Harvest Desk

The Salt
12:12 pm
Wed March 4, 2015

Bon Bon Jovi, Piggy Izalea, Pork Floyd: Fun With Foodie Band Names

Courtesy of Baconeers

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 5:59 pm

We here at The Salt can't resist a good pun, so we couldn't help but chuckle at a #FoodieBandNames hashtag that began playing out among the foodie Twitterverse on Tuesday.

It all started when Zagat called for people to tweet their favorite mashups of foods and bands.

With a little time to marinate, the tweets only improved.

Cue the inevitable Ariana Grande coffee humor...

And this blogger's favorite:

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The Two-Way
11:52 am
Wed March 4, 2015

Spain's Wine Exports Soar 22 Percent — But Profits Fall

Spain is exporting record amounts of wine. Earlier this year, Spain's King Felipe VI (center) and Queen Letizia toasted with Freixenet president Josep Lluis Bonet during a visit to the winemaker's headquarters in Sant Sadurni d'Anoia, Spain.
Susanna Saez EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Thu March 5, 2015 7:34 pm

Spain's wine industry had a record year in 2014, posting numbers that could propel it past Italy as the world's biggest wine exporter. Annual results have not yet been reported in Italy, which was the top exporter last year.

The growth is due to a bumper crop at Spain's vineyards in 2013 that allowed it to surpass France in the export rankings. But a Spanish industry group says that despite 22 percent annual growth in exports compared with 2013, Spain's overall wine profits fell 2 percent in the same span.

From Madrid, Lauren Frayer reports:

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The Salt
6:26 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

Why Shark Finning Bans Aren't Keeping Sharks Off The Plate (Yet)

A waitress serves shark fin soup in a restaurant in Guangzhou, in southern China's Guangdong province on Aug. 10, 2014.
Johannes Eisele AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 10:37 am

For decades, sharks have gotten a raw deal on the high seas, where fishermen have butchered them alive by the hundreds of millions and thrown their carcasses overboard, keeping only the prized fins to sell to Asian markets. This gruesome practice — called finning — has come under fire from conservationists, who say the shark fin trade has decimated species like silky, oceanic whitetip and dusky sharks around the world.

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The Salt
3:40 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

Tea Tuesdays: Kenyan Farmers See Green In The Color Purple

Three varieties of Kenyan purple tea from What-Cha: silver needle purple varietal white tea (from left), hand-rolled purple varietal oolong, steamed purple varietal green tea-style tea.
Jeff Koehler for NPR

Originally published on Tue March 10, 2015 1:40 pm

Across the picturesque highlands of Kenya's Great Rift Valley, fields of tea shimmer in shades of emerald, lime and moss under the equatorial sky.

Some of these fields, though, are now darkened with patches of purple. The purple comes from leaves with high levels of anthocyanins, natural pigments that also give cranberries, blueberries and grapes their color.

These purple leaves are Africa's newest — and most intriguing — tea.

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The Salt
12:18 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

From War To Plow: Why USDA Wants Veterans To Take Up Farming

Three years ago, Air Force veteran Sara Creech quit her job as a nurse and bought a 43-acre farm in North Salem, Ind. She named her farm Blue Yonder Organic.
John Wendle for Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 3:26 pm

Sara Creech has grown dependent on farming. She started out planting an orchard of fruit trees: apples, peaches, cherries and pears. She added berry bushes and rows of vegetables.

And then she bought her first chickens.

"A lot of people call chickens the gateway animal," says Creech, who lives in rural North Salem, Ind. "Like once you have a chicken on the farm, then you end up getting sheep on the farm, and then you end up getting horses, and cows. And then it just explodes from there."

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Shots - Health News
4:50 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

Walk A Little Faster To Get The Most Out of Your Exercise Time

Government guidelines say exercising 2.5 hours a week will keep you healthy, but a study says you can get the job done in less time if you rev it up.
iStockphoto

Some people — who are they? — have no problem fitting regular aerobic exercise into their lives. The rest of us want to know how much we have to exercise to see health benefits. Now we have some answers: You may want to go just a tad longer and harder than you'd thought.

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The Salt
4:30 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

Sandwich Monday: The Funnel Cake Corn Dog

Like five fat, delicious fingers.
NPR

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 3:40 pm

When the corn dog was discovered in an Iowa cave in the 1950s, explorers dated it at roughly 40,000 years old. Its recipe has gone largely unchanged since then, though few makers use real glyptodon meat anymore.

Recently, though, the dog has had an evolutionary transformation. There's now a State Fair Brand Funnel Cake Corn Dog, a turkey and pork hot dog wrapped in a sweet funnel cake batter.

Eva: Time to reinforce the roller coaster.

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The Salt
2:10 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

Your Grandparents Spent More Of Their Money On Food Than You Do

In 2013, Americans on average spent 5.6 percent of their disposable personal incomes on food they consumed at home.
April L. Brown ASSOCIATED PRESS

Originally published on Thu March 5, 2015 1:11 pm

When admiring such enticing items at the grocery store as an avocado for $1.50, an $8 chocolate bar or fresh wild Alaskan salmon for $20 a pound, you've probably experienced sticker shock.

Indeed, retailers and restaurants offer myriad opportunities to blow your food budget in one fell swoop.

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Goats and Soda
1:45 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

Elephant On The Menu? It's Not Just A Birthday Dish For Robert Mugabe

An African elephant in Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park is a draw for tourists.
Martin Bureau AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 1:00 pm

Newspapers around the world have reported that elephant was to be served at a $1 million birthday party for Robert Mugabe, the prime minister of Zimbabwe, held on Saturday.

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The Salt
4:56 am
Sun March 1, 2015

Italian Cheese Lovers Find Their Bovine Match Through 'Adopt A Cow'

In exchange for a fee of 60 euros, members of Adopt A Cow get an assortment of aged and soft cheeses made from the milk of cows like Mery.
Christopher Livesay for NPR

Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 2:07 pm

Foodies have long savored the cheeses of the Italian Alps. Dairy farmers still make it by hand, but unless you live in the region or can travel there, you'll have a hard time getting your hands on it. Much of this precious cheese isn't exported.

As you might imagine, this has not been good for business and the Alpine cheese makers have been slowly disappearing. That is until some farmers banded together — with the help of the Internet — and came up with an unusual adoption program called Adopt A Cow.

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Illinois Issues – Noteworthy
12:00 am
Sun March 1, 2015

The Raw Milk Underground

Farmer Joe Zanger has four Guernsey cows producing milk on his dairy farm in Liberty, in western Illinois.
Credit Abby Wendle / Illinois Issues

Regulators of the dairy drink work to change its legal status.

This story comes to Illinois Issues through a partnership with Harvest Public Media, which is a reporting collaboration of public media stations throughout the Midwest that focuses on food and agriculture issues. For more information, visit www.harvestpublicmedia.org.

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The Salt
8:26 am
Sat February 28, 2015

Silly, Saucy, Scary: Photos Show The Many Faces Of Ugly Fruit

Originally published on Thu March 26, 2015 4:34 pm

When it comes to nutrition, fruits and vegetables are usually the most virtuous denizens of the dinner plate.

But it turns out, wholesome produce can also get pretty raunchy — like the randy tomatoes in this image, which our standards editor deemed too "saucy" for us to embed here.

Or needy, like this eggplant, clearly shopping for a hug ...

Or moody, like this forlorn-looking apple ...

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The Salt
12:52 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

When Food Is Too Good To Waste, College Kids Pick Up The Scraps

Student volunteers with The Campus Kitchens Project evaluate produce. The initiative gets high-school and college students to scavenge food from cafeterias, grocery stores and farmers' markets, cook it and deliver it to organizations serving low-income people in their communities.
Courtesy of DC Central Kitchen

Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 8:50 am

Back in 2011 when I was a student at the University of Maryland in College Park I once noticed a massive pile of trash in front of a dining hall. A closer look revealed that it was mostly food — a half-eaten sandwich, a browning apple and what appeared to be the remains of the day's lunch special.

The heap was gross, but intriguing. Turned out it was a stunt to get students thinking about how much food they throw out each day.

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The Salt
2:38 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Stone Age Britons Were Eating Wheat 2,000 Years Before They Farmed It

A field of unharvested wheat is seen in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, England, in 2012. Wheat wasn't cultivated in Britain until some 6,000 years ago, but DNA evidence suggests early Britons were eating the grain at least 8,000 years ago.
Darren Staples Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri February 27, 2015 9:45 am

Scientists have learned a lot about our distant ancestors from DNA that's thousands of years old. Like the fact that we've inherited some Neanderthal DNA, so apparently our ancestors mated with them. Now there's new research from DNA that moves on from paleo-mating to paleo-eating.

About 10,000 years ago, hunter-gatherers in the Near East figured out how to grow cereal crops like wheat. The farming culture spread, and wherever it went, people traded in their spears for plows.

That's the conventional view. Apparently, it was more complicated than that.

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Found Recipes
3:50 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Don't Be Fooled By The Fishy Ingredients: This Burger Is Delicious

Chef Marcus Samuelsson first fell in love with a version of this burger at a tiny fish shack in Barbados.
Paul Brissman Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 8:42 pm

Have you ever fallen in love with a sandwich? Maybe one where the mix of ingredients might otherwise say, "No, I am so wrong for you!" And yet ... it's delicious.

That once happened to chef Marcus Samuelsson in Barbados. He has a ritual whenever he travels to a new place — ask the cabdriver, "Where do you eat?" On that trip he ended up at a tiny fish shack called Cuz, named after its owner.

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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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