Ag Lit Bit"The Straw"
Last fall I had the pleasure of hosting some lifelong friends at our house for an extended weekend. The lead up to the visit included much cleaning, menu planning, tour ideas, shopping for groceries and more cleaning. Every “to do” list item was checked and re-checked, especially as it related to the food items. I had decaf coffee, caffeinated coffee, heavy cream and even whipping cream (don’t ask my husband about the difference or my inability to specify what I needed more clearly). I was ready!
The first afternoon of the weekend one friend asked for some pop and I, of course, had just what she wanted. Then came the problem as she asked where I kept my straws. I don’t think I’ve ever had straws in my house except possibly when our boys were young. I offered to run out and buy some, but luckily my other guest solved the crisis by going out to her car and grabbing an extra she had from her drive to Chicago. I do believe that straw was washed and reused all weekend and finally tossed days later as everyone left. The straw is something that will always make me think back to one of many laughs we shared.
There is currently a great deal of research going on to solve the plastic straw debate that is affecting sea life and landfills. When I saw two of the latest concepts, I was intrigued by yet another connection to agriculture.
One new option is called Hay! Straws which are made, as you can guess, from the stem of hay after it is harvested in the fields. The company sources their wheat stems from local farms in South east Asia, and then cleans, cuts and packages them for distribution. What a concept and another example we can share when we teach about the difference between straw and hay in our lessons.
The other straw replacement example is called Pasta Straws which look like the pasta I loved as a child with the large open straight tube like a Bucatini noodle. They really hold the spaghetti sauce and made a delicious meal. It will be interesting to see the other replacement options that unfold over the next few years and see where ag connects to the products. If I had been thinking that weekend, I should have just grabbed a box of pasta and had enough straws for years to come.