Harvest Desk

The Salt
12:21 pm
Sun February 9, 2014

Four-Legged Athletes Compete With Olympic-Sized Heart

Sky, an Australian shepherd, runs the weave poles with the intensity of an Olympian.
John Minchillo AP

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 4:19 pm

In Sochi this week, athletes are competing in a display of human grace and skill. Many will win. Many more will lose, and many tears will be shed.

In New York on Saturday night, athletes of a different breed competed in a display of canine finesse and dexterity. Many won. If any lost, none knew it. Not one shed a tear.

At the Westminster Dog Show's Masters Agility Championship, 225 exuberant dogs dove through tunnels, flew through hoops, leaped over hurdles and wove in and out of poles with the focus of the highest-level Olympic champion.

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The Salt
9:55 am
Sun February 9, 2014

Beatlemania! When The Fab Four Rocked The Lunchroom

I want to hold your lunch! This 1965 lunchbox — considered "one of the Holy Grails" of lunchbox collecting — sold for $936.10 in 2013. It came with a thermos. Another mint condition sample sold for $1,625 last fall.
Courtesy of Hake's Americana & Collectibles

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 2:18 pm

The Beatles are not only considered the top of the heap when it comes to musical acts of the 20th century, they're also apparently the kings of the lunchbox.

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Harvest Desk
2:21 pm
Sat February 8, 2014

Why Cutting The Ethanol Mandate May Not Ruin The Rural Economy

Just outside of Central City, Neb., is the Green Plains Energy ethanol plant, a facility that can produce 100 million gallons of ethanol each year.
Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

The EPA wants to roll back the amount of ethanol mixed into the fuel supply for 2014, worrying farmers across the Corn Belt. Ethanol supporters warn that if the EPA follows through, the rural economy will take the fall. But many economists predict a soft landing.

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The Salt
12:29 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Wine Wisdom With A Wink: A Slacker's Guide To Selecting Vino

Having trouble picking the perfect wine?
Meg Vogel/NPR

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 2:52 pm

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Harvest Desk
10:37 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Obama Signs Farm Bill, Announces Rural Export Initiative

President Obama signs the 2014 Farm Bill
whitehouse.gov

One of the key farm bill negotiators says the nation has entered “a new era of farm and food policy.” 

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Oklahoma) said the legislation President Obama signed into law Friday “values saving money, reforming or repealing government programs and yet still providing an effective safety net for the production of our national food supply and for those Americans who are struggling.”  Read Lucas' full statement here

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The Salt
3:56 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Food Industry Groups Say They'll Label GMOs, On Their Terms

A woman shops at a supermarket in New York City.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 2:51 pm

Remember those ballot initiatives in California and Washington that aimed to get food companies to label products containing genetically modified ingredients?

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The Salt
11:51 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Subway Phasing Out Bread Additive After Blogger Flags Health Concerns

Sandwich chain Subway has announced plans to drop the additive azodicarbonamide from its fresh-baked breads. Above, Subway founder Fred DeLuca poses carrying bread for sandwiches.
Jonathan Nackstrand AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 3:19 pm

Food industry, beware of the power of the online petition.

Just a few days after food blogger Vani Hari, known as Food Babe, created a buzz with an online petition raising questions about the safety of a food additive commonly used in commercial baking, sandwich giant Subway has announced plans to phase it out of its fresh-baked breads.

The additive, azodicarbonamide, is used by the commercial baking industry to bleach flour and condition dough.

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The Salt
8:31 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Oh, So That's What Goes Into A McDonald's Chicken McNugget

McDonald's new video answers that age-old question: What are McNuggets actually made of?
McDonald's Canada/YouTube

Originally published on Sun February 9, 2014 4:40 pm

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Food
5:51 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Subway To Remove Chemical In Its Bread

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 11:53 am

The popular blog FoodBabe.com has exposed the fact that a chemical bleaching agent found in Subway's bread is also used in shoe rubber and yoga mats. (Get the full story from our food blog, The Salt.)

The Salt
2:26 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Woolly Mammoths' Taste For Flowers May Have Been Their Undoing

Woolly mammoths depended on tiny flowering plants for protein. Did the decline of the flowers cause their extinction?
Per Möller/Johanna Anjar

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 4:01 pm

They were some of the largest, hairiest animals ever to walk the Earth, but new research shows a big part of the woolly mammoth's diet was made up of tiny flowers.

The work is based on DNA analysis of frozen arctic soil and mammoth poop. It suggests that these early vegans depended on the flowers as a vital source of protein. And when the flowers disappeared after the last ice age, so too did the mammoths that ate them.

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The Salt
3:16 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

California Is So Dry, Some Diners Won't Get Water Unless They Ask

In California, some restaurants are changing their policy to serve water to patrons only upon request.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Sun February 9, 2014 4:39 pm

California's drought is getting very serious — so serious that even those water refills you didn't ask for at restaurants are now under scrutiny.

"We have not had this dry a time period in all of California's history since we've been keeping records — that's how bad it is," Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif., who represents a district in the Central Valley, told reporters on Tuesday.

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The Salt
12:51 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Ladies: Good Bacteria In Yogurt May Be Good For Waistlines, Too

A probiotic commonly found in yogurt seems to help women lose more weight and fat, a recent study finds. But you still have to eat healthy to see an effect.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 12:49 pm

Ladies, if that Super Bowl Sunday pitch from '90s heartthrob John Stamos didn't leave you craving more yogurt, here's some science that might do the trick: There's tantalizing new research suggesting that some friendly bacteria commonly found in yogurts may help women shed more weight while on a diet and keep it off.

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The Salt
8:20 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Electronic Tongues Are The Beer Snobs Of The Future

Personally, we're most looking forward to having robot drinking buddies.
Bongo Entertainment Inc.

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 4:01 pm

If beer is the new wine, robots are the new beer snobs. Well, sort of.

Researchers in Barcelona have developed an electronic tongue that really knows the difference between a pilsner and a bock.

For now, it looks less like a slick, futuristic robot and more like a big of clump sensors. It's still a prototype, but its creators say it could some day replace human taste testers.

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Health
4:14 am
Wed February 5, 2014

You May Be Eating More Sugar Than You Realize And That's Bad

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 6:19 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Sugar, we all know from early childhood that it's not the best thing to eat, although most of us love it. But a new study hits home why researchers have found that too much of a sweet tooth can be really bad for our hearts. Still, limiting sugar is sometimes easier said than done, because it's added to so many foods we eat. And some of us, even without realizing it, eat an entire day's worth of sugar before we ever leave the house in the morning.

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Kitchen Window
11:02 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

A Meal To Honor Early African-American Cookbook Authors

David Betts/Metropolitan Photography

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 10:24 am

The earliest African-American cookbook authors brought me back to a food career I thought I had left behind. Years ago, I was a pastry chef, but I changed course and went to graduate school for a doctorate in American history. Lately, I've been drawn back into the food world thanks to these authors and their determined pursuit of independence and equality through their cooking and writing.

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The Salt
5:12 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

When His Pit Burned Down, Southern BBQ Master Took Hogs On Tour

Pitmaster Rodney Scott seasons a roasting hog behind a barbecue restaurant in Birmingham, Ala. Scott has been touring the South with a makeshift barbecue pit to raise money to rebuild his family's cookhouse after it burned down in November.
Debbie Elliott/NPR

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 7:00 pm

In the tiny town of Hemingway, S.C., the Scott family has been selling barbecue out of its roadside general store for nearly a half-century. The smoky, vinegary pork has reached legendary status around the South.

So when the Scotts' wooden cookhouse went up in flames late last year, barbecue brethren cooked up a plan to get them back in business. What resulted is a part road trip, part old-fashioned barn-raising tour called Rodney Scott's Bar-B-Que in Exile Tour.

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The Salt
3:41 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Sweet Tooth Gone Bad: Why 22 Teaspoons Of Sugar Per Day Is Risky

Even seemingly healthful foods can contain unexpected spoonfuls of sugar.
Meg Vogel/NPR

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 7:00 pm

We've written lots lately about the potentially addictive qualities of sugar and the public policy efforts to limit consumption.

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Harvest Desk
3:37 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

U.S. Senate Approves Farm Bill

After more than two years of debate on Capitol Hill, a new farm bill is poised to become law after both the U.S. House and Senate approved it.
Credit andrewmalone/Flickr

The U.S. Senate passed the farm bill Tuesday by a vote of 68-32, sending it to the president’s desk and ending years of political wrangling.

Illinois Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk were among the 68 "yea" votes.  To view Durbin's video statement on the farm bill vote, click here.

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The Salt
2:40 am
Tue February 4, 2014

How American Food Companies Go GMO-Free In A GMO World

Allen Williams grows corn and soybeans for Clarkson Grain, which has been selling GMO-free grain to Japan for years.
Dan Charles/NPR

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 7:12 am

Quite possibly, you've noticed some new food labels out there, like "Not made with genetically modified ingredients" or "GMO-free." You might have seen them on boxes of Cheerios, or on chicken meat. If you've shopped at Whole Foods, that retailer says it now sells more than 3,000 products that have been certified as "non-GMO."

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Harvest Desk
7:13 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Colorado Creates Food Safety System For Marijuana Products

A marijuana plant glows purple under grow lights at 3D Cannabis Center in Denver, Colo.
Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Colorado made history when it opened up licensed marijuana retail shops this year. Aside from just legalizing the purchase of smoke-able marijuana, it also means pot brownies have the potential to be big business. Food products infused with marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient, THC, are available in stores across the state.

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The Salt
5:14 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

All Hail The Asparagus Queen! How Ag Pageants Lure New Contestants

The 2011 Asparagus Queen, Megan Roskan, and runner-up Christine Merten wave to spectators during an Independence Day parade in Whitehall, Mich. With interests waning in agricultural pageants, organizers are relaxing the requirements to encourage more people to apply.
Courtesy of Phil Squattrito

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 6:33 pm

Forget Miss USA and Miss Universe.

Think you've got what it takes to be the Asparagus Queen?

Mainstream beauty pageants still get tons of applicants every year (even after the dip in participation during the 2008 recession). The same can't be said for the rural festival pageant circuits, The Wall Street Journal's Lindsay Gellman tells Audie Cornish on All Things Considered.

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The Salt
1:51 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Food Comics Turn 'ZAP' And 'POW' Into 'Sizzle' And 'Bubble'

Lucy Knisley's Relish is a graphic memoir about how she discovered her love of food and cooking.
Courtesy of Lucy Knisley

Comic book heroes don't have to wear brightly colored spandex or possess superpowers to capture readers' imaginations anymore. They can don toques and wield whisks instead.

A growing number of comic artists are focusing on what's on their plates, rather than dreaming up intergalactic showdowns and caped crusader capers.

So less ZAP, BOOM, POW. More sizzle, crackle, bubble.

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The Salt
1:38 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Sandwich Monday: Poppin' Pebbles, A Fruity Pebbles Spinoff

Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm get weird.
NPR

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 6:39 pm

For years, makers of kids' cereals have been upping the ante to get kids interested: hiding a toy surprise inside, adding multicolored marshmallows, setting bear traps in the cereal aisle. Now Post, maker of the classic Flintstones-themed Fruity Pebbles, has created "Poppin' Pebbles," an explosive Pop Rocks-cereal mashup.

Miles: This is the only cereal on the market that fizzes and foams in your mouth. Well, this and Cinnamon Rabies Crunch.

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Harvest Desk
10:57 am
Mon February 3, 2014

What Weather Will 2014 Bring?

Still plenty of uncertainty about the 2014 planting season, though the latest drought outlook paints a bleak picture for sections of the Great Plains.
Credit Climate Prediction Center/NOAA

  What you call “crazy weather,” Colorado state climatologist Nolan Doesken calls “climate variability.”

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Harvest Desk
5:00 am
Mon February 3, 2014

For Farmers With High Cash Rents, 2014 Could Be A Tough Year

Cash rents for non-irrigated cropland are highest in the Corn Belt
USDA NASS

With the price of farmland at record levels across the Corn Belt, many farmers have been renting acres to plant. Now, with the price of corn and soybeans in free fall, farmers that depend on renting risk big losses if they’re unable to negotiate lower rents.

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Shots - Health News
2:28 am
Mon February 3, 2014

What's Good For Baby Camels Could Be Good For Human Skin

Camels in Jordan supply the milk for a Missouri startup's skin-care line. The company is studying the milk's anti-inflammatory properties.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 3:17 pm

In parts of the Middle East, people drink camel's milk for its nutritional value. It boasts more vitamin C and iron than cow's milk, and it's lower in fat. But in the American Midwest, some people are rubbing camel's milk on their skin — in the form of a skin-care line from Jordan.

Penelope Shihab is the founder of a biotech company in Jordan — and the woman behind the Missouri startup that's working on the skin-care products.

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Shots - Health News
2:27 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Most Teens Aren't Active Enough, And It's Not Always Their Fault

The CDC would be happy with these guys, who were playing in Birmingham, Ala., in July 2013. Teenage boys say basketball is their favorite activity.
Mark Almond AL.COM /Landov

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 6:43 am

Sure, you think, my kid's on a football team. That takes care of his exercise needs, right? Probably not.

"There are these bursts of activity," says Jim Sallis, a professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of California, San Diego. "But if you think about it, one hour of playing football out on the field means that the vast majority of that time is spent standing around waiting for the next play."

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Shots - Health News
2:26 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Young Athletes Risk Back Injury By Playing Too Much

A West Coast team player kicks the ball during a match at the Adidas Challenges America's Youth Soccer Stars tournament in Venice, Calif.
Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 8:27 am

Jack Everett sat on his living room couch wearing a back brace, eyes glued to a massive TV set playing his favorite video game, NHL 2013.

"I'm the Boston Bruins," the 10-year-old said as he deftly worked the video controls. "The guy that just shot was Milan Lucic. He's a really good guy on our team."

Whether at home or during recess at his elementary school in suburban Los Angeles, Jack's young life now is about sitting still.

"Well, I can eat lunch with friends, and I play cards," Jack says. But his classmates are out running and jumping outside.

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The Salt
3:10 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

Marijuana-Laced Treats Leave Colorado Jonesing For Food-Safety Rules

Truffles are among the many foods infused with THC – the chemical in marijuana that gives you a high — already for sale in Colorado.
Luke Runyon/KUNC/Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 11:00 am

Where there's pot, there's pot brownies. But how do you make sure those high-inducing sweets are safe to eat?

Colorado regulators are wrestling with that question now that the state has legalized recreational marijuana. From sodas and truffles to granola bars and butter, food products infused with THC – the chemical in marijuana that gives you a high — are already for sale.

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Shots - Health News
11:55 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Poll: Support For High School Football, Despite Concussion Risks

Most Americans are aware that football carries a risk of concussions. An NPR poll found a large proportion of people believe safety improvements are needed for football to remain a high school sport.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 6:48 am

Making sure that children are active often means getting them interested in sports. But parents have to weigh the health risks of those sports, including hits that can cause concussions.

Concussions are brain injuries. Most people, including kids, recover from a concussion. But concussions, particularly repeated ones, can lead to serious, lasting health problems.

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