Food & Farm News
» November 14, 2005 «
For turkey farmers, the period before Thanksgiving culminates a year's worth of work. California farmers marketed more than 400 million pounds of turkey last year ... and a small, but increasing share came from old-fashioned varieties that have returned to favor. Consumers have been seeking out the "heirloom" turkeys such as those raised at the Diestel Turkey Ranch near Sonora. Its owner says his production of heirloom turkeys has grown rapidly the past three years.
Demand for butter and cheese typically rises in the autumn, but that pattern hasn't held true yet this fall. Cheese and butter prices have declined the past several weeks ... and that will affect the price California dairy farmers earn for milk. The on-farm price for a gallon of milk will drop an average of a nickel on December 1st, to $1.30. The California Department of Food and Agriculture sets farm milk prices each month, but does not set retail milk prices.
Increased year-round production of California-grown strawberries means consumers can find the fruit at favorable prices this fall. Southern California farmers planted more strawberries this summer to be harvested during autumn. The California Strawberry Commission says it expects higher production volumes to continue throughout the fall and winter. Farmers are on a pace to produce more than 1.5 billion pounds of strawberries this year.
An unusual and unexpected problem has cropped up in a few Central Valley almond orchards. Beetles lay their eggs inside the heads of micro-sprinklers, clogging the heads and cutting off water to the trees. In some orchards, 80 percent of the sprinkler heads have been clogged. The insect, called the Fuller rose beetle, does not appear to attack almond trees directly. Farm advisors are studying ways to combat the problem.Top