June 18, 2013
THE SENATE approved a nearly $1 trillion farm bill last week that proves that Washington is still bent on catering to special interests and wasting taxpayers' money. Let's count the ways. * The Senate bill perpetuates a sugar subsidy that raises the price of sweets and shuts out foreign competition. Great for the sugar industry, terrible for consumers. * The bill creates a new sweetheart deal for the dairy industry: an insurance program that will drive up prices by triggering production cuts when there's an oversupply of product.
January 10, 2013
The Food and Drug Administration has proposed the most sweeping changes in food-safety rules in decades. The changes being made under the Food Safety Modernization Act, which became law in 2011, are long overdue and should be implemented as soon as possible. If adopted, the new rules would require farmers to take common-sense precautions against food contamination by making sure workers wash their hands, irrigation water is clean, and animals are kept out of fruit and vegetable fields.
April 28, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration's move to scrap a plan that would prevent some children from working in dangerous farm jobs drew sharp rebukes Friday from child welfare advocates who claim the president caved to election-year pressure from farmers and Republicans. The Labor Department spent more than a year working on the proposal to ban children younger than 16 from using power-driven farm equipment - including tractors - and prevent those under 18 from working in grain silos, feed lots, and stockyards.
March 1, 2012 |
The four-course feast featured black-soybean soup with a ceviche of marinated raw beets, turnips, and rutabaga. Next, a salad of hydroponically grown butterhead lettuce with cornmeal croutons tossed in apple cider vinaigrette. The braised lamb, organically grown and grass fed, came with caramelized onions, sweet potato gratin, wilted greens, and cranberry creme. Warm apple cake with cheddar cheese ice cream rounded out the meal. Everything on that farm-to-plate menu was grown within about 100 miles, no easy feat in winter.
January 5, 2012 |
Sure, the weather outside may be frightful and most of the farmer's markets are shuttered for the season. But for intrepid farmers, and shoppers who like to buy local, the growing season goes on. That's the word from Bob Pierson, whose Farm to City runs 15 farmer's markets and a half dozen Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs with a wealth of pickup points in the region. But those are summer projects. In winter (now through April), Pierson's attention turns to Winter Harvest, which he says is the largest and oldest buying club for local food in the Philadelphia area.
August 17, 2011 |
While politicians in Washington debate how to stimulate the economy and grow jobs, some national groups say farmers' markets are already accomplishing those goals. A new report from the Farmers Market Coalition, an Iowa-based national nonprofit, says farmers' markets increased 150 percent in number in the last decade, and it cites a U.S. Department of Agriculture finding that farmers' markets generate $1.3 billion in consumer spending each year. Another new report, by economist Jeffrey O'Hara, who studies sustainable food and agriculture for the Union of Concerned Scientists, says farmers' markets could generate "as many as 13,500 jobs nationally over five years," if federal subsidies supported small farms instead of the big industrial variety.
August 28, 2009
NOTHING on the planet smells like freshly picked hops. The small flower cones grow on vines (or, more accurately, bines, like string beans), and their sticky, oily resins provide the essential bitterness that balances the sweetness of malt. Without hops, beer would taste like something you might drink through a straw. When you are 14. Bitterness aside, though, it's aroma that makes hops such a wonderful specimen of nature. Freshly plucked and crushed between your fingers, they explode with a complex bouquet that may be fruity or spicy or gardenlike, depending on variety.
September 29, 2008 |
The odds are stacked against the Garden State's farming heritage. A recent study by Rutgers and Rowan Universities found that farmland has been sprouting McMansions at the rate of almost an acre an hour. Farming as a livelihood is receding just when we need a new generation to sustain it. Most farmers today are at or approaching retirement age. Their land has turned into the nation's priciest real estate, out of reach for young people eager to start a farm, so they must consider leasing instead.
June 13, 2007 |
Isn't it ironic that in the city that is the birthplace of American liberty, some want to take away an individual's right to decide what he or she can eat? A radical vegan group has been protesting at local Philadelphia restaurants, trying to strong-arm chefs into removing the delicacy foie gras from their menus. Some misinformed citizens have even suggested that the city ought to outlaw the sale of the product, as if there were not better ways for the elected leaders of the city to spend their time and your tax dollars.
May 25, 2006 |
Farmers markets are blossoming everywhere. Blooming. Often, booming. Dozens of new markets have opened in the city and suburbs over the last few years, and the Delaware Valley College farm market in Doylestown has expanded exponentially, moving indoors for year-round operation, open seven days a week. And shoppers' expectations are growing along with them. More vendors. More products. More variety. Many markets now offer meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products - from milk to cheese - usually from pastured, "humanely raised" stock.