5.21 Food & Farm Report

It’s time for the weekly Food & Farm Report, culling the latest and greatest agriculture and gastronomic news from the dear Web-o-Sphere.  As Tom Philpott from Grist says, “when the larder gets too packed, it’s time to serve up some choice nuggets from around the Web…Get ‘em while they’re hot.”

Right now, the larder here at Farmer South is especially packed. Trips to Mississippi, North Carolina and Florida have consumed most of the last three weeks. Monday required a drive to the Georgia Cotton Commission office in Perry, followed by a peaceful, half-rainy ride back through the lovely middle Georgia countryside. Hawkinsville is always one of my favorite small towns, with its mansions and peanut mill on the back of downtown and the red, languorous Ocmulgee River hugging its eastern side. Give me a little farmhouse there under some pecan trees, and I’ll be happy. But I digress; my point is, as a result of recent travel, I’m running to catch up to the news cycle and making apologies to those quality, topical stories that have been gathering cobwebs at the back of the shelves.

Good Food, Close to Home

The Research Triangle’s Independent Weekly brings you the rare story of a full-service grocery opening in a low-income food desert near downtown Durham, North Carolina.

According to Wendy Nol, the store’s project manager, almost 20,000 people in the neighborhood live at least one mile from a standard grocery store. For more than 40,000, that distance is two miles. Most residents walk to Los Primos, a Hispanic market on Alston Avenue, about a mile from TROSA Grocery.

Consider that North Carolina is in the same lamentable position regarding food security as the rest of the South in general. For example, the state is one of the nation’s top agricultural producers, yet it’s second only to Louisiana in the rate of hunger in children under five years old.

Uniquely Southern BLT with green Creole tomatoes

Exploring the Crescent City, one taste bud at a time.

So You Think You Can Wring a Chicken’s Neck?

The Cooking Channel promises a no-holds-barred look at preparing dinner. Apparently, the programmers of the Food Network felt the menu had become a little bland.

Let’s hope that part of the new vérité experience will be spent on the farm.

Fresh (and Semi-Fresh) from the Blogging Oven

So Many Plagues, So Little Time

I’ll get to BP’s oil spill eventually. There’s so much to say and so much there yet to unfold that it’s best to wait for some resolution. Instead, let’s look at one of southern Louisiana’s less apocalyptic terrors–the buck moth caterpillar. I still have nightmares of the undulating masses covering the oaks and infesting the schoolyard at St. Andrew’s Episcopal, of a girl crying and paralyzed in fear as a green caterpillar, bristling with stingers, clung to her dress with its pink nubby legs. A little more on the horror:

The caterpillar’s spines are hollow and are connected to poison glands. Contact with the spines can cause a burning sensation and inflammation as painful as a bee sting. The irritation can last several days and can be accompanied by nausea.

To treat the stings, remove the spines by placing a strip of adhesive tape over the affected area and stripping it off repeatedly. An ice pack can reduce the stinging sensation, and the area also can be treated with a paste of baking soda and water. Some individuals with a history of hay fever, asthma or other allergies may be more susceptible to the sting and should contact a physician.

Source: Nathan Riggs, Extension Agent, Integrated Pest Management, Bexar County, TX.

Talk about taking the shine off of Spring.

Better Jobs, Agricultural and Gourmet

The Good Food Jobs site launches later this summer. Check out their blog today. Very interesting. More to come on this developing story.

By the way, I’m still working on a metaphor to match Philpott’s. Perhaps, when the flotsam and jetsam of farm info piles up, it’s time to clean up the beach. Or maybe something about chicken coops and shovels, or rocks in the gizzard…


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