npr

“Few American chefs take foraging wild foods quite as seriously as Daniel Patterson, of Coi restaurant in San Francisco,” read a recent piece on NPR’s food blog, The Salt. “At any given day, he might be cooking with clams, lichens, coastal spinach, Monterey Cypress, angelica root, and forest mushrooms — all native California foods from the beaches and forests a few dozen miles from his restaurant.”  Chef Patterson sources ingredients from as far south as Santa Barbara and as far north as Washington. Along with his staff at Coi, Patterson takes the process of sourcing locally extremely seriously. But that doesn’t mean he shies away from newer techniques. “The process of finding...
A great recent piece in the New York Times speaks to just a few of the ever-mounting challenges facing America’s dairy farms. As they are exposed to the inherent fluctuations in milk and feed markets, it’s become exceedingly challenging to predict profit margins with any reasonable amount of accuracy. That leaves many dairy farmers at best among the working poor, if not completely out of business. Fulper Farms, a New Jersey dairy farm examined in the piece, illustrates how value-added products and new business models are becoming more than nice to have. Making artisan cheese, for instance, isn’t just a way to build the farm’s brand; it could be the key to its very survival. And starting a...
  Much has been made of the USDA Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass. We at FarmPlate approached the new tool with a healthy skepticism, particularly the map, which attempts to show all of the projects that the USDA has helped to fund in the last several years. While we’re still not impressed with the clunkiness of the map (its user guide is seven pages long, though they promise ongoing improvements), the rest of the site is surprisingly user-friendly, and in some cases downright inspiring. One part that tickles our fancy is a convincing argument about why local agriculture is so beneficial called “The What and Why of Local Foods,” particularly the parts where the USDA is...
Blame (or thank) the still-crippled housing market for our renewed commitment to our local communities.  Americans aren’t moving as much, which may be one reason the locavore movement is spreading as quickly as it is.  For the first time in generations, we’re putting down roots again. A great article by NPR examines the impacts not just on the way we eat, but also on the way we do finance, gather and consume news and information, and support causes. Staying put also affects how we behave online, and how we get around – and stay around – town. The results of all of this inertia are anything but small and humdrum, but often innovative and nourishing in very real ways. “You can...