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» July 7, 2006 «
Even more almonds will be produced this year than the government estimated in May. The forecast is for 1 billion, 50 million pounds of almond production, 15 percent higher than last year, and three percent more than the May forecast. Surveyors say the crop is spotty, but strong overall. There is some damage from the leaf-footed bug, but that should not significantly affect production. The forecasters claim an 80 percent confidence rate.
The first shipment of fresh California grown plums were sent to mainland China this week. The shipment is the result of negotiations started in 1994. Growers from five counties have access to the Chinese market. Taiwan and Hong Kong have long been customers of California growers. Plum exports to China are expected to exceed exports to Canada in five years. But a short crop this season has cut export estimates by about one-third.
Fresh fruits and vegetables will have a longer shelf life now that researchers have found a specific modified atmosphere packaging for each item. Cilantro posed a storage challenge, but the proper mixture of oxygen and carbon dioxide provides a 14-day shelf life. The scientists found similar packaging for romaine lettuce, iceberg lettuce, carrots and salad savoy, a new vegetable related to kale and cabbage.
Orange blossom and star thistle honey may soon have competition from pomegranate blossom honey. A beekeeper came up with the idea, but approached pomegranate growers too late this year to place his bees in orchards in time for bloom. However, he vows to return next year now that he knows the usual timetable for the trees to blossom. It would be another innovation in pomegranate use.Top