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Perk Up: It's International Coffee Day!

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Look sharp, java monsters. It's joe's big day! While the holiday's origins are a little murky, we do know that an annual bean-themed event began in Japan in 1983 and has since spread to at least 16 countries that import or export the globe's favorite hot beverage. The holiday falls on various dates around the world, but today the United States, Canada, England, Ethiopia and Malaysia are celebrating the globe's love affair with coffee.

The U.S. began celebrating National Coffee Day as early as 2005, but things really kicked off on September 29, 2009, thanks to the Southern Food and Beverage Museum in New Orleans, which used the newly-dubbed International Coffee Day to kick off the first New Orleans Coffee Festival.

There's no hard and fast rule for celebration, but many organizations use International Coffee Day as a platform for awareness of fair trade coffee and improving conditions for coffee growers. And of course, many of your favorite shops will be handing out freebies this morning. How do you plan to celebrate?

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Food
Thanks to a Wet Winter, New Zealand Faces a Potential Potato Chip Shortage
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New Zealand has plenty of unique and tasty snacks, but kiwis also love potato chips. The universal comfort food is in danger Down Under, however, as an unusually wet winter has devastated the island country’s tuber crops, according to BBC News.

Twenty percent of New Zealand’s annual potato crop was wiped out from a series of major storms and floods that ravaged the nation’s North and South Islands, The Guardian reports. In some regions, up to 30 percent of potato crops were affected, with the varieties used to make chips bearing the brunt of the damage.

Potato prices spiked as farmers struggled, but the crisis—now dubbed “chipocalypse” by media outlets—didn't really make the mainstream news until supermarket chain Pak’nSave posted announcements in potato chip aisles that warned customers of a salty snack shortage until the New Year.

Pak’nSave has since rescinded this explanation, claiming instead that they made an ordering error. However, other supermarket chains say they’re working directly with potato chip suppliers to avoid any potential shortfalls, and are aware that supplies might be limited for the foreseeable future.

New Zealand’s potato farming crisis extends far beyond the snack bars at rugby matches and vending machines. Last year’s potato crops either rotted or remained un-harvested, and the ground is still too wet to plant new ones. This hurts New Zealand’s economy: The nation is the world’s ninth-largest exporter of potatoes.

Plus, potatoes “are a food staple, and this is becoming a food security issue as the effects of climate change take their toll on our potato crop,” says Chris Claridge, the chief executive of industry group Potatoes New Zealand, according to The Guardian.

In the meantime, New Zealanders are preparing to hunker down for a few long months of potential potato peril—and according to some social media users, kale chips are not a suitable alternative. “Chipocalypse” indeed.

[h/t BBC News]

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Food
50 Sweet Facts About Your Favorite Halloween Candies
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It’s no surprise that candy delights kids and adults alike. We love sweets so much that the average American eats about 22 pounds of candy each year. Whether you’re looking to impress your friends or simply brush up on your candy trivia, check out these 50 sweet facts about your favorite candies.

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