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Gordy's Markets continue to close in the Chippewa Valley

News today is that the Gordy's on Hamilton Avenue in Eau Claire is closing at 5 PM today. This was announced, as have been a few others, by a sign on the door the day of the closing. This leaves just one Gordy's in Eau Claire (on West Clairemont, the one that is near the Menards) that remains open. One is left in Chippewa Falls as well.  Several of the other stores are being taken over by Festival Foods.

Clearly Gordy's is having a tough time, which appears to have largely been caused by a rapid expansion that they could not maintain in the very competitive grocery business in Wisconsin. You may remember that they were set to open a store in Menomonie last year, but postponed starting construction several times and then quietly dropped the project. 

How Discoveries And Accidents Led To Winemaking In Wisconsin

Wisconsin's wine industry is modest in scale, but has roots as old as the state itself. A Hungarian immigrant named Agoston Haraszthy planted the state's first vineyard in 1846 on the east bank of the Wisconsin River and founded the community that would become Sauk City. He headed west three years later, establishing the famous Buena Vista Vineyard in Seminole, California, and became known as the father of Californian winemaking.

Produce Farmers Place New Emphasis on Food Safety

Farmers who follow food safety best practices produce better quality produce that last longer on the market and in consumers' kitchens. The harvest, storage and handling processes intended to minimize pathogens that cause illness in humans also target the organisms that cause produce to decay.

An emphasis on food safety practices at the farm level is growing. University of Wisconsin-Extension organic agriculture specialist Erin Silva discussed these practices and new federal regulations in a Nov. 12, 2015, lecture recorded for Wisconsin Public Television's University Place.

New Training Videos

We now have some short training videos available to learn how to better use Wis.Community.  I'm just getting started on creating these - not that this is a playlist player, so you can either watch them all, or pick a selected one with the drop-down menu at the top left corner.

How To Pick And Place A Fresh And Fragrant Christmas Tree

UW-Extension
Reprinted by permission from WisContext

With so many varieties and sizes of live Christmas trees, making a suitable selection that stays fresh throughout the holiday season can be daunting. But keeping several things in mind can help enliven the season.

    1. Before heading to the tree farm or lot, choose the location inside where the tree will be placed, and then measure the ceiling height and width of the display area. A spot away from doorsteps and heat venting areas like fire pits, radiators and refrigerators is best.

Demand For Support from Food Banks Has Increased Over The Past Year

Many people are looking forward to a big Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends. Meanwhile, Wisconsin food banks have been trying to bring a feast to those who are less fortunate this holiday season.

Shaye Moris, executive director of Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank, said they’ve given turkeys to more than 400 households in northwestern Wisconsin.

"That does not count all the turkeys or holiday meals that are provided to the food shelves that we partner with whether it's in Ashland or Poplar or Barnes or Bayfield," she said.

The Rise Of Apple Clubs And Trademark Varieties Of Fruit

UW-Extension - reprinted by permission from WisContext

The assortment of apples available to choose from at orchards, farm stands and grocery stores can seem daunting. The number of apples available to choose from at orchards, farm stands and grocery stores can seem daunting. New varieties with catchy names are unfamiliar compared to the traditional Red Delicious and Cortlands shoppers are used to finding every fall, and differ as well from the antique apples that are increasingly available. In many cases, though, the most substantial differences are related to marketing and intellectual property rights, rather than the look and flavor of the fruit.

Apples are one of the few produce items marketed by cultivar name — consumers will pay more for particular varieties that offers better taste, color and flavor. The nature of this market has been proven by the outstanding success of Honeycrisp apples. As a result, new apple varieties are patented, trademarked and marketed similarly to any other managed brand.

Menomonie Market Holiday Open House

The Menomonie Market Holiday Open House was a big success - lots of people came into the store to try special and new foods for the holidays. Cheeses, olive oil, wine, spririts, fruits and more were on display and on sale at the co-op. The event also featured live music from two of the co-op board members, Gary Johson and Patrick Pesek-Herriges.

The Broken Promise of GMO's

New York Times artice about how GMO crops have not fulfilled their promise.

About 20 years ago, the United States and Canada
began introducing genetic modifications in agriculture.
Europe did not embrace the technology, yet it achieved
increases in yield and decreases in pesticide use on a par
with, or even better than, the United States, where
genetically modified crops are widely grown.

CAFO Moratorium passes in Dunn County

Cafo Picture

The Dunn County Board last night passed a six month moratorium on CAFO expansion of more than 10% on farms of over 1000 animals in the county. This is in response to a very large expansion of Cranberry Creek Farm planned for the county, and was prompted by many questions raised about the ability of the farm owners to manage runoff, and some serious issues with the application and the ability of the DNR to properly consider the issues  in awarding a permit. The permit is for an expansion of up to 7150 animals.

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