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Celebrating 15 years of food stories with chocolate, pupusas and urban farming


Shawn Askinosie doesn't do anything half-way. He was a high-powered defense attorney before he dove head-first into chocolate. He approaches his work in chocolate with the same rigor he applied to his law practice. (Kayte Young/WFIU) (Kayte Young/WFIU)

“...Call them tamale pancakes, stuffed

masa frita, the humble lovechild

of a quesadilla y calzone…”

This week on the show, we’re celebrating 15 years of Earth Eats with favorite stories reaching back to 2018. We visit a midwest chocolate factory crafting world-class chocolate and a poet making pupusas in his kitchen. We talk with Suzanne Babb, an urban farmer with La Finca del Sur in South Bronx and hear about how home canning is making a comeback (that last one is from Harvest Public Media, and it’s new!) 

Also, be sure to check out this post for more selected favorites from the Earth Eats archive. 

Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Maker in the Heartland

Having spent my formative years in Springfield Missouri, I would not have expected to find, on the north side of town, a small chocolate factory producing award-winning, single-origin, craft chocolates.

A lot has changed in this Ozark town of my youth, including the revitalization of Commercial Street. When I lived in Springfield, Commercial Street was a largely abandoned section of town, with a railyard and some interesting, but neglected industrial buildings and storefronts.

Askinoise chocolate has been instrumental in the revitalization efforts--they located their production facility and retail space in the historic district when they started the company in 2007.

Shawn Askinosie left a successful career as a defense attorney to pursue a passion for high-quality chocolate and to do some good in the world, along the way.

Kayte Young, with recording equipment and a hairnet,  standing next to a round metal machine
This machine is called a panner. It is used to evenly coat round candies with chocolate. When I visited the factory, they had malted milk balls in here.

I had a chance to visit with Shawn in Springfield earlier this fall. We talked about the difference between Fair Trade Chocolate and Direct Trade Chocolate. He talked about the relationships he builds with individual farmers that grow and process the beans he uses for his chocolate. He shared that he doesn't really know what the finished chocolate will taste like when he encounters a raw cocoa bean at Origin, but he can tell if it's high quality or not. The final flavor is often a surprise.

There's more to Askinosie than we had time for in our show, so be sure to check out their website to learn about Chocolate University, and the work they've been doing in some of the communities where they source their chocolate.

Pupusas and Poetry

Alex Chambers* brings us a story from back in 2018 about the National dish of El Salvador, pupusas.

Pupusas followed the Salvadoran diaspora into the United States in the aftermath of El Salvador's Civil War in the 1980s.

In this story, Willy Palomo reflects on the effects of the war on his own family history, the stories his mother told - or didn't tell - her children, and how a teenage identity crisis got him writing poems and making pupusas.

* Alex Chambers is now the Host and Producer of Inner States on WFIU and wherever you get your podcasts.

La Finca del Sur

Reaching back, again, to 2018, we have a conversation with Suzanne Babb, an urban farmer in New York's South Bronx. We talk about her work with La Finca del Sur and discuss some of the barriers women of color face when it comes to growing food.

Head and shoulders shot of Suzanne Babb, smiling and standing outside in a blue shirt..
I spoke with Suzanne Babb about urban farming while we both attended the Allied Media Conference in Detroit in 2018 (Kayte Young/WFIU)

Music on this Episode:

Aerumma-Jozef Van Wissem

The Bridge is Over-KRS-One (Criminal Minded)

La Boa-Los Mocosos (New World Party)

Sanctuary-David Gann

Additional music on this episode from Universal Production Music.

The Earth Eats theme music is composed by Erin Tobey and performed by Erin and Matt Tobey.

Stories On This Episode

Salvadoran Pupusas Con Curtido


"Stealth tortillas," with a surprise filling, pupusas are fun to make, and a treat to eat.

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