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» November 1, 2006 «
A better-than-expected harvest has ended for California pistachio farmers. After the severe July heat wave, farmers feared they would find a high proportion of empty shells on their trees. But it now appears the crop survived in good shape. In fact, the California Pistachio Commission estimates farmers have produced about 215 million pounds, besting earlier crop predictions by 40 million pounds.
A study suggests almonds may enhance the feeling of fullness in people, thereby aiding in weight management. The study group consisted of 20 overweight women, who ate two servings of almonds a day for 10 weeks. At the end of the study, researchers found that supplementing with almonds caused no changes in energy intake or body weight. They concluded that almond consumption could displace other foods, leading to a stable weight. The Almond Board of California funded the research.
One way farmers fight insect pests is to disrupt the insects' mating patterns. University of California researchers in Davis say they've discovered a method to trick fruit flies into thinking of silkworm moths as potential mates. That provides insight into how insects communicate, and scientists say the practical implications could be widespread. For example, it could lead to better methods to repel or attract insects to benefit crop production.
California-grown persimmons have started to reach market. Farmers say harvest began about two weeks later than average. Even though the fruit has been slow to develop color, growers report the sugar content is good. Specialty persimmon growers have started preparing dried persimmons called hoshigaki. The dried persimmons are a traditional Japanese holiday fruit that will be available at farmers' markets or specialty food stores.Top