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Agriculture briefs

Published: Sunday, January 6, 2013 at 4:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 4, 2013 at 5:04 p.m.

Frey named board president of Harvest Fair

Nick Frey, president of the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, has been named the new board president of the Sonoma County Harvest Fair.

The fair, which celebrates the county’s wine and other agricultural bounty, will be held Oct. 4-6 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa.

Frey has been the grape commission’s president since 2006 and previously served as executive director of the Sonoma County Grape Growers Association.

He succeeds as president Steve Dutton, a Sebastopol wine grape and apple grower.

Former Santa Rosa mayor Mike Martini, general manager of Taft Street Winery, was named vice president.

The Harvest Fair, which began in 1975, has a 15-member board of directors who oversee the annual celebration.

Food prices fall in fourth quarter

Prices for 16 staple food items fell 3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to a survey by the American Farm Bureau Federation.

The average cost of the items dropped $1.36 from the second quarter to $50.54, the federation reported in its regular Marketbasket Survey. However, the price was about 3 percent higher than a year earlier.

Items that declined in price included Russet potatoes, which dropped 39 cents to $2.62 for a 5-pound bag; bagged salad, which fell 35 cents to $2.59 per pound; and deli ham, which decreased 31 cents to $4.89 per pound.

In contrast, whole milk increased 18 cents to $3.73 per gallon and orange juice increased 11 cents to $3.41 per half-gallon.

The survey involved 107 shoppers in 31 states.

UC Davis Olive Center studying wastewater management

The UC Davis Olive Center and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service have been awarded a grant to develop innovative approaches to wastewater management and beneficial reuse.

With more than 600 million gallons of wastewater generated per year, the California olive industry is looking to find new ways to save water and reduce discharge fees. Taking it one step further, the UC Davis Olive Center hopes to find ways to harvest beneficial products from the waste streams for use in nutriceuticals.

The project is being spearheaded by Selina Wang, research director for the Olive Center. Wang hopes to develop an approach that enables olive oil producers to reduce their wastewater volumes by up to 90 percent.

Among the technologies being evaluated is the VSEP vibrating membrane system from New Logic Research, an Emeryville company that supplies technology to treat water.

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