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Audio ActualityComments about the impact of recent cold weather on Southern California crops
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» February 9, 2011 «
Farmers in Southern California have had a few days to assess the impact of cold temperatures that hit the region last week, and say they see signs of some potential damage to their crops. Farmers lost some lettuce, and some sweet corn planted for early April harvest may have to be replanted. Some potatoes may also have been lost. Citrus fruit for this year appears OK. However, one grower reported lemon blossoms were damaged by frost, which will reduce next year's crop.
Marketing experts told a conference of farmers and vintners at UC Davis they should consider producing sweet wines. Marketers pointed out that some people simply prefer sweet tastes. Sweet wines are more difficult to produce than table wines, but are more stable because of their higher sugar content. Madeira, port, sherry and sauternes are examples of sweet wines for which a market is waiting to be developed. Some growers expressed an interest in experimenting with sweet wine production.
Valentine's Day is when demand for California-grown Belgian endive is greatest. Most of the nation's crop is grown in Solano County, inside and in the dark under conditions similar to a mushroom farm. The vegetable is popular in food service, and February 14 is one of the busiest days of the year for restaurants. Endive is served raw as a dipper and in salads and also can be braised, broiled, baked, grilled or sautéed. The crop is available year-round.
Lake County has been declared free of the European grapevine moth, and agricultural officials have lifted the quarantine that had been in place since last spring. Inspectors say this is an indication of how well the fight against the pest is going. When the weather warms up, officials will resume the fight in areas still quarantined. The moth can destroy grapes. One Napa County grower lost his entire crop of 10 acres of chardonnay grapes in 2009.Top