Harvest Desk

The Salt
3:29 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Specialty Food And Agriculture Startups Are Ripening In Greece

Ilias Smirlis (left) runs a small family farm in Kalamata, Greece. Before he met entrepreneur Sotiris Lymperopoulos, who runs the food service Radiki, he struggled to sell his produce outside Athens. "The demand for excellent products will always exist," Smirlis says. "The challenge is to find a market."
Joanna Kakissis/NPR

Originally published on Tue August 19, 2014 6:38 pm

Most mornings, Sotiris Lymperopoulos walks the craggy shoreline of the western Peloponnese, foraging for salty wild greens.

In his straw hat and shorts, snipping wild chicory, garlic and sea asparagus with a kitchen knife, he hardly looks like a poster boy for Greece's nascent startup culture. But the 35-year-old Athenian, who trained as an economist, found a viable niche in the country's post-crisis economy.

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The Salt
2:40 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

Seeking Proof For Why We Feel Terrible After Too Many Drinks

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue November 4, 2014 2:02 pm

It can be nice to relax with a glass of wine, a beer or a shot of whiskey. But one drink too many, and you may be paying the price.

To understand why drinking can make us feel so good and so bad, you have to know a little about science, says journalist Adam Rogers, author of Proof: The Science of Booze.

As Rogers notes, researchers have only just begun to explore the mystery of the hangover and share a common language around it.

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The Salt
2:18 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Roman-Style Burger

It may look like a stack of sandwiches. It is.
NPR

Originally published on Mon August 18, 2014 3:13 pm

During World War II, bun rationing meant that burger joints had to find replacements to hold their ground beef patties.

One of the more creative solutions — using grilled cheese sandwiches — lives on at M Burger in Chicago. It's called the Roman-Style Burger, and it's a secret menu item.

Peter: Why it is called Roman style? Is it because like Gaul, it is divided into three parts?

Miles: We came, we saw, we were conquered.

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The Salt
2:53 am
Mon August 18, 2014

More Military Families Are Relying On Food Banks And Pantries

Volunteers at the Maryland Food Bank in Baltimore sort and box food donations on a conveyor belt. The bank started working with groups like the USO in 2013 to provide food aid to families affiliated with nearby military bases.
Pam Fessler NPR

Originally published on Mon August 18, 2014 9:58 am

Despite the economic recovery, more than 46 million Americans — or 1 in 7 — used a food pantry last year. And a surprisingly high number of those seeking help were households with military members, according to a new survey by Feeding America, which is a network of U.S. food banks.

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The Salt
2:47 am
Mon August 18, 2014

For Food Startups, Incubators Help Dish Up Success

Whisked bakery founder Jenna Huntsberger (right) and baker's assistant Lauren Moore prepare pies in Union Kitchen, a food incubator in Washington, D.C. Huntsberger says the shared kitchen space and the business know-how she's honed there have played a big part in her success.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Tue September 30, 2014 7:08 pm

If you want to get in shape, you can join a gym. But if you want to start a food business, where do you go?

Try a culinary incubator.

Just as gym members share workout equipment, members of many food incubators share commercial kitchen space.

Incubators also offer business support and technical assistance — like branding, sales and distribution — to help "foodpreneurs" get off the ground.

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The Salt
4:25 am
Sun August 17, 2014

Fighting (Tasty) Invasive Fish With Forks And Knives

Asian carp, battered and fried. As the fish makes its unwelcome way up the Mississippi River, chefs are trying to get people to eat to beat it back.
Louisiana Sea Grant Flickr

Originally published on Sun August 17, 2014 10:39 am

Add kitchen knives to the list of weapons that humans are using to fight invasive species. I'm talking about fish who've made their way into nonnative waters.

How do they get here? Sometimes they catch a ride in the ballast water of ships. Or they're imported as live food or dumped out of aquariums. Once here, they can wipe out native fish, trash the ecosystem and wreck the beach business.

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The Salt
2:37 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Startups Pitch Cricket Flour As The Best Protein You Could Eat

Exo's peanut butter-and-jelly bar contains about 40 ground-up crickets and has a familiar nutty, sweet flavor.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Thu August 21, 2014 11:56 am

If you heard crickets chirping in your backyard, would it occur to you to grind them into a powder to mix into a protein shake?

That could become the next foraging trend if several edible insect companies can convince consumers that pulverized crickets are the next "it" protein.

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Harvest Desk
7:14 am
Fri August 15, 2014

McCormick Oregano Recalled: Possible Salmonella

You may want to check your spice rack. This recall affects products sold in Illinois.

McCormick & Company, Incorporated is initiating a voluntary recall of McCormick® Ground Oregano, 0.75 oz bottle, UPC 0-523561-6 with code dates BEST BY AUG 21 16 H and AUG 22 16 H due to possible contamination with Salmonella. This recall does not impact any other McCormick Ground, Whole or Oregano Leaves products.

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The Salt
7:05 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

Why Hungry Seniors Aren't Getting Enough To Eat

Malnourished seniors may be forgotten until they show up in the emergency room, often for another reason like an injury.
Ted Gough Willowpix/iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu August 21, 2014 11:56 am

When we picture hungry Americans, we may see the faces of children, or single moms. But many of the people who struggle to fill their bellies are beyond age 65. Some of them are even malnourished, a condition that sets them up for all kinds of other health risks, like falling.

Malnutrition may go undetected — by the general public and by doctors — until the seniors show up in the emergency room, often for an injury or other reason.

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The Salt
4:19 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

Sayur Manis: Delicious, But Also Deadly, Greens From Borneo

Sayur manis at a restaurant in Kota Kinabalu in Malaysian Borneo. The greens were sautéed with onions, red pepper, dry-fried shallots and egg white.
Konstantin Kakaes for NPR

Traveling across Borneo, I came across a most delicious vegetable.

Stir-fried with red peppers, shallots and egg in a thin, juicy gravy, sayur manis tasted both rich and nutritious, like very good spinach. But it had more complexity than spinach, as though it had been fortified with broccoli and infused with asparagus. The flavor itself wasn't so much novel as it was a recombination of familiar tastes in a new and exciting way.

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Politics
3:49 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

Would You Share The President's Fries?

President Obama dines with Victor Fugate (from left), Becky Forrest, Valerie McCaw and Mark Turner in Kansas City, Mo.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Thu August 14, 2014 5:35 pm

What happens when President Obama has supper with people he just met? Well, for one thing, he may have to share his fries.

The president invited four Kansas City, Mo., residents to dine with him at Arthur Bryant's barbecue last month. The four are among the thousands of people who have addressed personal letters to the White House.

President Obama sat down to talk with the letter writers, and moments later the pool of reporters on hand were ushered out (as is the norm). NPR reached all four by phone to get a download.

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The Salt
10:41 am
Thu August 14, 2014

Beneath These Masks Is An Artist Conflicted By Junk Food

British photographer James Ostrer named his photographs after the European codes for food additives.
James Ostrer

Originally published on Thu August 21, 2014 11:56 am

British photographer James Ostrer purchased about $8,000 worth of junk food over the past two years — enough to fill up six or seven cars.

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The Salt
5:32 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

Shifting Climate Has North Dakota Farmers Swapping Wheat For Corn

Dan Selvig says wetter conditions helped convince his family to shift their plantings to corn.
John Ydstie NPR

Originally published on Thu August 14, 2014 10:29 am

Overall, climate change is predicted to hurt agriculture around the world. It could even threaten corn production in the Corn Belt.

But in North Dakota conditions are now better for raising corn, and that's a big benefit for farmers.

When I was growing up in Wolford, N.D., up near the Canadian border, wheat was king. It had been the dominant crop since the prairie was first plowed in the late 1800s. So it was kind of strange to go back this summer and find Larry Slaubaugh, a local farmer, filling his 18-wheeler with corn from a huge steel grain bin.

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The Salt
1:54 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

Edible Flowers Find A Sweet Companion In Chocolate

John Clemons takes flowers out of their natural context with his newest venture, Coco Savvy, which combines them with chocolate.
Courtesy of Coco Savvy

Originally published on Wed August 13, 2014 3:06 pm

People have been nibbling on flowers for quite some time; they have historically been considered cleansing for the body, and for centuries they were candied, pickled or made into syrup.

But now, edible flowers are being introduced to new markets — and it's a sweet concept. John Clemons, a long-time edible flower purveyor, recently launched a venture called Coco Savvy, which combines crystallized, glazed herbs and flowers and chocolate.

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Harvest Desk
5:13 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Record Corn, Soybean Harvest Expected

Credit HPM

Farmers will produce a record-breaking corn harvest this year, surpassing earlier expectations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has revised upward its estimate of this year's corn harvest to 14 billion bushels.  
That exceeds last year's 13.9 billion bushel record.  

Soybean production also will set a new record at 3.8 billion bushels, beating the 2009 harvest of 3.4 billion bushels.  

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The Salt
4:20 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Iowa's Corn Farmers Learn To Adapt To Weather Extremes

Farmer Seth Watkins (left) and agronomist Matt Liebman stand amid native prairie grasses near Des Moines, Iowa. The conservation strip is used to stop soil erosion.
John Ydstie NPR

Originally published on Thu August 14, 2014 10:32 am

Climate change is creating all kinds of challenges and opportunities for business. One of the sectors that feels the effects most immediately is agriculture. Already, weather patterns are making it more challenging to raise corn — even in Iowa — in the middle of the Corn Belt.

Seth Watkins raises corn and cattle in southern Iowa, and he recalls the memorable weather from 2012.

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The Salt
3:58 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Unlocking France's Secrets To Safer Raw Milk Cheese

A French cheesemaker sets up wheels of Reblochon, a semi-soft cheese made from raw cow's milk, for maturing in a farm in the French Alps. Anglophone cheesemakers say translating a French government cheese manual will help them make safer raw milk cheese.
Jean-Pierre Clatot AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 15, 2014 2:28 pm

In the English-speaking world, our approach to making cheese for most of the last 60 years has been like a Texas gunslinger's: kill bacteria, ask questions later. If it's not pasteurized, it's dangerous, the thinking goes.

But in France, raw milk cheese is a very big deal, long considered safe and revered for its flavor. The country cultivates its 350-plus cheeses — many of which are made with raw milk — like children, claiming that the bacteria in the raw milk impart unique characteristics – grassy, metallic, buttery and so on.

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NPR Story
4:11 am
Tue August 12, 2014

Craft Brewers Tweak N.C. Water To Match Western Mountain Flavor

The Sierra Nevada brewery in Mills River, N.C.
Courtesy of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Originally published on Tue August 12, 2014 1:11 pm

Craft beer sales have been growing by double digits, even as overall beer sales have flattened. And several independent craft beer makers — all based in the Western U.S. — are expanding production to the East. But to keep the flavor true, they have to tinker with beer's main ingredient: water.

Every day, a half-dozen employees of Oskar Blues Brewery file into a small room in Brevard, N.C. It's cluttered with boxes, petri dishes and test tubes.

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Harvest Desk
3:53 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Monday Harness Races Postponed

The Illinois State Fair grandstand
Credit WUIS

The Illinois State Fair has postponed Monday's harness races because of unfavorable track conditions.  
The races will now be run Wednesday starting at noon.  

Nearly three dozen horses were quarantined briefly over the weekend because of concerns they may have been exposed to a virus.  
The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports that officials lifted the quarantine Saturday, after the animals were cleared of having the equine herpes virus.

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The Salt
3:45 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Dahlia

The Dahlia.
NPR

Originally published on Mon August 11, 2014 4:29 pm

Out on the sidewalk in front of the Denver Biscuit Co., a curling-stone-size cinnamon roll covered in frosting and bacon sits on a table where you check in. The greeter has gone inside, so it's all alone. You understand at this moment what it's like to be a fish spotting a worm on a hook. You know it shouldn't be there, but man that worm looks good. And, what's the worst that could happen?

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The Salt
2:30 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

'Shark Week' Fuels Shark-Meat Feeding Frenzy At Restaurants

Take a bite — or or maybe don't — of this beer-battered mako shark taco with cabbage, pico de gallo, avocado, arbol chile and cream from Guerilla Tacos in Los Angeles.
T.Tseng/Flickr

Originally published on Mon August 11, 2014 3:31 pm

Discovery Channel set viewership records in 2013 as millions of people tuned in to watch sharks feed, sharks attack, extinct giant sharks and researchers catch and tag sharks. Discovery's "Shark Week" returned on Sunday, and this year, to the dismay of conservationists, restaurants and markets nationwide are feeding the frenzy with a slew of shark meat promotions.

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The Salt
2:26 am
Mon August 11, 2014

For A More Ordered Life, Organize Like A Chef

For chefs at the Marigold Kitchen in Philadelphia, as in most professional kitchens, it's all about order and organization.
Dan Charnas For NPR

Originally published on Sun August 17, 2014 6:21 pm

Americans are obsessed with celebrity chefs. We talk about them, tweet about them and try to eat like them. But could we learn something more from them than recipes and technique?

According to Marketdata Enterprises, Americans spend nearly $10 billion a year on self-help and personal organization products. The market is huge, partly because most colleges and grad schools don't teach basic organization. But culinary schools and professional kitchens do.

Perhaps the principles of culinary organization can be extended to help even those of us who aren't top chefs.

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The Salt
7:03 am
Sat August 9, 2014

For A Proper Pretzel Crust, Count On Chemistry And Memories

Bavarian pretzels baked at the Goetz bakery in Taufkirchen, Germany, for the Oktoberfest beer festival.
Miguel Villagran Getty Images

As Oktoberfest starts in Munich every September, my mom starts making pretzels in Michigan. She says the soft pretzels in the U.S. aren't like what she was used to in Germany, and if she's going to be hosting a backyard Oktoberfest, her food should be authentic.

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The Salt
4:36 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Lake Erie's Toxic Bloom Has Ohio Farmers On The Defensive

Paul Herringshaw says farmers like him have been taking steps to reduce crop runoff for years.
Sarah Jane Tribble WCPN

Originally published on Fri August 8, 2014 6:15 pm

A giant algae bloom is still making the waters in the western part of Lake Erie look like a thick, green pea soup. Toxins in that muck seeped into the water supply of Toledo, Ohio, last weekend, forcing officials to ban nearly half a million people from using tap water. A big cause of the algae proliferation isn't a mystery — it's crop runoff. And local farmers are on the defensive.

Six miles from Lake Erie is Ron Schimming's 400-acre soybean and corn farm.

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The Salt
10:28 am
Fri August 8, 2014

What Are Those Parabens Doing In My Tortilla?

A package of corn tortillas listing propylparaben as an ingredient.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Fri August 8, 2014 5:25 pm

When I invited people over for brunch not long ago, the last thing I expected was a wander into the murky world of food preservatives. It started off so simply — with enchiladas, in fact. Enchiladas are my go-to brunch dish, mostly because a little store near me stocks incredible tortillas from a local factory in Maryland called Moctec.

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Goats and Soda
8:51 am
Fri August 8, 2014

Chermoula: From North Africa To The White House To Your Table

Chermoula is a friend to a fish dish — but also goes well with meat, poultry and vegetables.
a_b_normal123 Flickr

Originally published on Fri August 8, 2014 11:14 am

If you weren't on the guest list for Tuesday's U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit dinner, no need to feel left out. We've got the inside scoop — and a few recipes — for one of the meal highlights.

The White House served tender slabs of Wagyu beef, with a side of sweet potato puree and braised collard greens. To add a bit of African flair, the chefs rubbed on a marinade native to North Africa: chermoula.

Born in Morocco, chermoula is a blend of spices like coriander and cumin along with fresh chilies, giving it a rich herby and spicy taste. Olive oil turns the combo into a paste.

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Movie Interviews
5:02 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Helen Mirren: Like Night Follows Day, Roles For Women Will Reflect Real Life

In The Hundred-Foot Journey, Helen Mirren plays an imperious French restaurant owner.
Francois Duhamel DreamWorks II Distribution Co.

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 5:43 pm

When she was in her 20s, Helen Mirren says, she yearned to be a French actress: "They fascinated me more," she tells NPR's Melissa Block.

In her new film, The Hundred-Foot Journey, Mirren gets the next best thing — she plays Madame Mallory, the frosty French owner of an elegant restaurant in a tiny village in the south of France. When an Indian family comes to town and opens their own restaurant 100 feet away, Mallory has nothing but disdain for the family and the food they're cooking.

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The Salt
4:11 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Your Waiter Wants You To Put Down Your Phone

Seriously, do you need to send that text right now?
Anna Bryukhanova iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri August 15, 2014 2:28 pm

You know how frustrating it is when you can't catch your waiter's eye? He may be thinking the same thing about you.

Diners distracted by their phones have become a real pain in the restaurant business, interfering with the flow of transactions and generally slowing things down.

"I would say probably 7 out of 10 people play with their phones throughout their meals," says Catherine Roberts, general manager of Hogs and Rocks, a ham and oyster bar in San Francisco's Mission District. "People are definitely on their phones excessively. It does gum things up."

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The Salt
2:34 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Gluten-Free Food Banks Bridge Celiac Disease And Hunger

A box of gluten-free food from Pierce's Pantry, a gluten-free food bank in Massachusetts.
Courtesy of Pierce's Pantry

Originally published on Wed August 13, 2014 2:51 pm

For people with celiac disease, eating gluten-free can be a struggle. But it's even harder for those who aren't always sure where their next meal will come from.

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Shots - Health News
12:17 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Interval Training While Walking Helps Control Blood Sugar

Varying speed while walking may make the activity much more effective.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 5:43 pm

Lots of high-performance athletes use interval training to maximize their fitness.

From runners to cyclists to boot-camp fanatics the strategy involves alternating between periods of high-intensity and lower-intensity aerobic training.

Now, a study published in the journal Diabetologia finds that interval training may help the millions of people with Type 2 diabetes and prediabetes who are trying to control their blood sugar.

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