Harvest Desk

The Salt
4:04 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Chickens That Lay Organic Eggs Eat Imported Food, And It's Pricey

Empty shelves where eggs should be at a Whole Foods Market in Washington, D.C. The store blames increased demand for organic eggs.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 10:26 am

The other morning, I found myself staring at something strange and unfamiliar: empty grocery shelves with the word "eggs" above them. The store, a Whole Foods Market in Washington, D.C., blamed, in another sign, the dearth on "increased demand for organic eggs."

This scene is unfolding in grocery stores across the country. But Whole Foods' sign wasn't telling the whole truth. Demand for organic eggs is indeed increasing, but production is also down.

The reason behind that shortfall highlights an increasingly acute problem in the organic industry.

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Harvest Desk
3:44 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

DOT Extends Fuel Emergency As Propane Costs Fall

www.eia.gov

Truckers delivering much-needed heating fuel to homes and businesses throughout the Midwest will remain on the road longer now that the federal government has extended regional emergency declarations

Liquid propane was in short supply in dozens of states during the month of January.  

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Recipes
3:12 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

In The Land Of Floats And Beads, You'd Better Bring Deviled Eggs

At Mardi Gras, cup dispensers wear a little extra flair. Pictured in the top left corner is your future milk punch container — temporarily airborne.
Chris Graythen Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 6:57 pm

The morning of Mardi Gras calls for something a little hardier — and a little more indulgent — than your average bowl of Wheaties. After all, a long day lies ahead, thick with flying beads, outlandish parade floats and food in every form and function. When partying in New Orleans starts as early as dawn, a good breakfast is crucial.

And don't forget, Poppy Tooker adds: "This is the one city in America where breakfast drinking is totally socially acceptable." Why let such a splendid opportunity go to waste?

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Health
3:07 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

With New Food Labels, Back Of The Box Gets A Makeover

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 6:57 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

We've been hearing about the Food and Drug Administration's proposed makeover of the Nutrition Facts Panel, the box on food packages that tells us how much fat, sodium and other things are a product. Today, the first lady introduced the redesigned label at a White House event.

NPR's Allison Aubrey reports.

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The Salt
2:02 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

U.S. Lets 141 Trillion Calories Of Food Go To Waste Each Year

Nectarines are sorted at Eastern ProPak Farmers Cooperative in Glassboro, N.J.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 7:32 pm

The sheer volume of food wasted in the U.S. each year should cause us some shame, given how many people are hungry both in our own backyard and abroad.

Now the U.S. Department of Agriculture has provided us with a way to understand our flagrant annual waste in terms of calories, too. It's pretty mind-boggling — 141 trillion calories down the drain, so to speak, or 1,249 calories per capita per day.

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Planet Money
10:02 am
Thu February 27, 2014

The Price Of A Pizza In 237 U.S. Neighborhoods

tk
tk

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 1:44 pm

Yesterday, we crunched thousands of pizza prices from around the country, and argued that you should always buy a bigger pizza. (And in a separate post, we presented the case against buying a bigger pizza.)

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Business
4:15 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Sriracha-Maker Given More Time To Contain Spicy Fumes

Sriracha chili sauce bottles are produced at the Huy Fong Foods factory in Irwindale, Calif.
Nick Ut AP

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 1:40 pm

The saga over the darling of the condiment world, Sriracha, continues.

The popular hot sauce in the rooster bottle is made by Huy Fong Foods in the Los Angeles suburb of Irwindale. The city has had to balance its need for business success against complaints from some residents about spicy fumes from the plant.

Wednesday night, after a contentious hearing, Irwindale's city council decided to give Huy Fong a bit more time to figure out how to contain those fumes.

The Sauce America's Hot For

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Food
4:04 am
Thu February 27, 2014

From Aztecs To Oscars: Popcorn's Beautiful, Explosive Journey

Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 2:06 pm

Popcorn is a truly ancient snack. Archaeologists have uncovered popcorn kernels that are 4,000 years old. They were so well-preserved, they could still pop.

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The Salt
11:03 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

First Look: The FDA's Nutrition Label Gets A Makeover

The proposed Nutrition Facts label (right) has a few subtle differences from the current label, including bolder calorie counts and added sugar information.
Food and Drug Administration

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 10:33 am

Ready for a reality check about how many calories you're eating or drinking?

The proposed new nutrition facts panel may help.

The Obama administration Thursday released its proposed tweaks to the iconic black and white panel that we're all accustomed to seeing on food packages.

The most visible change is that calorie counts are bigger and bolder — to give them greater emphasis.

In addition, serving sizes start to reflect the way most of us really eat. Take, for example, ice cream. The current serving size is a half-cup. But who eats that little?

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The Salt
4:41 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Maybe That BPA In Your Canned Food Isn't So Bad After All

Should you fear a chemical inside metal food containers like the ones that hold beans? Government scientists say no.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 11:39 am

Maybe BPA isn't so bad after all.

The plastic additive has been vilified by environmental advocacy groups. But the chemical had no effect on rats fed thousands of times the amount a typical person ingests, government scientists are reporting in the journal Toxicological Sciences.

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The Salt
11:28 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Nutrition Labels To Get Long-Overdue Tweaks

Nutrition labels will be getting a makeover this week to make it easier for consumers to understand the information.
Larry Crowne AP

If you're perplexed about how to make healthy choices when you're shopping for food, you're not alone. We've all puzzled over a food label that was confusing and hard to follow.

But some help may be on the way, as I reported on All Things Considered Tuesday.

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Planet Money
9:59 am
Wed February 26, 2014

One Reason To Get Whatever Size Pizza You Want

Guillaume Meyer AFP/Getty Images

My Planet Money colleague Quoctrung Bui argues that you should always buy a larger pizza. Using a fancy infographic, he shows that often for just a small amount of money, you can get a lot more pizza.

The only problem with his argument: negative marginal returns on pizza.

That's just a geeky way of saying that, at some point, more pizza is actually worse than less pizza.

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Planet Money
9:58 am
Wed February 26, 2014

74,476 Reasons You Should Always Get The Bigger Pizza

Somebody check the cheese.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 4:28 pm

One day last year, an engineer and I went to a pizza place for lunch. The engineer told me he wasn't very hungry, but he said he was going to get the 12-inch medium instead of the 8-inch small — because the medium was more than twice as big as the small, and it cost only a little bit more. This sort of blew my mind.

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Kitchen Window
9:50 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Fat Tuesday: The Many Different Doughnuts Of Mardi Gras

Emily Hilliard for NPR

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 10:02 am

The history of doughnuts is intrinsically linked to the celebration of Mardi Gras. "Fat Tuesday" — the Christian day of revelry and indulgence before the austere season of Lent — features dough deep-fried in fat as its main staple.

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The Salt
5:44 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Industry Wipes Away 'Got Milk?' Mustache After Sales Take Spill

The milk's industry's new campaign, Milk Life, features ordinary people accomplishing all sorts of tasks after jumpstarting their day with a glass of milk.
Courtesy of Milk Processor Education Program

There's a new slogan in town that will replace "Got Milk?"

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Food
3:19 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

New Food Label Aims To Make Healthy Decisions Easier

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 7:01 pm

The Food and Drug Administration and the White House are expected to unveil a new food label this week. Changed just once since their adoption, these labels need to be less confusing, advocates say.

The Salt
2:34 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

New Rules Would Curb How Kids Are Sold Junk Food At School

Michelle Obama eats lunch with school children at Parklawn Elementary School in Alexandria, Va., in 2012. The first lady unveiled new guidelines Tuesday aimed at cracking down on the marketing of junk food to kids during the school day.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 2:06 pm

If you want to teach kids to adopt healthier eating habits, it's probably unwise to give them coupons for fast food chains at school.

And those advertisements for sugary sodas on the gymnasium scoreboard? Seems like another mixed message schools are sending kids.

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The Salt
12:10 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Why Farmers Can Prevent Global Warming Just As Well As Vegetarians

Cattle graze at a Brazilian Agricultural Research experimental farm in Planaltina in Goias state. To reduce emissions from deforestation, the Brazilian government is experimenting with grazing on integrated forest and pasture lands.
Evaristo Sa AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 10:31 am

We Americans are heavy consumers of meat, and we're increasingly reminded that eating less of it will shrink our carbon footprint. Growing the crops to feed all those animals releases lots of greenhouse gases.

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Shots - Health News
10:25 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Scant Evidence To Support Vitamins Against Cancer, Heart Disease

Vitamin E for your heart? Don't bother, new guidelines say.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 7:27 am

If you're taking vitamins to guard against cancer or a heart attack, you've got plenty of company.

Nearly half of American adults take a vitamin of some kind each a day. About a third take a multivitamin.

But are they worth it?

For people in good health and without any special nutritional deficiencies, there isn't enough evidence to say it's a good idea — at least when it comes to preventing cardiovascular disease and cancer.

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Harvest Desk
6:01 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Changing Dairy Industry Leaves Some Farmers In The Dust

Donnie Davidson turns off the lights in his dairy parlor. His family has been producing grade A milk in Holden, Mo., since the 1930s.
Credit Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

Donnie Davidson’s family has been producing bottled milk in Holden, Mo., since the 1930s. But the 63-year-old farmer decided to sell his herd of 50 milking cows in November after the roof on one of his barns collapsed from last winter’s snow.

Rebuilding the barn would have cost about $20,000. Then there were the costs of renovating a silo and paying for hired help since Davidson’s children won’t be taking over the business. It made financial sense to close the dairy, and grow crops and build a herd of beef cattle instead.

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The Salt
3:55 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Sriracha Chemistry: How Hot Sauces Perk Up Your Food And Your Mood

Can you name the five main ingredients in Sriracha?
Reactions YouTube

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 10:33 am

Anyone who has ever drizzled, doused or — heck — drenched their food with Sriracha knows the hot sauce can make almost any dish taste better.

But could these spicy condiments also make us a little happier?

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The Salt
1:36 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Wrecking Ball

The Wrecking Ball
NPR

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 3:13 pm

A fast-food secret menu is like Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start for eating: Once you know that it exists, it changes your life for the better, forever.

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Harvest Desk
6:18 pm
Sun February 23, 2014

Are Low Corn Prices Here To Stay?

Credit dok1/flickr

The days of record high corn prices are gone, at least for now, and they’re only going to continue their decline, according to projections released this week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (PDF)

You can pin part of the blame on the 2012 drought, when corn hit an all-time high of $8.31 per bushel. The dry conditions made corn a limited commodity.

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Fitness & Nutrition
4:21 am
Sun February 23, 2014

Can Exercising Seniors Help Revive A Brooklyn Neighborhood?

Linda Beckford (right) exercises as part of a walking group that tries to make their neighborhood a better place to live. If nothing else, the seniors feel more confident about going outside.
Quoctrung Bui NPR

Originally published on Sun February 23, 2014 10:57 am

The Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y., is known for many things, among them huge public housing projects, extremely high poverty and crime. Last summer, a one-year-old boy was shot in the head and killed as he sat in a stroller in the neighborhood.

But that's one side of life in Brownsville. Down the street from that murder, on weekday mornings, is another side.

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The Salt
7:03 am
Sat February 22, 2014

Cholent: The Original Slow-Cooked Dish

While traditional cholents feature meat and beans cooked for a whole day, some modern versions, like this one, use vegetable protein and a quick braise.
rusvaplauke/Flickr

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 2:06 pm

This chilly winter, many of us have warmed ourselves — and our kitchens — with long-cooked meals. Roasts, beans, and stews have been in heavy rotation. But there's a dish called cholent that isn't just cooked for a few hours — it's cooked for a full day.

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The Two-Way
5:49 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Alcoholics Learn To Make Their Own Beer In Canadian Program

Tyler BigChild, a board member of Vancouver's Drug Users Resource Center, is also part of its Brew Co-Op. The group teaches alcoholics how to make beer and wine, in the hopes that they'll stop risky behavior such as drinking rubbing alcohol.
Portland Hotel Society

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 6:59 pm

Call it a new twist on the old "teach a man to fish" adage. A group in Vancouver, British Columbia, is teaching inveterate alcoholics to brew their own beer and make their own wine, in an attempt to keep them from drinking unsafe liquids to get an alcoholic high.

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The Salt
3:36 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

How Tracing The Oil In Your Pop-Tarts May Help Save Rain Forests

Kellogg, maker of Pop-Tarts, announced Feb. 14 that it will buy palm oil — an ingredient in Pop-Tarts — only from companies that don't destroy rain forests where palm trees are grown.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 7:57 pm

If you think a small shareholder can't get the attention of the multibillion-dollar palm oil industry, think again.

Lucia von Reusner lives half a world away from the palm oil plantations in Southeast Asia that have become notorious for environmental, labor and human rights abuses.

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The Salt
11:47 am
Fri February 21, 2014

What Sbarro's Woes Say About Where We Get Our Fast Food Now

Customers at a Sbarro in Chicago on April 4, 2011, the day that the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 6:23 pm

In 1985, Joe Sbarro declared that he had high hopes for his cafeteria-style pizza chain, founded in 1956.

"Sbarro's dream is to be another McDonald's," he told Newsday.

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The Salt
2:37 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Trader Joe's Caught In Sticky Lawsuit Over Peanut Butter Pretzels

The Trader Joe's Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel: The salty-sweet snack that launched a bitter lawsuit.
Courtesy of Tina Haupert

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 1:37 pm

Among the many snacks you can find in the aisles of Trader Joe's is an icon of sweet and salty goodness: the peanut butter pretzel. It's a combination so tasty, famed food writer Ruth Reichl once raved, "You haven't lived until you've tried the two together."

But the beloved treats aren't just treasures for the palate — they're a pretty lucrative business worth millions of dollars. And now, Trader Joe's is being sued for allegedly cornering the market on the snack.

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The Salt
6:26 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

'Piglet Smoothie' Fed To Sows To Prevent Disease; Activists Outraged

A screen grab from an undercover video released by the Humane Society of the U.S. shows a pig in a gestation crate at Iron Maiden Farms in Owensboro, Ky.
Courtesy of The Humane Society of The United States

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 1:37 pm

Animal welfare groups go to great lengths to show us how "the sausage" is made inside the factory-style farms that produce most of our meat. For the past few years, they've armed activists with video cameras and sent them undercover to document alleged abuses or risky practices.

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