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USDA'S REPORT TO CONSUMERS
ITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE OFFICE OF INFORMATION WASHINGTON, D.C. 20250
June 1967 No. 42
ALL ABOUT FOOD
Consumers Never Had It So Good. That's what Secretary of
Agriculture Orville L. Freeman said at a recent news
conference. "But it won't continue 'that good' for
consumers," the Secretary warned, "if the current decline
in farm prices continues." If farm income doesn't improve,
he predicts the Nation's family farm system will disappear--
to be replaced by monolithic corporate farming operations
that "could conceivably control food supply so they get any
price they want." He asks consumers to pay a little more
for their food now to avoid paying a lot more later.
Pick the Plentifuls. Here's a tip for June brides anxious
to impress their new husbands with their shopping skills.
Before you shop for food, check the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's List of Plentiful Foods. It will tell you
which foods are in good supply--and most likely good buys
at your retail store. In June, the list includes eggs,
orange juice, beef, potatoes, dry beans, milk and dairy
Quality Check. In the summertime, when fruits and vegetables
are in season, you'll often find frozen fruits and vegetables
offered at bargain prices. Before you buy, be sure they are
truly bargains. According to the U.S. Department of Agri-
culture it's a good idea to buy one package and check its
quality before buying in quantity. Use this checklist:
(1) Note whether frost has formed inside the package. Large
amounts of frost may indicate quality has been impaired.
(2) Note the color of the food. Is it normal and bright?
Some color changes betray food that has been held too long
and at too high temperatures. Avoid peach slices and red
cherries that have turned brown; berries that have lost
their br" snap beans turned olive green; green peas
that reen then yellowish. (3) Look for
und eIe Chn texture. (4) Check the flavor.
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Fruit Snacks. Small, crunchy pieces of dried apple, peach, pineapple--you may
soon be eating them by the handful. Now under development at the U.S. Depart-
ment of Agriculture, these snack items are produced by osmotic drying, a pro-
cess which gives the fruit more intense natural color and flavor than conven-
tional air-drying. The new process also should make it possible to dry fruits
previously considered "undryable"--melons, papaya, and guava.
Korean Cornucopia. A magic lily, a yellow weigela, an exotic spice bush and a
pine with edible seeds--these are among the latest plants brought from Korea
by U.S. Department of Agriculture plant explorers. The lily blooms at an
unlikely time--after all its foliage has died. The new weigela ignores the
fact that weigelas bear only pink, red or white flowers. It produces yellow
blossoms. The spice bush sports gay red fruit and has unusually attractive
foliage. And the five-needle pine has tasty nut-like seeds. Because the
climate of Korea is similar to that of the Eastern United States, these plants
should make good plantings in American gardens. More than 500 plant collections
were brought back from the four-month exploration. None, however, is ready for
the consumer market. It will take a while to test them in the United States
and to develop breeding stock.
Girth Control. Use of synthetic sweeteners in soft drinks are riding high on
the crest of Americans desire for low-calorie beverages. And there's no let-
up in sight, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Use of noncalorie
sweeteners in soft drinks is expected to double between 1965 and 1970. On the
other hand, there has been little change in per-person use of refined sugar.
Although in another 3 years, total usage of synthetics may reach a sweetness
equivalent of about 915,000 tons of refined sugar, only a fraction of these
will be used as substitutes for sugar.
New Pink Grapefruit Drink. There's a new punch drink on the way from USDA to
you. It's a grapefruit drink that's designed to meet everyone's taste. It's
sweet to suit the youngsters, yet has a moderate to high acidity to suit the
sophisticated palate of adults. And it's pink because people like pink drinks.
The new frozen concentrate, now available for commercial production, combines
grapefruit juice, strawberry puree, lemon concentrate and sugar.
The Tray-Pack Lunch. Over 400 District of Columbia school children have tossed
away their lunch bags and are now eating hot meals packed in their own dispos-
able plates. The hot lunches come from another school, are packed in heat-
proof containers some two hours earlier, then transported to the school with-
out a kitchen. -All carry-out meals are similar to those served in a regular
School Lunch cafeteria. For example, one day's meal may include country fried
steak, buttered spinach and hash brown potatoes on the tray, plus bread and
butter, cookies and milk served at the school. The covered trays which make
this possible are compartmented like those used for frozen dinners. Although
still being used "experimentally" by lunch officials, the trays already have
the unqualified approval of the youngsters.
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YARD AND GARDEN
Color It Green with Trees. "Color It Green with Trees" has proved so popular,
the U.S. Department of Agriculture is making it available for use in all media.
The latest is a visual presentation--fifty colored slides--excellent for use by
garden clubs, civic organizations, TV stations, anyone interested in showing
others how to beautify their homes, their communities. The slides explain how
trees not only enhance the beauty of an area but aid in conservation. They
take the viewer through the selection, planting and growing of a tree. The
slide set costs $5.50 and may be ordered from the Photography Division, Office
of Information, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C. 20250. Film-
strips may be purchased from Photo Lab, Inc., 3825 Georgia Avenue, N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20011, for $5. A narrative guide accompanies each.
What'll You Have? What is your pleasure--pink or blue hydrangeas? You can
make them whichever color you want, say plant specialist at the U.S. Department
of Agriculture. For blue hydrangeas, water the plant two or three times with
a solution of 1 pound of aluminum sulfate in 5 gallons of water. Drench the
soil thoroughly, fertilize lightly. If you want pink flowers, use a high
phosphate fertilizer, such as 15-30-15, in the water.
Unfruitful Fruit Trees. Do your apple trees bloom profusely each year--then
fail to bear fruit? It's probably because they aren't pollinated. With the
exception of Golden Delicious, most apple trees will not set fruit with their
own pollen. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it's generally best to
plant at least two varieties. This is true particularly of Winesaps, Staymans,
Gravensteins, Baldwins, and Rhode Island Greenings.
Led by the Nose. You may think there's a big difference in the odor of paint
and the smell of strawberries. But not sap beetles. During a recent outbreak
of these beetles in Michigan (they ruined a $3 million strawberry crop), sap
beetles found auto paint--the kind that's used as a primer on rust spots--just
as attractive as the strawberries. This led scientists to but one conclusion--
why not use the paint as a lure to trap the insects? U.S. Department of Agri-
culture scientists, together with those at Michigan State University, are now
investigating this possibility. And if it works on sap beetles, why not other
Aid for the Aged. More than 2,000 rural people 62 years of age or older are now
living in apartments, duplex units or detached homes built with funds obtained
from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The program that has made this pos-
sible, the senior citizen rental housing program, began in late 1962. To date,
it has extended credit to 163 individuals and corporations in 34 States and
Puerto Rico to finance 1,263 senior citizen housing units. Average rent to the
oldsters: $65 a month. This USDA rental housing credit program also permits
50-year loans with 3 percent interest to private, non-profit corporations or
cooperatives for providing rental and cooperative housing and related facilities
to low-income rural people.
uV'Y'VlY OF FLORIDA
4 3 1262 08740 0437
Calcium and Kidney Stones. "Good" calcium helps form bones and teeth. "Bad"
calcium forms kidney stones. But what makes which? U.S. Department of Agri-
culture scientists who have been studying the components of milk (the major
source of calcium for many people) find that substituting cornstarch for milk
sugar or substituting corn oil for butter oil drastically reduces kidney stones
in rats. A year of experimenting with diets shows that 47 percent of the rats
fed skim milk plus butter oil had kidney stones; about 29 percent fed milk
sugar and butter oil had stones. But less than 5 percent of those on milk
sugar and corn oil had stones, and none on cornstarch had them.
Savings in Store. The folks living along Gilbert Creek, W. Va., no longer owe
their souls to the company store. They've got their own grocery store, a coop-
erative venture that operates on a scant 10 percent mark-up. And they did it
themselves--without a cent of federal funds--only the know-how help of the local
community action group. To get working capital, 543 shares were sold at $10
each. A small cinder-block building was renovated by willing volunteers. (Most
of the men in this once-prosperous mining community are unemployed.) In Decem-
ber, the doors of the community-owned store opened. That month, sales totaled
$2,700. By March, they had risen to $8,000. The U.S. Department of Agriculture
has now authorized the store to handle food stamps, and two people work full-
time and one part-time. "Nobody's getting rich from the store," says Charles W.
Cline, elementary school principal and president of the new corporation, "but
the people aren't being taken either."
COOKING AND CANNING
Floating Fruit. Ever wonder why strawberries and other fruit sometimes float in
a jar of jam? Food specialist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture offer these
possibilities. The fruit may not have been fully ripe. It may not have been
thoroughly crushed or ground. Or cooked enough. Or perhaps you poured the jam
into containers too soon after it was taken from the heat.
Over the Coals. Take to the camp stove and charcoal grill. Beef is plentiful
this month, and there's nothing better to eat on a picnic than broiled steaks
and hamburgers. For best results when cooking out-of-doors, follow these tips
from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Choose thick steaks and plump hamburg-
ers. Adjust grill so meat is about 6 to 8 inches from the coals. Tilt it a
little so the fat runs down the grids to one side--away from the coals so there's
no smoke or flames. To check doneness, cut a slit in the meat near the bone or
in the center and look at the interior color. Allow longer cooking time on a
Delicious Apples. Quick now. Name your favorite apple. Bet your answer is
Delicious. Far more Red and Golden Delicious apples are produced and eaten each
year than any other apple, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports. Delicious
apples filled 48 million bushels in 1966. McIntoshes came in second--but with
only 17 million bushels. Washington is the leading apple-producing State; then
New York, Michigan, California and Pennsylvania in that order.
For information about items in this issue, write: Editor of SERVICE, Office of
Information, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C. 20250.
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