Food & Farm News
June 24, 2015
Further water cuts create uncertainty
It’s a tense waiting game for farmers and irrigation districts around California, as they anticipate the impact of further cuts in water supplies. Operational changes at Shasta Dam, intended to protect salmon, will reduce water deliveries. The extent of those cuts could disrupt water-transfer agreements that some farmers have been counting on to sustain crops through the summer.
Adequate supply of good-quality melons expected
California melon harvest has begun, and despite concerns about water availability, farmers, packers and shippers say there should be enough good-quality melons for the summer. While some regions in the state are growing fewer melons, others have increased. Melons are a low-water crop with a short growing season, and farmers with limited water can grow them as part of a crop rotation.
Scientists find natural insect repellent for fruits
Insect pests can ruin fruit—and a fruit fly called the spotted-wing Drosophila causes hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to berries. Scientists at the University of California, Riverside, have identified a safe repellent that is pleasant-smelling and produced naturally in fruits. The natural repellent protected blueberries in lab experiments and is considered promising for other fruits as well.
4-H program teaches youth about food-smart living
Children in California are following the national trend toward childhood obesity. To help address this issue, the “California 4-H Food Smart Families” program will provide after-school lessons and organized field days for youth ages 8 to 12. The program will teach nutrition, cooking, gardening, physical activity and food preparation in several low-resource areas beginning this fall.