Our View: Counting calories, almonds and income

February 21, 2014 

DN Almond Fest

DEBBIE NODA/dnoda@modbee.com Almond blossoms from an orchard near Mistlin Sports Complex where vendors and a carnival are setup for the 51th Annual Ripon Almond Blossom Festival, February 22, 2013. The event started on Friday and runs through Sunday.

DEBBIE NODA — The Modesto Bee

Lets have some fun with numbers on a Saturday morning.

324,000,000 – That’s the calorie count, give or take 10 million or 20 million, for all those Girl Scouts cookies arriving at your desk or doorstep this year. You might have noticed the story earlier this week that the Girl Scouts, a wonderful organization, needed 26,000 cases of cookies to sate the expected appetite of area cookie lovers. Each of those cases contained 12 boxes, meaning there were 312,000 boxes of cookies. Each box has somewhere between 650 and 1,120 calories, if you were to eat the entire box (and who would do that?). We would never try to dissuade anyone from buying Girl Scout cookies. They’re delicious. But if you’re going to indulge – and we hope you do, because those cookies raise money for a lot of worthwhile Girl Scout endeavors – then you might want to get in just a bit more exercise. Which brings us to ...

563 – That’s the number of calories you would burn off while running an hour at roughly 5 mph. That’s a good pace if you’re planning to run a marathon, which is not a bad plan. The Modesto Marathon is March 23. If you’re not quite in the mood, plan to spend $30 on a ticket to the “Spirit of Marathon” movie at the State Theatre tonight. The proceeds benefit the Teens Run Modesto group, which helps at-risk kids through running. And attending a movie is a great way to cap off an active day that could very well start with a parade ...

52 – That’s the number of years Ripon has been having its Almond Blossom Festival, which is today. You can line up for breakfast at the Ripon Grange, 827 Ripona Ave., then hang around for the carnival, the Diaper Derby, tri-tip sandwiches and finally the parade through downtown at 1 p.m. You can finish the day off with brats and drinks at the Ripon Community Center. This is the quintessential food festival, so you can make a day of celebrating almonds. Which brings us to ...

42,600,000,000 – That’s the value (in dollars, naturally) of all the agriculture production from one end of California to the other in 2012. It’s also a record, which is a good thing for farmers – which we have no shortage of in these parts. Stanislaus, Merced and San Joaquin counties did their parts. Merced checked in with $3.3 billion, followed closely by Stanislaus at $3.2 billion and San Joaquin at $2.8 billion. A lot of those dollars came from almonds, but grapes, walnuts, milk, peaches, apricots and dozens of other crops contributed. Together, the three counties of the northern San Joaquin Valley contributed 21.8 percent of the statewide total. Not bad. But there was some bad news on the economic front ...

21 – If you’re part of a couple living in Stanislaus County, that’s how far behind you are (as a percentage) compared to couples elsewhere in the state. We’re not certain what contributes to couples earning 21 percent less than, say, a couple 60 miles away in San Jose, but it’s worth pondering. Since individuals earn roughly 10 percent less than their counterparts in other regions, it stands to reason that a couple would be double that. Unfortunately, the impact is far greater. A “couple” often have dependents, and that means the entire family is getting by on less. Couples in California’s coastal regions have average earnings of roughly $71,000 per year; couples in Stanislaus County can expect to bring home only $56,000. All of this information came up in a story by J.N. Sbranti last week.

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