The taste of Mock's tomatoes starts with the seed. He uses only organic varieties, including cherry and several heirloom varieties.
Credit Allison Aubrey / NPR
There's a greenhouse boom around the country, thanks in part to the "buy local" movement. Paul Mock grows tomatoes, herbs and other veggies year-round in his Berkeley Springs, W.Va., greenhouse and sells to groceries and restaurants in the Mid-Atlantic.
Credit Allison Aubrey / NPR
"This is unprecedented, the level of opportunity," says Mock, whose business is booming.
It may sound like an oxymoron: a delicious local, winter tomato — especially if you happen to live in a cold climate.
But increasingly, farmers from West Virginia to Maine and through the Midwest are going indoors to produce tomatoes and other veggies in demand during the winter months. "There's a huge increase in greenhouse operations," Harry Klee of the University of Florida tells us.
The explosion in world popularity of quinoa in the past six years has quadrupled prices at retail outlets. But for all the demand from upscale grocery stores in America to keep their bulk bins filled with the ancient grain-like seed, almost no farmers outside of the arid mountains and coastal valleys of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Chile grow it.
But plant breeders and scientists who study the biology and economics of quinoa say that is about to change.
The Bush-era tax cuts are taking center stage on discussions about deficit reduction. But the payroll tax holiday is also at risk, which could cost the typical family $1,000 a year. Host Michel Martin talks with The Wall Street Journal's Sudeep Reddy about the fiscal cliff and how the outcome could affect consumers.
Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 11:58 am
As the White House and Congress debate how to steer clear of the fiscal cliff, one obstacle is the president's insistence that the wealthy should pay more in taxes. And one way that could happen is through changing the rules for dividends and capital gains.
If you own a share of stock in a company today, when the company pays out a dividend, the most you're taxed is 15 percent. And if you decide to sell the stock and cash out, you'd also pay 15 percent on your profits — the capital gains.
Spinach has lots of opportunities to pick up E. coli and other bugs during harvest and growing. Here, a Mexican migrant worker cuts organic spinach during the fall harvest at Grant Family Farms in Wellington, Co.
Salad producers haven't succeeded in banishing E. coli and other dangerous microbes from fresh greens, though they've tried hard. As we've reported before, it's a major challenge to both growers and the environment. But one scientist thinks he's making progress – with a spinach spa that zaps bad bugs with ultrasound.
The U.S. economy grew at a 2.7 percent annual rate in the third quarter, the Bureau of Economic Analysis says. That's a sharp upward revision in its estimate of gross domestic product growth from mid-summer into the fall. In its first look at the quarter's GDP, the agency estimated growth at a 2 percent annual rate.
According to BEA, consumer spending, inventory investment, exports and federal spending all contributed to growth from July 1 through Sept. 30.
Later this morning, a British judge who spent eight months investigating the excesses of the nation's media will issue his suggestions for how to rein in the sometimes rambunctious British press. Prime Minister David Cameron ordered the wide-ranging inquiry in the wake of revelations of illegal phone hacking at The Tabloid News of the World and other papers owned by Rupert Murdoch.
But as Vicki Barker reports, Cameron's likely to face an uproar whether or not he accepts Brian Leveson's recommendations.
Yesterday, in the Bronx, Chris Veres took his grandfather to see Dr. Bob Murrow. He was worried about his grandfather's heart. Dr. Murrow talked to the family and ordered a cardiogram, which came back normal.
It was a pretty routine visit. But what happens next for the doctor — getting paid by Medicare, the government-run health insurance program for the elderly — is suddenly sort of a big deal.
It's been a month since Sandy made landfall in the northeast. For millions in that big storm's path, life is returning to normal - not for tens of thousands of people in New York City who still, still don't have electricity or heat. Many of them are waiting for an electrician to come to repair or certify wiring that was damaged by all the flooding. But as NPR's Joel Rose reports, there aren't enough electricians to go around.
NPR business news starts with GM investing in China.
General Motors says it's building a $1 billion factory with its joint venture partners in China. It's set to open in 2015 and will be the third GM plant in what is now the world's biggest auto market. The company hopes the plant will eventually produce up to two million vehicles a year. Auto sales in China are expected to hit 20 million this year - about five million more than in the U.S. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
Amazon's"Prime" service — at $79 a year — includes free two-day delivery on any item Amazon stocks. That includes, according to the Wall Street Journal, a 1,500-pound safe. The company that makes the safe says it usually ships for $700.
Once upon a time when a car company introduced a new car, it was a new new car.
But at this year's L.A. Auto Show, you won't see any revolutionary new rides — at least not on the outside. You'll find the same sameness in your grocery store parking lot. A lot of cars look alike. Why is that?
"What they're relying on to distinguish these cars from one another is not so much the mechanical pieces of them or the design," says Brian Moody of Autotrader.com. "They're selling sort of a lifestyle or an experience or a philosophy."
Record-high fuel prices have hammered airlines, forcing executives to eliminate flights, cut back on unprofitable routes and make passengers pay for many perks that used to be free.
Now the airlines are looking at other ways to save money. That means a new opportunity for a plane from the past.
On a typical day at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the "Plane Train" ferries some 200,000 travelers a day between terminals. One of those passengers, Rebecca Hamilton, is on her way home to Florida.
The Environmental Protection Agency announced on Wednesday that it is temporarily banning BP from doing new business with the federal government. The agency cites BP's lack of business integrity as a reason, pointing to the company's conduct during the 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster. The suspension doesn't affect current contracts.
Every year, restaurants throw away as much as 10 percent of the food they buy, as we reported yesterday, yet food waste ranks low on most chefs' list of priorities. But some restaurants want to do something about food waste in their quest to go green. That includes Mario Batali's Lupa Osteria Romana, one of New York's trendiest restaurants.
Citing a "lack of business integrity," the Environmental Protection Agency announced it was temporarily suspending the oil giant BP from entering into new contracts with the federal government.
In a press release, the EPA said BP demonstrated the lack of integrity during the Deepwater Horizon "blowout, explosion, oil spill and response." This kind of suspension, the EPA explained, is "standard practice when a responsibility question is raised by action in a criminal case."
Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 10:36 am
Federal prosecutors in West Virginia stepped higher up the corporate ladder at Massey Energy Wednesday with new criminal charges stemming from the investigation of the 2010 coal mine explosion that killed 29 workers.
David C. Hughart was president of Massey's Green Valley Resource Group, a major coal mining subsidiary based in Leivasy, W. Va., from 2000 to 2010.
Hong Kong is trying to cool its housing market, so investors are looking for other places to put their money. One Hong Kong developer recently sold 500 spaces for $167,000 each. The $88,000 spot goes on the auction block Thursday.
And now, let's turn to today's business bottom line. As more people buy smartphones and other devices that run on rechargeable batteries - this will come as no surprise - sales of single-use, disposable batteries are dropping; and that is not without consequences. Energizer announced this month that the company will close three plants because of decreased demand. That is a 10 percent cut of its global workforce. Vermont Public Radio's Kirk Carapezza reports on one community that is feeling the pain.
Like it or not, we are now in holiday shopping season. And for gift givers who are simply stumped about what to get that special or not so special someone, there is always the gift card. They might be derided as impersonal, but Americans spend billions and billions of dollars on gift cards.
To help us sort through the array of gift cards, and also to give us some warnings about fees we might find, we called up Janna Herron. She writes about gift cards for Bankrate.com.
We begin NPR's business news with some cyber power.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
GREENE: The Monday after Thanksgiving is known as Cyber Monday because of all the online shopping deals that are offered up. And this year, online retailers had a field day. A survey by IBM of 500 online businesses found sales jumped 30 percent over last year, as millions of people went online to get their fix of holiday gadgets. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
Administrators at the adult education center are concerned that the GED overhaul will make it harder for many test takers to complete the exam.
Credit Diane Orson / WNPR
Donald Desmond teaches Abdesa Bustina to use a computer at the New Haven Adult and Continuing Education Center. The new GED will be offered only on computer, but many students here don't know how to use one.
When Toni Walker is not in Hartford, Conn., serving as a state representative, she can usually be found at the New Haven Adult and Continuing Education Center.
"We basically educate approximately 800 people a day," says Walker, an assistant principal at the center. "It is open enrollment, so when somebody gets an epiphany and says, 'I need to get my high school diploma so that I can get a job,' they can walk through the doors, and they can get [their GED] here."
Apple's new iPhone 5 may have been criticised for its glitch-ridden new maps program, but it may have inadvertently provided a diplomatic solution to China and Japan's ongoing row over disputed islands. When a user searches for the Tokyo-controlled Senkaku islands in the East China Sea, claimed by Beijing under the name Diaoyu, two sets of the islands appear alongside each other.
Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 5:30 pm
In the aftermath of the maps fiasco, the heads continue to roll at Apple. Today, there is news that one more employee has been let go. This time it was manager Richard Williamson, who oversaw the maps project, who lost his job.
Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 9:22 am
At one point in the film Flight, alcoholic pilot William "Whip" Whitaker, played by Denzel Washington, peers into a hotel-room mini-fridge filled with pretty much every type of wine and liquor imaginable.
The shot showcases wine brands Yellow Tail, Barefoot, Sutter Home, plus Amstel Light and Heineken beers — even Red Bull.
This scene raised a lot of questions for me: When has any hotel minibar ever contained so much alcohol? Why has Denzel done three films focusing on transportation –- two trains and now a plane — in as many years?
And now to matters of personal finance. If you're one of the millions of people already on the prowl for that hot must-have gift this holiday season, you might have already noticed something new at your favorite big box store and we're not talking about stocking stuffers. More and more of the big box stores are also offering financial products, like home mortgages or small business loans, along with the flat-screen TVs, lumber and paper towels.
Its widely watched consumer confidence index rose to 73.7 from 73.1 in October. The index is the highest it has been since February 2008, when the economy had just fallen into recession and was headed down.