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» June 2, 2006 «
Tree harvesting in California has staged a small comeback, though the state still must import most of the lumber it needs. The California Forest Products Commission says timber harvest increased by slightly more than 1 percent last year, as efforts to thin overcrowded forests accelerated. Even though the thinning work has occurred on government-owned land, the commission notes that timber harvest on government land has dropped by 83 percent since 1990.
After a slow start, cherry harvest in California orchards is increasing by the day. Farmers picked more than 144,000 pounds of fruit one day this week, and say harvest will eventually reach 360,000 pounds a day. The California Cherry Commission says shippers are sending fruit throughout the country now. California farmers expect to be picking cherries into the first weeks of July.
Bartlett pear harvest will start about two weeks later than average, around mid-July. Growers anticipate picking about the same amount of fruit as they did last year, but they say individual pears are growing larger in size. Farms in Lake and Mendocino counties have more fruit on trees than do Sacramento delta farms. But growers say Bosc pear trees throughout the state will produce a crop more than double last year's.
As consumers learn more about the health benefits of eating berries, University of California farm advisors say they expect demand for the fruit to accelerate. California farmers have shown increased interest in growing blueberries and blackberries, particularly because farms here can produce berries during the off-season for other regions. UC researchers have experimented with three-dozen varieties of blackberries that California farmers could plant.Top