Family-owned farms continue to struggle: Small family farms have been slowly disappearing for decades, and this will likely be the case of Minor’s Farm in Bristol. Founded in 1864, the 30-acre parcel on Chippens Hill is operated by Paul C. Minor; his wife, Vicki; and father, Paul J. Minor. Mark Minor, the brother of Paul C., separately harvests the hay.

“It’s kind of the end of an era,” said Paul Minor. “I don’t know if this would necessarily be our last year, but if not, I don’t see it happening much longer. With 48 years with fall stuff, I just know I won’t be physically able to continue to do this and it’s not easy to run a farm or stay in business in Connecticut.” Minor, who graduated from Virginia Tech in 1970, added that the younger generation of the Minor family went to college and have moved out-of-state as have many others, those of different ages, because the cost of living is much lower and the job market is more plentiful.

“All of our kids, mine and my brother Mark’s, have jobs in areas that are booming,” said Minor. “My son is in North Carolina and my daughter is in Virginia. Mark has two girls, one in Virginia and one in Texas.”

Minor, who retired from Southern New England Telephone at age 52 as the director of external affairs, also adds that when he compares what he has to pay for taxes on his house against what others do with much larger homes in other areas, such relocations make sense. Once a full-fledged farm in earlier decades, Minor’s Farm has basically downsized to its store being open, holding fall activities for children and scheduling his visits with his pig, Daisy, to libraries across the country to promote reading.

“We only grow hay and our pumpkins and things are purchased outside,” said Minor. “We have had different mission statements through the years and this is “Making family fun and memories is what we do best.” READ MORE

FOOD SAFETY

CDC still stumped on Cyclospora: With more than 1,000 victims confirmed since May 1, the so-called seasonal outbreak of cyclospora in the United States has slowed down, but officials say more people are expected to get sick — and they have not identified the source of the parasite. Investigators at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have identified victims in 40 states, but they are not sure if there is one big outbreak or multiple outbreaks. READ MORE. 

Sandwiches recalled for Listeria contamination: Fresh, ready-to-eat egg salad and ham salad sandwiches, as well as a seafood stuffing mix, are under recall from several retailers including Target and Walgreens because federal inspectors found Listeria monocytogenes in the Greencore USA LLC facility where the products were made.  Greencore is recalling sandwiches distributed between Sept. 24 and 27 to American Food and Vending, Hannaford Brothers, Target and Turkey Hill locations in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and New York. There is concern that consumers may have unused portions of the recalled products in their homes because some of the sandwiches have use-by dates of Oct. 2. READ MORE

FOOD SECURITY

War, plague, and famine ride over YemenBilled the “forgotten child” of the Middle East, Yemen is ensnared in a three-year old civil war with no end in sight. Despite haphazard international attempts to mediate a ceasefire, the prospects for reconciliation remain bleak, and Yemeni citizens continue to face a catastrophic humanitarian crisis. All the while, the world sits idly by as the number of civilian casualties mounts daily. READ MORE

PUBLIC HEALTH

Preparing for the threat of ammonia and chlorine: Processes relying on ammonia and chlorine provide safe public water supplies, abundant agriculture products, and numerous other goods that enhance quality of life for U.S. warfighters and civilians. However, ammonia and chlorine are classified as toxic industrial chemicals (TICs) because they also pose significant health threats. Not only are they used as chemical weapons, but they can also cause substantial harm through accidental mass releases. Given their ubiquity in modern life, it is essential to prepare for chlorine and ammonia releases, whether they occur as industrial accidents or are used as chemical weapons against warfighters. READ MORE