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Mary Berry blasts 'gimmicky' celeb food fads including avocado on toast [Video]

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MARY Berry has blasted celebrity food fads such as spreading avocado on toast.

The former Bake Off judge, 82, declared: “It’s very fashionable – but this isn’t one of the nicest things to do with them.”

 Mary Berry wants celebrities to start putting avocados in prawn cocktails instead of on their toast

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Mary Berry wants celebrities to start putting avocados in prawn cocktails instead of on their toast

She advised stars like Jeremy Clarkson – who tops the trendy dish off with poached egg: “Better to add them to a prawn cocktail or a little plate of smoked salmon or shrimps.

“I love prawn cocktail, it’s so retro! Do it in a glass, with a little gem lettuce leaf.

“People used to laugh at prawn cocktail because it felt dated, but it’s coming back.”

Avocado has exploded in popularity, championed by celebs like Kim Kardashian and Victoria Beckham.

 Mary says spreading avocado on toast is 'fashionable' but not the nicest way to use the fruit

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Mary says spreading avocado on toast is ‘fashionable’ but not the nicest way to use the fruit
 Mary Berry blasted people who decorate their plates of food with zig-zag sauce

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Mary Berry blasted people who decorate their plates of food with zig-zag sauce

Waitrose has just unveiled an £8 chocolate Easter egg made in green and brown to look like the fruit.

Mary, who left Bake Off in 2016, also dismissed restaurant trends like swapping plates for slates.

Mary Berry invites her friend Shirley onto her show, but is she a clone?

She told Radio Times: “The way I cook might have changed, but I present my food like I used to.

“Serving food on slate tiles? Oh, no, that’s all very gimmicky.

 Former Bake Off judge Mary, 82, often uses trendy kale in her recipes

PA:Press Association

Former Bake Off judge Mary, 82, often uses trendy kale in her recipes
 Mary Berry blasted restaurants who have swapped traditional plates for 'gimmicky' slates

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Mary Berry blasted restaurants who have swapped traditional plates for ‘gimmicky’ slates

“And I don’t like a plate zig-zagged with sauce, or in little blobs in circles.”

Mary uses trendy kale, but hopes old favourites such as dumplings will come back in.

She said: “They used to be huge.”


GOT a story? RING The Sun on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL [email protected]


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Three-Heart Salad [Video]

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Three Heart Salad (Source: WBRC Video)Three Heart Salad (Source: WBRC Video)

Ingredients:

Romaine lettuce hearts
Hearts of Palm, drained and cut into bitesized
pieces
Artichoke heart, drained and quartered
Tomatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
Tomato and Basil Feta Cheese
Simply Infused Basil Infused EVOO
Simply Infused Neapolitan Herb Balsamic

Copyright 2018 WBRC. All rights reserved.

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Smartphone app with $30 microscope could spot food poisoning risk [Video]

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  • Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have developed a device that turns smartphones into portable bacteria detectors
  • The tool uses a chemically-coated chip that binds to small amounts of bacteria and reveals them on the phone screen via a microscope attachment
  • While the device is years away from going on the market, it could eventually be used in household kitchens to test for potential food poisoning risks

Megan Sheets For Dailymail.com

Researchers have developed a smartphone app that alerts users to bacteria in their food using only a $30 microscope attachment.

One in six Americans encounter some form of food-borne illness every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There are very few methods for preventing food poisoning in part because testing for harmful bacteria such as E.Coli and salmonella requires specialized equipment and can take up to two days to show results. 

New technology from researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst changes that, delivering bacteria results in minutes using a smartphone app.

Researchers at UMass Amherst have developed a smartphone app that can detect potentially harmful bacteria in food in minutes, compared with previous testing that took up to two days

Researchers at UMass Amherst have developed a smartphone app that can detect potentially harmful bacteria in food in minutes, compared with previous testing that took up to two days

Researchers at UMass Amherst have developed a smartphone app that can detect potentially harmful bacteria in food in minutes, compared with previous testing that took up to two days

UMass food science professor Lili He and microbiologist Lynn McLandsborough created a smartphone app that when paired with a $30 microscope attachment can reveal bacteria.

Current methods for identifying bacteria associated with food poisoning are time-consuming because it is challenging to collect enough material.

The most common method involves rinsing potentially risky food, collecting small amounts of bacteria from the water and giving it 24 hours to multiply so there’s enough to test.

The tool developed at UMass uses a chemically-coated chip that binds to even the smallest amounts of bacteria.

The university created a video showing how the prototype works: They rinse a potentially contaminated product with water and then place the chip into the water.

Within half an hour, the microscope, which can attach to any type of smartphone camera, reveals the bacteria on the screen.

The app works with a $30 microscope attachment that clips onto a smartphone and reveals bacteria bound to a chemically-coated chip

The app works with a $30 microscope attachment that clips onto a smartphone and reveals bacteria bound to a chemically-coated chip

The app works with a $30 microscope attachment that clips onto a smartphone and reveals bacteria bound to a chemically-coated chip

‘I think the average consumer will be able to figure it out without much trouble,’ Adam Salhaney, an undergraduate in the lab, said.

As for right now, the researchers said the technology is preliminary because it doesn’t distinguish harmful bacteria from good bacteria.

‘We can detect bacteria with the iPhone, but we don’t know if they’re pathogenic,’ McLandsborough told NPR.

The scientists are continuing to work toward a technique that can detect specific types of bacteria.

The device is still several years away from hitting the market, but the UMass scientists say several food processing companies have shown interest in the technology since the research went public last month.

The hope is that it will eventually be used in everyday kitchens to help prevent families from eating contaminated foods.

It could also be used following natural disasters to test the safety of drinking water.

Tips for avoiding food poisoning

The CDC estimates that one in six Americans encounter some form of food poisoning each year. Of those 50 million cases, 10 million are caused by food made at home.

The UMass bacteria detection tool is still years away from hitting the market, but there are still several ways to protect yourself from food poisoning:

1. Keep a clean work space

Germs can survive across all of the different surfaces in the kitchen, so it’s essential to keep the cooking area and your hands clean.

2. Avoid cross-contamination

Raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs can spread germs to ready-to-eat foods if not kept separate. 

The CDC recommends using separate cutting boards and plates when handling these ingredients. 

They should also be stored separately in the fridge.

3. Use a thermometer

To cook food safely, the internal temperature must get high enough to kill the germs that could cause food poisoning. 

The correct internal temperature varies by ingredient, and only surefire way to tell if food is safely cooked is to use a food thermometer. 

 4. Store food properly

Storing food properly is essential to combating harmful bacteria. 

Perishable food should be refrigerated within two hours of when it was purchased, and the refrigerator should be set to below 40°F.

5. Don’t rely solely on expiration dates

Expiration dates aren’t the only indication of when a food item should be thrown away. 

If something seems to have a strange smell or color, it’s probably better to be safe and pitch it. 

6. Don’t thaw frozen food on the counter

Thawing frozen foods on the counter allows bacteria to multiply quickly in the outer parts as they reach room temperature. 

Frozen foods should be thawed in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave. 

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How to Make a Winter Wonderland Cake | Food Network [Video]

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This Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Will Make You a Dinner Hero [Video]

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This is tender, juicy, delicious, and versatile pulled pork prepared in a slow cooker — not barbecue. If you compare this to hickory-smoked, pit-cooked, whole-hog barbecue, you might be disappointed. But if you harness the ingenious method of braising pork in a slow cooker and add one extra step to ensure comparable flavor, you can come home to pounds of delicious pulled pork. Sauce it (or not) and then pile onto buns, drape over nachos, roll into burritos, spoon over rice, stir into recipes, or simply eat straight-up. You will be overjoyed.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork: Watch the Video

Why This Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork Is the Best

This pulled pork benefits from a delicious spice rub full of traditional ingredients you find in any good pulled pork. But rubs can rinse away in braising liquid, and with the longer cook time in a slow cooker, this is particularly an issue. To help the rub stick, the pork is briefly roasted in a screaming-hot oven before transferring it to the slow cooker. Now you’ve got rub that’s going to stay firm, and layers of flavor only searing can provide.

A Shoulder Is a Butt

Tougher cuts of well-marbled and fatty meat — such as pork shoulder — are ideal for braising. Calling a shoulder a butt is not an anatomical anomaly. A pork shoulder is sometimes called a butt not because it brings up the rear of a pig, but because pork shoulders were once shipped in wooden kegs called butts. Whereas leaner cuts would grow tough and dry out, braised pork shoulder becomes incredibly tender and tasty.

The Slow Cooker as a Tool for Braising

Because slow cookers are designed to cook food at a consistent temperature for hours on end, they are an ideal vessel for perfect braising. To braise means to gently cook food in a little bit of flavorful liquid in a covered pot. Unlike pots set in or on a stove, you can safely leave a slow cooker unattended. You can even leave your house. Keep the cooker set to low; the high setting will boil the meat instead of braise it, so it’s only a quicker trip to an undesirable outcome.

Pork shoulder self-bastes and stays moist, and is nearly impossible to overcook. After the meat is done, the fat can be skimmed off the braising liquid. For even better results, refrigerate the pork in the braising liquid overnight. The flavors meld and improve, and the fat collects on top for easy removal. This technique reaps the benefit of the fat during cooking, but reduces calories and mitigates greasiness before serving.

There’s Done, and There’s Ready

It’s not enough to reach only a safe serving temperature when it comes to braising. Tougher cuts must be deliberately overcooked until the collagen breaks down. Pork shoulder isn’t ready to serve until it is tender enough to cut with a spoon and pull apart easily with a fork or tongs.

Get Saucy or Not

The delicious defatted cooking liquid keeps the pulled pork moist, but you can replace or augment it with a finishing sauce. Barbecue sauce is a reliable and compatible choice, but don’t let it limit your vision and creativity in using the meat. Pulled pork can go in many directions, so experiment with the dozens of ready-to-use finishing sauces and condiments.


Heat the oven: Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 500°F. (Use convection if you have it.) Fit a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.

How To Make Pulled Pork in the Slow Cooker

Makes 16 servings (about 4 pounds of cooked meat)

What You Need

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons

    kosher salt, preferably smoked

  • 2 tablespoons

    packed dark brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons

    paprika

  • 1 tablespoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon

    chili powder

  • 1 tablespoon

    smoked paprika

  • 2 teaspoons

    dry mustard

  • 2 teaspoons

    garlic powder (no salt)

  • 2 teaspoons

    onion powder (no salt)

  • 1 teaspoon

    cornstarch

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    ground cayenne pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    celery seed

  • 1

    pork shoulder or pork butt (7 to 8 pounds with bone, 6 to 7 pounds if boneless)

  • 2

    medium onions, quartered

  • 1 1/2 cups

    cane-sweetened cola (not diet)

  • 1 cup

    apple cider vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons

    Worcestershire sauce

  • Equipment
  • Wire rack

  • Baking sheet

  • Aluminum foil

  • Mixing bowls

  • Paper towels

  • 6-quart or larger slow cooker

  • Forks

  • Fine-mesh strainer

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven: Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 500°F. (Use convection if you have it.) Fit a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.

  2. Make the rub: Place the salt, brown sugar, paprika, black pepper, chili powder, smoked paprika, dry mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, cornstarch, cayenne, and celery seed in a small bowl and mix to combine.

  3. Roast the pork: Pat the pork dry with paper towels. Evenly coat the meat with rub. Reserve the remaining rub. Place the meat on the wire rack fat-side up if possible. Roast until the meat is sizzling with a bit of char on the edges, about 10 minutes, but don’t let the spices burn and turn acrid.

  4. Prep the slow cooker: Meanwhile, place the onions in a 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Sprinkle with the reserved rub. Pour in the cola, vinegar, and Worcestershire.

  5. Add the meat: Carefully transfer the meat to the slow cooker. (Try stabbing a fork into each end to use as handles.) Cover and cook on LOW until the meat is soft enough to pull apart with a spoon, 14 to 16 hours.

  6. Shred the meat: Transfer the meat to a large bowl and let stand until cool enough to handle. Pull the meat apart into large chunks or shred with a fork, discarding any bone, connective tissue, and large clumps of fat.

  7. Strain the liquid: Pour the cooking liquid through a fine-mesh strainer set over a medium bowl and discard the solids. If you are serving immediately, spoon off as much fat as possible from the surface. For best results, refrigerate until the fat solidifies and collects on top, then scrape off and discard the fat (keep the meat covered and refrigerated during this time).

  8. Moisten the meat: Toss the meat with enough defatted cooking liquid to moisten. Serve the meat warm, or let cool, cover, and refrigerate to use in other recipes.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The spice rub can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature for a few months.

Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

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Could this ad provide a sneak peek into the future of McDonald's? | Australian Food News [Video]

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A new McDonald’s UK ad may signal a new future direction for the global fast food giant.

The new ad (which can be viewed below) features a series of customers questioning what a flat white coffee is.

The ad eventuates with a McDonald’s employee telling a customer what it is, and that the coffee is now available at McDonald’s in the UK.

There is three new directions McDonald’s could be exploring that can be picked up just from watching this one video alone.

  1. New offerings

McDonald’s café products are relatively new to the UK, only first launching in the region in 2013.

McDonald’s cafes first originated in Melbourne Australia in 1993. Thanks to a booming coffee culture and demand for less ‘junk’ fast food, McCafes have become a McDonald’s success story in Australia.

With McDonald’s struggling in the recent past, it is no surprise McDonald’s UK would want to try something which has proven successful.

  1. The introduction of coffee culture

It is no new news that Australia has a unique coffee culture that cities like New York and London started first cottoning onto a few years ago.

With Australian-inspired coffee and cafes taking off in such cities, it is also not surprising that McDonald’s would want to introduce an Australian-inspired coffee culture to the UK through its stores.

  1. Future target market

For a long time McDonald’s has catered well to families with its playgrounds, Happy Meals and cheap food options. McDonald’s may however now want to open its focus to young adults with no kids, but more discretionary money to spend on beverages like barista coffee.

 

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As Whole Foods merges with Amazon, local suppliers watch and worry [Video]

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5 stunning stats about Whole Foods

5 stunning stats about Whole Foods

Whole Foods discovered Jenna Huntsberger’s cookies in 2015.

Treats from her bakery Whisked, then based out of a Washington, D.C., incubator for food startups, sold so well in the first store that more stores started calling. Huntsberger’s products would eventually be sold in about 15 Whole Foods locations, and she had to move into a bigger space in order to meet the demand.

Then, last summer, Amazon (AMZN) took over.

At first, Huntsberger didn’t notice any changes. But at the beginning of this year, she discovered that Whole Foods was bringing in a third-party company to take over all of its in-store samples and demos. That has threatened the survival of the small, local business that had been handling Whisked’s demos, both at Whole Foods and at another regional grocery chain, and it could mean Huntsberger may have to handle the demos in other stores herself.

“There are a lot of changes going on, and it’s hard when you don’t know what they’re going to do,” said Huntsberger, sitting in her bare-bones office that looks out to the bakery where workers are pumping out cookies and pies. “We try to keep our ear to the ground with buyers at our stores, but it’s all speculation.”

It’s an anxious time for the thousands of small retailers and farmers who sell to Whole Foods now that it’s owned by the biggest e-commerce company in the world. Many of the changes currently underway at Whole Foods began before the acquisition. But as the company further integrates with Amazon’s systems, some mom-and-pops worry they’ll be squeezed out in favor of larger brands that can pay higher fees for shelf space and serve vast distribution networks more efficiently.

Will there be room left for the little guys?

Whole Foods had established itself as the first big grocer that actually cared about local sourcing. By allowing each store to handle its own purchasing and employing local “foragers” to scour farmers’ markets for promising new products, it helped nurture a generation of food entrepreneurs who otherwise would have been shut out of larger chains.

Related: Amazon’s idea for employee-tracking wearables raises concerns

But that hasn’t always been the most profitable business model, especially as mainstream competitors like Walmart and Kroger started offering organic and natural foods as well. Under pressure from investors in 2017, Whole Foods began centralizing its purchasing system and standardizing some of its offerings across its 473 stores.

In the six months since Amazon announced the acquisition, most of the changes have been customer-facing, like highly-publicized price cuts on certain staples, the appearance of the Amazon Echo in stores, and discounts on Whole Foods products for Prime members.

wholefoods3
After Amazon bought Whole Foods, customers started seeing the Echo for sale in stores.

But then deeper changes started happening. In recent months, Whole Foods has told some vendors that the prices it charges for high-profile store placement will be going up, for example, especially in regions that had charged little or nothing before. It’s also monitoring inventory more carefully, with the help of an outside company to make sure that displays are executed correctly.

Scott Mushkin, a retail analyst with Wolfe Research, thinks some of the changes have gone too far. Take the example of each store’s yogurt section. In the past, each store had the ability to pick and choose which types of yogurt it sold, he says, but now it’s more uniform.

“What you’re getting is a more pedestrian yogurt display, more centralized across the country,” Mushkin says. “It tends to play better for bigger brands. That leaves less for local guys.

Related: 5 ways Amazon has already changed Whole Foods

Whole Foods says it’s not backing off its commitment to local suppliers.

It’s maintaining its $25 million local producer loan program, for example, and says that smaller suppliers that sell into fewer than four regions are still managed on the regional level. It says that small producers can still walk into their local store and meet with a regional buyer, and that it is not reducing its local inventory. It’s still not charging “slotting fees” for shelf space, which is a standard practice for most large grocers.

“Under our new category management process, regional buyers have more time to focus on small and local suppliers in the region,” said Whole Foods spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan. “We spend all day every day looking for cool, exciting innovative products to introduce to our customers.”

‘I hope they stay true to what they are’

Many of the local suppliers CNN spoke with say they haven’t noticed any changes, and they hope that Amazon’s incredible distribution reach and customer base will create opportunities for them to send goods directly to doorsteps. Amazon is aligning its grocery delivery service, AmazonFresh, with its two-hour delivery service, Prime Now.

But others are concerned about relying too heavily on Whole Foods for sales, and they are looking for other distributors or to sell directly to consumers themselves.

Will Harris raises grass-fed cattle at White Oak Pastures in Bluffton, Georgia, and used a loan from Whole Foods to build his own slaughterhouse back in 2008 when the grocer’s appetite for his beef overwhelmed the one he’d been using. In 2013, as Whole Foods started finding other suppliers, the orders fell off. Harris was able to find new customers by selling to other grocers and by starting a restaurant, a food truck and a general store on the ranch. Now, he sells everything from chicken legs to beef trachea online.

whole foods suppliers will harris
White Oak Pastures owner Will Harris has diversified his revenue streams since Whole Foods’ orders started falling off in 2013.

Harris says he’s not surprised by Whole Foods’ recent change in direction.

“Despite their altruistic philosophy, at the end of the day, Whole Foods is a stock company, and they owe allegiance to the shareholders,” Harris says.

Related: Amazon lays off hundreds of employees

Still, not everyone has the same capacity to diversify their revenue. Susan Soorenko owns Moorenko’s, a small-batch ice cream producer based in Maryland that has been selling to Whole Foods since 2005. She says Whole Foods changed distributors, from a smaller regional company to a larger national one, which she says isn’t as responsive.

Meanwhile, her shelf space has been whittled down, as lower-calorie competitors have filled the freezer, and the buyer she used to work with relocated to Whole Foods’ Austin headquarters.

“If I run into an issue, there’s nobody to go to,” Soorenko says. “I don’t feel like we’re partners anymore.”

whole food suppliers moorenkos
Staffers of Moorenko’s in Northern Virginia. The company has been selling artisanal ice cream and sorbet to Whole Foods since 2005.

The impact may be most felt, however, by suppliers that never manage to get their first Whole Foods purchase order. Zach DeAngelo invests in and consults for small food companies, and says that Whole Foods hasn’t been as eager to take chances on new products.

“I’ve seen a lot less brands get into Whole Foods,” says DeAngelo, noting that Walmart and Kroger have been more aggressive about sourcing local products lately. “Because Whole Foods is dropping the ball on leading innovation, other retailers are cropping up.”

Universally, small suppliers who spoke with CNNMoney say they hope Whole Foods doesn’t let go of its local identity — both for their sake, and for the sake of maintaining Whole Foods’ competitive advantage.

Sara Polon says her Takoma Park, Maryland-based soup business called Soupergirl has seen orders tail off since the Amazon acquisition. She thinks it might be due more to tighter inventory management and a focus on avoiding waste, which she doesn’t mind — as long as they keep the door open.

“Whole Foods as a company helped me turn into the business I am today,” Polon says. “And they have the opportunity to keep doing that. I hope they stay true to what they are, and I’m not sure it’s up to them.”

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Vinyl Jukebox Cake That Plays Music | Food Network [Video]

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Research shows consumers trust farmers [Video]

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Donna Moenning with CFI says a majority of consumers trust farmers when it comes to their food supply. She shared research results with farmers, as well as how to best engage with consumers, at the Developing Consumer Trust Workshops in Mitchell and Huron, S.D., on Feb. 6-7. The sessions were hosted by the South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council as part of their Hungry for Truth Campaign.

Moenning says while CFI’s findings are favorable for farmers, that didn’t extend into the rest of the food chain.

“The trust in federal government, state government, food companies is not as high as it is for farmers,” she says.

At the same time, consumers hold farmers responsible for the food supply, and she says that is a good thing.

“Consumers hold you responsible and they also trust you,” Moenning says. “That’s where farmers are at and it’s a good place to be.”

CFI research also indicates consumers are interested in knowing more about farming and food production.

“The most recent research from the Center for Food Integrity shows that 65 percent of consumers want more information about the food that they consume,” says Moenning. “They want to know is their food healthy? Is it safe? Can I purchase healthy affordable food?”

She says that means secrecy is no longer an option for farmers.

“We need to be transparent about what we’re doing. We need to answer questions, we need to listen to consumers and really provide meaningful answers to what they’re seeking,” she says.

To capitalize on this research, Moenning provided training to farmers on how to build a connection with consumers in person and on social media. She says it can’t be done by answering their questions with scientific data.

“Until we trust someone, then we’ll look to their information. How do you build trust? Shared values is a piece of that,” Moenning says.

She says food is personal, so farmers need to connect with consumers one-on-one first.

Dawn Scheier understands that. She is a grain producer from Salem, S.D., and serves as a director on the South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council. She has been through several training sessions on engaging with consumers and continues to learn.

“We’re supposed to listen to the consumer and ask questions to make sure we are understanding what the consumer is asking, and at the end we want to let them know that we share the same value as the consumer,” she says. Those shared values commonly revolve around providing a safe and affordable food supply for their family, which both consumers and farmers strive for.

Canistota pork producer Karen Hofer doesn’t take that consumer trust for granted, and that’s why she wanted to learn how to tell her story to consumers. She says it is important to listen to the consumer and share her desire to produce safe food.

“We want to take care of our animals so that we have a healthy, safe product in the grocery stores for them to buy,” she says.

Baltic grain and cattle producer Jared Questad was surprised to find the science he had always relied on to talk to consumers wasn’t the best approach, so the workshop was very helpful for him.

“If some of us can be the connection there to the farmer and consumer, we might be able to jump the gap and help them understand what we’re really doing with these new technologies,” he says.

Moenning says many of the same food topics are still trending with consumers.

“We continue to see interest and concern over things like antibiotic use, crop protection products, water quality, sustainability,” she says.

However, she says farmers are making end roads in changing consumer perceptions and skepticism about agriculture, so at least the trend is moving in the right direction.

Sheier says it takes time to change consumer misconceptions and that’s why their Hungry for Truth initiative and workshops like this are so important.

“The training is important so they can go out and tell their story and answer questions.” she says.

Sheier says it is also imperative for the future of farmers to change the disconnect the public has with agriculture.

“It’s really important so we can keep on farming. It’s to let farmers tell their story and for consumers to understand what we’re doing, so we have that freedom to do that,” she says.

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This is why Catholics eat fish instead of meat and the law of abstinence explained [Video]

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THERE is more to Lent than just not eating your favourite snacks.

Here we explore Lent’s meaning, and why Catholics are allowed to eat fish, but have to keep away from meat and fowl.

 Lent is in an important time of year for Catholics across the globe

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Lent is in an important time of year for Catholics across the globe

What is Lent?

The Lent fast is a Christian tradition, but many non-believers also take part.

On Ash Wednesday, people over the globe give up certain foods or habits to improve their health or demonstrate self-restraint.

They do it to pay tribute to Jesus and his sacrifices, suffering, life and death during his short time on Earth.

It lasts for 40 days until Easter, but this is without Sundays being included in the amount (if there were counted it would be 46 days).

 Praying and abstaining from certain foods is an important part of the build up to Easter

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Praying and abstaining from certain foods is an important part of the build up to Easter

How to fast for Lent?

To represent Jesus’ time being taunted by the Devil in the desert for 40 days and nights, Christians give something up for 40 days.

This religious fast is a strict form of diet rather than abstaining from eating any food at all – which is what Jesus endured, according to the Bible.

The Sundays during Lent don’t count – but that doesn’t mean you can spend them eating a week’s worth of crisps.

Six weeks isn’t that long to go without something and the time frame is a small but fixed goal.

Being held accountable is a good way to keep you sticking to your guns, so do the challenge with someone else, or get people to keep checking you haven’t caved.

Tick off the days you have achieved your goals to encourage you how far you’ve come.

What are the rules on eating fish instead of meat?

You are not allowed to eat meat or poultry on Ash Wednesday or any Friday during Lent – but you can eat fish.

During Biblical times, fish and seafood was a cheap – or free – option, and not considered a luxury.

Many people give up meat for Lent as it’s the total opposite – at least it was during Jesus’ day.

By giving up delicious or luxury foods, they pay their respects to Jesus and can fully appreciate the horrors that he endured in the desert.

 Easter Sunday is on April 16, but plenty of other days are commemorated during Lent before the important Christian festivity

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Easter Sunday is on April 16, but plenty of other days are commemorated during Lent before the important Christian festivity

What is the Catholic law of abstinence?

The law of abstinence states that Catholics aged over 14 MUST fast during Lent – and not eat meat on Fridays.

Similarly, the law of fasting says any Catholic aged 18 to 60 must fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

According to Catholic.org, the “Church defines this as one meal a day, and two smaller meals which if added together would not exceed the main meal in quantity.”

They add that there can be exceptions in certain circumstances: “Besides those outside the age limits, those of unsound mind, the sick, the frail, pregnant or nursing women according to need for meat or nourishment, manual laborers according to need, guests at a meal who cannot excuse themselves without giving great offense or causing enmity and other situations of moral or physical impossibility to observe the penitential discipline.”

When does Lent 2018 start and end?

This year, Lent started on February 14, which is also known as Ash Wednesday and the day after Shrove Tuesday.

The day of Lent changes every year in accordance with the lunar calendar, similar to Easter Sunday.

Lent is a 40-day fast and will run up until the Thursday before Easter Sunday, March 29, which is known as Holy Thursday, or Maundy Thursday – after this date those observing it could indulge once more!

Why is Lent for 40 days and what is its meaning?

The Lent period reflects when Jesus fasted and suffered in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights, before he started his ministry.

According to the Bible, he was tempted by Satan during this time, but each time he managed to refuse his temptations.

People follow Jesus’ example and give up vices in a bid to grow closer to God as Easter approaches.

Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day occurs the day before Lent begins, symbolising when Christians would eat up foods such as milk and eggs before fasting.

Where does the tradition of fasting come from?

Lent and fasting go hand in hand for many in the Christian church.

Many followers abstain from certain food or temptations, following Jesus’ 40-day fast in the desert in preparation for his public ministry.

Fasting has been practiced for centuries within a number of religions and culture, and is featured within Jewish culture in the Old Testament.

For example, Queen Esther asks the Jewish nation to come together in prayer and fasting, and Christians often combine the two practices nowadays.

Food fans mark Fat Thursday by posting pics of their junk food binge before Lent

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