If it's mid-November, there must be some sort of panic-inducing announcement about the shortage of a Thanksgiving dinner staple. In years past, pumpkin pie filling has been locus of the upset. This year, it's fresh Butterball turkeys.
Note: that's specifically fresh Butterball turkeys, and just that particular brand. There are still plenty of frozen turkeys from Butterball, as well as fresh birds from other producers available for your roasting pleasure. But the mere notion of not having enough of a T-Day dish to gobble down seems to incite freakout.
The skinny: some farmers who supply Butterball couldn't get their turkeys to plump up sufficiently, so fresh ones over 16 pounds might be in short supply.
He's been called "Captain Outrageous," "The Mouth of the South," and this month, Ted Turner turns 75. Learn more about the founder of 24-hour news: Watch "Ted Turner: The Maverick Man" on CNN Sunday 7 p.m. ET.
"Eat it to save it" may seem like a counterintuitive strategy for preserving an uncommon species, but it may be key to their survival. It's a rallying cry for advocacy groups like Slow Food, activists and chefs who believe that the loss of biodiversity in our diets is a recipe for disaster. CNN founder Ted Turner is at the forefront of the movement, with his campaign to acclimate American palates to bison meat.
As chef Jay Pierce wrote in an Eatocracy op-ed, "If you want to preserve the taste of heirloom produce varieties, such as Arkansas Black, Newtown Pippin, and Ginger Gold apples, for future generations, you must buy them and eat them or the mechanics of capitalism will instruct farmers that there is no room in the marketplace for their product, and they will move on to something else, like Granny Smith or Red Delicious Apples or sub-divided exurban residential plots.
It's a meticulous harvest which forbids the use of a spade, let alone tractors.
Crouched deep within a field full of purple crocuses, groups of villagers come together every year for a back-breaking fortnight, harvesting saffron.
With great precision, and grubby fingernails, flowers containing the rare, precious spice are snapped away from the stems and dropped inside white buckets.
Bo Stone, his wife Missy, and his parents jointly own P & S Farms in Rowland, North Carolina. He represents the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance as one of its Faces of Farming and Ranching. Follow our Farmers with Issues series for more perspective from people out in the field.
It’s just before 7:00 a.m. I’m pulling on my boots to step onto the fields of our family farm. The sun is rising, casting a pale glow across the land, making the warming frost sparkle. I love this part of my day. I walk out to the middle of the field and look over my crops.
I am proud of the corn, wheat and soybeans we grow on my 2,300-acre family farm. We grow sweet corn and strawberries to sell at the roadside market and also raise hogs and cows. And I feel good about the role we play in food production in our community and well beyond.
Yet many people choose to attack me when they say big farms are bad. They say I’m doing something wrong, but they’ve never stepped foot on my farm. It is time for farmers of all sizes to stand up and tell consumers how it really works on farms of all sizes. And stop the attacks.
Editor's note: Next year, the Southern Foodways Alliance will explore inclusion and exclusion at the Southern table in 2014. This theme is two-fold. It marks the 50th anniversary of the desegregation of Southern restaurants. It also challenges us to take an honest look at ourselves today - for the sake of tomorrow. Who is included? Who is excluded? For the Southern table, what are the implications of obesity? Class, nationality, and sexuality? These are critical issues to ponder. Sustainable South hopes to draw your attention to agricultural groups tackling inclusion and exclusion from the field. Today's contributor is Emilie Dayan, a SFA project manager who blogs weekly about issues of nutrition, sustainability, and food policy in the South.
The VEGGI Farmer’s Cooperative challenges head-on problems of inclusion and exclusion in New Orleans, Louisiana. The cooperative, established following the effects of the BP oil spill on the Vietnamese community in New Orleans East, aims to provide the highest quality local produce and seafood to Crescent City and beyond.
The story of this community goes back to 1975 when, after the fall of Saigon, the Archdiocese of New Orleans invited many of the Christian Vietnamese who supported the U.S.-allied government to seek asylum in Louisiana. There, the Vietnamese found a familiar climate and jobs as fishermen, a trade many had practiced in Vietnam.
Like in a scene from an apocalyptic parable, dark carcasses of cows and steers lie motionless in silent clusters across swaths of South Dakota.
An early blizzard caught ranchers off guard this week in the state, killing as many as 20,000 head of cattle, a state official says.
But ranchers say they are the real victims.
Ryan Goodman has been involved in agriculture all of his life, working on ranches across the country, as well as studying cattle nutrition and reproduction at the college levels. He works daily with farmers and ranchers, helping their voices become part of the national dialogues on food and agriculture topics. You can reach him on Twitter @AgProudRyan, as well as his personal blog, AgricultureProud.com.
Transparency in food and agriculture can have different meanings to different groups of people. As Illinois farmer, Katie Pratt, recently discussed on Eatocracy, transparency includes having an open mind for education on both sides of the plate. The issue of animal slaughter is a topic that brings much heated discussion. Recent efforts to improve the transparency in this area continue to be met with much resistance.
The New York Times ran an opinion article titled “Open the Slaughterhouses” that opened debate on the "ag gag" bills and our ability to report cases of animal cruelty. As the author suggests, increasing visibility in slaughterhouses would be a good thing, but there is a problem with that. Americans are so far removed from the reality and graphic nature of the process of death, that images of animal slaughter can stir quite the negative response.
Katie Pratt is a corn and soybean family farmer in Illinois and serves as a Face of Farming & Ranching for U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance. Read more about her on her blog and follow her on Twitter @KatiePratt4.
The word of the day in agriculture is "transparency."
As the debate rages over the pros and cons of labeling things from fruits and vegetables to cereal, ground beef, soil and plastics, we farmers and ranchers continue to greet each sunrise doing what we do: plant, protect, grow, raise, care, nurture, conserve, preserve, maintain, and improve their crops, land and livestock.
It’s all part of the job and the life we have chosen for seven generations on our farm. We grow corn, soybeans and seed corn, and we do plant genetically modified varieties. I’ll tell you why.