The News

Organic milk shortage spurs price hikes

A revolution is quietly underway in the dairy aisle of your local supermarket.
Sales of organic milk have been surging, up 10 percent in 2014 — and nearly 30 percent since 2006.
According to a recent report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans bought nearly 2.5 billion pounds of organic milk last year, so much that organic dairies are having trouble keeping up with the demand.

Processors adopt radio frequency tech for safer food

A Sacramento company wants to change the way farmers ensure food safety.
Since its founding in 2008, Sacramento-based RF Biocidics has been pioneering methods that use radio frequency technology to safely eliminate food-related pathogens, pests and fungi from products like nuts, grains and seeds.

Fresno tea business expanding online, physical presence

Since its founding in 2009, Fresno-based Raizana Tea Co. has seen a majority of its sales originate online
That trend is set to change, however, as the married owners are increasingly focusing on expanding Raizana’s presence within the physical marketplace while maintaining its essential philosophy.

Valley businesses increasingly adopt tablet computers

Sales of tablet devices are on track to outpace laptops and personal computers for the first time this year, signaling a major shift in the way consumers and businesses use technology.
According to sales predictions from Gartner, a global information technology research and advisory company, more than 320,000 tablet devices will be sold this year, eclipsing the projected 260,000-plus units for laptops and desk-based computers. While this change has been predicted for some time, the trend towards tablets is having a major impact on the way several local businesses operate.

New Delta water master gives downbeat assessment

Several hundred scientists, educators, farmers and entrepreneurs converged in Clovis on March 5 for the BlueTechValley Water Summit.
Aric Olson, president of Jain Irrigation, one of the conference’s main sponsors, said the summit was designed “to explore and discuss new innovations, developments and trends related to current area water issues.”

‘Unapologetically Fresno’

Loss of Giants affiliation brings Grizzlies closer to home

The change of major league affiliation may have disappointed some local baseball fans when it was announced last fall, but Fresno Grizzlies management say the team’s new contract with the Houston Astros is allowing them to reach out to the community like never before.  

Concern arises about food nonprofit’s philosophy

Ambitious new nonprofit Food Commons Fresno garnered support from the community last year after announcing plans to address local food deserts, but the organization is now drawing criticism from at least one business owner who said he is wary of the group’s overall message.
Food Commons plans a three-pronged approach to help increase access to affordable and fresh produce: a land trust to accept donations of farm land, equipment and other infrastructure; a mobile farmer’s market and community supported agriculture (CSA) box deliveries and a community-funded brick-and-mortar grocery store in an underserved part of the city.
These goals helped the organization win the support of groups such as the Fresno Regional Foundation and U.S. Department of Agriculture Local Food Promotion Program, but have also brought about negative attention.

Sylvan Learning tutoring center plans Fresno location

One of the nation’s largest tutoring networks will expand to Fresno this year, giving extra help to students in need of math, reading and even computer skills.
Sylvan Learning, Inc. has more than 800 locations in North America. Although California is home to some 60 centers, Fresno has been without a Sylvan franchise since 2010 when its former owner passed away without a successor.

Welcome to Bandit Town

A clothing company entrepreneur has a vision for turning a sleepy community in the rural Madera County foothills into an entertainment hot spot.
Jen McMillan, the 42-year-old founder of Bandit Brand clothing, made big news in little North Fork when she purchased an 11.5-acre parcel formerly known as Old Town in December 2013.
The long-vacant, Wild West-themed property included a number of old, mostly dilapidated structures, including a chapel, barn and even the town’s original jail.

New water heater rules could spell headaches for Valley homeowners

Beginning April 16, changes in government regulations may cause a routine water heater replacement to become an unexpectedly expensive endeavor for Valley homeowners.  
Next month, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is set to begin enforcing new energy efficiency standards for residential water heaters.