Food & Farm News
» December 7, 2011 «
Freezing temperatures rolled into Southern California this week, slowing the vegetable harvest. Sustained cold temperatures can shorten harvest days, because farmers must wait for plants to thaw out before harvesting. As a result, vegetables such as leaf lettuce, broccoli and cauliflower may be left in the fields too long. Imperial Valley farmers say freezes in the region last year wiped out up to half of their vegetable crops.
Cold weather (also) worries citrus fruit growers. If temperatures drop below 28 degrees for four hours or longer, farmers say citrus crops could suffer freeze damage as ice forms within the fruit. Growers say they're concerned about forecasts showing periods of sustained cold weather in the coming weeks. Farmers are using large turbines to move air and are irrigating the soil to minimize potential damage from a freeze.
Demand for California-grown pistachios continues to rise in Hong Kong and China. A summary of shipments shows that September saw the highest pistachio export numbers on record. About 44 percent of those shipments went to Hong Kong. China has doubled its imports of pistachios in the past year, and California growers have been planting more trees to keep up with both international and domestic demand.
Members of the California Young Farmers and Ranchers program earned recognition during the California Farm Bureau Annual Meeting this week. Sacramento County farmers Michael and Amber McDowell received the Achievement Award for their innovative approach to running a diversified farm and game-bird preserve. Tulare County veterinarian Jennifer Wessell won the Excellence in Agriculture Award for her work ensuring dairy safety and quality. Megan Jacobsen of Fresno County won the Discussion Meet focusing on agricultural issues.Top