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» December 23, 2009 «
Shoppers continue to look for value, especially for the holidays, and that's helping sales of California sparkling wines. Sales have risen 6 percent so far this year, according to wine market analyst Jon Fredrikson. Value priced sparkling wines from California have sold particularly well, whereas imports of French champagne have dropped 28 percent.
Signs that the economy is slowly improving include an increase in the prices California dairy farmers earn for milk. As demand rises for cheese, butter and other dairy products milk prices have moved upward. That's welcome news for farmers who had sold milk at a loss nearly all year. The state Department of Food and Agriculture sets on-farm milk prices and said they will rise by an average of 18 cents a gallon next month.
Additional areas of Escondido have been added to a Mediterranean fruit fly quarantine. The California Department of Food and Agriculture added 12 square miles to the restricted zone after finding two wild male and one female fly in traps. There are small farms in the quarantine zone. Farmers must enter compliance agreements before moving their produce to markets. Eradication work has started. The Medfly threatens more than 260 crops, and usually enters the state when travelers bring in foods from infested countries.
Research scientists have found a way to change the chemistry of grapefruit juice so that the juice does not inhibit the work medications do for some patients. Until now consumers have had to stop drinking grapefruit juice when using the pharmaceuticals to control conditions such as high cholesterol and others. By pulverizing edible mushrooms and adding that material to the grapefruit juice the compounds that interfere with the medications are neutralized without changing the taste of the juice. It's not clear how soon processors may adopt these new procedures.Top