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.

The organic eggs in your grocery store are supposed to come from chickens that have year-round access to the outdoors. That's according to long-standing organic regulations.

When the worst of Irma's fury had passed, Gene McAvoy hit the road to inspect citrus groves and vegetable fields. McAvoy is a specialist on vegetable farming at the University of Florida's extension office in the town of LaBelle, in the middle of one of the country's biggest concentrations of vegetable and citrus farms.

It took a direct hit from the storm. "The eyewall came right over our main production area," McAvoy says.

Updated at 7 p.m. ET

It was to be a "day long celebration of the dough, cheese, tasty sauces and delicious toppings." It was to be a gala of gooey mozzarella, a tribute to toppings every stripe and style — heck, it was even supposed to be an ambitious attempt to finally "settle the NYC styled Pizza against Chicago Deep Dish pizza wars!"

When it comes to drinking alcohol during pregnancy, some women wonder: Is it OK to have one drink?

"I do get that question often," says David Garry, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at Stony Brook University Hospital. And, he says his answer is clear.

Pollinators such as bees play a key part of producing the beans that go into your morning cup of coffee.

In fact, they are responsible for about 20 to 25 percent of coffee production by increasing the plants' yield, Taylor Ricketts, the director of the University of Vermont's Gund Institute for Environment, tells The Two-Way. Bees actually increase the quality of the beans by making their size more uniform.

France's busiest port, Boulougne-sur-Mer, sits just across the English Channel from Britain, in the Calais region.

Seagulls glide above scores of brightly painted boats docking to unload the catch of the day — mainly sole but also cod, roussette, crab and scallops.

It's all sold at a bustling seaside market where Marie-Laure Fontaine sells seafood from a fishing boat called Providence.

Back in August, a study came out about bacteria in kitchen sponges that sent home chefs into a frenzy.

But when we looked carefully at the study, we realized much of the news coverage about it was incorrect.

The study, published in Scientific Reports, undertook a thorough investigation into how many critters are living in used kitchen sponges. And the results were jawdropping.

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

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is the Call-In.

(SOUNDBITE OF CORDUROI'S "MY DEAR")

WERTHEIMER: And today, we're talking diet.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: I am hearing a lot about magnesium.

Editor's note: In the 1950s, the U.S. poultry industry began adopting a new process: Acronizing. Ads that ran in women's magazines pictured crisp-skinned whole chicken that tasted "fresh," "wholesome" and "country sweet" thanks to a "revolutionary process which helps maintain freshness in perishables" like chicken. In reality, Acronizing referred to the use of antibiotics. Birds were doused in a diluted solution of antibiotics while they were being butchered. The goal was to keep the meat from spoiling, allowing birds to be sold not just days, but weeks after slaughter.

Glacier National Park in northwest Montana is known for its rugged, wild nature. But even in the farthest reaches of the backcountry, weary hikers and horseback riders could always count on a soft cot and hot meal at one of the park's oldest lodges, the Sperry Chalet.

Kelp was dubbed "the new kale" a few years back by chefs, nutritionists and foodies who embraced its oceanic flavors and purported health benefits. Now seaweed is the star ingredient in "Selkie," a beer at the Portsmouth Brewery on New Hampshire's seacoast. Its named after a mesmerizing, mythological water creature that — as the story goes — can shed its skin to take human form on land.

If you are the kind of person who picks up a box of food in the store and studies the label to see how much sugar or salt is in it, you can thank a man named Michael Jacobson.

Why Do Parrots (And People) Eat Clay?

Sep 7, 2017

The parrots of Southeastern Peru crave an earthy delicacy: dirt. At the Colorado clay lick, a cliff face rising above the Tambopata River in the western Amazon Basin, parrots — often hundreds at a time from up to 18 species — gather each day to feast on sun-hardened clay.

"It's a real spectacle of both sight and sound," says biologist Donald Brightsmith of Texas A&M University.

In south Texas, this was going to be one of the best years farmers had seen in a while. The cotton crop was projected to bring in record prices and even clear out many families' debts. But the massive rainfall, winds and a slow drying-out process from Harvey have left many farmers overwhelmed and worried.

Food prices in America were down for the longest period in about 60 years.

Wait, what?

It's not something that shoppers seemed to have noticed much.

"Are you serious? Really?" says Michelle German, holding a bag of groceries and wine at a Harris Teeter store in Washington, D.C. "I just spent about $40 dollars on four items and I'm like, wait, how did I spend that much money?"

Over the past few months, as the contentious ghost of Robert E. Lee galloped through the headlines, Southern food historian Michael W. Twitty's thoughts turned to the bittersweet connection his family shares with the Confederate general.

Just like comedian Rodney Dangerfield, the microwave oven often gets no respect. Every kitchen has one, but no self-respecting cook would admit to using it for anything more than just heating up last night's pasta. But it's hard to deny the influence the food-nuker has had on American life, and this year marks 50 years since its arrival.

The first countertop microwave was the Amana Radarange, which debuted in 1967 and sold for $495. It's the appliance that made zapping your food as routine as brushing your teeth.

Count the number of hours you sit each day. Be honest.

"If you commute an hour in the morning and hour after work — that's two hours, and if you sit at an eight-hour-a-day desk job that's 10," says epidemiologist Loretta DiPietro of the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University.

"Then you come home at, say, 6 p.m., eat dinner and crash into your recliner for another three to four hours," says DiPietro. "That's 13 to 14 hours of sitting."

It's not lost on beverage makers that consumers are drinking fewer sodas as they aim to cut back on sugar.

"Sugar is now the number one item that consumers want to avoid in their diets," says Darren Seifer, a food and beverage industry analyst with the NPD Group. The message to consume less is coming from health experts around the globe.

Large sections of Norcia's ancient walls lie in rubble. Its many centuries-old buildings are wrapped in steel girders, off-limits to the few people who visit what now looks like a ghost town.

Before "Goats and Soda" was born, I wrote a story for our sister blog, "The Salt" about the world's largest tree fruit. The jackfruit can grow as big as 100 pounds. It's a good source of protein, potassium, vitamin B and fiber. Plus: It's easy to grow in tropical climes. There was even a symposium devoted to revving up production and marketing. So how's that going?

I knew it was time to do a follow-up story on jackfruit when I went shopping in Trader Joe's and saw 20-ounce cans of "Trader Joe's Green Jackfruit In Brine." For only $1.99!

Has Salt Gotten An Unfair Shake?

Sep 3, 2017

For such a simple compound, salt is complicated.

Sodium is a key element in table salt, and it's also essential for life. It helps regulate our blood volume. It shuttles nutrients into our bodies and brains. It allows our muscles to contract and our nerves to pulse with electricity. Yet for decades, we've been told to avoid it.

Monday is Labor Day — the last hurrah of grilling for much of America. And at many of these summertime cookouts, you'll find veggie burgers alongside (or instead of) the traditional beef and brats. Whether for health, environmental or ethical reasons, more people are tossing veggie burgers on the grill — even carnivores.

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

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Another holiday approaches with another opportunity for a cookout and another conundrum if you're tired of making the same old side dish.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

We can help. We actually already did. Earlier this summer, we asked a few chefs for ideas.

When it comes to bluefin tuna, it's not often we have good news to share, but spin the globe today, and there's cause for celebration in both the Pacific and Atlantic.

When a female honeybee hatches, her future holds one of two possible paths within the hive's caste system. She will become either a worker bee or a queen bee. And her fate is determined in part by the food she eats as a larva.

If you look in your cupboard and start reading nutrition labels on your favorite box of granola or your gummy vitamins, there's a good chance you'll notice a popular ingredient: fruit concentrate.

Earlier this week, as torrents of rain fell on Houston, Craig Boyan, CEO of the H-E-B supermarket chain, went on a video-taped tour of his company's emergency operations center in San Antonio, Texas. The company later made the video available online.

Over the millennia, our ancestors continuously developed new techniques and technologies that enabled them to find, eat, and cook meat and plants — and in coastal populations,

Amid the hustle and bustle of the kitchen at Marcel's, a fine dining restaurant in Washington, D.C., one member of the staff is immune to the noise. It's David Uzzell, the 28-year-old saucier responsible for such delicacies as pan-seared foie gras or mushroom mornay sauce.

Uzzell is a deaf chef — a rarity in the vast majority of restaurant kitchens. When chef and owner Robert Wiedmaier needs to get Uzzell's attention while expediting during dinner service, he pokes him in the shoulder.

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