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» February 22, 2006 «
They're sure there's been damage, but Central Valley almond farmers say it's too early to know just how much production will be affected by the state's mid-February cold wave. Observers say sustained, overnight temperatures in the mid-20s may have caused significant damage among early-blooming almond varieties. Farmers say cool daytime weather has discouraged bees from pollinating almond trees, which may also affect production this year.
Freezing temperatures in the San Joaquin Delta have damaged asparagus growing there. Farmers say stalks of asparagus exposed to the cold temperatures were ruined, but that plants will soon generate new stalks. They estimate the asparagus harvest will be on hold for about a week. Imported asparagus from Mexico continues to reach market, so consumers may notice little impact from the delay in California's production.
For the first time since 1950, Japan will resume imports of fresh potatoes from the United States. California and 13 other states have been cleared to begin shipping fresh potatoes there, as early as next month. They'll be used to make potato chips in Japan, which is already the largest foreign market for American frozen potatoes. It agreed to resume imports after being assured that the U.S. has eliminated or contained two potato-plant diseases.
People who want to sell plums to China gathered yesterday (Tuesday) to learn how to comply with new export rules. After negotiations that lasted more than a decade, China agreed earlier this year to begin buying California-grown plums this summer. China will accept plums grown in five San Joaquin Valley counties. Marketers say they hope eventually to open the Chinese market for other tree fruit, including peaches and nectarines.
On the Calendar:
Water issues will be the topic for the State Board of Food and Agriculture, during a meeting scheduled today (Wednesday) in Los Banos.