May 23, 2014

Farm Beat: Top dog has a cornmeal coating

A new survey says Americans like corn dogs, some of them from our own Foster Farms, more than any regional style of hot dog.

A new survey says Americans like corn dogs, some of them from our own Foster Farms, more than any regional style of hot dog.

A poll done for the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council said corn dogs were the favorite of 46 percent of respondents. New York hot dogs, topped with mustard and onions, placed second at 38 percent. In third place at 26 percent was the Chicago-style dog, which includes tomatoes, peppers and a few other ingredients on a poppy-seed bun.

Foster Farms produces frozen corn dogs among its hundreds of chicken and turkey products at plants in Livingston, Turlock and other locations. Several other companies make corn dogs from beef and pork.

“We clearly underestimated the allure of the deep-fried cornmeal batter combined with the snap of the hot dog,” said Janet Riley, the council president, in a news release. The industry group, based in Washington, D.C., predicts that Americans will eat about 7 billion hot dogs from now, the unofficial start of summer, through Labor Day.

Foster Farms produces plain chicken and turkey hot dogs, along with corn dogs in honey, cheese and chili-cheese flavors.

Feeding the bees

A group that looks out for the welfare of pollinating honeybees is again asking almond farmers to sow wildflowers that diversify the insect’s food sources.

About 1.7 million commercial colonies will be placed in orchards next February to carry out the pollination vital to turning blossoms into marketable nuts. The bees will draw much of their sustenance from the nectar and pollen in these flowers, but they need other sources just before and after the bloom to stay healthy.

The wildflowers are part of a wide-ranging effort to sustain a beekeeping industry that has suffered from disease, mites, drought and the still-unsolved colony collapse disorder.

The seeds come through Project Apis m., named for the honeybee’s scientific moniker, Apis mellifera.

“This is to offset the dearth that honeybees face when they move into the state and nothing else is flowering,” said Meg Ribotto, director of pollination programs, in an email.

The seeds include mustard, alyssum, vetch and clover, which can be planted after the 2014 harvest and in advance of winter rain.

The group suggests that almond growers sow the flowers between rows, on orchard edges and in other spots where they can coexist with the trees. The plants can function as cover crops, fixing nitrogen in the soil and protecting it from erosion.

For more information, email projectapis@gmail.com.

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