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» March 2, 2009 «
California wool producers had a good year in 2008 as they earned an average of $1.10 a pound for wool. Production was up about 6 percent and farmers earned $99 million more for wool than in 2007. However, this year the price is about half that, between 50 and 60 cents a pound. Demand is off in part because of the world economy. There is hope prices will increase in the second half of the year. California ranks third nationally in wool production.
The cherimoya ("cher-uh-moy-uh") is a peculiar-looking fruit that provides a taste sensation when eaten. They were a favorite of Mark Twain. And, while they are one of the oldest fruits of the New World, most Californians have not experienced their ambrosia-like flavor. Shoppers at farmers markets are offered samples of the fruit. Farmers say once a consumer has tasted it, they are sold. Santa Barbara County is one location where cherimoyas can be grown. Harvest will continue until sometime in June. Watch the story on YouTube!
Olive fruit flies destroy olives by laying eggs inside the fruit. The larvae feed on the olive and emerge, leaving behind unseen damage. Olives are now sorted by hand in processing facilities. However, researchers have developed an X-ray device that, combined with software technology, recognizes damaged olives 86 percent of the time and undamaged fruit with 90 percent accuracy. The devices will be ready for real-world trials within a year, greatly improving the accuracy and speed of the sorting process. California produces all of the nation's commercially grown olives.Top