FERN’s Friday Feed: Road to table

FERN’s Friday Feed: Road to table

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

Atonement in the kitchen


“In 2016, Washington [State] legalized the harvest of road-killed deer and elk carcasses, and what had once been the covert hobby of a few local scofflaws became widespread practice,” writes Ben Goldfarb. “‘Before salvage was legal, you would see dead deer daily on the highway,’ said Jason Day, an enforcement officer for the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife. ‘And now I can think of only two in the past couple of weeks. They get scooped up pretty quick.’ … Once, eating this bountiful ‘street meat’ was forbidden both by law and custom. Today, however, around 30 states allow it, and many rural Americans have come to rely on it for sustenance. If roadkill represents a wanton loss of life, salvage may be a form of redemption—the senselessness of vehicular death converted by oven or skillet into a sort of gustatory accountability, a bodily connection to place and the ways we inhabit it.”

The long, slow failure of a $2-billion salmon rescue effort

ProPublica and Oregon Public Broadcasting

“Today, there are hundreds of hatcheries in the Northwest run by federal, state and tribal governments, employing thousands and welcoming the community with visitor centers and gift shops,” write Tony Schick and Irena Hwang. “The fish they send to the Pacific Ocean have allowed restaurants and grocery seafood counters to offer ‘wild-caught’ Chinook salmon even as the fish became endangered. The hatcheries were supposed to stop the decline of salmon. They haven’t. The numbers of each of the six salmon species native to the Columbia basin have dropped to a fraction of what they once were, and 13 distinct populations are now considered threatened or endangered.”

Could a GMO pig protect against a tick-borne meat allergy?

Scientific American

“Alpha-gal syndrome (AGS) is an allergic reaction that can arise after someone is bitten by a lone star tick,” writes Sara Goudarzi. Alpha-gal ​​is “a sugar found in the meat and fat of nonprimate mammals … Normally, when a person eats meat from nonprimate mammals, such as cows and pigs, their body does not react to alpha-gal. But when a tick bite introduces the molecule, the immune system recognizes it as an invader and produces antibodies … tailored against it. [These] antibodies attach to disease-fighting white blood cells … in the bloodstream and mast cells in tissues. The next time those cells come into contact with alpha-gal from any source, including meat, the antibodies recognize it, and the immune system attacks it.”

A photojournalist who kept farmworkers in the picture

Capital & Main

“If you have seen photography that brings to life the faces of farm laborers working the fields or on strike from Baja California to Yakima, Washington, it may well have been the work of David Bacon. For 30 years, Bacon has documented the struggles of farmworkers and migrant communities through photographs, articles and oral histories, with a particular focus on California and the U.S.-Mexico border,” writes Gabriel Thompson.

Beach greens, the perfect dessert, and a legacy of love

High Country News

“Gram would take the bowl of chopped greens and grab a bundle with her hand to place in a pot of boiling water. As soon as the greens brightened, shocked by the heat, she transferred them to a one-gallon glass jar with metal tongs,” writes Laureli Ivanoff. “Gram … topped the jar with a red and yellow cotton towel, tied in place with white cotton string. The jar went into her dark backdoor entryway, where it sat for a month, undisturbed and fermenting. Once the greens gave off a hint of a sour smell … [s]he packed them into quart-sized Ziploc bags to freeze. Later, she would … make achaaqhluk, a mixture of the fermented greens, blueberries and sugar: the perfect dessert to serve after a heavy meal of dryfish, dried ugruk meat, potatoes, carrots, herring eggs and seal oil.”