Thursday, August 18, 2011

For you Fungiphiles (fungus lovers)

This is a crazy story about rust (plant pathological rust) from Alaska: Orange Goo At Alaskan Village Found to Be Fungal Spores, Not Eggs

Not necessarily related to WNC vegetables and small fruits, but many of you know I am a plant pathologist through and through.

Department of Labor in WNC Investigating Tomato Harvest

The Mountain Xpress has just published an article 'Dept of Labor "Strike Force" Coming to WNC to Investigate Working Conditions on Farms'.

Tomato Contest at The Market Place August 25

Are you a ‘mater maven?

Show off your gorgeous garden goods at the first Homegrown Tomato Contest!

August 25 from 3 until 5 pm @ The Market Place in downtown Asheville.

Bring your tastiest, most exquisite tomato for your chance to win:

Got an ugly tomato? Bring it, too, for the Ugly Tomato Contest! *Note: Up to six judges could be sampling your tomato, so choose one that can be sliced into at least six slices. If bringing cherries or Sun Golds, bring at least six for sampling.

Entries must arrive right at 3 pm to allow time for set up, slicing, and judging. During judging, enjoy tomato appetizers and drinks prepared by Chef William Dissen, mingle with fellow gardeners, and get great gardening advice and resources! The restaurant’s bar will also be open for afternoon cocktails (not included in entry fee.) Winners will be announced near the end of the celebration. After the contest, stay for dinner and exclusive local tomato specials.

Judges: Charlie Jackson, executive director of ASAP; William Dissen, chef/owner of The Market Place; Missy Huger, owner/operator of Jake’s Farm; Del Holston, Asheville CVB Online Relations Manager/Foodtopia; Dr. Dilip Panthee, Assistant Professor, Tomato Breeding, NC State Univ; and a representative from Sow True Seed

$8 entry fee benefits local farmers and ASAP. Contest is limited to the first 30 entrants. To reserve your space, contact The Market Place at (828) 252-4162.

This event is brought to you by The Market Place and ASAP and made possible with donations from Sow True Seed.

Organic Food Production in UK Down

This article may be of interest.

12 August 2011

Organic food production down as farmers blame supermarkets for fading interest

Farmers have started to turn away from producing organic food because of dwindling interest from supermarket chains, figures reveal.

Land set aside for organic cultivation in the UK has fallen by two-thirds since 2007, according to data from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Only 51,000 hectares were in 'conversion' - being prepared to go organic - across the UK last year, less than half the amount the previous year.

Even the higher figure for 2009 was massively down on 2007 which saw a peak of 158,000 hectares being moved across, according to The Guardian.

Demand for organic produce has dropped two years in a row as shoppers go for cheaper products because of the recession and higher food costs.

Figures from the Soil Association earlier this year put sales down 5.9 per cent from £1.84billion to £1.73billion.

This followed a 12 per cent drop in 2009 which brought to an end 16 years consecutive growth.

Declining interest is blamed on the harsh economic climate as families find they can no longer afford to spend so much on groceries.

As much as 10 per cent of the land dedicated to organic production has also gone, with the number of producers falling from 7,896 to 7,567.

However, farmers insist that moving to organic has cut their costs and maintain consumer interest is still strong outside the main supermarkets.

Ian Noble, representing a 12-farm cooperative in Devon, told The Guardian: 'There might be lots of farmers who think they can't afford to go organic because they think the market is restricted but if they looked into it they would find it can be cost effective.'

Adrian Dolby put 7,000 acres into organic cultivation in 2005 and added: 'If we hadn't gone organic, we would have gone out of business.'

New North Carolina Blueberry Blog

Bill Cline from the Plant Pathology Department at NC State University has just launched the NC Blueberry Journal blog.

Mr. Cline is the premier blueberry specialist in the state and has some outstanding resources and knowledge to share with NC growers. The NC Blueberry Journal blog is meant to be a resource for Cooperative Extension agents, growers and blueberry enthusiasts. The blog will have topics related to blueberry production including variety descriptions, disease and insect information and other curiosities.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Fresh Market Vegetable and Tomato Field Day Tomorrow

Tomorrow, Thursday August 4 is the Annual Fresh Market Vegetable and Tomato Field Day at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station in Mills River.

The annual tomato field day at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station in Mills River! This is your opportunity to see new up and coming varieties and learn the latest about disease, insect, and weed control for staked tomato production and vegetables in western North Carolina. As always, the afternoon field day will be followed by a pig pickin' at Lake Julian.

The field day begins at noon and pesticide credits will be offered.

To view the complete program click here.

Tomato field day is sponsored by North Carolina State University, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, NC Agricultural Research Service and NC Cooperative Extension Service, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the North Carolina Tomato Growers Association. For more information, contact Denny Thompson at 828.684.7197 or Jim Walgenbach at 828.684.3562.