Today's notes on national stories, local trends, random tastes, and other bycatch dredged up from the food media.
1. Borscht belt comedy. The Wall Street Journal just ran what must be my favorite food story of the week: The Gold family, whose 79-year-old company in upstate New York was once a major producer of jarred borscht, has seen the soup drop so far in popularity that they're desperate to make it fashionable again. (Don't worry -- horseradish sales keep the business afloat.) Would labeling borscht low-calorie help? How about gluten-free? Should they rebrand it as a beet smoothie?
2. Curds! I passed by the Achadinha Goat Cheese Company stand at the farmers' market last week just as they were sampling out fresh cheese curds. The soft white cubes aren't squeaky like cow's milk curds, but have that wonderful smell of fresh milk, tinged with the earthy-chalky note of goat and a delicate tang. I bought a half-pint for $5, and have been snacking on them for days. If I had more respect for my Midwestern roots, I might deep-fry them.
3. No more hothouse tomatoes from the Jopsons. Yesterday, the Bay Citizen reported that Tom and David Jopson, fourth-generation farmers north of Sacramento, have been arrested by the feds for growing marijuana in the greenhouses they normally use for hothouse tomatoes. The kicker: The farmers invited the feds onto their property to inspect it. Seems that they'd been persuaded by an Oakland potrepreneur that a) the operation was legal and b) they could retire on a year's worth of proceeds.