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How climate change is affecting coffee crops and vineyards
It's another doomsday tale of the effects of climate change — and it's going to affect what you drink in the morning (and night). New reports show that climate change's impact on coffee crops, as well as vineyards worldwide, will be huge.
It's all about adapting to the rising temperatures for both coffee growers and grape growers, but for coffee growers, the challenges are especially tough. The U.S. News & World Report reports on the problems that the most beloved coffee bean, the Arabica coffee bean, is facing, including "coffee leaf rust." The fungus has been known to wipe out nearly entire colonies of coffee beans, like Sri Lanka's crop in the 1860s; now, farmers are beginning to see coffee leaf rust form in South and Central America. Writes Jason Koebler: "For decades, coffee farmers in South and Central America were insulated from the disease's effects because coffee plants in the Americas are grown in the cool mountains, where temperatures weren't warm enough to be suitable for the plant. But in the 1970s, the first cases of coffee rust reached Brazil, and increasing temperatures and rainfall caused by climate change have allowed the fungus to live at higher altitudes." That's not a good sign for coffee growers. There is one (somewhat) silver lining: the Robusta bean is doing just fine with climate change. The downside? No one like Robusta beans. Well, we may have to settle for them one day.
For wine growers, vineyards worldwide are adapting to changing temperatures, soils, and unpredictable weather events. But what's interesting is that climate change is reshaping the wines they produce. Certain regions, like Beaujolais and Alsace, are finding big changes to their signature wines and their acidity, sugars, and aromatics. Another effect of climate change on wines? It's, as Discovery News puts it, remapping the world's wine regions to include regions, like Denmark or Sweden, that had never been wine producers before. The (very small) silver lining of it all? Certain wine regions, like Tasmania, New Zealand, Chile, Ontario, and others with colder climates may be able to better ripen grapes in warmer tepmeratures. Not that the global warming naysayers should use that as an excuse to deny global warming, or anything.
Climate Change Is Bad News For Many Famous Wine Regions, But For Others It Could Mean Success
Grapevines have a reputation as delicate, gossamer butterfly plants that struggle to survive with each gentle shift in the breeze, but really … they’re the cockroaches of the plant kingdom. That essential hardiness has never been more convenient, as extreme weather challenges even the most talented and resourceful farmers of every stripe in parched, frozen, sunburnt and/or flooded fields.
“Grapes have a built-in insurance plan with their three-bud system,” Altamont Winery’s vintner Michael DiCrescenzo, says. “Each compound bud on the vine actually has three buds within it. The first two are more susceptible to early frost and weather, but the third bud – while it doesn’t bear fruit – is hardier. So even in a terrible season, the plant will survive.”
Their toughness goes deep. “Grapevines are some of the hardiest plants out there,” Michael says. “They have deep root systems and they’re creepers, so they’ll find a way to draw whatever nutrients can be found from soil.” Altamont Winery, in upstate New York, grows 23 varieties of grapes on 13 acres from Pinot Noir, to Edelweiss, to St. Pepin, spanning the gamut from classic vitis vinifera to offbeat New York hybrids, another built-in insurance plan that covers all weather possibilities and helps ensure that at least some of their grape harvest will thrive, no matter what the weather brings.
This Is The Last Corkscrew You’ll Ever Buy
Climate change threatens to push some of the world’s most celebrated wine regions – Napa Valley, Burgundy – off of their long-held thrones, as less known or beloved regions, like New York, are finding a whole new level of acclaim.
Winemakers, given the wild weather ride they’ve had recently can be forgiven for abandoning chit-chat about the fussiness of grapes and the manner in which the shale-inflected soil their vineyard sits on imparts refined salinity and structure to their wines in favor of bottom-lining it: in the end, wines will emerge from 2016’s temporal tumult.
Global weather trends in recent months have the wine industry attempting to wrap its collective mind around the implications extreme weather could have on this year’s harvest – and the decades ahead. Climate change threatens to push some of the world’s most celebrated wine regions – Napa Valley, Burgundy – off of their long-held thrones, as less known or beloved regions, like New York, are finding a whole new level of acclaim.
As any drinker will tell you – there’s a world of difference in a wine’s drinkability factor between grapes that have blossomed in the field, and grapes that have merely managed to live.
Wölffer Estate Vineyard, on the North Fork, for example, has been renowned for its wine, especially its Chardonnay, rosé and Merlot, but the estate has found the last decade to be an especially auspicious time for their products and the reception they’ve received. Wölffer’s winemaker, Roman Roth, acknowledges that climate change has contributed to their recent success, and says that they have and will continue to tweak the varietals grown to accommodate an ever-warmer climate.
“Five of our last six vintages have been fantastic, and three of them were absolute dreams,” Roman says. “You can’t ask for more than that. But even though the climate has created ideal growing conditions for us here, we know that the possibility of a hurricane, or extreme cold or heat is possible, so we never cut corners. And because it’s generally warmer and more humid in August, for example, we started planting more Trebbiano a few years ago, and we will continue to expand that because it’s so well-adapted here. We will also plant more Cab Franc, but not more Merlot right now because it’s too subject to frost.”
Climate change – whether it’s caused by human activity, the mysterious cycles of the earth, or both – is happening. Atmospheric CO2 levels are on the rise and global temperatures have increased 1.4° F (0.8° C) since 1880, according to NASA. And the rate is increasing. The last two decades of the 20 th century were the hottest on record for 400 years. This February demolished records, with NASA data showing an average global surface temperature 1.35° C above the average temperature between 1951-1980. The previous record was set in January.
The Northern Hemisphere was 2.76° C warmer than the 1951-1980 baseline, surging past the long-accepted goal of keeping warming less than 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial temps, a.k.a., the “magic” temporal number.
Maintaining the magic 2 degrees is especially important for winemakers, who likely have enough tools in their arsenal to combat the issues that arise from that manageable blip, but would have to reconsider the grape varietals under vine if it swings much more than that. In New York so far this year, the average temperature clocked in at -2.3 °C, compared to the normal -5°C.
Most vitis vinifera wine grapes are grown between 12° C and 22° C, but some varietals, like Pinot Noir, can only grow between 14° C and 16° C. That doesn’t leave much room for error, and it has slowly changed practices in the field and beyond. Since the 1960s for example, harvesting has begun earlier around the world, from South Africa to Napa to Australia.
Still, winemakers like Mark Wagner, the founder of and winemaker at Lamoreaux Landing in the Finger Lakes, say that New York growers with “good cultural practices in the vineyard” will be able to produce wines without more than the usual headache.
Some researchers estimate that wine production in prime areas of Europe will be slashed by 85% and even the notoriously conservative Bordeaux wine board has asked the AOC for permission to grow new grape varietals that they are currently barred from cultivating.
“I’ve lived through too many seasons to try to predict what will happen in a coming season,” Mark says. “But I will tell you this. We will look at the weather as a moving target and continue to implement changes in the vineyard that, while expensive, are critical to our continued success. One of the biggest issues we’ve seen in recent years is the increase in extreme storms where the rain comes all at once.”
Grapevines swimming in water for too long will produce grapes with less complex, duller flavors. To combat that, he “ensures erosion is limited with side farming,” Mark says. “Plus we have installed an artificial drainage system underground to pull excess moisture away in every new vineyard we build and we’ve gone in and improved drainage in our existing vineyards where there are issues. It’s extremely expensive, but like all other vineyard management systems, it pays for itself if you can save the harvest.”
Mark estimates that roughly 20-30 acres of the 100+ acres have new pattern drainage systems for the summer. But what about the winter? He’s used wind machines to combat the cold-wind patterns of the polar vortex, and both he and Mike have occasionally (reluctantly) employed the practice of building fires in the vineyard to protect already budded plants from a late frost. But it is risky and can actually pull more cold weather into the vineyard, depending on the weather pattern and cloud cover. A severe and prolonged cold snap below zero in the winter can cause a die-off.
“This year wasn’t too bad, we had one severe dip that did some bud damage,” Mark said. “But I’d say it’s below what we’d normally consider average.”
Despite the inherent romance of wine and the artistry necessary to produce a superior product, grapes are still a commodity crop, Mike says. “About 50% is what happens in the vineyard, and 50% is what happens in the bottling facility.” Winemakers, if not farmers themselves, are working in tandem with their farmers on a daily basis, and while successful growers and makers try to plan for the future, they’re still loathe to invest in new, untried varietals that may do better in a warmer world, because experience and history tell them that the only thing they can truly count on in the field, is unpredictability.
Right now, New York winemakers are most concerned about an early bud, because as Mike says, “that just increases the period of risk for the grapes. And if we get a late overnight frost in May, which happens up here, we could lose a lot of grapes.”
And so far, the weather this late winter has been lovely for Upstate New York residents, but scary for the winemakers.
“Once temperatures are above freezing for two-four weeks, you’re going to start seeing bud break,” Mike says. “Worst case scenario, buds break in early April and we get a freeze after that. It’s too early to tell if that will happen – but it could – so we’re out in the vineyard pruning, but leaving about 50% more than we normally would so that if there is die-off, we’ll have more plant material to work with.”
And if there isn’t a big overnight freeze, Mike will go back and prune again. Which takes time (and time equals money), but as with Mark’s approach to pricey vineyard-draining and weather-tempering tools, it’ll pay if it saves the grapes.
Warmer temps and longer growing seasons in England have made it home to more than 600 wineries, Sweden’s wine industry is booming and British Columbia is becoming a hotspot for Chardonnay.
Climate change will not have the same impact everywhere. We’ve all seen the grotesquely fascinating “Will Your City Be Underwater Maps?” that project 3.7 million U.S. residents in 2,150 coastal areas could see their homes destroyed by climate change-induced storms and rising waters.
The same dire forecasts are being sounded for the world’s premier regions of wine production namely, Bordeaux and Rhone in France, Tuscany in Italy, the Napa Valley and Sonoma in California and Chile. As of 2050, the thinking goes, they will R.I.P. or have to change radically – some researchers estimate that wine production in prime areas of Europe will be slashed by 85% and even the notoriously conservative Bordeaux wine board has asked the AOC for permission to grow new grape varietals that they are currently barred from cultivating.
Meanwhile, warmer temps and longer growing seasons in England have made it home to more than 600 wineries, Sweden’s wine industry is booming and British Columbia is becoming a hotspot for Chardonnay (the region’s balmier temps are giving it an edge in balanced acidity, compared with previously lauded Chardonnay growing zones, where the searing heat delivers overly sweet booze bombs). New York – home to the nation’s oldest winery, Brotherhood – is enjoying some much deserved (long-time coming) critical and commercial success for its wine.
And although growers may be able to take on cultivars typically only grown in warmer climates, they’ll still have topographical challenges.
Currently, there are about 31,800 acres of land devoted to wine grapes in New York, while California has 580,000 acres. While there are about 8.6 million acres of agricultural land available in New York (that could be shifted as growing staple crops like apples in New York becomes tougher to grow effectively), the mineral content of the soil, slope of the land, drainage, arability, etc., may not make it ideally suited for a vineyard.
Growers and winemakers, many of whom are inherently conservative in nature and are unwilling to be the first fool in the neighborhood to bet the farm on a risky new varietal, aren’t quite ready to completely replant their vineyards yet. It’s too early to know if the cycle of unpredictability will continue, worsen or stabilize. The one thing we can all safely bet on though: in 10 years, we won’t be drinking the same thing from the same places.
If climate change continues apace, New York State, slightly warmer and with a longer grower season, may become the hottest place to create and drink the beloved European wine varietals usually associated with – you guessed it – Europe and California.
Scientists say climate change could make coffee and chocolate endangered foods
(Firma V /shutterstock.com) Foods like coffee, chocolate, and wine are in danger of being threatened by climate change, scientists say.
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October 23, 2011 &mdash (Relaxnews) - If what climate change experts and big corporations presage is true, beloved food items like a cup of morning coffee and bar of chocolate could become a relic of the past.
That's the stark warning coming from scientists, farmers and even big food corporations like Starbucks, which last week told UK publication The Guardian that climate change poses a serious threat to the Arabica coffee bean.
Farmers are already experiencing the fallout from climate change, said Starbucks' sustainability director Jim Hanna, with severe hurricanes and resistant bugs wreaking havoc on crops.
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, (UCS) climate change is threatening coffee crops in virtually every major coffee-producing region of the world, a reality that Hanna will be echoing to members of Congress this week at an event sponsored by the UCS.
Higher temperatures, long droughts followed by intense rainfall and crop diseases have reduced coffee supplies dramatically in recent years. For example, between 2002 and 2011, Indian coffee production declined by nearly 30 percent, says the UCS.
Declining production has also forced supermarket coffee brands like Maxwell House and Folgers in the US to increase their prices by 25 percent or more in 2010 and 2011.
The dire warning from Starbucks about the potential coffee shortage is adding fuel to reports that the coffee giant is entering the cold-pressed juice bar business, as reported by the New York Post recently.
Meanwhile, another report released last month warns that chocolate could become a premium-priced luxury item due to the effects of climate change.
While Ghana and the Ivory Coast produce more than half of the world's cocoa supply, rising temperatures in West Africa could take a huge bite out of production and send prices soaring by 2050, said the report from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture. The study was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Consumers have also been warned that the price of peanut butter is poised to soar following a sizzling summer that produced a dismal peanut crop this year, while the US Environmental Protection Act (EPA) says that crops that are currently near climate thresholds' like wine grapes in California are likely to suffer a decrease in yields and quality.
Climate change: taking a toll on coffee?
If there’s one thing many of us count on — in good times and in bad, in rain or shine — it’s a bracing cup of coffee in the morning.
But researchers demonstrated this week that the beloved cup of joe may be at dire risk from climate change.
Writing in the journal PLoS One on Wednesday, research botanist Aaron Davis of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in London and colleagues reported that climate warming could drive wild varieties of Coffea arabica to extinction by 2080.
Using a computer model, the group analyzed different warming scenarios, focusing on 20-year time spans around 2020, 2050 and 2080. In the best-case scenario for 2080, the African habitats they studied — in Ethiopia, the Sudan and Kenya — would experience a 65% reduction in suitable localities for planting. In the worst-case scenario, suitable localities declined nearly 100%.
“Our modeling shows a profoundly negative trend for the future distribution of indigenous Arabica coffee under the influence of accelerated global climate change,” the study authors wrote.
Arabica is the prized plant that produces 70% of the more than $15 billion worth of coffee sold around the world each year. Mostly it is cultivated on farms, which grow varieties descended from a small number of plants that were carried out of Ethiopia in the 1600s and 1700s, Davis told National Geographic this week.
The lack of genetic diversity in cultivated Arabica plants is a cause for concern for the industry, Davis said, noting that “Arabica’s history is punctuated by problems with diseases, pests, and productivity problems — and growers have always gone back to the wild and used genetic diversity to address them.” By interbreeding wild plants with resistance to pests or climate extremes with the cultivated varieties, they could maintain healthy crops.
But if wild varieties disappear, stressed by relatively high temperatures, genetic diversity would disappear as well, leaving little in growers’ breeding toolbox.
All isn’t yet lost, the study suggested. The team’s analysis identified “core localities” where coffee plants were likely to withstand climate change. Such places, they wrote, some of which are located in already-protected areas, could be marked for careful conservation.
What’s more, they added, continuing genetic studies of the hardier wild Arabica varieties could help researchers identify the variants that improve heat and drought tolerance and mix those genes into cultivated populations.
“As part of a future-proofing resource, and especially for providing genetic potential for mitigating climate change, indigenous populations are perceived as a key resource for the medium- to long-term sustainability of Arabica production,” they wrote.
Climate change isn’t a threat only to wild coffee — it threatens domesticated plants, too. In 2011, Los Angeles Times contributor Melissa Allison wrote a story looking at how climate change was making life difficult for growers of Arabica plants in Costa Rica.
A Long-Awaited Return to Eating at Beloved New York Restaurants
As the city’s sense of optimism grows, one author stops by her favorite Manhattan institutions, and orders a dish or two at each.
In this series for T, the author Reggie Nadelson revisits New York institutions that have defined cool for decades, from time-honored restaurants to unsung dives. For this installment, which coincides with the release of her book “Marvelous Manhattan,” she checks in on some of her favorite places.
This morning I had coffee, as usual, at Ground Support, a cafe on West Broadway just south of Spring Street. My shakerato (an Italian-style blend of espresso and ice) went perfectly with my breakfast salad (avocado, arugula and a slice of mortadella). The place was crowded — so much so that the almond croissants were almost gone — and the owner, Davide Drummond, was smiling as always, greeting locals and their dogs and wiping down the outdoor tables. He has hung on tirelessly. When the city was shut down last spring, he regularly biked the six miles from his home in Brooklyn at dawn to make sure SoHo was caffeinated.
A year ago, almost to the day, I wrote about how some of New York’s neighborhood places were making do during lockdown. Astonishingly, almost all of them, and many more, have survived. (Among the notable exceptions is Jing Fong, the dim sum palace on Elizabeth Street, whose owners were forced to give up their grand dining room and are currently looking for a new venue.) It’s been a very tough year — hard, bitter, sad — but rumors of the city’s death were, it seems, much exaggerated. I’m not unaware that whole industries (the theater, for example) are still in dire straits. But there is a strain of optimism, too. And so, to see how some Manhattan favorites are faring now, I figured I’d stop into a dozen or so over the course of a week, which would also allow me to consume something delicious at each.
From SoHo, I walk east along Houston to Russ & Daughters, the appetizing store that has been part of my life since I was old enough to hold a bagel and lox sandwich. “When the shutdown happened, we were very concerned about the future,” says Josh Russ Tupper, who runs the place with his cousin and fellow fourth-generation owner, Niki Russ Federman. Luckily, they had recently built a large production facility at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and so were able to expand their shipping capacity, which, says Tupper, “kept Russ & Daughters alive and will allow us to continue for another 100 years.” And business is now returning to the East Houston Street store. I am delighted that I have to wait in line to order my lightly buttered toasted bialy with slices of Wild Western Nova Scotia smoked salmon and smoked sturgeon. I also get a half pound of sable, some latkes and a bissel (meaning a small portion) of salmon roe, which I stash in my bag, in case of emergency. Conveniently, Katz’s Delicatessen is only one block east. I run in to pick up lunch: a tongue sandwich on fresh Jewish rye with a blob of bright yellow mustard and a half-sour pickle.
The next evening, I head uptown to Schaller & Weber, the German grocery store on Second Avenue. Last June, when the owner, Jeremy Schaller, heard that the city would be allowing extended outdoor seating, he borrowed a friend’s truck and gathered everything he needed to build a pop-up restaurant, which he named Blume, in the backyard. My niece, Caite, and I sit in the Austrian-style wine garden, hidden from the city, and consume the housemade foie gras and a bottle of Riesling. “Are you vaxxed?” asks Schaller, as people do these days, and when we confirm that we are, he greets us with a hug, an exhilarating intimation of better times.
It was touch and go for a lot of places, and many — including some that had already survived for over a century — did what they had to. When the pandemic hit, “we donated most of our meat to Rethink Food,” a nonprofit committed to reducing food insecurity, says Bonnie Jenkins, the general manager of Keens Steakhouse, which first opened in 1885. On the third day of my Manhattan tour, my cousin John and I sit in the restaurant’s covered outdoor seating area and devour a prime porterhouse for two that arrives rare in the middle, lightly burnished and slightly crunchy on the outside. We share a Manhattan and reminisce about how, for our fathers in the 1950s, a big night out in the city meant cocktails and steak in the dark, wood-paneled dining room inside. When the outdoor dining pavilion opened in December, it was 28 degrees. “But amazingly,” Jenkins says, “people still came.”
While trying to walk off the steak, I stroll past Le Bernardin on West 51st Street and think how glad I am that it’s reopened. I love this place unashamedly, for its food and its style, which is formal but never pompous. To enter is to be transported to another world. The French have a word for it: “dépaysement.” Translated literally, it means the feeling of leaving one’s country, but the real sense is an escape from the quotidian. And for me, that means the Egg. A dessert conjured up by Bernardin’s former pastry chef Michael Laiskonis, it’s a kind of milk chocolate pot de crème layered with caramel foam and maple syrup, and served in a pale brown eggshell. Rich and creamy, it’s topped with just a few grains of salt to add a sublime and seemingly serendipitous tang.
Of course, not everything is as it was. I heard recently that Charles Gabriel lost the lease on Charles’ Country Pan Fried Chicken, his storefront restaurant on Frederick Douglass Boulevard that for decades served some of the most succulent chicken in the city. But on the fourth day of my expedition around town, my friend Curtis Archer, sometimes referred to as the mayor of Harlem, calls. Far from going out of business, he tells me, the restaurant’s owner, Charles Gabriel, is on the verge of becoming a fried chicken magnate. During the lockdown, Gabriel shifted his focus to home delivery, something he hadn’t done much of before. Business boomed and investors appeared. As a result, Charles’ Country Pan Fried Chicken will soon open a new location on Edgecombe Avenue and 145th Street, and after that an outpost on the Upper West Side and another in Brooklyn. At 73, Gabriel, who grew up one of 21 kids in a North Carolina sharecropping family and learned to cook from his mother, will finally get the profile he deserves.
Deprived of Gabriel’s food for the moment, however, Curtis and I stop at Red Rooster, Marcus Samuelsson’s restaurant serving elevated takes on American home cooking, for the hot honey chicken and the cornbread with roasted tomatoes and corn butter. After that, we grab a muffuletta — rich and spicy with mortadella, coppa, mozzarella and Sicilian olive salad — at Settepani, the former Brooklyn bakery that serves classic Italian food on Lenox Avenue.
Tenacity, invention, excruciatingly hard work and, in some cases, not a little luck, have kept all these establishments going. I called my latest book “Marvelous Manhattan” not just for the city’s skyline and glamour but because of its people, who routinely, one generation after the next, stick it out, suck it up and keep it going. When restaurant dining rooms were forced to close at the start of the pandemic, Linden Pride and Nathalie Hudson, the owners of the bars Dante and Dante West in the Village, started bottling their much-awarded cocktails for takeout. There was no shortage of demand. “It was all Negronis and anything with tequila or mezcal in it. Often it was Negronis with tequila and mezcal in them,” says Pride. In NoHo, Il Buco Alimentari sold its pizzas for takeout. And farther west, Raoul’s offered to-go kits so customers could make the restaurant’s celebrated burger at home. Happily, the place is now doing such good business again that friends, knowing I live close by, call me to ask if I can get them a table.
Toward the end of the week, before I swear off carbs again, I squeeze in a visit to Il Posto Accanto, the wine bar on East Second Street, for a plate of spaghetti alle vongole, spicy and piled with fresh clams. To stay afloat during the past year, Il Posto offered gift certificates. The same was true at Di Palo’s, the Italian fine foods shop on Grand Street, where I stop by to pick up a ball of mozzarella, just out of the vat, still warm and dripping with milk. “People bought the gift certificates, sometimes a thousand dollars’ worth each,” says Lou Di Palo, who owns the store with his siblings, Sal and Marie. “I kept saying to use them, but somehow people ‘forgot.’”
10 Endangered Foods You Need To Appreciate Before They’re Gone
The unfortunate truth is that not everything lasts forever. You’ll always come down to your last bite of ice cream, a plate full of crumbs from your avocado toast, or an empty bowl which just seconds ago was full of delicious pasta. And eventually, some of your favorite foods will be gone forever.
The following foods are endangered, either because of shortages or unstable growing environments, meaning you can’t just go into your pantry or to the grocery store to get more when you run out. Meaning, enjoy these foods while you can, and hope for a miracle.
We all know about the unfortunate decline in bee population, but I bet you haven’t thought far enough ahead about it to realize that no more bees means no more honey. That means no more sweet and sticky topping for biscuits, muffins, or coffee. Bees are slowly disappearing thanks to Colony Collapse Disorder, caused by parasites and pests, pathogens, poor nutrition, and exposure to pesticides. As nature’s natural sweetener, you should enjoy all the honey you can before we’re left with nothing but artificial sugar.
The Minions would certainly be devastated to hear this news. Bananas are typically grown in regions like Jordan and Mozambique, where they’re being attacked by Panama Disease. This is caused by a fungus that enters the banana plant through the roots, disrupting the vascular system and causing the plant to wilt and eventually die from dehydration. On the bright side, bananas are still grown in other places where this disease isn’t common, so you might be able to enjoy your beloved frozen banana ice cream for a little while longer.
Do you actually think you could live in a world without chocolate? How horrible does that sound? Thanks to global warming, rising temperatures are affecting chocolate growth in areas like Ghana and the Ivory Coast, where more than half of the world’s supply of chocolate is produced. It’s predicted that climate change could significantly reduce the presence of chocolate by 2030. But thankfully, big chocolate companies like Hershey’s and Mars are spending almost $1 billion in an attempt to help cocoa farmers avoid what could be the world’s greatest tragedy.
You might need to find another topping for your toast. California’s drought is not doing great things for their produce industries, including making it way expensive to produce avocados. Avocados used to cost $72/acre foot to farm but are now approaching $2,600/acre foot in the next year, which is almost 36 times as much. This also means that there will be a price increase for you too when buying avocados at the grocery store. I don’t know about you, but my college budget definitely will not be able to keep up with this shortage.
Photo by Christina Robinson
Now might be the time to try tea or lemon water in the morning instead of your typical cup of joe. I know, it sounds impossible to do, right? But as unfortunate as it is, coffee is threatened by a whole mess of things, including pest infestations, deforestation, and changing weather patterns. Apparently, only a half-degree rise in temperature is enough to affect production, and in coffee growing regions like India, extreme rainfall events have cut coffee yields by 30%. BRB, stocking up on a lifetime supply of coffee grounds.
There’s something fishy about water temps these days, and salmon know that first hand. These fish depend on cold water for reproduction, but global warming is causing the water temperatures to rise, thus causing a huge decline in salmon population. They’re also threatened by river damming and pollution. So all you salmon fans out there – maybe switch to an electric car?
No more girls’ wine nights?! Well, maybe just not as many wine nights. Increasingly warmer temperatures are making it tougher for wine production in areas like California and France. Luckily, cooler regions are still able to supply wine, including places like the U.K. and the American midwest. In Vermont, winemakers also produce ice wine, a dessert wine they make from frozen grapes. As amazing as that sounds, warmer winters may unfortunately put an end to that boozy dessert.
Photo by Katherine Carroll
Well, it’s a good thing they invented almond butter. Peanut plants are very high maintenance and only have one growing season to thrive. They require consistently warm temperatures and 20 to 40 inches of rain over five months. Because of climate change and long-term droughts, these plants are finding it very difficult to stay alive. The droughts also cause toxic mold, which can lead to cancer or death of the plant. I’m just glad that I was able to enjoy my childhood of PB&J’s before peanut butter officially disappears from this Earth.
9. Maple Syrup
Is a pancake still a pancake without maple syrup? Due to global warming (thanks again), increased temperatures are causing a shorter sapping season and less sap overall for maple trees. Average temperatures in New England, where a high volume of maple syrup is produced, have gone up by two to four degrees over the last 100 years, and if they go up another six degrees maple syrup, will be just a long lost memory (sort of like that huge stack of pancakes you devoured for breakfast).
Well, this is berry bad. Apparently, the unusually high heat in Florida this summer has caused strawberry plants to not flower like normal, resulting in a shortage of berries come harvest time. As a winter plant, strawberries thrive in chilly weather, meaning the hot temperatures we’ve been experiencing are not ideal for them. You may have noticed the decline in strawberries at your local grocery store, which is a sad sight to see. Hopefully the weather will stop changing so drastically and we’ll see overflowing shelves of berries by February.
This is unfortunately just a few of many other foods we enjoy that are endangered. But it’s not too late to save these foods from extinction. Gary Nabhan, author of Renewing America’s Food Traditions recommends trying out rare foods that are close to home. By doing this, you’ll be helping farmers and producers maintain diversity and decrease the national demand for popular, endangered foods that can’t supply enough for what’s being desired. And overall, never take any of these foods for granted, because one day they just might be gone.
In their study, the researchers focused on 11 varieties of grape: cabernet sauvignon, chasselas, chardonnay, grenache, merlot, (mourvèdre also known as monastrell), pinot noir, riesling, sauvignon blanc, syrah and ugni blanc.
Based on past studies and vintner archives, the team built a model to determine when each variety would bud, flower, and ripen in wine-growing regions around the world under three different scenarios that considered 0°C, 2°C, and 4°C of warming.
From this, they determined where each variety would be likely to produce viable harvests — or not — in each possible future.
The team found that a reduction in wine-producing regions was unavoidable in both of the warming scenarios, thanks to shifting temperatures and seasonal changes that would affect conditions while the grapes were ripening.
However, they also discovered that by switching around the locations in which different varieties are grown, it would be possible to 'reduce losses by a significant amount.'
In fact, such adaptations could halve the potential losses of wine growing regions under the 2°C warming scenario and cut such by around a third — from 85 to 58 per cent — in the 4°C scenario.
Other measures — like increased irrigation and the use of shade cloths — could also help to protect grapevines from higher temperatures, but only under smaller warming scenarios.
Researchers led from Harvard University in the US found that just 2°C of warming would cut the amount of suitable wine-growing regions by as much as 56 per cent
However, trading their current grape varieties up for more heat-tolerant varieties could help keep some vineyards in business
In France's Burgundy region, for example, the researchers found that heat-loving mourvèdre and grenache varieties could replace traditional grapes like pinot noir.
Meanwhile, mourvèdre could also be produced in the vineyards of Bordeaux that once cultivated cabernet sauvignon and merlot.
The largest losses would be observed in those wine-growing regions that are already hot today — such as those in Australia Italy, and Spain — as vineyards there are already limited to the species of grape that grow in the warmest temperatures.
In contrast, cooler wine-growing regions such as those found in Germany, New Zealand and US Pacific Northwest could remain relatively unscathed in the 2°C warming scenario.
These regions, the team suggest, would become suitable for growing warmer-temperature varieties like merlot and grenache — while cooler-temperature varieties like pinot noir could be grown in more northern areas.
In France's Burgundy region, for example, the researchers found that heat-loving mourvèdre and grenache varieties could replace traditional grapes like pinot noir
The researchers acknowledged, however, that there will be both cultural and legal hurdles to surmount if grape varieties are to be shuffled around
'The effectiveness of any strategy depends on both the grape growers and people in general,' said Professor Wolkovich. 'Consumers who are willing to try new varieties can play a big part in helping save the regions people love'
The researchers acknowledged, however, that there will be both cultural and legal hurdles to surmount if grape varieties are to be shuffled around.
'The effectiveness of any strategy depends on both the grape growers and people in general,' said Professor Wolkovich.
'Consumers who are willing to try new varieties can play a big part in helping save the regions people love.'
'Legislation can encourage growers to test out new varieties. And ultimately, people can make the largest impact through work to reduce emissions globally.'
The full findings of the study were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
'Legislation can encourage growers to test out new varieties. And ultimately, people can make the largest impact through work to reduce emissions globally,' Professor Wolkovich
WHAT'S THE BEST WAY TO TASTE WINE PROPERLY?
When it comes to drinking wine, there a few things that can make all the difference.
Australian wine-connoisseur Caitlyn Rees offers how to taste wines like an expert
Increased rainfall, on the other hand, favours coffee production in general but may be not necessarily beneficial for individual specialty coffee types.
Thus, while the researchers project that the area suitable for four out of five specialty coffee types will decline, some are hit harder than others.
For example, the Yirgacheffe type, cultivated in Ethiopia's southwest could lose more than 40 per cent of its suitable area by the end of the 21st century.
This is considered one of the world's oldest and sought after coffees by true caffeine lovers, baristas and coffee aficionados the world over.
This would not only affect coffee drinkers worldwide, especially those who grind their own beans or prefer sophisticated blends - it would also have consequences for Ethiopia's economy.
A team from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) created computer simulations to examine the effects of 'climatic' factors on coffee growing areas in Ethiopia, the largest producer in Africa. Stock image
Study co-author, Christoph Gornott, added: 'If one or more coffee regions lose their specialty status due to climate change this has potentially grave ramifications for the smallholder farmers in the region.'
If these groups are forced to switch to growing conventional, more bitter varieties they would be competing with more efficient industrial systems elsewhere.
'For the country, in which coffee exports account for roughly a third of all agricultural exports, this could prove fatal,' said Gornott.
'Our study underscores the importance of localised adaptation planning and responses.
'We show how climate change has very concrete effects on the availability and taste of one of the world's most beloved beverages and, more importantly, on economic opportunities in local communities of the global South.'
The findings have been published in the journal Scientific Reports.
BENEFITS OF DRINKING COFFEE
Caffeine has been deemed safe for consumption in doses of up to 400 mg per day for the general population.
Studies suggest it can have a variety of health benefits, including combating liver disease and type two diabetes.
Research has even suggested it could even help people live longer.
It is the world's most widely consumed stimulant and reports show it can boost daily energy expenditure by around five per cent.
Researchers have said combining two to four daily coffees with regular exercise would be even more effective at keeping the weight off.
A 2015 study showed just a couple of cups a day could help millions of dieters stay trim once they have achieved their desired weight.
Brace Yourself: Climate Change Is Coming For Our Wine Supply
Zero drills here. Sparkling wine - both cava and champagne - is in danger of losing its distinctive flavour and fizz because of climate change, and shit is about to get serious.
According to new research, rising global temperatures in Europe will lead to warmer and drier conditions. This means the grapes will ripen faster, which could negatively affect the flavour and aroma of the varieties used for bubbly.
Specifically, the new study in Agricultural and Forest Meteorology looked at grape varieties in northeastern parts of Spain, which is famous for producing cava, consisting of a blend of white grapes grown natively that are renowned for their creamy, rich taste.
Producers are being forced to pick the grapes earlier, which inevitably changes the quality of the world-famous Catalonian wine. An earlier ripening period makes the beverage less acidic and more sugary.
Researchers used used rainfall data between 1998 and 2012 and created mathematical models to predict how three varieties of grapes used in making cava - Macabeo and Paralleda from Spain and Chardonnay from France - would be affected.
Italian winemaker Michele Reverdito told The New York Times, "Nebbiolo [the grape used to make barolo] means &aposthe wine of the fog&apos because you picked the grapes in November. Now we pick in September. The world is changing."
Grapes in the France&aposs Champagne wine region that help create the beloved drop are being harvested two weeks earlier than they were 20 years ago. They&aposre also bigger in size and have more sugar, which turns into alcohol during fermentation and makes the drink more alcoholic.
If temperatures rise by as much as 5 degrees by the end of the century, as some models predict, "it could change the fundamentals of the grape varieties," Thibaut Le Mailloux of the Champagne Committee, a trade association, told the The Telegraph UK. "It is absolutely essential to start research now because in 25 years it will be too late."
The committee is working frantically with researchers to develop new grape varieties and hope to have four or five approved for champagne by 2030.
The only upside? The warmer temperatures are taking English sparking wine from strength to strength, meaning the Brits could be here to save Happy Hour, bottomless brunches, and boozy midweek book club for everyone.
Pizza Babka Is on Track to Be Instagram’s Next Big Thing. Bill Clark Is Why.
If your Instagram timeline and story feed were inundated with people making “pizza babka” a couple of weekends ago, you weren’t alone. It seems like many food-industry types have suddenly been brushing garlic butter over golden-brown loaves stuffed with cheese and pepperoni: It’s a dish perfectly primed to go viral, really, an effortless fusion of two comfort favorites, melded together in a way that feels somehow fresh and obvious at the same time.
The concept of pizza babka isn’t new — recipes have existed online for years — but the dish became one of 2021’s true Instagram hits thanks to Bill Clark, the smiling, bearded baker who dropped the dish (not to mention red velvet bread, pull-apart jelly doughnuts, and chile-braised spare ribs) into our homes via his increasingly popular recipe newsletter, A Piece of Cake. Clark is perhaps best known as the co-owner and baker at Brooklyn restaurant MeMe’s Diner, which shuttered following a three-year run in November last year. As a restaurant, MeMe’s quickly established a reputation not just for its eclectic comfort food dishes, but also for its LGBTQ-focused, inclusive approach to hospitality, and for being a place at the forefront of an emerging queer dining culture nationwide.
Much of the spirit of MeMe’s now permeates Clark’s newsletter, and former MeMe’s regulars are sure to pick up a nostalgic thread from some of Clark’s recipes, like the restaurant’s Vietnamese iced coffee cake or beloved pina colada doughnuts. “It was a great reason to keep myself cooking and baking,” says Clark of the newsletter, which he launched along with his fiance, Andrew Spena, a few weeks after MeMe’s closed. A Piece of Cake has since amassed thousands of subscribers and is the subject of growing chatter on social media in part due to Clark’s highly approachable creations. But it’s also because what MeMe’s once stood for is now accessible to people all over the world. “You could see it on Instagram, but if you weren’t in New York you couldn’t eat it,” says Clark of MeMe’s food.
Bill Clark whips up his viral pizza babka. Hunter Abrams/courtesy Bill Clark
Beyond MeMe’s, Clark’s creations have a magnetic, 1970s retro vibe — an increasingly popular millennial aesthetic — as can be seen in the bright red velvet cake or the gleaming ginger snack topped with tangerine curd and orange slices. But beyond their visual appeal, the instructions are easy to follow, and perhaps most importantly, the ingredients are, for the most part, grocery-store staples. Even the recipes that might seem a little daunting, like the pizza babka, are just approachable enough for a novice baker to tackle on a weekend.
“There were things I wanted to make that clearly weren’t right for a restaurant environment, but that made more sense for a home recipe,” Clark says. He’s relying on his “revolving deck of recipe ideas,” as he describes it, to serve up dishes like pull-apart jelly doughnuts that are baked in a cast-iron skillet instead of the more traditional fry the hearty creamed spinach chicken bake topped with crispy shallots and of course that pizza babka, which features shredded mozzarella, pepperoni, and a very generous drizzle of garlic butter. Clark also plans to unveil a new snack cake recipe each month, the most recent one being the red velvet bread topped with a crunchy cocoa crumble and sprinkles. (The very concept of a snack cake is peak Bill Clark.) “A snack cake is something that’s easy to make and fun to have around the house,” he says. “That’s the one free recipe every month.” It’s also the first of Clark’s newsletter recipes to find their way back into a retail setting: the red velvet bread is available at NYC’s Red Gate Bakery throughout February.
Clark is just the latest food industry personality to turn to the recipe newsletter as a source of income, a model that has experienced a major boom in recent years, particularly during the pandemic, as more people are forced to cook at home, and as shrinking media budgets have eliminated some of more traditional outlets for food writing. They range from discourse on climate change and the rise of fascism coupled with cooking recommendations like Alicia Kennedy’s newsletter to detailed recipes paired with personal anecdotes and tips a la former New York Times columnist Alison Roman.
Clark’s version is a mix of deep dives into the origin of dishes, like Hummingbird cake, interspersed with personal stories about dishes he grew up eating, like his chile-braised spare ribs, and tales from his time at MeMe’s — stories and recipes, Clark hopes, people are willing to pay for. With MeMe’s closed, the newsletter is Clark’s main source of income, and right now readers can access A Piece of Cake at $5 a month or $50 for the whole year (or get the one free snack cake recipe a month). True Clark devotees can shell out $200 or more for the chance to test out recipes before Clark posts them online.
Much like with MeMe’s, the newsletter’s popularity has spread through word of mouth — Clark and MeMe’s co-owner Libby Willis never hired a publicist for their restaurant, and as Spena put it, “Bill doesn’t even have a verified Instagram account.” Clark says he has a few events up his sleeve, but won’t be announcing them until it’s safe for everyone to gather together. And surprise — he hasn’t ruled out a cookbook in the future.
“I’m sort of excited to get to the end of the year and have a bulk of, you know, 50 recipes or so,” Clark says. “It just gets easier and easier for me to write these every week.”