The Salt

The Salt
5:45 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

When China Spurns GMO Corn Imports, American Farmers Lose Billions

A corn purchaser writes on his account in northwest China in 2012. In November 2013, officials began rejecting imports of U.S. corn when they detected traces of a new gene not yet approved in China.
Peng Zhaozhi Xinhua/Landov

For a while there, China was the American farmer's best friend. The world's most populous nation had so many pigs and chickens to feed, it became one of the top importers of U.S. corn and soybeans almost overnight.

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The Salt
4:12 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Should We Return The Nutrients In Our Pee Back To The Farm?

More than 170 volunteers in the Brattleboro, Vt., area have contributed urine to the Rich Earth Institute field trials.
Mike Earley/Courtesy of Rich Earth Institute

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 7:59 pm

Let me guess how you feel about your urine: Get that smelly stuff away from me as fast as possible?

A small group of environmentalists in Vermont isn't as squeamish. Instead of flushing their pee down the drain, they're collecting it with special toilets that separate No. 1 and No. 2.

Then they're pooling the urine of the 170 volunteers in the pilot project (a quart or so, per person, daily) and eventually giving it to a farmer, who's putting it on her hay fields in place of synthetic fertilizer. The goal is to collect 6,000 gallons this year.

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The Salt
10:01 am
Thu July 31, 2014

How To Order Pizza From A Nuclear Command Bunker

Getting a pizza delivered to a remote nuclear missle base is tricky. Unfortunately, the Air Force won't let you use its helicopters.
Dan Gage/USAF

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 12:33 pm

I spent months working with the U.S. Air Force to get access to a remote underground nuclear bunker in Nebraska for our radio series on America's missile forces. There was only one question left to answer before I left.

What did I want for lunch?

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The Salt
6:33 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Why Your 'Small-Batch' Whiskey Might Taste A Lot Like The Others

Bulleit is one of 50 different brands a food blogger says is using whiskey from an Indiana factory.
Mike McCune/Flickr

Originally published on Wed July 30, 2014 7:38 pm

It's a good time to be a whiskey maker, and craft whiskeys are all the rage, with names like Bulleit, Redemption, Templeton and George Dickel.

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The Salt
5:44 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Moldova's Winemakers Seize Upon Region's Geopolitical Moment

A glass is filled with Moldovan wine at a wine fair in Belgium in 2013.
Yves Logghe AP

Originally published on Wed July 30, 2014 7:33 pm

Consider, for a moment, the misfortunes of winemakers in Moldova, a former Soviet republic in southeastern Europe, tucked in between Ukraine and Romania.

Their country is the poorest in Europe, with a per capita GDP about the same as Honduras. They'd love to sell their product — which has gotten approving nods from foreign critics -- in wealthier countries. But most of those customers don't even know that Moldova exists, let alone that its winemaking tradition goes back thousands of years.

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The Salt
6:20 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Farming The Bluefin Tuna, Tiger Of The Ocean, Is Not Without A Price

Yonathan Zohar, Jorge Gomezjurado and Odi Zmora check on bluefin tuna larvae in tanks at the University of Maryland Baltimore County's Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology.
Courtesy of Yonathan Zohar

Originally published on Wed July 30, 2014 3:21 pm

In a windowless laboratory in downtown Baltimore, some tiny, translucent fish larvae are swimming about in glass-walled tanks.

They are infant bluefin tuna. Scientists in this laboratory are trying to grasp what they call the holy grail of aquaculture: raising this powerful fish, so prized by sushi lovers, entirely in captivity. But the effort is fraught with challenges.

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The Salt
5:13 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Want To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint? Choose Mackerel Over Shrimp

A fisherman pulls a basket filled with anchovies aboard a fishing boat off of Peru's northern port of Chimbote, in 2012. Peru is the world's top fishmeal exporter, producing about a third of worldwide supply.
Enrique Castro-Mendivil Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 4:05 pm

Small fatty fish like mackerel, herring, sardines and anchovies are high in omega-3s, vitamin D and low on the food chain.

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The Salt
2:23 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Widely Used Insecticides Are Leaching Into Midwest Rivers

The U.S. Geological Survey found that neonicotinoids are leaching into streams and rivers in the Midwest, including the Missouri River, shown here in Leavenworth, Kan.
Dean Bergmann iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 4:42 pm

A class of insecticides called neonicotinoids, which are used on a lot of big corn and soybean fields, has been getting a pretty bad rap lately.

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The Salt
8:03 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Could Specialty Cocoa Be Haiti's Golden Ticket To Prosperity?

Maman Pye cacao, a Haitian supertree, can produce 20 times as many cacao pods as ordinary trees, and the pods themselves are denser with cacao seeds than ordinary pods.
Shutterstock

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 4:26 pm

In Robillard, a tiny hamlet deep in the Haitian hinterland, Valmir Mamonvil is standing next to a would-be national hero: Maman Pye cacao, which in Haitian Creole means "mother cacao tree." His father planted it 30 years ago, but for Mamonvil, the tree is more than a family heirloom. It could be his kids' ticket to prosperity — and his country's chance to cash in on surging chocolate demand around the world.

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The Salt
5:54 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Korean Steak Sandwich

This photo also featured in BuzzFeed's "21 Unbelievable Beverage Can Photobombs."
NPR

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 6:16 pm

Ever since we landed in San Francisco and refused to leave, we've heard people talking about the Korean steak sandwich at Rhea's Deli and Market. People say things like "It's amazing" and "Get away from me, I'm trying to eat" and "Did you just lick a drop of sauce off of my shirt? I'm calling the police."

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