Califonia Bountiful

Farm-fresh tips

January/February 2022 California Bountiful magazine

The best way to...

Californians are curious, always scouring the internet for a new or better way to do something. But why go to Google when you can ask the experts directly? With that in mind, we reached out to California Farm Bureau members for their insight into topics you might be curious about this time of year. Have a question for a farmer or rancher? Email us at

Frank Fitzpatrick, cattle rancher, 5 Bar Beef, Orange County. Photo: © 2022 Rob Andrew

…Cook a steak during winter

Frank Fitzpatrick raises grass-fed beef, which he says benefits from "low and slow" cooking. If grilling steaks outdoors during colder weather isn't your thing, try this: Place your favorite cut of steak in a preheated, ovenproof skillet and cook in a 190-degree oven for about 40 minutes. (Note: Grass-fed beef cooks much faster than conventional beef.) Then turn on the broiler and sear the steaks for about a minute and a half per side. "I put a little butter on the steak in the searing process. This adds moisture and helps the meat caramelize just like the fat in the steak does," Fitzpatrick says. Let the steak rest for five minutes before serving.

John and Shirley Kirkpatrick, citrus farmers, Lindcove Ranch, Tulare County. Photo: © 2018 Tomas Ovalle

…Keep your citrus trees healthy

Huanglongbing is a plant disease that kills citrus trees. All types of citrus grown in California—whether in your backyard or a commercial orchard—are at risk of being destroyed by the disease, which is spread by infected Asian citrus psyllids. When it comes to battling the pest and disease, "we're all in this together," says John Kirkpatrick, who farms citrus fruit with his wife, Shirley. They advise homeowners to inspect their citrus trees monthly and to observe quarantine rules: Avoid moving citrus plants, leaves or foliage in or out of the infected areas of Southern California.

For more information, visit—and see our story about how middle schoolers are joining the fight.

Janet Louie, rose grower, Green Valley Floral, Monterey County. Photo: © 2019 Richard Green

…Extend the life of fresh-cut flowers

The excitement that comes with receiving flowers should last as long as possible. That's why Janet Louie suggests using a floral preservative (flower food) as part of your strategy to extend your bouquet's beauty. "If you do everything right, you should get a good seven to 10 days," she says. Here's how: Remove all packaging, cut the stems, add fresh water to the vase and place in a location that isn't too warm. Flower food, Louie says, provides nutrients, aids hydration and cleans bacteria from the water. Change the water regularly and "if you are lucky, you can get two weeks."

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