California Heartland Episode 909 Transcript

California Heartland is made possible by The James G. Boswell Foundation, committed to sharing the stories and successes of California growers.  Bank of America, bank of opportunity.  Funding provided in part by, The California Farm Bureau Federation, proud publishers of “California Country” magazine.  More information is available at www.californiacountry.org

I don’t think we’ll see salmon season next year.

California’s salmon industry takes a dive.  But while scientists fight an upstream battle searching for answers, see how commercial fishermen get creative to stay afloat. 

And.

We’ve been farming rice for over 70 years.

Chances are you’ve had dinner with them before.  Meet the family and the Lundberg’s family farm label.  Rice growers who stand out in the field for keeping is family style for generations.

It’s no wonder these are romantic, poeticized flowers.  They grow everywhere including Alaska.  They’re a colorful mainstay for any garden.

Plus tips on how to create your own picture perfect rose garden. 

It’s all next on California Heartland.

Chris Burrous: From your backyard, to the back country, in a field, or on your family table, it’s all about what keeps California moving and growing, this is California Heartland.

John Lobertini: Take a good look at the Spud Point Marina on Bodega Bay and ask yourself this: what looks out of place here?

John Lobertini: Well, the buzz over salmon season never made it out of hibernation and these slips are filled with boats that would normally be out fishing the fertile waters of the north coast.

Fisherman: I’ve been fishing here since 1966 and I’ve never seen it like this.

John Lobertini: The fishermen now gather across the street.  They meet every morning for coffee and a hearty lament over the cancellation of commercial salmon season.

John Lobertini: How are you making ends meet? 

Milt Harris: Right now we’re living off our crab season.  It’s like everybody else, whatever you had in reserve from Crab fishing.  You never know from one season to the next.  If we had a bad crab season it would be pretty devastating for this group.

John Lobertini: Some have already reached a crisis point.  There are reports of homes going into foreclosure; fishermen losing their boats and some are way behind on the rent in this marina.

John Lobertini: That’s why Tony Anello is trying to reinvent himself.  Strict licensing guidelines limit what he can catch, but Anello believes he’s found a market for something called a “slime eel.”  There’s a hungry buyer in Korea he says.

John Lobertini: But first Anello had to invest 2-months and 20-thousand dollars on traps and gear.

John Lobertini: Now with everything in place he’s positioned his business around a fish known, oddly enough, as a bottom feeder.

Tony Anello: A lot of the guys say I wouldn’t be reduced to fishing slime eels.  But I don’t know what else they’re going to do because there’s nothing else to fish for right now.

John Lobertini: Fishermen, like farmers, take life one season at a time.  But the mysterious collapse of the Chinook population or King Salmon here on the Sacramento River has even experts gravely worried.  There’s still no definitive explanation for the rapid decline; but critics are zeroing-in on the way water is diverted through the Delta and shipped to Southern California.

John Lobertini: With that concern front and center, state wildlife officials stepped-in for Mother Nature.

John Lobertini: Back in May, huge trucks delivered 20-million smolt to San Pablo Bay, just outside San Francisco.  Smolts are baby salmon and these were raised in hatcheries as much as 200-miles away.

Neil Manji: Fish that have been acclimated to the waters down in the bay here have shown an increased survival and with that increased survival.  We usually get larger runs back to the central valley.

John Lobertini: This year’s ocean release is 4-times, 15-million more smolt, than Fish and Game has ever attempted.  25-percent of these baby salmon have been inserted with a tracking wire that could one day explain their migration and spawning patterns.

Harry Morse: Science takes a while, and it’s not easy.

John Lobertini: Because why they’re disappearing, is a mystery.

Harry Morse: In 2002 we were up to 800-thousand fish and now we’re looking at below 60-thousand fish.

John Lobertini: 4-years ago Brand Little traded a corner office for a life at sea.

John Lobertini: Not long after that. the salmon population took a dive.  Little named his boat the “Fair Seas,” but the Pacific has been anything but fair.

Brand Little: I’ve never fished the month of June since I’ve been in this industry which is historically one of the best months ever.  I’ve just watched bigger and bigger closures over the last 4-years until now there’s nothing.

John Lobertini: Little, though, isn’t just a fisherman.  He knows advertising, marketing and consumer trends.

Brand Little: Like one pound; right there, good.

John Lobertini: From that he positioned himself as the fisherman who could get seafood from the ocean to your dinner table in less than 24-hours.  Little knew grocery stores couldn’t compete.

Brand Little: A lot of times that fish can be as much as 8 or 9-days out of the water when we’re intercepting it right from the boats right here and selling it the very next day.  Only taking what we can move the next day.

John Lobertini: He brokers most of those deals through a series of farmer’s markets in Auburn, Lincoln, Colfax and Tahoe City.

Brand Little: I oversee the entire process.  I work about 20-hours a day, 7-days a week literally during the summertime.  I’m very, very picky I hand pick all my stuff.  I like supervise all my cuts to make sure they’re the right thickness, make sure I’m getting the top notch stuff.

John Lobertini: Top notch because even in a slumping economy, there’s still a market for good seafood. 

John Lobertini: At one point salmon nibbled at 40-dollars a pound and the more aggressive fishermen are laying down 35-thousand dollars for a license to fish the waters off Alaska.

Milt Harris: If a guy was just a Salmon fisherman, and I know guys who bought Alaska permits; they went to Alaska in hopes they could go up there an make it.   But I don’t know how that’s working out.

John Lobertini: But the bigger question is this: how’s it going to work out on the Sacramento River.

Sam Garcia: I don’t think we’ll see salmon season next year.  I don’t.

John Lobertini: The fall of 2008 could provide a turning point.

John Lobertini: Salmon runs on the Klamath and Trinity Rivers near the Oregon border have exceeded expectations.  Recreational fishermen have been told they can catch more, but commercial anglers can only hope that this is a sign for better things to come.

John Lobertini: A blue ribbon panel is expected to release its findings into the collapse of the Chinook population.  But the most telling moments will take place during the fall salmon run; when experts can see for themselves just how many salmon are returning to the Sacramento River.

Chris Burrous: It’s the favorite among winter squashes and the most versatile one at that.  We’re talking about butternut squash.  The veggie is easy to store and prepare.  This thick skinned squash is loaded with vitamin a, six grams of dietary fiber and packed with flavor. California grows twenty percent of our nation’s squash- making this state number one in squash production.  Here’s Food and lifestyle expert Laura McIntosh Bringing It Home.

Laura McIntosh: I am so excited to introduce to you, executive chef from Tra Vigne Restaurant, Nash Cognetti.  Hi Nash!

Nash Cognetti: Good to see you.

Laura McIntosh: Thanks for joining us.

Nash Cognetti: Thanks for having me.

Laura McIntosh: Now, tell them the name of this recipe and I’m gonna’ have you say it a couple times because I just love it.

Nash Cognetti: It’s called Zucca alla Livornese, Zucca being Italian for squash and we’re using good old butternut squash.

Laura McIntosh: Wha-la, this is a butternut squash.

Nash Cognetti: And we’ll start simply by taking our slices of butternut squash, about a quarter of an inch thick or so and just lightly putting them in the flour.  And you notice I’m not putting any salt and pepper on these because later we’re layering this dish with parmesan cheese.  We’re trying to something a little bit lighter that doesn’t weigh down in your stomach after you eat it.

Laura McIntosh: I like that, you can eat more then.  

Nash Cognetti: Exactly, so we’re gonna’ start by putting our butternut squash in our hot, extra virgin olive oil and we’re always cooking with extra virgin olive oil.  And that’s really the only oil we use at the restaurant, is extra virgin olive oil. 

Laura McIntosh: We do two?

Nash Cognetti We can do more than two actually.  And we’re not really trying to fry the squash here, because we’re gonna’ bake it in the oven later.  And so to start it, I’m just going to put a little bit of our basic marinara sauce.  Basic marinara sauce for me and my kitchen is just olive oil, garlic and tomatoes.  So once these start going a bit, you want to kinda, and like I said before you’ll see that we’re not really frying these to the point that we want to batter them. 

Laura McIntosh: Correct, this is not a deep fried squash dish. 

Nash Cognetti: It’s not a deep fried dish, so why don’t you go ahead and start flouring some more of those babies. 

Nash Cognetti: And I’m going to take these ones that we have and just kind of shake them free of the olive oil. 

Laura McIntosh: And I know a lot of you are going to want to take these recipes and do them at home because like Nash said, what five, six ingredients here.

Nash Cognetti: Really really simple.

Laura McIntosh: The recipes are on our website.  So check that out, get the recipes and try them at home.

Nash Cognetti: Next step, we’re building this like we would build lasagna or like I said before, eggplant parmesano.  So we have our tomato sauce, we have our butternut squash.  For the next layer, we put some more of what I said, that basic marinara sauce.  And I’m going to reach around you here, sorry.

Laura McIntosh: Oh, some cheese!

Nash Cognetti: And some parmesan cheese, and like I said before this is not the stuff that comes from the little green can from the super market.  Grate it fresh and have it be fantastic, because that’s the whole point behind the dish. 

Laura McIntosh: How many layers?

Nash Cognetti: Until it’s full.

Nash Cognetti: And what’s gonna’ happen in the oven, if you bake it uncovered it’s gonna’ get that crush on the top.

Laura McIntosh: Oh yeah.

Nash Cognetti: That’s the action right there.

Laura McIntosh: I like that, that’s the action, I like that.

Nash Cognetti: That crust on the top, that golden brown crust is what you want. 

Laura McIntosh: Okay you have one done.

Nash Cognetti: I do.

Laura McIntosh: Okay, let’s take a look at it.  Let’s see what the finished product looks like.  And, did you see how easy that was? And remember, Nash had the oil ready to go.  Make sure you have your oil ready so you can put your squash in there, and it’ll cook it pretty quickly.

Nash Cognetti: Yeah, absolutely.

Laura McIntosh: Oh that looks gorgeous.

Nash Cognetti: Oh it’s bubbling.

Laura McIntosh: Oh yeah that’s what we want.  My mouth is watering and that is bubbling.  That’s gorgeous.

Nash Cognetti: So the only thing that I would do to finish the dish here right now is just put some chopped fresh Italian parsley on the top. 

Laura McIntosh: Nash, easy, fun and like I said I’m your eyes, ears and taste buds today and they’re already watering.

Nash Cognetti: Simple, right?

Laura McIntosh: Simple and I only have a little flour on my hands.

Cassandra Tucker: I’m Cassandra Tucker and I’m in the Animal Science Department at UC Davis and this project is looking at cow showers to cool dairy cattle off.  Most dairy farmers do provide water to cool their cattle off in a mister over the feed bunk, what we’re doing here is allowing the cows to turn the water on and off themselves.  They do that buy stepping on a pressure sensitive platform and once they step on it, it sends a signal to the relay and the water starts to flow. 

David Ledgerwood: We do a number of measurements to look at temperature and different stress measurements.  We do skin temperature, skin sweating rate, body temperature and respiration rate.  We used what’s called a thermo couple and we place it on a shaved square on her side, and we get an accurate measurement of skin temperature.

Cassandra Tucker: Cooling cows of is important from a comfort perspective to keep cows comfortable; cows that are cool produce more milk.  Nationally, the dairy industry loses 900 million dollars a year to heat stress.  Cow showers help keep cows cool in the summer and this is good for both the cows and the farmers.

Chris Burrous: This is a story about a horse named Sadie who enriches the lives of children on a daily basis.

Chris Burrous: Sadie, along with ten other horses live at this ranch near Sacramento.

Chris Burrous: This is the home of saddle pals, a therapeutic riding program for children with disabilities.

Doug Bergman: When you’re out here visiting this facility you’ll see a lot of different activities going on.  You’ll see physical activities, you’ll see emotional activities going on, you’ll see cognitive activities going on out here and that’s what we’re about here. 

Chris Burrous: Saddle Pals is part of United Cerebral Palsy and serves nearly 60 children, like 16-year-old Kendra Minden.

Volunteer: Heels down and hold it through the walk. Yes! That’s what I was looking for.

Chris Burrous: Kendra began riding horses with Saddle Pals ten years ago.  She loves animals so her parents thought riding could help strengthen her weak core muscles.

Andy Minden: Gradually, as she got more and more experience and stronger through working with the program, instead of people doing things for her she’s able to do something for someone else, so that really improves her self confidence and helped her be a very social individual.

Kendra Minden: It just makes me feel good inside and out too.

Jodi Wong: You ready?

Chris Burrous: Riding horses allows these kids to work on their strength, balance, verbal skills and listening.

Jodi Wong: Yes! Yes!

Chris Burrous: What’s amazing is the connection between the horse and rider…it can be life changing.

Chris Burrous: Take Justin who is almost completely nonverbal, said “mom” after his first time on a horse.

Jennifer Fenton: He wants to touch them and pet them and as he’s cheered on, he’ll cheer on the horse.  I know the volunteers get a great deal of happiness working with him.

Chris Burrous: Which brings us back to Sadie, the newest addition here.

Jodi Wong: Sadie’s owner just called me up and said she’s retired from her career as a cutting horse, she’s had a couple of babies and she’s just sitting around doing nothing.

Chris Burrous: Monica, Sadie’s owner, was familiar with therapeutic riding programs and thought Sadie would be a perfect fit.

Monica Pino: To be loved and brushed and played with all day everyday.  I mean she’s 22 years old, full of life, sound, happy.

Chris Burrous: But not every horse fits the bill. Saddle pals horses have to be healthy, gentle and calm.

Jodi Wong: For about every 20 calls we get, we’ll bring maybe 1 in on a trial and of our trial horses, maybe one out of 5 or 8 will actually stay in the program.

Chris Burrous: And in most cases, the horses are “leased” to the program.

Monica Pino: I call it a 100-year lease. They’ll use her until she either gets tired of what she’s doing or she just gets too old.

Jodi Wong: We pay for all their expenses while they’re here.  We don’t actually pay them money for the lease.

Chris Burrous: A win-win for everyone and every horse and child involved.

Monica Pino: She’s still our horse and we know she’s being well taken care of, but to know on the other side that she’s in such a great place and I can just picture those kids when they see her. I mean, they go up and just love on her and that’s the greatest thing!

Chris Burrous: A great alternative for horses who would otherwise be put out to pasture.

Doug Bergman: We’re always constantly looking for great horses.  I want to take that waiting list down to zero and get those other 40 families into the program as quickly as possible.

Chris Burrous: It’s no horseplay.  These horses really do change lives.

Chris Burrous: The roots of California’s farming families grow deep.  This is the heritage of our heartland.

Wendell Lundberg: I remember so well that dad told me, “when I got here I thought I’d come to the Garden of Eden.”

Manny Ramos: In 1937 Albert Lundberg brought his wife and sons to Richvale, where they began farming rice.  And that’s where this story begins.

Wendell Lundberg: I’m Wendell Lundberg, son of Albert Lundberg.

Jessica Lundberg: I’m Jessica Lundberg, daughter of Wendell and Caroline Lundberg and granddaughter of Albert and Francis Lundberg.

Eldon Lundberg: I’m Eldon Lundberg and I’m the son of Albert Lundberg.  I’m the oldest, been here on the ranch all my life with my brothers.  We’ve been farming rice for 70 years. 

Manny Ramos: Before farming rice in California, the Lundberg’s grew corn and wheat in Nebraska, but two events changed what and how they farmed.

Bryce Lundberg: Grandpa Albert was a visionary, and I think he understood that there are several ways to do things. 

Manny Ramos: The rich soil was not productive for their usual crops, but there was a crop that could flourish in the soil—rice.

Manny Ramos: And after seeing devastation of the dust bowl, Albert Lundburg knew it was important to have proper soil management.  So the family struggled as they learned how to raise rice and keep the land fertile.

Bryce Lundberg: They really persevered, they made a set of direction and they said this is the way we’re gonna’ go.   

Wendell Lundberg: We sort of had to go on our own for the first several years and it was real learning and it wasn’t really all that easy.  But, it was enjoyable.

Manny Ramos: The four Lundberg brothers were not only good rice farmers, they turned out to be very good business men.

Eldon Lundberg: We called it WEHAH Farm at that time. WEHAH and that was an acronym for Wendell, Eldon and Harlan and our father Albert and Homer.

Manny Ramos: But WEHAH isn’t the only name that’s changed.

Jessica Lundberg: Out on this farm in Nebraska, there was this one big Cypress Tree and he thought it was very representative of him and of his family…that it was making a fresh start and standing alone and strong out alone on this prairie.  So he used the word in Swedish, as a single thing, which is lone burg.  And he went to the government office and told them to change his name; his English was horrible he hardly spoke any English.  So when he asked them for Lone Burg, they just made a big assumption, well there’s a bunch of Lundbergs here, and they’re Swedish too so I think he said Lundberg.  So they wrote Lundberg on the paper, so when he got the papers a few months later he read and said, “Well we have a new name.”  It’s Lundberg, and so that’s what we’re going with.

Manny Ramos: Today Lundeberg Farms is becoming a major producer of organic rice products.

Bryce Lundberg: We were encouraged to look at other professions, and this is where I felt my skills and my heart told me to be.

Jessica Lundberg: I had always loved the farm.  I didn’t grow up in Richvale, so for me the farm was coming down with my dad in the evening and turning on the pumps and irrigating or checking the fields, it was on the weekends and spending the summers down here.

Lars Lundberg: I think it’s amazing that it’s lasted this long and has stayed pure in the family.

Anders Lundberg: I’ve always loved going out in the fields and it’s pretty interesting to me. 

Manny Ramos: Gonna’ stick around?

Anders Lundberg: Yeah, I think so.  It’s a great opportunity to try and follow in my grandpa’s footsteps. 

Manny Ramos: Not only your grandfathers.

Anders Lundberg: My great grandfather also.

Jessica Lundberg: My dad and uncles were talking about how they want to transition the company, I didn’t really quite see a spot but this is such a legacy that I thought, this is worth putting some time in.  And I saw this place for me where I could be working with our seed varieties and certification and I still get to work with the farm.

Eldon Lundberg: It’s interesting how things grow, just sort of natural.

Manny Ramos: So, for the Lundberg family this field of dreams continues to grow just like their family history.

Lars Lundberg: I think it’s a privilege but also responsibility to do it the way they’ve done it for 70 years.

Wendell Lundberg: Because a lot of family operations haven’t been able to stay together but I tell you it’s been a real pleasure to be involved with my brothers and now with the younger group taking over, it’s a real pleasure to come by and see how well things are going.  In fact, man I’m embarrassed that they can do things way much better than we did. 

Chris Burrous: Everyone’s a farmer when it comes to their own backyard; try these tips for doing it home grown.

Kristine Hanson: A rose is a rose is a rose, whether it’s a tree, ground cover, bush or hedge.  It’s no wonder these are romantic poeticized flowers.  They grow everywhere including Alaska, there a colorful mainstay to any garden. And when our California heat and temperatures start to climb, these roses take off.

Kristine Hanson: Roses come in all different shape and sizes and this is the most classic bush form, this is a hybrid tea, a single rose on a stem.  This is what we would put in a vase and what our florists put in arrangements. And then there’s a Floribunda or Grandiflora and these are the more bang for your buck type rose, as you can see a single stem, but a cluster of roses on the bushAnd then, one of my favorites, miniatures, I plant these in front of the rose garden.  We’re talking about miniature little buds, the plant itself can become very large, but the buds themselves will stay small, so not a miniature plant itself.  And these, you remember these going into the back of your grandmother’s yard, these are a shrub rose and they can be placed anywhere, just let them go and they’ll just take off and somebody will come up and say what is that gorgeous plant in the back of your yard?  It’s a shrub rose. And then, climbers, these are fabulous and because it’s a misnomer they don’t actually attach to the house.  Instead they need a little support but they don’t attach.  And as a result they’re safe for building your trellis or your home.

Kristine Hanson: To keep roses happy during the summer months, you need to water consistently and do something called dead heading.  That’s a way we trim and tidy up our bushesWell, it’s also a gardener’s way of tricking Mother Nature into producing more flower blooms.  Roses come with three and five set leaflets, we’re gonna’ take a pair of sharp pruning shears and we’re gonna’ cut above the five set leaflet in a downward stroke; once the rose is removed you can drop it into a bucket.  Now you can do the whole plant at one time, or cut them as they fade- that’s what I do then bring them indoors and then you’ve always got a little extra color left on the bush.

Kristine Hanson: Well you can plant your rose in a pot or in the garden, but whatever location you pick you want to get 6 hours of sunlight a day, now we’re planting in the shade today and I’ve put on my gloves - we’re gonna’ knock the rose bush out of the pot, by that I mean you tap the pot once we’ve watered the plant really well and it will slip right out.  Now this time of year, the nursery has done most of the work for you, as you can see there’s a soil lining and you’re just going to match that up- we’ve put a little soil at the bottom of the pot, hold it there and fill in around the edges you can loosen up the pot line just a little bit as you put it in.  The next step once you’ve filled this, fill this just a little bit full because it’s all going to settle down, is to water the plant.  Be sure when you water the plant that you water the soil around the plant and not the leaves.

Kristine Hanson: So roses don’t have to be a thorny project for your home garden, after all it is the home that you give the roses, and the time that you take to stop and smell the roses that really counts.

Chris Burrous: That’s California Heartland, for more information on any of these stories go to Californiaheartland.org I’m Chris Burrous see you next time.

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California Heartland is made possible by The James G. Boswell Foundation, committed to sharing the stories and successes of California growers.  Bank of America, bank of opportunity.  Funding provided in part by, The California Farm Bureau Federation, proud publishers of “California Country” magazine.  More information is available at www.californiacountry.org