The Salt What's On Your Plate

Black Angus cattle in pens outside the sale barn at 44 Farms, a 3,000-acre ranch in Cameron, Texas. The cattle were on display for bidders ahead of 44 Farms' fall auction in October. Andrew Schneider/Houston Public Media hide caption

itoggle caption Andrew Schneider/Houston Public Media

A global positioning receiver on the top of a combine harvester at a farm in Warwick, Md., in June. The equipment uses sensors and computers to help drive the combine along the route where the crops were planted, judge the composition of a crop and generate crop yield reports. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

California sheep rancher Dan Macon had to sell almost half of his herd because the drought left him without enough feed. Kirk Siegler/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Kirk Siegler/NPR

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Global food giant Unilever, which owns the ubiquitous Hellmann's brand, is suing Hampton Creek, the maker of Just Mayo, an egg-free spread made from peas, sorghum and other plants. Richard Levine/Corbis; Courtesy of Hampton Creek hide caption

itoggle caption Richard Levine/Corbis; Courtesy of Hampton Creek

Pinatas are among the new generation of club apples — varieties that are not just patented, but also trademarked and controlled in such a way that only a select "club" of farmers can sell them. Stemilt Growers LLC hide caption

itoggle caption Stemilt Growers LLC

Many artisan cheese producers never pasteurize their milk – it's raw. The milk's natural microbial community is still in there. This microbial festival gives cheese variety and intrigues scientists. iStockphoto hide caption

itoggle caption iStockphoto

Sunlight streams into a corn storage building at a Michlig Grain storage facility in Sheffield, Illinois, U.S., on Oct. 31, 2014. The price of corn has been falling for months. Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory say their new genetic toolkit to improve tomato yield without compromising flavor can be used in all varieties, from plum to cherry. Courtesy of Zach Lippman/Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Zach Lippman/Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Farms outside Baghdad as seen from a U.S. Army Blackhawk helicopter. Much of Iraq's soil has a high salt content because of flooding and poor drainage. Jim Gordon/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers/Flickr hide caption

itoggle caption Jim Gordon/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers/Flickr

A Haitian woman holds cherries from a coffee tree. Haiti's coffee trade was once a flourishing industry, but it has been crippled by decades of deforestation, political chaos and now, climate change. Patrick Farrell /MCT /Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Patrick Farrell /MCT /Landov

The Illinois State Corn Husking Competition is one of nine competitions happening during harvest season all across the Midwest. Abby Wendle /NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Abby Wendle /NPR

Corn farmer Jerry McCulley sprays the weedkiller glyphosate across his cornfield in Auburn, Ill., in 2010. An increasing number of weeds have now evolved resistance to the chemical. Seth Perlman/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Seth Perlman/AP

Pine nuts aren't farmed; they're harvested from forests. The nuts are hidden inside the cones of certain species of pine, such as this pinyon in Utah's Fishlake National Forest. Scott Smith/Corbis hide caption

itoggle caption Scott Smith/Corbis

The rendering industry likes to call itself the world's oldest recycling system. Nearly 100 percent of processed pigs will eventually get used — as meat and in uses as varied as medicine and pet food. iStockphoto hide caption

itoggle caption iStockphoto

The good old days: A flight attendant serves coffee and sandwiches to a passenger on board an American Airlines flight, circa 1935. Frederic Lewis/Archive Photos/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Frederic Lewis/Archive Photos/Getty Images

The French enjoy horse meat — here's a horse meat butcher in Paris. But even the French were angry that they had been paying beef prices for it last year. Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images