Food & Farm News
July 09, 2014
Water shortages affect tomatoes
Food processors want to buy more tomatoes this year to make into salsa, ketchup and other products, but water supplies and weather could cause the crop to fall short of the record 14 million tons requested. Overall acreage is up, but some tomato farmers have already reported water shortages and production problems that could reduce yields. Some acreage for processing tomatoes has shifted from key regions such as Fresno County to areas with more water.
Bill would provide funding for wildfire suppression
With wildfires already plaguing California, Congress is considering a new approach for funding fire suppression. The Wildfire Disaster Funding Act would develop an emergency funding process similar to that for other natural disasters such as hurricanes. Doing so would leave in place money for land-management and wildfire risk-reduction activities, areas that have been raided in previous years to subsidize wildfire suppression costs.
American-grown flowers to feature new branding
Flowers grown in the United States may now be labeled as “Certified American Grown Flowers.” Participating growers say the new brand unites flower farmers across the U.S., and encourages wholesalers and retailers to support local, American-grown flowers and greens. The certification guarantees flowers were grown domestically and identifies the origin of the product. California accounts for almost 80 percent of American-grown cut flower sales.
Orange-fleshed honeydew ripe with benefits
A cross between cantaloupe and green-fleshed honeydew, orange-fleshed honeydew is considered sweeter than typical cantaloupe and can be stored longer. A U.S. Department of Agriculture study measured beta-carotene levels in all three melons, and found the orange-fleshed honeydew and cantaloupe to be on par with carrots as a source of provitamin A. Researchers also discovered a compound in the orange-fleshed melons that metabolizes directly into vitamin A.