HandPicked 8–Stuff That Matters

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There’s always a lot going on in the space we call ‘real food’, but not every story generates a whole post on its own.

That’s why we’ve created the HandPicked 8to give you a quick idea of some of the things happening in the wide world of food.

It’s almost the middle of August, late summer produce is making its presence known.

Here in the Hudson Valley corn and tomatoes are sharing the spotlight. What’s catching your eye at your farmer’s market?

Here are some good things to check out–this week’s HandPicked 8.

1. Bren Smith writing in The New York Times says that despite the wild popularity of fresh, local food hard working farmers are working in the red. Don’t Let Your Children Grow Up to Be Farmers is an eye-opening opinion piece from a farmer’s point-of-view. A good read.

2. The grandson of the man who invented the Doritos chip ‘wants to completely reinvent what we eat and how it’s produced’. Tim West is shaking things up in San Francisco with a farm-to-counter pop up called Cool Beans and by developing a snack food that will be “equally as delicious as Doritos, equally as convenient as Doritos, but better for you and better for the planet.” The Salt blog over at NPR.org has the story.

3. OK, you bought some great looking chard–now what? Some of us could use a little help with that question. The smart folks over at Food52 have a great article up about what to do with an overload of chard. They have some really delicious ideas.

4. Who among us hasn’t wished we could have shared a meal with the great Julia Child? We certainly would have loved the opportunity to eat with her in Provence, Paris, California–anywhere in the world really! Well, Paul Levy did just that. In an article in the Wall Street Journal Mr. Levy describes how he was able to meet his ‘gastro-pin-up’, in 1979, in the South of France. Lucky guy.

5. Well, this could get the discussions going. Should Everyone Pay a Premium For Food Because Californians Want to Waste Water? is the title of a post on Alternet written by Jill Richardson. She writes that because of the terrible, extended drought in California and the fact that lots of agricultural products make their way to supermarkets across the country, we all end up paying higher prices. Discuss amongst yourselves.

6. Slicing a watermelon is easy–cut into wedges, maybe a little salt and voilà, watermelon ready to eat. Right? Wrong! We have been doing it all wrong for all these years, so the Huffington Post has put up a short video to set us all straight. When you see how drop-dead simple this method of slicing a watermelon really is, you’ll wonder why you haven’t seen it before. Seriously. Watch the video.

7. What does ‘natural’ mean? Hmmm. Urvashi Rangan, the executive director of the Food Safety and Sustainability Center at Consumer Reports, said in a statement. “It’s misleading, confusing, and deceptive.” Salon.com reports that Consumer Reports has conducted a study that has some people saying it might be time to ban the ambiguous word from food labels. Naturally.

8. Last Tuesday was election day in Missouri and by the slimmest of margins an amendment that would make farming a constitutional right passed. What role did Big Ag play? What did The Humane Society do behind the scenes? What does these mean for small family farms in Missouri? Modernfarmer.com has the lowdown.

And that’s some of the good stuff on our plates, HandPicked 8 for August 11, 2014!

What has arrived at your farmers’ market that you can’t cook without? What are your favorite go-to summer dishes?

Photo credit: Craig McCord