The Salt The Salt is a blog from the NPR Science Desk about what we eat and why we eat it. We serve up food stories with a side of skepticism that may provoke you or just make you smile.

Brian Kleinsasser, left, who works in the hog barn at Cool Spring Colony, helps Jake Waldner set up the Hutterite table during a Long Table dinner event at The Resort at Paws Up. Stuart Thurlkill / via Paws Up hide caption

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Stuart Thurlkill / via Paws Up

Tourists eat fried insects, including locusts, bamboo worms, dragonfly larvae, silkworm chrysalises and more during a competition in Lijiang, China. For Westerners, eating insects means getting over the ick factor. VCG/Getty Images hide caption

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VCG/Getty Images

A foal nurses from a mare at the Lindenhof Stud in Brandenburg, Germany. While mare's milk remains a niche product, its reputation as a health elixir is causing trouble for European producers in a more regulated age. Susanna Forrest/for NPR hide caption

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Susanna Forrest/for NPR

As cities and companies — including Starbucks — move to oust straws in a bid to reduce pollution, people with disabilities say they're losing access to a necessary, lifesaving tool. Thn Rocn Khosit Rath Phachr Sukh /EyeEm via Getty Images hide caption

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Thn Rocn Khosit Rath Phachr Sukh /EyeEm via Getty Images

Why People With Disabilities Want Bans On Plastic Straws To Be More Flexible

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The alkali bee is slightly smaller than a honey bee, with opalescent stripes that shimmer between yellow, green, red and blue. Aaron Scott/Oregon Public Broadcasting hide caption

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Aaron Scott/Oregon Public Broadcasting

Southeast Oregon rancher Rancher Wayne Evans says he'll make it through this short water year, but it could cost him as much as $100,000 in lost hay, lost weight on his calves and equipment for hauling water to his livestock. Anna King/Northwest News Network hide caption

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Anna King/Northwest News Network

Deepening Drought In Western U.S. Costs Ranchers Money And Heartache

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Jana Krocakova and Petra Plankova of Mamma HELP show off their new brew aimed at helping breast cancer patients undergoing chemo to "feel normal" and overcome their impaired sense of taste. Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas hide caption

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Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas

Rancher Buck Taylor proudly flies his American and Trump flags by his driveway mailboxes and signpost in Diamond Valley, Ore. He and other ranchers are facing new tariffs on beef exports that could cost him – but he doesn't blame President Trump. Anna King/Northwest News Network hide caption

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Anna King/Northwest News Network

Northwest Ranchers Have Beef With Trump's Trade Wars, But Still Support Him

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Amir Peay recently opened a distillery in Lexington, Ky., at the site of the James E. Pepper distillery. About 10 percent of his revenues come from exports, and Peay worries that the European Union's tariffs will hurt his overseas business. John Ydstie/NPR hide caption

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John Ydstie/NPR

Caught In Tariff War, U.S. Distillers Fear Losing Out On Global Whiskey Boom

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The booming real estate market has driven up prices to the point where Rhode Island now has the most expensive farmland in the country. The state is trying to preserve some land for farmers. Carol M. Highsmith/Getty Images hide caption

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Carol M. Highsmith/Getty Images

Rhode Island Bets The Farm That Cheap Land Will Help Local Agriculture Thrive

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Researchers at the University of California, Davis are testing whether adding seaweed to cows' feed reduces methane emissions. Merrit Kennedy/NPR hide caption

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Merrit Kennedy/NPR

Surf And Turf: To Reduce Gas Emissions From Cows, Scientists Look To The Ocean

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The latest study to link coffee and longevity adds to a growing body of evidence that, far from a vice, the brew can be protective of good health. Sutthiwat Srikhrueadam / EyeEm/Getty Images/EyeEm hide caption

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Sutthiwat Srikhrueadam / EyeEm/Getty Images/EyeEm

Coffee Drinkers Are More Likely To Live Longer. Decaf May Do The Trick, Too

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Abner Stolztfus owns Cedar Dream dairy farm in Peach Bottom, Pa. Last year, Stolztfus decided to invest almost $200,000 in equipment and learned how to make yogurt from scratch. Kimberly Paynter/WHYY hide caption

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Kimberly Paynter/WHYY

Endophytes are microbes that live inside plants — the ones tagged with a fluorescent dye in this image are found in poplars. The microbes gather nitrogen from the air, turning it into a form plants can use, a process called nitrogen fixation. Researchers are looking at how these microbes could be used to help crops like rice and corn make their own fertilizer. Sam Scharffenberger hide caption

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Sam Scharffenberger

Restaurant workers dole out chicken fricassee at the "Taste of EatLafayette" festival in the sprawling Cajundome arena in Lafayette, Louisiana. Locals say Bourdain captured the subtleties of their culture and cuisine, even if at times some thought he overemphasized alcohol. Daniella Cheslow hide caption

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Daniella Cheslow

Cristina Reyes Clark is part of an emerging movement in El Salvador that is composed of young chefs integrating traditional foods into contemporary cuisine. Massimo Ceresol hide caption

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Massimo Ceresol

Crowds descend on the town square outside the historic Santo Domingo de Guzmán Catholic Church in Oaxaca City, the capital of Oaxaca, Mexico, for an annual festival to celebrate James the Apostle, patron saint of the town of Niltepec. Surrounding this bucolic scene was a different story: It was teacher's strike season – the bane of Oaxaca's restaurateurs. Gustavo Arellano/for NPR hide caption

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Gustavo Arellano/for NPR

If you are bitten by a Lone Star tick, you could develop an unusual allergy to red meat. And as this tick's territory spreads beyond the Southeast, the allergy seems to be spreading with it. Robert Noonan/Science Source hide caption

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Robert Noonan/Science Source

Red Meat Allergies Caused By Tick Bites Are On The Rise

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As Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen dined at a Mexican restaurant on Tuesday, 15 protesters chanted, "If kids don't eat in peace, you don't eat in peace!" Brendan Smialowski /AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Brendan Smialowski /AFP/Getty Images