I'm heading out to Idaho for some further potato coverage tomorrow and hoping for a strong showing by the Boise State Broncos in the Monday night match with Va. Tech. Here are some headlines relating to fruits and veggies snatched from the web Sunday night...

New Zealand Kiwifruit -  USDA FAS: Everything you want to know about NZ kiwi in a 13 page USDA report

An excerpt:

New Zealand kiwifruit production fell to an estimated 380,000 tons in 2009, down 4% from the previous year. The drop in production translated into a 4.2% decline in exports to 361,066 tons. Production in 2010 is forecast to at 379,000 tons. A cold spring and extended drought in the main producing regions are expected to negatively impact on yields. Exports are forecast to be down marginally at 360,000 tons.

Spoiled system: Eating healthier comes with a price for families - The Denver Post

A story on federal nutrition policy, with a view toward the higher cost of fruits and veggies related to other food, why that is and why critics think it should change...

Below, an excerpt:

As Revisha Martinez pondered the cost of peaches and watermelon at her local King Soopers recently, she became the last stop in a complicated food-production system that critics believe has turned healthy eating into expensive eating.

If Martinez wants each member of her household to have one peach, it'll cost her about $3.

If she chooses Kraft macaroni and cheese, she can get 18 servings — with 400 calories and 580 milligrams of sodium in each — for the same price.

The reasons fresh fruits and vegetables are so pricey compared with processed food in a carton are a complicated stew of government subsidies, politics and the whims of Mother Nature.

But their combined might, say critics pushing

for a change in the way money is doled out, moves us away from fruits and vegetables and toward meat, dairy products and the sugar- and sodium-loaded processed foods for which crops like corn and wheat serve as the raw ingredients.

"We've made the unhealthy choice the rational choice," said Merrick Weaver, who, as executive director of Partnership for Healthy Communities, works to improve nutrition among lower-income families in Commerce City.

Weaver was echoing Michael Pollan, whose "The Omnivore's Dilemma" has become a manifesto for those trying to shift discussion about the country's obesity epidemic to include the food-production infrastructure.

In short, "You can buy more calories for your dollar if you buy bad foods," Weaver said.

A chorus of critics say that is no accident but rather the result of long-standing government policies.

Between 1995 and 2009, the U.S. Department of Agriculture handed out $245 billion in subsidies to farmers — including $4.4 billion in Colorado.

The payments come through a variety of programs that insure against catastrophic weather, set price floors and offer incentives for growing certain crops — and not growing others.

Stink bugs raise alarm - Pennlive.com

There is always a new bug to worry about - or an old one... From the story:

Last year, brown marmorated stink bugs were a nuisance. This year, they are a serious threat to fruit orchards, and experts are not sure how destructive they might become.

The ubiquitous brown bugs with a citrousy or piney scent are making their way into midstate homes, previewing the hordes likely to appear in late September and October as the weather cools.

How to eat healthier in the office - Chicago Tribune blog

It is not so easy to eat healthy, even at The Packer... Here is some advice from a Chicago Trib blogger...

Looking for healthier alternatives to the office vending machines? Some St. Louis-area office workers are getting fresh fruit delivered directly to their cubicles, Michele Munz reported in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The seven-week old program, called "Fruit My Cube," was started by the Belleville Farmers Market, which delivers a box of 15 to 18 pieces of fresh fruit a week. Customers go to fruitmycube.com each Wednesday and view the week’s selections, which they can order for $9.99. The following Monday or Tuesday, the cube-shaped boxes are delivered. There’s no obligation to buy every week, but the company needs a minimum number of orders, depending on the location.

Orders are growing exponentially, according to the market's general manager, Rick Delashmit. And while he said he’s trying to get everyone in the St. Louis area healthy first, Chicagoans may soon be able to get their “cubes fruited” as well.

The idea sprouted after the Belleville Farmers Market started Taste Buds, a school program designed to help fight childhood obesity by getting children to try new fruits and vegetables. But the 35-year-old produce and garden store wanted to reach out to adults as well, Munz reported. Fruit My Cube, in turn, helps fund the Taste Buds program.