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New Orleans restauranteur Dickie Brennan confers with LSU AgCenter horticulturists Kiki Fontenot, center, and Anna Timmerman following a trip to a tomato field and a taste testing at Brennan’s Commissary on June 25. (Photo by Rick Bogren/LSU AgCenter)

Search for best-tasting tomato leads Brennan to LSU AgCenter

When New Orleans restauranteur Dickie Brennan was ready to find tomato varieties for his restaurants, he called on the LSU AgCenter.
“I want to serve, sell and promote local, vine-ripe tomatoes picked here — tomatoes that stay longer on the vine are sweeter and juicier,” he said.
Brennan recently opened a commercial kitchen called The Commissary to supply basics like soups and desserts to his company’s five restaurants. The facility also will include a market where customers can purchase packaged foods and fresh produce.

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LSU AgCenter soybean specialist David Moseley talks about the condition of Louisiana’s soybean crop at the Evangeline Parish rice field day on June 11. It was his first field day appearance with the LSU AgCenter. (Photo by Bruce Schultz/LSU AgCenter)

Rice crop off to good start

This year’s rice crop is progressing well, and the recent Tropical Storm Cristobal had little effect, an LSU AgCenter rice expert said at the Evangeline Parish rice field day on June 11.
AgCenter rice specialist Dustin Harrell said March temperatures were warmer than normal and were ideal for young rice, but April brought three cold fronts that stressed the plants.
“If that’s the worst thing we see, then we’re going to have a great year,” he said.
The rice plants also benefitted from warm May temperatures, although hail damaged fields in a few instances.

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Crawfish season winding down; time to restock ponds

With crawfish season winding down, an LSU AgCenter crawfish specialist has written guidelines for stocking new ponds.
“Now and the next few weeks would be a good time to stock ponds,” said Mark Shirley, also a Louisiana Sea Grant agent. “Most of the rice crop is tall and dense enough for crawfish to hide under.”
But he said that in most cases, adding stock to an existing pond is not necessary. If the pond had mostly small peeler crawfish this season, adding additional stock will only make overcrowding worse and result in further stunting.

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Rail facility to develop rice mill in Jeff Davis Parish

Gov. John Bel Edwards and the South Louisiana Rail Facility announced Thursday that SLRF will develop an $11.6 million rice mill in Jefferson Davis Parish.
Located at the Lacassine Industrial Park, SLRF is owned by the Jefferson Davis Parish Police Jury and can handle up to 25,000 bushels of rice per hour for storage and export.

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Improper watering and calcium deficiency can be the cause of blossom end rot in tomatoes. (Photo by Heather Kirk-Ballard/LSU AgCenter)

It’s time to talk tomatoes

I’ve been getting a great deal of questions about tomatoes lately. ‘Tis the season. Most folks who planted vegetable gardens in this spring are now reaping the fruits of their work.
And with this season of harvest comes the challenges of the weather of the season, which is favorable for many of the diseases that affect tomatoes. But not every problem is caused by disease. Some can be because of fertility issues, lack of pollination, inadvertent herbicide damage and pests.
Let’s look at some of these issues and how to deal with them.


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