Pistachio Production Seminars with Bob Beede APG Miss California China Tour 2014 Baking Seminars in Japan and Korea USDA Releases 2012 Pesticide Data APGâ€™s Coalition Letter to Governor Brown Addresses Water Issues 2012 Annual Pesticide Use Report 2014 California Regional Grower Meetings
In celebration of National Nutrition Month® (March 2014), American Pistachio Growers released a press release that urged consumers to get fit for spring with delicious and nutritious pistachios. Along with the press release APG issued an infographic that gave the skinny on the nutritional benefits of pistachios. National Nutrition Month® is a nutrition education and information campaign sponsored annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign is designed to focus attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. According to Becci Twombley, APG’s Sport Nutrition Ambassador and Director of Sports Nutrition at the University of Southern California, “Spring is a time for renewal – setting new goals and making a fresh commitment to health and nutrition. Just as important to switching up your exercise routine every few weeks is experimenting with different snack combinations and having fun with your food. You’ll be more likely to stick with a healthy routine if you keep it interesting.” For an easy snack makeover this spring Twombley offers up this creative Pistachio Sport Bar recipe featuring the powerful snack duo of protein and fiber.
APG Ambassador Miss California toured China to promote Americaâ€™s amazing green nut as part of the third annual APG Miss California China Tour. Joining Miss California were APG grower ambassadors Gary Robinson and Gary Smith along with APG Global Marketing Director Judy Hirigoyen, and APG Marketing Project Manager for Asia Haiying Zhang. With a mission to promote APGâ€™s commitment to quality, food safety and the health benefits of American pistachios, the tour was filled with in-store appearances, television, newspaper and magazine interviews in the cities of Shanghai, Chongqing and Guangzhou.
At the media conferences held by APG, more than 100 media representatives gathered with cameras flashing to interview Miss California and the growers, who answered questions about farming in the USA. Miss California Crystal Lee, who is Chinese and fluent in both Chinese and Mandarin, explained that as Miss California, pistachios are her official snack because they contain many nutrients essential for healthy skin and hair, as well as vitamins, antioxidants and dietary fiber that help keep her body healthy and fit. Other media events included a TV interview with Miss California on Fun Lifestyle, Guangdongâ€™s national television sports channel. Retail promotions were held at four supermarkets to directly promote American-quality, California-grown pistachios to Chinese consumers, who got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet and greet Miss California in person while learning about Americaâ€™s healthy and nutritious pistachios. Miss California and APG growers spent time with customers who packed the stores and eagerly waited to get their hands on American pistachios as well as an autograph and photo with Miss California. The in-store promotions resulted in a 300 to 400 percent increase in sales of APG memberâ€™s pistachios.
APG hosted baking seminars in Japan and Korea to showcase the versatility of American pistachios as an ingredient in bakery products. In Japan, seminars were held at Iwase Este, and in Tokyo at Shoei Food’s new facility. In Korea, APG partnered with the Korean Bakery Association and Richmond Bakery, the most prestigious bakery school in Korea. More than 400 food professionals from the bakery industry attended the seminars, which were funded by the “Food Professionals in Japan and South Korea” Specialty Crop Block Grant. More than 95 percent of survey participants said they would use or recommend pistachios in their business, as a result of the seminar.
As he has done 25 times at the Tour de France, APG ambassador pro cyclist Mark Cavendish (Cav) won the first and final stages of the AMGEN Tour of California. In the first stage, in Sacramento, he narrowly edged out Germany’s John Degenkolb, coming from behind in the final meters with a spectacular tire-rim win - the closest finish in nine years. In the final stage in Thousand Oaks, he sprinted to a narrow victory with a drag race to the finish line, taking the prize by a whisker, edging out Degenkolb once again. APG witnessed Cav’s victories first-hand, and couldn’t have been prouder of him. All during the race, APG took every opportunity to raise awareness of the powerful benefits of American pistachios for active lifestyles. At each stage of race, the Pistachiomoible and the Pistachiomobile Ambassador Miss California 2012 Leah Tibbits, along with Global Marketing Director Judy Hirigoyen, rooted for the cyclists, and handed out APG sample packs. To add to the excitement, race attendees were invited to enter a raffle to win a 100-day supply of American pistachios. The AMGEN Tour of California is a Tour de France-style cycling road race that challenges the world’s top professional cycling teams to compete along a demanding course that traverses hundreds of miles of California’s iconic highways, byways and coastlines each spring. One hundred twentyeight of the world’s most elite cyclists, ten world champions, six reigning national champions, six Tour de France stage winners and the 2012 Tour de France champion competed this year. Held from May 11-18, the race is the nation’s largest cycling stage race with eight stages. The course extends from northern (Sacramento) to southern California (Thousand Oaks).
The USDA recently released its 2012 Pesticide Data Program (PDP) Annual Summary. The program tests for pesticide residues on fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, wheat, butter, and in water. However, pistachios were not included in the report nor were pistachios sampled for the 2013 report, which will be released in 2014. According to the PDP report, over 99 percent of the products sampled had pesticide residues at levels below EPA-established tolerances and do not pose safety concerns. The data for fruits and vegetables indicate that 47 percent of all samples tested contained no detectable pesticides; 23 percent contained one pesticide and 29 percent contained more than one pesticide. Residues that exceeded tolerances were detected in 0.53 percent of the samples tested. Residues that exceed EPAâ€™s tolerance or may pose a safety risk are immediately reported to EPA and the Food and Drug Administration. The 2012 PDP Summary is available at www.ams.usda.gov/pdp
There is growing momentum to change Californiaâ€™s laws governing groundwater management and there is the threat of legislation in this area. Advocates seek a much stronger government role in groundwater management at a time where surface water availability has not been adequately addressed by the legislature. APGâ€™s letter (initiated by Western Growers Association) addresses agricultures strong objection to groundwater management legislation and puts agriculture on the record with the Governor. To read the entire letter, click on the link below.
Department of Pesticide Regulations (DPR) recently released its 2012 Pesticide Use Report (PUR). In California, during 2012, 186 million pounds of pesticide were applied (3 percent decrease from 2011) and 84 million acres were treated (1 percent decrease from 2011). Pesticides with the greatest pounds applied were sulfur, oil, 1, 3-D, glyphosate, and chloropicrin. For pistachios, acres treated with insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides combined increased 17 percent from 2011 to 2012, reflecting the 16 percent increase in bearing acres of pistachios in 2012. However, there was a 2 percent decrease in total pounds of pesticide applied to pistachios from 2011 to 2012. The top pesticides applied to pistachios were oil, sulfur, glyphosate, pendimethalin, and oxyfluorfen. The 2012 PUR and use data are available at http://www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/pur/pur12rep/12_pur.htm.
Spurred by consistent growth, American Pistachio Growers aims to not only continue that upward membership trend, but also reach out to current members to make sure they are informed and satisfied with their investment in APG. More than 200 current and future grower members attended the 2014 Regional Grower Meetings throughout California April 30 through May 2. This was the fourth annual â€œroad tourâ€? for our organization, which allowed growers to meet informally, share a meal and discuss current industry challenges. Presentations by Executive Director Richard Matoian and APG marketing staff provided growers,who may be new to the industry or who did not attend the Annual Conference, a chance to hear APG program updates. Surprise guest Miss California, Crystal Lee, participated in all four meetings held in Madera, Bakersfield, Coalinga (Harris Ranch), and Sacramento. The next member gathering will be the APG Annual Membership Luncheon scheduled for July 25 at the Visalia Convention Center. Invitations will be sent out to all industry members at the end of June, and we hope to see you there.
APGâ€™s on-line store offers a wide selection of APG branded clothing and accesories to show off your APG pride. To start your shopping spree visit AmericanPistachios.org, log into the APG member site (top right corner), click on the APG Member Menu, scroll down and then click on the APG Store tab.