FERN’s Friday Feed: In Alaska, a wild salmon run

Welcome to FERN’s Friday Feed (#FFF), where we share the stories from this week that made us stop and think.

As pandemic continues, Alaskans hope to stock up on wild salmon


“As salmon make their epic voyages from the sea to upriver spawning grounds, Alaskans crowd shorelines to catch enough fish to put up for the winter,” writes Miranda Weiss. “While subsistence fishing and hunting traditions are woven into Alaska’s Native cultures, and are a primary way rural villagers stock their pantries, Alaskan urbanites likewise descend on salmon runs each summer in a harvest frenzy. This year, for many Alaskans, catching a lot of fish has taken on new urgency because of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

In a federal agricultural visa program, violations are growing

NBC News

“The federal visa program for guest farmworkers, known as H-2A, has grown rapidly as the rural workforce has aged and as a crackdown against undocumented workers has intensified under President Donald Trump,” write Suzy Khimm and Daniella Silva. “But as the H-2A program has expanded, it has left more guest workers vulnerable to abuse…Last year, the Labor Department closed 431 cases with confirmed H-2A violations — a 150 percent increase since 2014.”

The joy of koozies

Food & Wine

In a stressful time, when seeing family and friends safely often requires being outdoors and physically distanced, “the koozie really has a chance to shine,” writes Margaret Eby. “It’s a simple device to prevent condensation from collecting on your can or bottle, thus keeping the drink cooler longer…It’s extremely portable, cheap, and pocket-sized. It does what insulators do: Makes things a little easier, a little more temperate, and just a bit less difficult to deal with.”

Small grain companies and the American economy

The New York Times

“Companies like Maine Grains and King Arthur are challenging the commodity pressures in flour markets using methods that were pioneered in the craft beer and local produce markets,” writes Tim Wu. “The commodity industry takes flour as flour — just an ingredient, the cheaper the better. But baking is also an emotional experience, an act of creation in its beauty and intensity, a longstanding symbol of the home. And it provokes, in some, a yearning to connect with local soil and local land.”

In New York City, drinking outside is a privilege

Grub Street

“Some New Yorkers have treated the city’s temporary takeout-cocktail laws as a cause for celebration, an opening of the streets. New Orleans meets Manhattan. But not me,” writes Christian Rodriguez. “While bars and restaurants reopen, the lines between which people get to enjoy these laws and which people do not are clearer than ever before. There are no alfresco dinner parties in the projects.”