Now that National Ag Week is behind us, I hope all of you hugged a farmer for the food he/she puts on your plate. I have a personal affection for farmers and ranchers, since our family is a four generation ranching operation. I grew up in the family who made the Madison County Fair their summer vacation and named all their 4-H animals, cried when they sold them and then started the process all over again the next year. We carted everything from zucchini cake to horses to the 4-H County Fair to compete for the coveted grand prize.
As our schools and community celebrated last week, I searched for some fun facts on agriculture and came up with the following facts about the food we eat.
Corn Poppin’ Facts
Popcorn pops because water is stored in a small circle of soft starch in each kernel. As the kernel is heated, the water heats, the droplet of moisture turns to steam and the steam builds up pressure until the kernel finally explodes to many times its original volume. Americans today consume 17.3 billion quarts of popped popcorn each year! The average American eats about 68 quarts.
The same chemicals that give tart cherries their color may relieve pain better than aspirin and ibuprofen in humans. Eating about 20 tart cherries a day could reduce inflammation pain and headache pain. There are about 7,000 cherries on an average tart cherry tree. It takes about 250 cherries to make a cherry pie, so each tree can produce about 250 pies.
Lettuce is a member of the sunflower family. Darker green lettuce leaves are more nutritious than lighter green leaves. Americans eat about 30 pounds of lettuce every year. That’s about 5 times more than we ate n the early 1900’s.
Berry, Berry Good for You!
Blueberries are the second most popular berry in the US. Michigan and New Jersey produce 66% of all blueberries in the US, followed by North Carolina, Oregon and Washington. Over 200 million pounds of blueberries are grown every year in North America. Blueberries are a good source of Vitamin C and fiber.
In the US in 1998, hens produced 6,657,000,000 dozen eggs-that’s 6.667 billion dozen! The egg shell may have as many as 17,000 tiny pores over its surface. Through them, the egg can absorb flavors and odors. Therefore storing them in cartons keeps them fresh. Eggs age more in one day at room temperature than in one week in the refrigerator. Egg yolks are one of the few foods that naturally contain Vitamin D.
There are over 500 different types of bananas. Although regarded as a tree, this large tropical plant is really an herb. That means it does not have a woody trunk like a tree. The stalk is composed of leaf sheaths that overlap each other and grow from an underground stem called a rhizome. Bananas are about 99.5% fat free and were most likely the first fruit ever to be grown on a farm.
Americans eat approximately 100 acres of pizza each day or 350 slices per second. Each man, woman and child in America eats an average of 46 slices (23 pounds) of pizza a year. Pepperoni is America’s favorite topping. Anchovies always rank the last on the list of favorite toppings. In 1830 pizza truly began with the opening of the world’s first pizzeria. Port’ Alba, the pizzas were cooked in an oven lined with lava from Mount Vesuvius, a volcano located on the Bay of Naples
ALC, GRI, RRS, SRS