FROM Tom Philpott
California's Hottest Winemaker: Harvard? Harvard University has been quietly snapping up swaths of farmland along California's central coast, turning the school into one of the top -- and most unlikely -- wine producers in the region. And Harvard's not alone in picking up thousands of acres of California farmland. Investment banks, pension funds, and insurance companies have all become some of the biggest farmers in the state. Turns out farmland is a stable and lucrative investment for those with a lot of money to spend. Not even the historic drought has put a damper on the farm fever. How did this come about, and what does it mean for the future of California's farm industry?
Almonds Are Sucking California Dry California supplies 80% of the world’s almonds, now producing 2.1 billion pounds a year—three times more than it did just 14 years ago. But there’s a hidden cost. Each individual nut requires 1.1 gallons of water. New groves of almond trees are still being added—despite years of drought, which we all know is likely to continue. Tom Philpott is Food and Agriculture reporter for Mother Jones magazine.
Symbols of protest, lighting up EDM festivals The Women's March made a huge impact, in part because of its widely worn pink knitted "pussyhat." Does the March for Science need its own unifying symbol? Lighting designer Steve Lieberman is "the man behind the lights" for the country's leading electronic music festivals and nightclubs. He talks about his early experiences with rave culture, and what it takes to spark the excitement of today's EDM fans.
Elif Batuman: The Idiot Selin, the heroine of Batuman’s autobiographical first novel, The Idiot, is an 18-year-old Harvard freshman of Turkish-American descent. Set in 1995, the novel observes the rise of internet culture.
Cambodians and fried chicken, baby pureés, vegan baking tips Frank Shyong explains how Cambodians got into LA’s fried chicken game. Clara Polito shares vegan baking tips from her new book, and Leena Saini says boost the flavor of your baby’s food with spices. Martha Rose Shulman talks up a nifty kitchen gadget that will take your produce for a spin, and Jonathan Gold does lamb barbacoa at Maestro in Pasadena. Plus, a closer look at how bees make honey and wasps pollinate figs.
What's at stake if Hollywood writers strike? Writers in Hollywood just finished voting yay or nay to go on strike. The vote is expected to be in favor, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll walk off the job. We get the details and look at the effects of the last strike.