Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Preservation Link Roundup 2/9/10

The LA Times has an incredible and truly disturbing story about corruption in one of California's tomato processing plants (Tomato Bribery Probe Just the Beginning, Prosecutors Say). California's four major tomato processing plants account for nearly 95% of the commercially grown tomatoes, and one of them is facing very serious allegations of corruption. In particular, their agents were bribing the buyers for major food companies to purchase their tomatoes or provide information on the pricing of competitors.

Inflated costs were only one of the prices consumers had to pay:
Company officials allegedly shrugged off warnings about being caught, even when one of their contacts included a remark that the quality of SK Foods' tomato paste was getting too poor to ignore.

"We pack garbage for them anyway and they always take it, but we've hit new lows," said Rahal, according to the declaration.
And this is only one of many investigations into various food industries:
Step into a grocery store these days and on almost every aisle there's an item tied to a federal investigation: dairy distributors, egg producers, citrus firms and seed developers are all the targets of federal lawsuits or investigations. Starting next month, the Justice Department and the U.S. Department of Agriculture will hold meetings to gather complaints and hear concerns over lack of competition in the dairy, grain, livestock and poultry sectors.

"Agriculture will be a priority of mine," Christine Varney, who leads the Obama administration's antitrust team at the Justice Department, said during her congressional confirmation hearings last year.
As if we needed any more reasons to frequent farmers' markets and can our own.

Tigress in a Jam provides links to a maker of custom canning labels, check them out on Etsy: Lelo in Nopo: Homemade, as well as Tigress' recipe for thumbprint cookies (Roast the Toast: Marmalade Thumbprints). Let me tell you, thumbprint cookies are a fantastic way to use jams, jellies and marmalades. I haven't tried conserves, but that might work as well. And, feel free to vary the recipes a bit. For example, Tigress recommends using walnuts or pecans to roll the cookies. However, a few years ago I made thumbprints with pine nuts and basil jelly ... a great combination.

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