Harvest Desk

The Salt
6:18 am
Sat May 3, 2014

Organic Farming Factions Spat Over Synthetic Substances

The National Organic Standards Board voted to no longer allow farmers to use the antibiotic streptomycin on organic apple and pear trees.
Jeff Haynes AFP/Getty Images

Here in the news biz, we rely on thumbnail descriptions, sparing you the details. We'll tell you, for instance, that organic farmers aren't allowed to use synthetic pesticides and factory-made fertilizer.

In general, that's true. But there's also a long list of pesky exceptions to the rule. And this week, a battle erupted over those exceptions: the synthetic or factory-made substances that organic farmers are still allowed to use because the farmers say they couldn't survive without them.

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The Salt
4:46 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

This Hamster Gets To Eat Two Tiny Burritos

This hamster scarfed two mini-burritos in a matter of seconds.
YouTube

Originally published on Fri May 2, 2014 5:06 pm

It's Friday afternoon, when we finally get a chance to muse on hamster burrito videos and on our evolving notions of what to feed our animals.

Some people whip up feasts of liver and hamburger for Fido. Some throw some celery leaves into Tweety bird's cage or peel a carrot for the bunny. But we've never seen anyone go to the lengths this man does for his hamster.

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Around the Nation
4:44 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Want A Shot At $10,000? Solve Kentucky's Great Bourbon Mystery

Pappy Van Winkle bourbons at Bourbons Bistro in Louisville, Ky. The spirit was pricey even before a heist at the distillery last October. Now, a 2-ounce pour can cost $100.
Noah Adams for NPR

Originally published on Sat May 3, 2014 10:17 am

Saturday marks the 140th Run for the Roses: the Kentucky Derby. Great horses, great hats β€” but where's the Pappy Van Winkle bourbon for the mint juleps?

Last October, more than 200 bottles of the prized spirit were stolen right out of the distillery in Frankfort, Ky. The county sheriff believes it was an inside job, and a $10,000 reward remains on offer.

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The Salt
2:09 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Urban Greengrocers Are Back, To Serve Big-Spending Locavores

Each Peach Market in Washington, D.C., is one of a growing breed of small, urban greengrocers.
Maanvi Singh NPR

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 9:32 am

Each Peach Market in Washington, D.C., is a far cry from the Trader Joe's where I usually shop. For one thing, it's tiny β€” smaller than the apartment I share with two others. And there are no lines snaking through aisles and aisles of tempting goods.

You'll find the usual staples here, and also artisanal pickles, locally grown and cured charcuterie, and yogurt from Pennsylvania's Amish country. But don't expect much selection β€” there are just two brands of olive oil, rather than the several shelves to choose from at Harris Teeter.

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The Salt
4:16 am
Fri May 2, 2014

Agribusiness Funds 'Farmland' To Counter Hollywood Message

David Loberg's family farm in Carroll, Neb., is featured in the film Farmland.
Don Holtz Ketchum

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 10:38 am

The movie Farmland opened in theaters Thursday. It's the latest in a string of documentaries about agriculture, like Food Inc. and King Corn.

But while the latter two films made damning accusations about the environmental and human costs of modern agribusiness, this documentary was funded by agribusiness. It tells a very different story.

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The Salt
5:15 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Mamma Mia! Italian Chains Make Fast-Food Fare Look Light

At 820 calories, Maggiano's tiramisu packs in more than the tiramisu served at Olive Garden (510 calories) or Macaroni Grill (690 calories). But it pales in comparison with the version served at Carrabba's, which has 1,060 calories.
Maggiano's

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 9:13 am

A Mediterranean diet is all the rage, but don't confuse this healthful pattern of eating for what you're likely to be served in popular Italian-style chains.

A new report from the Center for Science in the Public Interest finds some astronomical calorie counts at these restaurants. Not to mention sodium.

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The Salt
2:10 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Here's The Scoop On Jackfruit, A Ginormous Fruit To Feed The World

Jackfruits grow on the branches and trunks of tall trees. You don't wait to harvest until they drop of their own accord β€” by that time, they'd be overripe.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 9:31 am

It's not every fruit that gets its own international symposium.

Then again, the jackfruit is not your typical fruit. It's got a distinctive, musky smell, and a flavor that some describe as like Juicy Fruit gum.

It is the largest tree fruit in the world, capable of reaching 100 pounds. And it grows on the branches β€” and the trunks β€” of trees that can reach 30, 40, 50 feet. (Trunk-growing is a good thing because it reduces the odds of a jackfruit bopping you on the head.)

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The Salt
10:29 am
Thu May 1, 2014

Hot, Sour, Sweet And Mobile: Loco Border Street Food

Tijuana street vendor Fidencio Rodriguez displays a freshly made batch of tostilocos, a unique border snack making inroads in the U.S.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 4:57 pm

Thousands of people cross the U.S.-Mexico border everyday. An untold number buy tostilocos β€” chips loaded with toppings many might consider loco, as in crazy.

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The Salt
4:08 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Renegade Cider Makers Get Funky To Cope With Apple Shortage

Nat West, owner of Reverend Nat's Hard Cider in Portland, Ore., uses sweet apples to make cider, and gives it an extra kick with ginger juice, herbal tonics, coffee and hops.
Courtesy of Reverend Nat's Hard Cider

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 9:31 am

For centuries, hard apple cider has been made with the fermented juice of apples β€” nothing more, nothing less. And a lot of cider drinkers and makers β€” let's call them purists β€” like it that way.

But a new wave of renegade cider makers in America is shirking tradition and adding unusual ingredients to the fermentation tank β€” from chocolate and tropical fruit juices to herbs, chili peppers and unusual yeasts. Their aim β€” which is controversial among the purists β€” is to bring out the best, or just the weirdest, flavors in the ciders.

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The Salt
2:07 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Smiting The Mite To Save The Bees (And The Crops They Pollinate)

Wild bees, such as this Andrena bee visiting highbush blueberry flowers, play a key role in boosting crop yields.
Left photo by Rufus Isaac/AAAS; Right photo courtesy of Daniel M.N. Turner

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 4:05 pm

How do you like them apples, apricots, blueberries, almonds and peaches? They all depend on bees for pollination.

But over the last several years, a massive number of bee colonies have died, putting beekeepers, farmers and scientists in a bit of a panic.

They've come up with a lot of reasons why colonies are collapsing and dwindling.

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Kitchen Window
10:07 am
Wed April 30, 2014

Sweet On Sundaes

Laura B. Weiss for NPR

Finally, the weather is warming up. And that means I'm dreaming about ice cream sundaes.

When I was researching my book Ice Cream: A Global History, sundaes were the ice cream treat I was most eager to learn about. For me, there's no more sumptuous dessert than the classic American combo of ice cream, toppings and whipped cream.

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All Tech Considered
6:18 am
Wed April 30, 2014

Innovation: A Gadget That Scrambles The Egg Inside The Shell

The Golden Goose will retail for around $24.
Courtesy Y Line Product Design

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 4:08 pm

In our "Weekly Innovation" blog series, we explore an interesting idea, design or product that you may not have heard of yet. Do you have an innovation to share? Submit with this form.

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Shots - Health News
2:30 am
Wed April 30, 2014

Mysterious Kidney Disease Slays Farmworkers In Central America

Loved ones express their grief at the burial of Ramon Romero Ramirez in Chichigalpa, Nicaragua, January 2013. The 36-year-old died of chronic kidney disease after working in the sugar cane fields for 12 years. Ramirez is part of a steady procession of deaths among cane workers.
Ed Kashi VII

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 6:32 am

Manuel Antonio Tejarino used to be a lean, fit field hand. During the sugar cane harvest, he'd swing a machete for hours, hacking at the thick, towering stalks.

Now Tejarino is slumped in a faded, cloth deck chair outside his sister's house on the outskirts of Chichigalpa, Nicaragua.

Tejarino's kidneys are failing. He's grown gaunt. His arms droop by his side. In the tropical midday heat, he alternates between wiping sweat off his brow and pulling a sweatshirt up over his bare chest.

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The Salt
3:24 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

In This Turkish Town, Liver (And Olive Oil Wrestling) Are King

Fried liver, an Edirne specialty.
Farzana Quaraishi Benabdeljalil Flickr

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 10:55 am

If we mention the northwestern Turkish city of Edirne, tucked up near the borders with Greece and Bulgaria, you may think, "Oh brother, not another story about olive oil wrestling."

Yes, it's true that each summer for the last 650 or so years Edirne has hosted the Kirkpinar Olive Oil Wrestling Festival, in which half-naked men slathered in fragrant oil grapple in the grass. It's activity that's even recognized as a UNESCO Heritage Event.

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The Salt
2:31 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Amazon Book List Reveals What's Hot In American Regional Cuisine

Region by region, Amazon food editors found the favorite cookbooks from across America.
Amazon

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 1:26 pm

From upstate New York's heirloom veggie craze to the Pacific Northwest's baking boom, regional fare is taking off.

But with zillions of cookbooks coming out every year, how do you figure out which culinary jewels will be worth your precious time and shelf space?

Amazon, that giant aggregator of all things, breaks down about 500 regional cookbooks into manageable bites by curating what it considers the best of its vast collection.

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The Salt
10:29 am
Tue April 29, 2014

What's The Secret To Pouring Ketchup? Know Your Physics

TED-Ed YouTube

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 11:02 am

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Harvest Desk
7:48 am
Tue April 29, 2014

Public, Private Partners Key To Local Food Success

Students at Waukon High School in Iowa grow carrots, tomatoes, lettuce and other vegetables for school lunches in an on-campus greenhouse
Credit Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

As FoodCorps service member Ashley Turk navigates her way through a brand-new greenhouse in the courtyard at Waukon High School in the northeast corner of Iowa, she points to a robust supply of red and green lettuce leaves growing neatly in rows.

β€œIt’s huge,” she says. β€œWe cut it off and it just keeps growing.”

The greenhouse lettuce is among the offerings in the school’s salad bar. And students will soon be growing carrots, tomatoes and other vegetables, Turks says.

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The Salt
1:45 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Poutine Burger

Putting Canada on top of America is both delicious and geographically accurate.
NPR

Originally published on Mon April 28, 2014 2:35 pm

Poutine, if you don't know, is a Canadian dish made up of French fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. And if you don't know, you really haven't been living your life to its fullest. Seriously, what have you been doing? Go get some poutine. Then come back and read about this poutine burger β€” an open-face hamburger topped with poutine β€” we ate from Spritzburger in Chicago. We'll wait. We have to. We can't move.

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The Salt
12:43 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

Got Gas? It Could Mean You've Got Healthy Gut Microbes

Sulfur-rich foods, such as cabbage, bok choy and kale, can be popular with gut bacteria. And we all know how much the critters enjoy beans.
Meg Vogel/NPR

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 11:02 am

Not long ago, we heard about a catchy idea for a cookbook: "Fart-free food for everybody."

In theory, these recipes would be helpful for some people β€” and those in their vicinity.

But being a bit gassy may actually be a small price to pay for a lot of benefits to our health.

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Shots - Health News
9:50 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Pediatricians Say Training Can Help Teens Avoid Knee Injuries

Kelly Koshuta, a basketball star at James Madison High School, Vienna, Va., had surgery to repair an anterior cruciate ligament injured in 2012.
Sarah L. Voisin The Washington Post

Originally published on Mon April 28, 2014 11:43 am

If you're a teenage athlete, or the parent of one, you probably live in fear of a torn anterior cruciate ligament, one of the knee's key stabilizing ligaments.

A torn ACL often requires surgical repair. But so-called neuromuscular training programs can cut the risk of a serious ACL injury and should be recommended to at-risk young athletes, especially girls, according to a clinical report from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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The Salt
2:34 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Fire-Setting Ranchers Have Burning Desire To Save Tallgrass Prairie

A line of fire turns brown grass into black earth.
Dan Charles/NPR

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 11:02 am

For the past month, in part of eastern Kansas, the prairie has been burning, as it does almost every spring. On some days, you could look toward the horizon in any direction and see pillars of smoke. The plumes of pollution have traveled so far that they've violated limits for particulates or ozone in cities as far away as Lincoln, Neb.

But here's the twist: Environmentalists have come to celebrate those fires.

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The Salt
8:50 am
Sat April 26, 2014

African Food With A Twist: Dakar Pop-Up Restaurant Raises The Bar

Magida Safaoui, right, and an assistant plate tomatoes at a Trio Toques event in April. Safaoui helps out the three chefs who run the restaurant.
Doreen Akiyo Yomoah for NPR

West Africa hasn't competed with the likes of Paris or Barcelona as a culinary destination, but a handful of food lovers there are making inroads to change that.

Visitors to Ghana can now sample the work of mixologists who specialize in liquors made with local ingredients. In Bamako, Mali, vinophiles can head to the annual Beaujolais Nouveau wine festival. And in Dakar, Senegal, there's Trio Toque.

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The Salt
4:22 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Rum Renaissance Revives The Spirit's Rough Reputation

Ian Burrell, a rum ambassador from the U.K., samples the liquor at the Miami Rum Festival.
Tatu Kaarlas Courtesy of Miami Rum Festival

Originally published on Tue April 29, 2014 10:31 am

There was a time when rum was considered rotgut. Blackbeard the pirate liked to mix his cane alcohol with gunpowder and light it β€” rum and croak.

Fast-forward a few centuries to rum respectability β€” specifically, to Rob Burr's patio deck in Coral Gables, in South Florida.

From the waterfall pond to the tiki bar, Burr's deck sets a mood not for swilling rum, but for tasting it. Not the way spring-breakers chug Captain Morgan, but the way cognac drinkers sip Napoleon: Not with Coke (or gunpowder) but neat, in a snifter.

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The Salt
2:08 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Got My Goat? Vermont Farms Put Fresh Meat On Refugee Tables

Theoneste Rwayitare, a Rwandan refugee who resettled in Vermont last year, pours powdered milk into a bucket for milking at the Vermont Goat Collaborative's Pine Island Farm.
Angela Evancie for NPR

Originally published on Fri May 2, 2014 10:47 am

It's easy to find goat milk and goat cheese in Vermont. Goat meat, not so much.

That's frustrating for the refugees, immigrants and others who've settled in the state who are accustomed to eating fresh goat meat. Though it's not so common in the U.S., it's a mainstay in many African, Asian and Caribbean diets.

But there's a movement afoot to meet the demand for goat meat throughout New England.

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Monkey See
3:53 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

An Eater's-Eye View Of Literature's Most Iconic Meals

" 'Have some wine,' the March Hare said in an encouraging tone. Alice looked all round the table, but there was nothing on it but tea." (Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll)
Dinah Fried Courtesy of Harper Design

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 2:23 pm

In the opening pages of Daphne du Maurier's 1938 novel Rebecca, the narrator lays out a feast for the imagination: "Those dripping crumpets, I can see them now. Tiny crisp wedges of toast, and piping-hot, flaky scones. Sandwiches of unknown nature, mysteriously flavoured and quite delectable, and that very special gingerbread." Of course, the reader can't actually see these treats β€” and that's where graphic designer Dinah Fried comes in.

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The Salt
3:37 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Should Figs Go The Way Of Apples And Become A Year-Round Fruit?

Over 90 percent of American figs are grown in California. Two growers there are trying to coax the fruit into ripeness nine months of the year Ҁ” and maybe more.
anujd89/Flickr

Originally published on Sat April 26, 2014 8:54 am

True fig lovers are well-practiced in the art of patience. We watch the calendar, dreaming of summer and the fruit's silky, sappy flesh. The season lasts through June and July, with another crop from August to October. And then we're back to almost eight months of oranges, apples and, if we must, Fig Newtons.

But these figless days may be coming to an end.

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The Salt
12:07 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Bracing For A Battle, Vermont Passes GMO Labeling Bill

A customer shops for produce at the Hunger Mountain Co-op in April 2013 in Montpelier, Vt. More than a dozen food cooperatives supported the bill that would require the labeling of genetically modified foods.
Toby Talbot AP

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 12:46 pm

The Green Mountain State is poised to become the first to require food companies to label products containing genetically modified ingredients.

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin tweeted he will sign a bill state lawmakers passed Wednesday mandating that foods with GMOs be labeled as having been produced with "genetic engineering." The bill would also make it illegal for foods with GMOs to be labeled "all natural" or "natural."

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Food
11:05 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Food Tech Leaves Rural People Behind

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 11:20 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Today, we want to talk about food and security. Many people around the world just finished celebrating the major holidays Easter and Passover. They probably had big family and even communitywide feasts. But that reminded us that according to the United Nations, nearly and eighth of the world's population suffers from chronic hunger.

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The Salt
5:42 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Obama Gets A Taste Of Jiro's 'Dream' Sushi In Name Of Diplomacy

President Obama shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe before a private dinner at Sukiyabashi Jiro in Tokyo on Wednesday. At Sukiyabashi Jiro, people pay a minimum of $300 for 20 pieces of sushi chosen by the patron, Jiro Ono.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 10:06 pm

President Obama kicked off the first leg of his tour of Asia on Wednesday with some sushi diplomacy.

He dined with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a revered and tiny temple of sushi in Tokyo called Sukiyabashi Jiro. The subterranean restaurant, with just 10 seats at the counter, was made famous by the 2011 documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi.

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The Salt
3:14 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Slowly And Sweetly, Vietnam's Chocolate Industry Grows

Vincent Mourou, co-founder of Vietnam's first artisan chocolate maker Marou, inspects cacao beans at a farmer's garden in Go Cong Tay district.
Hoang Dinh Nam AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 3:51 pm

When you think about Vietnamese food, you might think of savory beef noodle soup, or endless fields of rice paddies. But chocolate?

As the world's demand for chocolate grows, Vietnam is making a bid to become one of the world's newest high quality suppliers.

Samuel Maruta and Vincent Mourou are two players in the country's small but growing cocoa industry. They founded Marou, an artisan chocolate company, three years ago in Ho Chi Minh City.

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