Harvest Desk

Politics
10:55 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Farm Bill Charts New Course For Nation's Farmers

Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 1:56 pm

The House on Wednesday passed a new five-year compromise farm bill. The bill now moves to the Senate for a vote.

The farm bill — the result of a two-year-long legislative saga — remains massive. The bill contains about $500 billion in funding, most of which is pegged to the food stamp program, officially called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

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Kitchen Window
10:16 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Get Extra Points For Super Bowls Of Dips And Spreads

Laura B. Weiss for NPR

Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 2:39 pm

I'm not a big football fan. However, I look forward every year to Super Bowl Sunday. Who can argue with a day that, let's face it, is as devoted to partying as it is to the matchup on the field. So every time another Super Bowl rolls around, we invite a bunch of friends over for some beer, some eats and, of course, some serious game-watching.

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Shots - Health News
9:45 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Yoga May Help Overcome Fatigue After Breast Cancer

People practice yoga at a fundraiser for a breast cancer foundation in Hong Kong.
Ed Jones/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 10:11 am

Exercise helps recovery after cancer treatment, but fatigue can make working out hard. Yoga can help reduce fatigue for breast cancer survivors, a study finds. It's one of a growing number of efforts using randomized controlled trials to see if the ancient practice offers medical benefits.

Women who took a yoga class three hours a week for three months reported less fatigue compared with a group of breast cancer survivors who did not do yoga.

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The Salt
9:40 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Frogs And Puffins! 1730s Menus Reveal Royals Were Extreme Foodies

Britain's King George II: Snazzy dresser, adventurous eater.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 10:10 am

You think 21st century foodies will go to great lengths for a culinary thrill? (Lion meat, anyone?) Turns out, they've got nothing on 18th century English royals.

Frogs, puffins, boar's head and larks and other songbirds were all fair game for the dinner table of England's King George II, judging by a chronicle of daily meals served to his majesty and his wife, Queen Caroline.

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Harvest Desk
5:49 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

U.S. House To Vote On 2014 Farm Bill

Credit Ron Cogswell

  The U.S. House is set to vote on a new farm bill Wednesday, after House and Senate negotiators earlier this week agreed on compromise legislation combining each chambers' drafts.

This 2014 farm bill has been a long time coming.  At least one farm bill watcher from the Midwest is pleased that Congress has finally reached an agreement on the farm bill after years of debate.

  Jonathan Coppess, who teaches law and policy at the University of Illinois, says negotiations dragged due to the size - roughly one trillion dollars - and complexity of the bill.

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The Salt
4:29 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Food Stamp Cuts, Cold Weather Put Extra Strain On Food Pantries

Harlem residents choose free groceries at the Food Bank For New York City in December.
John Moore/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 10:10 am

Scrounging to feed yourself and your family can be brutal. But add the bone-chilling cold to it and it's a whole other level of misery.

Unfortunately, many American families are suffering from the double whammy this week as a deep freeze descends on most of the nation.

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The Two-Way
2:00 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Illinois Train Conductor's Challenge: Keep The Beer From Freezing

In an Illinois railyard, train cars carrying beers such as Corona and Pacifico are at risk of spoiling their cargo if freezing temperatures take hold.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 7:18 pm

In a railyard outside Chicago, the deep cold of winter can threaten a Midwest staple: beer. The large distribution hub regularly holds more than 1 million cases, according to Crain's Chicago Business. A Crain's reporter spent a night on the job with the man who must keep the beer safe.

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The Salt
12:49 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Sushi Chefs Aren't Feeling California's New Glove Law

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 5:12 pm

On Sunday, we told you about bartenders who are up in arms about a new California law that makes it illegal for culinary workers to touch uncooked food with their bare hands. Turns out, sushi chefs are ticked off, too.

For sushi chefs, crafting sashimi or a great roll is a lot like creating art. It requires skill and feel. Bare hands are essential.

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The Salt
9:36 am
Tue January 28, 2014

FDA Found Drugs Used In Food Animals To Be 'High Risk'

Beef cattle in a barn on the Larson Farms feedlot in Maple Park, Ill.
Daniel Acker Landov

According to newly released documents, the Food and Drug Administration concluded years ago that many of the antibiotics farmers use on food animals are risky for human health.

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The Salt
2:19 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The White Castle Slider

Sliders come in five-packs, or as White Castle calls them, "swarms."
NPR

Time magazine recently named The White Castle Slider the Most Influential Burger of All Time, above the McDonald's burger, the Burger King Whopper, and President Millard P. Burger, the first all-beef president of the United States.

Ian: I guess it's better than when the White Castle Slider won Time magazine's Person of the Year.

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The Salt
11:51 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Making Moonshine At Home Is On The Rise. But It's Still Illegal

A worker at New York's Kings County Distillery, which opened in 2010. Before going legit with the operation, co-founder Colin Spoelman (not pictured) learned to make moonshine in his Brooklyn apartment without a permit.
Courtesy of Valery Rizzo

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 4:26 pm

Within days after each season premiere and season finale of the Discovery Channel's reality show "Moonshiners," they come — a small but perceptible wave of people — to purchase suspiciously large amounts of corn, sugar and hardy strains of fermenting yeast at Austin Homebrew Supply.

"We know what they're up to," says Chris Ellison, the manager of the Texas store.

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The Salt
11:07 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Soil, Weedkillers And GMOs: When Numbers Don't Tell The Whole Story

Farm statistics: usually illuminating ... occasionally misleading.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 3:12 pm

I love numbers. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but I think a good bar graph can be worth a thousand pictures.

But three times in the past few days, I've come across statistics in reputable-looking publications that made me stop and say, "Huh?"

I did some investigating so you don't have to. And indeed, the numbers don't quite tell the story that they purport to tell.

So here goes: My skeptical inquiry into statistics on herbicide use, soil erosion, and the production of fruits and nuts.

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The Salt
10:32 am
Sun January 26, 2014

New Law Puts Gloves On California Bartenders

Under California's new food safety law, bartenders can't do this without gloves.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun January 26, 2014 12:01 pm

Bartender Cameron Hall hadn't heard of a new California law that bans culinary workers from touching uncooked food with their bare hands.

The rule applies to bartenders, who are now supposed to wear gloves to put limes in the mojitos and cherries in the Manhattans — even to scoop ice into a glass.

But when a reporter fills him in, Hall stops serving drinks at Rocco's Tavern, a little spot in downtown Culver City, just long enough to rant.

"It'd just be a pain," he says. "It'd be a nuisance. I'm gonna start making my customers wear gloves, in opposition!"

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The Salt
4:05 am
Sun January 26, 2014

Pig Virus Continues To Spread, Raising Fears Of Pricier Bacon

Piglets at Hilldale Farm in State Center, Iowa in March 2013, just before porcine epidemic diarrhea began spreading through hog farms in the U.S.
Amy Mayer Harvest Public Media

Pork producers across the country are grappling with a virus that's going after piglets. Livestock economists estimate the porcine epidemic diarrhea, or PED, virus has already killed about 1 million baby pigs in the U.S. since it was first found in Iowa last spring.

Canada reported its first case Thursday, and the disease shows no sign of abating. That has veterinarians worried.

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The Salt
2:58 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Can Mom's Pregnancy Diet Rewire Baby's Brain For Obesity?

Choose wisely: What Mom eats during pregnancy can set the stage for obesity in her baby.
Meg Vogel NPR

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 6:07 pm

Moms-to-be are often reminded that they're eating for two. It's tempting to take this as an excuse to go for that extra scoop of the ice cream. (Believe me, I've been there.)

But a solid body of research suggests that expectant mothers should be walking away with the opposite message: Pregnancy should be a time to double-down on healthful eating if you want to avoid setting up your unborn child for a lifetime of wrestling with obesity.

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The Salt
9:15 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Dry January: Giving Up Booze For A Month Does Have Benefits

Give your liver a break every now and then.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 11:37 am

As New Year's resolutions go, cutting back on food and drink are right at the top of the list. And while those resolved to change their eating habits may cut the carbohydrates or say a sweet goodbye to sugar, for regular drinkers, the tradition may involve what's known as a dry January: giving up booze for a month.

But could such a short-term breakup with alcohol really impart any measurable health benefits?

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Harvest Desk
8:58 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Slow Food Film Festival Returns For 5th Year

Credit slowfoodspringfield.org

  Springfield residents curious about raising chickens in their backyard may want to stop by Benedictine University on Saturday, January 25. 

Mad City Chickens is one of five films to be screened at the 5th Annual Slow Food Springfield Film Festival.

The University of Illinois Extension is co-sponsoring the event.  

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Around the Nation
4:12 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Drinking Water Not Tested For Tens Of Thousands Of Chemicals

Al Jones of the West Virginia Department of General Services tests water as he flushes faucets and opens a rest room at the State Capitol in Charleston, W. Va., on Jan. 13, four days after a chemical spill into the Elk River. It wasn't until Jan. 21 that state officials were told by Freedom Industries that a second contaminant had also entered the river.
Steve Helber AP

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 7:48 pm

The fact that a second contaminant in West Virginia's drinking water eluded detection for nearly two weeks — despite intense testing of the water — reveals an important truth about how companies test drinking water: In most cases, they only find the contaminants they're looking for.

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The Salt
3:45 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Potential Carcinogen In Colas Has FDA Reviewing Data

4-MEI, a chemical created during the manufacturing of caramel color used to dye sodas brown, is under new scrutiny.
iStockphoto

A new study from Consumer Reports finds varying levels of a chemical compound classified as a possible human carcinogen in many popular brands of soda.

The findings have prompted the Food and Drug Administration to take a new look at the compound, 4-methylimidazole — or 4-MEI for short. It is found in the caramel color that soda makers use to dye the drinks brown.

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Found Recipes
2:46 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

From Down Under, A Paprikash To Warm You All Over

This paprikash recipe may be well-traveled — from Hungary to Australia — but its belly-warming comforts haven't changed a bit.
Courtesy of HarperCollins

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 4:32 pm

For many people, paprikash means winter. After all, it's a dish fit for cold, gray days: A belly-warming mix of meat and spices, it's the perfect cure for the doldrums of late January.

For Merelyn Chalmers, though, the classic Hungarian casserole recalls someone far dearer: her mother, Yolanda. A survivor of Auschwitz, Yolanda had rebuilt her life in Perth, Australia, after the war. "My mum was Hungarian," Chalmers explains. "We ate paprikash probably five nights a week. This was something that she just threw together when I wasn't feeling well."

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The Salt
11:48 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Turns Out The Ancient Greeks Were Quite The Grill Masters

Souvlaki skewers in a replica of a tray the Mycenaeans used to prepare their food in ancient Greece.
Courtesy of Julie Hruby

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 1:33 pm

Mycenaean civilization, the forerunner to classical Greece and the backdrop for the Illiad and the Odyssey, is best known for its lavish palaces and treasure-filled tombs.

But thanks to one enterprising researcher, we've learned that the Mycenaeans also knew how to throw a pretty mean barbeque.

For a long time, archaeologists couldn't figure out how ancient Greeks used the cookware found at excavation sites from the Mycenaean period, which lasted from 1600 to 1100 B.C.

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The Salt
9:55 am
Thu January 23, 2014

An Innovative Plan To Reel In Sport Fishermen To Feed The Hungry

Students prepare fish cakes that will be part of a free dinner offered at Parkside Neighborhood Center in Portland, Maine.
Courtesy of Samantha Laster

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 1:41 pm

Portland, Maine, native Hollis McLaughlin's recollection of his mother's fish cookery produces a wistful expression as he takes a bite of the fish cakes given to him as part of the regular Wednesday night meal he is served free of charge at the Parkside Neighborhood Center.

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Harvest Desk
5:46 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Cargill Settles Hiring Discrimination Suit At Beardstown Plant, Others

The Cargill Meat Solutions plant in Beardstown
Credit WBEZ

Cargill Meat Solutions Corp. will pay $2.2 million as part of settlement with the federal government over discrimination allegations involving three of its U.S. meat processing plants.
 
The money will be used to pay back wages and interest to nearly 3,000 applicants who were rejected for jobs at facilities in Springdale, Ark.; Fort Morgan, Colo.; and Beardstown, Ill., between 2005 and 2009.
 
U.S. Department of Labor officials say the company's hiring process discriminated based on sex, race and ethnicity.
 

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The Salt
4:27 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Small-Batch Distilleries Ride The Craft Liquor Wave

Evan Parker built the interior space of the distillery himself in a small warehouse near the coast. Parker and his business partner, Mat Perry, have desks overlooking their 400-gallon copper kettle and still.
Chris Arnold NPR

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 7:01 pm

Wherever you live, you're probably not too far from a local microbrewery making beer. Now, the latest trend is the spread of what you might call "micro-boozeries." Craft liquor distilleries are springing up around the country like little wellheads spouting gin, whiskey and rum.

Turkey Shore Distilleries in Ipswich, Mass., is one of them.

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The Salt
4:27 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Should Farmers Give John Deere And Monsanto Their Data?

Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 7:01 pm

Starting this year, farmers across the Midwest can sign up for a service that lets big agribusiness collect data from their farms, minute by minute, as they plant and harvest their crops.

Monsanto and John Deere are offering competing versions of this service. Both are promising to mine that data for tips that will put more money in farmers' pockets.

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Shots - Health News
3:36 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

How A Little Chill In The Air Could Help You Lose Weight

Researchers say that setting your thermostat a little lower can help you burn more calories.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 7:11 am

When it comes to tackling obesity, eating right and staying active are usually the way to go. But a research team in the Netherlands says there's an environmental factor that might help and that is often overlooked: the cold.

We're not talking bone-chilling temperatures that'll make you shiver endlessly, but a milder cold between 62 and 77 degrees.

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Shots - Health News
12:27 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Failing To Get Off The Couch May Contribute To Heart Failure

I'll be what I am, a sedentary man.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 7:12 am

The more we learn about sitting, the more perilous it seems to be.

Flabby muscles, fuzzy thinking and all manner of cardiovascular disease can get started or get worse when we're hanging out on the couch, stuck in traffic or just parked in a chair for too long.

Now there's evidence that heart failure — when your heart becomes too weak to pump enough blood through your arteries — can be brought on by a sedentary lifestyle and also, more generally, a lack of physical activity.

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The Salt
12:24 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Long John Silver's Throws Trans Fats Overboard

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 3:22 pm

Long John Silver's has gained some notoriety in the past for serving up what the food police dubbed the most unhealthful meal in America. (aka heart attack on a hook.)

But the fast-food chain is out to change its reputation. One step in this new direction: a quick transition from partially hydrogenated oils that contain bedeviled trans fats. Today, the chain announced it is moving to a 100 percent soybean oil that is trans-fat free.

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The Salt
10:27 am
Wed January 22, 2014

More Signs A Mediterranean Diet Helps Prevent Cardiovascular Ills

A study found that a Mediterranean diet with extra nuts and olive oil was associated with a lower risk of a cardiovascular condition called peripheral artery disease.
Heather Rousseau NPR

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 1:54 pm

There's fresh evidence that a Mediterranean diet can help cut the risk of atherosclerosis, a disease caused by the buildup of plaque in the arteries.

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Harvest Desk
8:17 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Opinions Pouring In On EPA Ethanol Proposal

Some commenting on the EPA's proposal to reduce the ethanol mandate even include hand-written appeals.
Credit Regulations.gov

Dear EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy,

Your inbox is filling up fast. Both ethanol supporters and critics are responding in bulk to the agency’s November proposal to reduce the ethanol mandate for 2014. Over 13,000 comments are in so far.

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