Harvest Desk

Copyright 2015 Louisville Public Media. To see more, visit http://www.louisvillepublicmedia.org/.

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

Construction workers clamp scaffolding onto the historic facade of Colmado Quilez, an old-fashioned general store selling wine and cheese in downtown Barcelona.

One hundred years ago, customers rolled up here in horse-drawn carts. Now BMWs park on the Rambla de Catalunya, which has become one of Barcelona's poshest avenues.

So posh, in fact, that this family business can no longer afford to stay.

Locally Sourced Vegetarian Citrus Fizz? $5.99. Grass Fed Himalayan Tuna Salad? That'll be $9.99. Taking gentrification and a rent hike into your own hands? Priceless.

That's how the neighbors at Jesse's Deli in Brooklyn's Boerum Hill neighborhood are trying to save their local convenience store.

Owner Jesse Itayim opened his doors in 1984 at the corner of Bergen and Bonds Avenue, spending time in that location and another before moving to his current location, 402 Atlantic Ave., in 1989.

Would you drink fewer cans of soda if a national tax jacked up the price?

When it comes to schemes to counter the staggering rates of obesity and diabetes around the world, there's a growing consensus that taxes that force consumers to reckon, via their pocketbooks, with their food and drink habits might be the way to go.

But since so few countries — or cities — have dared to try a "sin" tax on soda or junk food, no one really knows if they'd actually work.

The Man v. Horse Marathon starts out like a typical cross-country race. Hundreds of runners stream past the starting line, through the town of Llanwrtyd Wells and then up into the Welsh hills.

But 15 minutes later, a second set of competitors takes off. Fifty horses and their riders chase the runners up and down ridges, across streams, and past hundreds of bewildered sheep.

One of the great autumn pastimes of the 1800s was nutting — where families, friends and farmers went around clubbing stately chestnut trees, or shinnying up 100-foot tall trunks to pound the branches. A fusillade of nuts would fall to the ground and be scooped up instantly, to be transformed into pan-fried bread, porridge, pickles, preserves, cream pie — and countless other nutritious favorites of colonial times.

Here's a sweet notion: Eat a little chocolate each day and you could be doing your heart a favor.

A new study published in the journal Heart found that habitual chocolate eaters had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and strokes compared to people who didn't eat chocolate.

The next time you're out pulling weeds in the garden or stepping over a dandelion sticking out from the cracks of the sidewalk, consider where these wild greens could go: your salad bowl.

On the bicentennial of the Battle of Waterloo, Napoleon Bonaparte's most celebrated statement about food and warfare — "An army marches on its stomach" — is worth recalling.

Except there is no record of him saying it. Just as there is no record of Marie Antoinette saying, "Let them eat cake."

If he did say it, the words would have been as hollow as the stomachs of his soldiers. Though one of the greatest military generals of all time, Napoleon was surprisingly negligent about feeding his army.

On a recent morning at Sakuma Brothers Farm, eight Latino workers sat on a bench seat behind a tractor, planting strawberry roots that will bear fruit in a few years. Dust masks and goggles covered their faces.

Sakuma Brothers runs fruit operations in Washington state and in California, selling berries to top brands like Driscoll's, Haagen-Dazs and Yoplait. The four-generation family farm is an institution in this part of the state.

It's easy to blame someone else for food waste. If this is really a $2.6 trillion issue, as the United Nations estimates, then who's in charge of fixing it?

Turns out, we the eaters play a big role here.

This Friday is the 150th observation of Juneteeth — June 19, 1865 —the day that news of emancipation finally reached slaves in Texas, the last to learn that they had been freed. Some call this day the "Black 4th of July," and each year people across the country celebrate with picnics, festivals, and barbecue.

The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday announced that food companies have three years to remove all trans fats from processed food. The long-expected move is aimed at making food more healthful.

Back in the day, this saying applied to pretty much everyone: "I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream."

Nowadays, though, one friend is probably screaming for gelato, another for a vegan frozen dessert and yet someone else for sherbet.

But it's gelato, ice cream's Italian cousin, that's keeping more customers coming back. Gelato sales rose from $11 million in 2009 to an estimated $214 million in 2014, which has kept frozen dessert sales afloat, according to the market research firm Mintel.

Here's a scenario lots of us can relate to: tossing a bag of lettuce because it sat too long in the back of the fridge.

It doesn't take a long time for greens to turn to slime.

Bag by bag, this waste adds up. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the typical American family throws out about $1,600 worth of food each year. And what we consumers toss out is just the last step in a long chain of waste.

Food is lost on farms, during processing and trucking. Supermarkets toss out unsold food.

In the ocean off of Massachusetts, an unlikely alliance of scientists and fishermen is on a quest. They're looking for mating codfish. The goal is not only to revive a depleted fish population but to save an endangered fishing community as well.

Cod were once so plentiful in New England waters that people used to say you could almost walk across their backs. Cod fueled a huge fishing industry. But now they're scarce, mostly from overfishing.

Boston's North End neighborhood is a popular destination for authentic Italian food. But this weekend, local eateries got some unlikely competition: the Olive Garden food truck.

The green truck, emblazoned with the words "Breadstick Nation" and "Italian Kitchen," found a parking spot on the edge of the Boston neighborhood where Italian food is most sacred.

That's right: Olive Garden is jumping on the food truck craze. The Italian restaurant chain is sending trucks around the country to hand out free samples of its newest menu item: breadstick sandwiches.

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

When we asked adults who play sports which one they play the most, golf topped the list. That's right: Our poll finds that a day on the links beat out soccer, softball and tennis.

My first reaction was: Whaaat? Golf is played by people riding around in motorized carts; how much exercise could you possibly get?

Many American towns put the "Closed" sign up by 6 p.m. But night markets are drawing people out in Minnesota, Oklahoma and Virginia, with food, art and music from the local community.

The model for the nocturnal markets is the Asian night market, where people eat, shop and socialize and tourists discover delicacies like live scorpions and roasted sea horse until the wee hours of the morning.

What if farmers, instead of picking up some agricultural chemicals at their local dealer, picked up a load of agricultural microbes instead?

It's something to contemplate, because some big names in the pesticide business — like Bayer and Monsanto — are putting money behind attempts to turn soil microbes into tools that farmers can use to give their crops a boost.

It's a symptom of the soaring interest in the ways microbes affect all of life. In our bodies, they help fight off disease. In the soil, they help deliver nutrients to plants, and perhaps much more.

It's a sunny afternoon on the port of Laki, a fishing village on the Aegean island of Leros. The seaside tavernas are filled with happy tourists and local families listening to traditional violin music and eating fresh grilled fish.

But fisherman Parisi Tsakirios is not celebrating. He's on his wooden fishing boat, cleaning a bright yellow net. Two days at sea, he says, and barely a catch.

Nobody really likes to be graded. Especially when you don't get an A.

Some organic farmers are protesting a new grading system for produce and flowers that's coming into force at Whole Foods. They say it devalues the organic label and could become an "existential threat."

Young white women like indoor tanning a lot.

Nearly a quarter of them hit a tanning bed in the past year. (The beds are even found on many college campuses.)

Twenty minutes before the San Diego Tuna Harbor Dockside Market was set to open, the line was 75 people deep and starting to curl past the pier. The crowd here last Saturday didn't come for the local sand dabs or trap-caught black cod. They were bargain hunters looking to score freshly caught, whole Pacific bluefin tuna for the unbelievably low price of only $2.99 a pound.

That's less per pound for this fish — a delicacy prized for its fatty flesh, whose numbers are rapidly dwindling — than the cost of sliced turkey meat at a supermarket deli.

Flip through today's bestselling diet books and you won't see any references to religion. From Paleo to vegan to raw, nutrition gurus package their advice as sound, settled science. It doesn't matter whether meat is blamed for colon cancer or grains are called out as fattening poison — there's no shortage of citations and technical terms (tertiary amines, gliadin, ketogenesis) to back up the claims.

A little more than 10 years ago, Texas banned soda machines and deep fryers in public school cafeterias.

Now the state's current agriculture commissioner, Sid Miller, wants to do away with that ban. He believes these kinds of restrictions should be in the hands of local school boards — not state regulators. But some students are among those who aren't happy about this idea.

Like Us, Chimps Go Bananas For Booze

Jun 10, 2015

Chimpanzees are smart. They can master sign language, swimming and even cooking. Now, evidence shows they are using their smarts to sip wine.

The federal government’s complex set of rules meant to spur a renewable fuels industry has fallen behind one of its main goals: cut greenhouse emissions from gasoline.

Nearly a decade after the rules were drafted, low-carbon fuels have yet to arrive. The Environmental Protection Agency says it will propose tweaks to the nation’s ethanol policy by June 1, and the changes will mark a crucial point for the next generation of biofuels, which have so far failed to flourish.

Tony Lordi sighs as he reaches into the pocket of his white uniform pants and pulls out his iPhone.

These days, Lordi, the production manager at Judy's Bakery in Kansas City, Mo., checks with his supplier every day. He needs to know the price of what's become liquid gold for commercial bakers: "liquid egg."

"The market's like gas prices at this point," he says.

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