Food & Farm News
October 30, 2013
Advocacy effort focuses on immigration
Farmers and leaders from California and more than a dozen other states gathered in Washington Tuesday to advocate passage of federal immigration reform that includes a new agricultural program. Farmers say they depend on an immigrant workforce and, without reform, they will need to plant less labor-intensive crops or grow them offshore. Immigration-reform advocates want the House of Representatives to pass legislation this year.
Navel orange crop looks promising
After a favorable growing season, farmers say they expect a high-quality harvest of California navel oranges. Harvest has begun in the southern San Joaquin Valley and will continue through the winter. Crop forecasters predict a navel orange harvest about equal to last year's. Farmers in the top orange-growing county, Tulare, will have to cope with quarantines imposed to deal with a dangerous pest, the Asian citrus psyllid.
Bus tour connects farmers with buyers
Calling it a "workshop on wheels," University of California marketing specialists guided farmers from the Sacramento and Vacaville areas on a bus tour to the San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market Tuesday. The goal was to connect small-scale growers of fruits and vegetables with wholesale buyers in the Bay Area. UC says many buyers want to meet small-scale farmers who can supply the market for locally grown food.
Plant breeders evaluate tomato taste
Looking to breed tastier tomatoes, researchers raised 173 different varieties in test plots and asked volunteers to rate them for odor, taste and texture. The scientists reported this week that they've developed comprehensive rankings of the varieties, to help plant breeders select for the key components in taste. Essentially, the researchers say, the balance of sugar and acid plays the largest role in determining tomato taste.