California Heartland Episode 905 Transcript

California Heartland is made possible by The James G. Boswell Foundation, committed to sharing the stories and successes of California growers.  Bank of America, bank of opportunity.  Funding provided in part by, The California Farm Bureau Federation, proud publishers of “California Country” magazine.  More information is available at

On the next California Heartland…

I don’t like fighting an invisible enemy. I don’t mind a fair fight, but it gets depressing when you don’t know what to do to make them healthy.

Beekeepers are feeling the sting of a medical mystery.  Honeybees are disappearing at an alarming rate.  Find out what’s killing California bees and how it affects you.

Plus— it’s a real-life wine and cheese pairing

We’re just a very proud family of everything my dad created.

You know “Ernest and Julio,” now meet the other side of the Gallo family, Mike and Peter Gallo.  They’re one of the state’s largest cheese producers.


How hot do you like your salsa?

Add a little spice to your backyard!  By planting a salsa garden…

That’s next on California Heartland!

Chris Burrous: From your backyard, to the back country, in a field, or on your family table, it’s all about what keeps California moving and growing, this is California Heartland.

Abbott Dutton: Orin Johnson is a second generation beekeeper.

Orin Johnson: I’ve been called a bee trainer, that funny man who plays with insects.

Abbott Dutton: His fascination with honeybees began at a young age watching his father tend to his bees.  After trying out a few other careers, Johnson eventually took over the family business.

Orin Johnson: My father used to tell me, I laugh about it today when beekeepers talk he tells me when you think you’re learning about, you know everything about bees, he says you’re just beginning to learn.

Abbott Dutton: And something long-time California bee keepers are beginning to learn?  Why their bees are mysteriously disappearing.

Abbott Dutton: Almost overnight entire colonies of honeybees have been vanishing from what appeared to be a perfectly healthy hive. The experts call it “colony collapse disorder” or “CCD”.  

Orin Johnson: I don’t like fighting an invisible enemy. I don’t mind a fair fight, but it gets depressing when you don’t know what to do to make them healthy.

Abbott Dutton: It’s estimated a quarter of the nation’s beekeepers have problems with CCD, problems that are now turning into horror stories.

Orin Johnson: I know one local beekeeper lady that kept bees just recently lost her home. She couldn’t pay the bills. She’d lost a large percentage of her hives 2 years in a row.   I have a friend in the south valley who lost 90% last year and he said “that’s it!”  He just wrapped it up, sold what he had left, his empty equipment, and gave up beekeeping.

Abbott Dutton: The disease is also of concern for the state’s almond industry.

Abbott Dutton: Almond farmers like Jim Hudelson of Hughson, California, rely on the honeybees to pollinate their trees. Unlike other crops that can be fertilized by birds, other insects, or even the wind.

Abbott Dutton: How important are the bees? 

Jim Hudelson: The bees are very important, without the bees, cross pollinating different varieties together, because it takes two varieties to pollinate an orchard to have a crop. We wouldn’t have anywhere near the nuts we have.

Abbott Dutton: And as if that didn’t sting enough, there’s another problem.

Abbott Dutton: California beekeepers are not only dealing with the mysterious colony collapse disorder, they also have to worry about people stealing their bees.  Thieves are entering orchards in the middle of the night and stealing entire bee hives, and it’s costing the beekeepers thousands of dollars.

Orin Johnson: It’s hard to know the total extent. I do know this spring; there were several thefts here in California. Several around the Central Valley, some right here within 10-15 miles of where we’re sitting right now.  In some cases, someone came in and loaded all the beehives onto a truck. Gone!

Abbott Dutton: With this swarm of problems, beekeepers have had to raise their rates.  Hudelson and other growers are paying four-times as much for bee pollination.

Abbott Dutton: So the bees did their job this year, but its next year that’s gonna’ be a problem?

Jim Hudelson: Yeah, every year’s different.  We could have rain, wind and cold weather, the bees don’t want to fly in, and so every year’s a unique year.  

Abbott Dutton: Johnson’s scrambling to get his bees ready. Today, I get to scramble with him.

Abbott Dutton: Okay, going into the danger zone, huh?

Orin Johnson: Yes we are.

Abbott Dutton: I’m a little scared. Ha Ha.

Orin Johnson: Livin’ on the edge. Ha Ha.

Abbott Dutton: The daily ritual includes carefully inspects how the hive is developing…applying medication…and feeding the bees if necessary. 

Abbott Dutton: They look pretty good.

Orin Johnson: Well, I’m happy right now.

Abbott Dutton: But it doesn’t take long before we find an unwelcome guest.

Orin Johnson: There’s the guy we hate right there, that little brown speck, that’s the varroa mite. It’ll shorten the 6 week lifespan in half.  That’s the critter we have to keep under control.

Abbott Dutton: And that’s where scientists enter the picture.  They’re busy too – studying bees collected from hives throughout the state, trying to solve the mysterious disease.  Eric Mussen of UC Davis is one of the leading bee experts in the U.S.

Eric Mussen: The question is why are they sick? What’s wrong with them and we haven’t been able to put our finger on that yet.

Abbott Dutton: They may not know why, but they do know how…

Eric Mussen: It appears that the disease will start in one area, and then sort of spread through the operation and then maybe it’ll spread to another operation and it really suggests that there’s some type of a pathogen involved. 

Abbott Dutton: Similar diseases have appeared throughout history beginning in the 1800's and again in the mid-1960 and 70's.

Eric Mussen: These peculiar situations have happened before and they’ve gone away.  I guess that’s my biggest reason to be optimistic.  Maybe we’re not looking for the right thing, that’s a possibility and if that’s the case we won’t find it but I would guess that if it’s a pathogen or whatever, some of the people out there are gonna’ find it.

Abbott Dutton: That day can’t come soon enough for Orin Johnson who clearly continues to be fascinated by the little six-legged insect that has become such an important part of his life and his livelihood.

Orin Johnson: They’re amazing creatures.  One day a hive can look sick or starving and all the sudden a floral source will blood with a lot of nectar and pollen which the bees need and within a week that colony can just do some miraculous things. 


Chris Burrous: It’s the vegetable most gardeners have so much of they have to give it away by the bagful.  We’re talking zucchini!  So what better way to make use of it than to find creative ways to cook it!  This green warm season squash that will grow in nearly any climate in California, and that’s why California is the second largest producer of zucchini in the nation.
So pick it fresh from the garden or grab a nice firm zuc from the produce aisle and get ready to serve up this low cal veggie Italian style… Here’s lifestyle expert, Laura McIntosh Bringing it Home.

Laura McIntosh: I’m so excited to introduce to you, the executive chef from La Tra Vigne, Nash Cognetti.  Hi Nash.

Nash Cognetti: Good to see you.

Laura McIntosh: Thanks for joining us.

Nash Cognetti: Thanks for having me.

Laura McIntosh: Speaking of the restaurant, you’re the executive chef, of really what Napa has always known.  Tra Vigne, it’s been there forever.

Nash Cognetti: Classic Italian restaurant, in fact what we’re making today, zucchini tagliatelli.

Laura McIntosh: Okay.

Nash Cognetti: Right, so the word in Italian, Taglia-

Laura McIntosh: Right.

Nash Cognetti: Means cut.  Right, so what I’m going to do here is kind of use a little artistic freedom if I might. 

Laura McIntosh: Absolutely.

Nash Cognetti: And we’re going to make a zucchini tagliatelli.

Nash Cognetti: And we’re going do that by literally cutting the zucchini with our mandolin, into the shape of spaghetti noodles- Italy Italian noodles- so most important thing when you’re using a mandolin is keeping our fingers up and away and I’m going to use my thumb as my guide here when I slice on the mandolin.  So basically what you get from your mandolin is pasta!

Laura McIntosh: It’s Pasta! Oh, very good- yeah.

Nash Cognetti: So that’s what we’ve got in our bowl here.  So when I cut the garlic for this dish, I’m choosing a slice on the garlic and the reason why I’m doing this is because I’m trying to get some color on it out of the pan, I’m going to try and get some caramelization on it in the pan.  Kind of bring out some of those sweet flavors in the garlic.  So when I do this, I’m going to try to slice my garlic absolutely as thinly as possible. 

Laura McIntosh: That’s paper thin.

Nash Cognetti: Let’s get rollin’ on some pasta here.

Laura McIntosh: Yeah, what do we do?

Nash Cognetti: I need my…

Laura McIntosh: A little olive oil.

Nash Cognetti: My lovely olive oil here and you see I’ve got my pan- hot

Laura McIntosh: Nice and hot.  That’s smokin’ hot, awesome. 

Nash Cognetti: So I’m going to take that garlic that I sliced before, and add that to the pan.  And you see I got that garlic in there and I’m going to kind of get a quick little sauté.  While that’s sautéing I’m going to add my pine nuts in there too okay?  Pinole nuts, very popular in Southern Italian cuisine.  So before we get anything going, I’m going to add a little bit of chili peppers.

Laura McIntosh: Get out!  I like that.

Nash Cognetti: Oh yeah, so what I do with these chili peppers is I take some of the seeds out and I leave some of the seeds in.  Because we don’t necessarily need it overly spicy.  Then I’m going to add a little bit of white wine, off the heat.  Basically what we’ve done here is we’ve stopped the cooking process of the garlic so it’s not going to brown any longer.  So as that wine is almost reduced down, I’m going to take my pasta, and you don’t have to boil this pasta.  You just add it right on to the dish like that. 

Laura McIntosh: So this is actually a one pan meal.

Nash Cognetti: Totally, this is the point where I’m going to season it pretty copiously, with salt.  I don’t really want to cook it all that much, because we want to eat it like pasta right? How do you eat your pasta?

Laura McIntosh: Al dente!

Nash Cognetti: Al dente no?!

Nash Cognetti: And we’re gonna’ go straight to our little plate here.  And we’ll plate it just like we’d plate tagliatelle, which is to say nice little pile in there on the plate. 

Laura McIntosh: Oh my God, it looks beautiful.

Nash Cognetti: Get all that nice garlic and pine nuts in there.

Laura McIntosh: Oh that looks fantastic.

Nash Cognetti: And Laura if you will you can shave a little bit of ricotta salata on the top.

Laura McIntosh: Oh and just one more thing to enhance an already perfect dish, its beautiful Nash.

Hi, I am Cody Stephenson

Let’s go see my California heartland.

At my home I have many responsibilities. The goats, the pheasants, the chickens and my favorite of all, taking care of the puppies.

Its bath time for the little puppies now, it is just a little bit time consuming.

Fleas give the dogs worms which takes away the nutrients from the puppies.

They are AKC registered puppies which means they are pure bred, which means they are solid lab.

I am apart of the breeding process from start to finish and come out with these gorgeous puppies that we sell for police work and hunting animals and loving family dogs.

Breeding puppies is not the easiest job, but it is the most fun.

Thank you for being apart of my California Heartland.

Carl Hunter: Oh girls, how you doin’ today?

Chris Burrous: For Carl Hunter, a trip down to his chicken coop every morning is like a trip down memory lane.

Carl Hunter: I've got some more corn for you!

Carl Hunter: I Keep chickens here because I’ve always been fascinated with chickens, since a little kid about 4 or 5 years old I went to my grandfather's farm and got to play with baby chicks here now in Los Angeles, I've got enough property that I’m able to have my own chickens again.

Chris Burrous: But these aren’t ordinary hens in Carl’s backyard—as if raising chickens in the Hollywood hills isn’t unique enough…take a look at Carl’s “star quality” exotic fowl! 

Carl Hunter: When I was younger I just raised common chickens, but now I raise special chickens, all exotics that I get from exotic chicken hatcheries.
OK Kids, you want to come out and play for a while? Come on!

Chris Burrous: And the eggs from these 11 different breeds of exotic creatures typically come in shades of brown, white and even green!

Carl Hunter: Perfect shape, it’s got some little specks on it, that’s real pretty almost like you are.  Yeah, thank you.

Carl Hunter: I think the real core reason that I keep chickens is that I just thoroughly enjoy seeing their behavior, seeing their shape, and getting the eggs, and being able to be a caregiver for them.

Chris Burrous: Carl says the best outcome of his hobby is that he gets new eggs the day they’re laid -- something that’s hard to come by in L.A.!

Carl Hunter: It's great with having chickens because you get eggs everyday most of the time, so we have the freshest eggs in the city.

Chris Burrous: But since Carl can’t eat them all…he enjoys sharing them with others.  Carl’s charity reaches beyond the chicken coop-- every week, Carl raffles off dozens of colorful cartons at his community church the money raised helps to buy food for those in need.

Dan Hooper: I think the chicken thing is great fun for Carl and I certainly don’t mind it but I think where it has become extraordinary is that he wants to be generous he actually has more chickens than he needs, and he wants to be so generous with the eggs, that he brings them and he started this entire cycle of how the benefit of those eggs go through the food pantry to help other people.

Joe! Joe!

Joe Christian: It feels really good to give and even when I’m low on my income or whatever, it makes me go out of my way to go do something nice for somebody else and with Carl being there and showing you no matter what's going on in life, you can always give.

Carl Hunter: It’s always important to take care of the rest of the people in the world well, I love my chickens and I enjoy getting all these eggs, and I can find a useful purpose for them.  I’m really happy being able to sell a few eggs, but I really like giving them away.

Chris Burrous: Giving away food, helping others, and especially caring for his pet hens.  It’s the life Carl says he’s always dreamed of having…all packaged in a town that’s known for making dreams come true.

Carl Hunter: I see my self sort of as an urban farmer hearing the chickens, seeing the things that are farm equipment.  I was thinking, oh this is the greatest, I love it, I love living up on the hill where I can see everything and go to town and right in the city and still get to enjoy the country.

Hi my name is Debbie Asada I am with the Dairy council of California. Today I wanted to talk about a few of the myths that are out there about dairy.
One of those myths is that flavored milk is unhealthy for you…Children and teens seem to love flavored milk.  Also, both flavored and unflavored milk provide a nutrient package of potassium, magnesium, vitamin D and high proteins that are very good for you and are required for optimal health and development.

A second myth that I would like to talk about is that a lot of parents and people tend to think that if you are lactose intolerant... You should stay away from all dairy products completely. And actually people who are lactose intolerant can enjoy dairy products if they have it in smaller quantities and with meals.

…. Also yogurt and cheese is a good option. Yogurts have what we called good bacteria’s in them and that bacteria is what breaks down the milk sugar that is the lactose and makes them more tolerable. .. 

Everybody needs dairy, so make sure you have your two to three glasses of dairy each day.

Mike Gallo: I have a letter I wrote when I was in second grade …where they ask you what do you want to do when you grow up. And I said I want to work like my dad does on the farm.

Mike Gallo: Hi, I’m Mike Gallo and I’m 2nd generation here at Joseph Gallo Farms.

Peter Gallo: He really stood behind the work because our family name was behind it and that meant a lot to him.  My name is Peter Gallo, the son of Michael Gallo and the grandson of Joseph Gallo.

Linda Jelacich: We’re just a very proud family of everything my dad created.

Linda Jelacich: I’m Linda Jelacich and Joseph Gallo is my dad.

Manny Ramos: The Gallo family is known for producing great California wine.  But, this story has nothing to do with grapes. It’s all about Gallo cheese and Ernest and Julio’s brother- Joe.

Mike Gallo: Certainly they were smart to begin with…they worked hard…and they never thought about failure, it never crossed their mind that they could fail. 

Manny Ramos: So, brother Joe succeeded when he left the family wine business to farm on his own and start a dairy.

Mike Gallo: We’re milking around 17 thousand…the total herd is about 34 thousand including all the calves and bulls and what not.

Manny Ramos: When Joe decided to start a cheese company, he figured it all out on the back of an envelope.

Mike Gallo: He’d calculated it out. He said you know with what it costs us to divert this milk out of state; we could build a cheese plant. So we built a cheese plant.

Manny Ramos: How big a gamble was that?

Mike Gallo: My dad never looked at it like gambling. He looked at it like, Ok this is our goal and we’re going to do it. And there was never any doubt in his mind we were going to do it.

Manny Ramos: No one ever bets against the Gallo family in California’s central valley.

Manny Ramos: A large thunderbird, the creature, not the car, is mounted on the front door of the Joseph Gallo home. It is similar to the logo of a Gallo wine.

Manny Ramos: So Linda this is the family home, huh?

Linda Jelacich: Yeah, my dad and stepmother’s home.

Manny Ramos: Who designed it?

Linda Jelacich: Joseph Estrick and my dad brought his ideas.

Linda Jelacich: The rock is all from the Sierra Nevada. My dad picked them all out by hand. 

Manny Ramos: He picked out every one of these? 

Linda Jelacich: Every rock.  To bring in light, he would use wine bottles I thought that was pretty clever.

Manny Ramos: So who do we have here?

Linda Jelacich: My dad, my stepmother, Pat and their six grandchildren.

Linda Jelacich: My dad and my brother Peter, my mother Maryanne and Mike and I.  Peter was killed in the Vietnam War.

Linda Jelacich: He always wore a wool sports coat; shirt and wool tie for work everyday even if he was out on the ranch.

Manny Ramos: Why’s that?

Linda Jelacich: He was just a very dapper person.  He wanted to look distinguished and look nice.

Manny Ramos: Joe Gallo passed away in 2007. But not before passing on his business sense and the love of the land to his son Mike.

Mike Gallo: From an early age my father would wake me up in the morning. And say, “lets go.” And I’d drive around with him and watch what he did. And it got to the point that I would know what he was going to do before he did it.

Manny Ramos: Mike heads up Joseph Gallo farms and Joseph farms cheese.  A lawsuit from the wine making members of the family stopped the Gallo name from being used on the cheese. 

Mike Gallo: We see each other from time to time. And we’re friendly. We don’t socialize together you know. Ah…but they have a big family and I have my family and we kind of gone our own way.

Manny Ramos: The cheese didn’t need the Gallo name to be a big seller.

Mike Gallo: That’s a mixture of orange and white cheddar.

Manny Ramos: I’m a two handed cheese eater.

Mike Gallo: Well, that’s what I like to see. Hahahaha

Manny Ramos: Now peter has decided to follow the path started by his grandfather.

Peter Gallo: Through his example he’s taught us a lot of things; it’s our responsibility to make things better, the environment and our community for future generations and, to really take pride in our family’s legacy. 

Manny Ramos: The Gallo seed for success has been planted in the third generation.

Chris Burrous: Everyone’s a farmer when it comes to their own backyard; try these tips on doing it Home Grown.

Kristine Hanson: Hot weather, hot, spicy salsa, always seem to go together – and it’s this time of year when you can really turn up the heat and create the salsa of your taste by growing your own veggies.  California, hot summers, love tomatoes and hot peppers and they’re easy to grown in the garden or container.

Kristine Hanson: We’re going to creates a salsa themed garden right here in this container.  We’re going to start with tomatoes and there’s no right or wrong here, just use tomatoes that you like. Certain tomatoes are going to give you a different character to your salsa.  A Roma tomato is going to give you a little meatier texture, a little saucier style salsa.  If you do Better Boy, Beefsteak or even an heirloom - you’re going to get a more watery base but a lot of sweetness and that’s nice.  You’re going to want to plant a couple of different varieties and stager the planting so you will have produce all season long. 

Kristine Hanson: Now, let’s plant!  We’re going to take this tomato and plant this to the middle to the back of the container.  You can put it just a little bit below the surface level of this potted plant that will grow some roots up along the base of the plant itself.  And we are going to plant it toward the back so we have room for other ingredients up front.  Now tomato plants generally grow up, so we’re going to need some staking.  The reason we want to stake tomatoes is to get good air circulation so we get maximum ripening of the fruit, this stake will allow good air circulation and again some convective style heating so we get some very sweet tomatoes and support the tomatoes as it grows up.  We’ve left plenty of room in the container around the front and that’s for our next ingredient, peppers. 

Kristine Hanson: So how hot to you like your salsa? Well, generally green peppers are not as hot as red, and red is not as hot as orange.  So if you want a mild, plant an Anaheim or bell pepper…a little more bite, you’re going to want a jalapeño or a Serrano, and you might consider planting habeneros for color and interest, or for the true iron palette.       
Now it’s time to fill it in with a splash of spice.  And this is where you’re going to really spice up your salsa.  Cilantro is a favorite Mexican herb, and this is fabulous in salsa it grows very easy in our pot.  You can also add some onion and some garlic.  And now it’s time to put in our finishing touches to our themed salsa garden.

Kristine Hanson: I would finish off your salsa garden with a good organic compost, peppers will need a small dose of fertilizer where you may need to supplement your tomatoes just a little bit more.  And, then some water, make sure these plants don’t get stressed, and then let the summer’s heat do it’s magic.

Kristine Hanson: And once your veggies are ripe, you’ve got the perfect ingredients for your own salsa.  Now it’s time to sit back, get your chips, a cold blended drink and enjoy your own homegrown, homemade salsa.

Chris Burrous: That’s California Heartland, for more information on any of these stories go to I’m Chris Burrous see you next time.

To order a copy of this show, visit us online or call 1-888-814-3923 the cost is $14.95 plus shipping

California Heartland is made possible by The James G. Boswell Foundation, committed to sharing the stories and successes of California growers.  Bank of America, bank of opportunity.  Funding provided in part by, The California Farm Bureau Federation, proud publishers of “California Country” magazine.  More information is available at