The SaltThe Salt

What's On Your Plate

Donnell Brown and another cowboy move a grouping of bulls from one pen to another on rib-eye ultrasound day in March at the R.A Brown Ranch. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption David Gilkey/NPR

A cherry tree and its blossoms are covered with snow in an orchard near Traverse City, Mich. Three years ago, almost every fruit crop in Michigan was frozen out when cold temperatures followed some 80 degree days in March. John L. Russell/AP hide caption

itoggle caption John L. Russell/AP

Chickens stand in their cages at a farm near Stuart, Iowa, in 2009. This week, bird flu hit a large poultry facility in Iowa. It's not clear how the virus is evading the industry's biosecurity efforts. Charlie Neibergall/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Charlie Neibergall/AP

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Near the Danish city of Ikast, some 1,500 spectators gathered on April 19 to celebrate what has become something of a national holiday at organic dairy farms around Denmark. Courtesy of Organic Denmark hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Organic Denmark

Blue crabs brought back to Tony Goutierrez's dock in Hopedale, La. For the past few years, his traps have been coming up empty. "It's sad to see it go, but it's going — this way of life is going to disappear," he says. Laine Kaplan-Levenson for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Laine Kaplan-Levenson for NPR

Workers pick asparagus in early April at Del Bosque Farms in Firebaugh, Calif. This year, some farmers in the state will get water, others won't, based on when their land was first irrigated. David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Fields of carrots are watered March 29, 2015, in Kern County, Calif. Subsidized water flowing in federal and state canals down from the wet north to the arid south helped turn the dry, flat plain of the San Joaquin Valley into one of the world's most important food-growing regions. Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Produce is often accompanied by signs like this one at a King Soopers grocery store in Fort Collins, Colo. But customers are often confused by their meaning, which is one reason the Organic Trade Association is trying to raise money for a "checkoff" to pay for consumer advertising and research. Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media/KUNC hide caption

itoggle caption Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media/KUNC

Dry, cracked earth is visible on a cantaloupe farm near Firebaugh, Calif., last August. Record-low snowpack levels in the Sierra Nevada mean most Central California farmers will face another year without water from the federal Central Valley Project. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A 3,000-ton cargo ship at Thajeen Port in Samut Sakhon, Thailand, 15 days after it set sail from Benjina, Indonesia. The company that owns the ship said it is not involved with the fishermen. "We only carry the shipment and we are hired, in general, by clients," said owner Panya Luangsomboon. "We're separated from the fishing boats." Wong Maye-E/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Wong Maye-E/AP

Not so ugly, eh? Supposedly imperfect produce rescued and reclaimed for consumption by Bon Appetit and Better Harvests. Far left and far right: Courtesy of Ron Clark/Better Harvests. Center three images: Courtesy of Bon Appétit Management Company hide caption

itoggle caption Far left and far right: Courtesy of Ron Clark/Better Harvests. Center three images: Courtesy of Bon Appétit Management Company

With corn production expected to remain high, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is predicting that prices will continue to fall well into next year. iStockphoto hide caption

itoggle caption iStockphoto

Rows of potted cocoa plants from around the world. Before a cocoa variety from one country can be planted in another, it first makes a pit stop here, at a quarantine center in rural England. Courtesy of Dr. Andrew J. Daymond hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Dr. Andrew J. Daymond

Mas Masumoto grew up on his family farm southeast of Fresno, Calif. His 1987 essay "Epitaph for A Peach," in which he bemoaned the loss of heirloom flavors, captured his changing philosophy as a farmer. It also helped turn his farm into a landmark in the local-food movement. Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Dan Charles/NPR

Gayland Regier carries buckets of feed to his cattle in southeast Nebraska. Imported cattle make up a small portion of the American beef supply, but many American farmers and ranchers are concerned that foreign-sourced meat could distort their markets. courtesy of Grant Gerlock/NET News/Harvest Public Media hide caption

itoggle caption courtesy of Grant Gerlock/NET News/Harvest Public Media

Three years ago, Air Force veteran Sara Creech quit her job as a nurse and bought a 43-acre farm in North Salem, Ind. She named her farm Blue Yonder Organic. John Wendle for Harvest Public Media hide caption

itoggle caption John Wendle for Harvest Public Media

Tim Meyers on his four-acre vegetable farm in southwestern Alaska. Behind him: an endless sea of tundra, and a glimpse of the town of Bethel. Eugenie Frerichs for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Eugenie Frerichs for NPR