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» September 23, 2009 «
Cool summer nights this summer helped California grown apples develop deep color and excellent sugar content. The state's apple harvest is well underway. The California Apple Commission says production will be off about 10 percent compared to last year. One factor affecting the harvest is a lack of irrigation water in the western San Joaquin Valley, which the commission says will reduce the crop by about 150,000 cartons.
Growing demand propels the Southern California date harvest. The California Date Commission predicts that farmers will harvest about 40 million pounds. That's about the same as last year, but future harvests may grow larger. Farmers have responded to strong demand by planting about 4,000 acres of date palms that are not yet in production. It takes the trees almost 10 years to begin producing high quality dates.
Mango production in Southern California is almost finished for the year. Acreage that is suitable for mangos is limited to an area near the Salton Sea, but farmers say this year production is good and quality is very good. Harvest started earlier than usual and will finish about a week early as well. Mango trees damaged by a freeze in 2007 have recovered, but those that were frozen had to be replaced and it will take seven years for the newly planted trees to produce enough fruit to harvest.
Northern California can expect above average precipitation this winter, according to the Old Farmers Almanac. However, it says Southern California will be drier than average. The book predicts that snow will be plentiful in the north with storms in November, December and January, and that precipitation will be above average throughout the state in April and May. The almanac uses sunspot activity and earthbound weather to develop its forecasts. It claims an 80 percent accuracy rating overall, but says last year its rating was 88 percent.Top