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Farmers' Markets: Why They're So Popular; How to Find One Near Your Home

Farmers' Market

In 1994, when the Department of Agriculture first began publishing a list of farmers' markets in the U.S., the figure was 1,755. By 2011, it was 7,175, and, by August 2012, the number of markets had increased an additional 9.6% to 7,864.  The August 2013 figure was 8,144, a 3.6% increase  above the preceding year.   Growth in the number of markets is slowing down, but it's still ongoing. In 2016, the total was 8,669 (an increase of 2.3% from the prior year). 

Is Cheese Addictive? Only If You Eat It

CheeseThe definitive answer to the title question is an emphatic, "Maybe." Why?  It depends upon whom you ask.  It depends upon your definition of addicted.  It even depends on the type of cheese you're continuously munching on. 

 

This obscure question was brought to my attention by my daughter, who regularly sends me newsworthy links to topics she thinks I should cover on Shelf Life Advice. This time, she sent me a Discovery Channel online article by Alice Truong, who talks about casomorphins, which, as you might surmise from the last two syllables, are related to the addictive painkiller.  Here's what Truong says, "The primary protein in milk is casein. When the human body digests casein, it produces casomorphins, which have an opiate effect on humans.  Because cheese is denser than, for example, milk, the casein is more heavily concentrated, meaning that eating cheese produces a larger amount of casomorphins in the body compared to eating other dairy products."

Hot Dogs: What You Should Know about Them

hot dogDoug Sohn owned a Chicago restaurant named Hot Doug's, a popular spot celebrated for its sausage sandwiches. (Unfortunately, it closed permanently a few years ago.) When a Chicago Tribune reporter asked Doug to defend sausage as the perfect food, he had no trouble doing so: "It's salt, fat, and meat in one very easy-to-eat, hard-to-screw-up vessel.  It tastes good, it's happy, it's the food of the masses and it's available everywhere."  And don't forget that hot dogs are inexpensive, quick and easy to prepare, tolerant of whatever toppings the diner wants to throw on them, and beloved by all age groups from post-infancy to pre-demise. 

 

On the other hand, nutritionists point out that hot dogs are far from nutritious. Yet, says the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, Americans purchase some 9 billion hot dogs a year in grocery stores and many more from street and ballpark vendors. Altogether, Americans consume about 20 billion wieners annually or 70 per person. 

 

The Chicago Tribune also tells us that 25% of Americans eat hot dogs only in the summer.  Among those who eat hot dogs or other sausages, 88% grill them.  The Chicago-style hot dog (a celebrity in a city known for its superior wieners) is steamed.  Whatever way you prepare them (perhaps even broiled, fried, or baked in a casserole), chances are they were consumed as part of your Labor Day festivities.  They're also generally on the menu at tailgating parties on college campuses during the football season. Therefore, this seems a good time to find out what's actually in a hot dog, whether they contain ingredients you should be concerned about, what health tips experts have to offer, and what shelf life advice you should follow.

What is the best way to clean fruits and vegetables?

All fruits and vegetables should be washed well with water. A scrub brush should also be used on for hard-skinned fruits (for example, apples and cantaloupe) and vegetables with irregular skins (such as squash and potatoes) Following these procedures will get them as clean as commercial washes.

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