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» August 17, 2006 «
In what would be a reversal of a recent trend, California farmers say they plan to grow more mushrooms in the coming year. An outlook report released yesterday (Wednesday) says California farmers intend to produce 3 percent more mushrooms than they did in the just-completed marketing year. California ranks second in U.S. mushroom production, behind Pennsylvania, with most farms located in Monterey and Santa Clara counties.
California bees may produce less honey as a lingering result of the state's July heat wave. Beekeepers say their bees generally survived the hot spell in good condition. But they say some hives that were not yet at full strength were lost. During extreme heat, bees use water and their wings to cool their hives, much as a swamp cooler cools a house. When they do that, though, they're not collecting pollen, which will affect honey production.
Exotic pests can attack California crops by land ... such as invasive weeds ... by air ... such as exotic fruit flies … and by sea. An invasive "fan worm" from South Africa has plagued California abalone farms and aquariums. The worm deforms abalone shells. Now, University of California specialists have offered a solution, saying that they destroyed the pest by immersing abalone in fresh water for 24 hours.
Square watermelons have been sold in Japan and will soon be marketed in Great Britain. But they may not appear in American stores anytime soon. The melons are typical watermelons that are grown in boxes to achieve the square shape, so they don't roll around in the refrigerator. Japanese consumers pay the equivalent of $87 for a square melon. California farmers say they doubt consumers here would pay such a premium for a watermelon that tastes the same as a round one.Top