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Posts Tagged: Richard Molinar

Demand increases for Asian vegetables

A snake gourd, center, is one of the more unusual Asian vegetables grown in the valley. (Photo: Brenda Dawson)
Rising demand for Asian vegetables in urban areas of California is creating an improved market for produce grown by the San Joaquin Valley's Asian farmers, reported Yu Wei in the San Francisco-based China Daily.

Richard Molinar, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Fresno County, told the reporter that demand is driving increased cultivation of Asian vegetables in Fresno County.

"We have around 50 to 75 Chinese farmers here in Fresno County and over 2,000 acres of Chinese crops selling locally as well as nationwide," Molinar said.

The article noted that UC Cooperative Extension offers advice and services to these growers.

"In addition to providing them with technical support, we also help those farmers to find new marketing opportunities," Molinar said.

Posted on Wednesday, March 27, 2013 at 10:17 AM

UC scientists studying 'baffling' pomegranate ailment

A mysterious sudden crippling or death of pomegranate trees may be due to cold temperatures, said a story in Western Farm Press.

Three farmers and Themis Michiliades, UC Davis plant pathologist based at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, agreed that low temperatures have a lot to do with the problem. Michailides cited an Iranian research paper that showed similar cold snap damage. Michailides and Richard Molinar, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor in Fresno County, said damage from dieback this year was more common in sandier soils, perhaps because heavier soils hold moisture.

A pomegranate with black heart looks normal from the outside.
Writer Dennis Pollock reported on the problem in his article about a recent pomegranate field day at Kearney. At the field day, Michailides also reported on "black heart" of pomegranate, caused by Altenaria fungus, and cankers caused by species that include Neofusicoccum mediterraneum.

Claude Phené, a retired USDA-ARS researcher, discussed a two-year-old pomegranate irrigation and fertigation trial at Kearney.

Posted on Wednesday, September 5, 2012 at 1:39 PM

Western Farm Press runs 1,000-word story on Kearney blueberry event

The annual Blueberry Open House at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center last month warranted lengthy coverage by Western Farm Press.

Freelance writer Dennis Pollock reported that Manuel Jimenez, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Tulare County, a small-scale farming expert, walked among the mature blueberry plants at Kearney, describing their good points and bad points.

"The perfect blueberry would be one that is big, firm, sweet, easy to harvest and grows in high pH (soil conditions)," he said.

At the event, Richard Molinar, UCCE advisor in Fresno County, small-scale farming, conducted a blueberry tasting, allowing those who attended to vote for their favorite three varieties. He said that variety isn't the only factor impacting flavor.

"Flavor is also affected by weather, soil factors, plant nutrition and irrigation frequency," Molinar said.

Jimenez introduced growers to two new research projects in blueberries:

  • Jimenez and Larry Schwankl, Kearney-based UCCE irrigation specialist in the UC Davis Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, have teamed to study the effects of varying irrigation levels on blueberries.

  • Jimenez has grafted popular blueberry varieties onto the roots of farkleberry (Viccinium abroreum), which has greater tolerance of alkaline soils like those found in the San Joaquin Valley. By reducing or eliminating soil and water acidification, using the alternate rootstock may provide a significant cut in production costs.

Manuel Jimenez leads a tour of the 15-year-old blueberry research plot.
Manuel Jimenez leads a tour of the 15-year-old blueberry research plot.

Posted on Friday, June 8, 2012 at 10:35 AM

Chandler strawberries get attention

UC strawberry varieties — Chandler in particular — was the topic of a Los Angeles Times article by David Karp.

According to the article, Chandler was introduced in 1983 and was dominant in Southern California production in the late '80s and early '90s, before being surpassed by other varieties. Chandler was bred by Victor Voth and Royce Bringhurst of the University of California.

This year, a well-known strawberry grower among Southern California farmers markets has resumed growing the Chandler variety. Harry's Berries otherwise grows Gaviota and Seascape varieties, both also developed by the UC strawberry breeding program, but will be bringing Chandler berries to markets this year.

4-H Million Trees Project shelters Pacifica Gardens with natives and fruit trees
The Pacifica Tribune

4-H volunteers continue to plant trees for the 4-H Million Trees program, which was started in Pacifica by 4-H member Laura Webber. Reporter Jane Northrop covered 4-H volunteers planting hedge trees at Pacifica Gardens recently.

So far, the paper reports, the program has seen at least 41,000 children plant 350,000 trees.

The program has spurred many 4-H members to propose tree-planting projects at nearby schools, parks and neighborhoods. One of the teens who wrote a grant proposal for another tree-planting event explained why she took on the project.

"I basically wanted to write the grant because I thought it would be a great experience for me and I wanted to help in more ways than just showing up to the plantings. I also wanted to really push myself to do something that I had never done before," said Julia Hurley, a Pacifica 4-H member and eighth-grader.

Fresno farm meeting attracts Asian growers
Fresno Bee

Reporter Robert Rodriguez covered a meeting of Southeast Asian farmers in Fresno, where one of the primary topics was government regulations.

Richard Molinar, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Fresno, has helped Southeast Asian farmers comply with regulations. At the meeting, he urged farmers to spread the word about how to follow government regulations and who can help.

"Part of this is your responsibility to find out what you need to do," he said. "This not an insurmountable problem."

The meeting was presented by the National Hmong American Farmers, and USDA's Joe Leonard, Jr., was the keynote speaker.

Posted on Monday, March 26, 2012 at 10:39 AM
Tags: 4-H (67), Richard Molinar (16), Strawberries (26)

'Locavore' movement likely to spur food safety policies

The increasing popularity of buying locally produced foods directly from farmers is accompanied by a parallel rise in concerns about keeping local consumers safe from the same pathogens responsible for nationwide outbreaks of salmonella, listeria and E. coli, according to the second in a three-part MSNBC series about food safety.

According to the story, Richard Molinar, small farm program advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension in Fresno County, thinks the local food movement will put pressure on local farms to develop food safety plans.

“Certainly more people are wanting to buy fresh and buy local; that doesn’t mean that they’re not concerned about food safety,” said Molinar, who helps small farmers develop scaled-down food safety manuals. “When you go to swap meets or farmers markets, I think at some point consumers are going to want to see or know if those farmers have some kind of policy in place.”

Richard Molinar, center, and his assistant Michael Yang, left, with a local farmer.
Richard Molinar, center, and his assistant Michael Yang, left, with a local farmer.

Posted on Wednesday, October 5, 2011 at 8:54 AM
Tags: food safety (30), Richard Molinar (16)

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