Food & Farm News
» February 20, 2006 «
The second-largest wine market in the nation now allows wineries from California and other states to ship directly to its consumers. Florida opened its market to direct wine shipments, after a court found its previous restrictions unconstitutional. Wineries have been working for years to eliminate restrictions on direct shipments. The Wine Institute calls Florida's action "a victory for consumer choice, fair trade and U.S. wineries."
A premium cotton variety may become the most widely planted cotton grown in California this year. Observers say acreage of pima cotton may surpass plantings of the upland cotton varieties that have traditionally been the most widely grown. Farmers have been switching to the premium variety in part to boost earnings in the face of higher production costs. Both types of California cotton are made into fine fabrics and used in high quality table linens, sheets, bath towels and dress shirts.
Continued competition with manmade fibers will affect the overall health of the cotton business. A forecast from the National Cotton Council indicates reasons for optimism about cotton's competitiveness. It says growth in China, India and Pakistan will push demand for cotton higher than the anticipated production during the coming year. That will draw down inventories worldwide. About 70 percent of California-grown cotton is exported.
It's been growing in the Netherlands, Israel, Canada and elsewhere, and now California has joined the market for greenhouse-grown bell peppers. A farm in the Coachella Valley grows about 50 acres of bell peppers in greenhouses, enabling it to ship the vegetable during the winter and spring. America's bell pepper consumption has nearly doubled in the last 20 years, and more consumers are eating red, orange and yellow peppers than ever before.Top