Eric Jensen

(Cheryl A. Guerrero / Los Angeles Times and Spago) By S. Irene Virbila September 28, 2013 At a new restaurant, I check out the bar not so much for the cocktails but to see what the menu is like and take in the scene from a bird’s-eye perch. I actually love to eat at the bar, a great choice on the later side, or even the earlier. And it’s especially good if you’re dining alone. But it also works for two and, at a push, three, as long as you can get a spot at the corner of the bar where it’s easier to talk. You can start with a drink and then move on to a dish or two, whatever you feel like, no rules. At some restaurants, the bar menu is basically snacks. But others put some effort into the special menu, encouraging even regulars to drop in on nights when they’re not ready for the commitment of a full tasting menu. Here are some worthy contenders. Spago When Wolfgang Puck re-envisioned Spago last year, part of his idea was to expand the bar. It now encompasses the eight-seat bar itself, a handful of tables across from it and, around the corner, another half dozen low tables dispersed in front of a fireplace at the garden end of the dining room. To eat: fantastic bincho-grilled chicken wings, pork and leek chile dumplings and a soft-shell crab po’ boy with the world’s best tartar sauce. There’s also a burger and Puck’s smoked salmon pizza.

Hirakata’s group registered Rocky Ford as a trademark, hired a full-time food safety manager and built a central packing operation where melons are washed and rinsed. The group said it passed an unannounced FDA safety audit last month. “This was the business we’re in and we wanted to keep doing it, so for us, it was feasible,” Hirakata said. “I know there’s several smaller farmers in our association (that have) done it. The consumer confidence is there, so it’s working.” The Rocky Ford Growers Association sought advice from universities and from the state and federal agriculture departments and reviewed California’s cantaloupe safety rules to develop their standards. Hirakata, a fourth-generation farmer, said the intensified focus on safety has changed farming. At the end of the growing season, farmers used to say, “The freeze is coming. We’ve got to work hard and get done,” Hirakata said. “Now, it’s ‘We’ve got to look back at our operations and see where the risks are.'” “It’s not my grandpa’s farm. It’s not even my dad’s farm anymore,” he said. “The face of produce is changing even as we speak.” SHARE 17 CONNECT 23 TWEET 3 COMMENTEMAILMORE Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Federal food stamp debate worries California advocates

“This is not only about putting food on the table. The program also acts as economic stimulus as people spend the money.” Half of Americans benefiting from the program are younger than 18. Today, the average monthly benefit of food stamps is $133 per person. In California, it’s $152. The House Republican plan is designed to reduce the program spending by 5 percent. It would create broader work requirements, including allowing states to make able-bodied adults with a child older than age 1 to work at least 20 hours each week if child care is available. There also would be new restrictions on so-called “categorical eligibility,” which will make it more difficult for people who receive other benefits to also qualify for food stamps. In a Washington Post profile this week of Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla., the plan’s architect, the congressman talked about his belief that the country needs to alter its approach toward solving poverty. Speaking to a group that was receiving job training, Southerland said: “I believe that being dependent makes you more vulnerable. I believe working is the greatest gift you will ever receive.” But according to a report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, food stamps have kept 4.7 million people out of poverty. The report also projects those receiving food stamps will drop to 34.3 million by 2023 without any changes. “SNAP participation mirrors the economy,” Birnbach said. “As the economy improves, the number of people in SNAP will go down. But low-income workers will be the last to feel that recovery, which is why the numbers are still growing.” Birnbach said 350,000 Californians could be dropped because of tightened work requirements.

Kroger Names Steve McKinney President of Fry’s Food Stores

Peila said he is disappointed the government is not doing more to protect markets for growers of non-GMO crops. He is now seeking a domestic buyer for his crop and fears he will receive a lower price for his alfalfa and likely not regain any export business. “They (the USDA) are not protecting us,” he said in an interview with Reuters. “We fear a loss of all conventional seed in the near future.” @yahoofinance on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook Related Content Chart Your most recently viewed tickers will automatically show up here if you type a ticker in the “Enter symbol/company” at the bottom of this module. You need to enable your browser cookies to view your most recent quotes. Search for share prices Terms Quotes are real-time for NASDAQ, NYSE, and NYSEAmex when available. See also delay times for other exchanges . Quotes and other information supplied by independent providers identified on the Yahoo! Finance partner page . Quotes are updated automatically, but will be turned off after 25 minutes of inactivity. Quotes are delayed at least 15 minutes. All information provided “as is” for informational purposes only, not intended for trading purposes or advice. Neither Yahoo! nor any of independent providers is liable for any informational errors, incompleteness, or delays, or for any actions taken in reliance on information contained herein. By accessing the Yahoo!

Food safety group demands U.S. probe in tainting of alfalfa crop

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