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» March 9, 2009 «
Stone fruit trees—peaches, plums and nectarines—are in full bloom across the Central Valley right now. Farmers say it is too early to tell if the rain and wind did significant damage, but tourists are enjoying the colorful blooms. Last year the trees had such a heavy set of fruit that farmers had to thin, or remove, some of the small fruit. If some of the blossoms were damaged by weather, that could be a cost savings for growers. For now, farmers and tourists are enjoying the colorful scene.
A UCLA study finds that eating broccoli may help prevent respiratory inflammation. A compound in the vegetable stimulates increased production of antioxidant enzymes in the airway that protect again asthma, allergic rhinitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Subjects in the study consumed broccoli sprouts. Researchers say this is the first study showing broccoli sprouts stimulate an antioxidant response in humans.
Budget proposals by the Obama administration would alter the 2008 Farm Bill. Of particular concern to California farmers is the proposed reduction in the Market Access Program, which provides funds to develop foreign markets. California growers use this program to remain profitable. The American Farm Bureau is asking Congress not to alter the existing law. Farmers and ranchers have made their plans under the assumption they knew what farm policy would be over the five-year farm bill.Top