FERN’s Friday Feed: Trump, climate change and the fate of Alaska salmon

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


The assault on Alaska’s largest wild salmon fishery

FERN and The Nation 

Bristol Bay, a pristine fishery and the largest source of wild salmon in the world, is threatened by a rapidly changing climate and a massive, Trump-backed mine, reports Julia O’Malley in a story published by FERN, in collaboration with The Nation. O’Malley tracks fisher Anna Hoover, the daughter and granddaughter of Alaska fishermen, during her first summer as captain of her own boat. “For her generation of fishermen, investing here is more of a gamble than ever,” O’Malley writes.

“Before celery became the vessel for drinkable wellness, it was a conduit for spreadable and, as history can attest, sometimes questionable combinations,” writes Mara Weinraub. “While cookbooks confirm that the American practice of stuffing celery began in the early 20th century as an appetizer for parties and adult gatherings, it didn’t become a vital part of lunchboxes and playdates until decades later. The most famous (at least for the coloring-book crowd) is, of course, ants on a log.”

The woman who brought kiwi and jackfruit to your grocery store

The Washington Post

“Clad in high heels and a pencil skirt, Frieda Caplan was already an anomaly in the male-dominated produce wholesale markets of the 1950s, a job that came about simply because she needed to find part-time work while she was still breast-feeding her infant daughter Karen; the odd hours of the industry, with much of the work starting in the wee hours of the morning, provided the flexibility she wanted,” writes Kristen Hartke. “If you’ve ever wondered why you often find wonton wrappers, tofu and bok choy grouped together in the produce department, that’s a result of a retailer who asked Frieda to come up with a way to showcase fresh Asian vegetables as part of a complete meal.”

A solar-powered solution for cutting farmers’ food waste

Smithsonian Magazine

“Roadside food drying is still practiced in much of the world. Farmers and food vendors use the heat and flatness of the street to dry everything from grain crops like corn and wheat to seafood to fruit. But this method leaves food vulnerable to contamination from mold, air pollutants, insects and more,” writes Emily Matchar. “Globally, more than a third of food is lost to post-harvest contamination.” To address this waste, Klein Ileleji, a scientist at Purdue University, “has developed two technologies for drying food quickly and hygienically.” Both are solar-powered, making them accessible to farmers that don’t have reliable electricity.

How Kerrygold became America’s second-favorite butter

Bloomberg Businessweek

The Irish butter Kerrygold is the second-best-selling butter brand in the U.S., topped only by Land O’ Lakes. “The butter is canary yellow, with a movie-theater popcorn richness that verges on the addictive. Many butters shatter or crumble when you cut or spread them cold, but Kerrygold is dense and pliable right out of the fridge, like modeling clay,” writes Elizabeth G. Dunn. Its unique color and flavor are due in part to the all-grass diet fed to Ireland’s dairy cows. The brand has notable fans among food bloggers, cookbook authors, and other food influencers.