Food & Farm News
» February 29, 2012 «
Snow levels in the Sierra stand at 30 percent of average for this time of year, according to a survey conducted yesterday (Tuesday) by the state Department of Water Resources. Snowpack levels help determine how much water will be available to streams, cities and farms this summer. There's still more water than usual stored in California reservoirs, but the state's two largest water projects estimated last week that their deliveries to farmers will be one-third to one-half of contract supplies.
Warmer-than-normal winter weather has helped asparagus growers. The California Asparagus Commission says that the weather encouraged growth of asparagus spears, and some farmers are already harvesting. The majority of California-grown asparagus will hit store shelves between March and June, depending on weather and market conditions. The commission notes that as a result of the favorable weather, the quality of this year's asparagus crop is expected to be very good.
It's a key time in Central Valley orchards, as nut and fruit trees bloom. A government crop report notes that almonds are nearing their full bloom, and early plums, apricots, cherries, peaches and nectarines have begun to bloom because of earlier warm weather. The blossoms will be visible through March and are visited by bees that help pollinate the crops. Rain during bloom can slow the bees, and can require farmers to protect their trees from moisture-related diseases.
The fight to keep the European grapevine moth from damaging California vineyards is showing progress, as quarantines will be lifted in four counties. The California Department of Food and Agriculture announced that farmers and residents in Fresno, Mendocino, Merced and San Joaquin counties will have greater freedom to transport grapes and other farm products. Quarantines are designed to keep a damaging pest from spreading, and will be lifted in areas where the moth has been eradicated.