ASTA In Review
America’s largest seed industry conference, Dec 3-6, 2018 Chicago, IL
We attended the American Seed Trade Association meetings in Chicago the first week of December. This is a meeting that brings a significant number of people involved in the seed industry; breeders, seed producers, sales and marketing and the suppliers of all aspects of the seed industry. The seed industry is as vibrant as ever in spite of a low farm economy. The large company mergers are conveying a sense of a healthy industry-promoting innovation, stewardship and profitability. All other segments of the seed industry are also very active. The organic seed industry is prospering, acreages are getting larger and grain prices are very healthy Current prices for conventional vs. organic grain are as follows:
Demand for Identity Preserved non GMO grains for export is increasing. Japan, one of the importing countries, has only a 28% food self sufficiency rate compared to 132% food sufficiency rate for the U.S. Over the years, China has converted to a net importer. Identity preserved markets are served by grain exporters connected to overseas markets. Commodities are shipped on large barges, bulk ships and containers. Markets for specialty grains are developing domestically and overseas. GEI is very enthusiastic about the growing demands for healthy foods where our corn specialty products can have an impact. Product innovations are part of our company breeding efforts. There are new breeding techniques to accelerate the pace of the breeding cycles that we will be integrating in our product development.
Eating in Chicago
During our trip to Chicago for the ASTA meetings, we noticed something amazing. We were seated at our favorite sandwich shop and saw a lineup just across the hall at a vending machine. People were waiting their turn to buy glass jars filled with salads, yogurts with assorted fruits and granola, even sandwich or wrap makings in the jar. There were also soups and drinks such as teas, flavored water or kombucha. The vending machine was labeled Farmer’s Fridge.
On further investigation, we found that the machine had a slot for credit cards. It also had an opening for returning used jars. The website for this venture tells that each machine is resupplied daily. This seems to be unique to Chicago. Sites throughout Chicago serve the public but also are private such as inside an office building. At the end of the day, remaining food is removed and given to those in need. You can check out this unique business at farmersfridge.com . Eating healthy is catching on!
Last year at the American Seed Trade Association meetings, we found a restaurant close to the hotel. It’s called the Broken English Taco Pub. We went there about 11:30 in the morning. We must have reminded our waiter of his grandparents because he was very solicitous. The place was calm and quiet. He helped us choose what would be good. We spoke to him in Spanish (to live up to the name). Then he gave us fair warning that the place would soon be inundated. He wasn’t kidding. The noon lunch crowd came in like ravenous wolves.
This year at dinner time, it was freezing cold and another favorite restaurant had closed down. We quickly hiked over to the Broken English. This time there was no calm and certainly no quiet. There would be a wait of 45 minutes. It was too cold to look elsewhere. We couldn’t hear each other as we sat at the bar. It appears that the young Chicago office workers don’t like to go home after work. We were able to “people watch” for about 45 minutes before our text message arrived that a table was available. We ate our tacos in silence because once again, we couldn’t hear each other.
We had time to contemplate the incredible amount of corn that is used by this business. Tortilla chips are ordered with guacamole and are very popular. The tacos are made with double fresh tortillas. The place is open every day from lunch to late at night. That’s a lot of corn!
The 2019 PFI Conference will take place January 11th and 12th at Scheman Bldg. in Ames. We have made arrangements to have a table at the Expo. We will have information about our hybrids – conventional and organic. If you have an interest in free strip testing seed, you can sign up for a 20,000 kernel bag.
Good Health to All: Retail’s Biggest Opportunity
In the last issue of Cereal Foods World (Nov-Dec, 2018), there is an interesting article by Wendy Liebmann, about how consumers are shifting their attitudes toward health. Liebmann has a global consultancy that helps clients build innovative shopper-led retail strategies.
Studies showed that in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, American shoppers were brand driven and had little regard for financial implications. After the crash of 2008, consumers set higher priorities to saving money and shopping smarter. This is also when the new wellness movement started.
People have begun to closely read ingredient lists on food. Organic produce has become much more popular. Healthier food is showing up at fast food chains. Families are willing to spend their money on meal delivery services or meal subscription plans where a box of healthy ingredients to prepare a meal for a family of four is delivered on a regular basis.
Frequently, you will find an employee at a grocery store dedicated to filling grocery orders for people to pick up at the drive through lane of the store. Even airports are seeing the need for providing healthy food options to travelers, as seen in the picture at O’Hare Airport in Chicago.
White Corn Grain
Iowa is one of the largest producers of corn in the nation. Despite this, restaurants that use white corn grain must import corn grain from other states. This year, a progressive farmer in Iowa produced a pilot production of white grain of our white corn hybrid. We delivered the first 50# bag of grain to a local restaurant, as seen in the picture.
No Need to Knead Bread
As I pointed out in the October newsletter, I am not a successful bread maker….until now. We got a hands-on demonstration of this bread and if you follow the directions, you can’t fail! I have made it with 1/2 cup of high lysine corn flour and also another time with ¼ cup of buckwheat flour. I even jazzed it up with candied cherries and candied pineapple for something more festive. You can add dried herbs or seeds such as sunflower or sesame. It’s fun to make and even more fun to eat. I hope you will give it a try.
4 cups of flour (2 cups of which need to be “bread flour” with more protein). If you add other flour like corn flour or buckwheat or whatever, use only about 1/2 cup of the total
1 ½ tsp. salt
¾ tsp. dry yeast (yes, that’s right)
2 cups of warm water (not hot)
Mix the dry ingredients together thoroughly and then add the water. Mix until well blended.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it where it won’t be disturbed (I put mine in the cold oven). Leave for 12 hours. (best to start overnight)
Start the oven at 500° and put a covered Dutch oven in, while you prepare the dough.
Using a spatula, empty the bowl with the risen dough onto a floured surface. The dough will be sticky at the beginning. Fold the dough over itself a few times. Turn the dough over and score the top with a knife.
Turn the oven down to 450°. Set the dough on parchment paper and lower the dough into the Dutch oven. Bake for a half hour with the lid on and then 15 minutes without the lid. Use the parchment paper to remove the finished bread.
2019 GEI Hybrid Catalog
Click Here to view the full catalog on our website
GEI 9010 ORGANIC
GEI 9700 treated
GEI 9887 lys
GEI 2318 high provitamin A corn
GEI 2312 new high provitamin A corn GEI 411C high anthocyanin
GEI 202 M new mushroom popcorn
GEI 201 flake popcorn available in 2020