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This vegan bakery could be the next Cinnabon

vegan-cinnabon-cinnaholic
Cinnaholic

What is it about Cinnabon? THAT SMELL. The doughy simple sugars spiking straight into your system. The extra little container of frosting you can get. Be right back, we have to run to the mall.

Anyway, vegan cinnamon roll shop Cinnaholic just started accepting franchise applications, so your town could get a dairy-free version of our favorite unhealthy treat (no offense, gelato and Pirate’s Booty!). Maybe you’ll even be behind the counter?

Founders Shannon and Florian Radke opened the first Cinnaholic in 2010 in Berkeley (of course). Today, you can pick from almost 30 flavors of frosting and 25 toppings, so if you’ve always wanted a vegan cinnamon roll with pina colada-flavored frosting and cookie dough on top, that clanging you hear is St. Peter throwing open the pearly gates.

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There will be blood oranges

California farmers: Drill, baby, drill (for water, that is)

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Shutterstock

California is locked in an epochal drought -- and yet produce aisles nationwide still brim with reasonably prices fruit and vegetables from the Golden State. How does California continue providing half of U.S.-grown vegetables under such parched conditions?

Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute, one of the world's leading think tanks on water issues, broke it down for me. He says that despite the drought, California farmers will likely idle only about a half million acres this year -- less than 10 percent of normal plantings, which are about 8 million acres. And most of the fallowed land will involve "low-value" crops like cotton and alfalfa (used as a feed for the dairy and beef industries) -- not the stuff you eat directly, like broccoli, lettuce, and almonds.

In the Central Valley -- California's most important growing region, which spans 450 miles along the center of the state -- the drought is a massive inconvenience, but it hasn't cut farms off from water. Under ideal conditions, the great bulk of irrigation water flows through an elaborate network of canals and aqueducts that divert water from rivers (largely fed by Sierra Nevada snowmelt) to farms.

But lately, because of the drought, those diversions have largely stopped. The main system for getting water to the regions farms, known as the Central Valley Project, "allotted farmers only 20 percent of their share last year -- and none this year," the San Jose Mercury News reports.

Read more: Climate & Energy, Food

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This fancy fridge makes your kale even more nutritious

nutrilight-refrigerator-electrolux
Electrolux

The NutriLight can’t make your produce last forever, but it’s pretty close. The fridge lighting system, developed by Electrolux, uses “a patented fixed wave treatment that evenly distributes light around the crisper to boost the vitamin content of fruits and vegetables,” according to the company.

The energy-efficient NutriLight only pours beneficial ray-beams onto your veggies, not UV or ultrared rays that would suck out the vitamins. (Vitamin C and antioxidants dwindle in fruits and vegetables within a few days.) With this fridge, “essentially, synthetic photosynthesis is occurring in your crisper drawer,” as Modern Farmer puts it.

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Prairie doggone

Like some dust bowl with your grain belt?

grassland
Audrius Matikiūnas

I once visited one of the last scraps of prairie in Ames, Iowa. It was about the size of a football field, at most, and surrounded by corn in all directions. To me it didn’t look like much. But I had arrived there with a group of entomologists who squealed with delight and immediately scattered into the grasses, emerging periodically to show off the especially fetching bugs they had found. This field, we were told, remained grassland for one reason only: No one could grow corn on it. It was too wet, too rocky, too much clay. The agricultural flaws …

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Basic Strategy

How can we deal with ocean acidification? Step one: Study it.

refreshing lemon splash
Shutterstock

Don't you love soda makers? You push a bottle of plain ol’ tap water up to a nozzle that spurts CO2 into your water, making it bubbly and delicious. Now picture that happening to the oceans, all day, every day, and the result is distinctly less effervescent: Dissolved CO2 turns into carbonic acid turns into dissolving shellfish, stressed-out fish, fewer clouds, plummeting biodiversity, collapsed ecosystems, total annihilation.

I may be leaving out a few details with the seltzer metaphor, but it turns out I’m not the only one short on particulars. There are still a lot of unanswered questions when it comes to ocean acidification. Which is why -- despite the apparent snoozeworthiness of the words I am about to use -- it is important that a group of federal agencies led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have released a new strategic plan to coordinate and expand ocean acidification research.

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Grandparents Just Don't Understand

You can pry my grandkids’ sheet cake from my cold, dead hands

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Shutterstock

In a last-ditch effort to dissuade millions of American children from a diet of Funyuns and unadulterated corn syrup, the U.S. Department of Agriculture appears to have given up on trying to reach them through their parents. (Cut to rush-hour scene of a bus full of adults gnawing on McRib sandwiches, in unison.)

“Grandparents Help Kids Develop Good Eating Habits,” a blog post by USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion nutritionist Trish Britten, dares to make the suggestion that The Greatest Generation take responsibility for introducing children to fresh fruits and vegetables:

Take your grandchildren shopping at a farmer’s market and the grocery store. Talk about the choices you are making -- choosing the juicier oranges or the fresher vegetables. Help them learn cooking skills, which will benefit them throughout their lives.

While recent CDC data showed a marked drop in obesity rates for very young children*, there are still a number of health-related red flags indicating that American kids might be in need of some guidance in the dietary department. Just this weekend, the Texas Children's Pediatrics Associates clinics presented a study at the American College of Cardiology's 63rd Annual Scientific Session that showed more than a third of its subjects between the ages of 9 and 11 have borderline or high cholesterol levels.

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Fish massages are the secret to sustainable caviar

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Sparky

The old way of getting caviar: Kill a fish and steal its eggs. The new way: Give a pregnant sturgeon a stress-relieving aromatherapy massage and, once she's completely relaxed, her eggs’ll just pop right out. Repeat massage every couple years.

There are no hot stones or bamboo flutes, but that’s the gist of a big breakthrough in caviar. This no-kill method is a huge improvement over waiting for a fish to turn 10 or so, then killing it as soon as it gets knocked up (RUDE). The deets from NPR:

The new method, being practiced at a small farm in Loxstedt, Germany, called Vivace GmbH, involves first viewing a sturgeon's eggs by ultrasound. If they are deemed ready, a signaling protein is administered to the sturgeon several days before the egg harvest.

This ... "induces labor" and releases the eggs from a membranous sack in the belly cavity. At that point, the eggs can be pumped from the belly with gentle massaging.

This ultra-fancy, no-kill caviar IS more expensive than normal -- up to $135 an ounce instead of about $105. But it’s a dumb luxury food based on exclusivity, so foodies probably won't mind ... and besides, SOMEbody’s gotta pay for the scented candles.

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Yes we cannibal

More Americans willing to try cannibalism than veganism, new study finds

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Shutterstock

Update: Put down that elbow pasta, hug a vegan, and check the date on this post. Happy April Fools' Day.

Celebrity endorsements aside, converting to veganism remains a hard sell to most Americans. How hard? New research hints that more of us would rather munch on our neighbor Larry than give up meat and dairy.

According to a new poll from The Society for Progressive Meat (SPM), 10 percent of Americans would consider trying man meat, while a measly 3 percent could bear to part with all animal products. A poll and questionnaire on its website surveyed 2,500 respondents over a two-week period.

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Teaching butchers — and brewers, and picklers — to stay out of the red

Food Craft Institute
Food Craft Institute
Gavin Erezuma learning his cuts

About a dozen potential students sat in as many chairs, crowded into a narrow room behind a butcher shop in San Francisco. To the right and left were murals of cattle; ahead, a bovine skull with long horns; and, in front of that, people giving a pitch for a three-week intensive class on the business of butchery.

A man in a plaid shirt near the front raised his hand. “What kind of skills do you need going into this? Have most people had some kind of butchery experience?” People come in at all levels, reassured Marcy Coburn, executive director of the Food Craft Institute. “This isn’t a class for learning how to be a butcher. It’s a class for learning how to efficiently run a business.”

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Real hippies drink beer made from tree branches

If you really care about the planet, you'll eat, sleep, and especially drink the outdoors. That's why one Canadian brewery is making beer out of tree branches, because NATURE.

meewasin-tree-beer
Sarah Farthing

Prairie Sun Brewery isn't just proving its hippie bona fides -- it's also raising money for outdoorsy pursuits. The brewery created Meewasin 80 ale to help expand the Meewasin Trail in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Adding 10 miles to the trail will connect two public parks, but the Meewasin Valley Authority still needs a little over $1 million to finish the job. Graciously, Prairie Sun is donating all proceeds from Meewasin 80 to the project!

But what’s it taste like? Writes CBC News:

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