Blog Archives

Hy-Vee improves food access with free shuttle

A Hy-Vee store in Ottumwa, Iowa, is improving food access in two counties by providing free shuttle transportation to shoppers who live up to 40 miles away.

The service, which is funded by Hy-Vee, is part of that store’s involvement in a consortium of local businesses and non-profits led by the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation to bring together siloed efforts that address food deserts and food insecurity in Wapello County, Iowa. At 14.2% the 35,000-resident county has the second highest food insecurity rate in the state.

Through interviews with community members and data analysis, consortium members learned that a lack of transportation in area food deserts is so hindering that it prevents SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and WIC (Women, Infants and Children program) recipients from expending all of their  benefits each month, Amber Payne, consultant and coordinator for Growing Wapello Together, told SN

“That’s their purchasing power and they’re not even able to use it,” she said.

Even when community members in food deserts are able to access public transportation — which stops running at 5 p.m. on weekdays and doesn’t run at all on the weekends — the bus system limits the number of bags riders are permitted to travel with. Compounding the issue is the fact that benefit recipients often have small children in tow and the winters are especially harsh.

Hy-Vee’s shuttle service, which picks up and drops off groups and individual shoppers from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every Friday, is helping scale many of these hurdles.

“They can take as many bags as they’d like, they can ride after 5p.m. and take as much time at the grocery stores as they want,” noted Ina Cavin, store director at the North Ottumwa Hy-vee. “It’s not like they’re going to miss their ride.”

Shoppers can call ahead to schedule a pick-up or do so on the day of. Fridays were chosen since that is when many residents get paid, and the local community college, which educates a lot of international students, does not hold classes.

In recent weeks there have been as many as 85 passengers on shuttle days, but Carter expects that number to grow now that it’s distributing Spanish-language flyers about the service, and has enlisted a Spanish-speaking dispatcher to set up rides. Direct mail flyers will be sent to homes in particularly high-risk areas to notify residents of the free service.

Supermarket News

Vermicompost leachate improves tomato seedling growth

Worldwide, drought conditions, extreme temperatures, and high soil saline content all have negative effects on tomato crops. These natural processes reduce soil nutrient content and lifespan, result in reduced plant growth and yield, and ultimately translate to lower profits for tomato producers. As an alternative to unsustainable practices such as the use of synthetic fertilizers, producers are looking to environment-friendly soil ameliorants such as verimcompost leachate, an organic liquid produced from earthworm-digested material and casts that occur during the vermicomposting process.

“Earthworm casts present in vermicompost contain proteins, vitamins, and micro- and macro-elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium,” explained Johannes Van Staden, lead author of a recent study published in HortScience. Van Staden and colleagues Mayashree Chinsamy and Manoj Kulkarni, from the Research Centre for Plant Growth and Development at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg, studied the effects of vermicompost-leachate (VCL) on tomato seedlings subjected to various temperatures and levels of water stress.

To investigate temperature stress, potted tomato seedlings were exposed to temperatures of 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 °C and treated with and without vermicompost leachate (1:10 v/v). The experiments of water stress involved established tomato seedlings treated with and without VCL (1:10 v/v) treated with varying volumes (15, 30, and 45 mL) of half-strength nutrient solution. “Most of the morphological parameters of VCL-treated tomato seedlings were not only markedly enhanced at optimum temperature (25 °C), but also exhibited significant improvement under high temperature (30 °C),” the researchers wrote. “At lower temperatures (10, 15, and 20 °C), although VCL promoted several growth parameters of a tomato seedling, this improvement did not differ significantly with the respective controls.”

The water stress experiments showed that photosynthetic pigments and compatible solute contents were significantly reduced in VCL-treated tomato seedlings at 15 mL. “Physiological parameters were reduced within the range of those found in more favorable conditions as observed for 30-mL supply of nutrient solution,” the authors noted. The scientists said that the results of these water stress experiments clearly demonstrate the possibility of using less water resources to produce quality crops.

The results also showed that the constant supply of VCL improved morphological characters, including leaf area and shoot/root biomass, enabling VCL-treated tomato seedlings to perform better. The scientists concluded that vermicompost-leachate is a suitable soil amendment alternative that can significantly improve overall crop performance of tomato seedlings under abiotic stresses. “More importantly, VCL is organic and therefore can be used as an environment-friendly fertilizer supplement,” they added.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Vermicompost leachate improves tomato seedling growth

Worldwide, drought conditions, extreme temperatures, and high soil saline content all have negative effects on tomato crops. These natural processes reduce soil nutrient content and lifespan, result in reduced plant growth and yield, and ultimately translate to lower profits for tomato producers. As an alternative to unsustainable practices such as the use of synthetic fertilizers, producers are looking to environment-friendly soil ameliorants such as verimcompost leachate, an organic liquid produced from earthworm-digested material and casts that occur during the vermicomposting process.

“Earthworm casts present in vermicompost contain proteins, vitamins, and micro- and macro-elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium,” explained Johannes Van Staden, lead author of a recent study published in HortScience. Van Staden and colleagues Mayashree Chinsamy and Manoj Kulkarni, from the Research Centre for Plant Growth and Development at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg, studied the effects of vermicompost-leachate (VCL) on tomato seedlings subjected to various temperatures and levels of water stress.

To investigate temperature stress, potted tomato seedlings were exposed to temperatures of 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 °C and treated with and without vermicompost leachate (1:10 v/v). The experiments of water stress involved established tomato seedlings treated with and without VCL (1:10 v/v) treated with varying volumes (15, 30, and 45 mL) of half-strength nutrient solution. “Most of the morphological parameters of VCL-treated tomato seedlings were not only markedly enhanced at optimum temperature (25 °C), but also exhibited significant improvement under high temperature (30 °C),” the researchers wrote. “At lower temperatures (10, 15, and 20 °C), although VCL promoted several growth parameters of a tomato seedling, this improvement did not differ significantly with the respective controls.”

The water stress experiments showed that photosynthetic pigments and compatible solute contents were significantly reduced in VCL-treated tomato seedlings at 15 mL. “Physiological parameters were reduced within the range of those found in more favorable conditions as observed for 30-mL supply of nutrient solution,” the authors noted. The scientists said that the results of these water stress experiments clearly demonstrate the possibility of using less water resources to produce quality crops.

The results also showed that the constant supply of VCL improved morphological characters, including leaf area and shoot/root biomass, enabling VCL-treated tomato seedlings to perform better. The scientists concluded that vermicompost-leachate is a suitable soil amendment alternative that can significantly improve overall crop performance of tomato seedlings under abiotic stresses. “More importantly, VCL is organic and therefore can be used as an environment-friendly fertilizer supplement,” they added.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Vermicompost leachate improves tomato seedling growth

Worldwide, drought conditions, extreme temperatures, and high soil saline content all have negative effects on tomato crops. These natural processes reduce soil nutrient content and lifespan, result in reduced plant growth and yield, and ultimately translate to lower profits for tomato producers. As an alternative to unsustainable practices such as the use of synthetic fertilizers, producers are looking to environment-friendly soil ameliorants such as verimcompost leachate, an organic liquid produced from earthworm-digested material and casts that occur during the vermicomposting process.

“Earthworm casts present in vermicompost contain proteins, vitamins, and micro- and macro-elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium,” explained Johannes Van Staden, lead author of a recent study published in HortScience. Van Staden and colleagues Mayashree Chinsamy and Manoj Kulkarni, from the Research Centre for Plant Growth and Development at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg, studied the effects of vermicompost-leachate (VCL) on tomato seedlings subjected to various temperatures and levels of water stress.

To investigate temperature stress, potted tomato seedlings were exposed to temperatures of 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 °C and treated with and without vermicompost leachate (1:10 v/v). The experiments of water stress involved established tomato seedlings treated with and without VCL (1:10 v/v) treated with varying volumes (15, 30, and 45 mL) of half-strength nutrient solution. “Most of the morphological parameters of VCL-treated tomato seedlings were not only markedly enhanced at optimum temperature (25 °C), but also exhibited significant improvement under high temperature (30 °C),” the researchers wrote. “At lower temperatures (10, 15, and 20 °C), although VCL promoted several growth parameters of a tomato seedling, this improvement did not differ significantly with the respective controls.”

The water stress experiments showed that photosynthetic pigments and compatible solute contents were significantly reduced in VCL-treated tomato seedlings at 15 mL. “Physiological parameters were reduced within the range of those found in more favorable conditions as observed for 30-mL supply of nutrient solution,” the authors noted. The scientists said that the results of these water stress experiments clearly demonstrate the possibility of using less water resources to produce quality crops.

The results also showed that the constant supply of VCL improved morphological characters, including leaf area and shoot/root biomass, enabling VCL-treated tomato seedlings to perform better. The scientists concluded that vermicompost-leachate is a suitable soil amendment alternative that can significantly improve overall crop performance of tomato seedlings under abiotic stresses. “More importantly, VCL is organic and therefore can be used as an environment-friendly fertilizer supplement,” they added.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Vermicompost leachate improves tomato seedling growth

Worldwide, drought conditions, extreme temperatures, and high soil saline content all have negative effects on tomato crops. These natural processes reduce soil nutrient content and lifespan, result in reduced plant growth and yield, and ultimately translate to lower profits for tomato producers. As an alternative to unsustainable practices such as the use of synthetic fertilizers, producers are looking to environment-friendly soil ameliorants such as verimcompost leachate, an organic liquid produced from earthworm-digested material and casts that occur during the vermicomposting process.

“Earthworm casts present in vermicompost contain proteins, vitamins, and micro- and macro-elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium,” explained Johannes Van Staden, lead author of a recent study published in HortScience. Van Staden and colleagues Mayashree Chinsamy and Manoj Kulkarni, from the Research Centre for Plant Growth and Development at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg, studied the effects of vermicompost-leachate (VCL) on tomato seedlings subjected to various temperatures and levels of water stress.

To investigate temperature stress, potted tomato seedlings were exposed to temperatures of 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 °C and treated with and without vermicompost leachate (1:10 v/v). The experiments of water stress involved established tomato seedlings treated with and without VCL (1:10 v/v) treated with varying volumes (15, 30, and 45 mL) of half-strength nutrient solution. “Most of the morphological parameters of VCL-treated tomato seedlings were not only markedly enhanced at optimum temperature (25 °C), but also exhibited significant improvement under high temperature (30 °C),” the researchers wrote. “At lower temperatures (10, 15, and 20 °C), although VCL promoted several growth parameters of a tomato seedling, this improvement did not differ significantly with the respective controls.”

The water stress experiments showed that photosynthetic pigments and compatible solute contents were significantly reduced in VCL-treated tomato seedlings at 15 mL. “Physiological parameters were reduced within the range of those found in more favorable conditions as observed for 30-mL supply of nutrient solution,” the authors noted. The scientists said that the results of these water stress experiments clearly demonstrate the possibility of using less water resources to produce quality crops.

The results also showed that the constant supply of VCL improved morphological characters, including leaf area and shoot/root biomass, enabling VCL-treated tomato seedlings to perform better. The scientists concluded that vermicompost-leachate is a suitable soil amendment alternative that can significantly improve overall crop performance of tomato seedlings under abiotic stresses. “More importantly, VCL is organic and therefore can be used as an environment-friendly fertilizer supplement,” they added.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Vermicompost leachate improves tomato seedling growth

Worldwide, drought conditions, extreme temperatures, and high soil saline content all have negative effects on tomato crops. These natural processes reduce soil nutrient content and lifespan, result in reduced plant growth and yield, and ultimately translate to lower profits for tomato producers. As an alternative to unsustainable practices such as the use of synthetic fertilizers, producers are looking to environment-friendly soil ameliorants such as verimcompost leachate, an organic liquid produced from earthworm-digested material and casts that occur during the vermicomposting process.

“Earthworm casts present in vermicompost contain proteins, vitamins, and micro- and macro-elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium,” explained Johannes Van Staden, lead author of a recent study published in HortScience. Van Staden and colleagues Mayashree Chinsamy and Manoj Kulkarni, from the Research Centre for Plant Growth and Development at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg, studied the effects of vermicompost-leachate (VCL) on tomato seedlings subjected to various temperatures and levels of water stress.

To investigate temperature stress, potted tomato seedlings were exposed to temperatures of 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 °C and treated with and without vermicompost leachate (1:10 v/v). The experiments of water stress involved established tomato seedlings treated with and without VCL (1:10 v/v) treated with varying volumes (15, 30, and 45 mL) of half-strength nutrient solution. “Most of the morphological parameters of VCL-treated tomato seedlings were not only markedly enhanced at optimum temperature (25 °C), but also exhibited significant improvement under high temperature (30 °C),” the researchers wrote. “At lower temperatures (10, 15, and 20 °C), although VCL promoted several growth parameters of a tomato seedling, this improvement did not differ significantly with the respective controls.”

The water stress experiments showed that photosynthetic pigments and compatible solute contents were significantly reduced in VCL-treated tomato seedlings at 15 mL. “Physiological parameters were reduced within the range of those found in more favorable conditions as observed for 30-mL supply of nutrient solution,” the authors noted. The scientists said that the results of these water stress experiments clearly demonstrate the possibility of using less water resources to produce quality crops.

The results also showed that the constant supply of VCL improved morphological characters, including leaf area and shoot/root biomass, enabling VCL-treated tomato seedlings to perform better. The scientists concluded that vermicompost-leachate is a suitable soil amendment alternative that can significantly improve overall crop performance of tomato seedlings under abiotic stresses. “More importantly, VCL is organic and therefore can be used as an environment-friendly fertilizer supplement,” they added.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Vermicompost leachate improves tomato seedling growth

Worldwide, drought conditions, extreme temperatures, and high soil saline content all have negative effects on tomato crops. These natural processes reduce soil nutrient content and lifespan, result in reduced plant growth and yield, and ultimately translate to lower profits for tomato producers. As an alternative to unsustainable practices such as the use of synthetic fertilizers, producers are looking to environment-friendly soil ameliorants such as verimcompost leachate, an organic liquid produced from earthworm-digested material and casts that occur during the vermicomposting process.

“Earthworm casts present in vermicompost contain proteins, vitamins, and micro- and macro-elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium,” explained Johannes Van Staden, lead author of a recent study published in HortScience. Van Staden and colleagues Mayashree Chinsamy and Manoj Kulkarni, from the Research Centre for Plant Growth and Development at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg, studied the effects of vermicompost-leachate (VCL) on tomato seedlings subjected to various temperatures and levels of water stress.

To investigate temperature stress, potted tomato seedlings were exposed to temperatures of 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 °C and treated with and without vermicompost leachate (1:10 v/v). The experiments of water stress involved established tomato seedlings treated with and without VCL (1:10 v/v) treated with varying volumes (15, 30, and 45 mL) of half-strength nutrient solution. “Most of the morphological parameters of VCL-treated tomato seedlings were not only markedly enhanced at optimum temperature (25 °C), but also exhibited significant improvement under high temperature (30 °C),” the researchers wrote. “At lower temperatures (10, 15, and 20 °C), although VCL promoted several growth parameters of a tomato seedling, this improvement did not differ significantly with the respective controls.”

The water stress experiments showed that photosynthetic pigments and compatible solute contents were significantly reduced in VCL-treated tomato seedlings at 15 mL. “Physiological parameters were reduced within the range of those found in more favorable conditions as observed for 30-mL supply of nutrient solution,” the authors noted. The scientists said that the results of these water stress experiments clearly demonstrate the possibility of using less water resources to produce quality crops.

The results also showed that the constant supply of VCL improved morphological characters, including leaf area and shoot/root biomass, enabling VCL-treated tomato seedlings to perform better. The scientists concluded that vermicompost-leachate is a suitable soil amendment alternative that can significantly improve overall crop performance of tomato seedlings under abiotic stresses. “More importantly, VCL is organic and therefore can be used as an environment-friendly fertilizer supplement,” they added.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Vermicompost leachate improves tomato seedling growth

Worldwide, drought conditions, extreme temperatures, and high soil saline content all have negative effects on tomato crops. These natural processes reduce soil nutrient content and lifespan, result in reduced plant growth and yield, and ultimately translate to lower profits for tomato producers. As an alternative to unsustainable practices such as the use of synthetic fertilizers, producers are looking to environment-friendly soil ameliorants such as verimcompost leachate, an organic liquid produced from earthworm-digested material and casts that occur during the vermicomposting process.

“Earthworm casts present in vermicompost contain proteins, vitamins, and micro- and macro-elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium,” explained Johannes Van Staden, lead author of a recent study published in HortScience. Van Staden and colleagues Mayashree Chinsamy and Manoj Kulkarni, from the Research Centre for Plant Growth and Development at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg, studied the effects of vermicompost-leachate (VCL) on tomato seedlings subjected to various temperatures and levels of water stress.

To investigate temperature stress, potted tomato seedlings were exposed to temperatures of 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 °C and treated with and without vermicompost leachate (1:10 v/v). The experiments of water stress involved established tomato seedlings treated with and without VCL (1:10 v/v) treated with varying volumes (15, 30, and 45 mL) of half-strength nutrient solution. “Most of the morphological parameters of VCL-treated tomato seedlings were not only markedly enhanced at optimum temperature (25 °C), but also exhibited significant improvement under high temperature (30 °C),” the researchers wrote. “At lower temperatures (10, 15, and 20 °C), although VCL promoted several growth parameters of a tomato seedling, this improvement did not differ significantly with the respective controls.”

The water stress experiments showed that photosynthetic pigments and compatible solute contents were significantly reduced in VCL-treated tomato seedlings at 15 mL. “Physiological parameters were reduced within the range of those found in more favorable conditions as observed for 30-mL supply of nutrient solution,” the authors noted. The scientists said that the results of these water stress experiments clearly demonstrate the possibility of using less water resources to produce quality crops.

The results also showed that the constant supply of VCL improved morphological characters, including leaf area and shoot/root biomass, enabling VCL-treated tomato seedlings to perform better. The scientists concluded that vermicompost-leachate is a suitable soil amendment alternative that can significantly improve overall crop performance of tomato seedlings under abiotic stresses. “More importantly, VCL is organic and therefore can be used as an environment-friendly fertilizer supplement,” they added.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Vermicompost leachate improves tomato seedling growth

Worldwide, drought conditions, extreme temperatures, and high soil saline content all have negative effects on tomato crops. These natural processes reduce soil nutrient content and lifespan, result in reduced plant growth and yield, and ultimately translate to lower profits for tomato producers. As an alternative to unsustainable practices such as the use of synthetic fertilizers, producers are looking to environment-friendly soil ameliorants such as verimcompost leachate, an organic liquid produced from earthworm-digested material and casts that occur during the vermicomposting process.

“Earthworm casts present in vermicompost contain proteins, vitamins, and micro- and macro-elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium,” explained Johannes Van Staden, lead author of a recent study published in HortScience. Van Staden and colleagues Mayashree Chinsamy and Manoj Kulkarni, from the Research Centre for Plant Growth and Development at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg, studied the effects of vermicompost-leachate (VCL) on tomato seedlings subjected to various temperatures and levels of water stress.

To investigate temperature stress, potted tomato seedlings were exposed to temperatures of 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 °C and treated with and without vermicompost leachate (1:10 v/v). The experiments of water stress involved established tomato seedlings treated with and without VCL (1:10 v/v) treated with varying volumes (15, 30, and 45 mL) of half-strength nutrient solution. “Most of the morphological parameters of VCL-treated tomato seedlings were not only markedly enhanced at optimum temperature (25 °C), but also exhibited significant improvement under high temperature (30 °C),” the researchers wrote. “At lower temperatures (10, 15, and 20 °C), although VCL promoted several growth parameters of a tomato seedling, this improvement did not differ significantly with the respective controls.”

The water stress experiments showed that photosynthetic pigments and compatible solute contents were significantly reduced in VCL-treated tomato seedlings at 15 mL. “Physiological parameters were reduced within the range of those found in more favorable conditions as observed for 30-mL supply of nutrient solution,” the authors noted. The scientists said that the results of these water stress experiments clearly demonstrate the possibility of using less water resources to produce quality crops.

The results also showed that the constant supply of VCL improved morphological characters, including leaf area and shoot/root biomass, enabling VCL-treated tomato seedlings to perform better. The scientists concluded that vermicompost-leachate is a suitable soil amendment alternative that can significantly improve overall crop performance of tomato seedlings under abiotic stresses. “More importantly, VCL is organic and therefore can be used as an environment-friendly fertilizer supplement,” they added.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Vermicompost leachate improves tomato seedling growth

Worldwide, drought conditions, extreme temperatures, and high soil saline content all have negative effects on tomato crops. These natural processes reduce soil nutrient content and lifespan, result in reduced plant growth and yield, and ultimately translate to lower profits for tomato producers. As an alternative to unsustainable practices such as the use of synthetic fertilizers, producers are looking to environment-friendly soil ameliorants such as verimcompost leachate, an organic liquid produced from earthworm-digested material and casts that occur during the vermicomposting process.

“Earthworm casts present in vermicompost contain proteins, vitamins, and micro- and macro-elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium,” explained Johannes Van Staden, lead author of a recent study published in HortScience. Van Staden and colleagues Mayashree Chinsamy and Manoj Kulkarni, from the Research Centre for Plant Growth and Development at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg, studied the effects of vermicompost-leachate (VCL) on tomato seedlings subjected to various temperatures and levels of water stress.

To investigate temperature stress, potted tomato seedlings were exposed to temperatures of 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 °C and treated with and without vermicompost leachate (1:10 v/v). The experiments of water stress involved established tomato seedlings treated with and without VCL (1:10 v/v) treated with varying volumes (15, 30, and 45 mL) of half-strength nutrient solution. “Most of the morphological parameters of VCL-treated tomato seedlings were not only markedly enhanced at optimum temperature (25 °C), but also exhibited significant improvement under high temperature (30 °C),” the researchers wrote. “At lower temperatures (10, 15, and 20 °C), although VCL promoted several growth parameters of a tomato seedling, this improvement did not differ significantly with the respective controls.”

The water stress experiments showed that photosynthetic pigments and compatible solute contents were significantly reduced in VCL-treated tomato seedlings at 15 mL. “Physiological parameters were reduced within the range of those found in more favorable conditions as observed for 30-mL supply of nutrient solution,” the authors noted. The scientists said that the results of these water stress experiments clearly demonstrate the possibility of using less water resources to produce quality crops.

The results also showed that the constant supply of VCL improved morphological characters, including leaf area and shoot/root biomass, enabling VCL-treated tomato seedlings to perform better. The scientists concluded that vermicompost-leachate is a suitable soil amendment alternative that can significantly improve overall crop performance of tomato seedlings under abiotic stresses. “More importantly, VCL is organic and therefore can be used as an environment-friendly fertilizer supplement,” they added.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Wisconsin Raw Milk Dairy Farmer’s Business Improves After Prosecution

What’s Wisconsin’s “raw milk outlaw” been up to since the state appeals court upheld his misdemeanor conviction on July 17 and imposed a $ 1,000 fine?

Well, according to a recent profile by the Wisconsin State Journal, Vernon Hershberger is back home on the farm with his 10 children building up membership in his raw milk buyers club called Grazin Acres LLC.

Since the Loganville, WI, raw milk dairy farmer was found not guilty 13 months ago of producing milk, operating a dairy plant, and selling food in a retail establishment, all without licenses, his raw milk business has increased by 25 percent to about 325 families.

All the charges stem from a 2010 raid on his dairy farm, including breaking the holding order the state Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection placed on products. That’s the only charge that resulted in a conviction by the Sauk County jury, and Hershberger lost on appeal.

Hershberger credits his business growth with the relationships he built while the state pursued charges against him, including jurors, sheriff’s deputies, and others. The State Journal reported that Hershberger has emerged from his confrontation with prosecutors as “the face of the growing raw milk industry in Wisconsin and the nation.”

The newspaper states that raw milk advocates believe there has been a dramatic fall-off in enforcement actions since the Hershberger trial. Because he was acquitted on the licensing counts, Hershberger came out against Rep. Sen. Glenn Grothman’s bill to ease restrictions on licensed raw milk dairies.

Food Safety News

Freezing blueberries improves antioxidant availability

Blueberries pack a powerful antioxidant punch, whether eaten fresh or from the freezer, according to South Dakota State University graduate Marin Plumb.

Anthocyanins, a group of antioxidant compounds, are responsible for the color in blueberries, she explains. Since most of the color is in the skin, freezing the blueberries actually improves the availability of the antioxidants.

The food science major from Rapid City, who received her bachelor’s degree in December, did her research as part of an honors program independent study project.

“Blueberries go head to head with strawberries and pomegranates in antioxidant capacity,” said professor Basil Dalaly, Plumb’s research adviser. In addition, blueberries are second only to strawberries, in terms of the fruits Americans prefer.

Blueberries are beneficial for the nervous system and brain, cardiovascular system, eyes and urinary tract, Dalaly explained. “Some claim it’s the world’s healthiest food.”

The United States produces nearly 84 percent of the world’s cultivated blueberries, an estimated 564.4 million pounds of blueberries in 2012, according to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center.

Since blueberries are frozen soon after they are picked, “they are equal in quality to fresh,” Plumb explained. She analyzed the anthocyanin content of blueberries frozen for one, three and five months and found no decrease in antioxidants over fresh berries.

The leaching that occurs from freezing actually increased the anthocyanin concentration, noted Plumb. “The ice crystals that form during freezing disrupt the structure of the plant tissue, making the anthocyanins more available.”

Antioxidants, such as anthocyanins, eliminate free radicals, which are produced through common biological reactions within the body and outside factors such as the sun, pesticides and other pollutants, Dalaly explained. If left to roam free, these free radicals can attack DNA, proteins and lipids resulting in cellular changes that lead to development of diseases such as cancer.

“They have a domino effect,” Dalaly said. “That is why we need to consume at least seven to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day.”

He teaches a course on phytochemicals — the naturally-occurring chemical compounds in fruits and vegetable, many of which have the potential to boost the immune system and impact diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. His advice is simple: “the greener, or redder, the better.”

Plumb called her undergraduate research project “a very good experience,’ noting that she learned to both ask and answer questions such as “why is this happening this way?” One of the surprises was that she had to use blueberries from Canada and Argentina because they were in season when she did her experimental work.

Plumb concluded: “Blueberries are a great food, very good for you.”

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by South Dakota State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Marco improves productivity at Journo tomato packhouse

Marco improves productivity at Journo tomato packhouse

A 30 station YCM Yield Control System installed by packhouse specialists Marco is bringing significant productivity improvements to Jouno’s tomato packhouse in North West France. Brittany based Tomate Jouno have been growing fresh produce since 1888 and their diverse range of pre-packed tomatoes has achieved an enviable reputation for quality, taste and variety.

The accurate, manual packing of tomatoes presents a number of significant challenges, especially varieties that are packed on the vine. Packers need to match speed together with pack weight consistency and quality, whilst complying with EU packing legislation. Excessive giveaway (over-pack) clearly has a direct, negative impact on profitability.

Marco’s Yield Control System has been developed to significantly reduce this giveaway, whilst improving productivity, minimising waste and reducing direct labour overheads. The YCM LineMaster workstations feature clear lights that operators rapidly respond to, effectively de-skilling the packing operation.

Through the use of ingenious software, Marco are the first company to provide such a visual system based on individual fruit weights. The One Fruit, One Segment display significantly simplifies the packing process. Quite simply, operators are visually prompted to add or take out individual fruits to ensure pack weight compliance. The software constantly monitors pack weight trends and makes necessary adjustments in the background. The pre-programmed scaling of the system takes into account different tomato types. 
 
Given the competitive nature of the fresh produce market, typically characterised by the low single digit margins, it is imperative for packers and growers that any productivity-improving investments provide a low-risk, rapid return on investment. In the case of installations such as Jouno, the return on investment calculations show the pay-back time to be nine months or less, based on a reduction in giveaway by 5%.

The company continues to be family owned and Mr Jouno is very pleased with the results from the packhouse installation, “We are very impressed with our Marco installation. Marco’s innovative technology is bringing important changes to the way we pack tomatoes and the system has become an essential part of our packing operation. Prior to this we used conventional scales to check pack weights. Not only was this very laborious, but the process also resulted in consistently high giveaway. Line speeds have now increased significantly and our giveaway is below 1%.
Operator training requirements have also reduced significantly. We expect to see payback for our investment with Marco in less than nine months. This initial installation has been such a success that we are now planning on expanding the Marco system to all of our remaining packing lines.”

Marco are exhibiting at the upcoming PMA Fresh Summit Convention in New Orleans (Booth 778). Visitors to the booth will also be able to obtain free copies of Marco’s informative ‘Guide to Productive Tomato Packing’.

Contact Details
Becky Hart
Marco
Tel: +44 (0)1732 782380
Email: [email protected]
www.marco.co.uk

Publication date: 10/11/2013


FreshPlaza.com

Shopper Sentiment Improves: Report

CHICAGO — Consumer sentiment around grocery shopping is improving, driven by an uptick in the outlook of Millennials, according to the latest quarterly MarketPulse report from Information Resources Inc.

IRI’s Shopper Sentiment Index — which seeks to measure price sensitivity, brand loyalty and spending required to maintain a desired lifestyle — was the highest since the index was launched in the first quarter of 2011. With a benchmark of 100 as of Q1 2011, the latest survey put the Shopper Sentiment Index at 106, up from 103 in the first quarter of 2013.


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The gain was driven mostly by Millennials, who continued to index below average but showed a sharp increase, to 94, in the second quarter. They had been indexing at around 85 since early 2012.

“We have been watching the Millennial segment for some time now, and they have struggled more than most throughout the downturn,” said Susan Viamari, editor of IRI’s Times & Trends report. “The recent uptick during the past couple of months may or may not signify a changing tide, so we’ll certainly be monitoring this group closely in the days and months ahead.”

The report found that 28% of millennials feel their financial situation has improved in the past year, vs. 20% of those aged 25-54 and 16% of those age 55 and older. In addition, 42% of millennials expect their financial position to improve in the coming year, vs. 26% of those aged 35-54 and 17% of those aged 55 and older.

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