Harvest Desk

Shots - Health News
2:42 am
Mon February 16, 2015

Beyond BPA: Court Battle Reveals A Shift In Debate Over Plastic Safety

Eastman Chemical went a step beyond calling Tritan plastic BPA-free, setting off a legal challenge.

Originally published on Tue February 17, 2015 3:56 pm

BPA-free isn't good enough anymore if you're trying to sell plastic sippy cups, water bottles and food containers.

The new standard may be "EA-free," which means free of not only BPA, short for bisphenol A, but also free of other chemicals that mimic the hormone estrogen.

Read more
The Salt
4:07 pm
Sun February 15, 2015

America Loves Smoothies And The Frozen Foods Industry Knows It

One of Dole Packaged Food's frozen fruit options. Over the years, frozen fruit companies have adjusted packaging to make it flashier and more colorful, and also put their products in stand-up bags, says Wall Street Journal reporter, Sarah Nassauer.

Originally published on Sun February 15, 2015 5:20 pm

Last year, frozen fruit sales in this country surpassed a billion dollars, shattering all previous records. Sales have more than doubled since 2011.

So what's behind this explosion of frozen fruit?

Sarah Nassauer, who reports on the food business for the Wall Street Journal, points to a pair of studies from the world's biggest seller of fresh fruit.

"Dole [Packaged Foods] got into this business, started selling frozen fruit in 2005," she says. "So in 2006, they did a big sort of frozen fruit usage study, and then they did another one last year in 2014."

Read more
The Salt
7:26 am
Sun February 15, 2015

For Musician Jack White, Any Old Guacamole Just Won't Do

The recipe for guacamole in musician Jack White's concert rider is more like a guacamole salad. But chef Martin Morales says it's pretty good.
Ariel Zambelich NPR

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 1:52 pm

Jack White, formerly of the White Stripes, must really hate bananas. Because according to his concert rider, which was recently made public, he doesn't want to lay eyes on one at his concerts.

Read more
The Salt
7:03 am
Sun February 15, 2015

Fake Food George Washington Could've Sunk His Fake Teeth Into

Stargazy Pie, a cornish dish named for the way the fish heads poke through the crust towards the sky.
Courtesy of Sandy Levins

Originally published on Mon February 16, 2015 12:51 pm

If you want to see what George Washington might have munched on, then Sandy Levins is your gal. All the food she whips up look scrumptious, but if you sneak a bite, you'll get a mouthful of plaster or clay.

Levins is one of a handful of frequently overlooked artisans who craft the replica meals you see in the kitchens and dining rooms of historic houses and museums. Adding faux food to a historical site can help visitors connect to the past, she tells The Salt.

"It's something everyone immediately identifies with, because everyone eats," she says.

Read more
The Salt
6:27 am
Sun February 15, 2015

How Singapore Transformed Itself Into A Food Lover's Destination

Students sample the results of their labors in Yvonne Ruperti's pastry class at the Culinary Institute of America's Singapore branch.
Carole Zimmer

Originally published on Sun February 15, 2015 11:49 am

Lonely Planet named Singapore its top country destination for 2015. An island known as a little red dot on the world map, Singapore has less than 5.5 million people.

But when it comes to tourism, Singapore punches above its weight, with nearly 14 million tourists visiting the island in the first eleven months of 2014. And as a result of a long-term plan by the Singapore government, many of them come for the food.

Read more
The Salt
6:23 am
Sat February 14, 2015

The Other Chocolate Tries For Sweet Redemption

For Valentine's Day, Helen Jo, the pastry chef at Little Bird Bistro in Portland, Ore., mixes white chocolate with crunchy cereal, spicy pepper and a pinch of salt to make a French bonbon called rocher.
Deena Prichep for NPR

Originally published on Sat February 14, 2015 10:21 am

You may be among the millions of Americans who brought home a heart-shaped box of chocolates (or are planning to do so, before it's too late) for Valentine's Day.

But white chocolate, a relative newcomer to the chocolate family, seldom plays a starring role in the sampler pack. Which got us wondering why.

Read more
The Salt
4:48 pm
Fri February 13, 2015

GMO Apples Get The Nod, But Not Much Of A Welcoming Party

Arctic Granny (right), a GMO variety created by Okanagan Specialty Fruits, got the gren light from federal regulators Friday. The apple doesn't turn brown like a conventional Granny Smith apple (left).
Okanagan Specialty Fruits

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 4:47 pm

We have good news for all of you who find browned apple slices unappetizing. It's bad news, though, if you don't like scientists fiddling with your food. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has given a green light to apples that have been genetically modified so that they don't turn brown when you cut them open.

Read more
Goats and Soda
11:12 am
Fri February 13, 2015

Your Brain May Want That Bottle Of Soda Because It's Easy To Pick Up

You want that soda bottle. But it may not be because you crave soda. It might just be that you love the idea of wrapping your fingers around its enticing shape.
Ariel Zambelich NPR

Originally published on Fri February 13, 2015 11:41 am

Here at Goats and Soda, we can't resist a good story about goats. (See our story about how you know if your goat is happy.) The same goes for soda.

Read more
The Salt
10:19 am
Fri February 13, 2015

How NAFTA Changed American (And Mexican) Food Forever

In 2013, the U.S. imported about 2 million tons of Coronas and Modelos, making beer Mexico's largest agricultural export to the U.S., according to a USDA report.
Scott Olson Getty Images

If you were to try and list the biggest game-changers for the American food system in the last two decades, you might note the Food Network, or the writing of Michael Pollan, or maybe even the evolution of Walmart.

But you'd probably overlook NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement.

And that would be a mistake, according to a lengthy report out early February from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Read more
Around the Nation
4:50 pm
Thu February 12, 2015

With Porches And Parks, A Texas Community Aims For Urban Utopia

Solar Sunflowers, an art installation, greets visitors to Mueller's commercial and retail hub off of Interstate 35. The panels power a nightly light display and return power to the grid. When the development is complete, five miles of granite trails will connect the residents to its commercial and retail hubs.
Julia Robinson for NPR

Originally published on Thu February 12, 2015 8:24 pm

This is the first story in a two-part report on the Mueller neighborhood for the NPR Cities Project.

In Texas, a state where cars and private property are close to a religion, there is an acclaimed master-planned community that's trying something different.

Read more
The Salt
3:45 pm
Thu February 12, 2015

Like Yelp For Labor Rights: This App Rates How Restaurants Treat Workers

Customers pick up their orders from a Shake Shack in New York City. It's one of the restaurants whose labor practices are detailed in the ROC United Diners' Guide app.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Restaurant servers are three times more likely to receive below-poverty-line pay than the rest of the U.S. workforce. Yet in a world where shoppers fret over cage-free eggs and organic vegetables, how many are also asking how much their favorite restaurant pays its staff?

Read more
The Salt
1:35 pm
Thu February 12, 2015

Gardener's Twofer: First Ketchup 'N' Fries Plant Hits U.S. Market

The plant is an early tomato grafted to a late-producing potato. The two can be harvested throughout the season.

Originally published on Tue February 17, 2015 5:35 pm

Love growing potatoes and tomatoes? This spring, gardeners in the U.S. (and Europe) will be able to get both tuber and fruit from a single plant.

It even has a catchy name: Ketchup 'n' Fries.

"It's like a science project," says Alice Doyle of SuperNaturals Grafted Vegetables, the company that's licensing the variety for U.S. markets from the U.K. company that developed it. "It's something that is really bizarre, but it's going to be fun [for gardeners] to measure and see how it grows."

Read more
11:19 am
Thu February 12, 2015

As Commodity Prices Plunge, Groceries May Be Next

The prices of everything from corn to sugar have fallen, too. So some economists predict lower prices at the grocery store later this year.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 12, 2015 1:36 pm

Anyone who has pulled up to a gas station this winter knows oil prices have fallen β€” down roughly 50 percent since June.

But it's not just oil. Prices for many commodities β€” grains, metals and other bulk products β€” have been plunging too.

Here are a few of the changes since many prices peaked in recent years:

- Copper is $2.59 a pound, down from $4.50 in 2011.

Read more
The Salt
4:18 pm
Wed February 11, 2015

Forget Beads: Cajun Mardi Gras Means A Grand, Drunken Chicken Chase

The annual Courir de Mardi Gras in Mamou, La., in February 2008. In the Cajun country tradition, revelers go house to house, collecting ingredients for gumbo from local families. Here, the host tosses a live chicken from a rooftop for the participants to catch β€” which can be tricky, considering the festivities often begin with early-morning drinking.
Carol Guzy Washington Post/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 17, 2015 5:38 pm

Mardi Gras is about ephemera, the thrill of the chase. In New Orleans, that's cajoling a strand of special glass beads or a glittered coconut from the hands of a stranger high up on a parade float. But the moment that trinket is nabbed, the recipient might think: Now what am I going to do with this?

Cajun Mardi Gras, however, in the small towns south and west of New Orleans, raises no such question. Because what you aim to catch is very useful. And edible.

It's a squawking, flapping live chicken.

Read more
Fitness & Nutrition
3:35 pm
Wed February 11, 2015

New Dietary Guidelines May Lighten Caution Against Cholesterol

Originally published on Wed February 11, 2015 5:27 pm

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



Read more
The Salt
1:49 pm
Wed February 11, 2015

Why Hot Chocolate Might Be More American Than Apple Pie

George Washington would probably approve of hot chocolate on a cold winter's day.
Larry Crowe AP

Originally published on Thu February 12, 2015 11:14 am

In this frigid month of February, it may be comforting to know that hot chocolate might just be more American than apple pie.

Read more
The Salt
4:06 pm
Tue February 10, 2015

California's Strawberry Feud Ends, But Who Will Breed New Berries?

The future of strawberry breeding at the University of California has been secured. Perhaps.

Read more
The Salt
2:07 pm
Tue February 10, 2015

Taking Stock Of Bone Broth: Sorry, No Cure-All Here

Poultry bone broth is typically simmered for 24 hours or more. It can be consumed as a hot beverage, or incorporated into gravies, sauces or soups.
Amy Blaszyk for NPR

Originally published on Wed February 11, 2015 10:10 am

How did bone broth become the magic elixir du jour?

We're not sure, but in the past three months, breathless stories about its umami depth and super nutrition have ricocheted through food media. Meanwhile, restaurants like New York's Brodo, Portland's JoLa Cafe and Red Apron in Washington, D.C., have begun selling it, to much fanfare.

Read more
The Salt
5:04 pm
Mon February 9, 2015

If Apple Made iMilk And Nike Sold Fruit: Designer Groceries As Art

Fruit by Nike is a piece by designer Peddy Mergui in his exhibit "Wheat is Wheat is Wheat," next on display in May at Expo Milano 2015.
Courtesy of Peddy Mergui

Originally published on Thu February 12, 2015 5:57 pm

Just eat it.

It's hard to look at these stylish packages of citrus fruit, bearing Nike's iconic swoosh, without having the athletic company's famous slogan "Just do it" immediately come to mind. And that's precisely the point, says Israel-based designer Peddy Mergui.

Read more
4:40 pm
Mon February 9, 2015

Kenji Ekuan's Enduring Legacy Lives On Restaurant Tables

Originally published on Mon February 9, 2015 5:27 pm

Ekuan created the red-capped Kikkoman soy sauce bottle in 1961 and also designed the bullet train which connects Tokyo and northern Japan, among other things. He died this weekend at the age of 85. Robert Siegel talks to Paola Antonelli, senior director of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Read more
Harvest Desk
7:51 am
Mon February 9, 2015

Monsanto Inches Closer To Biggest Biotech Launch In Company History

Farmer Jenny Mennenga holds soybean seeds at her family farm near LeRoy, Ill., on Jan. 26, 2015.
Credit Photo by Darrell Hoemann/Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting

To counter a β€œsuper weed” epidemic plaguing farmers, agribusiness giant Monsanto is steadily moving forward on the introduction of its next major wave of genetically engineered crops.

But – citing environmental and sustainability concerns – critics argue that step forward is actually a substantial leap back.

Read more
6:56 am
Sat February 7, 2015

Jordan Signals Aggressive Campaign Against ISIS

Originally published on Sat February 7, 2015 10:19 am

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

The Salt
3:38 pm
Fri February 6, 2015

For Rockfish, A Tale Of Recovery, Hidden On Menus

A school of vermilion rockfish. After being depleted decades ago by overfishing, rockfish β€” a genus of more than 100 tasty species β€” have made a remarkable comeback.
Donna Schroeder From 'Probably More Than You Want to Know About the Fishes of the Pacific Coast'/Courtesy Milton Love

Originally published on Fri February 6, 2015 6:59 pm

For West Coast commercial fishermen and seafood lovers, there is reason to cheer. Rockfish, a genus of more than 100 tasty species depleted decades ago by excessive fishing, have rebounded from extreme low numbers in the 1990s.

It's a conservation and fishery management success story that chefs, distributors and sustainable seafood advocates want the world to hear.

The rub? It's hard to communicate this success if purveyors continue to misidentify the fish, as many do.

Read more
The Salt
11:07 am
Fri February 6, 2015

Outrage Over Government's Animal Experiments Leads To USDA Review

Cattle raised at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Neb. A New York Times investigation of animal suffering at the federal research center has prompted a USDA review.
Nati Harnik AP

Originally published on Wed February 11, 2015 1:43 pm

Revelations about animal suffering at a federal animal research facility have sure gotten the attention of lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

They've also prompted the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the facility through its Agricultural Research Service, to name its first ever animal welfare ombudsman β€” as well as review and update its animal welfare strategy.

Read more
Harvest Desk
9:07 am
Fri February 6, 2015

New Report Blames Monsanto For Monarch Butterfly Decline

Credit Credit Adele Hodde / Illinois Department of Natural Resources

The environmental organization Center for Food Safety is blaming agriculture giant Monsanto for declining numbers of monarch butterflies.

A new reportΒ  finds that spraying glyphosate herbicide on Monsanto’s Roundup Ready crops has killed off sixty percent of the common milkweed since 1999.

John Pleasants at Iowa State University says milkweed is the only food source for monarch butterfly caterpillars.

Read more
TED Radio Hour
7:44 am
Fri February 6, 2015

How Did An Obese City Lose A Million Pounds?

Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett explains how his city went from one of the fattest to one of the fittest.
Courtesy of TED TED

Originally published on Tue May 5, 2015 3:20 pm

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Seven Deadly Sins

About Mick Cornett's TED Talk

Mayor Mick Cornett realized that, to make Oklahoma City a great place to live, it had to become healthier and cope with gluttony. He explains step-by-step how the city dropped a collective million pounds.

About Mick Cornett

Read more
The Salt
6:13 pm
Thu February 5, 2015

Are Farmers Market Sales Peaking? That Might Be Good For Farmers

A customer shops for produce at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on March 27th, 2014 in San Francisco.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 6, 2015 7:25 am

After more than a decade of explosive growth, sales of local food at U.S. farmers' markets are slowing. A January report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that while more farmers are selling directly to consumers, local food sales at farmers markets, farm stands and through community supported agriculture have lost some momentum.

Read more
The Two-Way
7:39 am
Thu February 5, 2015

FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg To Step Down

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg in a photo taken last May. Hamburg, who has been in the top FDA job for nearly six years, will reportedly step down.
J. David Ake AP

Originally published on Thu February 5, 2015 3:56 pm

Updated at 10:23 a.m. ET

FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg β€” who has been at the center of controversial decisions such as relaxing age restrictions on the Plan B contraceptive β€” has decided to step down after six years in the job.

Read more
The Salt
4:04 am
Thu February 5, 2015

Gotcha: Satellites Help Strip Seafood Pirates Of Their Booty

Fish on ice in Palau Misa Island, Indonesia. Thanks to satellite data, John Amos of SkyTruth can track fishing activity near the Pacific island nation from his office in West Virginia.
Randy Olson National Geographic/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 5, 2015 9:17 am

Most of the seafood Americans eat comes from abroad. And a lot of that is caught illegally β€” by vessels that ignore catch limits, or that fish in areas off-limits to fishing.

No one knows how much of it is illegal, because the oceans are too big to patrol. Or at least, they were. Now environmental groups have harnessed satellite technology to watch pirate fishing vessels from space β€” and they've already caught some of them.

Read more
The Salt
4:27 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

Scientists Want To Trick The Gut Into Burning Fat Without Food

Scientists say a drug that's been effective in mice acts like an "imaginary meal" in the body.

Originally published on Wed February 11, 2015 1:42 pm

Forget the so-called "miracle" diet pills that claim to rev up metabolism.

Read more