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» January 7, 2005 «
Although the trend toward high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets may be ebbing, beef marketers say consumer demand remains strong. The demand pushed retail prices to record highs last year, but the average American still increased beef consumption by more than 2 pounds. The California Beef Council says it expects beef supplies to increase this year. It plans promotions aimed at customers of small retail chains and high-end, urban grocery stores.
What started as an eye-catching display has become a marketing trend for brussels sprouts farmers. Marketers began displaying brussels sprouts on their stalks, to show consumers how the vegetable grows. But shoppers bought the displays, so farmers began selling more of their sprouts on the stalks. Farmers say this year's harvest of California-grown brussels sprouts has nearly ended. Farms in Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties produce most of the nation's domestically grown supply.
Messages urging people to buy fresh, local food appear to resonate for consumers along the Central Coast. A survey of Santa Cruz County consumers shows they prefer to buy locally grown fruits and vegetables. An education group called Agri-Culture conducted the survey. It says about 90 percent of the Santa Cruz County residents surveyed say they make an effort to buy local produce. The group will use the results to develop educational programs about local agriculture.
The number of glassy-winged sharpshooters found in bulk shipments of citrus fruit has dropped nearly to zero. A task force in Kern and Tulare counties inspects the fruit, to make sure shipments don't carry the pest from infested zones. The group reports that only one load of citrus fruit was rejected for the presence of sharpshooters last year, out of more than 140,000 shipments. The sharpshooter carries a plant disease that kills grapevines and other crops.Top