- Author: Penny Leff
How about looking at Saturn through a telescope, picking your own cherries and blueberries, learning from UC Merced scientists how they estimate snow pack and water flow, taking a dip in the river, tasting local olive oil, wine and cheese, painting a picture, petting a lamb, and camping out in the walnut orchard? About 600 people enjoyed all this and more at the Pick and Gather Festival at Riverdance Farm in Merced County June 5 and 6.
Organic farmers Cindy Lashbrook and Bill Thomson, owners of the 70-acre diversified Riverdance Farm, host this annual event the weekend after Memorial Day. Lashbrook and Thomson are among the growing number of small and...
- Author: Judy Sams
How do you use California table olives in your family meals? On pizza? In salads? In Mediterranean dishes? As part of your holiday relish trays?
Today, California is the only U.S. state to commercially produce olives. Over 95 percent of production is canned as California-style black-ripe or green-ripe olives.
California table olive (Olea europaea L.) growers rely on the primary ‘Manzanillo’ cultivar. To assure absolute quality, harvesting is done by hand. Using ladders, crews hand-harvest the olives off each branch, tree by tree. There can be 1,000 olives on a tree, so each crewmember can pick only two or three trees a day. Hand harvesting expenses account for roughly...
- Author: John Stumbos
Healthy eating has gotten complicated. Fresh fruits and vegetables pack the produce aisle as never before. And new food products with added health benefits are being introduced all the time. Yet the food supply, and the agricultural system that supports it, has become increasingly criticized for its impact on the waistlines of millions of people in the United States.
“Agriculture and conventional food systems have provided the basis for long and healthy lives, and much of that improvement can be traced to healthier diets,” says UC Davis plant sciences professor Alan Bennett. “At the same time, we are faced with a growing critique that conventional food...
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Move over, Mrs. Fields. Make way for Mrs. Miller. “Mrs. Miller’s Chocolate Chip Cookies,” that is.
“Mrs. Miller’s Chocolate Chip Cookies” scored a big hit at the annual Solano County 4-H Presentation Day, held in Fairfield.
Caitlin Miller, 10, of Vacaville, a member of the Elmira 4-H Club, chose to give a presentation on a cookie she loves the most: her grandmother’s chocolate chip cookies.
Her grandmother, Alice Miller, of Washington state, formerly of Benicia, “makes them all the time,” Caitlin said. “She showed me how to make them and they’re really good.”
The secret ingredient, cream cheese, keeps them soft.
The two judges, Sally Moore of the Roving Clovers 4-H Club, Dixon and Sarah San...
- Author: Jim Coats
A wise man once said that God made weather so farmers would have something to complain about. Or maybe he was just a wise-acre.
One very wet spring a few years ago I was talking with another wise man, the late UC plant pathologist Joe Ogawa. I told him that the fruit trees must be enjoying the rainy weather. Joe's response: "Oh, the trees are probably enjoying it—but the fungi are so excited they're jumping up and down!"
I was working that spring with Joe and his colleague Harley English on their book, Diseases of Temperate Zone Tree Fruit and Nut Crops. Sure enough, our meetings were often interrupted by phone calls from farm...