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» February 23, 2011 «
Almond bloom has started in the Central Valley. Trees in the Sacramento Valley are a little further along than those in the San Joaquin Valley, according to farm advisors. Sunny weather aided the early pollination process, but rain the third week of February and a predicted cold storm later this week have prompted grower concerns. Once pollinated, the tiny nuts cannot withstand temperatures below 30 degrees. Marketers say they need about one billion pounds of almonds yearly to satisfy world demand.
Farmstead and artisan cheese production is booming in Sonoma and Marin counties, according to a University of California Cooperative Extension Service study. That area has lush grasslands, sweeping hills and many dairies. Multigenerational family dairies making the transition to artisan cheeses allows families to earn a living while contributing to the pastoral working landscape. The average price of an artisan cheese is $15 a pound. The North Bay region produces more than 95 types.
Fresno County's blossom trail is officially open. The county Farm Bureau and other groups sponsor the annual event, which provides information so tourists can view the fruit and nut orchards in bloom. Organizers say the best time to see the blooms is between the end of February and the middle of March. When in bloom, orchards provide a colorful display. Those blossoms become the fruit and nuts consumers purchase and enjoy later in the year.
Food Check-Out Week is being celebrated through February 26. It is promoted by Farm Bureau's Young Farmers and Ranchers groups to mark the week by which Americans have earned enough disposable income to pay for their food supply for the entire year. On average, Americans spend about 10 percent of their disposable income for food. Consumers in other nations pay more. Young Farmers and Ranchers celebrate the week with different activities in California counties.Top