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» July 6, 2007 «
Hot temperatures in Napa and Sonoma counties may have caused some minor sunburn to winegrapes. Many farmers work to provide shade for the grapes by maintaining leaves that shelter grape bunches, especially on the south side of the vines. Temperatures in the North Coast grape-growing regions have pushed up to near 100 the past few days. That will hasten grape maturity, and farmers say they anticipate an early start to a harvest of high-quality grapes.
Dairy farmers have prepared for the hot weather. Some have upgraded cooling systems for their cows. Farm advisors say a combination of water sprays and fans proves effective... although intense heat for an extended time can cause severe trouble. That's what happened a year ago, when the severe heat wave killed dairy cows. Farmers hope that scenario doesn't return, but they're also taking steps such as minimizing the time that cows spend in the hottest areas of milk barns.
Olive farmers may be able to take advantage of the hot weather to fight a troublesome insect, the olive fruit fly. University of California researchers say high summer temperatures in the Central Valley kill olive fruit fly eggs, larvae and adults. That knowledge helps farmers determine the best times to treat their groves to fight the pest. Experts say most bugs don't mind the summer heat, but the olive fruit fly and another olive and citrus pest called black scale appear vulnerable.
It's high season now for the state's farmers' markets. All 507 California farmers' markets operate at this time of year. Although many of the markets open for only part of the year, the number operating year-round has been rising. The California Federation of Certified Farmers' Markets says more than 4,000 certified producers sell their crops and products at the markets. Many farmers introduce new varieties to consumers at farmers' markets.Top