Please, someone save us from ourselves: A new variety of tomato (right) has been genetically modified to restore some of the flavor and aroma lost from when tomatoes were bred to be durable for shipping. Or, for no-risk deliciousness, you could just eat an heirloom tomato instead. (Scientific American)
Dust Bowl redux: A Page 1 article in the Wall Street Journal examines how the latest drought is wreaking devastation in the U.S. West and Southeast. Non-WSJ subscribers can read a detailed summary of it at today's FarmPolicy.com under "III. Crop/Weather"
Canadian farmers plant least spring wheat in 37 years (Bloomberg.com)
Ontario soybean farmer ordered to pay Monsanto $107,000 for violating patent rights (Intellectual Property News Agency)
A different Kind of mess: Dan Owens presents the Center for Rural Affairs' detailed analysis of Congressman Ron Kind's FARM 21 plan to reform the Farm Bill, which has been vilified by Big Ag so much that we thought it had to be a silver bullet. Short version: It ain't so great, primarily because it will not meaningfully help small to midsize family farmers. (Blog for Rural America)
Where's the beef from?: Parke Wilde explains the row over country-of-origin labeling (COOL) we've been following for a few weeks but unable to untangle, between the American Meat Institute (AMI), which represents packers and processors, and the Ranchers Cattlemen's Legal Action Fund (R-Calf), a trade association that represents ranchers. (U.S. Food Policy)
Great Lakes of manure: An oped says proposed Michigan state legislation makes factory farms a unique, unregulated class of industry, essentially giving them a license to pollute waters, subject communities to potential harm, and diminish their neighbors' quality of life and property values. (Detroit Free Press)
Whole Foods CEO's blog attack casts shadow over merger (Atlanta Journal Constitution)
Everybody's talkin' about: What is it about the cooking of women chefs that makes it "more memorable, more comforting" than men's, asks the San Francisco Chronicle. Salon's Broadsheet blog has the best response to the "mama cooks" debate.
Job we most covet: "Epicurean concierges" get to introduce tourists to the local food scene in their city. (Culinate)
Good chemicals make good neighbors: Oklahoma cotton growers are upset that the herbicide 2,4-D is drifting onto their fields from nearby cattle and wheat ranches. Money quote: "The bottom line is, what if cotton farmers sprayed something that caused cattle to abort 10 percent of their calves? Would that be right?" (Tulsa World)
Brits, get thee to a farmers market: The current structure of U.K. supermarket systems makes it impossible to deliver on their rhetoric of local food, and in fact considerably increases the carbon footprint of produce they sell. We wonder, will the UK Whole Foods be able to do better than Sainsbury's in this regard? Memo to Mackey: Sounds like Prince Charles needs an outlet for his carrots... (Guardian Unlimited)
A farm grows in Brooklyn: Two community groups in East New York have opened a "market garden" that will grow food for sale (as opposed to a "community garden" for hobbyists). The site has 3,600 sq. ft. of growing space for 20 urban farmers. (Brooklyn Daily Eagle)
A novelist's roots: The only review of Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" we've read that draws an explicit connection between it and her novels. (Guardian Unlimited)
Meat box: Two young Massachusetts farmers have started a meat version of Community Supported Agriculture club. Their shareholders love it. (NPR)
St. Louis water wins taste test at U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting (St. Louis Today)