Food & Farm News
» November 25, 2009 «
They'll be open for business on the day after Thanksgiving, and California Christmas tree farmers say consumers will find tree prices about the same as a year ago. The California Christmas Tree Association says all its member farmers had adequate water and good weather, which has produced high-quality trees. This year, many farmers will invite consumers to participate in the Trees for Troops program. Donations pay for Christmas trees to be provided to military service families.
In just a decade, California farmers have planted more than 12,000 acres of "super-high-density" olive trees. Planted as many as 908 trees to the acre, the trellised olive trees resemble a hedge, which makes them easier to harvest for oil. A report newly released by the University of California, Davis, said olive oil could soon develop into one of the state's major farm commodities. The survey showed that Glenn and San Joaquin counties have the most planted acreage.
Up until a month ago, it had been a smooth harvest in California winegrape vineyards. Then, a strong mid-October storm caused concern and some minor losses to grapes that had not yet been harvested. Now, the grape harvest has ended in California, with farmers generally reporting excellent fruit quality. Farmers who had contracts to sell their grapes had a good year, but those without contracts found fewer buyers as the recession caused sluggish demand for some wines.
The winter wheat that will be made into bread, rolls and other products is being started now in the Central Valley. Farmers are busy preparing fields and planting next year's crop. Some Sacramento Valley fields have already turned green with growing grain. San Joaquin Valley growers plant later in the season, hoping for fall rain to nourish the crop. The California Wheat Commission says numbers won't be available until spring, but said farmers will plant about the same acreage as last season.Top