Washington wines
5:53 pm
Tue July 31, 2012

NW winemakers: 'Normal' 2012 may make for great vintage

Scott Williams, Kiona Vineyards and Winery winemaker, holds a cluster of his Lemberger wine grapes. The grapes are going through a process called véraison where they change color from green to purple and start ripening. Photo by Anna King

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 3:01 pm

BENTON CITY, Wash. – Northwest winemakers say they’re optimistic that 2012 will turn out to be a great vintage. Many of the region’s red wine grapes are just on the edge of starting to change color and ripen. The timing of this color change is a good indication of the coming harvest’s quality.

Scott Williams is a pretty jovial guy. But get this Red Mountain wine grower in the middle of some color-changing grapes and he’s just giddy.

It’s a hot summer day at his Kiona Vineyard. We wade into an undulating sea of bright green Lemberger vines.

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NW farming
3:10 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

Widespread drought means NW farmers cash in on strong grain prices

Wheat pours out of a treating machine that applies chemicals and red dye to protect it from pests. Photo by Anna King

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 7:25 am

CONNELL, Wash. – Drought that’s sizzling the rest of the nation has largely left the Northwest states alone. Furthermore, the Midwest’s farmers’ misfortune is actually benefiting farmers here. That’s because grain prices are raising because of the Heartland’s decimated yields.

Wheat stubble, grain elevators and whole lot of wide open -– that’s Connell, Washington.

There, I caught up with Dana Herron and his partner Craig Teel. The men run a grain seed operation. They sort, clean, treat and store pure grain for farmers’ future plantings.

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NPR science
8:49 am
Thu July 26, 2012

Gut check: Should you embrace our (mostly) vegetarian past?

Phil Walter Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 8:41 am

We humans evolved to eat meat. How many times have you read or heard some version of this statement?

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Food for Thought
4:30 am
Wed July 25, 2012

Having fun at farmers' markets

From Nancy's local Edmonds farmers market.
Nancy Leson

Well, Nancy has fun. Sometimes I get a little freaked when hemmed in by a farmers' market crowd. You know –  potato panic. Arugula anxiety. 

But my Food for Thought pard Nancy Leson loves s nothing better than immersing herself in the mob of happy food grazers at farmer's markets in the Seattle area.

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Food for Thought
4:30 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Does Yelp help? Or is it pointless whining?

The few survivors of this year's crop.
Stein Stein Software and Garlic Management Associates

I read my first Yelp restaurant review this past weekend and I'm pretty sure it'll be my last. So many of the posts were so whiny that they weren't even as amusing as those really dumb Netflix Member Reviews.

You know the ones ...

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NPR food
8:04 pm
Sun July 15, 2012

Chewing Chia Packs A Superfood Punch

The chia plant is "a petite nutrient-packed powerhouse" writes Wayne Coates. There is evidence that the Aztecs used the seeds as early as 3,500 B.C.

Originally published on Sun July 15, 2012 3:10 pm

When you hear the word chia, you probably think of chia pets. Maybe you even mutter that catchy slogan: "ch-ch-ch-chia."

Or maybe not, but lately, chia seed has been getting buzz beyond those terra cotta figurines. It's becoming a popular health food. Rich in fiber, protein and the highest plant source of Omega 3s, the little seeds pack a major nutritional punch.

Wayne Coates grows and sells chia seeds and has a book called Chia: The Complete Guide to the Ultimate Superfood.

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Food for Thought
4:30 am
Wed July 11, 2012

Nautical Nancy goes cruisin'

Street hawker fare in Ensenada. Nancy's favorite meal from the cruise was on dry land.
Nancy Leson

My Food for Thought Co-conspirator Nancy Leson, previously a happy land lubber, was recently cajoled into a trip to Mexico on one of those giant cruise ships.  The good news?  The tales of heroic eating you've heard are true.  The not so good news?  

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12:09 pm
Sat July 7, 2012

Manju: A taste of home for Seattle's Japanese community

Manju from Umai Do Japanese Sweets, a bakery in Seattle, Wash.
Melisa Goh NPR

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 6:04 am

Manju (MAHN-jew) are Japanese dough buns — often sweet — made from pounded rice flour dough and flavored fillings. In Japanese culture, a box of manju is what you'd take to someone's house on a special occasion, like Children's Day. Or you might simply snack on it with a cup of tea. But manju have to be eaten fresh, and they're pretty labor intensive, so nowadays, they can be hard to find.

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Food for Thought
4:30 am
Wed July 4, 2012

The best-ever way to slice a hot dog!

Easy to do and fun to eat, the spiral cut hot dog is a real weiner.
Huffington Post

"How could I  not have known about this?"  My Food for Thought pard Nancy Leson echoed the very words I had thought when I discovered the Spiral Cut hot-dog.   It's not only cool,  it's so easy to do. 

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Food for Thought
4:30 am
Wed June 27, 2012

Seattle gets drastic on plastic

Always on my desk: The KPLU tote. Big enough to hold a Major Award.

Seattle's ban on (some) plastic bags starts July 1st. Seattleites will still be able to get paper bags at the checkout at a nickel a shot for the big ones.  Or do what any smart KPLU'er would –

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The Salt
12:15 am
Tue June 26, 2012

The making of meat-eating America

Men at a slaughterhouse stand near hanging beef carcasses, late 1940s.
Lass Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 26, 2012 9:44 am

We eat a lot of meat in this country; per person, more than almost anywhere else on Earth. (Here's a helpful map of global meat-eating.)

But why? What makes an American eat ten or twelve times more meat than the average person in Mozambique or Bangladesh?

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Food for Thought
4:30 am
Wed June 13, 2012

For great hot weather eating use your (cold) noodle

From Margaret Gin's Regional Cooking of China.

If you've never had them the idea of cold noodles might not sound too appetizing.  But just take a look at that recipe up there. Why do you think it's so ragged and stained? From multiple uses, that's how. 

I've had it memorized for years but I thought it would be fun to break it out once more so you could see. Click through all the photos and then keep reading – because I've got some good tips for you on how to make it.

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4:30 am
Wed June 6, 2012

What's your food phobia?

I do not like it, Pigaloot. I do not like no kind of fruit.
J. Henslee KPLU

Everybody doesn't like some kind of chow that almost everybody else loves. Me, I'm horrified by fruit. That's baffled and bemused everyone around me lo these years. But even I was surprised when some KPLU staffers revealed their food terrors to me.

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NW farming
3:38 pm
Mon June 4, 2012

Dreary June forecast has Northwest cherry farmers a bit worried

Cool weather and rain could delay ripening and compress the cherry growing season. Photo by Anna King

Originally published on Mon June 4, 2012 4:48 pm

RICHLAND, Wash. – The Northwest cherry harvest is set to begin next week, but farmers are a bit glum. That’s because the National Weather Service says this month’s temperatures will be near or below average across Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

Cool weather and rain can delay ripening and compress the cherry growing season. That means that markets have less time to sell the perishable fruit. Plus, farmers may have a harder time recruiting enough labor in a shortened season.

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The Salt
6:18 pm
Sat June 2, 2012

Tired Of Mowing Your Lawn? Try Foodscaping It Instead

The lawn of Nashville yoga instructor James Alvarez is being taken over by buckwheat.
Blake Farmer Nashville Public Radio

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 7:14 pm

When the economy began its steep decline in 2008, almost everything related to housing hit the skids, including the lawn and garden industry. But one sector escaped the pinch: food gardening.

In fact, food gardening sales nationwide have spiked 20 percent since then, and they've stayed there. While many households started growing food to be more budget-conscious, some are deciding vegetables and fruits can be beautiful, too.

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