Food & Farm News
January 8, 2014
Dry winter leads to difficult choices
Livestock ranchers are feeling it first, but farmers across California say continued dry weather will soon force them to make difficult choices. Dried-out pastures mean cattle and sheep ranchers must find other feed for their animals, or consider selling them before they reach market weight. Farmers who expect water shortages say they’re deciding what crops not to plant in order to save water for other crops, such as trees and vines.
Citrus inspectors find mixed results from freeze
In the month since freezing temperatures hit California citrus fruit, farmers and inspectors have been working to assess the impact on oranges, mandarins and lemons. As they sort through the fruit reaching citrus packinghouses, farmers say freeze damage varies significantly. Fruit from some groves suffered badly, while others came through the freeze with little to no damage. Inspectors make sure that no freeze-damaged fruit reaches market.
Pruning season marks busy time in vineyards
Even though it will be several months before grape harvest, this is one of the busiest times of year in California vineyards. Crews are pruning grapevines to prepare them for new growth this spring. The hard frost that hurt other crops last month benefited grape growers, by pushing vines into dormancy and allowing crews to get an early start on pruning. But it’s a labor-intensive process, and farmers say they continue to worry about being able to hire enough people for the jobs available.
Californians eat more fruits and vegetables
Californians rank relatively well in their consumption of fruits and vegetables, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People in California eat fresh produce more often each day than the national average, though the report says Americans in general still don’t consume as many fruits and vegetables as they should. The study also ranked California high on a number of factors that influence the availability and consumption of fruits and vegetables.