White Pigeon, Mich., is home to fewer than 2,000 people, but the town in southwest Michigan now boasts a state-of-the-art potato packing facility.
Fresh Solution Farms started packing potatoes in September, and opened its doors for a grand opening celebration in November. Hundreds of suppliers and partners that made the project possible attended the event, watching as potatoes were pulled from storage and run all the way through to end up in five-pound polybags. The plant is more than 100,000 square feet and can move as many as one million hundredweight a year.
Finding Fresh Solutions
The idea for a grower-owned fresh packing facility in Michigan started just 14 months ago with six investors Walther Farms, Three Rivers, Mich.; Sandyland Farms, Howard City, Mich; Eugene Miller; Michaels Potatoes, Baroda, Mich.; Sterman Masser, Valley View, Pa.; and Basin Gold Coop, Pasco, Wash. One of the grower-investors wanted
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With a Democratic president taking control and stronger Democratic majorities in Congress, does immigration reform for agricultural workers stand a chance this year? Next year?
The short answer, according to people who follow the issue, is maybe.
I wish I had a crystal ball, said Nancy Foster, president of the U.S. Apple Association.
No one has a crystal ball, and no one can predict what Congress will do in the next year or two, but there is guarded optimism among supporters of immigration reform those who seek some sort of legal status for Americas illegal immigrants (including farm workers).
Theres optimism, but a bit of worry, too. President Obama has expressed support for some form of immigration reform, but that issue, like many others, will probably be put on the back burner while he and Congress deal with the countrys economic problems.
The best chance we have of getting
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The influx of residential developments into predominantly agricultural areas can create friction between growers and their new neighbors. Its a problem that has long been occurring in California, but is becoming more common even in more rural states.
The chip-producing area around Hastings, Fla., has seen acreage disappear as more houses pop up. In 2007, a group of students tested the air around a local elementary school, and the results prompted the students to call the Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA), which released the results of its own air quality study in September. The group, which is opposed to the use of pesticides, found endosulfan, diazinon, trifluralin and chlorothalonil in the air and is calling for the areas farmers to use organic methods, mandatory notification of pesticide use and pesticide-free zones around schools and other sensitive sites.
The report indicates that the most
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The now-defunct restaurant chain I worked at in high school had one potato product the baked potato. Not even the french fries were from potatoes; they were sweet potato fries.
The bulk potatoes would show up in large sacks from the produce supplier and would be baked and placed in a steamer on the short order line along with the salad and soup ingredients which meant servers had to prepare the baked potatoes when they were ordered. That led to a wide variation in customer experience: One server might put a large scoop of sour cream, a little butter and some bacon bits, but I like baked potatoes with very little sour cream, a bit of butter and a good-sized handful of bacon bits, so thats how my customers received them. Come to think of it, I may have had something to do
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