Genetically modified apple variety doesn’t brown, awaits USDA approval

NPR:

If you (or your children) turn up your nose at brown apple slices, would you prefer fresh-looking genetically modified apples?

Neal Carter, president of Okanagan Specialty Fruits, in British Columbia, Canada, certainly hopes so. His company has created the new, non-browning, “Arctic” genetically modified apple variety, and he’s hoping for big orders from despairing parents and food service companies alike. Food service companies, he says, would no longer have to treat their sliced apples with antioxidant chemicals like calcium ascorbate to keep them looking fresh.

The cost savings “can be huge,” he says. “Right now, to make fresh-cut apple slices and put them in the bag, 35 or 40 percent of the cost is the antioxident treatment. So you could make a fresh-cut apple slice 30 percent cheaper.”

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Gardening seminar coming to Shelby Township

The Outdoor Living Extravaganza, presented by Proven Winners, is coming to Cherry Creek Golf Club in Shelby Township on Saturday, March 21, 8:30am – 4pm.

This educational gardening seminar will inspire you with new plants, design ideas and more along with an opportunity to purchase plants and other gardening goods. All participants will receive a complimentary gift bag and plant along with a host of ideas to put to use right away in your garden.

Speakers will include P. Allen Smith, Award Winning Garden Designer, Author and TV Host; Kerry Mendez, Garden Expert and Author; and John Gaydos, Director of Product Development and Promotion for Proven Winners.

For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

State house considers right to farm bill

MI Food News:

Representative Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw Twp) has introduced House Bill 4012 to allow people who live in residential neighborhoods in Michigan cities the right to have a backyard farm from which they could sell farm products.

Amending the “Michigan zoning enabling act” would restore the right that many urban folks thought they enjoyed under Michigan’s Right to Farm Act. Recent regulatory changes have removed the legal protection for people who thought they had an inherent right to raise food for themselves and their families and sell any excess for extra money.

Read the bill here…

Ann Arbor to host National Rock Garden Meeting in May

nargsThe Great Lakes Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society is excited to host the group’s 2015 Annual Meeting in Ann Arbor, from May 7-10, 2015.

This is a superb opportunity to see and hear great speakers, and see great gardens. There will also be choice plants, tufa, troughs, and books available to purchase. It is a rare chance to meet and talk with seasoned rock gardeners from all over the U.S. and Canada—without flying to a distant city.

Plus, there is a post-conference tour from May 10-12. This field trip is to the “Straits Region” of Michigan with stops on the way there and back. The focus will be on natural rock gardens and rock garden plants in the wild. This includes shaded and sunny rock outcrops, rocky, gravely, and sandy beaches, plus a stop to see large stands of trilliums.

For more information, click here.

Young generation finds future in agriculture

NPR:

America’s heartland is graying. The average age of a farmer in the U.S. is 58.3 — and that number has been steadily ticking upward for more than 30 years.

Overall, fewer young people are choosing a life on the land. But in some places around the country, like Maine, that trend is reversing. Small agriculture may be getting big again — and there’s new crop of farmers to thank for it.

On a windy hillside just a few miles from Maine’s rocky mid-coast, it’s 10 degrees; snow is crunching underfoot. Hairy highland cattle munch on flakes of hay and native Katahdin sheep are mustered in a white pool just outside the fence. Not far away, heritage chickens scuttle about a mobile poultry house that looks a bit like a Conestoga wagon.

Marya Gelvosa, majored in English literature and has never lived out in the country before. “Just a few years ago, if you’d told me that I was going to be a farmer, I would have probably laughed at you,” she says.

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