There’s a lot of great stuff about this time of year. One of the best, and maybe the least known, is the availability of the Pick Your Own Farm. Also called U-Pick or PYO, these farms are wonderful places to take your family. In some cities, these businesses are referred to as agri-business, basically business that occurs on a farm.
In the United States, picking your own berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries), apples, and vegetables is most common. Pumpkin patches, often with associated corn mazes, hay rides and wagon rides are common in the fall. Urban legend has it that You Pick Farms started after WWI, when labor was hard to come by and farmers were short on workers.
Farmer’s markets are markets that allow customers to purchase locally grown, flavorful, farm-fresh, organic produce. This type of market is great because it comes straight from the ground to your hands. This type of market allows farmers to develop personal relationships with the buyers and the consumers can show their loyalty with the farmers. The setup to the market varies, but typically it takes place once or twice a week at a designated public place. Some markets even make it more of a social get-together by providing live entertainment. (more…)
The internet has been a buzz with talk of conspiracy, genetically-modified foods, contamination, restrictions on organic farming, and backyard gardens being banned. Recent recalls and contamination of peanut butter, pistachios, spinach, and tomatoes and concerns about outbreaks of bird flu and mad cow disease seem to be driving three pieces of legislation that have been proposed and referred to committees. It has been suggested that these contamination events were stunts to ease the way for these freedom-restricting bills. Others suggest that the terminology used for organic products and food labels do need some clarification. The fear and outcry seem to result from the vague and confusing nature of the legislation.
With names like the Tracing and Recalling Agricultural Contamination Everywhere Act, the Food and Drug Administration Globalization Act, the Food Safety and Tracking Improvement Act, and the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 it’s no wonder there is confusion about what is and is not being regulated, to what extent, and by who. After reading through HR 875, the proposed bill most likely to come to a vote, I can testify that there is not much more clarity to be found in the actual legislation than there is in all the alarmist blogs and email forwarding. (more…)