Planning pecan pie for Thanksgiving dessert? Might want to think again. Apparently searing heat and periods of drought have hammered the harvest, sending pecan prices through the roof — $11 a pound, anyone?
“I’ve been farming for 60 or more years, and this is the driest I’ve ever seen,” Louisiana grower Ben Littlepage told the Associated Press. “The bayous are completely dry.” He’s expecting a quarter of his usual harvest this year.
China also claims a chunk of the U.S. pecan crop, reports the AP, as the nuts are favorite treats for the Chinese new year celebrations.
There’s a lot of good stuff at Grist.org.
Listen up, locavores, opportunivores, dumpster-diving fermentation fetishists, and Dave Matthews Band fans: A great many of us live by the same ecologically sound principles that you do. We, however, are not doing so because we nurture an abiding desire to “create choices” for ourselves or to “live intentionally.” We don’t have any more than a passing interest in “sustaining biodiversity.” We are known as poor people.
We grow our own fruits and vegetables because we can’t afford to buy them at the market, never mind green co-ops. We make our own bread because it costs a quarter, and the good kind at the store is $4. We knit, sew, and “upcycle” our clothes because we have no choice. We could go on family vacations for what you guys spend on Seventh Generation and Mrs. Meyers cleaning products every year.
Allow the author of this bilious vituperation to introduce herself: The name is Broke-Ass Grouch. Broke-Ass does not live in the housing projects — which are around the corner from the little house in the ghetto where she resides with her three children. But with her annual income lying safely below the poverty line, she’d qualify. She also qualifies for food stamps — excuse me, “SNAP.” That’s right, revenuers, dress it up in something perky. But you try filling out impossible forms, standing in interminable lines, and being subjected to the degrading interviews of people who exact unfettered pleasure at disemboweling your financial ruin, and believe me: “SNAP” emerges as an exquisite understatement.
Friends, it sucks to be poor. Just ask most of the world. Most of us would be psyched to have a job that would pay us enough so that we didn’t have to clear chicken shit out of our yards, buy prison-sized bags of flour to make bread, and DIY every damn thing. We are the original frugavores, sans the media coverage. The awesome Gustavo Arellano, who writes the “Ask A Mexican” column for the Orange County Weekly, summed it up on American Public Media’s “Marketplace”: “When young professionals and the socially hip raise chickens in their backyards, newspapers do articles with slideshows,” he commented. “When us Mexicans do it? People call code enforcement.”
Now, to be fair, Broke-Ass Grouch is neither Mexican nor was she poor until three years ago. Like many of you good-doers, Broke-Ass was raised by middle-class intellectuals to be a middle-class intellectual, and graduated from a snooty liberal arts college. Also, like many of you, she spent her career working at high-status, low-paying, terminally insecure work.
Circa 2008, however, Broke-Ass realized what an errant dumbass she had been to have accepted the counsel of her educated, middle-class parents and teachers who said, “You can do whatever you want when you grow up, honey!” The bald foolishness of that privileged ethos became harrowingly plain when the housing market collapsed, and along with it, the economy.
Read more here.