Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ethan's Farm and Food Roundup

EthanThey say when in doubt; take a walk in a farmer’s shoes (or something like that). That is exactly what local chef David Sundeen Jr. and wife Susan Dumeyer did for a year at Windrose Farm. Working with farmers Bill and Barbara Spencer, they helped better equip the farm for producing delicious ingredients restaurants are in need of, boosting sales and improving both the farm and the local restaurants involved.

Bee populations in the U.S. have declined drastically in recent years, and new research from Purdue University may have found one of the culprits. Their explanation involves commercial insecticides used to coat corn and soybean seeds.

Pecan thieves should be cautious of their potential targets in New Mexico, as farmers are beginning to take serious precautions to prevent the theft of their precious crops. Whether it is security cameras or guards, they want robbers to know that stealing pecans will not be accepted.

Have nothing to do with that leftover milk? Have an extra half hour on your hands? Why not try making some homemade mozzarella, ricotta, or paneer cheese? Although it is somewhat of an art, DIY cheesemaking is getting popular. And savvy food entrepreneurs are selling very affordable kits across the market to help you with your project.

The USDA has announced that they will provide $308 Million to disaster-stricken states that suffered agricultural losses in 2011. The majority of the money will be focused around Missouri and Utah, but 33 states and Puerto Rico will also be given money for natural disaster relief. The funding will help cover agricultural losses beyond what is covered by crop insurance.

2012 means it's time for a new Farm Bill, the giant piece of legislation that gets pushed through Washington every five years or so and governs our federal agricultural policy. But Washington insiders are saying “don’t hold your breath," holding forth little hope that a divided Congress will get anything accomplished before the 2012 election.

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