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» October 12, 2006 «
Despite problems from a rainy spring and from the summer heat wave, California pumpkin farmers say their crop appears to be only slightly smaller than usual. Farmers say stores in the West should have near-normal supplies of California-grown pumpkins available for Halloween. Pumpkins in the Midwest and Northeast have been in shorter supply because of rainy weather. California is the nation's fifth leading pumpkin producer.
An alleged "nut napper" ended up behind bars, after sheriff's deputies say they caught him removing gunny sacks full of walnuts from a Sutter County orchard. The deputies came to the orchard to investigate an earlier theft there, and say they found a 24-year-old man preparing to steal another 200 pounds of nuts. Walnut farmers say it's a chronic problem. Almond farmers have also reported several thefts of trailers loaded with nuts.
Wheat farmers will receive new help this month to protect their crops from a serious plant disease. The California Wheat Commission says it will send farmers an updated plan to fight the disease ‘stripe rust.’ The disease ruined as much as one third of the state's wheat crop three years ago. University of California farm advisors have devised a six-step strategy for reducing the threat. More than 120 races of the stripe rust disease threaten California's wheat crop.
People from many walks of life have decided to change their lifestyles and become cheesemakers. The California Milk Producers Advisory Board notes steady growth in production of farmstead or artisan cheese. Those terms describe specialty cheeses produced in moderate-sized facilities. The advisory board says a number of the new cheesemakers once worked in medicine, the law, aviation or other sectors. Many have gone to Europe to learn how to produce cheeses.Top