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Showing posts from January, 2024

Melons and Salmonella - what we know about the outbreak

  Annalisa Hultberg, Extension Educator, food safety  Cantaloupes and Salmonella bacteria are in the news, as a major foodborne illness outbreak and recall has been ongoing related to this crop. Here is what we know. What happened? As of January 19th, 407 people in 44 states (including 29 in Minnesota) were infected with one strain of Salmonella.  158 (44%) of these cases resulted in hospitalization. 64 people in Canada were also sickened, and 7 deaths were reported.  Whole Genome Sequencing analysis showed that clinical isolates from ill people in Canada were genetically related to the ill people in the United States. FDA’s traceback investigation identified Sofia Produce of Nogales, AZ; Crown Jewels Produce of Fresno, CA; and Dulcinea of Fresno, CA as suppliers of the potentially contaminated “Malichita” or “Rudy” brand cantaloupes.  Illnesses started on dates ranging from October 15, 2023, to December 25, 2023.  As of January 19th, the CDC and FDA have announced that the outbreak i

Statewide dormant pruning workshops for cold hardy grapes happening February-March, 2024

 Madeline Wimmer- Food Systems, fruit production From growing grapes in a vineyard setting to your very own backyard or garden, dormant pruning is the first step to managing grapevine growth and productivity. No matter your background or previous experience with pruning grapes, we invite you to join us for a grape pruning workshop happening this year throughout Minnesota from February and March.  During this workshop, participants can expect to learn about the basics of grapevine anatomy, pruning techniques, and will have time to practice hands-on pruning with assistance from workshop educators. Both a detailed handout on pruning grapes and managing grapes in a backyard setting will be available for participants as well as time to ask questions and learn about the vineyard where the workshop is hosted.  The same workshop will be hosted at four different locations, dates, and times: Saturday, February 17th from 1:00PM-3:00PM at Chankaska Winery in Kasota, MN. Saturday, February 24th fro

MN Farm to School Roadshow workshop series: Building Farm to School Relationships

Are you a Minnesota farmer or producer who is looking to expand your market opportunities? Are you a school or early care provider who would like to incorporate more locally grown food in your meal program? The first-ever Minnesota Farm to School Roadshow will bring together producers, school nutrition professionals and early care providers to make new connections and learn how to build successful relationships. This series of in-person events will include training and facilitated networking opportunities. There will also be a session for attendees to contribute ideas and input for the MN Farm to Kids strategic plan. Attend a session near you! The Minnesota Farm to School Roadshow is free and organized by Renewing the Countryside, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota Department of Education, and University of Minnesota Extension. All sessions will close at capacity so register early ! Dates and Locations for in-person events: January 30th - The Good Acre (Falcon Heights,

Are you selling to schools or food hubs? FSMA Produce Safety Rule - reminders about what farms need to comply

Annalisa Hultberg, Extension Educator, food safety Are you starting to sell more produce to farm to school programs, food hubs, or wholesale distributors? These sales can impact your status under the FSMA Produce Safety Rule. That is because where  you sell your food, along with the total annual food sales from your farm, determines your coverage status under the FSMA Produce Safety Rule. Read on to ensure you know your status for this important federal food safety law. Will my farm need to comply with the FSMA Produce Safety Rule? Follow along with these questions to determine which of three categories your farm falls under for the FSMA Produce Safety Rule and take the necessary steps to comply. First category - Excluded If your farm’s adjusted average annual produce* sales during the previous 3-year period were less than $25,000**, your farm is not subject to the FSMA Produce Safety Rule. You will not have a routine inspection and do not need to keep records for the rule.  Attending

Soil health and nutrient management on diversified vegetable farms: What we learned from studying soils at 100 Minnesota farms

To understand soils on small-scale diversified vegetable farms, Extension educators visited 100 farms in the spring of 2023 to test fields and high tunnels. Tests included soil nutrients, physical properties, and soil health metrics. Here are some of the key things we learned: High tunnel soils can become more alkaline over time, limiting nutrient uptake in plants We started with four hypotheses for why high tunnel soils might become less productive over time—a common complaint among growers. One idea was that salt gradually builds up in tunnels, causing toxicity problems with plants. Another was that nutrients and organic matter might become depleted over time. Both of these hypotheses were wrong. 98% of tunnels and 100% of fields were non-saline, and in general, high tunnels had more organic matter and nutrients than fields (often a lot more). We did see two other things: the soil pH (measure of acidity) in high tunnels was significantly higher than in fields, and it tended to increa

Looking for pesticide recertification credits? Get them this Valentine's Day on Zoom.

Marissa Schuh, IPM Extension Educator  If you have a commercial (applying pesticides for hire), noncommercial (using RUPs on property owned or controlled by your employer), or private pesticide applicator license  (apply RUPs to land or sites they own, rent, or manage for the production of an ag commodity), UMN Extension is offering an online recertification training focused on fruit and vegetable pest updates and pesticide information. Photo by Pixabay When: February 14; 7:45-11:45 (private applicators) or 7:45-3:35 (CNC applicators) Where: Zoom (will need working microphone, camera, and sound on a laptop, desktop, or tablet) What: See the agenda here Workshop fee:  $75 for private, $145 for CNC  Registration deadline: February 8th  CNC registration Private applicator registration For information on this and other recertification courses, as well as registration information, see the Pesticide Safety and Environmental Education webpage . Please read the information carefully, there are