Digest: Starbucks’ milk is not just milk, freeze update, Michigan dairies fined…

There's a real feast o' links today, so we're putting the slightly less newsy ones after the jump.

Double half-caf, hold the rBGH: Starbucks has eliminated the use of milk containing rBGH in its stores in New England, on most of the West Coast, and part of the Rocky Mountain interior, with an ultimate goal of eliminating rBGH products from all of their stores. Seattle P-I

Bad news for California locavores: Turns out this latest freeze is one of the most devastating to the state's crops in the last 20 years. More than half of crops have been fatally damaged, including strawberries; vegetables such as peas and celery; and lettuces, herbs and other tender greens. Even tomatoes may be affected. L.A. Times

Just say no to CAFOs: Two mega-dairies in southern Michigan are in trouble for spraying manure-filled liquid waste in the air to keep their giant waste lagoons from overflowing. Cold weather increases the chance that spraying will contaminate groundwater. Chicago Tribune

Drug-testing UK food: Britain's Soil Association is warning regulators not to reveal to companies which drugs they plan to test for in which imported food, saying companies will just switch to other harmful substances. Guardian (UK)

Maine's disappearing fisheries: Molly O'Neill has a nice piece viewing Maine's ravaged fisheries through how much the local dish of chowder has changed. Only the lobster is left in this fishbowl, thanks to (among other things) "monster boats that can pull up to a million pounds in a single six-hour tow, denuding a swath of ocean about 600 feet long and up to 10 miles wide. The ocean floor can take 20 years to recover." New York Times

Take that, Economist: We knew we weren't the only ones in an indignant lather over the Economist's "Voting with Your Trolley" article on the sustainability of organic agriculture. The magazine's Letters section has lots of cogent rebuttals from big guns and small fry alike, and only one smug troll. (We're counting this guy as neutral: "Allow green groups their moments of hyperbole. By exaggerating the social and environmental benefits of ethical production they provide some much-needed balance to big food and drink companies, which have shown remarkably little leadership on such critical social issues as consumer health and global warming. The food zealots provoke these lumbering companies into action.") Hey, thanks! The Economist

Help wanted: Labor uncertainties affect northeastern farmers as well as those closer to the U.S.-Mexico border. Brandon Sun (Canada)

Amish cheesemakers closing: Production problems and religious disputes have doomed Iowa's Golden Ridge Cheese Cooperative in Cresco, owned by an Old Order Amish farmers' co-op. Des Moines Register

Meat-free history: A review of Tristram Stuart’s “The Bloodless Revolution: A Cultural History of Vegetarianism from 1600 to Modern Times” takes readers on a pretty fascinating trip through the reasons people have eschewed meat. The New Yorker

A full belly: A paean to the glory of pork belly, and to the heritage hogs that have the tastiest tummies, according to Washington D.C chefs. Washington Post (Bonus links for bacon lovers: this InsideBayArea bacon article talks about some brands we'd never heard of, as does this Mercury News article.)

100-Mile Bread Challenge: In California, finding a truly local source for bread is harder than you might think. TreeHugger

Mother Earth wants you!: Know a young person who might want to become a farmer? Here's a list of resources to point them to. Mother Earth News

Manka's memorial: A potluck wake for the fire-destroyed bastion of locavoreanism has us salivating — and crossing fingers that the restaurant can rise from the ashes. Marin Independent Journal

Dejá chew: A top-food-trends piece that we missed last week says heirloom squash, eating locally, and farmers' replacing chefs in the food pantheon are among the "next big things." Yes, if it's 2006...but maybe this is the year those trends become truly mainstream. Chicago Tribune

Whose batter is better?: Local restaurants can't keep up with Bay Area demand for fried chicken. Farmerbrown's chef and apparently others prefer Fulton Valley Farms chicken, "for its deep flavor and ethical upbringing; they're free-range and antibiotic-free. (Dairy Queen adds, in reference to the Bay Area poultry panic of 2007: When I was craving fried chicken back in November and found it at Farmerbrowns (review), I poked around the FVF website, which claims the chickens actually have outdoor forage space; and Jay at the Linkery found out it's a cooperative when he visited the processor. I plan to contact FVF and find out more.) San Francisco Chronicle

Real dark meat: Black-fleshed chickens called Silkies are popular in Asian communities, a tougher sell elsewhere. New York Times

Chefs cope with citrus shortage: What California chefs who depend on oranges and lemons to juice up their winter dishes plan to do if the state's citrus crop goes straight to compost. Fortunately, the reporter quotes at least one expressing sympathy for the farmers' loss. San Francisco Chronicle

Q&A with polar bear protector: Grist's Interactivist interviews Kassie Siegel, climate director for the Center for Biological Diversity, about filing for endangered species protection for polar bears and other efforts. Grist

Back to "natural": Annys Shin opines in her Checkout blog on the Kraft and Cadbury jettisoning their "all natural" claims. The comments section is pretty entertaining, and even slightly informative this time. Washington Post Blog

Make recipes fit like a glove — comfortably: A food editor advises on how to manage overly costly recipes and recommends that people shouldn't be afraid to modify a recipe to suit their needs. Seattle P-I

Whole gains: Financial reporter Alyce Lomax picks Whole Foods as the Best Retail Stock for 2007. The Motley Fool

Watch them melt away: Global melting has caused several mountains in Greenland to shed weight and reveal themselves as islands. Similar occurrences have been noted elsewhere in the far north. The article casually mentions that if Greenland's ice shelf melted, sea levels would rise 23 feet globally. New York Times

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