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Spooky, Crafty, and Just Plain Creative We Asked and you Delivered… Pumpkins, That Is

Photo coutesy of Greg Horner, @DeepRunFarms

Photo coutesy of Greg Horner, @DeepRunFarms

Every year, American farmers work to ensure that everyone can have a pumpkin in their home to carve, eat, or decorate their tables. This year we asked you to show us how YOU used a pumpkin this season, and we were overwhelmed with the response! We just wanted to take the time to thank you for letting us in on your artistic, and in some cases culinary talents, and to share a few of our favorites. Read more »

The Science of Autumn Colors

Fothergilla leaves make the transition from green to red in the National Herb Garden at the U.S. National Arboretum. (Photo credit U.S. National Arboretum)

Fothergilla leaves make the transition from green to red in the National Herb Garden at the U.S. National Arboretum. (Photo credit U.S. National Arboretum)

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

Like a lot of people, I remember being taught when I was young that the brilliant autumn foliage of deciduous trees was caused by the cold temperatures of autumn frosts.  I believed this until I became a horticulturist, studying the intricate system that plants use to prepare for winter’s harsh weather.  Where I work, at the U.S. National Arboretum, we grow about 10,000 different kinds of trees and shrubs and have an overwhelming variety of fall color right now. Read more »

A Rainy Day Becomes Perfect Backdrop for A Visit to A New Jersey School’s Garden

U. S. Representative Rush Holt (left) and USDA Food and Nutrition Service Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Pat Dombroski mingle with proud children showing off their school garden before tasting an eatable flower grown just a few feet away.

U. S. Representative Rush Holt (left) and USDA Food and Nutrition Service Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Pat Dombroski mingle with proud children showing off their school garden before tasting an eatable flower grown just a few feet away.

How does one turn a cold, miserable rainy day in late October into one as bright and warm as a sunny day in June?  Just visit a local elementary school where students and teachers and community volunteers are all so excited about the bountiful garden out back behind the school.  A magical place where young minds learn about growing healthy foods, about earthworms and soil, about cover crops and harvesting, about composting and frost dates, and about how tasty that strange looking vegetable with the funny name is . . . the one they started to grow from seedlings last school year. Read more »

USDA Hosts Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business Event

USDA’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization recently announced that in honor of Veteran’s Day, Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses will have an opportunity to meet and participate in networking sessions with USDA program and acquisition specialists on the Patio, Jamie L. Whitten Federal Building on November 8, 2011, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.   There will also be an opportunity to meet one-on-one with USDA contracting agency representatives to describe their agency’s program objectives, direction and acquisitions.

Annually, USDA purchases more than $5 billion dollars in goods and services essential to meeting the needs of our customers and the various missions of the agency.  Approximately 60 percent of these dollars are spent on food commodities. Read more »

U.S. Fresh Fruit a Hit with Chinese Consumers

In August, 1,900 boxes of U.S. cherries from Northwest Cherries were sold in less than 30 minutes after they were featured on the popular Chinese television shopping channel OCJ. This impressive sales feat was made possible because of a partnership between USDA’s Agricultural Trade Office in Shanghai, China and Chinese produce retailer FruitDay.com, which has had enormous success selling U.S. fruit on television and online. (Photos courtesy of the Agricultural Trade Office Shanghai Staff)

In August, 1,900 boxes of U.S. cherries from Northwest Cherries were sold in less than 30 minutes after they were featured on the popular Chinese television shopping channel OCJ. This impressive sales feat was made possible because of a partnership between USDA’s Agricultural Trade Office in Shanghai, China and Chinese produce retailer FruitDay.com, which has had enormous success selling U.S. fruit on television and online. (Photos courtesy of the Agricultural Trade Office Shanghai Staff)

For the past two years, our Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) in Shanghai, China has built a partnership with FruitDay.com, an online produce company that has thrived by harnessing the impressive power of internet and TV retailing to reach Chinese consumers. Read more »

Baseball, Apple Pie… and USDA

USDA is as American as baseball and apple pie. Almost anything and everything about U.S. food – and in some respects, baseball – is somehow connected to USDA. Curious? Read on to see how USDA ties in to the 2011 World Series.

USDA is as American as baseball and apple pie. Almost anything and everything about U.S. food – and in some respects, baseball – is somehow connected to USDA. Curious? Read on to see how USDA ties in to the 2011 World Series.

“The Ryan Express” Delivers the Goods

Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan pitched 27 years in the big leagues, tossing a league record seven no-hitters.

In that span Ryan was comfortably pumping 100 mile-per-hour fastballs past hitters until he was 40 years old, registering 95 mph on the radar gun until retirement. Nicknamed “The Ryan Express” for his baseball exploits, he went on to become a successful business owner. Read more »