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October 4, 2013 | By Mary MacVean
Ernest Miller, who teaches canning and preserving, is an encyclopedia on the topic. Among the many things he told us while we made our first jam and jelly: Some pomegranate trees in California likely date to the days of the mission priests; pectin is a carbohydrate that makes apples crunchy; the word marmalade comes from the word for quince in Portuguese; and jam was first made in Roman times. We made pomegranate jelly (made from juice, should be translucent) and plum jam (jelly with fruit pieces)
September 27, 2013 | By David Pierson
Walk past the signs for Krispy Kreme sloppy joes. Head toward the massive servings of curly fries. Turn left at the stall for chocolate-covered bacon. Out on the edge of the L.A. County fairgrounds in Pomona is a 1-acre space packed with Mother Nature's answer to extreme food. There you might find the Australian finger lime, a pickle-shaped green citrus whose pulp looks like golden caviar. Nearby is the Buddha's hand plant, whose tentacled fruit dangles from its spiny branches like a canary-colored octopus.
August 27, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
Just when it seemed there was no way for Starbucks products to become more ubiquitous in your life, the coffee giant announced it will start selling its Evolution Fresh juice and Evolution Harvest line of snacks in Whole Food stores across the country. By the end of the year, Starbucks plans to have its Evolution Fresh products in 8,000 Starbucks and grocery stores nationwide, according to a release from the coffee retailer. The juices, which are cold-pressed and organic "whenever possible," according to the release, will be available in 14 flavors at Whole Foods stores, including the mysteriously named "Organic Ruby Roots" and "Organic Sweet Burn.
August 23, 2013 | By David Pierson
The gig: Alex Weiser, 49, of Weiser Family Farms grows some of the Southland's most sought-after fruits and vegetables on three farms in Kern and San Bernardino counties. Weiser potatoes can be found on the vaunted Providence restaurant menu in Hollywood. His melons are picked ripe and sold at Whole Foods Markets. You can find him every Wednesday and Saturday at the Santa Monica Farmers Market. Family business : Weiser is co-owner of a family operation started by his father, Sid Weiser.
August 6, 2013 | By Monte Morin
Feared and despised by California's $43.5-billion agricultural industry, the Mediterranean fruit fly is seen as a potentially devastating foreign invader who routinely hitchhikes across the border in smuggled fruit. But a new study argues that the infamous Medfly has established permanent residence in the Golden State - even after decades of diligent spraying, trapping and biological attacks by state officials, who say they have eradicated the pest. "The invasion is complete and it's irreversible," said study coauthor James Carey, an entomologist at UC Davis.
August 3, 2013 | By Lee Romney
SAN JOSE - Dario Lerma peered over a front fence in his neighborhood at verdant garden beds bursting with tomatoes, squash and sunflowers. The retired Santa Clara County worker has lived in this pocket of central San Jose for a quarter of a century. So when San Jose State teamed with the city to offer residents a hand in improving the onetime gang haven, Lerma was on board. Since 2005, thousands of students have added their intellectual and physical muscle to the city's resources - improving life in a cluster of predominantly immigrant neighborhoods while nurturing community leaders.
July 31, 2013 | By David Pierson
It's not easy peddling fresh fruit to a nation of junk-food addicts. But in rural Kern County, David Cain is working to win the stomachs and wallets of U.S. grocery shoppers. Cain is a fruit breeder. His latest invention is called the Cotton Candy grape. Bite into one of these green globes and the taste triggers the unmistakable sensation of eating a puffy, pink ball of spun sugar. By marrying select traits across thousands of nameless trial grapes, Cain and other breeders have developed patented varieties that pack enough sugar they may as well be Skittles on the vine.
July 19, 2013 | By S. Irene Virbila
As if there's not enough wine in the world, student researchers at National University of Singapore have figured out how to make wine from papaya - and, get this, the notoriously smelly, yet curiously addictive, durian fruit. Durian, you might recall, is the fruit so obnoxiously stinky, in Indonesia, it's banned from hotel rooms - and planes. My first response is, what does a wine made from the tropical fruit smell and taste like? According to a story from , “the research group expects the papaya wine to be well received by tropical wine lovers.” Christine Lee, a PhD student from the NUS Food Science & Technology Programme, said: "There's no papaya wine available in the tropical Asian region, so this is the oomph factor.
July 12, 2013
Luther Burbank was one of the most prolific plant breeders ever, responsible for developing the russet potato that bears his name as well as more than 800 varieties of fruits and vegetables. But while he is probably best remembered for that potato--it and its progeny are still the most widely planted varieties in the world--fruit lovers would argue that his crowning achievement was the Santa Rosa plum. Introduced in 1906, the Santa Rosa is still the gold standard for farmers market plum flavor, though it has fallen out of favor commercially.
July 10, 2013 | By Chris Barton
Is there an artist as well-suited to record an album inspired by Big Sur as Bill Frisell? Having spent much of his long career working a fertile seam in the jazz world that shares ground with Americana and folk, Frisell and his often twang-dusted tone seems tailor-made for sweeping vistas and pastoral wonders. Stemming from a 2012 commission by the Monterey Jazz Festival, “Big Sur” is the result of Frisell holing himself up in a cabin at the 860-acre Glen Deven Ranch and writing music for wherever this natural muse took him. Recorded with a blend of the guitarist's most recent projects in the string-laden 858 Quartet and drummer for his Beautiful Dreamers trio Rudy Royston, the resulting 19-track suite approaches a lush, near-orchestral sweep on the strength of violist Eyvind Kang, cellist Hank Roberts and Jenny Scheinman on violin.
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