GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Farmer’s markets have been growing in popularity over the past decade, as consumers discover the benefits of buying farm-fresh food from local growers. However, increasing popularity has also raised food safety concerns for produce sold at farmer’s markets.
The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is hosting a one-day workshop from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday, April 10. The workshop will be held at the Power Plant Business Incubator, 2nd floor training room, 405 SE Osceola Ave., Ocala, Florida 34471.
Assistant professor Soo Ahn, in the food science and human nutrition department, and other UF/IFAS faculty will host classes on what matters most to consumers, food safety issues, safety guidelines for growers and vendors, and how to ensure products are in compliance.
Cost of attendance is $40 through March 31 for early registration; $50 starting April 1. Click here to register online. For more information, contact Soo Ahn at firstname.lastname@example.org or 352-294-3909.
By: Beverly James, 352-273-3566, email@example.com
The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS works to bring science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents. Visit the UF/IFAS web site at ifas.ufl.edu and follow us on social media at @UF_IFAS.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida peaches make for a succulent snack, say consumers surveyed by a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher.
That’s encouraging news for Florida producers trying to expand their reach, not only in the Sunshine State but nationally, said Joy Rumble, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of agricultural education and communication.
“I was surprised to see that one of the most common ways people reported eating peaches was as a snack,” Rumble said. “I thought that people would be consuming them as part of a meal such as lunch or in a dish such as cobbler or as a topping, like on yogurt. This finding is encouraging for the Florida peach industry because the Florida peach tends to be smaller than those produced elsewhere. There is an opportunity to position and market the Florida peach as the perfect snack.”
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — How’s that New Year’s resolution holding up? If you resolved to eat healthier in 2017, you have a second chance during National Nutrition Month, which runs through March.
The theme for this year’s observance is “Put your best fork forward,” according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Experts from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences have a few tips to help you get started.
“Putting your best fork forward means making every bite count and getting the most out of our ‘food investment’ — a forkful of salad gives us a lot more than a forkful of pie,” said Nan Jensen, family and consumer sciences agent in Pinellas County with the UF/IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program.
“As we celebrate National Nutrition Month, I would encourage everyone to eat a variety of foods from all food groups,” said Lacey Corrick, education and training specialist for the UF/IFAS Extension Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP).
Corrick and Jensen recommend starting with small changes that will improve your health over time.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Always wanted to take the kids fishing, but can’t find the time? The University of Florida IFAS School of Forest Resources and Conservation will host Family Fishing Day from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 18.
The free, monthly event will be held at 7922 NW 71st Street Gainesville, Florida, 32653. Organizers will provide bait and tackle. Also, there will be a complimentary hot dog lunch.
“It’s a great opportunity to get families together on the side of the pond fishing together,” said Chuck Cichra, professor and fisheries UF/IFAS Extension specialist. “Also, it’s an opportunity to get kids outdoors away from computer games and TV sets, and introduce them to the sport of fishing.”
The event features a raffle for a chance to win stuffed tackle boxes. Proceeds support companion program Fishing for Success, a UF/IFAS program that shares the marvels of aquatic sciences with schoolchildren.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — As we head into allergy season, you may feel less likely to grab a hanky and sneeze. That’s because new University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences research shows a probiotic combination might help reduce hay fever symptoms, if it’s taken during allergy season.
Many published studies have shown a probiotic’s ability to regulate the body’s immune response to allergies, but not all of the probiotics show a benefit, UF/IFAS researchers say.
“Not all probiotics work for allergies. This one did,” said Jennifer Dennis, a doctoral student in the UF/IFAS food science and human nutrition department and first author on the latest study.
JAY, Fla. — Do you know where your grits come from? Now, you can buy locally grown grits and cornmeal, and even visit the farm where the corn is grown.
The University of Florida IFAS West Florida Research and Education Center near Jay, Florida, is selling grits and cornmeal from corn grown and ground on its farm. The Gator Grind products are processed at the UF/IFAS West Florida REC and packaged for consumers there.
“We grow the corn, harvest it, put in the grain bin, clean it and grind it in a stone grist mill,” said Wes Wood, center director. “Visitors can come out to the UF/IFAS West Florida REC for one of our field days and see how grits and cornmeal are produced.”
Faculty at the UF/IFAS West Florida REC have been researching corn for decades, Wood said. These scientists conduct trials to determine the best corn varieties for the region, along with optimization of management variables such as soil fertility and pest control, he said.
“We conduct research that helps farmers grow the best crop possible under Florida Panhandle conditions,” Wood said.
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension faculty want to help you relieve some pressure – in this case, by lowering your blood pressure. What better timing? February is National Heart Health Month.
Those with high blood pressure risk suffering from heart disease and or a stroke, both leading causes of death in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 75 million American adults – or 32 percent — have high blood pressure, according to the CDC.
“Managing blood pressure is an important component of heart health, for both men and women,” said Linda Bobroff, a UF/IFAS professor in the department of family, youth and community sciences and an Extension nutrition specialist.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — With Valentine’s Day around the corner, you might be thinking about revving things up by eating a few oysters. We’ve all heard that oysters are aphrodisiacs, but researchers with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences say there’s more to the story.
“Oysters might be perceived as an aphrodisiac because they have a high proportion of glycogen, a form of stored carbohydrate that can give you energy,” said Peter Frederick, a research professor with the UF/IFAS department of wildlife ecology and conservation.
Leslie Sturmer, a regional UF/IFAS Extension agent specializing in molluscan shellfish aquaculture, says the high nutritional content of oysters helps people feel good, hence the reputation for being an aphrodisiac. “Oysters have a high zinc content, have very little fat and are full of essential vitamins and minerals,” she said. “So, consumers who eat oysters regularly may attribute extra energy to the oysters.”
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — When you bite into a Florida strawberry for Valentine’s Day or National Strawberry Day on Feb. 27, you savor sweetness and juice. That’s what you’ll find in all varieties bred by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers. The latest, ‘Florida Beauty,’ (U.S. PPAF) lives up to the UF/IFAS tradition.
As National Strawberry Day approaches on Feb. 27, we can look forward to even better-tasting fruit from UF/IFAS breeder Vance Whitaker as he tries to help Florida’s $360-million-a-year industry.
‘Florida Beauty,’ a collaboration between UF/IFAS and an Australian scientist, is in its early stages, said Whitaker, an associate professor of horticultural sciences at the UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Balm, Florida.
Video available here: http://bit.ly/2jAXzTi
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Some consumers crave tastier tomatoes than those they buy at the supermarket, so a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher led a global team of scientists that found chemical combinations for better flavor.
In a study published today in the journal Science, Harry Klee, a UF/IFAS professor of horticultural sciences, led an international research team that included scientists from China, Israel and Spain. Researchers identified chemicals that contribute to tomato flavor.
Step one was to find out which of the hundreds of chemicals in a tomato contribute the most to taste.
Then, Klee said, they asked, “what’s wrong with the modern tomatoes?” They lack sufficient sugars and volatile chemicals critical to better flavor. Those traits have been lost during the past 50 years because breeders have not had the tools to routinely screen for flavor, Klee said.