Food & Farm News
2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009
2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005
» August 5, 2005 «
Just as harvests of many California crops near their peak, diesel fuel prices have reached an all-time high. The California Energy Commission says the main cause of the high cost is the soaring price of crude oil. Some farmers with fuel storage capacity have stocked up at lower prices. However, many growers with smaller acreages are not able to do that, and must buy on the current market. Analysts say they expect fuel costs to remain high for some time.
Farmers say their crops of processing tomatoes may not meet pre-season predictions. Crop forecasters had estimated that California farmers would harvest 10.4 million tons of processing tomatoes, for use in ketchup, salsa, tomato sauce and other products. But farmers say the crop could fall half-a-million tons short of that mark. The unusually wet spring made for poor planting conditions and increased diseases in early season tomatoes.
Demand for pinot noir wines continues to increase, but the supply may not be able to keep up. Farmers in Northern California say production of the grape may decline this year. Spring rain affected the bloom in pinot noir vineyards, and later rain caused disease problems among the grapes. Some North Coast farmers say their vineyards have 60 percent less fruit than last year. Bulk pinot noir wine from last year's production has all been sold.
California beekeepers have rebuilt their hives, which suffered severe losses from mites last winter. Right now, a University of California specialist says beehives have returned to full strength. But the mites could return, weakening bee colonies before next year's pollination season. Bees play a crucial role in pollinating a number of California crops, and the state is among the nation's leading honey producers.
On the Calendar:
The Monterey Bay Strawberry Festival begins tomorrow (Saturday) in Watsonville.