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» January 18, 2007 «
With cold temperatures easing in the citrus-growing regions of California, farmers are learning more about how much of their crops suffered damage in the big freeze. The grower group California Citrus Mutual said yesterday (Wednesday) it now expects at least half of the crop was destroyed. The remaining fruit will undergo additional inspections to assure quality. Using new technology, inspectors check the oranges and lemons to keep freeze-damaged fruit from reaching market.
If you're planning to serve guacamole at your Super Bowl party, the California Avocado Commission says packers will be able to supply enough fruit to the market. The commission estimates that the freeze could damage as much as 20 percent of this year's avocado crop. While that is serious damage, the commission says farmers will be able to meet consumer demand. But it says consumer prices for avocados may rise.
Cold temperatures have slowed vegetable production in the Imperial Valley. Some plants have been frozen. Others continue to grow but harvest is delayed each day until ice thaws. While harvest of lettuce, broccoli and other crops continues, farmers report damage to crops to be harvested in the spring. For instance, sweet corn had just emerged and was killed by freezing temperatures. Farmers will replant, but it will be later than usual before Imperial Valley sweet corn reaches market.
Plantings of the tomatoes used for salsa, ketchup and other products could reach their highest levels since 1999. A government report issued yesterday says California tomato processors intend to contract with farmers for 12 million tons of tomatoes. That would be 20 percent more than last year. Because the processing tomato harvest has been disappointing the last two seasons, there's less tomato paste in reserve, so processors want to build inventories.Top