Harvest Desk

In South Carolina, catastrophic rainfall is making this a grim year for one of the state's biggest industries: farming. Just when fall crops were ready to harvest, extensive flooding drowned fields and sidelined farm workers.

Coffee lovers may have noticed a new offering in their local cafés. Cascara is a tea-like drink with a fine, fruity flavor and plenty of caffeine, and it's popping up everywhere. For this new addition to chalkboards nationwide, credit Aida Batlle.

Chances are, you've picked up some chatter about the new global talks on climate change. If you can't quite see how it matters to you, personally, you might want to take a peek inside your pantry. Or your candy jar. Because it might just affect your access to everything from cheese to chocolate.

"It's very clear now that a changing climate will have a profound effect on agriculture," says Molly Brown, a geographer at the University of Maryland.

Take one simple example, she says: Vermont.

Providence is considered by many to be the finest restaurant in Los Angeles, a gourmet seafood eatery run by chef Michael Cimarusti. He's won several James Beard awards and two highly coveted Michelin stars. He is also a fisherman who is piloting a program to support local, small-scale fishermen.

Today's restaurants abandoning the tipping system are part of a long heritage of people — including Emerson and Twain — raging against the gratuity system.

Matt Turner/flickr

How many are there?  Chuck Pell says maybe 20 or more.

He's the Chairman of the Sangamon County Historic Preservation Commission.  The group has teamed up with the county's Farm Bureau to find out more about the long standing structures.

"I am confident many of these we will learn about are those type of families where they are fairly confident of their history of the last 150 to 200 years," Pell said.  He points out the homes don't need to be a current residence. 

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Native American Tribe Bets On Olive Oil

Nov 29, 2015

The bucolic Capay Valley is about an hour outside Sacramento, Calif., and its ranches, alfalfa fields and small, organic produce farms have earned it a reputation as an agricultural gem. It's pretty serene, except for the cacophony inside the valley's most lucrative business, the Cache Creek Casino.

How Do We Get To Love At 'First Bite'?

Nov 28, 2015
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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

While others are thinking about the holidays, in Florida November is the beginning of citrus season. Grower Jeff Schorner sells citrus fruit gift boxes by mail order and at his store, Al's Family Farm in Fort Pierce.

"We began our harvest about three weeks ago," he says. "And we'll harvest all the way about until the beginning of June." Right now, it's navel oranges. Next come tangerines, ruby red grapefruit and the popular honeybell tangelos.

Sweet Name Of Kids' Clinic Gives Some People Heartburn

Nov 27, 2015

The name that UNC Health Care is giving its children's clinic in North Carolina has been raising a lot of eyebrows. The facility is slated to be renamed the Krispy Kreme Challenge Children's Specialty Clinic. But criticism from the medical community at the University of North Carolina and elsewhere is making the health care system rethink that choice.

Urban foraging might call to mind images of hipsters picking food out of the trash.

But one group in Massachusetts eats only the finest, freshest produce. The League of Urban Canners harvests fruit from trees in Cambridge and Somerville and turns it into jam.

Sam Christy, a local high school teacher, started the league four years ago.

This time of year we tend to do a lot of writing about food. Usually we describe delicious dishes that remind us of home and our favorite family traditions, but there's something missing from that conversation: the tale of the kitchen disaster, the wreck, the unsalvageable mess for which the only remedy is take-out.

To fully appreciate the special anguish that is a home-cooked meal gone wrong, we've asked three people with particular knowledge in this area to tell us about their worst-ever kitchen debacles.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

A family member's passing this month sent me on a wistful expedition through endless unnamed photo collections from my old hard drive. I searched for group shots and family holiday pictures in hopes of tracking down one or two nostalgic images of someone very photo-averse.

Instead, I found this — and many, many, many photos like it.

Got cranberries? How about squash and pumpkin pie? These favorites would not be as bountiful without bees and other wild pollinators.

Honey bees were first imported into the American colonies by early European settlers, who recognized their value in producing fruits and other crops.

Move over turkey. Step aside stuffing.

Green Bean Casserole, an iconic Thanksgiving dish, turns 60 years old this year and it’s as popular as ever.

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Thanksgiving feasts are always in need of something special.

Can a sprinkle of artisanal salt noticeably pump up the experience?

Let's meet a new Appalachian salt-maker in West Virginia and find out.

J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works is nestled in the Kanawha River Valley, just southeast of the capital city of Charleston in the small town of Malden (not to be confused with Maldon, a sea salt brand from the U.K.). It's mostly pasture land, with cows nearby.

We are deep into fall, which means winter squash are all over restaurant menus, food blogs and probably your Instagram feed.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Ever been caught telling different stories to different people? It's awkward.

Dow AgroSciences, which sells seeds and pesticides to farmers, made
contradictory claims to different parts of the U.S. government about its latest herbicide. The Environmental Protection Agency just found out, and now wants to cancel Dow's legal right to sell the product.

You might not like your fava beans prepared the way Hannibal Lecter made them in the 1991 thriller Silence of the Lambs. But they can be delightful pureed or sauteed.

flickr/D.L.

After the Mississippi River flooded four years ago, state and federal authorities offered buyouts to affected homeowners. Now the state budget impasse has left some of those deals in limbo.


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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

For some of us, the best part of Thanksgiving comes from a forkful of flavors all swirled together — turkey, gravy, cranberry and stuffing. It's a savory symphony in your mouth.

Chefs in New York City are experimenting with putting together all of those ingredients into a one-bite Thanksgiving dinner.

The New England area where the Pilgrims first settled is cranberry country.

These early colonists likely enjoyed a version of cranberry sauce on their autumn tables — though it probably took the form of a rough, savory compote, rather than the sweet spin we're most familiar with.

For ideas on using this bitter red berry of the season in new ways this Thanksgiving, NPR Morning Edition's Renee Montagne turned to Chris Kimball, founder of America's Test Kitchen.

The last time you ate cranberry – perhaps as a dried snack, in a glass of juice or as a saucy condiment with the Thanksgiving turkey – it was likely paired with sugar, and a lot of it. A cup of cranberry juice may be packed with antioxidants, but it has about 30 grams (or 7.5 teaspoons) of sugar.

America's beekeepers are having a rough time. They lost an estimated 42 percent of their hives last year.

Move over, turkey. Step aside, stuffing.

Green Bean Casserole, an iconic Thanksgiving dish, turns 60 years old this year, and it's as popular as ever.

Love it or loathe it, the classic Midwestern casserole has come to mean more than just a mashup of processed food sitting next to the mashed potatoes.

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