Food & Farm News
2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009
2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005
» December 3, 2008 «
California's avocado crop could be the lightest in 20 years--even the smallest in state history. Irrigation water cutbacks have taken their toll. In addition, growers say the weather at bloom time last April was unusual. It was very hot for several days, then temperatures dropped as much as 30 degrees. The trees dropped much of their bloom. Farmers checking their groves say the fruit on the trees is not uniform in size and some trees have no fruit. Only a few growers report a normal crop.
Discovery of 18 adult Mediterranean fruit flies in 12 locations in the El Cajon area of San Diego County and Medfly larvae in two locations has caused the California Department of Food and Agriculture to establish a 107-square-mile quarantine zone. That requires local residents not to move homegrown fruits and vegetables from the area. Eradication efforts are already under way, including the release of sterile male flies. The Medfly can infest more than 260 types of fruits and vegetables.
Sugar beet production in California continues to decline. The only growing region left is in the Imperial Valley, where planting for the 2009 crop is nearly complete. Production this year is just over 1 million tons, a reduction of 31 percent from 2007, according to a federal government report. The only remaining processing plant in California is in Brawley. Acreage has been reduced from a high of 360,000 to only about 40,000 this year.
California Christmas tree growers report their sales are off to a good start. The California Christmas Tree Association says some farmers are reporting Thanksgiving weekend sales increases of 25 to 35 percent over the previous year. They suspect the lower price of gasoline may have an impact, as it costs about $1.25 a gallon less than it did last year at this time. Residents planning on staying home for Christmas because of the economy may also have boosted sales.Top