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Celebrate the Red, White, Blue and Orange

Keep the lemonade flowing this Fourth of July!   The stars and stripes and fireworks would not be the same without citrus–iced tea with lemon, key lime pie, lemon chiffon cake, fish with lemon, orange sorbet, lemon-garlic chicken and avocado lime salsa.  And, as the temperatures rise, kids across American set up makeshift lemonade stands as a favorite way to earn a little spending money. Take time to stop and enjoy a glass.

Make this Fourth of July a celebration of citrus’ role in this holiday’s food and culture. My hope is to raise awareness of the serious threat that diseases like citrus greening pose to U.S. citrus so Americans can protect the refreshing flavors of summer. Read more »

Top Reasons to Shop at a Farmers Market

Farmers Markets offer in season, local produce to communities nationwide.

Farmers Markets offer in season, local produce to communities nationwide.

Why shop at a Farmers Market?

Access to fresh, locally grown foods, for starters. That may be one of the best reasons, but there are many more. Farmers markets have fruits and vegetables at the peak of the growing season. This means produce is at its freshest and tastes the best. The food is typically grown near where you live, not thousands of miles away or another country. Shopping at farmers markets also supports your local farmers and keeps the money you spend on food closer to your neighborhood.

Nutrition.gov recently filmed a video to promote the benefits of shopping at farmers markets, featuring a registered dietitian as she talks with farmers and customers at the market.  And here’s a sneak peek at our Top 10 Reasons to Shop at Farmers Markets with links to resources to help you find local markets and get the most out of your market experience: Read more »

Bringing a Glimpse of Argentina to the States

Festival Argentino organizer Daniel Manzoni. For 25 years, Daniel has brought this cultural event to the Washington, D.C., area.

Here at USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), we believe it is important to have a great work-life balance.  All of our employees do a tremendous job supporting the agriculture industry and everyone it touches.  However, it is just as important that everyone enjoys their time outside of the office.  As their administrator, it is fascinating to hear some of the great things our employees do in their spare time.  One of those examples I would like to share with you is the extracurricular work of our own Dairy Programs employee, Daniel Manzoni. Read more »

USDA, EPA Sign 5 Year Commitment with 1890 Universities

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack speaks during the 2012 Historically Black Colleges and Universities 1890 Land-Grant University Memorandum of Understanding Signing Ceremony on Friday, June 29, 2012, in the White House’s Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Washington, DC. It has been150 years since the first Morrill Act of 1862, which was signed by President Abraham Lincoln. The action established land-grant universities in every state and territory. The second Morrill Act of 1890 provided funding to designate separate institutions of higher learning for blacks in those states that did not open the doors of their universities to black students.   USDA photo by Lance Cheung.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack speaks during the 2012 Historically Black Colleges and Universities 1890 Land-Grant University Memorandum of Understanding Signing Ceremony on Friday, June 29, 2012, in the White House’s Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Washington, DC. It has been150 years since the first Morrill Act of 1862, which was signed by President Abraham Lincoln. The action established land-grant universities in every state and territory. The second Morrill Act of 1890 provided funding to designate separate institutions of higher learning for blacks in those states that did not open the doors of their universities to black students. USDA photo by Lance Cheung.

One hundred fifty years ago – just two months after the creation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture – President Lincoln signed the Morrill Act, a historic measure that created the land-grant university system. Twenty-eight years later, Congress enacted a second Morrill Act to establish African American land-grant universities.

Commonly referred to as 1890 Universities, these schools have remained the custodians of access to and opportunity for higher education in underserved communities, as well as leaders in agricultural, environmental and public health studies.

Understanding the special role 1890 Universities play in preparing the next generation of American leaders, on Friday, June 29, we signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between USDA, EPA and the Council of 1890 Universities, an organization comprised of presidents and chancellors of historically black colleges and universities (HBCU), to help build upon their rich history. Read more »

FAS Names Western U.S. Companies Mexico Exporters of the Year

“Ana Luisa Suarez, Daniel Berman and Mauricio Lamadrid, marketing representatives for the Wagner Family of Wine company, attend a California Wine Institute Grand Tasting event in February 2012. The California winery’s Mexico operation, Vinos Wagner, was recently named a 2011 Mexico Exporter of the Year. The company overcame international trade barriers and market competition to successfully export their wine throughout Mexico. Their success is just one example of the surge in popularity for the American brand of agriculture.”

Exporting U.S. agricultural commodities to foreign markets is not always a seamless process, and sometimes uncertainty is the rule. However, two companies recently received honors for their ability to overcome international trade barriers with USDA assistance and successfully export their products throughout Mexico. Read more »

Four Food Safety Tips for the Fourth! How to Protect Your Family from a Surprising July 4th Danger

This infographic featuring food safety tips from the Founding Fathers was created as part of the Food Safe Families consumer food safety education campaign.

Across the country, the Fourth of July celebration always centers on close friends and family and great food, usually from a barbeque.  My family and I will be enjoying sun, sand, and a cookout at the beach this year. As parents, my husband and I take great care near the ocean — carefully explaining the risks to our children and watching to make sure that their fun doesn’t end in injury. Read more »