National Editor Tom Karst
National Editor Tom Karst

The average growth rate for organics in the next five years will be a modest 1% to 4%, according to 42% of those voting in a Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group poll. Yikes, that's not exactly a vote of confidence for the organic movement...

Keep the votes and comments coming: 28 votes and 13 comments so far. I see the Perishable Pundit has also taken up a discussion of organics this week, albeit one-sided.

Tomorrow the USDA is going to "unveil" the so-called Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass. From a description by the USDA, "the  KYF Compass is an interactive web-based document and map highlighting USDA support for local and regional food projects and successful producer, business and community case studies." And more: "The KYF Compass documents the ways in which USDA has coordinated across its 17 agencies and additional offices, enhanced transparency and met congressional mandates from the 2008 Farm Bill on local and regional food."

Yes, but what's the economic purpose of all that? Check out Twitter at 1 p.m. CST for the hash tag "KYF2" for a discussion of the issue. Direction questions @usda.

It was great to talk to several people this week about their memories of  Bill Coon, and I hope to visit with a couple of more folks before the week is done. Bill was a caring person, and he took an interest in so many lives over the course of his career.

One doesn't often find PACA cases on the GPO web site, but this case was an exception. Check out Indianapolis Fruit Co. v. Locavore Food Distributors, Inc..

The military is beginning to get serious about promoting healthy eating in the military. Think stoplight, as in red, yellow and fresh produce.

This testimony in Congress about the USDA budget for nutrition illustrates the extent of poor eating today among youth, stating  16.9% of U.S. children and adolescents are obese and 68.8% of U.S. adults are either overweight or obese. Also, testimony here about the SNAP program, including an extensive discussion on how the USDA is taking on fraud and trafficking of food stamps.

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics reveals that surface trade with Mexico and Canada was up more than 11% in December 2011 compared with a year ago. Texas is the number one state for surface trade from Mexico; Arizona is #5.

What is the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act? Here is the CRS summary of the bill.It was placed on the House calendar on Feb. 27.

Fresh produce only for the rich? This story in talks about how access to food determines our food choices; the poor too often lose out.

The link to the March 28 press release about Fresh Del Monte results. Notable among the fourth quarter results was the disastrous melon deal. From Del Monte:

Melon - Net sales decreased 44% to $16.2 million. Volume decreased 46%. Pricing increased 4%. Unit cost was 23% higher.

TK: With major players seemingly running away from the melon category, it makes one curious how strongly the melon category can rebound in 2012 and beyond.