Food & Farm News
» August 8, 2012 «
There are fewer hands to pick peaches in the Yuba-Sutter region of the Sacramento Valley, and those who are available find the fruit to be smaller than average. Farmers report that the crop headed to processing plants may be the smallest in years, due in part to hot weather that slowed peach growth. Farmers also say they've had trouble hiring enough people to fill harvest crews, and they're concerned about having enough experienced help when harvest peaks later this month.
A late start caused the California navel orange crop to progress slower than usual, but farmers say the season ended as a success. The final months of the season featured large, high-quality fruit that helped make up for a crop that had been much smaller than expected. Growers are now harvesting Valencia oranges in the San Joaquin Valley, with the new crop of California navel oranges to start this fall.
A beetle found in the Los Angeles area earlier this year has farmers and others on edge. The invasive beetle, known as the polyphagous shot hole borer, can kill oak and avocado trees by digging into the wood and infecting it with a fungus. The fungus disrupts the tree's ability to take in water and nutrients. Researchers will gather in Riverside next week to discuss ways to monitor and control the pest.
In observance of National Farmers Market Week, the U.S. Agriculture Department reports that farmers markets are more plentiful than ever. California has more than 820 farmers markets listed in the USDA directory, the most of any state. Many California markets run year-round. Nationwide, the number of farmers markets rose nearly 10 percent last year, to more than 7,800.Top