By Scott Calvert
Courtesy of The Wall Street Journal
The state of Maryland has had a take-no-prisoners approach to the northern snakehead, a slimy, toothy invasive fish native to Asia. When hundreds of mostly juvenile snakeheads turned up in a pond in Crofton, Md., in 2002, the progeny of discarded pets dumped by one owner, the government poisoned the pond. Two years later, when an angler caught a snakehead in a lake 25 miles west, Maryland drained the lake. But soon snakeheads were spotted in the Potomac River, which divides Maryland and Virginia as it flows to the Chesapeake Bay. Poisoning and draining weren't an option. Since then, Maryland has adopted a different tack: If you want to beat it, eat it.
Courtesy of Bloomberg.com
By Cece Lentini
For Inside Jersey, NJ.com
New Jersey medical centers are employing highly trained Chefs to revamp and improve food service. A growing number are replacing old-style kitchen production managers with trained chefs, who make low-fat meals from recipes that substitute herbs and spices for salt, and who develop menus that incorporate locally grown produce and antibiotic-free meats. Hospitals have also been revamping their kitchens, so that patients can order meals like room service.
Courtesy of the Wall Street Journal
The fast food chain has been using frozen beef since the 1970s, and now look to take on Wendy's and others. The move also comes after the company said earlier this month that it wants to return to its burger roots following several failed attempts to broaden its customer base with offerings like salads and sandwich wraps. A large customer survey completed last year revealed that McDonald’s was losing customers mostly to other fast-food chains – not to fast-casual rivals serving healthier fare.
California Farmers Are Bulldozing Their Vineyards, As Appetite for Raisins Shrivels
By: ZUSHA ELINSON
Courtesy of NPR.org
California grapes fill America's extra-large wine glasses, but 30 years ago they were most famous for spawning celebrity raisins. Today, farmers in California's Central Valley are ripping up tens of thousands of acres of vines, as Americans' appetite for the dried fruit has waned. Countries like Turkey and Iran have flooded the global raisin market with cheaper product. Meanwhile, the increasingly upscale U.S. wine market is no longer as hot on the region's grapes.
In Selma, a place that is called the world's raisin capital, growers are bulldozing vineyards and planting almonds and pistachios, which bring a higher return. Even the town of Raisin City "probably has more almonds than raisins these days," said Mr. Naito, who has replaced most of his Thompson seedless grapes with nut trees.
Many who can't afford the reboot are choosing to sell off their land. Today, 165,000 acres in the Central Valley are planted in raisin grapes, down from a high of 280,000 in 2000. Farmers pulled up 34,000 acres of vines between the 2015 and 2016 harvests, according to Allied Grape Growers.
Farm of the Future: What grows in Las Vegas, Stays in Las Vegas
By: SARAH FELDBERG
Courtesy of NPR.org
Last July, Urban Seed broke ground on its first farm, an assemblage of high-tech greenhouses located on a small plot of land smack in the center of Las Vegas. Eventually the space will hold six 6,500-square-foot greenhouses that will produce 25 different crops, from bell peppers to beets to alpine strawberries.
If an agriculture company launching in the desert sounds counterintuitive, that's entirely the point."The whole world thinks Vegas can't grow food," says Rachel Wenman, vice president of Urban Seed. "We really feel that if you can grow food in Las Vegas, then you can grow food anywhere."
Urban Seed will be the largest local farm in terms of yield, but isn't the first company to attempt farming in the desert. An Australian farm made headlines last fall for growing produce using solar-powered greenhouses and seawater desalinated onsite. Click below to access the full article.
Top 10 Recipes for 2016
As per usual, there's always a top 10 list of something this time of year. I wanted to spotlight one of my favorite "food celebrities." I never thought that would actually be a thing that stuck but Julia Child and others broke through initially and now there's hundreds of people from Wolfgang Puck to Emeril Lagasse to Alton Brown.
If you aren't familiar with Alton, he was on the Food Network a while back and has bounced around since. As far as I know I think he's doing his own thing now as he was on a book tour for a good part of 2016. He's quirky with a dry sense of humor but he's taught me a lot about the science behind preparing food. (Very applicable in my business as many things you see on TV can be done for dinner for two but don't translate well when dinner is for two hundred.)
Full disclosure: I haven't tried any of these recipes but I want to especially point out the Watermelon Rind Pickles. Being from NJ, all I've ever know about watermelon is you eat the juicy red inside and throw out the rinds. I learned this summer from a customer than in Texas, they grill and eat the rinds! This blew my mind! I will be trying that recipe for sure some time later this year.