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» June 12, 2007 «
With predictions of a record cherry crop, a much-larger apricot crop and an improved peach harvest, California shoppers can expect to see large supplies of high-quality fruits this summer. Farmers say trees have responded to favorable winter and spring weather with large amounts of fruit. Crop forecasts issued yesterday (Monday) show the state's largest cherry harvest ever and that the apricot harvest will be more-than-double last year's crop. The freestone peach harvest could increase 10 percent.
Cooler-than-average springtime temperatures in California apple-growing regions encourage farmers and marketers. The California Apple Commission says weather for the crop's development has been excellent. The relatively cool weather helped apples gain color. Farmers say they expect their apple harvest to begin about mid-July, 10 days earlier than average. The commission says it forecasts the apple crop to be slightly smaller than growers produced last year.
Demand has been strong for most types of melons being produced in the Imperial Valley. Observers say the region's harvest will continue through the end of the month. Farmers say they've seen excellent quality among honeydew melons, and describe demand as moderate. There's been strong demand for seedless watermelons, and specialty melons such as casabas and orange-fleshed honeydews are also in good demand.
Damage from the severe January freeze has become evident in California olive groves. The Olive Growers Council says young trees planted in colder areas seem hardest hit. One farmer lost about half of a 30-acre grove. The freeze also damaged bud wood on mature trees, which will produce less fruit this season as a result. Farmers will have a better idea how large the crop will be after the June drop, which will happen during predicted hot weather this week.Top