Food & Farm News
June 11, 2014
Water crisis takes toll on citrus
Bulldozing groves or paying an unusually high price for water are among decisions facing San Joaquin Valley citrus growers. Some farmers will have access to none of their federal contract water for the first time in more than 60 years. Any water that is available could cost many times the usual rate. A growers group estimates 50,000 acres of citrus trees are vulnerable due to the lack of surface water. Some trees have already been removed.
Average farm size declines
The average size of a California farm dropped slightly, in the latest estimate from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Farms in California are smaller than the national average, in part because of the variety of fruit and vegetable crops grown on small acreages in the state. The new USDA report put the size of an average California farm at 327 acres—down two acres from a year ago and more than 100 acres smaller than the national average.
Prunes may improve weight-loss efforts
Eating prunes as part of a weight-control diet can improve weight loss, according to research by the University of Liverpool. The study, funded by the California Prune Board, tested 100 overweight and obese low-fiber consumers for 12 weeks. Participants who ate prunes as part of a healthy diet lost an average of 4.4 pounds and nearly 1 inch from their waistlines while a control group lost only 3.3 pounds and two-thirds of an inch from their waists.
Company develops a color-shifting flower
Help could be coming for the indecisive gardener, in the form of ‘Petunia Circadia,’ a flower that changes color throughout the day. The flower displays red petals in the morning, blue in the evening and shades of purple in between. Developed by a company co-founded by a UC Davis graduate, the flower will use its circadian rhythm to shift its color. The university says the flower remains in the developmental stage.