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Food news from the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Food news from the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Watch livestream: Food leaders convene in San Diego Nov. 14
Food Tank is hosting its inaugural summit, titled “Growing the Food Movement,” on Nov. 14 in San Diego at the Illumina Theater. The event is co-sponsored by the Berry Good Food Foundation, the University of California's Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the San Diego Bay Food and Wine Festival. More than 30 speakers and panelists from the food and agriculture world in the San Diego area and around the globe, including David Bronner, Ryland Engelhart, Jessica...




A nutty idea: A little stress could be good for walnuts
When it comes to watering walnuts, most California growers believe you need to start early to keep trees healthy and productive throughout the long, hot summer. But according to striking results from a long-term experiment in a walnut orchard in Red Bluff, growers can improve crop production if they hold off irrigation until later in the season and directly measure their trees' water needs. The findings from researchers at the University of California may help farmers optimize water...




Honey bee health key to wellbeing of important species
Our friends the honey bees make it possible for us to devour an abundance of almond products. In 2016 the California almond crop totaled 2.15 billion pounds valued at $5.2 billion. Growing 80 percent of the world's almonds in California takes a lot of honey bees for pollination, roughly two hives for every acre of almond trees. It's estimated that California has 1.3 million acres of almonds, stretching 400 miles between Bakersfield and Red Bluff. California is rated in the top five honey...




It’s electric?! Breaking down electric pressure cookers
You may have heard the buzz about electric pressure cookers. Even if you don't follow kitchen trends, this piece of equipment may take some of the "pressure off" of preparing meals. From personal experience, I can say that they're also quite fun! Pressure cooking vs. pressure canning Pressure cooking uses trapped steam to create a pressurized environment for cooking food. This combined with heat can greatly decrease cooking times for many items. Foods like dried beans, meat roasts...




Two UC graduate students chosen to assist UC ANR Global Food Initiative efforts
Two University of California graduate students have been selected by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources as UC Global Food Initiative (GFI) fellows for 2018-19. Graduate students Melanie Colvin at UC Berkeley and Maci Mueller at UC Davis will work with ANR academics and staff to conduct and communicate about UC research for improved food security and agricultural sustainability. Melanie Colvin, a graduate student at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, focuses on addressing...




Tips to prepare, plant, and grow a fall vegetable garden
The transition of fall is upon us and gardeners are busy tending to late summer harvests, pruning back perennials, prepping for slower plant growth and more. But fall doesn't have to be all about wrapping up the growing season. In fact, life is sprouting and new garden plants are growing with the promise of fall, winter and early spring harvests. Are you looking to join the cool-season gardening craze? The UC Master Gardener Program has engaging workshops to inform and inspire this fall. Bay...




Let them eat cherries: Planning a U-Pick operation on your farm
Farmers work long hours under the open sky, struggling to finish each day's planting, cultivating, pruning or picking before the sun sets. It's hard sometimes to imagine, while engaged in this day-to-day pressure, but city people often welcome the chance to pay for an hour or two on that farm, especially if they can pick their own fresh fruit or vegetables. For many urban people, just getting out of town to a farm is a delicious pleasure. The University of California Sustainable Agriculture...




Why 'AA' is for Avocado Addict
If you're like most of us, you “go bananas” for a banana for breakfast. It's healthy, nutritious and packed with potassium. But wait! You should probably go bananas for another fruit--that pear-shaped avocado. Did you know the avocado provides more potassium than a banana? It does. A medium-sized banana yields 422 milligrams of potassium, while a medium-sized avocado, a whopping 708 milligrams. Dietitian Linda W. Adams of UC Davis Occupational Health Services (among her...




Fresno’s Southeast Asian farmers are on trend with new ‘superfood’
Farmer Vang Thao has been managing a successful farm south of Fresno for nearly 30 years, producing a spectacular array of vegetables – heirloom tomatoes, purple bell peppers, water spinach, bitter melon, Thai eggplant and dozens of others. Every weekend the family traverses the Grape Vine to set up a visual feast at farmers markets in Santa Monica, Hollywood, Palos Verdes, Torrance and Hollywood. Acclaimed Los Angeles chefs rave about his produce, according to a Los Angeles Times...




School food: Supporting healthy kids and local food systems
School food service is a multibillion dollar industry that impacts the lives of over 30 million (mostly) low-income students. Every school day and, with increasing frequency, during summer weekdays as well, this industry provides two-thirds of students' meals (breakfast and lunch), as well as snacks, contributing a large portion of the nutrients youth consume throughout their childhoods. To qualify for a free school lunch, a family of three must make less than $26,208 in 2016-17. School food...




Growers get labor-saving ideas at UC Grape Day
Will machines replace the romance of the hand-cultivated wine grape vineyard? A “touchless” vineyard was among the latest research on labor shortages, weeds and pest management by UC Cooperative Extension scientists discussed at Grape Day at the UC Davis Oakville Station, located in the epicenter of California wine country, on June 6. About 200 wine grape growers, vineyard consultants and other industry people attended to learn about the latest UC Cooperative Extension research....




UC Master Food Preserver volunteers in tribal communities
Throughout Humboldt and Del Norte counties, the UC Master Food Preserver Program is actively engaging with tribal members. In fact, the UC Master Food Preserver volunteers have been “jamming it up” since 2017 with over 15 workshops for tribal community members. Kella Roberts, of United Indian Health Services, has helped more than 280 community members improve their health and wellness - one jar, one dehydrator, one freezer bag at a time. Their workshops support existing efforts...




Strawberry stands sell berries fresh from the field
Slugs, snails, ants, aphids, spider mites and inclement weather conspire against strawberry growers harvesting perfect red berries to sell. “Farming is hard work,” said Fam Lee, as she pulled a weed from a row of strawberry plants. Lee and her husband Nathan Punh are among about 60 Mien farmers in the Sacramento area who call on Margaret Lloyd, a UC Cooperative Extension advisor, for farming advice. “Although we are not organic farmers, we always want to go with...




A Sacramento coalition wants to serve 1 million healthy meals to children this summer
When school's out, many children who live in poverty no longer eat nutritious meals like they do during school as part of the free and reduced-cost school lunch program. UC Agriculture and Natural Resources' Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) in Sacramento County has joined a coalition to promote the summer meals program, which is aiming to serve one million meals during summer 2018. The coalition was formed by State Sen. Richard Pan, who invited Sacramento students to...




Growing gardeners and nourishing communities
Spring is here, and oftentimes the busiest season of the year for gardeners to plant edibles with dreams of ripe tomatoes and rows of juicy strawberries. But what about the “non” gardeners, you know the people who struggle to keep a cactus alive? Is there hope for a plentiful harvest for those self-identified terrible gardeners? Absolutely. Food gardening takes some work, but if you have the determination and are willing to get your hands dirty, UC Master Gardener Program...




Growers get help from UC in estimating raspberry production costs
When growers are considering a new crop to plant, and penciling out their expenses and income, cost estimates from the University of California may help. A new cost and return study for commercially producing raspberries released by UC ANR Agricultural Issues Center and UC Cooperative Extension includes an expanded section on labor. Sample costs to establish, produce and harvest raspberries for fresh market in Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito counties are presented in “Sample Costs...




UC Global Food Initiative Fellows gather to discuss food system changemaking
Sustainability. Food justice. Research to action. These were the themes discussed April 13–14, 2018, as emerging food leaders throughout the UC system gathered in San Diego for a tour titled “The Rooted University: Bridging food system changemaking on and off campus.” The trip brought together nearly two dozen 2018 Global Food Initiative Fellows, all of whom are working on projects that advance the mission of the UC-wide Global Food Initiative. This strategic initiative was...




New labor laws factored into UC cost studies for table grape production
To help table grape growers make decisions on which varieties to grow, the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources' Agricultural Issues Center has released four new studies on the costs and returns of table grapes in the Southern San Joaquin Valley. The studies on different table grape varieties are each based on a 500-acre farm with vineyard establishment on 40 acres. The studies focus on four table grape varieties. There are two early maturing varieties, Flame Seedless and Sheegene-21, that...




NPI study finds that prices for fruits and vegetables may be higher in low-income neighborhoods
Shoppers purchasing fruits and vegetables in stores located in low-income neighborhoods in California may pay more for those fruits and vegetables than shoppers in other neighborhoods, according to a study that examined prices in a large sample of stores throughout the state. Published online in March 2018 in the journal Public Health Nutrition, the study, conducted by researchers at UC's Nutrition Policy Institute, involved more than 200 large grocery stores, 600 small markets, and 600...




What's that in your cornmeal?
You're thinking about making Grandma's Southern Cornbread. You head for your pantry. You remember that six months ago you purchased a bag of cornmeal from a local supermarket and that you immediately emptied the contents into a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. You open the airtight jar and notice something strange. It's moving. Moving? Moving? Yes! It's crawling with a transparent carpet of dozens of nearly microscopic critters. What? First, what are they? If you're like me, you grab your...




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