Harvest Desk

Harvest Desk
9:10 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

U.S. Wastes Nearly One Third Of Food Produced

Americans wasted an estimated 133 billion pounds of food in 2010, according to a USDA study.
Credit flickr/petrr

Nearly a third of the food available to be eaten in the U.S. is thrown out instead. And all of that wasted food comes with a steep price tag.

According to a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans wasted an estimated 133 billion pounds of food in 2010, the most recent year data is available. That’s 31 percent of the food sold at grocery stores and served in restaurants. The study does not include food wasted prior to the retail level.

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The Salt
2:19 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

The Secret Lives Of Cows: Jumping For Joy

Not quite jumping over the moon but ... : An animal named Luna (get it?) jumps over an obstacle with rider Regina Mayer on her back in the Bavarian town of Traunstein, in southern Germany.
Michael Hudelist AFP/Getty Images

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

Ah, cows. They're big, lumbering, earthbound beasts, right? But sometimes, Bessie and pals just have to get airborne.

That gif of dairy cows "jumping for joy" is from a video that's been making the rounds on the Internet. We spotted it last week when food journalist Michael Pollan tweeted it out:

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Shots - Health News
1:49 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Dunk Now, Pay Later: Elite College Players May Suffer In Middle Age

Duke's Jabari Parker weaves his way through UCLA players during a December game in New York.
Jason DeCrow AP

College athletes astound us with their power and speed, but they can pay a price years later. Division I players are more likely to be disabled, depressed and in pain in middle age, a study finds. And they may end up worse off because they fail to make the switch from high-level competition to the low-level activity of the rest of us.

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The Salt
1:00 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Shamrock Shake

Michelle Obama says you should get at least five servings of green per day.
NPR

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 2:48 pm

Long ago, McDonald's chose to honor St. Patrick banishing the snakes from Ireland with its Shamrock Shake, made with real snake. It was known for its subtle flavor and powerful aphrodisiac qualities. While the recipe has changed slightly over the years, the powerful aphrodisiac qualities remain.

Peter: Sucking this up through the straw is pretty hard work just to get something that tastes like toothpaste.

Miles: Shamrocks are good luck, but I think the woman who rang us up took it too far when she said, "You're gonna need it."

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Harvest Desk
7:02 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Food Hubs Could Provide Crucial Link For Amish

Illinois Farm Bureau’s Michael Doherty, left, speaks with a group of Amish farmers at a recent food hub education meeting, as organizer Dave Bishop looks on.
Peter Gray/Harvest Public Media

Β Β 

Lacking the infrastructure of traditional suppliers, many local farms that want to connect to restaurants, schools and other big buyers are using the Internet to reach customers. Groups of farms are banding together to form regional food hubs, leveraging online ordering, tracking and marketing tools to cut down on costs and to try to keep local food systems viable for growers and affordable for consumers.

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Food
6:55 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Donut Shop Opens At YMCA But Can't Sell Its Bread And Butter

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 10:11 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning, I'm David Greene. The YMCA in Quincy, Massachusetts has a new food offering. Honey Dew Donuts has been cleared to open one of their stores there. Just one restriction: No donuts, because the Y is focused on health and fitness. A spokeswoman says the donut shop's signature item is banned. Salads, fruit cups, smoothies are allowed, so are Honey Dew's low-fat muffins, which actually have more sugar and calories than the donuts. So take that to the treadmill.

Harvest Desk
1:49 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Farmers Bid Farewell To Big Expense Tax Write-Offs

Credit flickr/mostly dans

It could be yet another sign that the good times are over.

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The Salt
4:12 pm
Sun March 2, 2014

Even In A Desert, Drought Spells Trouble For Ranchers

No snowpack, no hay: In the northern Nevada, cattle feed is getting hard to come by, as sources of water diminish in supply.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun March 2, 2014 6:09 pm

In northern Nevada, a place famous for its wide, open spaces and expansive cattle operations, ranchers are in a bind due to the historic drought.

Much of the state is desert, so when people talk about drought, they're really talking about the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada. It's at barely 20 percent of average.

This is a huge concern for farmers and ranchers like Julie Wolf, because the mountains store the snow that melts and feeds rivers and reservoirs. These bodies of water then allow the desert to bloom with grass and alfalfa for her cattle.

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The Two-Way
7:41 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Bill That Bans Undercover Filming At Farms Enacted In Idaho

Dairy cows feed through a fence at an Idaho farm, in this 2009 file photo. Idaho's Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter enacted a bill Friday that criminalizes the act of secretly filming animal abuse at farms.
Charlie Litchfield AP

Idaho's Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has signed a bill that criminalizes the act of secretly filming animal abuse at agricultural facilities. The move comes days after the state's legislature approved the measure.

"Otter, a rancher, said the measure promoted by the dairy industry 'is about agriculture producers being secure in their property and their livelihood,'" according to the AP.

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The Salt
4:22 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

'Peak Salmon' May Be Unlikely, But Threats To Farmed Salmon Loom

Farm-raised Norwegian salmon for sale in Oregon in 2009.
Natalie Maynor Flickr

Earlier this month, reporters at Bloomberg and the Financial Times suggested that we might be nearing "peak salmon" β€” a play on peak oil, in which we theoretically reach maximum production, and the only direction left to go is down.

Their logic? The price for a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of Norwegian farmed salmon at the end of 2013 was 50 percent higher than it had been the previous year.

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Fitness & Nutrition
3:01 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Tips To Take Back The Dinner Table From Picky Eaters

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 9:35 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

You may have one in your household, perhaps you're one yourself. We're talking about picky eaters, people who just won't try new foods. For the past month cookbook author Sally Sampson has been investigating what's behind fussy eating habits and blogging about her findings on The New York Times website.

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The Salt
12:20 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Why The 'Non-GMO' Label Is Organic's Frenemy

The increasingly successful movement to eliminate GMO crops from food is turning out to be organic's false friend.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 10:29 am

It's easy to think of "organic" and "non-GMO" as the best buddies of food. They sit comfortably beside each other in the same grocery stores β€” most prominently, in Whole Foods Market. Culturally, they also seem to occupy the same space. Both reject aspects of mainstream industrial agriculture.

In fact, the increasingly successful movement to eliminate genetically modified crops β€” GMOs β€” from food is turning out to be organic's false friend. The non-GMO label has become a cheaper alternative to organic.

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The Salt
2:21 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Drought Could Dry Up Nevada Dairy Farmers' Expansion Plans

There are about 2,000 dairy cows on Pete Olsen's fifth-generation farm in northern Nevada. A new milk processing plant is now putting pressure on Olsen and other dairy farmers to expand the size of their herds. But with the ongoing drought, farmers are struggling to get enough feed for the cows they already have.
Kirk Siegler/NPR

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 2:13 pm

When Pete Olsen talks about drought on his fifth-generation dairy farm in Fallon, Nev., he's really talking about the snowpack 60 miles to the west in the Sierra Nevada.

The Sierras, Olsen says, are their lifeblood.

That is, the snowmelt from them feeds the Truckee and Carson rivers and a tangle of reservoirs and canals that make this desert bloom. Some of the highest-grade alfalfa in the world is grown here. And it makes perfect feed for dairy cows, because it's rich in nutrients.

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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.Β 

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

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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 β€” 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 β€” and a little more indulgent β€” 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 β€” 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 β€” 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 β€” 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" β€” the Christian day of revelry and indulgence before the austere season of Lent β€” 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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