Spokes and SnapsPosted on May 12, 2008
It's Bike To Work week! We're big supporters of physical activity here at The FruitGuys. Dan challenged the office to competitive commuting: Bridget is racking up 15 to 30 miles a day, Scott's right behind her, Erik is waiting like a cheetah in the slipstream, and Dan predicts he will crush the competition with an end-of-week 50-mile turbo commute. Visit our friends at the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition for information on May 15th's Bike To Work Day event. Or do a search for "bicycle coalition" + your city to see what bicycling events are happening near you!
Cold Snap Crop Damage: Many of you who remember how tasty they were last fall will be saddened to hear that a recent cold snap took out 100% of farmer Chris Bierwagen's Arkansas Black apples, which were in the fragile fruit-set growing stage. I asked him what happens to farmers like him when they lose a crop. "The U.S. Department of Agriculture runs a risk management department that is focused on abating risk due to crop loss for farmers," Bierwagen told me. "This insurance program varies by county. Because I live in Placer County, which does not have large-scale production of apples, I couldn't qualify for USDA risk management insurance. What they offer instead is a non-insured assistance program which basically provides minimal cost coverage if you lose at least 30 percent of the crop. They then calculate your cost for producing and give you a small percentage to cover these costs. It doesn't cover the lost income, just a small piece of the investment you've already made." I asked Bierwagen to explain farm subsidies and how they affect small farmers. "Many people," he said, "hear about farm subsidies. These generally apply to larger commodities - grain, cotton, and other large ag-business crops. Most of the small farm specialty crops in California and other regions - fruits, nuts and veggies - are not supported in any way with subsidies." Chris paused a moment and then said, "My dad always said that it freezes in everybody's business once in a while. Everybody gets their turn."
That may be true, but it seems unfair that small farmers who grow unique and heirloom products are less protected from risk than large-commodity ones.
New Videos: Karla, our most awesome and acclaimed of documentarians, has produced two new videos for our website. See the installation of the bee hives we donated to Torrey Olsen's farm, and a short feature on Blue Moon Organics, an Aptos, California organic strawberry farm that provides great berries at this time of year.
Check out this week's mixes.
Enjoy and be fruitful!
Enjoy and be fruitful!