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» November 7, 2008 «
Even with weather and water challenges this year, California farmers produced 11.8 million tons of processing tomatoes--used to make a variety of common food products from tomato sauce to ketchup. The 2008 season ranks as the third best production year on record. Experts credit farmers' extensive use of drip irrigation systems for improving yields even with less water.
Native plants are becoming more popular as urban residents try to save water. Nursery operators say there are many native plants that are easy on water needs but still provide color for landscapes. Manzanita and cyanosis are two native species that are available from nurseries in ground cover or bush varieties and use little water. They also provide flowers of different colors. Nurseries say demand has increased in recent years and they anticipate greater demand as water restrictions take effect next year.
California egg ranches produced 16 million fewer eggs in September than in August, but earned more for their eggs, according to a federal government report. The average price per dozen farmers earned was 95 cents. That's 10 cents more than they earned in August but 4 cents less than a year ago. The break-even price for the average farmer is about 70 cents per dozen. Nationally, egg production was about one percent less than last September.
There's still time to enjoy an amazing array of fresh fruits and vegetables from farmers markets throughout California. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says harvests continue for many farmers market crops--crops that reflect not only the state's variety of growing climates, but also its ethnic and cultural diversity. Some, but not all, of the vegetables still readily available: green and long beans, bitter melon, carrots and radishes, as well as many varieties of herbs.Top