CaDairy2Go Competition Celebrates Innovations

California Milk Advisory Board Selects 12 Creative Chefs  For Inaugural Culinary Event


The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) this week announced the launch of an inaugural foodservice competition challenging professional chefs to create innovative “to-go” dishes using California dairy products. The “CADairy2Go” competition is inspired by chefs and foodservice operators who made quick, creative pivots to adjust their menus for the takeout and delivery model during the disruption caused by the pandemic.

The Real California Milk Foodservice Team hand-selected twelve culinary professionals to participate in the first-of-its-kind event, representing a variety of foodservice backgrounds, including experience in major restaurant chains, broadline distributors, independent restaurants, ghost kitchens, and food trucks.

Each chef will submit one dish in either the Cal-Mex or Cheese+Mac category, as well as a second dish under Innovate-To-Go, which allows for creativity beyond their assigned category. All dishes must be optimized for the takeout or “to-go” experience and incorporate sustainability sourced California cheese and other dairy ingredients.


The 2021 CADairy2Go participants are:


Carrie Baird – Rose’s Classic Americana – Boulder, CO

Victoria Elizondo –Cocina Local – Houston, TX

Gina Galvan – Mood for Food – San Juan Capistrano, CA

Gina Genschlea – Revolution Winery & Kitchen – Sacramento, CA

Nelson German – alaMar Kitchen & Bar, Sobre Mesa – Oakland, CA

Heidi Gibson – The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen – San Francisco, CA

Marti Lieberman – Mac Mart – Philadelphia, PA

Brian Mullins – Ms. Cheezious® – Miami, FL

Tamra Scroggins – Grill Concepts – Los Angeles, CA

Alex Sadowsky – Twin Peaks – Dallas, TX

Manish Tyagi – August 1 Five – San Francisco, CA

Mary Grace Viado – Village Tavern – Birmingham, AL


Participating chefs will win cash prizes from $500 to $5,000. Two finalists from each category will earn a trip to Napa, where they will compete in a live cook-off event July 28th at the Culinary Institute of America’s Copia location. The final cook-off will be captured in a live broadcast that will be streamed in celebration of the chefs and their creations. Additional details on the competition and the chef competitors is available at CADairy2Go.

“The past year has challenged chefs to be strategic in creating dishes that are not only comforting but can also hold up for an off-premise dining experience. This competition leverages the off-premise dining trends that emerged during this time and celebrates chefs who worked to respond quickly to consumer needs,” said Nancy Campbell, Business Development consultant for CMAB Foodservice. “Dairy is an essential ingredient for bringing to-go menu innovations to life and provides the flavor and flexibility to any style of cooking – from plant-forward to comfort and everything in between.”

As the nation’s largest dairy state, California boasts a long list of cheesemakers and dairy processors, that are further driving to-go dining innovation California leads the nation in milk production and is responsible for producing more butter, ice cream and nonfat dry milk than any other state. The state is the second-largest producer of cheese and yogurt. California milk and dairy foods can be identified by the Real California Milk seal, which certifies they are made exclusively with sustainably sourced milk from the state’s dairy farm families.

California is a reliable, consistent source of sustainable dairy products used by chefs throughout the world. Check out our REAL Makers chefs who rely on California dairy for their dishes.


2021-06-15T15:58:03-07:00June 15th, 2021|

California Pear Crop Coming Soon

California Pear Growers Committed to Growing Flavorful Pears that Ripen Naturally


As the California pear industry gears up for the coming harvest set to begin in early July, farmers are focusing on one thing – giving consumers a good eating experience.

The California Pear Advisory Board (CPAB) is predicting 2021 will be a great year for marketing pears. Inventories from last year’s Northwest pear crop are down from previous years with over 90 percent of the 2020 crop already sold.  Volume and quality of California pears are expected to be good, and timing should be earlier than in the last couple of seasons.

So far, imports of pears from South American are also down, but California pear growers are preparing for the possibility that imported pears could show up in U.S. markets as it gets closer to California’s harvest season. Often these pears are treated with anti-ripening agents that allow them to be stored for a year or longer.

“This season it will be extremely important for us to let consumers and retailers know fresh, new-crop pears that have not been treated with anti-ripening agents will be available from California in July,” said Chris Zanobini, CPAB’s Executive Director.

“Pears are often treated with anti-ripening agents, like 1-MCP, to keep them from ripening in storage. This allows shippers, particularly importers, to hold pears longer and ship them later in the season,” said Pat Scully of Scully Packing, a California pear producer.

“California pear farmers have pledged never to use anti-ripening agents,” says Scully. “We don’t believe this treatment results in a good eating experience for consumers.  Research by the University of California has found that when consumers buy pears that have been treated with anti-ripening agents, the pears may never ripen. This is not good for repeat sales.”

The California pear industry is working to get this message out to retailers and remind them that providing consumers with a good eating experience is the key to more sales and movement within the pear category.

“We’re hoping to convince retailers to support California pear farmers because we’re extremely focused on delivering high quality, ripe pears that consumers will enjoy and return to buy again and again,” said Kyle Persky, Sales Manager for Rivermaid Trading Company in Lodi, CA.

Persky noted California pear farmers expect to have an excellent crop that is more plentiful than the last two years. As a result, farmers have been focusing on pruning and thinning to improve fruit size.  The industry will also be waiting until pears are at optimum maturity before they begin harvest.

“These measures coupled with the California pear farmers pledge not to use anti ripening agents will surely result in an excellent year for fruit quality and flavor,” said Matt Hemly of Greene and Hemly, who grows pears in the River growing district of California.

The California Pear Advisory Board uses a robust social media program to deliver messaging about California pears to consumers. The group also works with influencers to educate consumers on how to ripen and use pears.

This year, the Board is partnering with the Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) to hold a special webinar for registered dietitians, retail marketing teams and consumer influencers. The session will focus on maximizing taste while also addressing the issue of reducing waste, which is an important objective of many retailers.

“California pear farmers are supportive of efforts at retail to reduce waste,” says Richard Elliot of Stillwater Orchards.  “But we won’t reduce waste if consumers buy pears, take them home and then throw them away because they never soften or ripen.”

As part of its presentation to PBH’s Influencer audience, California pears will be talking about delivering flavor to consumers. This message is in line with the focus of PBH’s Have a Plant movement designed to encourage greater consumption of produce.

“We’ll be telling this audience about the best ways to select, ripen and store pears so they get the most out of them and reduce waste at the same time,” said Zanobini.

“Bartlett pears ripen much like a banana with a color change from green to yellow and at the same time getting softer, sweeter, more aromatic and flavorful.  But, unlike bananas, ripened pears can be put in the refrigerator where they will last from several days to a week,” he explained. “This allows consumers more time to eat them and reduces waste. And the eating experience is fantastic.

2021-06-11T18:26:33-07:00June 4th, 2021|

Get Vaccinated to Have More Freedom

CDPH Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated Individuals

This week, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) updated its recommendations for individuals who are fully vaccinated. A few key points from this guidance are below.

Fully vaccinated people can do the following:

• Spend time with other fully vaccinated people, including indoors, without wearing masks or physical distancing (outside a workplace setting).
• Spend time with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing.
• Refrain from wearing face coverings outdoors except when attending crowded outdoor events, such as live performances, parades, fairs, festivals, sports events, or other similar settings.

  • Refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure if asymptomatic.
  • Following a known exposure at work, fully vaccinated
    workers do not need to quarantine if asymptomatic.
  • In the workplace, employers subject to the Cal/OSHA
    COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards
    (ETS) must ensure that employees are following the
    current ETS face covering and testing requirements.

Fully vaccinated people should continue to take precautions in public including wearing a well-fitted mask indoors, and when attending crowded outdoor events, as described above. Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. If fully vaccinated people test positive for SARS-CoV-2, they should follow CDPH and local health department guidelines regarding isolation and/or exclusion from high-risk settings. For workplace settings, employers should follow the exclusion provisions of the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards.

Individuals are considered fully vaccinated when it has been two weeks or more after they have received either their second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer or Moderna) or their single-dose vaccine (J&J/Janssen).

As reported by Kahn, Soares & Conway (KSC), for workplace settings, employers should follow the exclusion provisions of the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards. The Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) applies to all employers, employees, and to all places of employment with three exceptions:

• Workplaces where there is only one employee who does not have contact with other people.
• Employees who are working from home.
• Employees who are covered by the Aerosol Transmissible Diseases regulation.

KSC as reported, in correspondence with this week’s CDPH recommendations, and per Executive Order N-84-2020, the Cal/OSHA ETS now stipulates that fully vaccinated individuals who have had a COVID-19 exposure and are asymptomatic no longer need to be excluded under the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards. More information is available in the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards FAQs.

2021-06-08T17:11:54-07:00May 23rd, 2021|

Potato Imports Can Enter Mexico

U.S. Potato Industry Celebrates Mexico’s Supreme Court Decision Overturning Decades-long Ban on Fresh U.S. Potato Imports

By Russell  Nemetz with the Ag Information Network

The Mexican Supreme Court has ruled by a unanimous vote of five to zero in favor of overturning a 2017 lower court decision that prevented the Mexican federal government from implementing regulations to allow for the importation of fresh U.S. potatoes throughout the country. The ruling, cheered by the National Potato Council and Potatoes USA, marks the end of a decade-long legal process that began when Mexico’s potato industry sued its government to prevent competition from imports.

“This ruling is consistent with Mexico’s obligations under the USMCA and the WTO. It represents a major step forward in the U.S. potato industry’s efforts to provide consumers throughout Mexico access to fresh, healthy U.S.-grown potatoes,” said Jared Balcom, Vice President of Trade Affairs for the National Potato Council (NPC) and potato grower from Pasco, Wash. “After decades of delay, we hope this ruling represents a light at the end of the tunnel and that Mexican regulators will immediately begin working on regulations to allow for the importation of fresh U.S. potatoes throughout their country.”

“Mexican consumers and the chip manufacturers in Mexico have waited way too long to access fresh U.S. potatoes,” stated Jaren Raybould Chair of Potatoes USA and a potato grower in Saint Anthony, Idaho. “We are hopeful that with this ruling the authorities will quickly reimplement the market access agreement and allow for high-quality U.S. potatoes to be enjoyed throughout Mexico.”

Since it first allowed for the importation of fresh U.S. potatoes in 2003, Mexico has restricted those potatoes to a 26 kilometer-area along the U.S.-Mexico border. That restriction has violated Mexico’s obligations under numerous trade agreements, including NAFTA, WTO, and now the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The Mexican government finally agreed to allow U.S. potatoes full access to their market beginning in May 2014; however, immediately after that was implemented, the National Confederation of Potato Growers of Mexico (CONPAPA) sued its government, claiming Mexican regulators have no authority to determine if agricultural imports can enter the country.

The Supreme Court decision rejected CONPAPA’s arguments and affirms that the Mexican government does indeed have the authority to issue regulations about the importation of agricultural and food products, including fresh U.S. potatoes.

“Mexico offers a significant opportunity for U.S. potato growers,” stated John Toaspern, Chief Marketing Officer at Potatoes USA. “The trade-in fruits and vegetables between the U.S. and Mexico is hugely beneficial to growers and consumers in both countries. In fact, Mexican avocados were granted access to the U.S. at the same time as U.S. potatoes to Mexico in 2003. Since that time, the U.S. government has honored the agreement, and imports of Mexican avocados are now over $2 billion. The U.S. can supply a wide variety of fresh high-quality potatoes to Mexico, russets, reds, yellows, whites, fingerlings, and chipping potatoes year-round that are not currently produced there. Mexican retailers, foodservice operators, food manufactures and ultimately Mexican consumers will benefit from this wide array of high-quality potatoes available year-round.”

“This is a significant step that effectively ends the legal process that has blocked our access to the Mexican market,” said NPC CEO Kam Quarles. “This effort has spanned numerous administrations and sessions of Congress, but the U.S. position never wavered. We are thankful for everyone at USDA, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and Members of Congress who have worked for years to encourage Mexico to lift these protectionist restrictions. We now look forward to working with the Mexican government and its regulatory agencies in immediately reinstating the rules to allow for fresh U.S. potatoes to be shipped and the normalization of trade between our countries.”

U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho) said, “The Mexican government agreed in 2014 to open trade to fresh U.S. potatoes, and it’s long past time our farmers are granted real market access. Today’s ruling comes as welcome news for Idaho potato growers. I’m proud to continue advocating for the Gem State’s ag producers so people across the world can enjoy our state’s most famous product.”


U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) said, “Today’s decision by the Mexican Supreme Court is a positive step forward. I will not, however, consider the matter finished until Idaho’s farmers are able to sell high-quality potatoes to every family in Mexico — as is their right under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Moreover, I remain concerned that Mexico is maintaining or enacting new restrictions on other U.S. agricultural products that lack any scientific justification. I will continue to work with USTR to ensure that Mexico upholds its commitments under the USMCA.

Mexico is the third-largest export market for U.S. potatoes and products valued at over $270 million in 2020. Despite the restriction to the 26-kilometer border region Mexico is the second-largest market for fresh potato exports accounting for 106,000 metric tons valued at $60 million in 2020. The U.S. potato industry estimates that access to the entire country for fresh U.S. potatoes will provide a market potential of $200 million per year, in five years.

2021-05-10T18:26:05-07:00May 10th, 2021|

Feds Rescind 5 Percent Allocation

5% Water Allocation Rescinded By Feds

By Patrick Cavanaugh, with the AgInformation Network

The original initial allocation of 5% water for Federal water users on the Westside of Fresno and Kings Counties has been rescinded. The Bureau of Reclamation has announced that the contract supply of 5% is not available until further notice, which could push tree nut growers into a zero-water supply for 2021.

“It sounds like we still have the 5%, but we don’t know when we’ll get it,” said Joe Del Bosque, who farms almonds in a Federal water district on the Westside.

“That doesn’t mean we’re guaranteed to get it. It just means that it’s not going to be available now,“ Del Bosque said.

Joe Del Bosque

“And it wasn’t like we didn’t have any rain or snow in California this year,” said Ryan Jacobsen, CEO of the Fresno County Farm Bureau.  “Northern California is at 51% of average precipitation for the year statewide average snowpack levels are at 63% of average,” Jacobsen said

It’s, instead, just another example of a broken system.

“The unfortunate reality that our farmers here in Fresno County have to deal with now. It is truly a complex issue of what’s going on in the Delta. And it’s very unfortunate because we’re having the full ramifications of it,” Jacobsen said.

“Historically,  going back over a decade ago, this would have been at least some kind of an allocation here, you know, it could have been as high as the 10 20, 30 percentile.  However, because of the restrictions and our inability to get water in years like this year, it truly does reflect the broken system we have in the Delta,” noted Jacobsen.



2021-03-25T16:04:01-07:00March 25th, 2021|

American Dreamer and Workforce Modernization Act Passes

Congressman David G. Valadao Statement on the Passage of the American Dream and Promise Act, Farm Workforce Modernization Act

Recently, Congressman David G. Valadao released the following statement on the final passage of the American Dream and Promise Act and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, both of which he voted in favor of:

“I am proud to protect our Dreamers. My Congressional District is home to more than 7,000 DACA recipients. These young people go to work, attend school, pay taxes, and are actively involved in our communities. We must ensure that people who were brought here as children through no fault their own, and call the United States home, are welcome here.

“As the son of immigrants and lifelong dairy farmer, I know firsthand how desperately our agriculture workforce needs meaningful reform. Many industries in the Central Valley rely heavily on immigrant labor. Our farm workers are absolutely critical to our collective mission of reliably feeding America, yet many live in fear due to an inability to gain legal status through our broken immigration system. Ensuring that our essential farmworkers already in the states receive legal status, while also simplifying and streamlining the process for future flow of workers, is just common sense, and I am proud to be an original cosponsor on this very important legislation.”






2021-03-23T16:52:53-07:00March 23rd, 2021|

CA Outlook 2021 Conference March 24-25

California Outlook 2021 Agribusiness Conference

March 24-25 | Zoom Webinar


On March 24-25, join the ASFMRA California Chapter for its Outlook 2021 Virtual Agribusiness Conference – “It’s All About California Agriculture.”

The special two-day event will highlight key topics related to agribusiness as well as commodity updates and new regional breakout sessions in a webinar format. In addition, all attendees will receive a PDF copy of the California Chapter’s 2021 Trends® in Agricultural Land & Lease Values report.


Among the topics to be covered are:

  • California Agriculture – Economic Overview
  • Irrigation Water Update
  • Grape Crush Report/Wine Grape Industry Update
  • Tree Nut Industry Update
  • Ag Land Trends® General Session
  • California Legislative Update
  • Berry Industry Update
  • Dairy Industry Update
  • Much More!

View the event flyer here, and use the button below to register! For questions regarding the event, contact the California Chapter office at (209) 368-3672, or via email.

2021-03-16T18:11:16-07:00March 16th, 2021|

Help Needed for Smoky Vineyards


Long Term Solutions for Smoke-Affected Vineyards

By Tim Hammerich, with the Ag Information Network

The fires of this past year have prompted many in the winegrape industry to rethink how they want to handle smoke-affected vineyards. Glenn Proctor is a partner at the Ciatti Company, which brokers wine and grapes based in Navato.

“We can’t afford to go through 2020 again. We need to be better organized in terms of how we do it. And everybody got bruised. I mean, it was a tough year just because of the unknowns and what it meant,” said Proctor. “So we are seeing things go in a place like analysis of baseline numbers. Because we really don’t know what kind of compounds are going to be in the grapes in a year when there are no fires. We haven’t measured that. So let’s say we see Guaiacol at some level when there’s a fire. Well, we really don’t have the numbers that say there was no fire this year, what is the level it’s naturally at? We just don’t have some of that data.”

Proctor says growers and wineries need to work together to come up with solutions that are both fair and equitable.

“The winner in this should not be who has the thickest contract or the biggest clause on smoke, whether grower or winery. I think we need to try to work together on this. Fires are probably going to happen again. Now, you know, for a while there in 2015, I’m like, Oh no, this is just a one in 20 year event. Sure doesn’t look like that’s the case. So I think we’re going to have to adjust expectations,” said Proctor

Proctor is hopeful that buyers and suppliers will find solutions that will maintain their interdependent working relationships.

2021-05-13T16:09:44-07:00March 8th, 2021|

Hemp in the Produce Department?

Hemp as a Leafy Green


By Tim Hammerich, with The Ag Information Network

You’ve probably heard of a wide variety of uses for hemp, but you may not have heard of this one. Researchers down in Yuma County Arizona are experimenting with hemp as a leafy green, similar to kale or spinach. Robert Masson with the Yuma County Cooperative Extension, says he sees real commercialization potential.

“We planted it just like how we would plant baby leaf spinach. So we had really high planting densities, 3 million seeds per acre. And that makes it grow up and etiolates it so that there’s a lot of tenderness in the leaves,” said Masson. “And, you know, we just wanted a similar comparison to spinach. Because we figured it would be something similar where you’d plant, sprinkler up, we definitely sprinkled it, and then flood irrigated it to complete. We planted it on big beds, 84-inch beds, just like we do baby leaf spinach.”

To be clear though, these are not the same varieties used to produce CBD or THC.

“We are specifically looking at the industrial grain and fiber varieties. So these are used to make rope and to make clothing and also to grow seeds. These are not varieties that produce high levels of cannabinoids. So these are no risks to the grower of going hot for THC,” noted Masson.

Masson says there are regulations in progress that could allow for state-by-state legalization of hemp for this purpose.

2021-02-25T18:02:44-08:00February 25th, 2021|

Dibble’s Law for Spraying–Go Slow

Go Slow for Best Spray Coverage

By Patrick Cavanaugh, with the Ag Information Network

It’s called Dibble’s Law and it’s named after Dr. Jack Dibble, a retired UC Berkeley and UC Kearney Agricultural and Extension Center Research Entomologist.

He has worked primarily in tree crops and a big part of his career was on spray techniques and he is well known for Dibble’s Law, which states the best spray coverage is when the driver goes less than two miles per hour down the row.

“We found out right from the outset and continued to prove this with growers and commercial spray applicator companies that speed of travel is very important,” said Dibble.

“The faster you go, the whippier the spray gets, and the spray that is released must be pushed up into the tree by the spray behind it,” said Dibble.

“If the driver is going too fast, there is no spray pushing the spray you just released. Therefore, you lose control of the spray project because you are not getting coverage in the centers at the top of the tree.”

spray tank mixes“By going two miles per hour or less, the spray released will be pushed up into the tree by the spray behind it. It just pushes it up,” said Dibble.

“It’s hard for a grower to do that because it’s a dirty, wet job,” noted Dibble.

However, returning to the orchard for another spray is even more costly. Of course, lack of good coverage will lead to more pest damage before you get back at it.

Speaking of spraying, growers should assess the diseases present in their orchards and select materials carefully. Not all fungicides are equally effective against all diseases.

2021-05-13T16:17:03-07:00February 24th, 2021|
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