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» October 27, 2010 «
Rain, and the prospect of more on the way, challenges California winegrape growers. Farmers are struggling to harvest as much of the crop as possible before more storms arrive. In the North Coast region, where some of the heaviest rain fell last weekend, as much as 15 percent of grapes remain on the vine. Along the Central Coast, about 20 percent of the grapes remain to be harvested.
Autumn rains should help California-grown olives gain size. Farmers have reported that their crops have more small-sized fruit this season than usual, but that rain helps the fruit to grow. While they welcome the rain for that reason, farmers say muddy groves have further delayed the olive harvest. Observers say the harvest is already 30 days behind average because of cool weather that slowed crop development.
Harvest of California Pink Lady apples will likely continue into mid-November, and the California Apple Commission says the overall crop this year has featured top quality. The mild summer helped the apples develop deep color and produce enhanced sugar content. The commission says demand for apples has been strong, including export demand from Mexico, which has risen despite a tariff imposed on California-grown fruit.
California sheep producers say they're finding increased demand for their animals to graze on harvested grain fields. The sheep eat invasive weeds while also fertilizing the fields. Sheep ranchers benefit because their animals gain a new source of feed, and grain growers benefit by gaining a natural source of weed control. The use of "targeted grazing" has gained attention and popularity in recent years.Top