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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

California’s nascent coffee industry to hold summit Jan. 18
Coffee is being commercially grown in California and coffee drinkers can't get enough of the locally produced beverage, which currently retails for about $18 per cup. Anyone who is interested in growing, processing or marketing specialty coffee in California is invited to a Coffee Summit on Jan. 18 at Cal Poly Pomona. Until recently, American coffee was grown commercially only in Hawaii. To make the most of their precious water, California farmers have begun experimenting with coffee plantings...




Visit mountain mandarin orchards for tasty treats
Nestled in the rolling foothills of Placer County, just northeast of Sacramento, are more than 35 beautiful small family farms growing mandarin oranges. The warm days and cool nights in Penryn, Newcastle, Loomis, Lincoln and Auburn make this area a perfect place to grow sweet, juicy, seedless mandarins. Welsh settlers in the town of Penryn first planted Satusuma mandarin orchards in the 1880s; some of their descendants are still tending Satsuma groves today. These original growers have been...




Vibrant purple sweet potatoes are a healthful Thanksgiving surprise
Candied sweet potatoes – dripping with butter, brown sugar and pecans – or a casserole of mashed sweet potatoes smothered with toasted marshmallows are common sides on the Thanksgiving table. These rich dishes belie the true nature of sweet potatoes, which are nutrient packed, low-glycemic root vegetables that can be a part of a healthy diet year round. Research by UC Cooperative Extension advisor Scott Stoddard is aimed at making sweet potatoes an even more healthful and...




Simple tips for the best Thanksgiving
“What if, today, we were grateful for everything?” asks Charlie Brown. You don't need to be a beloved cartoon character to understand the meaning of Thanksgiving. Giving thanks seems like an excellent goal for this year's celebration … and every day, really. Here are some important steps for a healthy, delicious and memorable holiday. First, be safe Millions of Americans will be celebrating this Thanksgiving. Foodborne illness is a real concern. So, let's...




Thanksgiving persimmons are autumn joy
When the weather cools in the fall and the holidays draw near, orange orbs ripen on persimmon trees in California to offer a fresh autumn sweetness in time for Thanksgiving recipes and holiday décor. At the UC South Coast Research and Extension Center (SCREC) in Irvine, a collection of 53 persimmon varieties are at their peak in November when the public is invited for tasting and harvesting at the annual persimmon field day. “We want to raise awareness about persimmons,”...




'Know beans' about a delicious Thanksgiving
If you say "I don't know beans" about beans, you ought to. Beans are one of civilization's earliest cultivated crops, dating back to the early seventh millennium BCE. Today there are more than 40,000 varieties of beans worldwide. Beans can also have a place on the Thanksgiving table. The Maple Spice blog for vegans shares a meat-free substitute for turkey that combines mashed white canelli beans, nutritional yeast, vital wheat gluten and spices to create a loaf that slices like turkey breast....




Military veterans and beginning farmers invited to poultry workshops
Prospective, beginner or intermediate farmers interested in raising poultry flocks on pasture or free-range are invited to attend poultry workshops. The lessons will apply to both egg-laying hens and broilers. UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and the Farmer Veteran Coalition have partnered to provide training for military veterans who are embarking on careers in farming, but all farmers are welcome to the workshops. Workshops will...




Joining forces to promote child health and wellness
According to current statistics, approximately 40 percent of school-age children in the U.S. are overweight or obese. This statistic is reflected in rising rates of diabetes, pre-diabetes, and heart disease risk factors. Nearly one-quarter of all children are pre-diabetic or diabetic at the time when they leave high school, a figure that has increased dramatically in the last decade. Dental problems, the other very common health problem of youth, carry the potential for current and future...




Tree fruit and nut growers invited to two-week UC orchard management course
Tree fruit and nut growers are invited to attend the “Principles of Fruit and Nut Tree Growth, Cropping and Management” course offered by the UC Fruit and Nut Research and Information Center. The annual two-week course will be held from Feb. 19, 2018, through March 1, 2018, at the UC Davis Activities and Recreation Center (ARC). Understanding the fundamentals of tree biology is essential to making sound orchard management and business decisions in the fruit and nut industries....




Investment in training new farmers is paying off
Training people to farm is successfully preparing them for careers, according to a new report from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. Their report, “Cultivating the Next Generation,” evaluates the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, which was funded in the 2008 Farm Bill. Since 2008, USDA has invested roughly $150 million in more than 250 new farmer training projects across the country. According to a national...




Advances in Pistachio Production Short Course offered Nov. 14-16
UC Agriculture and Natural Resources will be offering a three-day, multi-topic Pistachio Production Short Course on Nov. 14-16, 2017. Held in Visalia, this course will provide participants with the latest information and research from several UC experts on pistachio orchard production, field preparation, planting, pruning, economics, diseases, integrated pest management, and harvesting. The course is designed for orchard decision makers, and covers the latest scientific research that supports...




UC ANR Global Food Initiative fellows take aim at food insecurity and obesity
Three University of California students have been selected by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources as Global Food Initiative (GFI) fellows for 2017-18. UC Berkeley graduate students Kristal Caballero, Elsbeth Sites and Sonya Zhu are the GFI fellows who will work with ANR academics and staff to address the issue of how to sustainably and nutritiously feed a world population expected to reach 8 billion by 2025. The GFI fellows are part of a group of 50 UC graduate and undergraduate students...




Quirky storytelling on a powerful platform supports economic development, farmers and families
Nick Papadopoulos wants to create a culture of infectious enthusiasm in the farm and food world. This year he's hit the road with a cell phone and eight-foot selfie pole, digging into communities to find everyday people who are having a positive impact on farms, gardens, markets and food banks. He found his passion as a small-scale organic farmer dismayed by a cooler full of wholesome food without a buyer. Just miles away families were suffering food insecurity. The dilemma sparked the...




Supplement promises to create climate smart cows
Belching beef and dairy cows emit a significant amount of methane, sending a potent greenhouse gas into the atmosphere where it can contribute to climate change. UC Agriculture and Natural Resources researcher Ermais Kebreab, a professor in the Department of Animal Science at UC Davis, is studying a potential new solution. In European studies, supplementation with just 15 grams of a formulation called Mootral, derived from garlic and citrus extracts, killed bacteria in the cow's gut that...




Partnering with produce providers
What's one way to combat food waste, save money, and expand food knowledge? Ask a UC Master Food Preserver. Or rather, have a group of dedicated volunteers do a hands-on demo at a CSA pick-up location. Tanaka Farms, located in Orange County, did just that. The farm's Community Supported Agriculture program delivers more than 1,600 produce boxes a month to a subscriber base that is highly motivated to prepare and cook food. Educating their customers is a mission of Tanaka Farms CSA as well as a...




The beautiful and healthful pitahaya thrives in Southern California
Farmer Arian Williams is successfully tending 16 acres of avocados in the De Luz area of Temecula, but he and his wife came to the 10th annual UC Pitahaya Festival in August to see whether there is commercial potential in producing pitahaya. "We're taking cuttings, and trying it now," Williams said. Vanessa Caballero, Williams wife, was enthusiastic about the prospect. "I love the way pitahayas look, and there are not too many grown commercially now," she said. The field day at...




Sunpreme raisins a hit at the UC Kearney Grape Day 2017
Excitement over the new Sunpreme raisins was evident at UC Kearney Grape Day Aug. 8, 2017. As soon as the tram stopped, dozens of farmers and other industry professionals rushed over to the vineyard to take a close look and sample the fruit. Raisins pulled from the vine were meaty with very little residual seed. The flavor was a deep, sweet floral with a muscat note. Sunpreme raisins, bred by now-retired USDA breeder David Ramming, promise a nearly labor-free raisin production system....




#Collabatition: A new network of food hubs looks past competition to help each other succeed
In today's food system, large scale food distribution has become the standard way food moves from farm to market. The system works well to feed a lot of people, and has allowed us to eat tomatoes in December and send produce far distances while keeping it fresh. But the system is not without its sacrifices. Through large scale food distribution, farmers can lose the ability to set their own prices, and small-scale farmers can be cut out from the system for not being able to fill high volume...




Go back-to-school with a garden
It's that time already when the kids start heading back to school and meals go back to a strict schedule. It can be easy to turn to take-out and other convenience foods to make meal times more manageable, especially during the rush of back-to-school. However, there's a long school year ahead and focusing on good habits now can set the tone for the next nine months. The old adage that “food is fuel” rings true - healthy choices help kids maintain a healthy weight, avoid health...




Explore tools that UC researchers use with smallholder farmers around the world
Planted in a corner of the UC Davis campus is a display of technologies and vegetable crops that researchers with the Horticulture Innovation Lab have been using with farmers in Africa, Asia and Central America. Led by UC ANR's Elizabeth Mitcham in the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences, this program harnesses the agricultural expertise of a network of U.S. university researchers to improve how farmers in developing countries grow fruits and vegetables. More often than not, the learning...




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