IFBC Conference Highlights I

Sacramento, CA, “The Farm to Fork Food Capitol”, was home to over 250 attendees from all global corners who wanted more from their food blogs than hashtags.  We learned about everything from SEOs to video lighting, from getting more visitors to getting paid by blogging free lance, using ads, and so much more.  There were so many presenters!

Nugget luncheslunchtables

Nugget Market not only set out complementary lunch but also demonstrated what a healthy lunch looks like. I can’t compliment them enough on their quality and customer service.

BloggersTellAllnicky at podiumPresentors including Nicky Bobby from CropMobster told us how to blog better and illustrated how the impact our blogs has on the audiences we attract.LambDemo1Lamb slidersSuperior Farms sent Rodney Blackwell, Burgerjunkies and Jason Azevedo, Chef from Drewski’s Hotrod Kitchen Food Trucks to demonstrate lamb recipes and taste the quality of Superior Farms lamb.

I can’t compliment the Residence Marriott enough on the quality home away from home they offered attendees, including complementary breakfasts, gym and parking conveniences, and more.  Next year it was announced the International Food Blogger “experience” will be held in New Orleans, LO, August 24-26, 2018.  Hope to see you there!

 

 

GOING NUTS!

Approximately 4,000 California walnut growers produce over 600,000 short tons of walnuts annually.  Right here in El Dorado County, 205 walnut trees on 10 acres at Perry Creek Walnut Farm are budding out that delicious fruit at a steady pace.  A rainy season promises a bumper crop of organic English walnuts for the farm in Somerset, say proprietors Betty Allen and Bob DaCosta.

WalnutOrchard.jpgwalnutformingbest

sign Betty Allen moved from New York to Somerset in 2010 and never looked back. Although she advertises on a regular basis with her New York business network, Betty also sells to locals and internet customers.   Betty and Bob do all the harvesting, drying, shelling, packing and shipping the old fashioned way—by hand. The walnuts are harvested in October   Whole and shelled walnuts are available in all sizes from 1 to 10 pounds, plus shipping. Twenty pounds in the shell brings you an additional two free pounds.

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Well known in the community, Perry Creek FLAV-R-ROASTED Fancy Mixed Nuts and sugar and spice and candied walnut packages are available at the farm stand out front. You will also find homemade items such as 3-Berry Jam, Apple Butter, Organic Pasta Sauce, farm fresh organic eggs and vegetables in season . Community involvement includes fostering animals, Pioneer Firefighters Association and Farm Bureau as well as El Dorado County Farm Trails Association.nutmachinebettys-farm-stand

 

*In 2011, Walnuts were certified by the American Heart Association as a heart healthy food. Researchers include walnuts in superfood lists to help you

Initial findings from the Walnuts and Healthy Aging (WAHA) study presented at Experimental Biology 2016 (EB) indicate that daily walnut consumption positively impacts blood cholesterol levels without adverse effects on body weight among older adults.1 The WAHA study is a dual site two-year clinical trial conducted by researchers from the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona and Loma Linda University and is aimed at determining the effect of walnuts on age-related health issues.

A USDA Ag Research Service study results show that daily consumption of 1.5 ounces of walnuts significantly affects the bacteria in the human gut in a way that is favorable to decreasing inflammation and cholesterol, which are two known indicators of heart health.

Researchers from the University of Georgia have found walnuts to be a great option for getting more polyunsaturated fat into the diet, with 13 grams per ounce.

Walnuts are unique among nuts in that they are primarily composed of polyunsaturated fat (13 grams per ounce), which includes alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid. They are the only nut to contain a significant amount of ALA with 2.5 grams per one ounce serving.

http://www.morningagclips.com/category/national/western_states/california/

90% of the phenols in walnuts are found in the skin. The form of vitamin E found in walnuts is in the form of gamma-tocopherol, found to provide significant heart health protection.

94.5% of U.S. adults consume no tree nuts whatsoever. Researchers find that nut eaters take in 5 grams more fiber, 260 mg. more potassium, 73 more mg. of calcium, 95 more mg. of magnesium, 3.7 mg. more E and 157 mg. less sodium.

California produces 90% of the 38% of all walnuts grown in the U.S.

Quinone juglone, a rare and valuable antioxidant/anti inflammatory in walnuts, is found in virtually no other commonly-eaten foods. http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=newtip&dbid=278&utm_source=daily_click&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_email

Most walnut trees are grown on black walnut rootstock these days, so it is interesting that a particular toxin called “juglone” from the roots, buds, leaves and nut hulls seeps into the soil and may turn susceptible plants nearby yellow or cause them to wilt and die. It is important to keep the highest concentration of the toxin that exists around the canopy of the tree raked clear.
Field crops like alfalfa, crimson clover and tobacco are especially sensitive to black walnut tree toxicity as are vegetables like asparagus, cabbage, eggplant, pepper, potato, rhubarb and tomato. Susceptible fruits are apple, blackberry blueberry, and pear.

Purdue University has informal lists of plants that tolerate juglone and those that are sensitive to it, and planting, according to the University of Wisconsin, can be up to 50’-80’ from the trunk. Naturally you need to consider the sun and shade requirements of the plants, as well. For more information: The go-to book for anyone growing nut and fruit trees in California is the UC Davis publication, The Home Orchard.

 

Digging the Dirt with UCCE Master Gardeners

I recently had the pleasure of attending Secrets of the Soil, a workshop, http://mgeldorado.ucanr.edu/Secrets_of_Soil/         with the likes of:

Chuck Ingels, Farm and Horticulture Advisor with UC Cooperative Extension in Sacramento County since 1996 and overseer of the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center.
His topic:            Physical Characteristics of Soil, Plant Roots and the Rhizosphere

Amanda Hodson, Ph.D in Entomology and U.C. Davis Project Scientist.
Her topic:           Soil Food Web, Defining Healthy Soil

 Rei Scampavia, doctorial candidate at UC Davis, researches nest site selection in bee species. https://diadasia.wordpress.com/. Her topic:  Ecosystem Services and Ground Nesting Bees

Their presentations are available on the .edu link above, as well as these presentations:

What is IPM?                   http://www2.ipm.ucanr.edu/WhatIsIPM/
Beneficial Predatores   http://ipm.ucanr.edu/QT/beneficialpredatorscard.html

Agricultural and Natural Resources   http://ipm.ucanr.edu/index.html

Also check out the .edu link above for resourceful links such as:

 

Yes, I am very impressed, inspired and encouraged with my re-acquaintance with Master Gardeners of El Dorado County. The workshop was more than terrific – I even came home with a worm composting bin for red wigglers!  The link below gives you step by step directions.  redwigglerwormcomposter

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/garden/make-quick-compost

I got lots of my questions answered, and not all of them agreed with what else I’ve heard. Which gives credence to the words of Chuck Ingels when he tries to answer questions from the gardening community. “It depends,” he says. It depends on too many variables given the complexity of the world beneath, above, and around the soil.   There are millions of species, thousands of studies, and way too many possibilities for any given situation. I guess that’s why they offer so many classes. Hats off to Master Gardeners!