from the flowers by hand, saffron is the world's most expensive spice.
Majid Saeedi/Getty Images; Maxppp /Landov

Originally published on Thu September 4, 2014 10:48 am

Mechanization has made the farming of many crops — lettuce and tomatoes among them — a lot less labor intensive. But some crops are still tended and harvested by hand, and it can be painstaking work.

How do you measure the labor intensity of crops? We thought there would be an easy answer to that, but there isn't. Some agricultural economists talk about labor input in terms of hours per acre, but that may not take into account the difficulty of the labor.

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The Salt
12:51 pm
Mon September 1, 2014

Cutting Back On Carbs, Not Fat, May Lead To More Weight Loss

There's new evidence reaffirming that eating foods with fat€” from avocados and salmon to dairy fat€” doesn't make us fat.
eyecrave LLC iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu September 4, 2014 10:48 am

We've reported a lot this year about how there's a major rethinking of fat happening in the U.S.

Turns out, eating foods with fat — everything from avocados and nuts to dairy fat — doesn't make us fat.

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Harvest Desk
6:42 am
Mon September 1, 2014

Soybean Infection Appears In West-Central Illinois

Credit flcikr/Univ. of Delaware's REC photostream

There is evidence of the beginning of a soybean crop infection in some parts of west-central Illinois.
 
University of Illinois Extension educator Mike Roegge says some fields started
showing signs two weeks ago and affected areas rapidly expanded. He tells The
Quincy Herald-Whig (http://bit.ly/1u2B1uo ) that's ``not a good sign.''
 
The soil-based fusarium organism causes the sudden death syndrome. Roegge says
the organism keeps the plant from sending water and nutrients to the leaves. The
leaves start dying and turn yellow and brown.
 

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NPR Story
3:58 am
Mon September 1, 2014

Mugs Aren't Just For Liquids, Make A Microwave Meal In Them

Originally published on Mon September 1, 2014 6:55 am

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Food
11:19 am
Sun August 31, 2014

Oklahoma Joe's Restaurant Comes Home

Originally published on Sun August 31, 2014 12:31 pm

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

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

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The Salt
4:55 am
Sun August 31, 2014

The Salmon Cannon: Easier Than Shooting Fish Out Of A Barrel

Across Washington State, hydroelectric dams are blocking salmon as they migrate to their spawning grounds. Enter the salmon cannon.
Ingrid Taylar Flickr

Originally published on Sun August 31, 2014 5:40 pm

Ever since rivers have been dammed, destroying the migration routes of salmon, humans have worked to create ways to help the fish return to their spawning grounds. We've built ladders and elevators; we've carried them by hand and transported them in trucks. Even helicopters have been used to fly fish upstream.

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The Salt
5:48 am
Sat August 30, 2014

Can Oxfam Nudge Big Food Companies To Do Right?

A campaign called Behind The Brands, led by Oxfam International, is trying to make the inner workings of the 10 biggest food companies in the world more visible to consumers.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri September 5, 2014 2:02 pm

It's not always easy to connect the dots between the food we consume and the people who grow it, or the impact of growing and processing that food on the health of our planet.

But a campaign called Behind the Brands, led by Oxfam International, an advocacy organization dedicated to fighting poverty, is trying to make the inner workings of the 10 biggest food companies in the world more visible.

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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 September 5, 2014 5:02 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 Tue September 2, 2014 1:42 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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