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Kabashima photo on "wanted" card

In my home snail mail, I got a warning postcard from CDFA with John Kabashima's photos on it … photos that he took of the insect, not photos of John. The card said to be on the lookout for diaprepes. Could John be the heir apparent to Jack Kelly Clark?

diaprepes postcard
diaprepes postcard

Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 at 4:29 PM

Fresh from the farmers market

This shameless plug for shopping at farmers markets is from Lyra, aka the Sustainable Wonkette....

I hope you're all green with envy, because I just walked out of a meeting at UC Davis today and bought a pound of gorgeous, juicy orange-pink apricots. Fresh apricots remind me of summers at our farm in Yuba City and my little sister's pink freckled shoulders. The ones I ate today were delicious and were sold by a farmer who brought his fruit from San Joaquin County to UCD's East Quad Farmers Market. The market runs every Wednesday through June 6, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

I also bought cherries from a one of my favorite farmers—Steve from Mt. Moriah Farm. I bought a whole bagful of goodies from the UC Davis Student Experimental Farm market garden—beautiful red and white spring onions, zucchini and tomatoes. The tomatoes were from the greenhouse. They were also selling potatoes, broccoli, kohlrabi and spinach, as were other growers. I also bought five little bags of fresh peas, already shelled! Farmer Sam Cabral was selling olive oil, and cut flowers were everywhere. My neighbor, who owns a nursery in the Capay Valley, was selling plants for the summer garden: tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, and many herbs.  

The market is part of the Davis Farmers Market pilot project to expand sales of local produce, promote the use of fresh produce on campus and in area K-12 schools and teach consumers about nutrition and healthy eating. Most of the farmers move their produce to the Davis Farmers Market later in the afternoon. (From April to October the Davis Farmers Market hours are 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.)

 

May07-cherries 1060
May07-cherries 1060

Posted on Thursday, May 10, 2007 at 5:55 PM

Farm Bill

At the President's Advisory Commission meeting on April 26, four people gave presentations related to the Farm Bill, which is now being discussed by Congress for reauthorization. One of the presenters was Julian Alston, a UCD ag economist, who gave us a little history lesson.

I was surprised to learn that 40 percent of the $125 billion Farm Bill in 2005 was spent on food stamps and school lunches. I didn't know those programs were part of the Farm Bill. I also didn't know that the government started the school lunch program after WWII as a result of undernourished recruits. So much for thinking politicians were concerned about kids being hungry.

Posted on Friday, May 4, 2007 at 4:59 PM

biodynamics aka voodoo poo poo

This blog is being launched with voodoo poo poo.

On April 16, North Coast and Mountain Region director Kim Rodrigues (K-Rod) took Tom Tomich, new director of the UCD Agricultural Sustainability Institute and SAREP, on a tour of sustainability projects in Mendocino and Lake counties. I tagged along for the first day. Included are some photos taken directly from the camera and posted. If Jack Clark and Mike Poe are viewing, gentlemen, start your cringing.

We started at Hopland Research & Extension Center, where Glenn McGourty, Mendocino viticulture advisor, and John Harper, Mendocino livestock advisor, are training sheep to eat vineyard weeds and cover crops, not the grapevines.

Jeannette is writing a news release about their study feeding sheep grape leaves and buds, then lithium chloride to make the sheep sick. This deters them from eating the vines, much like food poisoning can deter people from eating, say, spinach. We’ll see if PETA reads ANR news. This is part of a biodynamic farming system, which involves animals in crop production.

Biodynamic farming takes organic farming a step further. Bonterra wine is not organic (because they choose to use sulfites to preserve the wine), but their grapes are biodynamically grown. I understood biodynamics to mean the farm was self-contained, but apparently it has a spiritual side as well, which is why the Bonterra production manager said some people call it voodoo poo poo. The production manager explained that they pack fresh cow manure into bull horns, which are buried in the vineyard until the manure composts. Then the compost, or voodoo poo poo, is scraped out of the horns and spread around the vineyard.

Glenn McGourty, who is neither a proponent nor opponent of biodynamics, found that the fruit yield to vine ratio was higher -- 6-1 for the biodynamic vineyard than the 5-1 of the regular organic vineyard.

We walked through a vineyard minutes after a sulfur sprayer left. Being allergic to sulfur, I half-expected to depart the premises in an ambulance, but no drama ensued.

The vineyard inputs are all natural, right down to the tule reeds used to tie the canes to the trellising wires.

Tomich persian clover
Tomich persian clover

Tomich tour gang
Tomich tour gang

tule reed ties
tule reed ties

Bonterra vineyard
Bonterra vineyard

Posted on Tuesday, May 1, 2007 at 4:49 PM

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