Harvest Desk

Harvest Desk
6:40 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Harvest Desk: Ethanol At A Crossroads

E Energy in Adams, Neb., takes in corn from local farms to make 65 million gallons of ethanol each year. The company also make distillers grains from the corn, which is used to feed livestock; corn oil which can be made into biodiesel; and CO2 which is used in soft drinks.
Credit Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

A steady stream of semi-trailers rolls across the scales at the E Energy ethanol plant near the town of Adams in southeast Nebraska. The smokestack behind the scale house sends up a tall plume of white steam. The sweet smell of fermenting corn is in the air.

E Energy buys 65 million bushels of corn each day from area farmers and turns it into 65 million gallons of ethanol each year.

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The Salt
2:51 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Whole Foods Bans Produce Grown With Sludge. But Who Wins?

A woman shops in the produce section at Whole Foods in New York City. The company recently announced it would prohibit produce farmed using biosolids in its stores.
Stephen Chernin/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 5:55 pm

If you've ever shopped at Whole Foods, you've probably noticed that some of the foods it sells claim all kinds of health and environmental virtues. From its lengthy list of unacceptable ingredients for food to its strict rules for how seafood is caught and meat is raised, the company sets a pretty high bar for what is permitted on its coveted shelves.

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The Salt
9:57 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Why Letting Kids Serve Themselves May Be Worth The Mess

Adults tend to overestimate how much small children can eat, a child development researcher says.
Getty Images/iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 5:58 pm

When it comes to feeding little kids, adults know best. But some nutritionists now argue that children could also benefit from a bit of autonomy at mealtimes.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that parents let kids as young as 2 years old serve themselves at home. And in 2011, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics advised that child care providers should serve meals "family-style" — present kids with a few different dishes and allow them to take what they want.

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Food
4:19 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Soba: More Than Just Noodles, It's A Cultural Heritage ... And An Art Form

Genuine soba noodles are difficult to find in the U.S.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 11:10 am

Traditional Japanese cuisine, known as washoku, is now an intangible cultural heritage, according to the United Nations.

Tofu, mochi and miso are a few examples, but it's the buckwheat noodle, or soba, that many consider the humble jewel of Japanese cuisine. It's not easy to find in the U.S., but one Los Angeles woman is helping preserve the craft of making soba.

In a cooking classroom off a busy street in L.A., Sonoko Sakai is teaching about the simplicity of making buckwheat noodles.

"Basically, soba is only two things: flour and water," Sakai explains.

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The Salt
3:55 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

D.C. Barbecue Joint Serves Food For Soul And Mind

Chef Furard Tate says he wanted to "bring love back" to a Washington, D.C., neighborhood damaged since the 1968 riots.
Allison Keyes NPR

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 6:44 pm

Chef Furard Tate is the kind of man who never sits still. He flits from the order desk at Inspire BBQ back to the busy kitchen, where young men are seasoning sauce, cooking macaroni and cheese, and finishing off some dry-rubbed ribs smoked on a grill.

"We grill on a real grill," Tate says. "None of this electric stuff."

But as important as the food is, Tate says it's also important that it's made by young hands who must learn a slow, consistent process.

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The Salt
7:02 am
Mon January 20, 2014

How Food Hubs Are Helping New Farmers Break Into Local Food

Marty Travis (right) started the Stewards of the Land food hub in 2005. His son Will helps him transport food from local farms to area restaurants.
Sean Powers Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 3:10 pm

Lots of consumers are smitten with local food, but they're not the only ones. The growing market is also providing an opportunity for less experienced farmers to expand their business and polish their craft.

But they need help, and increasingly it's coming from food hubs, which can also serve as food processing and distribution centers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that there are about 240 of them in more than 40 states plus the District of Columbia.

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Harvest Desk
6:56 am
Mon January 20, 2014

Illinois Meat Packer Recalls Hams

Credit USDA

A northern Illinois meat packer is recalling more than 67,000 thousand pounds of sliced spiral ham due to possible Listeria contamination.

Gusto packing shipped the hams to wholesalers in Illinois and three other states.  It includes Centrella Signature, Amish Valley and Ripple Creek Farm Brands.

The problem was discovered when Gusto Packing’s internal sampling program found some of its products tested positive for the bacteria which causes isteriosis

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Shots - Health News
2:28 am
Mon January 20, 2014

In These Gyms, Nobody Cares How You Look In Yoga Pants

Kendall Schrantz, center, stretches after a class at Downsize Fitness in Fort Worth.
Lauren Silverman for NPR

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 7:46 am

If you want to lift weights or use the treadmill at Downsize Fitness, you have to be at least 50 pounds overweight.

Kendall Schrantz is a fan – and a member.

The 24-year-old has struggled with her weight since she was in the second grade. The looks she got at other gyms made her uncomfortable.

But now she drives more than an hour to Downsize Fitness in Fort Worth three times a week, just to exercise.

"It's worth every single penny I paid for gas," she said. "It's worth the time I spend on the road, the miles."

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The Salt
4:16 am
Sun January 19, 2014

Cooking With Conifers: An Evergreen Trick That's Newly Hip

Gabrielle Hamilton prepares pine needles at Prune Restaurant in New York City.
Julia Gillard

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 12:17 pm

If you still have your Christmas tree up in your living room because you just can't bear the thought of throwing out all that fine pine scent, then you may be an evergreen addict. If you still have it up because you're too lazy to take off the ornaments, then you may be a hoarder, but that's another post.

Fear not, conifer connoisseurs. You don't have to wait for the holidays to surround yourself with spruce. American chefs from coast to coast are using evergreens to develop unique flavors in dishes, from white fir and sorrel broth to pine needle vinegar to smoked mussels.

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The Salt
12:10 pm
Sat January 18, 2014

And The Best Supporting Actor Award Goes To ... Side Dishes

To appeal to the high-rollers of the world, like the ones in The Wolf of Wall Street with Leonardo DiCaprio, restaurants are doling out more expensive sides.
Mary Cybulski AP

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 4:57 pm

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The Salt
12:31 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Diet Soda: Fewer Calories In The Glass May Mean More On The Plate

Ditching sugar-sweetened drinks in favor of diet ones shaves the empty calories. But it doesn't help if you make up for those calories on your plate.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 12:17 pm

If only dropping pants sizes were as easy as switching from Coke to Coke Zero.

Sure, you're cutting out empty calories when you ditch the sugar-sweetened drinks in favor of artificially sweetened ones. But there's a growing body of research that suggests this isn't really helping in the battle of the bulge.

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The Salt
7:20 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Congress Blocks Slaughtering Horses For Meat In U.S.

Americans may recoil at the thought of eating horse meat, but other countries feel quite differently, as the sign above this butcher shop in Paris attests.
Jacques Brinon AP

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 8:07 am

When a federal ban on slaughtering horses to produce horse meat was lifted several years back, ranchers including Rick De Los Santos, a New Mexico rancher and owner of Valley Meat Co., stepped up to start operations with an aim to export the meat.

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Harvest Desk
5:48 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Midwest Takes A Look At Labeling GMOs

Labeling advocates in Colorado are hoping to get an initiative on the 2014 ballot that would require the labeling of genetically engineered foods.
Credit brdavid/flickr

Last year, we counted between 20 and 30 state legislatures considering bills that mandate labeling on genetically engineered foods or foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Still a hot-topic, many labeling laws are working their way through statehouses all over the nation – even in farm country.

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The Salt
2:37 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Cash Or Credit? How Kids Pay For School Lunch Matters For Health

Lunch at the West Salem School District in Wisconsin.
Michelle Kloser for NPR

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 12:39 pm

American kids have a problem with obesity, according to the most recent studies. In fact, the closest thing we have to good news about childhood obesity is that kids are not gaining weight as rapidly as they were some years ago.

Researchers may have identified one surprising new factor in why kids are overeating.

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The Salt
2:49 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Good News: Americans Are Eating 78 Fewer Calories Every Day

family dinners, like this one at the Brown-Spencer home in Mechanicsville, Va." href="/post/good-news-americans-are-eating-78-fewer-calories-every-day" class="noexit lightbox">
Americans are dining out less and eating at home more, new government research shows. This may mean more family dinners, like this one at the Brown-Spencer home in Mechanicsville, Va.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 5:55 pm

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has crunched some numbers, and its conclusion is that Americans are munching less. And on more healthful stuff.

On average, working-age adults were eating about 78 fewer calories per day in 2010, compared with five years earlier, according to a report released Thursday.

So what are we eating less of? Saturated fat. Researchers documented a 6 percent decline in calories from saturated fat between 2005 and 2010.

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Found Recipes
12:57 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

A Taste Of South Texas In A 9x13 Dish

Don't be fooled by the name: Neither Sandy nor Crystal is quite sure where the King Ranch Casserole has its origins.
Courtesy of Clarkson Potter

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 11:19 am

When Sandy Pollock and Crystal Cook go to work on a traditional recipe, they usually like to bring it up to date with a modern twist or two. After all, they call themselves the Casserole Queens, specialists in making a classic quick-fix dish fit for today's dinner mat.

But when it came to changing the King Ranch Casserole, Sandy wouldn't hear of it. "There are just some things that you don't mess with," she says. "It's the way Mama made it!"

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From Our Listeners
11:21 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Listener Celebrates 'Cheesepocalypse'

Host Michel Martin and Editor Ammad Omar crack open the listener inbox. This week, they take on the backlash from a conversation about the Velveeta cheese shortage.

The Salt
8:58 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Why Sugar Makes Us Feel So Good

Dopamine levels change when food becomes boring.
TED-Ed/YouTube

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 12:59 pm

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The Salt
2:28 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Sometimes A Perfect Stranger Is The Best Dinner Host

A group gathers in a Ballston, Va., home for a supper club organized through the site Feastly. A new food trend gaining popularity in New York and other cities lets diners enjoy a meal prepared by a stranger in that person's home.
Courtesy of Noah Karesh

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 2:07 pm

With website names like Eat With, Side Tour, VoulezVousDiner and Feastly, a new food trend that is sweeping New York and other cities allows diners to enjoy fine meals inside someone else's home.

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The Salt
3:19 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

German Farmers Fear For Europe's Bacon With U.S. Trade Deal

German farmer Rudolf Buehler and other opponents of the Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement protest with 17 pigs in front of the chancellor's office building in Berlin on Wednesday.
Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson NPR

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 8:12 pm

When German farmers and activists descended upon Chancellor Angela Merkel's office building Wednesday morning, they brought along some special guests — 17 pigs. The stunt was the latest European backlash against a proposed free trade deal with the U.S. that could lift restrictions on American meat sold in Europe.

Under the watchful eye of German police officers, the pigs munched happily on straw strewn across the pavement to keep the herd from running amok.

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Shots - Health News
11:37 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Biceps Curls And Down Dogs May Help Lower Diabetes Risk

Great-looking guns and lower diabetes risk, a nice twofer.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 4:04 pm

Women who work out with weights an hour a week cut their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, and yoga or stretching exercises count, too, according to a study that tracked the health of almost 100,000 women.

Doctors have long known that regular exercise reduces the risk of diabetes, but that's always been translated as aerobic exercise like jogging or brisk walking.

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Food
11:21 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Velveeta Shortage: 'Cheesepocalypse?'

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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The Salt
9:51 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Where In The World Is The Best Place For Healthy Eating?

The U.K. has plenty of fresh produce available, such as these vegetables on display at a garden show in Southport, England. But these healthy options cost more in the U.K. than in any other country in Western Europe.
Christopher Furlong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 3:03 pm

The Dutch are known for their lax drug laws, tall statures and proficient language skills.

Perhaps we should add stellar eating habits to that list, as well.

The Netherlands ranked as the easiest country in the world in which to find a balanced, nutritious diet, the advocacy group Oxfam reported Tuesday.

France and Switzerland shared the second slot. And Western Europe nearly swept the top 20 positions, with Australia just edging into a tie for 8th.

Where did the U.S. land?

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The Salt
8:55 am
Wed January 15, 2014

New Nordic Food Gods Loosen Up On Strictly Local Cuisine

The Nordic Food Lab in Copenhagen is where chefs and social scientists explore the raw materials and flavors of Scandinavia.
Courtesy of the Nordic Food Lab

This story begins with a lemon. It appeared not long ago on a houseboat-cum-food lab docked outside Scandinavia's temple of local food, the restaurant noma, in Copenhagen.

"Isn't that, like, the forbidden fruit?," I ask. "Are you allowed to have a lemon here?"

"I don't know why that's sitting there," says Ben Reade, the lab's head of culinary research and development, looking perplexed.

An anthropologist, Mark Emil Tholstrup Hermansen, pipes in, "We have an Italian on the boat."

Reade concurs: "He needs a lemon every so often for staff food."

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The Salt
2:04 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Soon To Be Big In Japan, Jim Beam's Roots To Stay In Kentucky

In a $16 billion deal this week, Japanese beverage giant Suntory announced it plans to purchase Beam Inc., maker of Jim Beam and owner of other popular bourbon brands, including Maker's Mark.
Bruce Schreiner AP

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 9:48 am

In a $16 billion deal this week, Japanese beverage giant Suntory announced it plans to purchase Beam Inc., the maker of Jim Beam bourbon and the owner of other popular bourbon brands like Maker's Mark.

Those and most other bourbons are made in Kentucky, and the deal has some hoping the drink's growth in the global market won't come at the expense of its uniquely Kentucky heritage.

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Food
11:02 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Maple Syrup Goes To Dinner — And Drinks

iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 12:01 pm

When I was growing up and my mom would make pancakes and bacon, I'd layer bacon pieces in between pancakes, then drown the stack with maple syrup to create a towering, sticky mess. The rest of my family would daintily eat their bacon from one plate and their pancakes from another, preventing the joyous union of salty and sweet.

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The Salt
1:19 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Tobacco Returns To The Bar, This Time Inside Cocktails

The Step-dad cocktail at Bar Charley in Washington, D.C., features house-made tobacco bitters.
Courtesy of Leo Schmid

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 2:09 pm

Take a sip of the Oaxacan Fizz at Father's Office in Los Angeles and you'll discover the unmistakable taste of tobacco. That's because this cocktail is sweetened with a small amount of tobacco-infused sugar syrup.

"A lot of people say, 'I only smoke when I drink,'" says chef-owner Sang Yoon. "We say, 'Now you can do both.'"

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Harvest Desk
12:28 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Specialty Crop Growers Concerned About Changing Regulatory Landscape

Longtime vegetable farmer and ISGA Chair Harry Alten, Jr.
Peter Gray/WUIS

With snow and ice still blanketing their fields and greenhouses, vegetable and fruit growers around the state met last week at their annual trade show in Springfield to share ideas for the spring.

Harvest Desk reporter Peter Gray spoke with Harry Alten, Jr. of the Illinois Specialty Growers Association about some of the concerns farmers have about government regulations, and what Illinoisans should know about the people who grow products they find at their area farmers market.

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The Salt
11:07 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Spinach Dinosaurs To Sugar Diamonds: 3-D Printers Hit The Kitchen

A mathematician's sweet dream: For about $10,000, you can print out rainbow sugar dodecahedrons and interlocking cubes.
3D Systems

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 2:52 pm

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The Salt
5:22 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Coffee Myth-Busting: Cup Of Joe May Help Hydration And Memory

A barista makes coffee using the pour-over method at Artifact Coffee in Baltimore.
Benjamin Morris NPR

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 2:51 pm

Despite caffeine's many benefits, there's a belief out there that a daily coffee habit can cause dehydration.

So is it true? Not according to the findings of a new study.

Researchers at the University of Birmingham in the U.K. studied the fluid levels of 50 men who had a habit of consuming about three to six cups of coffee each day.

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