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Posts Tagged: tomatoes

Grafting tomato transplants could improve taste and yield

A larger assortment of tastier tomatoes could be in Californians' future.
Two UC Cooperative Extension advisors are conducting field research to determine whether grafting tasty tomato plants onto high-performing root stock will increase yield and disease resistance while improving tomato flavor, reported Ezra David Romero on Valley Public Radio.

Romero spoke to Scott Stoddard, the UCCE vegetable crops advisor for Madera and Merced counties, and Margaret Lloyd, the UCCE small farms advisor for Yolo, Solano and Sacramento counties.

Stoddard has planted 3,500 grafted tomato seedlings on a farm north of Madera.

“Now we got them in the field and so approximately 83 days from now, if all goes according to plan, we will be harvesting out here and we will see if we can see some yield differences,” Stoddard said.

Lloyd grafted heirloom tomato varieties onto disease-resistant roots on a quarter acre at UC Davis.

“We're kind of working at this level of finding non-chemical management tools that will help overcome these challenges so they [farmers] can continue to grow these nice heirloom varieties,” says Lloyd.

Both scientists will collect data from their trails to see whether it makes sense for growers to implement the practice on their farms. Romero reported that both agreed consumers could, in time, have a tastier, larger assortment of tomatoes to purchase at farmers markets and stores.

Posted on Monday, July 18, 2016 at 2:20 PM
Tags: Margaret Lloyd (4), Scott Stoddard (10), tomatoes (21)

UC Davis tomatoes provide year-round healthful eating for college students

Chef Bob Walden, right, and Arnulfo Herrera, a cook, show off roasted tomatoes at UC Davis. (photo: Gregory Urquiaga / UC Davis)
Today's dorm food is far superior to the tasteless, over-processed foods of decades past. No more mystery meat or mushy vegetables. Campus dining services across the country are providing a diversity of fresher and healthier foods, much to the delight of food-savvy students who want variety, flavor, and nutritious choices. Well... being students, they don't always make the healthiest choices, but educational programs at campus dorms are turning the tide toward more-healthful eating.

At the same time, chefs and food buyers at universities, particularly the University of California, are selecting for high-quality fruits and vegetables, produced locally and sustainably. Universities with strong food sustainability programs are rightfully proud of what they're doing to educate students about food production, health, and nutrition. UC Davis Dining Services prioritizes the purchase of locally grown food (ideally within a 50-mile radius of campus). Most University of California campuses have similar programs.

At UC Davis, fresh roma tomatoes are picked each August from the 300-acre Russell Ranch, part of the campus's Agricultural Sustainability Institute, then processed within hours by campus Dining Services to provide year-round tomato sauce for pizza, pasta, and ratatouille. All told, 10,000 pounds of tomatoes are processed during a two-week period in August. About 29 percent of the total food served in the campus's residential dining halls is from local, organic or sustainable sources.

(courtesy photo: UC Davis Agricultural Sustainability Institute)
The tomatoes grown at Russell Ranch are part of a long-term academic research project that examines factors such as farming methods, irrigation needs, crop rotations, yield, and nutritional content. At the end of the growing season, some of the many tons of tomatoes are purchased by Dining Services at market value.

Emma Torbert, an academic coordinator at the UC Davis Agricultural Sustainability Institute, noted, “Connecting the food system to the research is really interesting. A lot of times there is confusion about where our food is coming from. The more people are educated, the more educated decisions they can make.”

Many UC Davis faculty and staff are so impressed with the food choices at the dorms that they purchase individual meal tickets and enjoy lunches made with the campus-grown tomatoes, herbs, and other vegetables, all of which are part of the daily food array. Public dinners are also offered periodically at the dorms so that community members can sit amongst students to taste and learn about the sustainability programs in the dorms.

Additional Information:

  • Video: Farm to Table, UC Davis Tomatoes; 2010
  • Slide show of this year's UC Davis tomato harvesting and processing system; 2014
  • Sustainable Foodservice Progress Report 2014, UC Davis Dining Services
  • Two videos of UC Davis students who work at the Student Farm to produce food, including one on tomato sauce production
  • “Tomatoes: Safe methods to store, preserve, and enjoy.” UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, free publication
Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2014 at 11:11 AM

Herbicide resistance top issue for farmers, researchers

UC Davis weed scientist Lynn Sosnoskie prepares bindweed plants for herbicide research

Here's an article by Todd Fitchette| Western Farm Press | July 17, 2014   Weed resistance issues are nothing new for university researchers and the farmers they advise. Nevertheless, science continues to partner with agriculture to find ways to address the challenges of herbicide resistance...

Posted on Monday, July 21, 2014 at 11:29 AM

Can You See the Leaf?

A leaffooted bug on a tomato. This is Leptoglossus phyllopus, as identified by senior museum scientist Steve Heydon of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Once you've seen a leaffooted bug (genus Leptoglossus), you'll never forget it. If you look closely, you'll see a leaflike structure on each hind leg.  It's especially noticeable when the bug is on a brightly colored tomato or pomegranate. Lately we've been seeing a lot of leaffooted bugs...

A leaffooted bug on a tomato. This is Leptoglossus phyllopus, as identified by senior museum scientist Steve Heydon of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A leaffooted bug on a tomato. This is Leptoglossus phyllopus, as identified by senior museum scientist Steve Heydon of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A leaffooted bug on a tomato. This is Leptoglossus phyllopus, as identified by senior museum scientist Steve Heydon of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Two's company in this photo of two leaffooted bugs. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Two's company in this photo of two leaffooted bugs. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Two's company in this photo of two leaffooted bugs. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Red nymph of leaffooted bug. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Red nymph of leaffooted bug. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Red nymph of leaffooted bug. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Nymph of leaffooted bug checks out it surroundings. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Nymph of leaffooted bug checks out it surroundings. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Nymph of leaffooted bug checks out it surroundings. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Friday, June 27, 2014 at 5:52 PM
Tags: leaffooted bug (3), Leptoglossus (1), pomegranates (7), tomatoes (21), UC IPM (40)

Dryland farming yields small amounts of very flavorful produce

Dry farming tomatoes yields about 4 tons of fruit per acre; conventional growers may harvest 40 tons per acre.
Dry farming in California results in lower yield and smaller fruit, but some say the concentration of sugar and flavor make the produce a sought-after specialty crop, according to a report by Alastair Bland published on the NPR Blog The Salt.

Bland spoke to a number of experts who believe withholding irrigation produces a superior product.

"Once you taste a dry-farmed tomato, you'll never want anything else," said Jen Lynne of Happy Boy Farms.

"Dense and really flavorful" locally grown dry-farmed potatoes are available at Whole Foods Market in Sebastopol, said produce buyer Allan Timpe.

Paul Vossen, University of California Cooperative Extension adviser in Sonoma County, says many people who dry farm do so only because they have no water with which to irrigate their land.

"They do it because they have to, and so they'll make it part of their marketing strategy," he says.

Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 2:30 PM
Tags: Paul Vossen (16), tomatoes (21)

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