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» August 10, 2006 «
California has nearly 500 certified farmers markets, and that number is expected to increase. The state inaugurated the program in 1977 and each year the program grows. Nationwide there are more than 3,700 markets with locations in every state. This is National Farmers' Market Week, and California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary A.G. Kawamura asks Californians to recognize the state's certified farmers markets for their role in developing the national program.
Teaming with researchers from other countries, University of California scientists have identified a gene that enables rice to survive complete submergence. This allows development of rice varieties that can withstand flooding. Those plants will be especially valuable in poor nations where crop failure due to flooding can lead to famine. They also will benefit California rice growers by reducing losses from weeds that sprout in flooded fields before rice is seeded.
Christmas tree growers are still assessing damage caused by the intense hot weather all over California. But, they say the trees for this year came through the heat in good shape thus supplies won't be affected. However, some growers say small trees they had just planted did not make it through the heat. How extensive the loss may be won't be certain for some time. Damage seems to vary by the location of the tree farm, as some areas had hotter temperatures than others.
Agricultural researchers have developed a versatile new potato. The Blazer Russet matures quicker, and provides higher yields than potatoes now commonly planted in farm fields. The new potato is well suited for fresh-market sale or for potato processors to make into frozen potato products. The new potato is medium to large in size and averages about eight ounces. The potatoes have light netting called russeting on their brown skin with white flesh inside.Top