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» May 9, 2006 «
Weather has turned ideal for winegrapes along the North Coast, leaving farmers hopeful that their vines can make up for lost time. Some farmers say their crops are developing a month later than usual, because of the rain and cold weather in March and April. But, recent warm temperatures encourage the vines to advance rapidly. Ultimately, that may reduce expected delays in the winegrape harvest, and also boost the crop's size.
Working from scaffolds in Southern California date groves, people are pollinating date palms to produce this year's crop. Workers known as palmeros collect pollen from male trees and fertilize female trees so they bear fruit. It takes from six to eight weeks to complete pollination of California's date crop, and this year's work has reached the halfway point. Harvest will come this fall and winter. Observers say the weather for date production has been favorable so far.
Nutritionists want people to consume more vitamin D ... and mushroom producers may soon be able to help. Experiments show that farmers can fortify mushrooms with vitamin D by briefly exposing their crops to ultraviolet light before harvest. A spokesman for the California-based Mushroom Council says the new procedures should be in place within five years. Right now, the main dietary sources of vitamin D come from dairy products and fish.
DNA analysis has ended a pest scare at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. For a couple of weeks, authorities believed that campus greenhouses had been infested with an exotic pest known as the passion vine mealybug. But genetic testing by federal scientists determined that the insects were more-common mealybugs that are already found in the United States. Quarantines on the Cal Poly greenhouses have been lifted.Top