Food & Farm News
March 12, 2014
Governor discusses farm issues
Governor Jerry Brown fielded questions about budget priorities and other topics during an appearance at a California Farm Bureau conference in Sacramento Tuesday. Farm Bureau members urged the governor to restore funding for a state farmland conservation program and for agricultural education grants. The conference also included presentations from state water and energy regulators.
Nurseries use robots to improve efficiency
Robots are performing certain repetitive tasks for at least one California plant nursery. A Massachusetts firm developed the robots to move pots in nurseries and greenhouses. Developers say the technology could address the issue of a dwindling labor force, while meeting demands for higher-quality products at less cost. The head of the robotics firm estimates 40 percent of manual agricultural work could eventually be done by robots.
Research explores ideal flavors in avocados
Key avocado compounds that contribute to ideal flavor are being identified in a series of studies conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.C. Riverside. Hass avocados have at least 25 aroma compounds that contribute to flavor. The study will look into the kinds and concentrations of those compounds. Preliminary findings showed that taste testers liked avocados more as certain compounds decreased in maturing fruit.
Fruit and vegetable consumption rises at school
Students are consuming more fruits and vegetables at school since the launch of new federal standards in 2012, according to a report. The standards require schools to increase availability of whole grains, fruits and vegetables in school meals. Though students are eating more of those foods, the study by the Harvard School of Public Health recommends schools focus on improving the quality and palatability of the food, in order to address high levels of waste that remain a problem.