Wednesday, November 19, 2014

California Foodways: Coffee...In California?

Aired on The California Report November 8, 2014.

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

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

Posted on NPR's The Salt November 5.

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

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)

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.