Dan Barber’s book, The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food, was released this week, graced with blurbs by everyone from Ruth Reichl to Al Gore and Malcolm Gladwell. And if it feels like it was a long time coming, that’s because it was. The chef and writer spent over a decade visiting farmers and other food producers and ruminating about the role their work plays in the wider natural world. Meanwhile Barber was also running a world-renowned restaurant, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, part of a small constellation of other efforts, including Blue Hill restaurant in New York City, the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, and Barber’s nearby family farm. Read more
On a recent Tuesday, 12 chefs went out on a fishing boat in Half Moon Bay, an hour south of San Francisco. The group was hoping to catch a wild Chinook salmon, but they returned empty-handed.
“Sport fishing season opened in early April and the fisherman has only brought in three fish so far,” said Kris Moon, director of charitable giving and strategic partnerships at the James Beard Foundation* (JBF) after the trip. “It has been the slowest season he can remember.” Read more
Here are a few food news stories you might have missed this week:
1. Study Reveals Sizable Increase in Diabetes Among Children (New York Times)
In the eight years between 2001 to 2009, the rate of Type 1 diabetes increased 21 percent among children under 19, and Type 2 diabetes among those ages 10 to 19 rose 30 percent. Read more
For years, Atlantic bluefin tuna has been the very definition of the seafood red list. And the decision by the high-end restaurant Nobu to continue selling the sought-after, but threatened delicacy has received a great deal of criticism from activists and celebrities alike. (It’s also on Barry Estabrook’s Five Things I Will Not Eat list.) Read more
1. Walmart’s New Line of Organic Food will Undercut Big Brands (New York Times)
The big news this week was the new partnership between Walmart and Wild Oats, the former natural grocery store chain, which is rolling out a line of inexpensive organic products. Walmart only plans to carry the company’s shelf-stable pantry items for now, but the move could make a splash with both consumers and farmers. Read more
If you don’t recognize all the high-tech ingredients available in food and drinks these days, you’re not alone. Some of these new additions—such as glucosamine hydrochloride, gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA), or soy isoflavone extract—might show up in product marketing, while others, such as milk protein concentrate, will not. But whether new food additives are being promoted or not, a report released this week by the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) says their novelty isn’t the only reason we should be paying attention. Read more
Ordering food on the Internet can offer a reprieve from the drudgery of the grocery store. A few quick clicks and you have ingredients for dinner without getting in a car or lugging bags of food on a bus or train. But while it may seem like online services allow groceries to magically appear at our doorsteps, there are, in fact, still quite a few warehouses, refrigerators, and trucks involved. Read more
First it was produce. Then the local food movement expanded to take on meat. Now it’s all about grains.
Nothing proves this point more than the packed room I found myself in last Sunday morning. At the point in the week when most people are unfurling their copy of the New York Times, or making their second leisurely café au lait, I filed in to the back of the dining area at Oliveto, a high-end Italian restaurant in Oakland, to join around 100 people gathered to discuss local grains. Read more