Food & Farm News
» August 15, 2012 «
After two years of heavy production, raisin-grape farmers say they expected a smaller crop this year as vines recovered … and that's proving true as early varieties begin to be harvested this week. The raisin crop may be the smallest in six years, according to a forecast from the state Department of Food and Agriculture. Farmers say the raisin-grape crop is progressing nicely and that grapes ripened quickly this year—a change from last year's delayed harvest.
The availability of high-quality California pears will please shoppers in many places, after reduced crops in other regions. The fruit will fill demand left after pear crops were hit by bad weather in Chile, Argentina and elsewhere in the U.S. The California crop is smaller, too, due to rain and cool weather during pollination that could cut production by 20 percent. Crop reports show harvests of Bartlett, Bosc and Asian pears are picking up throughout California.
With their big season two and a half months away, farmers who grow pumpkins are already preparing for Halloween. Most pumpkins grown for jack-o'-lanterns are planted in late spring and early summer. Farmers report pumpkins are growing well. When the season arrives, families seeking to purchase locally grown pumpkins can use a tool created by the University of California to search for pumpkin patches and other agritourism operations in their area.
As interest in backyard food production grows, the University of California has created a tip sheet to help gardeners ensure the food they grow is safe. The document includes information about the safe growing, harvesting and handling of fruits and vegetables, and the need to use compost and manures carefully. Tips include being sure to use clean water and clean hands when working in the garden. The tip sheet is available in both English and Spanish.Top