The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often askew,
And leaves us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy! - Robert Burns, 1785
This well-known poem came to mind when I read an article in yesterday's San Francisco Chronicle. The story said Monterey County farmers are being forced to drain ponds and clear planted buffers that have provided habitat for beneficial insects and helped clean runoff water - all in the name of food safety.
Writer Carolyn Lockhead of the Chron's Washington bureau said farmers were resorting to "scorched-earth strategies" in the quest for an...
Scientists from Cooperative Extension programs at Rutgers University, University of Arizona and University of California worked collaboratively on lettuce field trials that have shown applying a protein to lettuce can reduce the risk of bacterial contamination, according to a story in The Packer. The work also shows that the treatment prolongs the shelf life of processed lettuce used in bagged salads.
The naturally occurring protein the researchers are studying, harpin, triggers a natural defense mechanism in plants, something like the broad spectrum...
Bad news for pistachio farmers, processors and consumers alike - yesterday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended that consumers avoid eating pistachios and products made from pistachios because of reports of Salmonella contamination. The story was reported in numerous media outlets, including US News & World Report.
The contamination came to light when Kraft Foods "Back to Nature" trail mix was found to be tainted with Salmonella. Kraft traced the contamination to Setton Pistachio in Terra Bella, Calif. The company immediately stopped distributing...
To close out this short Thanksgiving week, there are a number of UC Ag and Natural Resources hits in the media:
Capitol Press covered an agritourism seminar held recently in Stockton and developed a detailed article with much information drawn from a presentation by Holly George, UCCE's Sierra and Plumas county livestock and natural resources advisor.
Besides the more conventional agritourism ventures - pumpkin patches, corn mazes, wineries and U-pick operations - "serious" farms can benefit from the trend by opening their farms to the public for activities such as hunting, bird watching and...
Frustration, depression and exasperation are conveyed in thousands of news stories and blog posts about the latest serious food-borne illness outbreak -- salmonella in fresh tomatoes. A Google News seach for "tomatoes salmonella" identifies more than 2,700 stories, many that will make farmers cringe. The San Francisco Chronicle ran an editorial titled "Killer Tomatoes." A headline in the