Headline Harvest: Silencing factory farm reports; Bad news for organics; Colbert's take on climate change

It's that time again! (I would have written something clever about grabbing a blanket and getting cozy by the fire, but it was 60 degrees here in CT today...in January.) So, get comfortable in your favorite reading spot and read the latest:

In keeping with this freakishly warm weather, a word from Mr. Colbert:

In natural resources news:
In shortcomings-of-the-Farm-Bill-and-commodities news:

Professor Blastoff: "Taste"

Even when I'm not working on something food-related, I can't escape it. One of my favorite podcasts, "Professor Blastoff," with comedians Tig Notaro, David Huntsberger and Kyle Dunnigan, just had an episode on the topic of taste (subscribe to it; hysterical is an understatement). You should listen to it in its entirety, but the part that piqued my interest was the discussion at the 45-minute mark about genetically modified foods. The guest-expert, Dr. Kathleen Keller, said the following:
Genetic modification is sort of the only thing I think that might save us from running out of food, which we're actually running out of food and energy to grow food. So, we're going to have to come up with new and creative ways of making food sources that will sustain us for the long term.
The conversation on GM foods fizzled out (largely by a way more entertaining conversation with Kyle's mother), but Keller's comments are bothersome. Perhaps from a taste perspective, modifying food to ensure that people enjoy what they're eating and get more nutrients in the process is an ideal pairing. But, it's a cop-out and it shows the harmful link between GM technology based on nutritionism and the perpetuation of an industrialized food system. We're addicted to and have evolved to crave highly salty and sugary food, deepened by the multitude of processed foods on the market that taps into these addictions. Genetically modified foods are not the answer; increased evidence demonstrates that the process is not a suitable solution for long-term sustainability, for our health or the planet's.

Thoroughly depressed? Just ignore my rant and listen to Professor Blastoff

SWYF Finds: The Mysterious Pawpaw

You know when you hear about something for the first time and, suddenly, see or read about it everywhere? Well, for me, it's the pawpaw, a mysterious - and, I guess, delicious - wild fruit.

I just tried one this week (Wednesday) for the first time at my friends' farm, and my opinion about it isn't fully formed yet. It's intriguing, and I can't really describe the flavor to you except that it's oddly tropical. The texture of a ripe pawpaw is custard-like, and you have to spoon around the big, black seeds. In the midst of apple and pear season, it's a nice flavor change-up.

Enough of my banter; see if you can find them near you. I challenge you to form a coherent, decisive description about them yourself (it's not easy). But, before you forage, take a look at this just-released story on the pawpaw by NPR on the Tiny Desk Kitchen series.