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Has Salt Gotten An Unfair Shake?

Sep 3, 2017

For such a simple compound, salt is complicated.

Sodium is a key element in table salt, and it's also essential for life. It helps regulate our blood volume. It shuttles nutrients into our bodies and brains. It allows our muscles to contract and our nerves to pulse with electricity. Yet for decades, we've been told to avoid it.

Flickr Photo/USDAgov (CC-BY-NC-ND)

With the new school year just around the corner, one Seattle school lunch advocate has plenty to celebrate. 

Amazon is cutting the prices of bananas, butter, organic eggs, and other best-selling staples at Whole Foods' 470 stores, promising customers lower costs and targeting the grocer's "Whole Paycheck" nickname. The online giant also says its Amazon Prime members will get special prices and perks.

A wild Pacific salmon, left, next to an escaped farm-raised Atlantic salmon, right, on Aug. 22 at Home Port Seafoods in Bellingham.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Jeannie Yandel talks to Renee Erickson, Seattle chef, author and owner of The Walrus and The Carpenter, and Barton Seaver, author, chef and the director of the Sustainable Seafood and Health Initiative at Harvard University, about farming seafood and the future of salmon consumption. 

Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods is another step closer to reality, after the Federal Trade Commission decided the grocery deal would not hamper competition or provide an unfair advantage.

It's a summer evening on the French Atlantic island of Noirmoutier. As the sun shimmers on the rustling marsh grasses, Hervé Zarka rakes in sea salt from shallow pools. He uses a simoussi, a 10-foot pole tipped with a flat board. Salt has been harvested this way since at least the seventh century, when Benedictine monks dug the canals that bring seawater into this marshland.

On Aug. 21, a 70-mile-wide ribbon from Oregon to South Carolina called the "path of totality" will experience a total solar eclipse. Large swaths of farmland in the Great Plains and Midwest will be plunged into darkness for 2 1/2 minutes, and temperatures will drop about 10 degrees in the middle of the day.

But as millions of people look up at the sky, many Midwest scientists will turn their eyes and cameras toward the plants and animals on the ground. And they're not sure what will happen.

'Weird' food? More like weirdly good food!

Aug 15, 2017
KUOW photo

Food can be such a mystery to young and old. RadioActive's Abay Estifanos and Jessie Nguyen lead their audience through the unknowns of food, and discuss how it relates to who we are as people.

You might think of summer as a time for family cookouts and lazy days at the lake, but for 13.1 million American kids who are food insecure, the reality is very different.

For them, being out of school doesn't mean hot dogs and s'mores; it means not being sure when they're going to get their next meal.

For Here & Now resident chef Kathy Gunst, the grill is a great way to add slow-cooked flavor to meat. She brings Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson slow-smoked brisket, pork ribs with a rub created by her husband John Rudolph, her “best barbecue sauce” and Asian-style coleslaw.


Slow-Smoked Texas-Style Brisket With Best Barbecue Sauce

This is long, slow grilling at its best.

Rising carbon dioxide levels could have an unexpected side effect on food crops: a decrease in key nutrients. And this could put more people at risk of malnutrition.

Why We All Scream When We Get Ice Cream Brain Freeze

Jul 31, 2017

Ah, the brain freeze — the signature pain of summer experienced by anyone who has eaten an ice cream cone with too much enthusiasm or slurped down a slushie a little too quickly.

But have you ever stopped mid-freeze to think about why our bodies react like this?

Well, researchers who study pain have, and some, like Dr. Kris Rau of the University of Louisville in Kentucky, say it's a good way to understand the basics of how we process damaging stimuli.

But first, a lesson in terminology.

Reusing (@AndreaReusing) is the James Beard award-winning chef at Lantern in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Novel and thrilling in earlier days, today's farm-to-table restaurant menus have scaled new heights of supposed transparency. The specificity can be weirdly opaque, much like an actual menu item that recently made the rounds: Quail Egg Coated in the Ashes of Dried Sheep's S***. Farm-to-table fatigue is most evident in those of us who cook in farm-to-table restaurants — Even We Are Sick of Us.

Businesswoman Mary Keller Wynn came up with the Natte Latte coffee stand in 1999, which launched the Pacific Northwest's propensity for sexy espresso stands.
Courtesy of Mary Keller Wynn

Are bikini baristas a Pacific Northwest phenomenon?

Jake Koukel from Puyallup asked KUOW’s Local Wonder team to investigate.

Flickr Photo/Kate (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/Km6ZXK

Bill Radke talks to Kathleen Flinn, cook and author of "The Sharper the Knife the Less You Cry," and Naomi Tomky, food and travel writer, about the pros and cons of the meal kit delivery service industry. 

Suham Albayati, right, originally from Baghdad, arranges items on her table at the Kent East Hill Farmer's Market on Friday, June 30, 2017, at Morrill Meadows Park in Kent.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

It's not easy to find quality produce in the East Hill neighborhood in Kent. For the low-income immigrants who live in the community, it's a trek to ride a bus or walk to and from a grocery store.

So Living Well Kent came up with the idea to start a farmer's market. Once a month the community-led organization partners with groups like Washington's Tilth Alliance to offer organic produce and locally made crafts.

Katherine Banwell of our Race and Equity team visited the market recently and has this audio postcard.


The last few months have not been easy ones for the small companies that supply Whole Foods with quinoa and kale. As big investors demanded a shake-up at the company, maybe even a takeover by a much bigger supermarket chain, Janey Hubschman felt that the fate of her own company, Epicurean Butter, was also at stake.

"The fact that their sales have not been great affects every single product that is in Whole Foods, and their reputation affects everything that is on the shelf," says the Colorado businesswoman, who has been selling to Whole Foods since 2005.

What local chefs think about food appropriation

Jun 27, 2017
Chefs Edouardo Jordan and Rachel Yang
KUOW Photo/Shane Mehling

Bill Radke speaks with Edouardo Jordan and Rachel Yang, chefs and Seattle restaurant owners. In light of two Portland women shutting down a burrito cart after being accused of food appropriation, Jordan and Yang discuss how they view culture and the sanctity of food. They also explain how they have been inspired by other cultures to create their signature dishes. 

More than 1,500 dairy cows embarked on a long voyage Friday from the Pacific Northwest to Vietnam. 

El Balcon, Bremerton. The city ousted the tiny restaurant during the recession but invited it back after its owners and their five children became homeless.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

When Mario Amaya first set foot in Bremerton in 2009, he fell in love.


Updated at 9:20 a.m. ET on June 19

Amazon is buying Whole Foods, in a merger that values Whole Foods stock at $42 a share — a premium over the price of around $33 at the close of trading on Thursday. The Internet retailer says it's buying the brick-and-mortar fixture in a deal that is valued at $13.7 billion.

Whole Foods, which opened its first store in Austin, Texas, back in 1980, now has 465 stores in North America and the U.K.

About 20 percent of baby food samples tested over a decade-long period had detectable levels of lead, according to a new report from Environmental Defense Fund, a nonprofit group.

The group evaluated data collected by the Food and Drug Administration from 2003 to 2013. This included 2,164 baby food samples. They found 89 percent of grape juice samples, 86 percent of sweet potatoes samples and 47 percent of teething biscuits samples contained detectable levels of lead.

Lattes themselves will not be taxed under the sweetened beverage distribution tax. However, the syrups going into them will be.
Flickr Photo/Cairns Dining

Even though it’s been days since Seattle officials passed the new soda tax, it’s unclear what specific drinks will be affected.

Specifically, lattes.


A proposal to tax sugary drinks like soda pop in Seattle passed Monday.
Flickr Photo/Mike Mozart (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/JwCQyB

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is scheduled to sign off on a new tax for sugary drinks Tuesday. The City Council passed the bill earlier this week.


A brand new flight will send fresh cherries from Seattle to Shanghai, China, several times a week starting June 18.

Northwest And Nation’s Wheat Farmers Battling Fungus 



“Rust” is a four-letter word that makes wheat farmers shudder. The dusty orange fungus called stripe rust cut wheat yields in half. Especially this year—when there’s been an abundance of snow, rain and cool weather.

A proposal to tax sugary drinks like soda pop in Seattle passed Monday.
Flickr Photo/Mike Mozart (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/JwCQyB

The Seattle City Council revised a bill that would impose a tax on sweetened beverages at about 1.75 cents per ounce.

Will diet drinks be included in that tax?

In a South Dakota court room, ABC News will defend a series of stories it reported five years ago in a defamation law suit. Jury selection started Wednesday.

It's a trial that could prove to be a measure of public attitudes toward the media.

Back in 2012, ABC Correspondent Jim Avila reported on a practice of a South Dakota-based company called Beef Products, Inc.

Portland's Bike-Powered Mill Delivers A Low-Carbon Beer

May 26, 2017

Portland's Baerlic Brewing has teamed up with the Oregon Environmental Council to brew a low-carbon beer using a bike mill to grind the malt for its “Bike Crush Saison.”

The beer, scheduled to be released June 15, will be made with locally grown hops from Crosby Hop Farm in Woodburn. It will only be distributed within a mile of the brewery by bike or hybrid vehicle.

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