Food & Farm News
Audio ActualityFor a farmer's comments about artichoke production
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» April 6, 2011 «
Vineyards across California are breaking out of winter dormancy and beginning to show buds for this year's crop. Grape growers call the process "bud break," and say it's happening later than usual this year because of cool March weather. As the vines produce buds, they become vulnerable to frost. Farmers will be watching weather forecasts throughout the month for any danger of freezing temperatures so they can protect the vines from frost.
Demand for artichokes will build in the next couple of weeks, as Easter approaches, and farmers in the Castroville area have been increasing production to meet that demand surge. At the peak of production, farmers say crews can harvest artichokes from a plant one day, and return the next day to find more artichokes on the same plant. Growers say they expect artichoke production to peak during the next two months.
While real estate values in many parts of California have fallen, the value of the state's farmland has stayed stable. The California chapter of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers says strong prices for many crops have helped demand for farmland. So have low interest rates and limited investment alternatives. The appraisers group describes farmland values as "at least stable" and said they could increase in many parts of the state.
In the date groves of the Southern California desert, crews have begun the yearly task of pollinating date palms. The trees must be pollinated by hand, in order to bear fruit in the autumn. The work requires skill, and techniques are often passed from one generation of workers to the next. Weather in the state's date-growing regions has been ideal during pollination: warm and dry.Top