Harvest Desk

The Salt
3:38 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Will The Dietary Guidelines Consider The Planet? The Fight Is On

A government-appointed panel concluded in a recent report that Americans should eat less red meat and processed meat. A more plant-focused diet is better for health and the environment, it found.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 6:40 pm

When it comes to eating well, we should consider the health of our bodies and the planet. This was the recommendation coming from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on Feb. 19.

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The Salt
12:49 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Alaska Farmer Turns Icy Patch Of Tundra Into A Breadbasket

Tim Meyers on his four-acre vegetable farm in southwestern Alaska. Behind him: an endless sea of tundra, and a glimpse of the town of Bethel.
Eugenie Frerichs for NPR

The Alaskan tundra might not seem like much of an agricultural hotspot, but one farmer in the frigid town of Bethel believes he's found America's newest breadbasket.

For the last 10 years, Tim Meyers has been coaxing an enviable quantity of fruits and veggies from just four acres of land. Last year, he produced 50,000 pounds of potatoes, beets, carrots and other vegetables. He sells it at his year-round biweekly market and to local grocery stores.

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The Salt
2:42 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Farmers Fear Legal Status For Workers Would Lead Them Off The Farm

Nahun Villagomez Sanchez washes freshly dug Red LaSoda potatoes at T&D Willey Farms near Madera, Calif.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Mon March 2, 2015 9:00 am

The political battle over immigration, now provoking a confrontation between Congress and the White House, touches all of us in one very direct way: our food. That salad mix, and those apples, may well have been harvested by workers who arrived here in the U.S. illegally.

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The Salt
5:43 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

A Detroit Opera Celebrates Frida Kahlo's Life And Cooking

Frida Kahlo's passion for food was evident in her many still lifes of fruit, like this painting entitled "The Bride Frightened at Seeing Life Opened." She was also known for her raucous dinner parties in Mexico City.
Wikiart

Originally published on Sat February 28, 2015 1:15 pm

The life of Frida Kahlo seems tailor-made for an opera: pain, love, art, travel and revolution. So the Michigan Opera Theater's decision to mount a production of the opera Frida, opening Mar. 7 in Detroit — where the iconic painter lived with her husband, Diego Rivera, for nearly a year, and where she survived a miscarriage that marked a turning point in her art — isn't so surprising.

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All Tech Considered
1:14 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

The World Loves The Smartphone. So How About A Smart Home?

Guido Rosa Getty Images/Ikon Images

Originally published on Wed February 25, 2015 2:23 pm

My coffee maker is texting me again. It's scheduled to make coffee tomorrow, the message says, but I need to refill its water tank. Welcome to the future.

The Mr. Coffee Smart Optimal Brew Coffeemaker with WeMo — yes, that is its official name — is just one of many household appliances being remade to connect to the Internet and take care of themselves. There are thermostats, smoke alarms, washing machines and even $1,000 Bluetooth-connected toilets.

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The Salt
10:32 am
Wed February 25, 2015

Produce Pride: Showing The Love With Vegetable Tattoos

Siblings Jessica and Oliver Schaap of Holland, Mich., test out the temporary vegetable tattoos known as Tater Tats.
Courtesy of Jenna Weiler

Originally published on Wed February 25, 2015 2:24 pm

If you really love vegetables and want to tell the world, there are many ways to do so. You can join a community supported agriculture group, or CSA. You can plant a garden in your front yard. And you can broadcast your passion with t-shirt or sticker slogan like "Eat More Kale" or "Powered By Plants."

Now, there's also the option of adorning your body with vegetable body art.

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The Salt
1:33 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

Tea Tuesdays: The Chemis-Tea Of Pouring The Perfect English-Style Cuppa

Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 3:41 pm

Tea is a daily ritual for millions of Britons. And the British are very specific about how they take their cuppa: black, traditionally with milk and sugar. In 1946, George Orwell wrote an essay in which he claimed to have cracked the code to putting together the perfect cup of tea with milk. But taste preferences can be very individual, so his solution may not be your ideal brew.

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Goats and Soda
10:20 am
Tue February 24, 2015

House Of Carbs: A Big Ball O' Carbohydrates Is Good Eating In Ghana

A carb ball shares the bowl with a chunk of meat.
Terrie Schweitzer Flickr

Originally published on Wed February 25, 2015 3:36 pm

As Homer Simpson might say: Mmmmm, carb balls.

I remember the first time I encountered this specialty of rural Ghana, where I'm spending two years as a Peace Corps volunteer.

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The Salt
2:51 am
Tue February 24, 2015

Army Corps Project Pits Farmland Against Flood Threat

A truck drives on top of a levee that protects a soybean field in New Madrid County, Mo., when the Mississippi River floods.
Kristofor Husted KBIA

Originally published on Tue February 24, 2015 12:26 pm

For years, some small towns and farmers along the Mississippi River have been battling each other over a flood project set up by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

On the western shore, farmers in southeast Missouri need the project to protect their valuable farmland. But small river towns on the eastern side of the river say the project protects those influential farmers at the cost of their small communities. As a last-ditch effort, the opposition to the project is asking the Environmental Protection Agency to kill the project all together.

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The Salt
4:48 pm
Mon February 23, 2015

Acidifying Waters Are Endangering Your Oysters And Mussels

Crew members pull an oyster dredge in Tangier Sound of the Chesapeake Bay near Deal Island, Md., in 2013. A study found that the Chesapeake Bay shellfishery is a "hot zone" for ocean acidification.
Patrick Semansky AP

Bad news for bivalves comes this week from scientists studying ocean acidification.

Ocean water in parts of the world is changing. Its chemistry is very slowly becoming more acidic, like lemon juice, and less alkaline, a la baking soda.

The change so far is small — you wouldn't notice if you swam in the ocean or even drank it (not recommended, in any case). But numerous scientific studies show that it could get worse. One reason is that as humans produce more carbon dioxide, a lot is absorbed into the oceans. That makes the water more acidic.

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Goats and Soda
4:11 pm
Mon February 23, 2015

Good News: More Crops! Bad News: More Plague!

In Africa, land that borders forests is increasingly used for farming.
Courtesy of Douglas McCauley

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 6:40 pm

Africa needs more food.

And to get more food, you need more farmland.

There's a relatively simple solution — it's called "land conversion," and it can mean creating new fields to grow crops next to fragments of forest.

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The Salt
3:56 pm
Mon February 23, 2015

Feeding Babies Foods With Peanuts Appears To Prevent Allergies

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 1:28 pm

Babies at high risk for becoming allergic to peanuts are much less likely to develop the allergy if they are regularly fed foods containing the legumes starting in their first year of life.

That's according to a big new study released Monday involving hundreds of British babies. The researchers found that those who consumed the equivalent of about 4 heaping teaspoons of peanut butter each week, starting when they were between 4 and 11 months old, were about 80 percent less likely to develop a peanut allergy by their fifth birthday.

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The Salt
1:08 pm
Mon February 23, 2015

Sandwich Monday: Little Caesars' Bacon-Wrapped Crust Pizza

We had to look pretty hard to find the bacon.
NPR

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 1:49 pm

Once, long ago, pizza was a wide, untouched landscape. Then we put toppings in the middle. But as overpopulation took hold, we were forced to colonize the last bits of protected land — building subterranean cheese tunnels in the crust. And now, finally, Little Caesars has covered the crust in bacon.

Eva: Poor regular crust. It's like Michael Keaton last night when the younger, cuter guy won.

Peter: They say they make it in two rectangular pieces so it can have "eight corners." Why not just an octagonal pizza?

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The Salt
12:48 pm
Mon February 23, 2015

Freight Farms: How Boston Gets Local Greens, Even When Buried In Snow

Freight Farms are shipping containers modified to grow stacks of hydroponic plants and vegetables — anywhere, 365 days a year.
Courtesy of Freight Farms

The United States imports more than $100 billion of food every year from farms across the globe, often in the big metal shipping containers you see on cargo ships. Now, entrepreneurs are using those shipping containers to grow local produce.

"Freight Farms" are shipping containers modified to grow stacks of hydroponic plants and vegetables. It's a new way for small-scale farmers to grow crops year-round in a computer-controlled environment, even in the middle of the city.

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Shots - Health News
3:24 am
Mon February 23, 2015

Lots Of Seniors Are Overweight, But Few Use Free Counseling For It

Maria Fabrizio for NPR

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 3:16 pm

Anne Roberson walks a quarter-mile down the road each day to her mailbox in the farming town of Exeter, deep in California's Central Valley. Her daily walk and housekeeping chores are her only exercise, and her weight has remained stubbornly over 200 pounds for some time now. Roberson is 68 years old, and she says it gets harder to lose weight as you get older: "You get to a certain point in your life and you say, 'What's the use?' "

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The Salt
3:27 pm
Sun February 22, 2015

Lamb Dumplings, Lentils And A Bittersweet Taste Of Home

Traditional desserts, like these served in 2010 at the original Naranj restaurant in Damascus, offer sweet, familiar flavors at the restaurant's various locations in the Middle East. A platter like this shows up at the end of every meal at Naranj, and all the pastries are made in-house.
Jan Smith Flickr

Originally published on Sun February 22, 2015 6:22 pm

For people living in a new country, a taste of home can be a powerful emotional experience.

All the more so when you've left your country because of war.

Iraq has taken in about a quarter-million people fleeing Syria's civil war. In the northern Iraqi city of Irbil, one of Syria's most famous restaurants is re-creating the tastes of Damascus.

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The Salt
4:41 am
Sun February 22, 2015

Visual Feast: If The World's Major Cities Were Made Of Food

BrunchCity's take on Morocco: The markets of Marrakech are cooled by an oasis of the country's famous mint tea.
Courtesy of Bea Crespo and Andrea G.Portoles

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 3:42 pm

In America, the word "brunch" conjures up visions of eggs benedict and bagels and lox. But, broadly speaking, "brunch" — as a word and a concept — is a literal blend of breakfast and lunch. And around the world, there's a wide variety of culinary delights that people choose to graze on between late morning and midafternoon.

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The Salt
2:11 pm
Fri February 20, 2015

Have Big-Box Superstores Helped To Make Us Fat?

A woman pushes a cart at a Costco store in Hackensack, N.J., in 2013. Big-box stores are effective delivery devices for fattening foods, economists argue in a new study.
Ron Antonelli Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 1:21 pm

The humorist Bill Bryson once wrote that "the purpose of the modern American suburb is to make sure that no citizen is ever more than 500 yards from a food product featuring melted cheese."

That's an exaggeration, but health officials have long worried that our environment of plentiful, cheap and easily accessible calories is contributing to obesity.

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The Salt
11:21 am
Fri February 20, 2015

Why Some States Want To Legalize Raw Milk Sales

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautions that unpasteurized milk can cause serious illness, because it's a fertile breeding ground for harmful germs like salmonella and E. coli. But such warnings haven't deterred raw milk enthusiasts.
Abby Wendle/Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 1:20 pm

The federal government banned the sale of raw milk across state lines nearly three decades ago because it poses a threat to public health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association all strongly advise people not to drink it.

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Business
10:02 am
Fri February 20, 2015

Banned From The Ride-Share Business In Spain, Uber Turns to Food Delivery

A screen image from UberEATS. In Spain, Uber is trying to reinvent itself as a food delivery service.
courtesy Uber

Originally published on Fri February 20, 2015 10:53 am

Late last year, a Spanish judge prohibited Uber from operating in Spain, after protests by taxi drivers. Days later, the company announced it was closing down operations here.

But less than two months later, it's reinvented itself as UberEATS, converting its network of drivers into food deliverymen.

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Health
4:09 am
Fri February 20, 2015

Panel Recommends More Fruits And Vegetables, Less Meat And Sugar

Originally published on Fri February 20, 2015 7:10 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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The Salt
4:53 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

Nutrition Panel: Egg With Coffee Is A-OK, But Skip The Side Of Bacon

The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee says in a new report that Americans should shift to a pattern of eating that includes more plant-based foods.
Jennifer/Flickr

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 7:13 pm

If you like a cup of coffee and an egg in the morning, you've got the green light.

A panel of top nutrition experts appointed by the federal government has weighed in with its long-awaited diet advice.

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The Salt
1:03 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

A Wet And Wild Look Inside The 'Mushroom Houses' Of A Fungi Farm

Mushrooms from a farm in Chester County, Pa., dubbed the "Mushroom Capital of America."
Rich Roberts/Flickr

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 4:29 pm

As most people know, mushrooms love dark places. You can find them growing in the dim recesses of forests or at the foot of old trees. But is that where we get most of the mushrooms that end up in our hearty risottos and juicy portabella sandwiches?

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The Two-Way
10:18 am
Thu February 19, 2015

Hot KISS Buns Are Headed For Store Shelves In Japan

Like dragon eggs stuffed with fiery peppers: KISS steamed buns will hit convenience store shelve in Japan next week. The buns are seen here in a news release from the Circle K Sunkus chain.
Circle K Sunkus

Move over, hot cross buns — here come the hot KISS buns. They're spicy and black, and starting next week, a limited number will be sold in stores in Japan, marking the rock group's 40th anniversary world tour. The bun's official name: Spicy Chili Tomatoman.

The steamed bun's black exterior derives from bamboo charcoal. It has a bright red filling, consisting of tomato paste, onions — and very hot peppers. Its surface is branded with one of four icons associated with KISS members, such as a star symbol for Paul Stanley.

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Planet Money
4:00 am
Thu February 19, 2015

Ecuador's Answer To The Global Cocoa Shortage

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 6:56 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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The Salt
2:26 am
Thu February 19, 2015

Chocolate Makeover: Nestle Dumps Artificial Colorings

Nestle announced that it is removing artificial flavors and colorings from all of its chocolate candy products — including the dyes used to give the inside of a Butterfinger, like this one, that orange hue.
Meredith Rizzo/NPR

Originally published on Fri February 20, 2015 2:14 pm

Some of America's most popular chocolate bars — including the Baby Ruth and the Butterfinger — are about to get an ingredient makeover. Nestle USA announced it is removing artificial flavors and colorings from all of its chocolate candy products by the end of 2015.

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The Salt
3:59 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Will A Tipped-Wage Hike Kill Gratuities For New York's Waiters?

Diners fill Riverpark, a New York City restaurant, in January. Restaurateurs fear that the tipped-wage hike being proposed in New York will force them to get rid of tipping altogether.
Brad Barket Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 6:59 pm

The restaurant economy of New York City may be nearing a tipping point.

State officials are recommending a big hike in the minimum hourly wage for people who work for tips. But that idea is giving many restaurateurs indigestion in New York City, home to more than 20,000 restaurants. Some say a tipped-wage hike could upend the whole system of tipping.

And many servers say tips are the No. 1 reason they started waiting tables.

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Food
3:56 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Some Gas Stations Find New Business As Food Destinations

Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 5:59 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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The Salt
2:49 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Heaps Of Oranges Could Rot As West Coast Dock Dispute Drags On

Oranges sit in crates at the Rancho Del Sol Organics farm in San Diego County, Calif., in 2014. A labor dispute at major West Coast ports has left millions of pounds of California oranges stranded in warehouses and on half-loaded boats.
Sam Hodgson Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 1:23 pm

California citrus growers are caught in the middle of a labor dispute between dockworkers and shipping lines that could end with millions of pounds of rotten oranges.

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The Salt
11:21 am
Wed February 18, 2015

Salty, Sweet, Sour. Is It Time To Make Fat The Sixth Taste?

Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 3:24 pm

Your tongue doubtless knows the difference between a high-fat food and the low-fat alternative. Full-fat ice cream and cream cheese feel silkier and more sumptuous. Burgers made with fatty meat are typically juicer than burgers made with lean meat.

OK, so, we've long known fat gives food a desirable texture. But some scientists are now making the case that we should also think of fat as the sixth primary taste, along with sweet, salt, sour, bitter and umami.

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