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food

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Before Nikiko Masumoto picks a peach she lightly squeezes it. 

“We want it to have some give and not be hard like a baseball, but we want it to be firm enough that it will travel to wherever it needs to go,” says Masumoto.

The fruit she’s picking now is large, sweet and will be sold in the Bay Area. But a few weeks ago they were picking another variety, a tiny peach called Gold Dust.

ESY Kern

There are a lot of efforts to bring health foods into school and the elementary school curriculum. One of the most interesting examples can be found in Bakersfield at Buena Vista Elementary School, home to something called an "edible schoolyard." A joint project of the Panama-Buena Vista Union School District and the Grimm Family Foundation, the Edible Schoolyard Kern program also has expanded to sites in Arvin and Shafter.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Thousands of consumers and interested buyers from around the globe gathered at the Fresno Convention Center this week for the Sixth Annual Fresno Food Expo.

The two day event is all about getting Central California products – think tasty cheeses, spreads and charcuterie — into the hands of distributers so people far and wide can taste what comes out of this place we call home.

“It’s so much more than a tradeshow, this is a movement,” says Amy Fuentes, manager of the expo. “This is about bragging about who we are.”

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Just a few decades ago Fresno used to be the center of the American Fig Industry, with orchards stretching for thousands of acres. Now most of the trees planted by J.C. Forkner almost 100 years ago are gone and are replaced by homes and shopping centers.

Is California's Animal Welfare Law Creating Better Conditions?

Jun 22, 2015
Lesley McClurg / Capital Public Radio

In 2008, Californians passed a law by a two-thirds majority to give egg-laying hens more space to move around. Farmers have had the last seven years to comply. Proposition 2 (the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act) went into effect this January. 

Farmer Frank Hilliker was against Proposition 2 from the beginning. He wasn’t sure he’d be able to stay in business when the law passed.

But, the long time egg producer has come around.

Why The Price Of Eggs Is Skyrocketing

Jun 22, 2015
Creative Commons - Flickr user geishabot

Egg prices have soared this spring for a lot of reasons. Lesley McClurg breaks down why you’re paying more. 

The cheapest price for a dozen conventional eggs is $3.50 at Raley’s in Sacramento. 

That’s about 75 cents more than the national average – which is at a record high $2.62. 

So, what’s driving the premium on California eggs?

First, there’s the drought. John Segale is with the Association for California Egg Farmers. 

Ellie Koleen - elliekoleenphotography.com / Ampersand Ice Cream

The valley’s restaurant scene is bustling with new ventures all hoping to be the next big hit. The Fresno Bee's Bethany Clough recently joined us on Valley Edition to talk about new trends and restaurant openings in the area. From new gourmet ice cream in the Fresno High neighborhood to wine tasting and craft beer in Clovis, Bethany tells us what look for in local food trends, as well as one delicacy at a local restaurant that has people all over the valley talking.

UC Merced

A new study out of the University of California, Merced suggests that many Americans could sustain themselves off of entirely locally grown or raised food. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports.  

Over the last two years UC Merced Professor Elliot Campbell has pondered and researched how to get food grown regionally into local homes and mouths. This week he released his findings.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

A new Fresno organization has joined forces with one of the state’s organic food pioneers to launch a new food box program for the valley. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports.

The project known as “Out of Our Own Backyards” or Ooooby, is from the nonprofit Fresno Food Commons. Kiel Schmidt is with the group that is launching the new community supported agriculture box, also known as a CSA. 

Sarah Forman

In response to California’s historic drought some chefs are creating meals that use less water. Valley Public Radio’s Ezra David Romero reports from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Sustainable Foods Institute.

Raw Almonds Might Not Be As "Raw" As You Think

May 12, 2015

  When you’re talking about raw almonds the product may not be quite what you think. All California almonds, which would be virtually all the nuts in the country, are either heat-pasteurized, or sprayed with a fumigant. The processes are intended to prevent food-borne illness. But, some almond aficionados say the treatments change the flavor, and mislead consumers. Lesley McClurg in Sacramento has the story.

In a warehouse near Newman, California millions of almonds are heated in huge metal containers.  

Almond Milk Sales Skyrocket, But How Healthy Is It?

Mar 30, 2015
Lesley McClurg / Capital Public Radio

Almond milk is no longer a health food niche product. Last year national sales were up 40%, according to Nielson data. Today's market is worth more than $700 million dollars a year. That's good news for California where virtually all the nation's almonds are grown. But, as Lesley McClurg in Sacramento reports some dietitians question the nutritional value of almond milk. 

Almond milk dates back to the Middle Ages when Catholics and Muslims drank it during religious periods when animal products were banned.

The Legal Battle Over Foie Gras Continues

Feb 9, 2015
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Legal wrangling isn't scaring connoisseurs and chefs from enjoying foie gras. It's still legal to serve the fatty duck or goose liver in California, but that could change again. As Lesley McClurg reports the state of California is appealing a federal ruling that lifted the state’s ban on serving the delicacy.

Amit Raheja is a regular at Mulvaney's B&L in midtown Sacramento. Foie Gras is one of his favorite dishes. Tonight it's seared with huckleberry compote.  

California Tomato Growers Expect Record Year Despite Drought

Oct 21, 2014
California Tomato Growers Association

The drought has California farmers leaving thousands of acres fallow this year. But growers still chose to plant processing tomatoes. And as Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, they’re expected to have a record year.

About 95 percent of the nation’s processed tomatoes come from California. Last year, about 12 million tons were produced. Some farmers this year were skeptical they could grow the 14 million tons contracted for by the state’s processors.

But Mike Montna with the California Tomato Growers Association says they hit that mark.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Fresno and figs have a long history together. Nearly 100 years ago,  real estate developer J.C. Forkner purchased thousands of acres of hardpan soil miles north of the city of Fresno. 

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