Food & Farm News
» December 12, 2012 «
Citrus fruit growers met with pest experts in Tulare County Tuesday, to discuss efforts to fight a dangerous pest. The Asian citrus psyllid can carry a disease that kills citrus trees. The pest … but not the disease … has been found in Tulare County, leading to restrictions on fruit grown near where the insects were found. For example, farmers within the restricted zones must take extra steps to ensure no leaves travel with their fruit.
In the Northern California foothills, harvest of citrus fruits is just getting under way. Satsumas and other mandarins grown at higher elevations east of Sacramento are often called “mountain mandarins,” and are known for their larger-than-average size. The mountain mandarin harvest began about a month ago, a few weeks earlier than usual, and is expected to last through January. Growers describe this year's crop as plentiful and very sweet.
Lamb prices have dropped by about half, for ranchers at least, and the quick drop in prices during the past year has ranchers worried. Record high prices the previous two years led farmers to purchase more sheep and build larger herds. Lamb producers say a number of factors led to this year's downturn, and that dry weather across the country contributed to the problems, but that they anticipate the situation could start to improve by next summer.
Comfort foods and pickling were among the top food trends in 2012, as reported by the American Farm Bureau Federation. The organization spoke to food trend watchers who identified the rising interest in local butchers as perhaps the most interesting trend. The experts said that tied into an artisan food movement where people make and sell their own meats, beers, jams and jellies. One trend expected to expand next year is the popularity of Asian foods.