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The USDA Food Safety Discovery Zone Takes on the Fighting Irish

The USDA Food Safety Discovery Zone travels to Notre Dame, Indiana, September 3-4, 2010, to meet the “Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.”

The University of Notre Dame is one of the largest, most historical, and most recognized names in college football. The team plays its home games on the University of Notre Dame’s campus at Notre Dame Stadium. The stadium has a capacity of 80,795 fans. What an outreach opportunity for the Discovery Zone! Read more »

U.S. Florida Grapefruit Won’t Get Squeezed by the OECD Scheme

A Florida grapefruit by any other name would surely taste as sweet. Recently, agencies across the U.S. Government worked with representatives of the Florida grapefruit industry to protect the grapefruit industry while underscoring the value of U.S. engagement in international organizations. A proposed entry of an Inspection Manual by the European-based Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development Scheme on Agricultural Quality (OECD Scheme) initially threatened specific U.S. grapefruit exports to the European Union (EU), which buys one of every two exported grapefruits in the world. Read more »

The People’s Garden First Honey Harvest: Part 2

This story has three parts. Read Part 1 here. Stay tuned for Part 3 later.

The hive is basically a stack of wooden boxes. Within each box a series of frames rest vertically. Each frame is about an inch thick and has built-in cells. The cells are where the bees place the nectar they’ve taken from flowers while foraging. As the water evaporates from the nectar, it becomes thicker, turning into honey. When the bees cap the full cells with wax, the frames are ready for us to harvest. (The bees flying in and out of the rooftop hive use an entrance in the side of the bottom-most box, so we’re able to remove frames from the top without stopping the work of the hive.)

Read more »

H-E-B’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food

Cross-posted from the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Blog

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting Hugh Topper, Group Vice President of Fresh at H-E-B, a regional supermarket based in San Antonio.  As a Texan, Hugh is proud of his state and, even more so, his state’s farmers and ranchers.  The fact that H-E-B’s purchasing motto is “HEB buys Texas First” and that they have instituted their very own “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” campaign is a testament to this pride. Read more »

The People’s Garden First Honey Harvest: Part 1

This story has three parts. Please look for the next two parts over the next two days.

July 15 was one of the most exciting days I’ve experienced in my short time as co-beekeeper for the USDA People’s Garden. It was hot, humid, and hazy that morning, when I—together with seven partners and volunteers—went up to the roof of the USDA headquarters building, just off the National Mall, to harvest the first batch of honey ever produced by the USDA People’s Garden beehive. Read more »

Continued Recovery for America’s Agricultural Economy

Cross-posted from the White House Blog

Yesterday I was pleased to receive the encouraging news from two USDA reports that illustrate the strength of the recovery in our agricultural economy. The 2010 Farm Income Forecast and Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade show a positive picture for 2010, and predict sustained growth for the future.  Read more »