AM Live Ag Report

FRESNO, Calif.

The Food and Drug Administration says egg safety rules that just took effect could prevent thousands of cases of salmonella poisoning each year. The new rules went into effect Friday.

The government now requires some egg producers to do more testing for salmonella and large-scale producers will have to constantly refrigerate eggs while they are stored and transported.

The FDA says they could reduce the number of salmonella illnesses by nearly 60-percent. The egg industry says many egg farmers have already been following the rules for years.

Not everyone despises the extreme heat. Growers say the hot temperatures are needed to make fruit sweeter. Some tree fruit producers blast their entire orchards with sunshine.

The sun's intense heat isn't enough. Its' sizzling rays can't reach all the fruit in George Jackson's Kingsburg orchard so Jackson relies on a shiny material to re-direct sunshine onto these sugarine variety nectarines.

It looks as if aluminum foil's been laid down between rows of the orchard. Jackson explained, "You can see the reflection of the fruit. It will color everything that it can strike."

The intense reflection makes the orchard feel like a tanning booth and in this case, a deeper color remains the goal. Jackson said, "As you can see in this orchard the fruit clear underneath will get the real nice color because of this."

We're used to seeing nectarines which are more yellow or orange. The reflective material gives the fruit a deep red color all the way around. Jackson said, "This is brilliant red so it took the orange away and added the red. It's just prettier. When you package it it's just more attractive than just a plain old yellow."

Some grape growers use bright reflective ribbon to keep birds away but these strips don't work the same way with stone fruit. Jackson added, "It'd be great if it was, then they wouldn't be eating the fruit. It doesn't affect the birds."

Jackson says the material is often rolled up after the first harvest since it has done its job. Otherwise, the rows will stay a bit too warm for workers.

Each year dozens of people show they give a fig about a Valley treasure.

The Annual Fig Fest is August seventh at the Ag East Lawn at Fresno State. Enjoy the food samplings by area restaurants and learn why so many people are crazy about figs.

Tickets are six-dollars in advance and eight-dollars at the gate. Buy yours now by calling the Fig Advisory Board at 559-243-8600.

Proceeds will benefit the Fresno State Ag One Foundation, Slow Foods Madera and the Bulldog Pantry.

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