In many developing countries, more than half of all fruits and vegetables are never eaten, but instead are lost, damaged or spoiled after harvest. These “postharvest” losses can mean that farmers need to sell their fresh produce as soon as it is harvested for whatever price they can get, before they lose the crops that represent investments of labor, water, and agricultural inputs. Improving how fruits and vegetables are handled after harvest can significantly prolong freshness — and cooling is key.
“The three most important aspects of postharvest handling are: temperature, temperature, temperature,” said Michael Reid, UC Cooperative Extension...
Each year on Oct. 16, the world takes a moment to raise global awareness of agriculture, hunger, and food issues. World Food Day officially marks the anniversary of the creation of the UN's Food Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 1945, and nowadays it aligns with other global events such as this week's World Food Prize activities in Iowa.
Food and agriculture are central to what UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) professionals deal with every day. We're elbows-deep in solving specific problems like pest identification, childhood nutrition in schools, drought-tolerant plant breeding and spreading sustainable agricultural practices.
World Food Day is a day for all of us to...
Farm advisors: They're the local hand on the long arm of the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR). They apply cutting-edge research to problems facing their farming neighbors, often adapting practices and research results to local conditions. UC ANR Cooperative Extension advisors provide locally adapted science to local farmers.
So it might come as a surprise that some farm advisors got their start in agriculture nowhere near their backyards or their neighbor's fields. In fact, more than a few farm advisors fell in love with helping farmers while they were overseas.
I’ll admit that one of my favorite things to do on a hot day is to walk into an air-conditioned room. That burst of cool air in those first moments can be so refreshing.
It turns out I’m not alone — fruits and vegetables like to be cool on hot days too.
“Temperature management, or cold chain, is the single most important factor in maintaining postharvest quality in fruits and vegetables,” said Elizabeth Mitcham, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis.
Controlling temperature helps regulate the aging process of a fruit, along with its water loss and microorganism growth. Storing fruits and...
What if you could significantly improve the nutritional quality of your diet, just by switching one of the vegetables you eat every day?
In parts of Africa, some people are doing just that by switching from yellow or white sweet potatoes to orange-fleshed varieties.
In many African countries, sweet potatoes are a common staple—though not the orange-fleshed varieties I’m used to finding on the Thanksgiving table.
That orange color signifies the potato’s beta-carotene content, which our bodies convert to vitamin A. Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children and is crucial to the survival of...