Harvest Desk

The Two-Way
9:55 am
Wed February 4, 2015

Thousands Of Cats Destined For Vietnamese Tables Are Buried Instead

This picture taken on Jan. 27, 2015 shows a seized cat in one of the cages being transported in a truck in Hanoi.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 4, 2015 12:34 pm

Vietnamese authorities have buried thousands of cats, many of them apparently still alive, that were destined for restaurant tables. The Associated Press says the felines were culled because they posed an environmental and health risk.

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The Salt
5:22 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

White Potato Redux: Experts Say Spuds Are Not Nutritional Duds

The reputation of the humble spud may be on the mend.
jamonation/Flickr

Originally published on Thu February 5, 2015 5:45 pm

White potatoes have gotten a bad rap.

All the starch contained in spuds can raise blood sugar. And potatoes — which are often consumed with loads of fat (think french fries and chips) — may not do our waistlines any favor.

But the reputation of the humble spud may be on the mend.

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The Salt
2:06 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

Love Hot Sauce? Your Personality May Be A Good Predictor

Ready to feel the burn? Check out our tips for tiptoeing into hot sauce.
John Kuntz The Plain Dealer/Landov

Originally published on Thu February 5, 2015 10:05 am

A Myers-Briggs personality test can help you determine whether you're an extrovert. But could your love of hot sauce reveal something about your temperament, too?

As we have reported, back in the 1980s, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania named Paul Rozin documented a connection between liking roller coasters and liking spicy food.

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The Salt
12:37 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

How Fish Could Change What It Means For Food To Be Organic

At Troutdale Farm in Missouri, farmhand Vince Orcutt pulls out rainbow trout ready to harvest.
Kristofor Husted/Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Tue February 3, 2015 1:58 pm

When it comes to organic certification, food producers must follow strict guidelines.

For an organic steak, for instance, the cow it came from has to be raised on organic feed, and the feed mix can't be produced with pesticides, chemical fertilizers or genetic engineering.

Now, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is considering a set of rules for organic farmed fish. Several consumer groups, though, say the recommended rules don't go far enough to meet the strict standards of other organic foods.

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The Two-Way
10:59 am
Tue February 3, 2015

New York State Clamps Down On Herbal Supplements

DNA tests were run on supplements claiming to contain ginko bilboa, St. John's wort, ginseng and echinacea.
Chris Hondros Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 3, 2015 6:05 pm

Updated at 7 p.m. ET

Target says it will pull the supplements identified by the New York attorney general from its stores and website. The company says, with its vendor, it will investigate and will cooperate with the attorney general.

Walmart says it will pull the items from its shelves in New York, and that "based on testing performed by our suppliers we have not found any issues with the relevant products."

Original post:

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Harvest Desk
5:15 pm
Mon February 2, 2015

Vague Laws Can Stand In The Way Of Unlocking Hemp's Benefits

Some hemp varieties can grow up to 20 feet tall, like this plant growing in a Lafayette, Colorado warehouse. (File: Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media)

Humans have been growing hemp for centuries. Hemp-based foods have taken off recently. So have lotions and soaps that use hemp oil. There’s evidence that different compounds in cannabis could be used as medicine and hope that its chemical compounds could hold keys to treatments for Parkinson’s disease and childhood epilepsy.

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The Salt
4:43 pm
Mon February 2, 2015

How Unboiled Eggs Could Help Fight Food Waste

Steve Kudlacek is an undergraduate at the University of California, Irvine who helped Professor Greg Weiss develop a way to unboil an egg.
Steve Zylius UC Irvine Communications

Originally published on Thu February 5, 2015 10:05 am

Any chef can whip up an egg over-easy, fried or poached. But what about unboiled?

Leave that to a group of scientific eggsperts at the University of California, Irvine, the University of Western Australia and Flinders University. Recently, they figured out how take an egg from a fresh to a boiled back to an unboiled state.

If you were wondering, the unboiled result doesn't much resemble the original egg at all.

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The Salt
1:01 pm
Mon February 2, 2015

Sandwich Monday: Meow Parlour

One of these is up for adoption.
NPR

This week, my friend Allie and I went to New York City's first cat cafe, Meow Parlour. Parlour is spelled the European way, because cat hair in your coffee is very a la mode in Paris.

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The Salt
4:04 am
Mon February 2, 2015

Here's How To End Iowa's Great Nitrate Fight

A cereal rye cover crop grows (at left) in a field where corn was recently harvested. Cover crops can capture nutrients such as nitrate and prevent them from polluting nearby streams.
Courtesy of Paul Jasa/University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Originally published on Mon February 2, 2015 12:09 pm

Three weeks ago, Sara Carlson was driving to her job in Ames, Iowa, when she turned on the radio and heard me talking about nitrates in Iowa's water.

"And I was like, 'I really hope he nails this,' " she says.

This topic is Carlson's specialty. She works with a group called Practical Farmers of Iowa. These farmers are devoted to farming in ways that protect the environment.

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The Salt
4:44 am
Sun February 1, 2015

College Life Doesn't Have To Mean Crummy Cuisine, Says Dorm Room Chef

No oven necessary: Hu makes her pumpkin cake in the microwave.
Courtesy of Emily Hu

Originally published on Wed February 4, 2015 11:22 am

Emily Hu is a veritable master chef of the dorm room.

No oven? No problem. The college student is skilled at navigating the cooking limitations of campus living — she can whip up cakes with just four ingredients and a microwave, and make muffins in a toaster oven.

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Illinois Issues - Harvest
12:00 am
Sun February 1, 2015

Biologists Hope Ospreys Find Their Way Back To Illinois

An osprey in flight
Credit Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Ospreys, brought to Illinois as part of a project to restore the endangered hawk species, have flown the coop for warmer climates. But those working with the birds hope to see them return to the state in the near future. 

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Illinois Issues - Harvest
12:00 am
Sun February 1, 2015

University Group Seeks Change In Cost Estimate On Carbon Emissions

A team of economists is calling for changes to the way the federal government figures the cost associated with carbon emissions. 

The Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) is what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other federal entities use to estimate the monetary damage caused by carbon dioxide emissions. The current SCC is estimated to be $37 per metric ton of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. The number is used to consider the value of plans to address climate change by cutting emissions.

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Illinois Issues – Notewothy
12:00 am
Sun February 1, 2015

Illinois is nation’s biggest center for food transport

  More food passes through Illinois annually than any other state in the nation, according to a new report.

Megan Konar, with the University of Illinois’ Institute of Government and Public Affairs, found that of the 400 million tons of food that move around the country annually, more than 70 million tons pass through the state. The volume of food that passes through Illinois would be enough to feed every resident for about five and a half years.

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The Salt
5:30 pm
Sat January 31, 2015

Surströmming Revisited: Eating Sweden's Famously Stinky Fish

Surströmming, a fermented herring considered to be a famous delicacy in Sweden, is also known as one of the most pungent foods in the world.
Pauline Conradsson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 6:39 pm

More than a decade ago, NPR's Ari Shapiro attempted to eat a fermented Swedish herring called surströmming, one of the most pungent foods in the world. It did not go well. Twelve years later, on a reporting trip to Sweden, Ari decided it was time to face his fears and try the fish again.

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The Salt
4:46 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

The Real Super Sunday Battle Is In The Snack Bowl

The defending champion and favorite remains the chicken wing. But underdog snacks like the carrot are trying to elbow their way into the competition.
Leif Parsons for NPR; Source: whologwhy/Flickr

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 5:11 pm

Here at The Salt, we have been overwhelmed with emails brimming with factoids and completely unsubstantiated assertions about the food that Americans will consume on Sunday as they watch gigantic athletes burn through calories at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

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The Salt
4:31 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

Shake Shack Sizzles With IPO As McDonald's Fizzles

The founder and chairman of Shake Shack, Danny Meyer, visits the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 7:40 pm

Shake Shack, the Manhattan-based burger chain, has a cult following, and investors gobbled up shares Friday when it became a publicly traded company.

In its initial public offering, shares were priced at $21, but they jumped to nearly $50 as trading began, and closed the day just under $46.

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NPR Story
4:07 am
Fri January 30, 2015

Multivitamins: The Case For Taking One A Day

Ideally, we'd all eat super healthful diets. But that's not the world we live in, and multivitamins may help bridge the nutritional gaps.
Jasper White Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 1:52 pm

In an ideal world, we'd all be eating copious amounts of nutrient-dense foods such as fruits and vegetables — and getting all the essential vitamins and nutrients our bodies need for optimal health.

But, as a nation, we're far from that healthful eating ideal.

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The Salt
5:44 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Blending Vs. Juicing? How To Get The Most Nutrition From Your Fruit

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 9:07 am

At a time when Americans consume, on average, only about one serving of fruit and one serving of vegetables a day when we're supposed to consume five to 13 servings, the appeal of juice and smoothies is pretty obvious.

Juice can be a convenient way to get more servings of fruit and veggies. And, hey, making your own juice concoctions at home can be fun.

So, here's the question: What's the better gadget, a juicer or a blender? Does one do a better job of boosting the nutrients in the fruit (and veggies)?

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The Salt
3:56 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Food Industry Drags Its Heels On Recyclable And Compostable Packaging

Environmental groups cited Wendy's as "Poor" in the area of packaging sustainability. One reason is that the chain still uses black plastic bowls, which cannot be recycled.
Lynne Sladky AP

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 5:46 pm

Let's face it: We are people who consume many of our meals on the go. That means we're not eating on real plates or bowls but out of plastic containers and paper boxes. And perhaps daily, we drink our coffees and sodas out of plastic or plastic-lined paper cups.

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The Salt
6:12 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Coffee Horror: Parody Pokes At Environmental Absurdity Of K-Cups

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 2:29 pm

You want a cup of decaf. Your significant other is craving the fully caffeinated stuff. With the simple push of a button, Keurig's single-serving K-Cup coffee pods can make both of you happy.

But those convenient little plastic pods can pile up quickly, and they're not recyclable. And that's created a monster of an environmental mess, says Mike Hachey. Literally.

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The Two-Way
2:37 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Live, From Iceland: It's A Hamburger

An exhibit called "The last McDonald's hamburger in Iceland" now has a webcam devoted to it. The burger was purchased in 2009.
Bus Hostel Reykjavik

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 3:29 pm

They call it "The last McDonald's hamburger in Iceland." Purchased more than five years ago, it has been displayed in the Na­tional Mu­seum of Ice­land. Now a webcam has been devoted to the hamburger (with a side of fries), among the last sold by the American company in the country.

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The Salt
10:08 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Why Dump Treated Wastewater When You Could Make Beer With It?

Clean Water Services held a brewing competition in Sept. 2014, inviting 13 homebrewers to make beer from its purified wastewater (as well as water from other sources). Now the company is asking the state for permission for brewers to use its wastewater product exclusively to make beer.
Courtesy of Clean Water Services

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 10:33 am

Just when we thought craft beer couldn't get any zanier, we learn that Oregonians want to make it with treated wastewater.

Clean Water Services of Hillsboro says it has an advanced treatment process that can turn sewage into drinking water. The company, which runs four wastewater treatment plants in the Portland metro area, wants to show off its "high-purity" system by turning recycled wastewater into beer.

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Harvest Desk
9:54 am
Wed January 28, 2015

How Much Does Farming Feed The Carbon Cycle?

Crops in the Midwest take in and give off so much carbon that the impact can be seen across the northern hemisphere. (Courtesy USDA NRCS South Dakota)

Scientists have noticed a change in the atmosphere. Plants are taking in more carbon dioxide during the growing season and giving off more carbon in the fall and winter. Recent research shows the massive corn crop in the Corn Belt may be contributing to that deeper breath.

It comes down to the Carbon Cycle. Over the winter when corn fields lay dormant, corn stalks and roots break down, sending CO2 into the air. Then in the summer when a new crop is growing, it takes up carbon from the atmosphere.

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The Salt
3:48 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Watch 'Bob's Burgers'? Now You Can Eat Them, Too

Bob Belcher, titular hero of Bob's Burgers, bites into one of his creations. Each episode features daily burger specials with chuckle-inducing names. The burgers were born in the show writers' imagination and brought to life in Cole Bowden's kitchen.
Fox via Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 4:34 pm

The animated Fox series Bob's Burgers centers on the Belcher family, who is trying to run a halfway successful restaurant. A cult favorite, the show is full of pathos and humor — including the daily burger specials with chuckle-inducing names featured in each episode.

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The Salt
10:45 am
Tue January 27, 2015

Beef Packers Block Plan To Revive Growth-Promoting Drug

Cattle in holding pens at the Simplot feedlot located next to a slaughterhouse in Burbank, Washington on Dec. 26, 2013. Merck & Co Inc is testing lower dosages of its controversial cattle growth drug Zilmax drug in an effort to resume its sales to the $44 billion U.S. beef industry.
Ross Courtney Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 1:08 pm

For more than a year, a once-popular drug that makes cattle put on weight faster has been stuck in a kind of veterinary purgatory.

As far as the Food and Drug Administration is concerned, the drug, Zilmax, is legal to use. But large meat packers, which dominate the industry, have ostracized it after the drug was accused of making animals suffer. The drug's manufacturer, Merck, has been working on a plan to rehabilitate it. But that effort has stalled.

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Harvest Desk
7:51 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Poultry Industry Warily Watches Bird Flu Outbreak

The turkeys in this barn on Noel Thompson’s farm in central Iowa are tested routinely for disease, including avian influenza. No bird flu has been found in the commercial poultry industry in this country. (Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media)

Update: Avian influenza was found in a Foster Farms turkey flock in Stanislaus County, Calif., the company announced Monday. The outbreak is thought to be the first infection of this type of bird flu in a commercial flock in the U.S. In a previous version of this post, the location of the outbreak was incorrectly identified.

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The Salt
3:15 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Sandwich Monday: Girl Scout Cookie Coffeemate

Made with real Girl Scouts!
NPR

Used to be, you had to briefly stop eating Girl Scout Cookies while you finished your morning cup of coffee. But no more. Coffeemate is now making Girl Scout Cookie-flavored creamer, so you can now ingest them 24 hours a day, so long as you can find a friend to shove them in your mouth while you sleep. We decided to sample the caramel and coconut version, which is basically a liquid form of Samoas.

Miles: This is better than the Boy Scout Cookie coffee creamer, which tastes like pinewood derby cars.

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The Salt
2:11 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Tossing Out Food In The Trash? In Seattle, You'll Be Fined For That

Seattle garbage collector Anousone Sadettanh empties a small residential garbage bin into his truck in 2014. It is now illegal to toss out food with the trash in the city. Residents will get warning tags for now; the city will start imposing fines in July.
Elaine Thompson AP

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 12:15 pm

In Seattle, wasting food will now earn you a scarlet letter — well, a scarlet tag, to be more accurate.

The bright red tag, posted on a garbage bin, tells everyone who sees it that you've violated a new city law that makes it illegal to put food into trash cans.

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The Salt
6:39 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Will Environmentalists Fall For Faux Fish Made From Plants?

Chef James Corwell's nigiri sushi rolls made with Tomato Sushi, a plant-based tuna alternative, in San Francisco.
Alastair Bland for NPR

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 12:15 pm

It's a dead ringer for Ahi tuna sashimi. It cuts into glistening slivers that are firm and juicy. And it's got a savory bite.

But this flesh-like food is not fish. It's made of tomato, and it's what San Francisco chef James Corwell hopes could be one small step toward saving imperiled species of fish, like bluefin tuna.

"What I want is to create a great sushi experience without the tuna," Corwell tells The Salt.

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The Two-Way
6:04 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

'Modern Farmer' Owner Says It Will Live On, Despite Staff Exit

Modern Farmer has a particular fondness for stories about anything having to do with goats.
Courtesy of Modern Farmer

A hip chronicle of ag life isn't dead yet, the owner of Modern Farmer says. The National Magazine Award winner lost its last paid editorial staff Friday, The New York Times reports. But the story comes with a clarification: Modern Farmer's owner says he'll publish again this summer.

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