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.

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FFA Jackets Giving Tuesday Campaign

FFA Jackets Needed for Members

By Laurie Greene, Associate Editor

We have Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the newest opportunity, #GivingTuesday—a global day of giving that has grown into a movement uniting people around the world on November 29th, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

There’s a big #GivingTuesday campaign for the California FFA to purchase 100 of those iconic blue FFA jackets for members in need.

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FFA Members explore a diverse range of opportunities in agriculture

Katie Otto, development director of the California FFA Foundation said, “We have approximately 84,000 members in California, and 324 different chapters. Our members say having a jacket makes them feel like they are a part of something,” she said.

“It’s something that they hold on to. It makes them feel unified in what they’re doing. ‘Not to mention, a lot of our students wear jackets to field days,” Otto noted.

“They wear them at their county fair when they show, at chapter meetings and conferences. The list goes on and on in terms of opportunities where they wear their jackets.”

Each $65 raised will purchase a jacket along with an FFA tie for young men and a scarf for young women. 

Black Friday and Cyber Tuesday are all about getting things; #GivingTuesday is set aside for giving. Of course you do not have to wait for #GivingTuesday for the FFA campaign. You can donate anytime, now and even beyond Nov. 29.

How can you donate to the FFA #GivingTuesday campaign? Go to calaged.org/givingtuesday.

Credit cards and Pay Pal accounts are accepted.

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Celebrate Labor Day With California Strawberries!

Add California Strawberries to Your Labor Day Event

 

By Laurie Greene, Editor

 

Many people will be out and about with an extra day off on Labor Day, trying to get that last swallow of summer. They’ll crowd beaches, lakes, parks and backyard BBQs. What better way to celebrate the achievements of American workers than to add fresh-picked California strawberries to the menu?

Carolyn O'Donnell
Carolyn O’Donnell, communications director, California Strawberry Commission

 

“Any holiday can be celebrated with strawberries as they are available year-round,” said Carolyn O’Donnell, communications director of the California Strawberry Commission in Watsonville. “Strawberries are one of the most popular fruits around. They are sweet but low in sugar, and they are quite nutritious. People are often surprised to find out that having just eight medium strawberries gives you more vitamin C than eating an orange,” she said.

 

“Grown year-round, right now strawberries are coming mostly from the Salinas-Watsonville area on the Central Coast and also in the Santa Maria area,” noted O’Donnell. “As we get more into the fall there will be less coming from the northern sections and more from the Ventura County area to the south. Eventually strawberries will come out of Orange County and Northern San Diego County. The crop will roll back up the coast again with the New Year. By next April or May, strawberries will be coming mostly from the Watsonville area again,” O’Donnell explained.

generational_small strawberries

 

O’Donnell said that strawberry growers are very dedicated to growing the best possible product they can for their customers. “Their strawberries are actually often a crop of opportunity. A number of our farmers started as field workers and were able to work their way up to owning a farm because you can produce a lot of fruit and make a good living on a small amount of land.”

 

O’Donnell said supplies should be plentiful in the grocery store. “We probably have more fruit this time of year than usual probably because rain this past winter delayed harvest, which was good news. Now we’re just working our way along. Folks in the Watsonville areas are also beginning to start preparing their other pieces of fallow ground so that they can plant around Thanksgiving and produce next year’s crop,” she said.

 

Photos: Courtesy of California Strawberry Commission

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Thanks to California Ag!

Thanks to California Ag for Thanksgiving!

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Deputy Editor

 

As Americans enjoy Thanksgiving dinner, let us recognize that farmers, especially California farmers, have made our bounty possible.

pumpkin free imageCalifornia is a big turkey producing state, always ranking in the top six nationally.

pumpkin free imageIn 1948, Sophie Cubbison, who was born in San Carlos, California and who graduated from California Polytechnical University in 1912, invented the Mrs. Cubbinson’s melba toast or cornbread stuffing most of us serve. (She even paid her way through college with the money she earned feeding farmworkers. Sourcewww.mrscubbisons.com)

pumpkin free imageWhat would Thanksgiving be without wonderful California wines and Martinelli’s (another great California company) great sparkling apple and grape beverages to celebrate our good fortune?

pumpkin free imageAnd all those amazing side dishes . . . the russet and red potatoes from Kern County; the sweet potatoes from Merced County; the many wonderful squash varieties including zucchini, yellow, acorn squash . . . are all produced by farmers and farmworkers in California.

pumpkin free imageGreen beans, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, cucumbers, radishes, and carrots will grace the tables across America, thanks to California producers in ped and other areas of the state.

Don’t forget gapumpkin free imagerlic, onions and mushrooms are all produced primarily in California!

California farmers produce it all, with the exception of cranberries!

Thanks Wisconsin!

(And New Jersey, Massachusetts, Oregon, Washington, and parts of Canada)

pumpkin free imageYou can thank California egg producers for those tasty hardboiled deviled eggs on Grandma’s favorite serving dish.

pumpkin free imagePlus raisins, a great addition to dressings and other dishes, thanks to the raisin producers in Fresno, Madera and Merced Counties.

pumpkin free imageAnd of course walnuts, almonds and pistachios are big part of our savory stuffing recipes and our snacks.

pumpkin free imageApple cider and apple pie? California, among the top five states, produces a wide variety of apples.

pumpkin free imageWait! What about pumpkin pie? California farmers.

pumpkin free imageAnd the wonderful whipped cream? Thanks to the California dairy industry.

pumpkin free imageDid you know the turkey pop-up timer was invented in California? Yes, indeed. Back in the 1950s, the California Turkey Producers Advisory Board brainstormed to figure out how to prevent over-cooked turkeys, according to Leo Pearlstein, a Los Angeles pubic relations pro in the food industry, who was among the five original board members. One board member—a California turkey producer, as Pearlstein tells it—looked up at the ceiling, noticed the sprinklers and had a Eureka moment! He suddenly realized the ceiling sprinklers were triggered when heat melted a material inside the gizmo. For a complete explanation, see How Pop-Up Turkey Timers Work at home.howstuffworks.com/pop-up-timer1.htm.

From all of us here at California Ag Today,

Thanks to California Ag for serving us a delectable nutritious Thanksgiving!

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A Grateful Word from Karen Ross

The following was written by California Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross…

What’s on the table for the Thanksgiving feast is often a matter of household tradition. In my family, that means turkey with all the fixings! Maybe your traditional Thanksgiving is much the same, but it’s good to know that here in California our bountiful crops and agricultural products make the options pretty inspiring. Whatever is on your family’s table – including flowers – Californians are blessed to live in this beautiful, productive and diverse place, and consumers all over the world are thankful for what our farmers provide.

Protecting the long-term viability of our agricultural systems and the people who make up California’s farm communities is part of our job here at CDFA, and we are so proud to be a part of that effort. It takes a lot of hands to bring a crop to harvest, starting with the ranchers, farmers and farmworkers themselves. It has been heartening in recent years to see so many consumers paying more attention to where their food comes from and who grows it. Our farmers deserve our thanks for the care and attention they devote to our food supply. Let me also express my thanks for all of the other agencies, stakeholders, scientists, educators and representatives who, along with CDFA, play supporting roles in the achievements of our farmers and ranchers.

I feel fortunate to have been given such vital work to do, and such wonderful employees and colleagues to work with. Ranchers, farmers and farmworkers don’t shy away from hard work, and they have entrusted us at CDFA to be a partner in their efforts. Gratitude for what we have in-hand and what we have accomplished together is an essential part of the Thanksgiving spirit, but it is also important to be thankful for the anticipation of worthwhile work that remains.

I wish you and your loved ones a very happy Thanksgiving and a joyous holiday season!

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