Harvest Desk

The Salt
4:09 am
Fri November 14, 2014

With Drought The New Normal, Calif. Farmers Find They Have To Change

California sheep rancher Dan Macon had to sell almost half of his herd because the drought left him without enough feed.
Kirk Siegler/NPR

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 10:37 am

Ask Northern California sheep rancher Dan Macon what this drought is doing to his pocketbook and he'll break it down for you real quick.

"It's like if you woke up one morning and lost 40 percent of the equity in your house," he says. "Our primary investment in our ranch is in these sheep and we just sold 40 percent of our stock."

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The Salt
2:31 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Big Mayo Vs. Little Mayo: Which Brand Has Egg On Its Face?

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 1:03 pm

There have been no shortage of headlines recounting the legal kerfuffle unfolding over the definition of mayonnaise.

Global food giant Unilever, which owns the ubiquitous Hellmann's brand, is suing Hampton Creek, the maker of of Just Mayo, an egg-free spread made from peas, sorghum and other plants.

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Harvest Desk
8:07 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Reducing Pollution From Farm Fields Through Education

Credit flickr/United Soybean Board

Agricultural runoff is a problem in Illinois and many other farm states.  Nitrogen, phosphorous and chemicals help with yields, but too much winds up in the water supply.   That creates problems like algae growth that robs the water of oxygen, killing off aquatic life. 

Jean Payne represents fertilizer and chemical dealers in the state.  She says a training program will launch this winter in an effort to get farmers better educated on how to apply nutrients to their crops, including the best time for application and proper amounts. 

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The Salt
5:11 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Why The 'Invasivores' Haven't Pounced On Bear Meat

Slow-cooked New York bear meat has been described as like beef stew, but with "a little stronger texture and a little gamier flavor."
David Sommerstein North Country Public Radio

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 11:43 am

The fight against nuisance critters is increasingly being fought at the dinner table. We've reported on so-called invasivores eating everything from Asian carp (battered and fried!) to wild pigs (Russian boar carpaccio, anyone?) as a means of reducing pesky populations.

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Found Recipes
4:25 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

How To Make A Faux Cheddar In One Hour

True cheddar cheese can take months — even years — to age. So Claudia Lucero created a faux-cheddar that can be made in very little time.
fotolia

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 2:46 pm

Claudia Lucero has a special power: she can make cheese in one hour. Mozzarella, ricotta, paneer, goat cheese, queso blanco and more.

Those are simple cheeses that are relatively easy to make, says Lucero, who runs Urban Cheesecraft in Portland, Ore. To do it, she says, you just need practice, not superpowers.

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The Salt
12:59 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Ferran Adria And Fellow Star Chefs Talk Biodiversity In Brazil

Brazilian fruits, including jambu and tapereba (lower right), displayed for a gathering of chefs in Sao Paolo.
Paula Moura for NPR

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 2:24 pm

Culinary superstars gathered in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo this month at an event organized by the Basque Culinary Center. But they weren't there to cook. Instead, the the famous chefs were talking about biodiversity.

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The Salt
5:54 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

40 Percent Of The World's Cropland Is In Or Near Cities

These farmers grow maize, onions and other vegetables in a city in Ghana. They use groundwater to irrigate their crops.
Nana Kofi Acquah IWMI

Urban agriculture is clearly taking off around the world — in backyards, on rooftops and on local farms.

But just how much of the world's cropland can we really call urban? That's been a big mystery.

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Harvest Desk
3:39 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Sangamon, Pike Among Top 10 Counties For Deer-Vehicle Accidents

Credit flickr/JoeShlabotnik

Deer can be more than a nuisance. They can be dangerous when they venture on to roads.  

Illinois saw a one percent drop in the number of crashes in 2013,but there were still over 15-thousand accidents.  There was also a slight increase in injuries from those collisions and six people died.

Madison and Cook County led the way in the number of deer-vehicle accidents with well over 400 each.

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All Tech Considered
2:02 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Innovation: Smart Yoga Mat Could Help You Find Your Zen

The SmartMat is a responsive yoga mat that seeks to improve one's yoga practice. Microsensors embedded in the mat record and provide adjustments to the user in real time.
Courtesy of SmartMat

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 6:53 pm

If you've ever tried yoga, you know it can be difficult to find your balance in a downward dog or pigeon pose. Especially if you lack flexibility like me.

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Harvest Desk
1:57 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Medical Marijuana Licenses Could Be Issued Before Year's End

Credit flickr/dankdepot

The more than 370 applications to operate medical marijuana cultivation centers and dispensaries in Illinois are being whittled down.  Licenses could be awarded before the end of the year.

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The Salt
12:15 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Golden State Joe: California Makes A Play For Coffee's Future

Jay Ruskey grows coffee next to avocados on his farm, Good Land Organics, in Goleta, Calif. The two crops are often grown together in Central America, partly because they can share fertilizer and water.
Lisa Morehouse KQED

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 2:29 pm

Coffee has been grown since at least the 13th century in places such as Indonesia, Ethiopia and Central and South America. Though it's not a traditional region for growing coffee, California is playing an increasingly big role in the future of this beloved and lucrative crop.

Sammy Venegas stands on a hillside in Goleta, Calif., outside Santa Barbara, that's shrouded in fog, thick with avocado trees, passion fruit and coffee plants. With a white bucket slung around his neck like a baby carrier, he picks only the reddest coffee beans.

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Animals
3:17 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Regulators Ban Cod Fishing In Gulf Of Maine As Stocks Dwindle

Fishermen Ed Stewart (left) and Tannis Goodsen mend groundfishing nets on Merrill Wharf, in Portland, Maine, last November.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 1:13 pm

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is shutting down cod fishing, from Provincetown, Mass., up to the Canadian border, in an effort to reverse plummeting numbers of the iconic fish in the Gulf of Maine.

Starting Thursday, no fishermen — commercial or recreational — may trawl or use certain large nets that might catch cod for the next six months. Local cod fishermen, who now face an uncertain future, say the government hasn't done enough to maintain cod populations, and they challenge NOAA's cod counts.

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The Changing Lives Of Women
3:17 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

For Modern Women, 'Ladylike' Means Strong And Sporty

Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 5:24 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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The Salt
11:41 am
Tue November 11, 2014

A Glimmer Of Hope In The Fight Against Hunger In America

Volunteers pass out fresh vegetables for a Thanksgiving meal at the Alameda Food Bank in Alameda, Calif., in 2009. The percentage of Americans who report struggling to afford food has remained stubbornly near recession-era highs.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 1:15 pm

For those on the front lines of fighting hunger in America, the past half-decade has been like running on empty. The Great Recession that began in 2007 left millions of families struggling with tough choices, like whether to pay for housing or dinner.

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The Salt
8:46 am
Tue November 11, 2014

Anthony Bourdain And Carla Hall Turbocharge D.C.'s Hunger Fighters

Celebrity chefs (from left) Jose Andres, Carla Hall and Anthony Bourdain rev up the crowd at last year's Capital Food Fight fundraising event for DC Central Kitchen. The nonprofit's fortunes have risen alongside those of its celebrity chef fans.
DC Central Kitchen Flickr

Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 1:52 pm

If you're like me — I binged on an entire season of Parts Unknown during a single weekend — then you get the pull of globetrotting foodie Anthony Bourdain.

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The Salt
4:56 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

How Much Sugar Is Too Much? A New Tool Sheds Some Light

The average American consumes the equivalent of 19.5 teaspoons a day in added sugars, but there are no federal guidelines recommending a limit.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue November 25, 2014 4:09 pm

These days, sugar is pretty much everywhere in the American diet. A new initiative from the University of California, San Francisco spells out the health dangers of this glut of sugar in clear terms.

For the project, called SugarScience, a team of researchers distilled 8,000 studies and research papers and found strong evidence that overconsumption of added sugar contributes to three major chronic illnesses: heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and liver disease.

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The Salt
2:01 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

How 'Double Bucks' For Food Stamps Conquered Capitol Hill

These wooden tokens are handed out to shoppers who use SNAP benefits to purchase fresh produce at the Crossroads Farmers Market near Takoma Park, Md. Customers receive tokens worth twice the amount of money withdrawn from their SNAP benefits card — in other words, they get "double bucks."
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 11:52 am

The federal government is about to put $100 million behind a simple idea: doubling the value of SNAP benefits — what used to be called food stamps — when people use them to buy local fruits and vegetables.

This idea did not start on Capitol Hill. It began as a local innovation at a few farmers' markets. But it proved remarkably popular and spread across the country.

"It's so simple, but it has such profound effects both for SNAP recipients and for local farmers," says Mike Appell, a vegetable farmer who sells his produce at a market in Tulsa, Okla.

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The Salt
1:39 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Dunkin' Donuts Cronut

A look within
NPR

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 1:50 pm

The Cronut croissant-doughnut hybrid was the food phenomenon of 2013. There were long lines at the bakery where Cronuts were invented, and they were going for hundreds of dollars on the black market. They even inspired spinoffs like the doughscuit — a doughnut-biscuit hybrid — and the bronut, which was just a doughnut wearing an Ed Hardy T-shirt.

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The Salt
2:06 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Want To Grow These Apples? You'll Have To Join The Club

Pinatas are among the new generation of club apples — varieties that are not just patented, but also trademarked and controlled in such a way that only a select "club" of farmers can sell them.
Stemilt Growers LLC

Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 7:21 pm

There's an apple renaissance underway, an ever-expanding array of colors and tastes in the apple section of supermarkets and farmers markets.

Less visible is the economic machinery that's helping to drive this revolution. An increasing number of these new apples are "club apples" — varieties that are not just patented, but also trademarked and controlled in such a way that only a select "club" of farmers can sell them.

To understand the new trend, start with the hottest apple variety of recent years: Honeycrisp.

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The Salt
10:36 am
Sun November 9, 2014

Inhalable Chocolate? Ingestible Ideas From A Lab For The Senses

Le Laboratoire Cambridge features a restaurant, the Cafe ArtScience. The restaurant's bar features a glass-globed drink vaporizer called Le Whaf.
Andrea Shea WBUR

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 12:31 pm

David Edwards has been called a real-life Willy Wonka. The biomedical engineer has developed, among other things, inhalable chocolate, ice cream spheres in edible wrappers, and a device called the "oPhone," which can transmit and receive odors.

Edwards is based at Harvard, but much of his work has been done in Paris, at a facility he calls Le Laboratoire. Now he's opened a similar "culture lab" closer to home: Le Laboratoire Cambridge in Cambridge, Mass.

Cultural Research And Development

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Food
6:51 am
Sun November 9, 2014

McDonald's Enlists 'Mythbusters' Host To Explain Its Contents

Originally published on Sun November 9, 2014 11:13 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Health
4:51 pm
Sat November 8, 2014

Obese Women Make Less Money, Work More Physically Demanding Jobs

A recent study found obese women are more likely than other women to work physically demanding jobs, like the kind that call for hard hats. They're less likely to work in jobs that require a lot of interaction with clients and customers — jobs that, on average, make more money.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Sun November 9, 2014 6:34 am

Being overweight hurts your earnings, and being an overweight woman is particularly tough on income. Back in 2004, a landmark study found that a 65-pound increase in a woman's weight is associated with a 9-percent drop in earnings. The authors of the study noted that, in terms of wages, the "obesity penalty" basically amounted to losing three years of experience in the workplace.

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The Salt
6:03 am
Sat November 8, 2014

'Occupy The Farm': In Berkeley, The Revolution Will Be Irrigated

Peter Menchini

Originally published on Sun November 9, 2014 3:25 pm

In an open field on the northern edge of Berkeley, Calif., planting vegetables is the latest form of political insurrection.

On the morning of April 22, 2012, hundreds of people broke the lock on a fence surrounding the Gill Tract, a 14-acre plot of land owned by the University of California. They set about planting thousands of vegetable seedlings.

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The Salt
4:52 am
Sat November 8, 2014

The Ancient Art Of Cheese-Making Attracts Scientific Gawkers

Many artisan cheese producers never pasteurize their milk – it's raw. The milk's natural microbial community is still in there. This microbial festival gives cheese variety and intrigues scientists.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Sat November 8, 2014 11:33 am

From Swiss to cheddar, cheeses depend on the action of microbes for their flavor and aroma. But it's far from clear how these teams of microbes work together to ripen cheese.

To a cheese-maker, that's just the beauty of the art. To a scientist, it sounds like an experiment waiting to happen.

A handful of scientists who study cheese recently gathered to share their latest findings at a farm in the English county of Somerset. They know cheese well here — after all, Somerset invented cheddar.

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The Salt
1:23 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

Can A Smell-Emitting Fork Alter How We Savor Flavor?

The "Aroma R-evolution" kit comes with four forks and 21 vials full of aromas like olive oil, mint and smoke. You drop a dab of scented liquid onto the base of the fork, and the smell is supposed to subtly flavor the food you eat while using the utensil.
Claire Eggers NPR

Originally published on Fri November 7, 2014 4:22 pm

The flavors we savor are never just about taste.

Our taste buds allow us to distinguish the basic characteristics of food, like sweet, salty, bitter and sour. But we use our noses to sense more subtle flavors. Our sense of smell is what allows us to savor fine wines, delicately seasoned broths and complex curries.

So is it possible to trick our brains into thinking we're tasting something, when we're only just smelling it?

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Harvest Desk
10:16 am
Fri November 7, 2014

Sangamon, Menard, Logan, Christian, Mason Counties Added To Emerald Ash Borer Quarantine

Emerald ash borerCredit U.S Department of AgricultureEdit | Remove

Twelve counties have been added to Illinois' emerald ash borer (EAB) quarantine, the state Department of Agriculture announced today.

The new additions to the boundaries include seven counties where the tree-killing beetle was identified for the first time this year and five that are considered to be at risk of infestation.

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The Two-Way
7:34 am
Fri November 7, 2014

Scientist Who Invented CorningWare Glass Dies At 99

S. Donald Stookey, photographed in 1950, prepares to expose an image to ultraviolet light. Stookey forever changed cooking with the invention of CorningWare.
AP

Originally published on Fri November 7, 2014 11:19 am

Check your kitchen cabinets — there's a good chance a CorningWare casserole dish is inside.

If there isn't, you probably know someone who has one. CorningWare, the popular white cookware often decorated with blue cornflowers, has been a fixture at family gatherings and potluck dinners for decades.

S. Donald Stookey, credited with creating a synthetic ceramic glass in the 1950s that led to CorningWare, died Tuesday at age 99.

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The Salt
11:28 am
Thu November 6, 2014

Florida Activists Arrested For Serving Food To Homeless

Homeless advocate Arnold Abbott, 90, director of the nonprofit group Love Thy Neighbor Inc., prepares a salad Wednesday in the kitchen of The Sanctuary Church in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Abbott was recently arrested, along with two pastors, for feeding the homeless in a Fort Lauderdale park.
Lynne Sladky AP

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 2:12 pm

Cities are increasingly getting tough on food distribution programs for the homeless. According to the Sun Sentinel, a 90-year-old activist and two pastors from two churches in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., were arrested at a park on Sunday and then again on Wednesday for doing what they've been doing there for years: serving meals to the homeless.

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The Salt
5:22 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

How Did Berkeley Pass A Soda Tax? Bloomberg's Cash Didn't Hurt

Berkeley's efforts to pass a penny-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks faced opposition with deep pockets — but it also got sizable cash infusions from some big-name donors.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 9:47 am

It's no secret that the American Beverage Association spent a lot of money to defeat soda tax initiatives in California this election season.

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The Salt
2:21 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

Prison Dairy Gives Inmates Job Skills — And A Sense Of Purpose

Jose Franco and his colleagues at the Corcoran prison dairy milk about 300 cows a day.
Lisa Morehouse

Originally published on Wed November 5, 2014 4:45 pm

Making license plates is the stereotypical job for a prisoner, but in California's Central Valley, a group of inmates are doing very different work, supplying milk to almost every prisoner in the state system.

They earn just 35 to 95 cents an hour, but inmates at Corcoran state prison say the job gives them plenty of other benefits.

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