Material Information

Service USDA's report to consumers
Portion of title:
USDA's report to consumers
Physical Description:
: ; 27 cm.
United States -- Dept. of Agriculture. -- Office of Governmental and Public Affairs
United States -- Dept. of Agriculture. -- Office of Communication
United States -- Dept. of Agriculture. -- Office of Information
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Office of Governmental and Public Affairs
Place of Publication:


Subjects / Keywords:
Consumer education -- Periodicals -- United States   ( lcsh )
federal government publication   ( marcgt )


Dates or Sequential Designation:
no. 1- Nov. 1963-
Numbering Peculiarities:
Publication suspended Dec. 1979-
Issuing Body:
Issued Nov. 1963-Feb. 1973 by the Department's Office of Information; Mar. 1973-Dec. 1977 by the Office of Communication.
General Note:
Issues prior to Jan. 1978 were classed: A 21.29:(nos.)

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 001360420
oclc - 01716336
notis - AGM1835
issn - 0037-2544
System ID:

This item is only available as the following downloads:

Full Text



JULY 1973 1


Do It Yourself Harvest. Go on a picnic a d ing homp,'or
food than you took. An increasing number
are doing just that by patronizing pick-ypur- ~Jnd
vegetable farms. Consumers and farmers are finding that pick-
your-own --or U-pick-- or consumer harvesting -- is an amus-
ing and moneymaking way to get the crop from farm to table.
One orchardman says his typical patrons "spend the day, have
a picnic, and bring home bushels of fruit." The most popular
pick-your-own crop is strawberries, followed by blueberries,
raspberries, apples, peaches, peas, potatoes, corn, and --
Christmas trees. There are some problems: Consumers find
that strawberries grow at back-breaking ground level and that
it takes a lot of blueberries to fill a bucket and that corn
foliage can itch. Farmers must cope with eager pickers who
damage fruit trees and plants as well as themselves when the
eager pickers stumble into badger holes. Pick-your-own oper-
ations are located mostly in the Northeast and the Lake States.
But in other areas of the country a check with the local
Cooperative Extension agent probably will turn up a pick-
your-own farm for a little fun and profit for all.


And You Both Will Be Happy. Curing a sick house, one that has
a serious case of decay or insect damage, can be a big job. The
best solution, of course, is to select a healthy house and keep
it that way. But if you are a typical house buyer or owner, you
cannot tell if the house is likely to outlive the mortgage with-
out costly repairs. What can you do? One thing is to obtain a
copy of a new booklet from USDA called "Finding and Keeping a
Healthy House." The 20-page booklet, written by wood and design
experts of USDA's Forest Service, provides tips on good design,
where to look for signs of decay and insect damage, and some things
to do to put your house into good condition and maintain its good
health. Color illustrations and line drawings can help you identify
various destructive insects and the damage they do and other condi-
tions that can lead to costly repairs--wood decay and water damage.
The booklet also provides a checklist to help a buyer--as well as an
owner--make a thorough inspection of a house. Copies are available
on request from the Southern Forest Experiment Station, 701 Loyola
Avenue, New Orleans, Louisiana 70113.


Meet The Exotic Pink Lady And Friends. Those USDA plant explorers keep busy.
Some results of their worldwide search for new plants have been announced by the
U.S. Department of Agriculture. Five new plant varieties from Argentina, China,
Taiwan, Manchuria -- and Tennessee -- were recently released by USDA's Soil Con-
servation Service and Agricultural Research Service to commercial nurseries for
propagation. All five promise to-be beneficial to humans and other wildlife: One
is an ornamental, three bear edible fruits, and two are suitable for conservation
and wildlife habitat plantings. None of the plants is on the market yet, but
most are expected to be available commercially in two or three years. The plants
that may be in your future are,:

Pink Lady is a large deciduous shrub brought from China in 1924. It
is useful for windbreakS, wildlife habitats, highway beautification,
and noise barriers. It i's.wirter hardy as far north as southern Wyo-
ming and is adaptable to Plains areas. The light green leaves turn to
pink, red, yellow, or brown in autumn and its brilliant reddish-pink
fruit stays on well into winter, providing food for birds.

Incense, a passiflora, is an ornamental and edible-fruited vine adapt-
able to Florida and other protected areas of the country. It is a
hybrid produced from the marriage of a plant found in northern Argen-
tina and the hardy Maypop collected in Tennessee. Large colorful and
fragrant flowers on dark green vines and a small egg-shaped fruit that
can be used in fruit drinks, jellies, cake fillings, and frostings are
the outstanding characteristics.

Midwest Manchurian Crabapple is excellent for windbreaks, screening,
beautification, and wildlife and appears to be almost completely
disease-free. Grown from seeds collected in the early 1920's in Man-
churia, the Midwest has a wide range of adaptability across the nor-
thern U. S. Its foliage, which grows low to the ground, is relished
by deer and rabbits, and its small fruit provides food year round for

Mih-Tao and Tean-Ma, two new sweet carambolas, edible tropical fruits,
are being introduced into the country from Taiwan. Mih-Tao is an up-
right tree attaining the dimensions of a small orange tree under south
Florida conditions. Its large fruit is deep yellow with a mild sweet
flavor, and is borne singly or by twos along the branches. Tean-Ma
produces a light yellow, mildly sweet fruit that grows in clusters
along the branches. The tree has a low spreading growth habit and is
definitely dwarfy. Both trees produce three crops per year.


100 Percent. American Samoa has joined the ranks of "100 percenters" by establish-
ing food service for children in all schools. The 36 schools on the seven islands
that comprise American Samoa now have either a school lunch or breakfast program
in operation. Some 8,300 students are served lunches and another 7,400 youngsters
are served breakfast at school. USDA's Food and Nutrition Service, which admini-
sters the School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, says that more than 90 per-
cent of the meals are served free.



New Tester For Ground Beef. A device that measures the fat content of ground
beef accurately and quickly has been invented by scientists of USDA's Agricul-
tural Research Service. The hand-portable instrument is simply placed on top of
a package of ground beef and a meter immediately indicates the percentage of fat
in the package. Meter readings in tests run with the fat tester agreed with re-
sults of standard extraction procedures within a standard error of 1 percent.
Although the fat content largely determines the quality of ground beef, butchers
have had no easy way to measure it. Too, laws limiting fat content and requiring
accurate labeling have made the amount of fat in ground meat a critical factor.
Some supermarkets use chemical tests to guide their butchers, but most butchers
rely on experience and judgment to pack ground beef with different amounts of
fat. The new fat analyzer is designed to give butchers an inexpensive tool that
can guarantee consumers ground beef of specific fat content. The first commer-
cial version of the fat tester was recently demonstrated and possibilities are
good that the tester can be adapted to measure fat in other ground meats, such
as pork, lamb, and chicken.


Underground With The Forest Service. The Ghost Room, the Helectite Room, and the
Titan Room await visitors to the Ozark National Forest in north central Arkansas.
These are not tea rooms. They are among the natural wonders in one of the Forest
Service's newest attractions, the Blanchard Springs Caverns. The cavern system,
which lies more than 200 feet beneath the Forest, was opened to the public in
early July and is expected to join Mammoth Cave and Carlsbad Caverns as a major
cave attraction. The first recorded entry into the cave was in 1934 and it was
first explored extensively in 1955. However, there is evidence that humans in-
habited parts of the caverns more than 1,000 years ago. Although six miles of
tunnels and rooms have been discovered inside the caverns, the first developed
tour--along the Dripstone Trail--is only seven-tenths of a mile. Not all of the
interest is among the stalagmites and stalactites, either. The Forest Service
has developed some topside fun--a visitors information center, swimming, camping,
and picnicking facilities scenic drives, and a nature trail. While these latter
recreation activities are more normally thought of in connection with the National
Forests, there are about 500 caves on Forest land with about 134 opened to the


Nutrients Under Stress. Does air pollution affect the nutritional composition
of food? It is a well known fact that air pollution may cause physical damage
to agricultural crops. Therefore, scientists think it is reasonable to expect
that the chemical composition of these plants may change also. Such a possibi-
lity will be investigated in a cooperative study by USDA and the University of
California. Scientists at the university will grow selected plants under con-
trolled conditions so pollution effects can be measured. Scientists of USDA's
Agricultural Research Service will analyze the plant tissues to determine any
effects of the pollution on nutrient compositions of food and forage crops. The
study will extend over an eight-month period.


MONEY'S WORTH IN FOODS 31262 8740 1088

It's Worth The loney. Consumers concerned with spending their food money wisely
will be interested in knowing that "Your Money's Worth In Foods" has recently
been revised. The popular USDA publication, written by consumer and food econ-
omics specialists of USDA's Agricultural Research Service, brings together infor-
mation on food needs, where and when to shop, planning nutritious meals, and
shopping for various foods. Copies of "Your Money's Worth In Foods" (G-183) can
be purchased for 35 cents each from Consumer Product Information, Pueblo, Colo.,


Is It All That It Seems? The purchase of a new sewing machine for home use is a
long time investment. Today, there are many choices of machines in a wide range
of prices. "Buying A New Sewing Machine," a new publication from the Extension
Service, can help prospective buyers select the best machine for present and
future 'sewing needs. The 11-page booklet describes the four main categories of
sewing machines--from straight stitch to most versatile zigzag--and explains some
of the features and advantages of each. Different models, such as cabinet and
portable styles, open arm machines, and machines designed for disabled persons,
are briefly discussed. To help the buyer avoid zigging when she should have
zagged, the booklet lists some questions to check out when testing sewing machines
in the store. Simple illustrations and a section on service agreements and guar-
antees add to the basic buying information. Copies of "Buying A New Sewing
Machine" (PA-1044) may be purchased for 25 cents each from the Superintendent of
Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402 or for 15 cents
each from GPO bookstores.


Lots Of Information In Color And Spanish. Vivid colors, bold type, simple illus-
trations, and information in both Spanish and English now appear on packages of
USDA donated foods. The reason for the new labels is to make them more useful
and informative for homemakers as they select the foods from storage shelves. To
help persons whose reading skills are limited, the labels have bold type and il-
lustrations of the package contents or dishes which can be prepared from the con-
tents--in colors corresponding with the actual food inside the package. Suggest-
ions for storing foods to maintain quality, names of the foods, and mixing in-
structions for products such as instant nonfat dry milk and egg mix are printed
in both English and Spanish. Bilingual recipes, food serving and preparation
ideas, and nutrition information--in both print and illustrations--are included
on the labels to give additional help to users of donated foods. All of this,
plus the required information that shows net quantity of contents, ingredients,
inspection shield for wholesomeness, and applicable data on enrichment, makes the
new labels veritable libraries of food information.

SERVICE is a monthly newsletter of consumer interest. It is designed for those
who report to the individual consumer rather than for mass distribution. For
information about items in this issue, write: Lillie Vincent, Editor of SERVICE,
Office of Communication, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C. 20250.
Telephone (202) 447-5437.

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