Soil & Sea: reports from our producers

Sound Consumer July 2014

Rows of crops

The value of certified organic crops to Washington farmers rose 16 percent in 2010, to a total of $244.6 million, according to a new study conducted by Washington State University (WSU). It also found that the amount of certified organic crop acreage and the number of certified organic farms in Washington state decreased.

WSU has named a new apple from its breeding program “Cosmic Crisp.” It previously was only known by its breeding name, WA 38. “Cosmic” comes from the apple’s tiny spots on the skin that look like starbursts, and “Crisp” is a reference to its firmness and to Honeycrisp, which is one of the apple’s parents.

Greek yogurt reportedly accounted for 44 percent of U.S. yogurt sales in 2013, up from only 4 percent in 2008. The U.S. yogurt market is worth more than $7 billion.

A sudden rise in pesticide drift incidents in Eastern Washington fruit orchards has sickened 60 people from March through May — a typical number for a full year, the Washington State Department of Health said.  

Warming temperatures are exposing arabica coffee beans, the most popular variety, to new pests and diseases, and some agricultural researchers predict arabica will face extinction in a few decades. Robusta coffee — the second-most commonly cultivated bean around the world — survives at lower altitudes and higher temperatures and is more resistant to most diseases. But the taste of robusta is described as too harsh.

Crude oil from the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico may have led to heart defects and premature death for tuna, researchers backed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report.

This looks like a banner year for king salmon. Chinook catches along the West Coast have rebounded steadily since hitting a low of 2,100 tons in 2009. While catches have tripled since then, prices also have increased.

Related Reading

Organic controversy

PCC has sent a letter of protest to the Secretary of Agriculture about significant changes to the voting process for the "sunset" of synthetics in the National Organic Program (NOP).

Producer spotlights: organic cherries

Read and watch a video about LaPierre Farms organic Rainier cherries and River Valley Organics Lapin Cherries. Only in stores for a few weeks!

Eating wild

Since the dawn of agriculture some 5,000 to 12,000 years ago, humans have been choosing to grow sweeter, less fibrous, and usually less nutritious varieties of fruits and vegetables — essentially breeding nutrients out of food.