Originally published on Wed November 26, 2014 9:22 am
It's a busy time of year for turkey farmers around the country. And these days, with the growth of the local food movement, small family farms are struggling to keep up with all the orders for birds. So, we went to find out what one New England farmer is doing to get her gobblers from the field to the table. Enter the "abattoir."
Originally published on Wed November 26, 2014 4:15 pm
When you donate to a food drive, do you ponder the nutritional labels of the can in your hand? Or do you grab a packet of ramen or a bag of marshmallows from the dark corners of your pantry and hope it hasn't expired?
Healthfulness isn't typically a well-intended food donor's top concern, says hunger advocate Ruthi Solari. The ramen and marshmallows, along with a container of Crisco and a few other items, were basically the entire contents of a food box delivered to one of her volunteer's grandmothers who received food aid, Solari says.
Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 10:52 am
The federal government is about to put $100 million behind a simple idea: doubling the value of SNAP benefits â€” what used to be called food stamps â€” when people use them to buy local fruits and vegetables.
This idea did not start on Capitol Hill. It began as a local innovation at a few farmers' markets. But it proved remarkably popular and spread across the country.
"It's so simple, but it has such profound effects both for SNAP recipients and for local farmers," says Mike Appell, a vegetable farmer who sells his produce at a market in Tulsa, Okla.
Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 7:56 am
There's an apple renaissance underway, an ever-expanding array of colors and tastes in the apple section of supermarkets and farmers markets.
Less visible is the economic machinery that's helping to drive this revolution. An increasing number of these new apples are "club apples" â€” varieties that are not just patented, but also trademarked and controlled in such a way that only a select "club" of farmers can sell them.
To understand the new trend, start with the hottest apple variety of recent years: Honeycrisp.
If you're reading The Salt, it probably comes as no surprise to you that consumers increasingly want to make food choices based on not just their health, but their ethics. A growing number of groups are coming up with technological solutions to help them.
Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 9:08 am
As I scrolled through tweets about a panel on agricultural entrepreneurs at the SXSW Eco conference earlier this month, one caught my eye. The sender was Vance Crowe, Monsanto's director of millennial engagement.
Corporate America is currently caught up in a torrid infatuation with millennials, who befuddle and torment the companies who want their dollars.
Originally published on Tue October 7, 2014 2:02 pm
The word bitter can make some of us wince. In conversation, we talk of "a bitter pill to swallow" or "bittersweet" memories.
But if you're puzzled by the bad emotional rap on bitter â€” perhaps you even like the taste of bitter greens or bitter beer â€” it may say something about your genes.
Scientists have been studying a particular taste receptor gene to understand why some of us may be more predisposed to liking bitter foods and hoppy beers. And a new study sheds new light on the bitter gene connection.
Originally published on Tue September 30, 2014 11:46 am
Mute Schimpf doesn't want to eat American chicken. That's because most U.S. poultry is chilled in antimicrobial baths that can include chlorine to keep salmonella and other bacteria in check. In Europe, chlorine treatment was banned in the 1990s out of fear that it could cause cancer.
"In Europe there is definitely a disgust about chlorinated chicken," says Schimpf, a food activist with Friends of the Earth Europe, an environmental group.
Originally published on Thu October 2, 2014 6:48 am
It just might be the dawn of a new era in American eating. Two-thirds of us are now more likely to go for foods marketed as lower-calorie and "better for you," and that means we're finally eating fewer calories.
But all this calorie-cutting from our cookies and cupcakes isn't just benevolent behavior on the part of the big food and beverage companies. It's also good for their bottom line.
Originally published on Thu September 25, 2014 3:11 pm
In many communities, the local school district is the largest food provider, filling thousands of hungry bellies every day. But trying to feed healthful food to some of the pickiest eaters can result in mountains of wasted food.
Now, many schools are finding that giving kids a say in what they eat can cut down on what ends up in the trash.
Originally published on Fri September 26, 2014 4:03 pm
If you haven't been DNA-sequencing your dinner lately, you've been missing out. In particular, we suggest examining those spongy, wild fungi before you lay them on your pizza.
Bryn Dentinger and Laura Suz, mycologists with the Royal Botanic Gardens in Surrey, England, were curious about what was in their marketplace 'shrooms. So they bought a packet of dried Chinese porcini and took it to the lab.
Originally published on Fri September 19, 2014 4:08 pm
It's apple season, and if you go to the supermarket you'll find the usual suspects: Red and Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, MacIntosh. But these big, shiny, perfect apples often look better than they taste. Thankfully, there's a whole world of heirloom apples out there â€” fruit that may look funky, but tastes fantastic, with flavors unlike any you've tried before.
Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 12:04 pm
The modern peach is a work of art: rosy, fuzzy, fragrant, fragile â€” and, of course, impossibly sweet and juicy. But that enchanting fruit is the product of centuries of painstaking breeding that have transformed it from its humble origins. The peach of the past was much smaller, acidic and a greenish-cream color.
Where the original, wild peach came from has been a mystery, but a new clue brings us closer than ever to its origin.
Originally published on Wed September 10, 2014 2:03 pm
The Colorado Orange is not an orange, in color or essence.
"It is an apple, with a unique texture and taste. It has a little bit of a citrus bite," says Paul Telck, one of the few people today to have tasted the apple â€“ a yellow fruit with an occasional red blush, once thought to be extinct.
A few years ago, Telck, who owns an orchard in Fremont County, southwest of Colorado Springs, knew little about the Colorado Orange. Now, he's involved in an effort to bring it and other endangered Colorado apples back from the brink of extinction.
Originally published on Tue August 12, 2014 12:11 pm
Craft beer sales have been growing by double digits, even as overall beer sales have flattened. And several independent craft beer makers â€” all based in the Western U.S. â€” are expanding production to the East. But to keep the flavor true, they have to tinker with beer's main ingredient: water.
Every day, a half-dozen employees of Oskar Blues Brewery file into a small room in Brevard, N.C. It's cluttered with boxes, petri dishes and test tubes.