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» February 12, 2007 «
Although the severe California freeze occurred a month ago, vegetable markets continue to feel the impact. The freeze has put a squeeze on the supply of several salad staples. An Imperial Valley farmer says the cold slowed the maturity of crops such as iceberg and romaine lettuce. That may lead to a short-term shortfall in supermarkets and restaurants. Farmers estimate it could take about two weeks for supplies to catch up with demand.
Saying that an "unfolding crisis" in the state's farm communities requires "swift assistance and attention," Governor Schwarzenegger urged Congress (Friday) to provide emergency assistance to California. The governor wrote to congressional leaders, advocating passage of an Emergency Farm Assistance Act. If passed, the measure would provide relief for crop losses suffered from last month's freeze, last year's heat wave and from flooding in 2005.
Harvests from California's winegrape vineyards returned to more typical levels last year, according to a preliminary report (issued Friday). The report says wineries crushed nearly 3.5 million tons of grapes, down 20 percent from the record-breaking harvest of a year earlier. The crush dropped for most varieties, including chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and zinfandel ... but the crush of pinot noir winegrapes increased 11 percent.
Conserving irrigated farmland could help in the fight against global warming, according to a University of California study. Using computer models, researchers from the UC Merced and Santa Cruz campuses determined that irrigation on farms causes summertime mean temperatures to drop. One professor says the study shows that converting Central Valley farmland to urban uses may result in "a much hotter Central Valley" in the future.Top