Health+Harvest

NPR Illinois Campus & Community Council identified the subject of food and health as important subjects for coverage in 2012.  Health+Harvest provides for community engagement on health and food issues along with reporting on farm, field and fuel.  From seed to plate, from farmer's markets to GMOs, central Illinoisans need to know how to stay healthy and what they are eating.  In 2013, NPR Illinois joined a consortium of public media in the Harvest Public Media network.  The network provides broader coverage to Midwest food issues.

By examining these local, regional and national issues and their implications with in-depth and unbiased reporting, Health+Harvest fills a critical information void.

Support for Health+Harvest coverage comes from Central Illinois Farm Bureaus, GenHKids, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  If you'd like to support this initiative, please contact Nick Reynolds at 217-206-9847.

Banksy, the mysterious British graffiti artist known for his satirical work, has been making mischief around New York City this month.

His latest artwork makes a statement about the meat industry, or lost innocence — or something like that. In any case, it'll certainly make you stop and look.

Irene Adams cooks supper for husband, Luke, and 2-year-old son, Cole, at their home in Fayetteville, Ark. She used to serve lots of green beans, but switched to edamame after tasting it at a local restaurant.

"[Cole] used to split his green beans and take out the little seeds inside," Adams says. "So I told Luke we should try edamame, because it's bigger seeds and has more flavor, so that's why we decided to try it and he loves it."

That pink pile of pickled ginger that comes with your sushi is probably from China or Japan. And unless the slices are beige, chances are this garnish, next to the green wasabi, contains food coloring. So it's refreshing when you first see that cream-colored fresh "baby" ginger is naturally, yet shockingly, pink at its tips from where green stems shoot forth.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The government shutdown has forced a lot of hard-working people into idleness. That includes most of the staff that tends the famed White House kitchen garden, according to Obama Foodorama.

Here's a way to stop hungry shoppers from leaving the store for dinner.

Brooks Brothers, the 195-year-old luxury apparel company, is looking to open a restaurant next summer next to its flagship store in Manhattan, a company spokesman tells NPR. The New York Post reports that the restaurant will be a steakhouse — a fitting culinary accompaniment for the purveyor of fine business suits for the moneyed set, we think.

A New York school has taken soccer balls, footballs — and maybe even the fun — out of recess. Officials say hard balls are a safety concern, but critics say they're being too cautious. Tell Me More's parenting roundtable weighs in.

Corn prices are down and the farm bill is stalled in Congress. So there's a lot of uncertainly in the air as harvest season gets into full swing across the Midwest. But this is a time of year when farm families like the Friesens in Henderson, Neb., come together to focus on the big task at hand: the corn harvest.

Everyone in the family has a job to do.

"Like my dad — he drives auger wagon," Curt Friesen says. "He drives auger wagon only. That's all he's done since 1976, I think. ... My wife, Nancy, she drives the combine; that's her job."

Bill Wheelhouse/Harvest Public Media

A huge new rail yard has been buzzing on the outskirts of Decatur, Ill. Agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) recently opened the 275-acre facility that would be at home at any major port city on the coast. But it’s in the heart of Illinois farm country because farmers have been taking advantage of a new method of shipping out their products.

In West Michigan, it's apple harvest time. That may conjure up images of picturesque orchards and old-fashioned fun: growers harvesting apples and then selecting them by hand.

Think again.

Robotic arms, computer vision and high-resolution photography are helping Michigan growers wash, sort and package apples at top speeds in the business — think 2,000 apples per minute.

With this modern technology, farmers are expanding production and getting Galas and Ginger Golds from Michigan orchards to grocery stores faster and more cheaply.

If you're among the estimated 27 million Americans who suffer from osteoarthritis of the knee or hip, then perhaps you've tried the nutritional supplements glucosamine and chondroitin. They've been marketed for joint health for about 20 years, and sales are still brisk. But do they help?

Some horses might say yes. The supplements were first tried in horses, and there's some evidence that the supplements might improve joint function for them.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARUN RATH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.

You know the saying about drinking early in the day: "It's 5 o'clock somewhere in the world."

Well, it turns out that the "somewhere" actually can make a difference when it comes to drinking.

Scientists at Oxford University have found that whisky has a different taste depending on where it's sipped.

Mario Batali, Guy Fieri and Rachael Ray are just a few of the stars the Food Network helped create. But what the network gave, it could also take away.

In From Scratch, author Allen Salkin takes an unsparing look at the network's progression from struggling cable startup to global powerhouse, and the people — Emeril Lagasse, Paula Deen — who rose and fell along the way.

Salkin tells NPR's Rachel Martin that while the network was intended for cooks, it wasn't run by them.

Thousands of beer aficionados are in Denver this weekend for the Great American Beer Festival. Some 600 breweries from around the country are represented at the marquee event for the craft-brewing industry.

And while this annual competition has long been male-dominated, that's starting to change.

The government shutdown is frustrating enough for furloughed workers, but for families dependent on federal food assistance, it's infuriating.

Enter the Feminist Hulk.

The Twitter monster is smashing the shutdown's threats to the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Food and Nutrition program, which provides food aid to pregnant women and mothers of young children deemed to be at risk of malnutrition. And she's urging her nearly 74,000 followers to help.

It's not easy being a wonder vitamin these days. Just when it looks like you're the solution to every health problem, some doctors come along and burst your bubble. Now it's happening to vitamin D.

The supplement has been widely promoted to prevent osteoporosis and fight a host of other ills. But recent studies haven't found much benefit, for bones or for general health.

You've no doubt heard of Senior Meals on Wheels preparing hot meals delivered to the elderly. But there's a different meal program that's been put on hold because of the partial government shutdown. It's the USDA's Commodity Supplemental Food Program.

In Michigan's western Kent County alone, more than 1,300 low-income seniors depend on the program. For them, it's a nutrition lifeline: They can't just go to a food pantry for similar assistance.

A video of a McDonald's worker confronting the president of the fast-food behemoth has gone viral this week, with the help of a fast-food workers' campaign aimed at raising hourly wages to $15.

Chicken nuggets: Call 'em tasty, call 'em crunchy, call 'em quick and convenient. But maybe you shouldn't call them "chicken."

Drinking With Your Eyes: How Wine Labels Trick Us Into Buying

Oct 11, 2013

We're all guilty of it. Even if we don't want to admit it, we've all been suckered into grabbing a bottle of wine off the grocery store shelf just because of what's on the label. Seriously, who can resist the "see no evil" monkeys on a bottle of Pinot Evil?

But the tricks that get us to buy a $9 bottle of chardonnay — or splurge on a $40 pinot noir — are way more sophisticated than putting a clever monkey on the front.

Most Americans don't get the 4 to 6.5 cups of fruits and vegetables we're supposed to consume every day, per government guidelines. But companies that make juice, especially high-end, "fresh" juice, are ready to come to our rescue.

Fast-food giant McDonald's is set to become a publishing giant as well — at least temporarily. For two weeks next month, McDonald's says it will oust the toys that usually come in its Happy Meals and replace them with books it has published itself.

Update: Friday, Oct. 11, 2013:

At 9:00 pm Thursday night, the USDA told us that Foster Farms had submitted and implemented immediate changes to their slaughter and processing systems to allow for continued operation.

"FSIS inspectors will verify that these changes are being implemented in a continuous and ongoing basis," Aaron Lavallee of USDA's FSIS told us. Additionally, to ensure that the Salmonella Heidelberg has been controlled, the agency says it will continue intensified sampling at Foster Farms facilities for at least the next 90 days.

If sustainability is a top priority when you're shopping at the fish counter, wild-caught seafood can be fraught with ethical complications.

One major reason why: bycatch, or the untargeted marine life captured accidentally by fishermen and, often, discarded dead in heaps. It's one of the most problematic aspects of industrial fishing.

Browsing farmers markets this fall, you may find some new apple varieties mixed in with the Granny Smiths, McIntoshes and Fujis. Susan Brown, head of the apple breeding program at Cornell University, estimates that there have been 130 new apples released around the world in the past six years.

This summer, she contributed two more to that tally: the SnapDragon and the Ruby Frost.

Hair of the Dog Brewery in Portland, Ore., makes a beer so rare, and so sought after, that it can fetch $2,000 a bottle.

It's called Dave. And no, it's not something out of a Portlandia sketch.

Dave is a barleywine — a strong, dark beer with 29 percent alcohol content. It's been aged for 19 years, first in oak barrels and then glass bottles.

Craft beer is having its moment. Microbreweries and craft beer operations are thriving, and weekend warriors spend hours in the garage honing recipes and sharing test batches. Beer is what friends drink when they get together. It's fun. It's accessible. You rarely see people sipping glasses of wine at a tailgate or a backyard barbecue.

Wine is what people think of for fine cooking — steaks with red wine reduction and mussels with white wine sauce. However, beer has a place on the stove, too.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued a health alert warning that an estimated 278 illnesses caused by Salmonella Heidelberg are associated with raw chicken produced by Foster Farms at three facilities in California.

What do restaurant chefs dream of? Most would be satisfied with a great review, a full house every night, maybe a restaurant or three of their own, a television show.

Not Roy Choi.

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