Consumer Qs

Centennial Farms show online

Consumer Q’s is prepared by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, Gary W. Black, Commissioner.

Question: Will the television show about Georgia families that have been on their farms for more than 100 years be shown again?

Answer: Georgia Public Broadcasting devoted one entire show of its Georgia Outdoors series to some of the farmers whose families have been continuously operating their farms for at least 100 years. The Centennial Farms show originally aired in May and is being rebroadcast. Check your local GPB listings. The show may be watched online at anytime. It is beautiful and informative. Watch it if you can.

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Q: Is it too early to stake tomatoes?

A: Stake tomatoes and make trellises for runner beans as soon as possible after planting.

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Q: What kind of tree paint is best for painting over where branches have been pruned?

A: The use of tree paint and wound dressing is no longer recommended. Research has proven that they do not prevent decay or help the tree in any way.

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Q: What could cause my cucumbers to be small and crooked?

A: Lack of moisture, poor pollination due to lack of bees, a low percentage of male flowers or low temperatures at the time of flowering.

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Q: What is the difference between determinate tomato plants and indeterminate tomato plants? I see these words on labels at nurseries.

A: Determinate varieties of tomatoes are more compact than indeterminate varieties. They “top out” (stop growing taller) when fruit sets on the terminal or top bud. They ripen all their tomatoes at or near the same time, usually over a few weeks. Indeterminate varieties of tomatoes are also called “vining” tomatoes. They will grow and produce fruit until killed by frost and can reach heights of up to 10 feet although six feet is more common. They will bloom, set new fruit and ripen fruit throughout the growing season.

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Q: Can pickling cucumbers be eaten fresh?

A: Yes. Pickling cucumbers hold up better during the canning and pickling process than those sold as salad” or “slicing” cucumbers. However, that does not mean they must be used exclusively to make pickles. In fact, some people prefer them for fresh eating to the salad/slicing types.

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Q: What brand of meat thermometer is best?

A: We do not test kitchen equipment or make brand recommendations. Consider subscribing to Consumer Reports, Cook’s Illustrated or Cook’s Country magazines. Their staffs test all manner of equipment.

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Q: What is flatiron steak?

A: Flatiron steak is a shoulder top blade steak cut from the chuck section of the carcass. The flatiron lends itself to grilling, broiling and pan frying. For maximum tenderness, cook it slowly, as in stewing or braising.

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If you have questions about services or products regulated by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, visit, write to the department at 19 MLK Jr. Drive, Room 128, Atlanta, GA 30334 or e-mail Consumer Q’s coordinator Arty Schronce at

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