Inside this Food Report


July 1, 2012

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4th of july

Hello Everyone,

Happy 4th of July!

We hope all of our U.S. friends have a restful day with their family and loved ones. While thinking about the 4th of July holiday we thought it might be interesting to learn about other cultures and how their typical summer time holidays are celebrated. Please see our article below about China’s Duanwu Holiday otherwise know as “Dragon Boat Festival” which is held in June. We learned so much about China while researching for this article and heard from many of our Chinese friends telling us how they revel with their family and loved ones on this day. One outstanding point that stood out is that no matter what the culture summer time celebrations are always about spending time with your loved ones and enjoying the outdoors and food!

Summer time for most of us in the food industry is the busiest time of year as the crops are growing and being harvested and processed and buyers and sellers alike are making sure their contracts are being met with the quality and prices they require. In addition those of us with families who have children at home need to think of ways to occupy them and keep them happy during their summer vacation. It is usually a time of lots of travel for both business and pleasure and I am certain we all feel a bit of stress and anxiety during the summer season. We all know that exercise is an important component to alleviate stress but the food you eat is also important, if not more important!  Please see our article below on how to eat healthy to help manage stress.  Many of the foods we mention in the article are super foods rich in nutrients such as broccoli and blueberries.

We have also put together an informative and in depth report on many different super foods and how they can help you achieve better health.  Please click the link below to read and learn everything you need to know about these good for you vegetables and fruits.

Pea season will be coming to an end this month and corn harvest will begin. There is no rest for us yet! We will continue to keep you updated on crop conditions here in the Northwest and around the world.

Betty Johnson and the Noon International Team

CropVeggiesUnited States:  Hit by frost in April, Michigan State the largest producer of cherries has lost almost 75 % of its crop.

Green pea harvest began in the Northwest area the first week of June. Cool and wet weather has delayed harvest a bit with some processors not being able to process consistently based on field development due to cool weather.  It is reported however that the quality is good and the yields have been average.

Corn is estimated to begin late this month and 75 pct of the Northwest corn crop has been planted. Conditions thus far are good.

Potatoes for french fry processing are expected to begin harvest this month.

The Midwest is still experiencing extremely high temperatures and crops are suffering. Rain is needed.

Mexico: The rainy season is beginning in Mexico but to date broccoli and cauliflower production is good.  However as the rainy season progresses volumes to the processor will decline.

Guatemala:  Broccoli season will commence this month as mid to end July marks the beginning of peak season for broccoli in Guatemala. Conditions are good and yields and quality are anticipated to be excellent this season.

Chile: This is the off-season in Chile and most processing plants are closed for routine maintenance and factory updates.

Ecuador: Consistent rains continue to fall, although less then previous months when flooding and mudslides occurred resulting in damage to tropical fruits. Rains are falling in the highlands as well, however broccoli yields and quality have been reported as unaffected.

Europe: Much of Europe is experiencing heavier than average rains and cooler temperatures. Some fruit crops such as cherries and strawberries are struggling and availability could be tight. There is a shortage in England of asparagus due to weather issues.

Thailand: Mango output in Thailand is low due to recent droughts in many of the growing areas. Papaya as well will be in tight supply which is a result of the Thailand flooding last year which washed away many trees which have not been replaced yet.

China:  The edamame crop is expected to be a bit better than last season.  In Zhejiang the harvest began on June 23rd and is expected to finish on July 15th. Prices are expected to increase, as some fields were lost due to heavy rains. China’s green bean harvest finished on June 17th and quality is improved from last season due to alternative rain and sunshine in June. Seeding for broccoli is expected to begin this month.  Yellow peach growth is good and size is bigger than last season.  The price for yellow peach is expected to be lower than last season.

iTunes Helps With Chinese Food Safety!

The Chinese population has become more aware recently of food scandals and food safety issues and in an effort to address these concerns China has released a five-year plan upgrading current food regulations. According to the Ministry of Health the government will begin upgrading outdated standards, developing new regulations, and abolishing any contradicting or overlapping standards already in place. This process will take place over the next few years in a joint effort of 14 governmental organizations and should be completed by 2015.

One of the latest scandals to hit China was the production of baby formula containing abnormally high levels of mercury by one of China’s largest dairy companies. By 2015 the Chinese government plans to have standards in place to not only specify the limits for dangerous ingredients such as mercury but have a sound set of standards for various testing to take place to detect microorganisms and pesticides as well as various contaminates and food additives.

However it is not only the government working to keep the citizens of China safe. In recent months the Chinese people have taken matters into their own hands and have become a country of food activists. In a world filled with technology the Chinese have developed websites and even a mobile phone application to advise consumers and give them a platform to spread the word about the latest food scares. An application referred to as the “China Survival Guide” gives up-to-date information on food troubles and became the top free download in China’s ITunes library within the first 3 days of its launch. “Throw It Out The Window” is a web site that reports daily on food dangers in China. The site has become so popular that in May it crashed from all the traffic! This grassroots effort is very unusual in a country where citizen activism is discouraged and often times dangerous.

In an ever-changing society it is this activism that will make the difference and shine the spotlight on China’s government to put the procedures in place to ensure that all food manufactured and consumed in China is safe.

Stressed Out? Try Eating

Stressed out? Try eating. No, really eating certain foods can help to alleviate stress in your life however we are not speaking about pizza and ice cream! Nutritious food is actually a key component in preventing and alleviating stress and tension. When an individual becomes anxious you are actually breaking the body down both mentally and physically. By incorporating a healthy nutritious diet you will give yourself the power to build back up the strength and mental focus that you need.

Most of us have heard of serotonin but what is it exactly? Serotonin is actually a hormone that is released from our brain and in turn gives us a feeling of euphoria and is a key component in relieving worry. We produce serotonin levels in our brain through the amino acid tryptophan, which is found in a variety of foods such as the list below:

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Tuna
  • Halibut
  • Spinach
  • Asparagus
  • Kelp
  • Cheese

Antioxidants are also a key factor in keeping the body functioning in a healthy manner. We have written about this before but it is worth pointing out again. Foods such as berries, almonds, spinach, and citrus fruits all have high levels of antioxidants.

The adrenal glands, which sit atop the kidneys, are responsible for releasing adrenaline that helps the body deal with high levels of stress and anxiety. They also release cortisol that helps to reduce inflammation. Overall the main objective of the adrenals is to keep the body in balance and it is important that we take care of these with proper nutrients. Protein, water, fat, sodium, B vitamins, and vitamin C are all necessary in maintaining the proper function of the adrenal glands. So try to incorporate some of these types of food into your diet:

  • Broccoli
  • Beets
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Fish
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Flax seed

Why not try to wash away a bit of stress and tension by eating a nutritional and balanced diet using many of the healthy foods we mention above.

China’s Dragon Boat Festival

Once a year on the fifth day of the fifth month (according to the lunar calendar) the Chinese hold the greatly anticipated Duanwu Festival more commonly known as the Dragon Boat Festival. This year the festival fell on June 23rd . It is celebrated by racing wooden boats with dragon heads and eating zongzi.

The Duanwu Festival began over 2,000 years ago and comes with many tales of its origin. The most well known origin describes the festival as a way to commemorate the death of poet Qu Yuan from the ancient state of Chu during the Warring States period of the Zhou Dynasty.

The legend tells the story of Qu Yuan a descendant of the Chu royal House who served in high offices. When the king decided to ally with the increasingly powerful state of Qin, Qu Yuan opposed the decision and was banished and accused of treason. During his exile Qu Yuan wrote poetry. 28 years later Qin captured Ying, the capital of Chu and Qu Yuan became distraught. Qu Yuan drowned himself in the Miluo River on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month. When the people who sympathized with Qu Yuan came to the riverbanks to pay their respects they threw rice in the river to stop the fish from eating the body. It is also said that a doctor threw a potent yellow wine into the river to poison the monsters and protect Qu Yuan. Other fisherman paddled out into the river and beat drums to scare away fish and to retrieve Qu Yuan’s body.

Today in commemoration of these stories and in honor of Qu Yuan the Chinese people enjoy a wonderful day of boat racing and prizes are awarded to the winners of each family, clan, or organization. Prizes range from medals to a jug of wine. The most popular food eaten on this day is zongzi, which is rice, wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves. Inside there are many delicious foods such as red beans, lotus seeds, chestnuts, meat and the golden yolk of a slated duck egg!

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