Food & Farm News
» October 24, 2005 «
Olive growers say a shortage of harvest help may force them to abandon part of their crop. The Olive Growers Council in Visalia says farmers are "struggling badly" to find enough workers. Harvest will continue into next month, but a council spokesman says as much as one quarter of the crop may not be picked at all. California produces the nation's entire crop of domestically grown olives, though imports have taken a larger share of the U.S. market.
Consumer demand for fresh figs encourages fig growers. Farmers say sales of fresh figs have been rising 25 percent a year. Most of the annual fig crop remains destined for use in cookies and other products. Farms in the central San Joaquin Valley produce virtually all of the nation's fig crop. But weather has been problematic this season. The harvest has been running as much as two weeks late, and marketers say a mid-August rainstorm damaged some figs.
Improved quality, sweeter varieties and new packaging have combined to propel demand for sweet corn to record levels. The U.S. Agriculture Department says the typical American eats more than 9 pounds of fresh sweet corn a year, the highest figure on record. Production of corn-on-the-cob in California has nearly doubled during the past 10 years. California ranks second, behind Florida, in sweet-corn production.
In order to make their product even more bite-sized, carrot marketers have made baby carrots smaller. Several producers now offer baby carrots that are thinner in diameter. Marketers say the slim baby carrots have been especially popular as a snack in school lunchboxes. Baby carrots account for more than two-thirds of all carrots sold. California leads the nation in carrot production, with Kern County accounting for 60 percent of the state's harvest.Top