Farm Porn for the City Dweller

For anyone stuck in the city this week, here’s an annoyingly beautiful taste of country life. The video is from Tiger in a Jar (makers of Beet Cake), and it’s of Fig and Fauna, a 3.5 acre South Florida farm. You’ll see lots of animals, cobwebs glittering in the sun, and the making of a dreamy breakfast of pancakes and bacon with freshly picked radishes.

See More Clips of the Day:
The Science of Drinking and Peeing

Bookcase Hides Table and Chairs
A Dry Martini, You Always Shake to Waltz Time


Raw Milk Products Accused of Causing Disease Outbreaks

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently published a study with stats that might give raw-milk supporters pause. The CDC report states that the rate of disease outbreaks caused by raw milk and products related to it is 150 times greater than outbreaks linked to pasteurized milk.

For the study, which was published in the CDC journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, researchers reviewed 121 dairy-related outbreaks that took place from 1993 to 2006 in all 50 states, and determined that 60 percent of them were caused by raw milk products. They also found that the raw milk outbreaks disproportionately affected people under the age of 20.

The CDC study caused a stir at the Weston A. Price Foundation, a vocal supporter of raw milk consumption, which quickly published a press release accusing the government agency of cherry-picking data “to make raw milk look dangerous and to dismiss the same dangers associated with pasteurized milk.”

Both the CDC and the FDA have strongly advised against buying and consuming raw milk products. Nevertheless, raw dairy has continued to be popular with the farm-share set, many of whom believe that raw milk has beneficial and even healing properties missing in its pasteurized state. But until they can convince the government that they are right, raw milk will be considered too perilous to be on grocery-store shelves.


Robots Take Over Japanese Farmland

Well, either the future or the robopocalypse is upon us: Japanese officials have just announced that they plan on opening a robot-run farm in the tsunami disaster zone, The Telegraph reports.

The Ministry of Agriculture’s experimental project involves unmanned tractors, which will be programmed to work a 600-acre tract of cropland in a tsunami-ravaged area of the country. The crops will include rice, beans, fruits, and veggies.

Farmer robots will box this produce — and then they will probably rebel against their human creators and enslave them, as those pesky cyborgs are wont to do (see: Terminator; I, Robot; The Matrix).

The robots will also recycle all of the carbon dioxide they and other farm machines produce, according to the paper. These emissions, in fact, will be used to fertilize the crops.

So, if the robots do carryout a bloody and brutal world takeover, at least it will be carbon neutral.


FDA Says ‘No’ to Drugged Up Livestock

Cows, chickens, and pigs in America are on lots of drugs — and even account for 80 percent of the country’s antibiotic consumption, Time reports.

But now, Food and Drug Administration officials have called on the ag industry to limit antibiotic use in livestock, as they think it might lead to the growth of deadly, drug-resistant bacteria: On January 4, the FDA banned farmers from using a class of these medicines in excess or for preventative reasons.

This particular group of antibiotics, cephalosporins, gets used frequently in humans to treat strep throat and bronchitis, Time notes.

The livestock industry commonly doses animals with antibiotics before they get sick, though they are not intended to prevent disease.

About 100,000 Americans die each year from infections related to drug-resistant bacteria, Time reports, and many fear that the situation will only worsen if animals routinely ingest antibiotics in their food and water.

This is not the first time the FDA has moved to enact such a rule.

In 2008, the administration tried establishing a similar regulation, but got too much flack from the über-wealthy ag lobby.


Food Prices to Rise Even Higher; Chefs Are Tweeting Up a Storm

Opting for produce from small, local, organic farms cannot guarantee that you will avoid the food-safety issues that go along with large-scale farming.
[Washington Post]

The USDA is reporting that food prices are expected to rise up to 4.5 percent, the sharpest increase since 1978.
[Wall Street Journal]

According to the Health Department, one soda a day is equivalent to 50 pounds of sugar a year. Yikes!
[CBS New York]

Wegmans faces $195,000 in fines for health violations in their New York bakery and distribution center.
[Boston Herald]

In case you haven’t heard, the word “artisan” means nothing anymore. You can find it slapped on Domino’s pizza, Tostitos, and Starbucks sandwiches.
[USA Today]

Chances are your favorite chef is tweeting what he plans on cooking that night, dinner specials, and even posting pics of the main course.
[Wall Street Journal]

Paula Deen denies rumors that she has a beef with Michelle Obama. The butter-loving Food Network chef has pointed out that the first lady likes fried foods.
[NY Post]

For more dining news, head to Fork in the Road, or follow us @ForkintheRoadVV.


Food Curated Shows Us the Effects of Tropical Storm Irene, In Heartbreaking Detail

You may have seen photos and read stories about the effects Tropical Storm Irene had on farms upstate. But few people have been able to capture the devastation and personal loss like Liza de Guia in her latest Food Curated mini doc.

Hurricane Irene Aftermath: One Farmer’s Story from SkeeterNYC on Vimeo.

For more dining news, head to Fork in the Road, or follow us @ForkintheRoadVV.


The Hot Summer Internship? Getting Dirty on the Farm

Seems just like yesterday that kids were content with internships at Morgan Stanley and Condé Nast. Hell, once kids were happy with spending the summer slinging burgers at the local drive-through. Well, not anymore. Given our country’s love of locavore life, the hot new summer job is farming.

According to the Daily News, Brooklyn Grange has 15 interns this summer, up from last summer’s two. Most of the farming interns interviewed in the story had chosen farm life because, unsurprisingly, they thought office life sucked and they were still full of ideals, believing that they could change the world. And maybe they can. But it might be somewhat of a challenge when you only have two acres of usable land.