Food & Farm News
June 25, 2014
Grape harvest stays ahead of schedule
Harvest has begun for table grapes in the southern San Joaquin Valley, about 10 days earlier than usual. The California Grape and Fruit Tree League estimates the crop to be about average in size, with excellent quality. Coming off two strong years, farmers say they expect robust export sales. The San Joaquin Valley grows up to 80 varieties of red, green and black table grapes. Harvest will continue through November.
Blueberry production grows
With consumer demand on the rise, blueberry acreage continues to increase on the Central Coast and in the San Joaquin Valley. In 1997, California blueberries were grown on fewer than 200 acres but thanks to new varieties, the crop now grows on more than 4,700 acres, mainly in San Joaquin, Tulare, Kern, Ventura and Fresno counties. California blueberries are harvested from January through July.
Online resource helps new farmers
A centralized online resource for beginning farmers and ranchers is now available from the US Department of Agriculture. The website describes a number of USDA initiatives available for the next generation of farmers. The department also announced new polices to support beginning farmers. The website and policies were announced at a meeting of the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Advisory Committee held at the University of California, Davis.
Nutrition trends for 2014
There’s growing interest among Californians in natural, functional, fresh foods, according to the Dairy Council of California. The council reported on California’s top 10 nutrition trends for 2014. The report also noted new research showing dairy fat as a neutral or positive factor in heart health. The Dairy Council monitors nutrition trends year-round, and said obesity remains a primary health concern in the United States.