News Roundup: May 10-16

By on May 16, 2014

News Roundup logoEach week we round up the latest N.C. agricultural headlines from news outlets across the state and country, as well as excerpts from the stories. Click on the links to go straight to the full story.

  • “Asheville area food sales boom,” Asheville Citizen-Times: Five years ago, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a Census of Agriculture report painting a grim picture of local farms. Between 2002-07, the 23 westernmost counties of North Carolina lost 679 farms, or 6 percent of the previous total of just over 11,300. But the recently released 2012 Census of Agriculture tells a completely different story. In the last five years, the WNC farm landscape has undergone a visible and dramatic transformation, with local food sales showing significant growth. …
  •  “NC sturgeon farm is the only US source of Russian caviar,” Charlotte Observer: At Atlantic Caviar & Sturgeon, the workers like to joke that they wrestle with dinosaurs. On a recent weekday morning, it’s literally true. The three unmarked warehouses, out in the country surrounded by cornfields, are filled with double rows of waist-deep pools filled with sturgeon, fish so unchanged for thousands of years that they are considered prehistoric. …
  • “Help farmers by donating pick-your-own strawberries, get a shot at $500 prize,” Salisbury Post: One of the most bountiful strawberry seasons in recent memory is in full swing across much of North Carolina, but the bumper crop could mean sweet berries left rotting in the fields. The state’s strawberry association is encouraging people to donate berries to those less fortunate. High strawberry yields in a shortened time-frame are posing significant challenges to growers, according to the N.C. Strawberry Association. Due to a major shift in climatic conditions this year, the season has started later than usual, said Dr. Barclay Poling, executive director of the N.C. Strawberry Association. “It’s anyone’s guess on how long the season will last. We’re seeing unprecedented volume during the first week,” Poling said in a news release. “It is a phenomenon we haven’t seen before.” …
  • “Exports keeping N.C. tobacco crop growing,” Wilmington StarNews: It is estimated that China has 350 million smokers, more than the total U.S. population. And as it turns out, the growing middle class in that country prefers the hard-to-beat flavor and aroma of the U.S.-grown leaf. That’s good news for the North Carolina tobacco farmer, with this state responsible for nearly 80 percent of the country’s production of flue-cured tobacco. “The Chinese smoker wants a higher quality cigarette,” said Richard Reich, assistant commissioner at the N.C. Department of Agriculture. “Worldwide, the Southeast Asia market is a great opportunity for us for expansion of our international market,” added W.K. Collins, senior director of development at the N.C. Tobacco Foundation, Inc., associated with N.C. State University. …
  •  “NC tobacco farms grow in size, shrink in number,” Winston-Salem Journal: The roar of a tractor creeping down a furrowed field off Louisburg Road in Wake Forest breaks with the occasional “Hey!” from a farm worker and flurry of whistles from his companions that call the operation to a halt. Workers quickly clear clogged soil from the implement and resume their work: transplanting tiny tobacco plants from a greenhouse to a field farmed by Jackie Thompson. “We need for it to stop raining right now so we can get those plants in the field,” Thompson said last week. Before they mold in his greenhouse, he is rushing to get his million seedlings into the ground, at 5,500 plants per acre. “It’s sort of a race,” he said. Fewer farmers are running that race in North Carolina. …
  •  “10 ways to make the most of farmers markets,” News & Observer: If you think all farmers markets look alike, you’re as out of touch as a rotary-dial telephone. Drive across North Carolina in summer and you’ll find a big variety of market styles, from a few trucks pulled up in a parking lot to urban spaces surrounded by skyscrapers. Thanks to the continuing interest in locally grown food, there are grower-only markets, with rules about where the food is grown and who can sell it, and markets that truck in food from all over. There are weekday markets and Saturday-only markets. Diane Daniel of Durham guesses she went to at least 50 spots all over the state, “from teeny to huge,” while working on her book “Farm Fresh North Carolina,” a guide for farm-related travel. …
  • “Moore County to participate in Dig Into Local Restaurant Week in July,” Fayetteville Observer: Moore County is one of 10 counties across the state set to participate in the first Dig Into Local Restaurant Week. The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is leading the initiative, which will tap into a growing demand for locally-sourced food. “Dig Into Local Restaurant Week is not your typical restaurant week promotion,” Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said in a press release. “Instead of fixed-price menus, you will enjoy ‘fixed-source’ menus where each item is tied to a North Carolina product or ingredient. …
  • “Troxler calls Project Haystack a ‘bad idea,” Burlington Times-News: Those who oppose Project Haystack development plans at the eastern Guilford County Prison Farm have State Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler on their side. Troxler visited the prison farm on Howerton Road Wednesday for a press conference, where he was joined by dairy farmer George Teague, Guilford County Sheriff B.J. Barnes and Guilford County Commissioner Alan Branson. About 60 local residents, including members of Public Lands For Agricultural and Community Enrichment, welcomed Troxler. …
  • Human rights group says children working NC tobacco fields,” WNCN: An international human rights group issued a report Wednesday claiming children as young as 7 years old are working in North Carolina tobacco fields. An international human rights group issued a report Wednesday claiming children as young as 7 years old are working in North Carolina tobacco fields. …
Print Friendly, PDF & Email