Harvest eNewsletter Issue: August 2017 Volume # 68

Why Cooking Has Become a Lost Art

By Julie Jargon and Heather Haddon

Courtesy of The Wall Street Journal



What are people eating these days? Increasingly, food that doesn't involve a lot of cooking. One of the biggest changes that has rippled across the food industry is a loss of cooking skills despite the popularity of cooking shows and Instagram food photoes. Take a few minutes to read the whole story and see how "convenience items" are changing everything.

America Has a Bacon Problem: Our Pigs Aren't Fat Enough

By Julie Wernau

Courtesy of The Wall Street Journal


For decades, hog farmers have been breeding animals to produce a leaner, pinker, lower-fat variety of meat that would calm their customers' fears of clogged arteries.  Lately, however, the strategy has run into an obstacle few people saw coming: a legion of foodies who think skinny pigs make dry, bland meat. 


Harvest eNewsletter Issue: July 2017 Volume # 67

How to figure out how much money you should give for a wedding gift 

By Kristin Salaky

Courtesy of Business Insider


It's getting pricer and pricer to have a wedding and, in turn, it's getting pricer and pricer to attend a wedding. According to a recent study by The Knot, an average wedding guest spends $888 to attend. Now keep in mind this includes everything from travel costs to your outfit as well as the gift. I also tell people that costs on "the coasts" are also much different that middle America. Nonetheless, it's an expensive event. Read the whole article for other interesting perspectives.


Take Control at the Food Hall

By Alina Dizik

Courtesy of The Wall Street Journal


As ambitious food halls open in more urban building, developers are trying to make it easier for visitors to navigate pricey stalls and vendors without feeling paralyzed by all the choices.


Harvest eNewsletter Issue: June 2017 Volume # 66

How the Cronut Opened the Door to Better Desserts

By Marguerite Preston

Courtesy of Eater New York



The fanaticism sparked by a doughnut-croissant hybrid felt somehow more extreme than the preceeding fad - the cupcake.  The Cronut's debut did start an escalating game of hybrid rainbow pastry one-upmanship.  But it also helped revive an interest in serious pastry, which now is working its way into both bakeries and restaurant pastry programs.  The scene has gotten much more eclectic and inclusive of other cultures with new flavors; it's not just chocolate and vanilla anymore. 

How the World Eats Lunch

Courtesy of The Wall Street Journal


Check out this fasicinating look at how people "take lunch" at various countries across the globe.


Harvest eNewsletter Issue: May 2017 Volume # 65

Maryland’s Grossest Invasive Fish Has a New Predator: High-End Chefs

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. 



Eight Things You’re Doing Wrong When You Go Out for Barbecue

By Kate Krader

Courtesy of Bloomberg.com


When people line up for hours to get barbecue, you know that place is doing it right. At Franklin Barbecue in Austin, it can take more than three hours—the restaurant is only open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.—for customers to get a plate of the fat-laced, pepper-crusted brisket and the meaty ribs and sausages that chef Aaron Franklin has been painstakingly smoking since he opened his original barbecue joint in a trailer in 2009. He is most famous for his brisket: On a typical day, Franklin goes through about 2,500 pounds of meat, 1,600 pounds of which is brisket. When it comes to smoked meats, there are right ways - and wrong ones. Avoid all 8 common missteps in this interview with smoked-meat master Aaron Franklin.


Harvest eNewsletter Issue: April 2017 Volume # 64

The New Culinary Frontier: Hospital Food

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.


McDonald’s to Switch to Fresh Beef in Quarter Pounders

By Julie Jargon

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.


Harvest eNewsletter Issue: March 2017 Volume # 63

California Farmers Are Bulldozing Their Vineyards, As Appetite for Raisins Shrivels
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.
How Restaurants Stick to Their Schedules
Courtesy of The Wall Street Journal

There's a reason the service at your Valentine's Day dinner seemed too attentive. The restaurant already had calculated when it expected you to finish your meal and walk out the door.

As online reservation systems make it simpler to fill seats at less-popular hours, restaurateurs are finding that their biggest challenge is getting tables turned over in time for the next reservation, says Gabe Garza, a partner in Blue Door Kitchen & Garden, La Storia and a handful of other Chicago restaurants.

To move the meal along, many restaurants keep tabs on loitering diners, rush out food for guests sitting at in-demand spots and regularly entice diners to the bar for free dessert or a post-dinner drink. "We really concentrate on being able to control the dining room without the guest feeling it," Mr. Garza says. 

Harvest eNewsletter Issue: February 2017 Volume # 62

Farm of the Future: What grows in Las Vegas, Stays in Las Vegas
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.
Diego Opening Guinness Brewery in US
By: Tom Rotunno
Courtesy of CNBC.com

After a 63-year absence, Guinness Brewery will once again have a working brewery in the United States. The Diageo-owned brand will be creating a version of its Dublin-based Guinness Open Gate Brewery in Relay, Maryland. While the iconic Guinness Draught, Guinness Foreign Extra and Guinness Extra stouts will still be brewed in Dublin and exported to the U.S., the new brewery will focus on new Guinness beers created for the U.S. market. 

The plans call for a "mid-sized" brewery with a packaging and warehouse operation as well as a visitor experience to allow tours and an "innovation microbrewery" and taproom for sampling experimental beers brewed on site. The new brewing operation would expand on the historic Calvert Distillery, a Diageo-owned production facility that first opened in 1933. 

Harvest eNewsletter Issue: January 2017 Volume # 61

NRN predicts 9 food trends for 2017

Nation's Restaurant News is one of the leading industry publications for the restaurant industry here in the US. These anticipated trends for 2017 come from the senior editor, who I think is pretty sharp and typically pretty accurate! For years, local and seasonal items have been top-of-mind and I'll be honest we've been right in the middle of that here at Harvest.
There are some newer, interesting and unexpected trends afoot that should make for some fun eating in the coming year. You'll have to click the link below to get to the slide show - I'm leaving you in suspense! - and now everyone hates me to start 2017!
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.
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