Wednesday, November 19, 2014

California Foodways: Coffee...In California?

Aired on The California Report November 8, 2014.

http://ww2.kqed.org/news/2014/11/08/california-foodways-growing-coffee-in-california/

And posted on NPR's The Salt November 12th.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/11/12/363516334/golden-state-joe-california-makes-a-play-for-coffee-s-future

The most commonly traded commodity in the world is oil. What comes in second?  Coffee. It’s been grown and loved since at least the 13th century in places such as Indonesia, Ethiopia and Central and South America. As a serious fungus threatens the crop worldwide, scientists are mapping the coffee genome to learn more about this plant. Though it’s not coffee’s natural growing environment, California is actually playing a role in the future of this most beloved and lucrative crop.

California Foodways: Prison Dairy

Aired on The California Report on October 16, 2014

http://ww2.kqed.org/news/2014/10/16/california-foodways-prison-dairy-gives-job-training-pride-to-inmate-workers

Posted on NPR's The Salt November 5.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/11/05/358120272/prison-dairy-gives-inmates-job-skills-and-a-sense-of-purpose

Making license plates is the stereotypical job for a prisoner, but in the Central Valley there’s a group of inmates doing very different work — supplying milk to almost all the prisons in the state system.
The low wages for the work may be shocking to people on the outside, but inmates say the job gives them something else.

California Foodways: Nuts for Modesto (Baseball, Religion and a Land-Use Fight)

Aired on The California Report September 26, 2014

http://ww2.kqed.org/news/2014/09/26/california-foodways-the-story-behind-stanislaus-countys-top-crop

So what do baseball, a little-known religious group and a land-use fight have in common? If you’re in Stanislaus County, the answer is: nuts. Almonds are the county’s top crop, bringing in a record-breaking $1.125 billion in gross income in 2013. Walnuts came in third (after the county’s other powerhouse, dairy).  Nuts aren’t just an economic driver, though. They’re also key to the story of this region’s past, and future.

California Foodways: A Pop-Up Coffee House on the Pacific Crest Trail

Aired on The California Report on October 5, 2014 (and on NPR One, and on KPCC, and coming soon on NPR)

http://ww2.kqed.org/news/2014/10/05/pacific-crest-trail-hikers-find-refuge-at-the-sonora-pass-cafe

In the fall, an elite group of backpackers cross into Canada after five months of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. They’re called thru-hikers, and they started the trail in Mexico and will traverse 2,650 miles. Now, the lazy among us might have just read “Wild,” Cheryl Strayed’s memoir about the Pacific Crest Trail. The even lazier among us may be waiting for the movie to come out in December. The hikers who actually make this trek see toenails fall off and their feet can swell whole shoe sizes. They say the only thing they talk about more than their feet is food.

Friday, September 26, 2014

California Foodways: The Mitla Cafe

Aired on The California Report Magazine on September 12, 2014.

This is the start of my new series, California Foodways.  Come check us out at californiafoodways.com (just going live...); on Facebook, and on Twitter @cafoodways.

http://www.californiareport.org/archive/R201409121630/c



The West Side of San Bernardino is one of those neighborhoods where people still live in the houses their Mexican American great-grandparents bought in the 1930s. Today, on the once-thriving commercial strip, there are plenty of vacant lots and storefronts, but one business is still a magnet for customers: the Mitla Cafe.  It’s proof that sometimes a restaurant is more than just a restaurant.  Since the ‘30s, the restaurant has born witness to and played a role in political change.  It also happens to be an unlikely inspiration for how mainstream America sees – and eats -- Mexican food.

The West Side of San Bernardino is one of those neighborhoods where people still live in the houses their Mexican-American great-grandparents bought in the 1930s. Today, on the once-thriving commercial strip, there are plenty of vacant lots and storefronts, but one business is still a magnet for customers: the Mitla Cafe.
It’s proof that sometimes a restaurant is more than just a restaurant.  Since the ‘30s, the restaurant has born witness to and played a role in political change. It also happens to be an unlikely inspiration for how mainstream America sees – and eats -- Mexican food.
- See more at: http://www.californiareport.org/archive/R201409121630/c#sthash.JH9yiV7z.dpuf

Working Poor and Uninsured

Aired on The California Report Friday September 12, 2014:

Here's the blog entry and link to the audio on The California Report's State of Health.

Of the millions of Californians who are still uninsured, many are undocumented.  Many others find coverage too expensive, or the process too cumbersome.  I profile Leaburn Alexander who has two jobs, a three hour commute, and no health insurance.
Leaburn Alexander works two jobs and does not have health insurance. Here, he is on the start of his 3-hour commute home from the job he works as an overnight hotel janitor. - See more at: http://www.californiareport.org/archive/R201409120850/b#sthash.zQKen6l3.dpuf
When the Affordable Care Act rolled out last fall, Californians enrolled in health coverage plans through Covered California and Medi-Cal in high numbers. But there are still millions of people in the state who lack health insurance. Undocumented people don't qualify for Obamacare benefits, while many others find coverage too expensive, or face other obstacles. - See more at: http://www.californiareport.org/archive/R201409120850/b#sthash.zQKen6l3.dpuf
When the Affordable Care Act rolled out last fall, Californians enrolled in health coverage plans through Covered California and Medi-Cal in high numbers. But there are still millions of people in the state who lack health insurance. Undocumented people don't qualify for Obamacare benefits, while many others find coverage too expensive, or face other obstacles. - See more at: http://www.californiareport.org/archive/R201409120850/b#sthash.zQKen6l3.dpuf

Monday, June 16, 2014

Hidden Kitchens: The Romance and Sex Life of the Date (with The Kitchen Sisters)

Aired on NPR's Morning Edition June 10, 2014

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/06/10/320346869/forbidding-fruit-how-america-got-turned-on-to-the-date

I collaborated with the Kitchen Sisters on this aspect of the weird and wild history of the date growing industry in California's Coachella Valley.