Protecting Melons From Silver Leaf Whitefly

Avoid Planting Near Earlier Planted Crops

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

Silver leaf whitefly can be a severe yield-robbing pest in melons, but there are ways to prevent the damage, according to Tom Turini, a UCANR Vegetable Crops Adviser in Fresno County.

“A tactic is going to depend upon planting. If you’re able to put the crop into an area where you’re not next to earlier planted melons or cotton or known sources of whitefly, your likelihood of experiencing damaging whitefly levels is going to be lower,” Turini said. “Growers can’t always do that, but that’s part of the approach when you can. You’ll limit your risk.”

Tom Turini, UCANR Farm Advisor, Fresno County

Turini said the pest could mainly be a problem when you’re putting in those late melon fields when whitefly populations are higher.

“Whiteflies are not good fliers, so when you put those fields in areas where you don’t have sources of whitefly nearby then you will have less pressure for sure,” Turini said.

“Then there are some insecticide programs that you can look at, particularly when you know you’re going to have pressure,” Turini explained. “If you’re coming into high temperatures, and you’ve got late-planted melons, you may want to start with soil-applied insecticides, through the drip. It could be Admire; also Sivanto is a newer material that that has registration and has shown efficacy in desert production areas, which have much higher pressures and more consistent pressures than we do in the San Joaquin Valley.”

2021-05-12T11:01:49-07:00April 23rd, 2019|

It’s Truly a California Thanksgiving

California Growers and Ranchers Provide Nearly Everything On the Table

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

It’s truly a California Thanksgiving, as most of the products come from the growers and ranchers here.

Turkeys come from several areas of the state, and while California is No. 7 in turkey production, they do supply most of the western United States.

And the famous Mrs. Cubbison’s dressing comes from a California gal, Sophie Cubbison, who as born in 1890 in the San Marcos area of San Diego County. A long interesting story made short: In May of 1920, she graduated from California Polytechnical University with a degree in Home Economics. It was 1948 when she used broken pieces of the popular Melba toast and added seasoning to make stuffing. A factory in Commerce, CA, churns it this time of year.

And farmers in California also produce almonds, walnuts, pistachios, raisins, prunes, figs, dates, apricot, and pomegranates right up the food line.

Celery comes from the Oxnard and Ventura area, and the ingredients for the stuffing mix–carrots, lot of lettuce and fresh spinach–in Salinas now that they have all these greens, already washed and bagged in the produce department. The green beans come from California growers as well. c

You’ve got oranges, kiwi fruit, colorful persimmon fruit, table grapes, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries that have been freshly harvested from many areas of the state. You’ve got sweet potatoes from the Merced area. This is the major season for them. You’ve got all kinds and colors of potatoes and tomatoes and parsley, onions and garlic–all crops grown in California

Practically all the fruits and vegetables and nuts are part of America’s Thanksgiving, and nearly all of it comes from California. There is often a wide array of cheeses and that wonderful whip cream that comes from the California dairy industry—number one in the industry.

And don’t forget about the great variety of California wine grapes that are grown by California growers and then crafted into great California wine.

You’ve you have apples and those small round watermelons that are a great snack or dessert item as part of a fruit salad. And we have poultry, and even California lamb if you want to go that way.

And of course Martinelli Sparkling Apple or Grape cider from Watsonville. Local growers provide the tree-ripened fruit to the award-winning company, which is more than 140 years old and still family-owned and run by the founder’s grandson and a great-grandson.

In fact, it was 1890 when the company was award the first place at the California State Fair.

And by the way, you know that pop-up turkey timer that indicates when the turkey has reached the correct internal temperature? It was invented by public relations genius Leo Pearlstein, who handled promotions for the California Turkey Advisory Board for 25 years. Each Thanksgiving, hundreds of consumers would call to ask how long it takes to cook a turkey in the oven. In the 1960s, Pearlstein and a turkey producer from Turlock were sitting in a room trying to figure out the solution. They looked up and noticed the fire sprinklers in the ceiling.

Sprinkler water comes on when it is hot enough to melt a metal alloy. The same concept is used in the pop-up timer. Many turkey brands have the special pop-up timer included with them today.

With the exception of cranberries, it’s really a California Thanksgiving.

And we are grateful to all the California farmers and ranchers for providing so much for all of us this holiday and throughout the year.

2018-11-22T03:35:57-08:00November 22nd, 2018|

Bowles Farming Co. Shares Success Secrets

Google Hangouts Helps Bowles Farming Communicate Throughout 

By Mikenzi Meyers, Associate Editor

When it comes to agriculture, Merced County-based Bowles Farming Company has it figured out. With 160 years of experience, and six generations worth of history, the company has had a major influence on the state. Danny Royer, Vice President of Technology at Bowles, has valuable insight on what makes the company so successful.

Royer is in charge of the technology behind growing various crops including tomatoes, cotton, wheat, watermelon, and other organic commodities. He said that the key to solving issues is by sharing data within the operation.

“Data is what’s going to provide the solution, but we have to create systems that give the people [the data] who have the competencies to solve the problem,” he explained.

One way Bowles Farming Co. is able to achieve this is by using Google Hangouts on the farm, which enables them to communicate with different sectors of the operation single-handedly.

“We’ve got to be a little more transparent and open about sharing our information with people that are coming from the tech sector trying to help us,” Royer said.

2021-05-12T11:05:08-07:00November 5th, 2018|

California Supplies Thanksgiving

California Feeds the Nation on Thanksgiving!

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

California ranks #8 in turkey production in the United States (2016), and we supply most of the western states from our poultry farms located in several areas in the state.

The famous Mrs. Cubbison’s Stuffing or “Dressing” originated from a ç, born in 1890 in the San Marcos area of San Diego County. In short, Cubbison graduated from California Polytechnical University in May 1920 with a degree in Home Economics having paid her way through school with the money she earned feeding the farm workers.

Cubbison created her popular stuffing in 1948 using broken pieces of the popular Melba toast and various seasonings. The factory in Commerce, California churns it out in mass quantities this time of year.

California farmers produce almonds, raisins, walnuts, prunes, figs, dates, apricots, pistachios, and pomegranates, right on up the food line.

These are all celebrated Thanksgiving foods.

Celery from the Oxnard and Ventura area completes the stuffing mix. Nutrient-dense carrots, lettuce and fresh spinach from Salinas now arrive, pre-washed and bagged, in your local produce department. Your Thanksgiving traditional green beans come from California growers.

An ample supply of freshly harvested oranges and kiwi fruit, table grapes, strawberries, and raspberries are shipped from many areas in the state. Seasonal features include sweet potatoes from the Merced, about an hour north of Fresno, plus all kinds and colors of potatoes and tomatoes, parsley, onions, and garlic—all crops are raised in California.

Nearly all the fruits, vegetables and nuts that are part of America’s Thanksgiving are sourced from California.

Don’t forget about the great varieties of wine grapes grown in the No. 1 agricultural state that are deftly crafted into delectable California wines.

Or the thirst-quenching Martinelli sparkling apple or grape cider from Watsonville California, near the Monterey Bay area. Local growers provide the tree-ripened fruit to the award-winning company that is still family-owned after almost 150 years and is managed by the founder’s grandson and great-grandson. Here’s something to discuss at your Thanksgiving meal:  the company won its first Gold Medal at the 1890 California State Fair in  Sacramento.

How about those heirloom and new apple varieties, plus those small round watermelons that we snack on or toss into a dessert fruit salad, topped with California pomegranate arils?

Of course, we raise poultry, and even California lamb, if you want to go that way. Here is a Did-you-know? challenge for your holiday meal:  What are the most recent Presidental Thanksgiving Turkeys from California pardoned by United States presidents? (Answers are below.)

And by the way, you know that food-safety pop-up turkey timer that indicates when the turkey has reached the correct internal temperature? Public relations genius Leo Pearlstein and a turkey producer in Turlock, a small town north of Fresno in Stanislaus County, invented this Thanksgiving fixture.

Back in the 1960s, they were sitting in a room trying to solve the undercooked poultry challenge, when they looked up and noticed ceiling fire sprinklers. The sprinklers sprayed water when the room temperature became hot enough to melt a tiny piece of metal alloy in the mechanism. This innovative team of two applied the same concept to the pop-up timer!

With the exception of cranberries, our national day of giving thanks for a bountiful harvest is really a California Thanksgiving.


Here are some friendly topics for discussion at your Thanksgiving Table:

  • What is the name of the famous Thanksgiving stuffing that originated in California?
  • What beverage company that is still operating won its first Gold Medal at the 1890 California State Fair?
  • How was the pop-up timer invented and by whom?
  • How does high does California rank in U.S. turkey production?
  • What are the most recent Presidental Thanksgiving Turkeys from California pardoned by United States presidents?

In 2010, President Obama pardoned Apple, a 45-pound turkey from Modesto, California-based Foster Farms; and alternate bird Cider. 

In 2015, President Obama pardoned Apple, a 45-pound turkey and an alternate 43-pound bird named Honest, again from Foster Farms.

The Presidential Turkey flock are Nicholas White turkeys, which originated in California’s Sonoma Valley in 1957. Today, the Nicholas White is the industry standard. (Foster Farms)

2021-05-12T11:17:10-07:00November 20th, 2017|

California Proudly Provides Most of Thanksgiving Feast to America

Enjoy Your Thanksgiving Feast

From California’s Farms to Your Table

 

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

 

Turkeys come from several areas of the state, and while California is ranked No. 7 in turkey production, we do supply most of the western United States.

The famous Mrs. Cubbison’s dressing comes from Sophie Cubbison, a California entrepreneur who was born in 1890 in the San Marcos area of San Diego County. A longer fascinating story made short: In May 1920, she graduated from California Polytechnical University with a degree in Home Economics. In 1948, she added seasoning to broken pieces of the popular Melba toast to make stuffing. A factory in Commerce, California churns it out this time of year.

Farmers and farmworkers in California produce almonds, raisins, walnuts, prunes, pistachios, figs and dates, apricots, pumpkins, pecans and pomegranates. . . right on up the food line.

These are all part of the American Thanksgiving feast.

Celery from the Oxnard and Ventura area, and the rest of the ingredients for the stuffing mix, plus carrots, lots of crisp lettuce and fresh spinach from Salinas — all these greens waiting for you, already washed and bagged in the produce department. The green beans in your casserole come from California growers.

You’ve got oranges and kiwi fruit, table grapes, strawberries, raspberries freshly harvested from the Salinas and the San Joaquin Valleys. You’ve got sweet potatoes from Merced County — this is their pinnacle season. You’ve got all kinds, colors and sizes of potatoes and tomatoes, plus parsley, onions and garlic. . .  all grown in California.

Practically all the fruits, vegetables and nuts make America’s Thanksgiving celebrations festive, and nearly all of them come from California.

And don’t forget about the great variety of California winegrapes cultivated by California growers and then crafted with great care into great California vintage.

Wait! We grow firm, juicy apples and those small round watermelons that are a great snack or accent to a flavorful dessert fruit salad. And besides poultry, we even have California lamb, beef, rice or pasta—if you want to go that way.

Of course, you’ve got Martinelli’s sparkling apple or grape cider from Watsonville, near the Monterey Bay area. Local growers provide the tree-ripened fruit to the award-winning company, which is still family-owned and is run by the founder’s grandson and great-grandson.

At more than 140 years old, Martinelli’s is merely one century younger than our nation. In fact, the company received a first place award at the California State Fair in 1890.

By the way, do you know that little pop-up turkey timer that indicates when the turkey has reached the correct internal temperature? Food public relations genius Leo Pearlstein¹, along with a turkey producer from Turlock, invented that gizmo. Pearlstein, who handled the promotions for the California Turkey Advisory Board, was contemplating the enduring Thanksgiving conundrum—how long to cook the turkey and how to figure out when it is done?

Pearlstein said he and the turkey rancher were sitting in Pearlstein’s test kitchen mulling over ways consumers could determine when the turkey was done. They noticed the fire sprinkler system overhead. When the kitchen gets too hot, the fire sprinkler turns on. A metal alloy in the sprinkler is activated or melted when subjected to the high temperature of a fire in the room (185 degrees Fahrenheit). They applied that concept to the pop-up timer.

Officially, the National Turkey Federation advises consumers also use a conventional meat thermometer to verify that the cooked turkey’s internal temperature reaches:

165 degrees F to 170 degrees F in the breast or
175 degrees F to 180 degrees F in the thigh and
165 degrees F in the center of the stuffing
.

Except for cranberries, it is really a California Thanksgiving.


¹Leo Pearlstein is founder and president of Lee & Associates, Inc., a full-service public relations and advertising firm, which he opened in 1950. According to the company website, he currently runs the company with his partners, two of his sons, Howard and Frank Pearlstein. He is also founder and director of Western Research Kitchens, the food and beverage division of his agencyHe is considered a pioneer food consultant and his agency was recently named as one of the top agencies in the country that specializes in food and beverage clients.

For more food safety guidelines, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) provides this portal.

2021-05-12T11:17:11-07:00November 23rd, 2016|

Happy Pumpkin Day!

Celebrate Pumpkin Artistry!

By Laurie Greene, Editor

Russ Leno, master sculptor of sand, snow, ice, wood, watermelon, and his favorite—pumpkins, appreciates the the challenge of creating carvings from hundred-pound fleshy orange masses.  “This giant cultivar of a squash plant is a good material to carve in, Leno explained. “It gives you fast results, in under a five-hour time period. I like to entertain in front of crowds, and it just gives you something that people can see.”

A new species, "Pumpkin Fish."

New species, “Pumpkin Fish.”

“Everybody likes pumpkin carving. Everybody likes a jack-o-lantern. It’s just something that everybody enjoys, from the ages of 2 to 92, or even older. It’s still one of the last things I think we do. If you don’t do any art at all, you might still carve a pumpkin at this time of year. I just like the medium, and I just like doing it. It’s just fun. It’s a lot of fun.”

A recent performer at the Big Fresno Fair, Leno’s inspiration comes from within, as well as from looking at different artist sculptures, paintings, or drawings, or different elements in nature. “I might take a culmination of two or three different things and put my own spin on them. I might like something I see, but discover a better way to put a spin on it for a pumpkin. A lot of times, a pumpkin is only going to give you what it is going to give you because it’s only so thick and it’s hollow on the inside. You’ve got to be careful.”

Pumpkin Carvings by Russ Leno

Pumpkin Carvings by Russ Leno

“Everybody seems to think that they just pulled it out of a hat, and that’s just not true. After doing this for a number of years, I realized all the great sculptors from way back when didn’t just get a hammer and chisel and start pounding rock. They did a lot of planning and drawings up front.”

Leno initiates his ginger-hued creations from drawings and photos of posed people and things. “As you learn more about sculpting, to do something good, it is a planned event.”

He acknowledged you can carve certain things in certain pumpkins that you just can’t in other ones. “I might start out saying I’m going to carve this, but find the pumpkin is not thick enough or deep enough. The sculpture becomes something totally other than what I started out with, but that’s okay. They all come out nice at the end, and it’s fun.”

Leno, who has seen a range of pumpkins, which are native to North America, from different regions in the country with variations in size, shape, color and texture, but he prefers Prizewinner Pumpkins and small Atlantic Giant Pumpkins from the central California coastline. “These 100-pounders or 150-pounders are really good carvers because of the thickness -to-size ratio is very well proportioned so that you can get a fairly deep cut along with a proportionate-sized piece. They’re just great carving pumpkins.”

Big Fresno Fair Pumpkins

Big Fresno Fair Pumpkins

“I carve large pumpkins, and the people who grow the large pumpkins and I share a great love for the pumpkin itself and what it takes to grow them to their large sizes and their capability of being sculpted. You just don’t find these giant pumpkins just any old place. They require a little better soil conditions and fertilizers and specific pH balance in the soil to get these up at these sizes.”

“Pumpkin carving, which began as an all-American craft, has gained international popularity because of the internet and cultivation of pumpkins in other countries. A lot of countries now celebrate Halloween like we do, and people across the globe are now carving pumpkins and having a good time with them.”

“The internet has also created a way for sculptors to share their different carvings with like-minded people around the world.”

2016-10-26T14:30:05-07:00October 26th, 2016|

California Growers Confront Labor Issues

Labor Issues—Costs and Farmworker Shortages—Challenge Growers

By Brian German, Associate Broadcaster

 

This year, farmers grappled with labor issues such as shortages and increased labor costs. Some growers had more than enough workers available, while others experienced difficulty in meeting their labor needs. Dave Phippen, co-owner of Travaille & Phippen Inc., a vertically integrated company that grows, packs and ships their own almonds, described some of their struggles with labor this year. “We employ a little more than 50 people year-round, but for harvest we ramp up an extra 15-20 people. There was a squeeze on the availability of the labor and a challenge with what we thought was an acceptable rate of pay,” said Phippen.

almond assessment increaseAs minimum wage increases incrementally every year, growers will struggle to keep up with the higher wages. “There was a new reality in the typical forklift driver, people working in receiving, people sampling,” Phippen elaborated. “We’re paying a little bit more for all of those tasks this year, and because there were more employment [opportunities], it was harder to find people who were available and willing to work.” Phippen also noted that employees “were requiring a greater compensation rate than last year for the same job.”

Travaille & Phippen’s operation has had to reevaluate employee compensation. Phippen explained the principle that as minimum wage increases, compensation rates compress, such that a person who was earning $15 used to be $5 above minimum wage, but is now is only $4 above minimum wage,” Phippen said.

The current federal minimum wage, established in 2009, is $7.25 per hour, up from $5.85 just two years prior. Of the top 10 agricultural producing states in the country, only 4 have minimum wage rates higher than the federal level. California and Massachusetts have the highest minimum wage levels of any other states.

Travaille & Phippen was already compensating a great deal of their labor force above minimum wage; however, to stay competitive and retain their workers, they increased their compensation rates, which caused a ripple effect throughout the supply chain. As their labor costs increased, they had to charge growers more for processing. “It had a big impact on them,” said Phippen, “particularly because those growers are receiving less revenue for their crop this year than they did last year. It was quite a squeeze for our growers and we were caught in the middle of that squeeze,” Phippen explained.

almond-tree-shaking-harvestingLabor issues have also been a significant concern for Mark Van Klaveren, a diversified farmer in Madera who grows almonds, watermelons and Thompson seedless grapes. Van Klaveren noted that timing plays a big role in their labor situation. “Since we tend to pick our Thompson seedless late, when there is a lot of sugar, we were able to get plenty of labor because most of the other vineyards were finished. Their farmworkers were looking for someplace to work.”

Van Klaveren reported that labor proved more challenging for their other crops. “I have a steady crew for watermelons, although with the new laws coming into effect, we are going to have to make some changes and mechanize a lot more of that harvest,” Van Klaveren noted.

Labor costs will become further complicated in the years ahead as overtime limitations established in AB 1066 phase in, beginning in 2019, with all agricultural operations expected to be in compliance by 2025. The combination of increased wages and the limitation of hours will change the way many farms operate. Some growers will increase mechanization. Others growers of labor-intensive crops may replace their crops with commodities that require fewer hours to harvest.

Van Klavern noted, “The only options we have are to mechanize or get out—one of the two. We can’t afford to produce at the same prices we’re getting right now with much higher labor costs. Some machinery out there can do what we need to do and we will look real hard to get some of that in our operation,” said Van Klavern.

An economic analysis conducted by the Highland Economics firm, shows AB 1066 having significant consequences for California agriculture. The study found the policy would reduce farm production as well as farmworker income, and the new time constraints on farmworkers would negatively impact California’s overall economy.

Van Klaveren is skeptical the new legislation will create any positive outcomes. “Workers want to put in the hours. They want to work. If we’ve got to pay them higher wages to start with, and then overtime on top of that after eight hours? There are certain jobs that won’t sustain the higher wages,” Van Klavern said.

In addition to increased costs for employers, increased minimum wage negatively affects workers who are trying to get their foot in the door of a farming operation. When the government raises the entry-level wage so high that people really have to produce a lot per hour, Van Klavern clarified, inexperienced applicants will suffer. “If you cannot produce a volume of work that is worth $15 an hour or more, you cannot work because nobody is going to hire you to lose money,” noted Van Klaveren.

Collectively, farmers are looking at overall labor cost increases between 5 and 15% over the next few years, depending on the crop. Van Klavern expressed a widely-held view that continued government intervention, particularly in the area of wages, is making farming in California unnecessarily difficult. “The whole issue of employment is a private agreement between an employee and employer, as in, ‘I will work for you for so much an hour and try to produce to your expectations.’ In other words, if somebody is willing to work for $8 an hour, why not let them work for $8 an hour? If it is fine with them and fine with the employer, then why not?” said Van Klavern.

The costs of labor and limitations on farmworker hours, combined with the costs of water and increasing environmental regulations, may prove insurmountable for California agriculture. “The economics is all simple, but the government steps in and complicates everything. I guess that leaves it to us to have to figure out how to swerve between all the regulations and stay in business,” noted Van Klavern.

2016-10-07T10:51:51-07:00October 7th, 2016|

CULTIVATING COMMON GROUND: Almond Growers on Assessment Increase

Almond Growers Want Justification and Vote on Almond Board’s Assessment Increase

 

Editor’s note: We thank John Harris for his contribution to California Ag Today’s CULTIVATING COMMON GROUND. The Almond Board’s Response can be read at Almond Board’s Response on Assessment Increase.

By John Harris, owner, Harris Ranch

 

Marketing orders give agriculture a great tool to collect fees from producers to promote products and/or conduct research projects.  The concept is great, and increasing demand is always good. To be successful, the plan needs to be affordable and explained so it is understood and backed by a big majority of the producers.  I am concerned the Almond Board’s recent assessment increase from 3 to 4 cents a pound—in the absence of an almond producer vote—is unwise.

Harris Farms Fresh LogoAt the current rate of 3 cents per pound, money raised will increase as production increases, which seem fairly certain.  Plus, the fund receives significant help from a government program to encourage exports.  A year or so ago, almond growers were doing really well, when many sales were exceeded $4 a pound.  But last fall prices dropped significantly, in some cases to the $2 range. This loss in revenue made it tougher for almond growers to break even. A grower producing 2,500 pounds per acre is now paying $75 per acre in assessments; under the new plan it would increase to $100 per acre.

To get feedback from growers, the USDA published a request for comments. The comment period opened on July 18 and closed on August 2. But the industry was not notified until July 27. I commented at the time that I was not in favor of the assessment without full knowledge of the purpose of the extra money. I am certain many growers have an opinion on this, but only five comments were submitted. I think most growers did not realize both the assessment increase was under discussion and a producer vote would not be forthcoming.

The time frame for comments was alarmingly short; however, the USDA has decided to reopen the comment period for 10 days.  The reopening of the comment period is expected to be announced within the next two weeks and will be communicated immediately to the industry once it is published in the Federal Register.

I urge all producers to take a good look at the proposal and voice your opinions.

This link will take you to the almond assessment comment page: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=AMS-SC-16-0045.

There should be more of a democratic process. I think this proposed assessment increase needs to go to a vote among the growers affected by it and should require strong approval by at least 51 percent of the growers representing 60 percent of the production. We don’t want to micromanage the Board’s process, but large changes like this assessment increase should demand some form of referendum.

I also think everyone would like to know how the millions of extra dollars collected would be used.

And, of course I think the industry deserves more awareness of this proposed increase in assessment. I do not hear people talking about it; many growers may not even learn about the extra assessment until they get their check from their handler next year. I think all almond growers need to know this is happening now and not be surprised next year.

If I asked my boss for a 33% raise, I believe the onus would be on me to sell the idea and win support, rather than just push it through providing little information to the guy who would be paying me.

If the Almond Board is increasing their budget by 33%, shouldn’t the burden be placed on the Board to win the support of growers?  I would think they would communicate a clear plan on how to spend the enormous increase—a strong and strategic plan—they would be eager and proud to share with growers and handlers.

To increase any tax/assessment, the logical thought process should be, “No, unless proven to be needed, supported, and affordable,” instead of defaulting to, “Increase the tax unless we get stopped.”


The Almond Board’s Response can be read at Almond Board’s Response on Assessment Increase.


Harris Ranch and Allied Companies


The Harris Family’s commitment to agriculture spans over 100 years, four generations, and four states, from Mississippi, to Texas, to Arizona, and eventually into California.

J. A. Harris and his wife, Kate, arrived in California’s Imperial Valley in 1916 to start one of California’s first cotton gins and cotton seed oil mills. They later moved to the San Joaquin Valley and began farming there.

In 1937, their only son, Jack, and his wife Teresa, began what is now known as Harris Ranch, starting with a previously unfarmed 320 acres of desert land on the Valley’s Western edge. With vision and determination, Harris Ranch has grown into the most integrated, diversified, and one of the largest agribusinesses in the United States.

Beginning with cotton and grain, Harris Ranch now produces over thirty-three crops annually, including lettuce, tomatoes, garlic, onions, melons, oranges, lemons, almonds, pistachios, walnuts and winegrapes, all backed by their commitment to superior quality and satisfaction. Harris Farms thoroughbreds are raised and trained to compete internationally. Harris Feeding Company, California’s largest cattle raising operation, and Harris Ranch Beef Company produce and market a premium line of packaged and fully-cooked beef products, including Harris Ranch Restaurant Reserve™ beef. All Harris products are served and sold at the internationally acclaimed Harris Ranch Restaurant and Inn.


The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the various participants on CaliforniaAgToday.com do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, viewpoints or official policies of the California Ag Today, Inc.


 

2016-08-10T16:46:47-07:00August 10th, 2016|

Celebrate National Ice Cream Month!

Celebrate National Ice Cream Month with California Ice Cream and Flavors!

By Lauren Dutra, NAFB Summer Intern and Assistant Editor

Jennifer Giambroni, director of communications, California Milk Advisory Board

Jennifer Giambroni, director of communications, California Milk Advisory Board

First established in 1984 by Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States, National Ice Cream Month was scheduled for the month of July, with the third Sunday of the month designated as National Ice Cream Day.

Jennifer Giambroni, director of communications, California Milk Advisory Board, explained why Californians, in particular, have so much to celebrate during National Ice Cream Month. “As the number one ice cream state,” she said, “we produce 126 million gallons of ice cream a year.”

Thats a lot of scoops!

California also leads the nation in milk production, and 99 percent of dairies in the state are family-owned. Including milk production on farms and milk processing, the California dairy industry, supports about 190,000 jobs in the California economy and contributed about $21 billion in economic value added in 2014, according to “Contributions of the California Dairy Industry to the California Economy,” by the University of California Agricultural Issues Center (May 14, 2015). 

Blueberry Ice Cream Float

Blueberry Ice Cream Float (Source: California Milk Advisory Board, Kristina Vanni Blogger, 2012)

Ice cream, being both timeless and innovative, has evolved in flavors and varieties over the years, according to Giambroni, while still holding true to the traditional treat you grew up with as a kid. “Ice cream is an important category that represents a lot of the milk produced on California’s more than 1,400 family dairy farms and carry the Real California Milk seal,” she noted.

“We’re seeing adult-friendly milkshakes with the addition of spirits, ice cream sandwiches made with more than cookies, and sundaes with everything from balsamic vinegar reductions to red bean paste,” Giambroni elaborated. Other new ice cream trends include hyper-indulgent flavor combinations, including nuts and fruits grown in California, and “better for you” versions with probiotics, varying levels of fat and sugar, added calcium, lactose-free, and different kinds of oils. “We’re loving the olive oil and walnut oil ice creams for their subtle flavors,” Giambroni noted.


Approximately 12 pounds of Real California Milk are used to make just one gallon of California ice cream.


Watermelon Chill Ice Cream (California Milk Advisory Board)

Watermelon Chill Ice Cream (California Milk Advisory Board)

The California Milk Advisory Board works with bloggers on how to incorporate ice cream into events for children of all ages:

TomKat Studio – DIY Ice cream Sandwich Bar

Hostess with the Mostess – Healthy Milkshake Bar

Hostess with the Mostess – How to Set Up a Cocktail Milkshake Bar

Hostess with the Mostess – Kids Sundae Party


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Ice Cream Sandwich (California Milk Advisory Board)

Ice Cream Sandwich (California Milk Advisory Board)

Rick’s Ice CreamBlue Moon-A fruit loops tasting ice cream with super-secret natural ingredients

McConnell’s Boysenberry Rosé Milk JamCentral Coast, grass-fed milk & cream and cane sugar, slowly-simmered to a thick, rich and decadent milk jam – then churned into house-made, boysenberry & rosé wine preserves. 

Breyer’s Strawberry Ice Cream-packed with sun-ripened California strawberries picked at the peak of happiness!

Gilroy Garlic Festival Garlic Ice Cream-July 29-31, 2016

The Orange Works‘ Orange Ice Cream and Chili Mango Ice Cream

Where Is the Best Ice Cream in California? (PBS, 2014)

2016-07-23T17:33:15-07:00July 22nd, 2016|

Average Almond Crop for Van Groningen

Van Groningen: Almond Crop Looks Average; Misleading Math on Watermelon Water Use

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Assistant Editor, California Ag Today

Van Groningen & Sons, Inc. farming has been operating in California since 1922. Field Manager Bryan Van Groningen updated California Ag Today, “The almond crop looks pretty average, ‘nothing that looks well over norm. It just depends on which field site you enter in; some of the younger blocks look a little better than the older blocks. So, right now the crop looks pretty old, but it is all across the board.”

Bryan Van Groningen

Bryan Van Groningen

Yosemite-Fresh-WatermelonBased in Manteca, Von Groningen & Sons has a diversified operation growing melons, sweet corn, pumpkins, squash, almonds and walnuts, and livestock feed. Noting recent negative press on almond water usage, Bryan said, “Almonds obviously have gotten a lot of bad press lately, as has ag in general. In looking at some of the water usage figures, I tend not to agree with them. I think a lot of the water usage figures are outdated and incorrect.” He explained, “For example, we grow watermelons, and one of the articles that I read reported that 160 gallons of water was needed to produce a single watermelon. On our farm, it is closer to 35-40 gallons.”

As the state continues to deal with water restrictions, Van Groningen says a lot of fingers are unfairly pointing at the agriculture industry. “I think there is a lot of misinformation being spread around and used to throw agriculture under the bus,” he stated, “making us look like we are the bad guys, when we are actually producing the nutritious food that consumers in our state and the nation eat and enjoy. The agricultural industry has made so many advances in water efficiency that we should actually be labelled as ‘water conservationists’, and not ‘water wasters’.”

Van Groningen says he sees firsthand, every day, exactly how much water is used per crop, because he actively manages the farm’s water. “I sat down and ran the numbers 3, 4, 5 times — just to make sure that I did the math correctly. So, some of this usage is being misrepresented and therefore does not shed a good light on what ag is actually doing.”

2016-05-31T19:28:12-07:00July 3rd, 2015|
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