Posts Tagged: Richard Molinar
Para saber que sucederá, los consejeros agrícolas de todo el estado están comparando fresas, arándanos azules y zarzamoras cultivadas bajo cuatro regímenes de riego – uno que refleja la práctica normal, otro que usa la mitad de la cantidad normal, uno más el 75 por ciento de lo normal y por último uno que es 25 por ciento más de lo normal. Los estudios están llevándose a cabo en los condados de Santa Clara, San Luis Obispo, San Diego y Fresno.
“Estamos haciendo esto debido al problema del agua en California”, dijo Richard Molinar, consejero de Extensión Cooperativa de la Universidad de California en el condado de Fresno. “Estamos en tiempo de sequía. Queremos ver las formas en las que los granjeros puedan reducir el agua que usan y seguir produciendo bayas con buen sabor”.
Molinar llevó recientemente muestras de fresas cultivadas en el Centro Kearney de Investigación Agrícola y Extensión de la UC, ubicado en Parlier, al mercado de granjeros Vineyard, en Fresno e invitó a los patrocinadores a compartir sus preferencias. A los catadores de fresas se les pidió que evaluaran la apariencia, sabor y textura de las frutas. Los consejeros agregarán la información de las pruebas de sabor a las que sometieron bayas de todos los sitios de investigación.
La investigación irá más allá de las preferencias de los consumidores. Beth Mitcham, especialista de UCCE en el Departamento de Botánica de UC Davis, evaluará el cultivo de frutas bajo diferentes regímenes de riego en el laboratorio. La investigación de Mitcham determinará la cantidad de azúcar, la proporción azúcar-ácido y la cantidad de antioxidantes en la fruta, y cómo estos se ven afectados por el aumento o reducción del agua de riego.
Es estudio está financiado por una subvención para cultivos especializados otorgada por el Departamento de Alimentos y Agricultura al pequeño programa agrícola dirigido por Shermain Hardesty, especialista de Extensión Cooperativa de la UC en el Departamento de Agricultura y Recursos Económicos de UC Davis.
Vea a continuación el video sobre la degustación de fresas:
To find out, farm advisors around the state are comparing strawberries, blueberries and blackberries grown under four irrigation regimes – one that reflects the normal practice, one half the normal amount of water, one 75 percent of normal, and one that is 25 percent more than normal. The studies are being conducted in Santa Clara, San Luis Obispo, San Diego and Fresno counties.
“We’re doing this because of the water issue in California,” said Richard Molinar, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Fresno County. “We’re in drought mode. We want to look at ways farmers can cut back the amount of water they are using and still have good tasting berries.”
Molinar recently brought samples of strawberries grown at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier to the Vineyard Farmers Market in Fresno and invited patrons to share their preferences. Strawberry tasters were asked to evaluate the fruits’ appearance, flavor and texture. The advisors will aggregate information from taste testing done on berries from all the research sites.
The research will go beyond consumers’ preferences. Beth Mitcham, UCCE specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis, will evaluate the fruit grown under different irrigation regimes in the laboratory. Mitcham’s research will determine the amount of sugar, the sugar-acid ratio and the amount of antioxidants in the fruit and how these are affected by increasing or decreasing the usual amount of irrigation water.
The study is funded with a specialty crops grant from the California Department of Food and Agriculture awarded to the small farm program under the direction of Shermain Hardesty, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at UC Davis.
See video of the strawberry tasting here:
At certain roadside stands, at farmers markets that cater to diverse clientele and in small Asian supermarkets, adventurous Californians can buy vegetables like bitter melon, Chinese long beans, opo and luffa. Finding them is the first step, knowing how to prepare them is another matter. UC Cooperative Extension has made these less familiar vegetables more accessible by creating a collection of easy-to-cook and nutritious Southeast Asian vegetable recipes.
The recipes were developed by UCCE nutrition educators in Fresno and the statewide UC Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program team with Richard Molinar, a UCCE advisor in Fresno County. Connie Schneider, director of the UC Youth, Families and Communities Program, and Molinar started by researching the traditional usage of Asian vegetables. They modified some ingredients and procedures in the recipes to simplify preparation and improve the nutritional profile.
“We minimized the number of ingredients in each recipe, added clear measurements and tested the dishes,” Schneider said. “They are delicious.”
For the last 18 years, Molinar has worked with small-scale farmers in Fresno County, which boasts the largest concentration of Hmong farmers in the U.S. Fresno County is also home to farmers of other ethnicities from Laos, China and Vietnam. Molinar and his assistant, Michael Yang, have introduced Southeast Asian immigrant farmers to the latest farming technologies, helped them develop plans to ensure the safety of the food they grow, and worked with them to find new marketing opportunities. Many of these farmers have begun growing vegetables common in California, and most have also kept some space on the farm for the vegetables of their homelands.
The UCCE educators recognized that the rich culinary traditions of local Southeast Asian immigrants could be adapted and used by people of all cultures to increase their consumption of vegetables. Besides, encouraging consumption of Southeast Asian vegetables adds new marketing opportunities for the farmers.
“This has been a unique opportunity to bring UCCE’s farm advisors and nutrition educators together to assist farmers and the public,” Molinar said. “These recipes will encourage more people to buy these nutritious vegetables, expanding the market for the growers.”
The 12 recipes are printed on cards, each with photos of the fresh vegetable and background information. For example, the recipe card for “bitter melon stir fry” notes that the crinkly skinned vegetable is native to India and is eaten when young and green, as bitterness increases with age. The recipe is accompanied by a photo of the prepared dish and complete nutrition facts per serving.
"I grew up with zucchini," Molinar said, "but I prefer the flavor and texture of angled luffa."
The printed cards will be distributed at farmers markets where Southeast Asian vegetables are sold, and they are available on the Fresno County UC Cooperative Extension website. Farmers who sell Asian vegetables at farmers markets may pick up 10 packets of recipes for free at the UC Cooperative Extension in Fresno, 1720 S. Maple Ave., Fresno. Direct links to each of the recipes are below:
- Bitter Melon Stir Fry
- Chinese Long Bean and Tofu Salad
- Chinese Winter Melon Chicken Soup
- Field of Greens Salad
- Fuzzy Gourd Stuffed with Pork and Mushrooms
- Lemongrass Chicken Soup
- Luffa and Prawns
- Marinated Japanese Eggplant
- Opo and Beef
- Snow Pea Daikon Salad
- Strawberry Spring Rolls
- Spicy Shrimp and Bok Choy Noodle Bowl
Following are two sample recipes:
Bitter Melon Sir Fry
1 ripe bitter melon, seeded and sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
½ lb. ground pork
½ lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tomato, chopped
1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
Pepper to taste
- Place sliced bitter melon in boiling water until just tender (2-3 minutes). Drain
- Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Sauté onions for about 5 minutes until tender.
- Add garlic; sauté an additional 2 minutes; mix in pork and cook until no longer pink.
- Add shrimp; cook about 5 minutes until done.
- Add tomato, bitter melon, and soy sauce; cook until tender.
Luffa and Prawns
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 lb large prawns, peeled and deveined
2 luffa (angled luffa or smooth luffa), chopped
¼ cup bamboo shoots
1 teaspoon coriander
1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
1 green onion, sliced
- Heat oil in a wok/pan; add garlic and stir fry for 1 minute.
- Add prawns; cook until done
- Add luffa; continue to stir fry with prawns until just tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add bamboo shoots, coriander, and soy sauce to pan and stir fry a few minutes
- Sprinkle with green onion and serve.
Nopales, which can add interest to any landscape and, when harvested, a green-bean flavor to many dishes, are easy to propagate and grow in most parts of California, says UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor Richard Molinar.
Molinar has produced a sampling of spineless and spined varieties of the cactus plant at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center specialty crops demonstration field. Late winter, he said, is an ideal time to plan for planting nopales when the soil warms and the threat of freeze passes.
Nopales may be started from seed, however, growth from seed is slow. Propagation from pads is simpler and faster. From a growing cactus - which can be purchased at nurseries or found in landscapes of friends or neighbors - cut a pad that is at least six months old and sit it upright while a callous forms. This takes a week or two in warm weather, longer when the air is moist.
When planting the pad, settle it upright about an inch deep in a mixture of equal parts of soil and sand or rough pumice. Planting the pad too deeply will encourage rot. Anchor the pad in place with rocks to keep it upright. In areas with intense summer sun, situate the pad so that the slim side points north and south, and the broad side east and west to prevent sunburn. Do not irrigate. The moisture stored in the pad is sufficient for roots to sprout, and excess moisture may cause rot. After roots have formed (in about a month) irrigate, and allow the soil to dry completely between subsequent irrigations. Wait several months before beginning to harvest.
The ease of nopal propagation was demonstrated in Molinar's field, where pads fell to the ground, took root and began growing entirely on their own.
Feed nopales with a high-nitrogen fertilizer. In warm climates, well-tended plants may be harvested up to six times a year, and established plants may yield 20 to 40 one-half pound pads at each harvest. Remove the pads by carefully cutting them from their supporting pads. The best time of day to harvest the pads is from mid-morning to mid-afternoon, when the acid content is lowest.
A serious pest of nopales is cochineal scale. Molinar said that, at Kearney, cochnieal was responsible for the failure of several varieties of spineless cacti. The nopales with spines seemed to carry greater resistance to the pest.
"Resistance isn't related to the spines themselves, but something in the genetic makeup," Molinar said. "It was fairly obvious. We did have one or two spineless varieties that weren’t attacked either."
Over the centuries in Central America, cochineal scale was valued as a source of red dye. During the colonial period, cochineal scale was Mexico's second most valued export after silver, however, the development of synthetic pigments reduced demand.
Cooking with nopales
To prepare the pad, hold its base and scape both sides with a blunt knife to remove the spines. Peel the pads and cut them into shoestring strips or small cubes. They can be eaten raw in salads, boiled and fried like eggplant, pickled with spices, or cooked with shellfish, pork, chilies, tomatoes, eggs, coriander, garlic and onions.
For more information, see the UC Small Farm Program's Family Farm Series article on Prickly Pear Cactus Production./div>
Walking through a field lined with row upon row of different vegetables — many ready for the picking — can be an exercise in abundance. When you're faced with the prospects of a huge, just-picked Japanese cabbage or spicy green lo bok pulled fresh from the ground, suddenly vegetables might seem like less of a chore and more of an adventure.
We were visiting the farm to share some new "veggie adventures" that went beyond the four colorful vegetables highlighted in this project (to refresh your memory, the Great Veggie Adventure highlighted Romanesco, rainbow carrots, party cauliflower and watermelon radishes).
Molinar and Yang showed me many vegetables I had never tried, including moqua, sinqua, long beans, lo bok, opo and winter melon.
"One of the exciting things about this job is you always learn something new," Molinar said. "Our specialty is with the Asian vegetables, with Michael's expertise in that area. Asians have vegetables that are unique to their culture, that they prefer — just like Punjabis have vegetables unique to their culture, and Hispanics have vegetables common to them."
We walked between the trellised crops and up and down the plant rows, while Yang and Molinar picked samples and talked about how to eat these new-to-me vegetables.
Yang pointed out that sometimes Asian vegetables include familiar varieties that are grown and eaten in less familiar ways. For example, many Hmong and Chinese farmers grow sugar snap pea plants for the tender shoots, tendrils and leaves instead of the pea pod.
Make sure to watch our short video from that day:
- Find more information about growing Asian vegetables from the UC Small Farm Program
- Visit the official Great Veggie Adventure website by the makers of Hidden Valley Salad Dressings
- Watch more videos from our Great Veggie Adventure playlist