Friday, July 19, 2013

Genevieve’s Farm and Food Roundup

GenevieveQuite literally, a "fresh" take on the average food truck has hit the streets of Boston with the creation of Fresh Truck, a "farmers market on wheels." Unlike the traditional vendors that draw people in with the convenience of fast fried chicken, falafel balls, and sugary treats, Fresh Truck aims to offer fresh fruits and vegetables to Boston neighborhoods that don’t necessarily have a grocery store nearby. Daniel Clarke and Josh Trautwein, two recent graduates of Northeastern University (woohoo!), hatched the idea of Fresh Truck last year, and finally launched it last Thursday. Now, the two founders work full-time in an effort to offer the people of Boston affordable and healthier food, while still attending to the allure of a fast and convenient food truck meal.

The Amish culture, one that revolves around plainness, simplicity, and reluctance to accept modern technology, has certainly stayed true to its roots in steering away from what we call "mainstream," by milking camels. Yes, you heard correctly, apparently you can milk a camel. Miller's Organic Farm in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, operates an organic camel dairy, along with about six other camel dairies in the country. About 100 loyal customers in the US and Canada regularly buy camels milk from Miller's, along with other camel dairy products such as yogurt, kefir, and even soap. The process involves a herd of six camels that are milked twice a day. It can be extremely difficult and limiting, as this often temperamental animal will only allow milk to be extracted from its utters for a mere 90 seconds at most. Nevertheless, the Amish have found success in this unconventional dairy product that has yet to hit the shelves of grocery stores. If you're curious, camel's milk is said to have a taste similar to skim milk, just a bit sweeter.

Eight months ago, the hearts of millions of nostalgic Americans were crushed when Hostess declared bankruptcy, officially ending the production of Twinkies. But as of Monday, these hearts can be lifted and fulfilled again because Twinkies are back! In the midst of an anti-processed food movement, the legendary crème-filled, spongy cakes have found their way back onto the shelves of our grocery stores—now with a 45-day shelf life! There are some concerns that under new the management of Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co, the beloved Twinkie might not taste the same, or heaven-forbid, the actual size of each cake might be smaller. Concerned over the artificial ingredients or not, Twinkies are here to make a comeback (success to be determined...).

Lately, it seems that something hazardous to our health is found in the food and drinks we consume everyday, from cancer-causing carcinogens in soda, to now potentially dangerous levels of arsenic in apple juice. A recent study by Consumer Reports found dangerous levels of inorganic arsenic, the carcinogenic form that is not a result of nature, in 10 percent of the apple juice tested. Alarmed parents began to think twice about the childhood staple that's landing in sippy cups across the nation. As a result, the Food and Drug Administration proposed a new rule last Friday, setting a maximum of 10 ppb (parts-per-billion) for levels of inorganic arsenic in apple juice, the same level administered for arsenic found in drinking water.

The presence of genetically modified wheat found in an eastern Oregon farm remains the most puzzling mystery in the farming world right now. Two months ago, an Oregon farmer cleared his field with use of the weedkiller Roundup. As planned, his crops died with the exception of a patch of wheat that continued to grow and thrive. Immediately, this raised the question of possible GMOs in the wheat. Carol Mallory-Smith, a skeptical weed scientist at Oregon State University, sent samples of the wheat to be tested for GMOs, and they came back positive. Unapproved by the government and thus illegal, the GMO wheat left the USDA wondering how it got into this particular farmer's field, where else could it be found, and what this could mean for wheat exports. Thousands of wheat samples from farms across the country have been tested before going on the market, all of which have come back negative for the modified gene. Investigators have had no luck in tracing back the origins of how this GMO wheat appeared in an Oregon farm in the first place, and the incident remains unsolved.

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