IBA preview: A chance to catch up on global trends

first_imgWith the IBA trade show less than two months away, what product trends and equipment developments can visitors expect to be on display?Three years is a long time in any industry, and the demands of bakery consumers and suppliers have certainly evolved since the last IBA show took place in 2015.Keeping abreast of these market trends is one of the key reasons around 80,000 visitors are expected to visit Munich in September for what many view as the premier international bakery event. More than 1,300 ingredient, equipment and service providers will be exhibiting alongside a host of demonstrations, competitions and lectures.“IBA is a central platform for the baking industry, whether you are from the industrial or craft sector,” explains Brian Clarke of European Food Consultants. “It showcases the latest trends and new product ideas in addition to latest development and design of equipment.”And when it comes to equipment, one word on the lips of many suppliers and buyers is ‘flexibility’.Today’s fast-moving bakery market – in which new tastes and diets can explode from fad to mainstream in months – means the demands on machinery have never been greater.“Due to the nature and sometimes short lifespan of new products, highly flexible machines are required to future-proof and cost-justify capital equipment investments, along with the ever-growing need to have the most energy-efficient equipment available to reduce running costs,” says Spooner Industries sales manager Michael Lomas. The company has also found that demand for multi-level production lines has increased, and has been driven by the need for bakery equipment that can produce more products in the same footprint as an existing piece of kit.“There is a trend towards evermore flexible and powerful production systems,” says Richard Tearle, general manager at Rondo, adding that equipment buyers increasingly demand properties to help maintain hygiene.Rondo is also seeing a new trend for the digitalisation of production processes to minimise the downtime of plants.It’s a view echoed by Baker Perkins, which says increasing efficiency while lowering production costs continue to be key drivers, and Tromp, which is seeing demand for a reduction in operational and engineering labour costs through reliable automated systems.Also a big driver of equipment development is the need for large-scale production of artisan-style goods and items tapping special dietary needs.“The baking industry is, and remains, very diverse,” says Tearle.“The most important trends are certainly the industrial production of ‘artisanal’ products. Furthermore, the focus in central Europe is on efficient solutions for the production of functional food and gluten-free products.”And this is expected to continue.“Alongside growing consumer interest in health and wellbeing, burgeoning diets and lifestyles, such as veganism, gluten-free and dairy-free, are becoming increasingly mainstream,” says Mona Schmitz-Huebsch, senior marketing manager at Ingredion.“It’s clear to see there are many trends for bakers to balance – from the surge in demand for artisan and rustic breads, to high-protein snacks or gluten-free muffins. This means manufacturers are under constant pressure to develop and deliver their products to market more quickly, as consumers search for new and different experiences that meet their needs.”As Andrew Turner, bakery product manager for the UK and Ireland at Handtmann, puts it: “These are exciting times for the UK bakery sector.“Never before has the customer had so much choice and producers have never been under so much pressure to produce high-quality products at a low price.”He adds that this has meant the market for dough products has continued to develop dynamically over the years.%%Quote_35%%“The consumption of bread is always at a high level, but in recent years consumers have come to expect higher-quality and more diverse products, and the ability to purchase them from both the corner baker and the larger retailers.”In Handtmann’s case, this has led to the development of equipment suited to gluten-free dough, which is particularly difficult to handle.Also shaping equipment design is increasing use of inclusions and toppings, such as roasted onion and cheese to tap demand for flavour, and seeds and pulses to meet health needs.Market research firm Mintel says adding enhanced sensory qualities to bakery is a focus, especially when trying to attract the attention of younger consumers.Aryzta Food Solutions is exploring the use of healthier elements such as sprouted grains and vegetable purees, and is also examining the flavouring of fermentations, using grains, malts and spent grains, and even cocoa, to add different profiles.  “Undoubtedly, one of the most interesting topics of discussion taking place throughout our European sites is innovation in bread – what we put in, what elements we remove and how we uphold traditional, and sometimes forgotten, methods in bread-making, translating them into our manufacturing process,” says Aryzta UK marketing head Paul Whitely.“In terms of what we take out, our European NPD teams are looking at reducing the quantity of levain in sourdough recipes, while increasing the fermentation process – this results in a greater depth of flavour and increases hydration in the dough, counterbalancing any stickiness.”Whitely adds that, outside Aryzta, experimental projects are taking place across Europe, such as the use of seawater in bread-making.“This is a traditional method that means no extra salt is required to be added to the dough mix,” he adds.Meanwhile, trends including raw food and organic are also set to be major influences.Bridor points out that, although demand for organic bakery products is much higher in other parts of Europe compared to the UK, it is seeing steady growth in this country and has further developed its product range. And it isn’t alone, with Pidy recently rolling out organic pastry cases in the UK.The organic movement goes hand-in-hand with consumer concerns about what is in their food and where it comes from, and Mintel tips the role of provenance as one that will continue to grow.“Grain origin and source will become more specific and important, especially as a way to de-commoditise segments of the category,” explains the firm. “Details of production processes imbue bakery with quality credentials, which will find appeal.”As already alluded to, so many of these trends tap into the over-arching interest in healthier products. And, of course, this is not confined to consumers, with governments putting pressure on manufacturers to reduce fat, sugar and calorie content.“Clearly fat and sugar reduction will continue to be on the up,” says celebrity chef and British Baker Christmas Stars judge Peter Sidwell. “But in terms of food trends in baking, I also think a more gastronomic approach to baking is coming through.“The modern baker needs to look at their recipe as the canvas to deliver the flavour or food combination. Nostalgia will continue to be evident in this style of baking as you can pull on customers’ emotions and combine emotive flavours within a fantastic bake.”Sidwell also suggests that bakers look at including different types of sugar in their products, such as using a darker sugar to give a more caramel flavour but using less of it.“Also, incorporating healthy ingredients into our baking will be one to watch; the companies that are able to add additional goodness to our favourite bakes will win the hearts and minds of customers.”Whitely at Aryzta says he expects IBA to offer “real innovation” in sweet bakery, with well-executed sourdough pastries and Viennoiserie.“From our perspective, and that of the European market, it’s a case of less is more when it comes to sweet bakery. We will definitely be seeing a focus on reduction of layers and of the butter content in sweet dough, without compromising on flavour profile,” he adds.Plant-based ingredients offering health benefits will have a growing role in bakery, says Mintel, which suggests that in the longer term – over the coming five years – non-wheat based bakery products will continue to grow in number, and not just because of the gluten-free trend.“Ancient and speciality grains and non-grain flour alternatives offer variety in taste, storytelling potential and health benefits,” explains the firm.“Non-grain flours, in particular, will blossom. Almond and coconut flours are already making waves, with innovation in other plant-based offerings, such as green banana and coffee flour, now showing potential. Insect-based flours may also come to have a more mainstream role.”Despite the pervading importance of health, IBA will also demonstrate how suppliers must never take their eyes off the vital roles of taste, pleasure and freshness to bakery.“Diets and lifestyles are constantly evolving and alongside these, so are the consumer trends which guide the direction of new product development,” says Ingredion’s Schmitz-Huebsch. “However, consumers are clear that producers must ensure quality and freshness are not sacrificed as a result.%%Quote_36%%“It’s a view echoed by Bridor, which says: “Although health is grabbing a lot of the headlines at the moment, the other key trend we’re seeing come through is ultra-indulgence.“More flavour, more filling, more product seems to be the order of the day,” adds the company, which has launched new 95g Extravagants filled croissants to meet desire for more generous and tempting products.IBA visitors will also see a host of products to tap the boom in food-to-go, which Mintel believes is key to the future of bakery.“Snacking and on-the-go consumption are areas where bakery can reconnect with younger generations and meet the increasing demand for fast and tasty food,” explains the firm, adding that new formats, and sweet and savoury flavours, could help bread grow in the snacking market.“Cakes that are single-portion or individually wrapped are key for snacking use, while those which are more experimental, such as hybrid formats, will pique the interest of younger consumers,” explains Mintel.Bridor expects IBA to bring the introduction of many new snacking formats, and has itself focused on tapping this area. It has launched B’Break 70g rolls, designed to provide an ‘all-in-one’ handheld option and offering flavours such as chorizo, olive & rosemary, cocoa & chocolate chip, and muesli.Bakery manufacturers should also consider the opportunities for food-to-go offerings at breakfast. In the UK, businesses such as Greggs are finding the early morning a lucrative opportunity.With so many different factors driving the development of the market, navigating these trends can be difficult says Schmitz-Huebsch. But she advises:  “The key for bakers is to remain agile and ensure they have attractive products to bring to the table, because with or without them, consumers will find a way to satisfy their needs.”She adds that consumers are discerning and are challenging the industry to develop products that deliver a balance between functional and sensory performance.“With the right functional expertise and ingredient knowledge, manufacturers can balance the urgency to get products to market and offer a range of benefits, without sacrificing the high-quality eating experience consumers want.”IBA 2018Whether you are seeking a bespoke automated bread line or niche artisan ingredient, you’ll probably find it in Munich this September.For six days, the city will host the IBA show, when around 80,000 visitors are expected to gather to view innovative NPD, learn about the latest food trends, get hands-on with new equipment and network with their peers from across the industry.First held in 1949 and taking place every three years, IBA is considered by many to be the premier international bakery event and is a key platform for suppliers and equipment manufacturers. Visitors are expected to include bakers, pastry chefs, restaurateurs, café owners, hotel professionals, caterers, and decision-makers from the food retail market.In addition to around 1,350 exhibitors (as of July 2018), the show offers attractions like the IBA Speakers Corner that, each day, will feature lectures on topics such as new raw materials, digitisation, smart production routes, cashless payment and new legislation.And with the trend for eating out a force across the globe, the new IBA TO GO will offer innovation and solutions relating to food and beverage concepts, from shop design and front-of-house baking through to hot and cold beverages and accessories for food preparation. Visitors can also take part in free workshops and demonstrations.There will be competitionsand demonstrations featuring bakers and confectioners, including the IBA UIBC Cup of Bakers, in which teams from 12 different countries, including the UK, will compete.At the end of the 2015 show, more than half the visitors said they had completed sales at the show, and organisers estimated orders placed in the six days reached €1.3bn. So can you afford not to consider the trip?Where and whenSaturday 15 September – Thursday 20 September 2018Opening hours: Sat – Wed 9.30am – 6pmThurs: 9.30am – 5pmVenue: Fairground Munichlast_img read more

Cosmik Playground Unites Frank Zappa Alum Arthur Barrow & Chad Wackerman

first_imgLast night, a Frank Zappa tribute for the ages took place at TRiP Santa Monica, as his former band members Arthur Barrow and Chad Wackerman united for the memorable performance. Barrow played with Zappa in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, and his work has been featured by the likes of The Doors, Joe Cocker, Janet Jackson and more.Barrow has recently been reviving his time with Zappa by performing with Cosmik Playground, a tribute to the late great guitarist with a rotating lineup. The band is led by the talented Marcus Rezak, who’s careful guitarwork embodies the spirit of Zappa’s performing. Rezak made last night’s performance even more special by recruiting Chad Wackerman, a drummer who worked with Zappa from 1981 through 1988.Joined by Aaron Provisor on the keys, the two set performance saw the band play classics from the Frank Zappa catalog. You can see a gallery from the show, courtesy of Steve Rose Photos, as well as the setlist below.Setlist: Cosmik Playground at TRiP Santa Monica, Los Angeles, CA – 11/18/16Set 1: Chunga’s Revenge, Cletus Awreetus-Awrightus, I Ain’t Got No Heart, Inca Roads Solo, Thirteen, Cosmik Debris, Treacherous Cretins, MontanaSet 2: Free Form > Five Five Five, Pygmy Twylyte, Deathless Horsie, Drum Solo, We Are Not Alone, Evil Ways, Village Vamp, Peaches En Regalia, Roadhouse, Muffin Man Load remaining imageslast_img read more

Inside electronic commerce

first_imgAs a boy in northern England, David C. Parkes was upwards of 12 when he got his first computer. It was an Acorn Electron, beige and clunky, with 32KB of memory and one sound channel. He used it to program his own adventure games, set in mythical lands where visitors hunt for objects like gold or keys.Parkes has the keys to his own kingdom now, or at least to an office in Maxwell Dworkin, where he is the Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.The academic world he inhabits is not a mythical land exactly, but contains mysteries enough for most of us. Parkes specializes in the arcane mathematical regions where economics and computer science intersect. “If you are working on both,” he said of the two disciplines, “the problems become extremely interesting.”Parkes is an expert on combinatorial auctions, the bidding and buying of complex packages of goods that is one of the hidden algorithmic underpinnings of electronic commerce.Combinatorial auctions inform a hybrid branch of economics and computer science that was pioneered in a 1982 paper about landing slots at airports. What a designer is after in such auctions is “optimization” — getting the most efficiency and value from a decision in which possible choices might number in the billions.It’s no accident that Parkes is interested in operations research too, a branch of complex mathematical decision-making that rose out of Allied logistical demands during World War II. All of his Ph.D. students study it, along with economic theory, computer science, and artificial intelligence.Operations research is all about “making operational decisions about how to allocate resources — for example, how an airline decides to fly which plane where and when,” said Parkes.Such complex decision-making challenges a classical idea in economics: that markets are controlled by rational agents. “Humans are not the rational economic actors we like to theorize about,” said Parkes. So his research aims at designing markets that promote simplicity of interaction for market participants.“We’re in the business of how to solve coordination problems and optimization problems that span boundaries,” he said, and there are many self-interested agents.Parkes wants to construct mechanisms that simplify the decision making that agents have to do. That requires an intersection of computer science and economics. “The Internet itself is at once a computational system and an economic system,” said Parkes of the complex algorithms that underlie modern life. “You have to understand both.”Coordinating decision making in the realm of the Internet may prefigure what he calls “a market of minds.” This future ensemble of connected computer systems would be “like an artificial social system,” said Parkes, and provides structure to the idea that intelligence is modular.Then there is what artificial-intelligence futurists call “singularity,” a point in the future when machines acquire general intelligence that is superior to human intelligence. That may be just 30 years away, said Parkes. “There are all these questions that sound like science fiction.”In the meantime, he added, scientists have to begin thinking of the ethical implications of such shifts.Parkes still has the old Acorn Electron in his home office — a reminder perhaps of the happy accidents that he said have made the past two decades a “whirl” — from a state school in his home village of Holmes Chapel, to an engineering science degree at Oxford University, doctoral studies at the University of Pennsylvania, and a post at Harvard since 2001.“I had this very early introduction to computers,” said Parkes, whose father is a physicist and whose mother a one-time dental office radiographer. “But I never thought that it was an academic trajectory.”And yes, there is life outside computer science. Parkes is an avid cook and gardener, and is refurbishing an old Victorian house in Cambridge with his partner, Robert Carr, an artist and architectural enthusiast. “It’s a work in motion,” Parkes said.last_img read more

Program encourages faith formation amongst Latinos

first_imgThe Institute for Church Life (ICL) at the University of Notre Dame has launched Camino, an online faith formation program for Latino Catholics.Camino Program Director Esther Terry has developed Camino from its early stages, she said.“The program has been in the works for a long time and the pilot phase started in 2012,” Terry said. “The pilot phase started with just one course that was adapted from a course that we have in English.”According to its website, Camino is an online program of Catholic theology courses designed by University professors and leaders in Latino ministry. A facilitator, who must have a master’s degree in theology, instructs the course, which can last anywhere from four to seven weeks.Camino stems from Notre Dame’s Satellite Theological Education Program (STEP), a program developed in the early 1990s that aimed to provide high quality theology courses at affordable prices.“For a long time people had been taking these courses in English, and they had been receiving requests for courses in Spanish,” Terry said.On Camino’s website, Notre Dame professor of theology Fr. Virgil Alizondo said Camino is “a great way to use media and technology to give learning opportunities beyond the University.”The STEP program worked in collaboration with the SouthEast Pastoral Institute in Miami (SEPI) to develop Camino. Various dioceses are also involved with advertising the program to potential participants.“The people that take our courses are typically catechists, readers [and] serve in the music ministry,” Terry said. “[They] usually have some position in their parish and they want to have ongoing faith formation.”Terry said the program prides itself in the flexibility and accessibility of its courses. She said many of Camino’s participants live in rural areas or other places where learning resources in their native language are limited.“I think the flexibility of hours for taking an online course and the quality of what we are able to deliver in places where it would be very difficult for them to have this formation experience makes [this program] very important,” Terry said.Terry said she enjoys contributing to Camino.“It’s been so exciting to see people engage Scripture and engage the Catechism and see the sense of wonder and excitement that they have and how dignified they feel to be taking an online course with Notre Dame,” Terry said.Terry said her hope for Camino and other theological programs like it is that the intellectual resources at Notre Dame and other partners and affiliates are made available to an even more diverse group of people.“We want to share those resources with people in the pews, your average Catholics, and help them to see the beauty and the joy of our Catholic faith so that they can share that with others,” Terry said.Tags: Camino, Hispanic Catholics, ICL, Institute for Church Life, SEPI, SouthEast Pastoral Institute in Miami, STEPlast_img read more

A New TV Gig for Krysta Rodriguez!

first_imgThe die-hard fans of How I Met Your Mother are about to meet one of our favorite Broadway stars: Krysta Rodriguez. The Broadway.com Audience Choice Award winner has just landed a lead in the pilot for the CBS sitcom’s spin-off How I Met Your Dad. Rodriguez was last seen on Broadway wooing Zachary Levi in First Date (and filming her backstage exploits on the Broadway.com video blog Kiss & Tell). Other credits include The Addams Family, In the Heights, A Chorus Line, Spring Awakening and Good Vibrations. Rodriguez, who was seen as a dissed Broadway diva on NBC’s Smash, will play a powerful fashion blogger on the show, the best friend of series star Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha).center_img View Commentslast_img read more

Broadway Revival of Cats Begins Previews

first_img‘Cats'(Photo: Alessandro Pinna) Star Files Cats Related Shows View Commentscenter_img Show Closed This production ended its run on Dec. 30, 2017 Jellicle cats come out tonight, Jellicle cats come one, come all! The Broadway revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats will begin preview performances at the Neil Simon Theatre on July 14. Directed by Trevor Nunn and choreographed by Hamilton’s Andy Blankenbuehler, based on the original choreography and associate direction by Gillian Lynne, Leona Lewis is set to take on the role of glamour cat Grizabella in the production. Opening night is scheduled for July 31.The cast will also include Broadway.com vlogger Tyler Hanes as Rum Tum Tugger, Ricky Ubeda as Mistoffelees, Quentin Earl Darrington as Old Deuteronomy, Eloise Kropp as Jennyannydots/Gumbie, Giuseppe Bausilio as Carbucketty, Jeremy Davis as Skimbleshanks, Kim Faure as Demeter, Sara Jean Ford as Jellylorum, Lili Froehlich as Electra, Daniel Gaymon as Macavity, Shonica Gooden as Rumpleteazer, Christopher Gurr as Gus/Bustopher Jones, Andy Huntington Jones as Munkustrap, Kolton Krouse as Tumblebrutus, Jess LeProtto as Mungojerrie, Georgina Pazcoguin as Victoria, Emily Pynenburg as Cassandra, Arianna Rosario as Sillabub, Ahmad Simmons as Alonzo, Christine Cornish Smith as Bombalurina, Corey Snide as Coricopat, Emily Tate as Tantomile and Sharrod Williams as Pouncival.Featuring a score by Lloyd Webber and lyrics by T.S. Eliot, Nunn and Richard Stilgoe, Cats follows a clowder of jellicles and each cat’s quest to be selected to ascend to the Heaviside Layer. The show, based on Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, ran for 21 years in London and 18 years on Broadway, where it won seven Tony Awards including Best Musical. This production will be the first Main Stem revival.Rounding out the company will be Richard Todd Adams, Aaron Albano, Callan Bergmann, Claire Camp, Francesca Granell, Jessica Hendy, Harris Milgrim, Madison Mitchell, Nathan Patrick Morgan and Megan Ort. Leona Lewislast_img read more

Jeremy Benton Will Return to Cagney Off-Broadway

first_img View Comments After taking a temporary leave of absence, Jeremy Benton will return to the off-Broadway musical Cagney. He steps back into the role of Bob Hope, taking over for Jeffry Denman beginning January 11 at the Westside Theatre.Benton recently concluded his stint in the national tour of White Christmas. His additional credits include 42nd Street on Broadway and Anything Goes on tour.Cagney follows the life of James Cagney (played by Robert Creighton, who also contributed original music with Christopher McGovern) from the streets of New York to his rise from a vaudeville song-and-dance man to one of the brightest stars of Hollywood. The score features the classic George M. Cohan favorites “Give My Regards To Broadway,” “You’re A Grand Old Flag” and “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”In addition to Creighton, the current cast includes Danette Holden, Josh Walden, Ellen Zolezzi and Bruce Sabath. Robert Creighton and Jeremy Benton in ‘Cagney'(Photo: Carol Rosegg) Cagneycenter_img Related Shows Show Closed This production ended its run on May 28, 2017last_img read more

Short courses

first_imgBy Stephanie SchupskaUniversity of GeorgiaUniversity of Georgia food scientists will share their knowledge with food industry representatives during two upcoming short courses set for July.The first course, In-Plant Control of Microbial Contamination for Ready-to-Eat Foods, will be held July 12-13. The second course, Meat and Poultry Marination, is set for July 18-20. Both courses will be presented by the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and will be held on the main UGA campus in Athens, Ga. During the microbial contamination course, UGA food scientists will show how to use microbial test results to anticipate potential plant problems. Industry specific examples will be used to demonstrate how plants can save money and increase profits through plotting and analyzing statistical data.The class is designed for ready-to-eat food industry personnel and will feature UGA faculty, Arthur Liang of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s food safety office and Jeff Kornacki of Kornacki Food Safety Associates.The marination short course will cover such topics as functional ingredients and delivery systems, browning agents and smoke flavors, coating systems, packaging and herbs and spices for flavor and visual effects. The course is designed for plant managers, supervisors and operations managers, as well as those who work with new product development, food safety and quality assurance.Participants will also learn through hands-on laboratory lessons and pilot plant activities.Lead instructors for this course will be UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences food scientists Romeo Toledo, Estes Reynolds, Rakesh Singh, William Hurst and James Daniels. The registration deadline is July 3 for the microbial course and July 7 for the marination course. For more information or to register, call Marian Wendinger at (706) 542-2574, e-mail her at [email protected] or visit the registration Web site at www.EFSonline.uga.edu. (Stephanie Schupska is a news editor with the University ofGeorgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)last_img read more

Ancient Appalachia: The Southeast’s Old-Growth Forests

first_img“It’s all been logged.”That’s what I was told when I asked if there were any old-growth forests left in the South. Growing up in rural Western North Carolina, I was intrigued by the tales of the huge trees that once grew in my neighborhood. The thought that not one acre of forest had been left unlogged for me to enjoy saddened me, and didn’t fit with what I saw in the woods around me. Some steep, rocky areas and property boundaries had large and seemingly old trees. The more people I asked, the more complex the answers became. When I asked knowledgeable locals and outdoorsmen about specific areas like Spring Creek Gorge, I got promising answers like “Well I know that’s never been logged in my lifetime.”For the past three years, I have been working in conjunction with the Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition and other conservation groups to document and protect the last vestiges of the original forest cover that blanketed the Blue Ridge when European settlers first arrived. Since 1994, this project has turned up over 114,000 acres of old-growth on the six National Forests of the Southern Blue Ridge – that’s 4.5% of our local National Forests, or 1.5% of the Blue Ridge as a whole. At least 14 biologists, ecologists, foresters, botanists and citizen scientists who have worked for 12 years with little or no funding to protect these special places by giving them a voice.The reason these ancient forests need advocates, is that occasionally, the U.S. Forest Service comes up with a project that proposes logging of old-growth. An example this year is the Globe Timber Sale in the Grandfather Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest. In such cases, conservation and recreation groups ask the Forest Service to exclude the old-growth sections from the logging proposal. The Globe Project is still being planned by the Forest Service and needs a lot of public input to keep the old-growth from being logged (see “Save the Globe” on page 24 for more details).Environmental and recreational groups have succeeded in protecting old-growth in this manner for the past ten years. But the outcomes are not always successful. At Hoover Creek in Virginia’s George Washington National Forest, 200 acres of old-growth were logged despite the outcry of locals. After the trees had been cut it was apparent that many had been over 200 years old.In some cases, the Forest Service does not intentionally log old-growth, but simply does not have accurate information about the millions of acres of forest it manages. With the Forest Service receiving inadequate funding each year, citizens are left to do the work of identifying and protecting old-growth forests.Almost all of the known old-growth sites in the Blue Ridge are still with us because of one or a combination of three factors: steep slopes, early purchase date (usually before 1925), and lack of commercial viability. Usually, steep slopes and noncommercial forests go hand in hand. Soils at such sites are dry, because they drain quickly, and are often leached of nutrients. Some sites, however, have rich soils or occur on gentler slopes above gorges, waterfalls, or other impediments to logging, and these sites grow not only old, but big trees. Finally, a different class of site, including many of the smaller tracts bought from farmers or seized from them by eminent domain, have old-growth forest for historical reasons. Some farmers kept their woods as places to hunt or to graze their livestock on chestnuts. Some, like Robert “Boogerman” Palmer, were simply reclusive and refused to sell their land to timber companies.Serendipity is the final factor that saved some old-growth forests. Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest is an example of this. Little Santeetlah Creek was on the verge of being logged several times, but the flooding of Santeetlah Lake stopped logging and then financial catastrophe to the parent logging company forced the land to be sold. The land changed ownership many times and finally, in 1936, Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest was created, just as equipment was being moved to the area to log it.Some are skeptical of the emerging picture of 100,000+ acres of National Forest old-growth, and rightly so, they have been told the same stories about the history of our forests that I have. The roots of this myth originate in the perception that all old-growth forests have giant, eight-foot-diameter trees. Unfortunately, those places were logged first. What we have left is less impressive size-wise, but just as inspiring in character.Here is the criteria generally used to classify old growth:1) A lack of human disturbance: Old-growth forests lack logging roads, skidder trails, and cut stumps. Consider that chestnut blight could be considered a form of human disturbance, and that American chestnut was important in most of our native forests, so every forest in the Blue Ridge has had some human disturbance. Uncut chestnut debris, however, can be a reliable indicator of a lack of historical logging.2) The presence of old trees: All the sites in the SAFC data base have canopy trees whose ages are confirmed at over 150 years of age, and some have trees confirmed at over 300 years of age; a small handful are known to have trees in the 400+ year range. All of these sites are very remote, and unsuitable for agriculture. The big logging boom in the Southern Blue Ridge was 80-100 years ago, so 150 years is a reasonable proxy for old-growth status.3) A mixed-age canopy: When trees die of old age, or fall because of a natural disturbance like a storm, they leave canopy gaps that allow younger trees to grow, creating a mosaic of tree sizes and ages.4) The presence of coarse woody debris: Coarse woody debris is a fancy biological term for decaying wood. Old forests usually have copious amounts of decaying wood, varying from freshly fallen, to indistinguishable from soil.5) Snags: Snags are standing dead trees. They provide important habitat for a number of wildlife species including woodpeckers and black bears. They tend to be more common in forests where trees are allowed to die of natural causes.6) Complex character: The most difficult to quantify and reliable characteristic of old-growth forests is their structural and biological complexity. An example of this concept is that old-growth forests tend to have more diverse biological communities than second growth forests of the same type, because there is more physical structure, like snags, to utilize.When the Eastern national forests were purchased around 1913, those responsible for acquiring them where looking for some of the most valuable, and therefore, least logged tracts of land. William Willard Ashe, one of the people most responsible for the surveying and acquiring of Blue Ridge National Forests, stated that “the larger portion of the lands which have been acquired have had the timber cut off, or at least some of the best timber has been cut, but a number of fine stands have been secured within which there has never been the sound of the lumberman’s axe.” But over the years, the knowledge that the national forests of the Southern Blue Ridge contain significant old-growth forests was shouted down by the myth that “It’s all been logged.” Because these forests have been essentially forgotten, the sum of old-growth present before 1940 has been reduced by Forest Service timber sales. Hopefully, as the American people become more aware of this great treasure on their public lands, the remainder can be protected in perpetuity.OLD-GROWTH HIKES IN THE BLUE RIDGEWhile most of the old-growth in the Blue Ridge is far off the beaten path, there are several trails that provide access to some great forests. Of course, the most impressive old-growth in the Blue Ridge is in Smoky Mountains National Park at places like Albright Grove and Ramsay Cascades. However, the following is a guide to trails in all six National Forests of the Southern Blue Ridge that pass through magnificent old-growth forests.HOLCOMBE FALLS TRAILChattahoochee National ForestHighlights: Waterfalls, Huge HemlocksProtection: Informally protectedDirections: From Clayton Georgia, go east on Warwoman Rd. from its junction with US 441. Turn left on Hale Ridge Rd and park at the intersection of Hale Ridge Rd. and Overflow Rd. Rabun Bald Quad.Holcombe Falls Trail is one of the finest in North Georgia because of the beautiful falls on Ammons Branch and Holcombe Creek, and the old-growth acidic cove forest there. One hemlock here was measured by Jess Riddle at 144 ft. tall, making it the tallest hemlock in Georgia. See this grove soon, because if it is not treated quickly, it will succumb to the hemlock wooly adelgid (hwa).EAST FORK TRAILSumter National ForestHighlights: Wildflowers, Old-Growth HemlocksProtection: Permanently protected by Ellicott Rock Wilderness.Directions: From SC 107 near the NC line follow the directions to the Walhalla Fish Hatchery, the trail begins there. Tamassee Quad.From the parking lot to the first hundred yards of the East Fork Trail, you will immediately enter the tallest known hemlock forest. Many of the trees here are over 3 ft in diameter and 160 ft tall. Unfortunately many of the hemlocks appear to have been killed by hwa. The remainder of the East Fork Trail is very scenic, including a nice bloom of spring wildflowers. The trail follows the north bank of the East Fork of the Chattooga, which was heavily logged. However, by looking across the creek to the steep slopes of Medlin Mountain, you can look at unlogged hemlock and hardwood forests.FALLS BRANCH TRAILCherokee National ForestHighlights: Old-growth cove and a spectacular waterfallProtection: Permanently protected by Citico Creek Wilderness.Directions: From the Cherohala Skyway, park at the West Rattlesnake Rock Overlook, where the trail begins. Big Junction Quad.Falls Branch probably has Southeast Tennessee’s most impressive old-growth forest. Both rich and acidic cove forests can be found here with trees attaining sizes up to five feet in diameter. The largest trees are off-trail, through thick tangles of rhododendron, but the trail portion is just as beautiful and ends at the spectacular Falls Branch Falls.HICKORY BRANCH TRAILNantahala National ForestHighlights: Remote with excellent oak-hickory forestProtection: Temporarily protected as “Large Patch Old-Growth” by Nantahala National Forest.Directions: From Andrews, take Junaluska Rd. over Junaluska Gap. Approximately 1.4 miles past Junaluska Gap park at the pull-off on the right, and look for the unmarked beginning of the Hickory Branch Trail across the road. Topton Quad.The lower reaches of Hickory Branch were heavily logged, but for some reason, perhaps the formation of Nantahala National Forest, there appears to have been no logging above 3680’. Counting rings on trees cut by the trail is fun and will reveal ages over 200 years. The montane-oak hickory and high elevation red oak forests here are classic. This trail can be combined with the London Bald Trail and Junaluska Trail to form a loop.SNOOK’S NOSE TRAILPisgah National ForestHighlights: Views, rare plants, dry forest communitiesProtection: Protected as part of the Jarrett Creek Roadless Area.Directions: From Old Fort go east on Hwy 70 and turn left on Curtis Creek Rd. Trail is adjacent to the new RV campground. Old Fort Quad.The Curtis Creek area was part of the first purchase of National Forest in the East in 1913, and has some exemplary patches of old-growth because of it. The Snook’s Nose trail is a great place to get a workout (potential 3000-foot elevation gain), see some rare plants (watch out for turkey beard and Carolina rhododendron), and see a beautiful view. Above 3200’ the trail enters a dry and non-commercial forest that was never logged. Chestnut oak, black gum, red maple, black birch, table mountain pine, and Carolina hemlock, with thickets of mountain laurel and rhododendron, compose most of the forest. For those confident with their map-and-compass skills, there is a beautiful, open forest of tulip poplar and red oak NE of Laurel Knob at 4000 feet, in an area known as the “Rompous Bowl.”CORNELIUS CREEK-APPLE ORCHARD TRAIL LOOPJefferson National ForestHighlights: Outstanding spring wildflowers, Apple Orchard Falls.Protection: Mostly protected by the North Creek Special Area. Some old-growth is still threatened by logging.Directions: Park at Sunset Fields overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway, between Peaks of Otter and Thunder Ridge. Walk down Rt. 812 until you reach the AT. Take the A.T. to the left (northbound) until you reach the Cornelius Creek trail. Follow the Cornelius Creek trail to the bottom of the mountain & Rt. 59 and a parking area. This is also a trailhead for the Apple Orchard Falls Trail. Follow the Apple Orchard Falls Trail to the top of the ridge and the Sunset Fields overlook. Arnold Valley Quad.This hike passes through part of the North Creek Special Area originally protected for songbirds and other forest interior species, and enlarged in the latest Jefferson national Forest Plan Revision. A locomotive wrecked in Cornelius Creek in 1910 (removed for scrap in 1940), bankrupting a timber company, and saving portions of the North Creek watershed from logging. The area between the North Creek Special Area and the Thunder Ridge Wilderness Area (just to the north of Apple Orchard Falls) is open to commercial logging. The Parkers Gap Timber Sale was approved on steep slopes in this area. To view the site of this timber sale, drive down Rt. 812 to Rt. 765 and drive down Rt. 3034; logging will occur down slope of the road. A portion of old growth previously identified in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Jefferson National Forest Plan is located in one of the cutting units. The Parkers Gap Project may begin later in 2006 or early 2007.GARDEN MOUNTAIN-APPALACHIAN TRAILJefferson National ForestHighlights: Remote hiking experience, interesting rocky areas throughout; examples of 400 million year old ancient worm (Arthropycus) burrows or feeding trails can be seen in some of the rocks; much of the water flowing from this mountain provides habitat for the Tennessee dace, a rare, brightly colored fish; go to Chestnut Knob for outstanding views of Burkes Garden.Protection: Most is designated a wilderness study area, and receives strong protection.Directions: From Rt. 42, take Rt. 623 to the top of Garden Mtn. Take the AT southbound (left). Arrange for a shuttle at Walker Gap (Rt. 727) or backtrack to Rt. 623. Garden Mountain QuadWhile not part of the Blue Ridge proper–Garden Mountain is part of the Ridge and Valley Province-the forests around Garden Mountain are good examples of old-growth upland oak types, ranging from dry to moist. Garden Mountain and Chestnut Knob also provide beautiful views of the pastoral valley of Burkes Garden. The Garden Mountain roadless area is one of the areas proposed for wilderness protection in the Ridge and Valley Wilderness Act. Write your representative and senator and ask them to support this legislation.SAVE THE GLOBE: OLD GROWTH FOREST ON THE CHOPPING BLOCKA controversial U.S. Forest Service proposal to cut 231 acres of the Pisgah National Forest adjacent to the town of Blowing Rock, N.C., would include logging two old-growth forests. An evaluation of the area slated for cutting reveals that many of the trees range from 80 years old to well over 300 years old. One chestnut oak was determined to be 328 years old.Adjacent to Julian Price and Moses Cone Memorial Parks near the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Globe Forest is a popular recreational destination for bikers, hikers, runners, paddlers, and climbers in the High Country of North Carolina.“We alerted the Forest Service of the presence of old growth back in February and asked them to protect these remarkable trees,” said Ben Prater, an ecologist with Southern Appalachian Biodiversity Project. “But the agency has ignored our request and fully intends to chop them down.”Last month, hundreds of local property owners turned out to denounce the proposal, which could impact the views into the Globe basin located on the south slopes of Blowing Rock. The Blowing Rock Town Council passed a resolution opposing the proposal in August.“The Declaration of Independence was not even conceived of when these trees sprouted. Daniel Boone was not even born yet,” said Lamar Marshall, a Watauga County landowner. “Shame on the Forest Service for destroying our national treasures. These public lands are our natural heritage. Nothing is sacred anymore. Everything is for sale.”The Forest Service document originally located the Globe Project as being 11 miles northwest of Lenoir, North Carolina. The failure to note that the project was but one mile south of Blowing Rock raised suspicions in the minds of many residents and National Forest users.The Forest Service claims that the proposed logging project will provide habitat for turkey, grouse, deer, and bear and create a network of old growth. The old growth to which the agency refers is future old growth, not existing old growth. One of the stands to be so designated was cut only twelve years ago. The Forest Service refuses to discuss the actual old growth and claims that it is not an issue, since the agency is setting aside forest that it promises to allow to grow old.If the Forest Service continues to plan to log actual old growth, the decision likely will be challenged by Southern Environmental Law Center.Meanwhile, a move is afoot to obtain permanent protection for the forest from Congress. Residents of the Blowing Rock area have prepared a draft bill to designate a Grandfather National Scenic Area, and are seeking Congressional sponsors for it.More info: www.sabp.net.last_img read more

All the world’s a stage, and mobile banking is the star

first_img 4SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr If your credit union member services don’t include mobile, you’re not relevant. We live in a world on-the-go and if you want to grow your credit union, you need to provide on-the-go options for your members. This means your member-facing technology needs to be simple, functional and mobile-friendly. Now, Want to know the names of the actors you need to be a hit?Mobile Banking. This is the absolute star of the show. Members need to be able to check their balance and transfer money between accounts and to other people, all from the convenience of their smartphone. They should also be able to view all member services such as loan programs, that your CU offers in the case they decide to go car shopping on a whim. Your mobile experience needs to be user-friendly, with clear options, and able to complete transactions in as few screen taps as possible. An effective and easy-to-use mobile banking app shows your members that you value their time.Remote Deposit. You need a strong backup cast to support your star. Remote deposit plays an important role in giving your members the ultimate in convenience. No more running to the branch because you have checks to deposit. Snap a pic with your mobile and you’re done. continue reading »last_img read more