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» February 1, 2005 «
The border opens wider today (Tuesday) for imported avocados from Mexico. The U.S. government will relax most restrictions, though Mexican avocados will not be allowed into California, Florida or Hawaii for two more years. The California Avocado Commission says it will monitor the program closely, and expects quick government action should any pests enter the country on the Mexican fruit. The relaxation comes at a peak avocado sales time before Super Bowl Sunday.
The average size of a California farm remains much smaller than the national average, according to a federal report released yesterday (Monday). The report says California's average farm size grew slightly, to 347 acres. That's more than 100 acres smaller than the national average, because California's mix of crops allows farmers to succeed on smaller farms. The report said 77,000 farms operated in the state last year.
Favorable mid-winter weather has prompted an early start for artichoke harvest in the Castroville area. Farmers say daytime temperatures in the 60s have helped artichokes mature earlier than average. Marketers say the peak of the harvest remains a few weeks away. If the weather holds without another cold snap, farmers could harvest larger numbers of artichokes by the end of February.
They gave up most of their winter break, but it paid off for the students who operate a creamery at Cal Poly University, San Luis Obispo. The creamery set a sales record during the 2004 holiday season, selling nearly 1,000 cheese gift packs. That's crucial, because product sales now provide the entire budget for the operation. The Cal Poly Creamery provides dairy science students with hands-on experience in cheese production and marketing.
On the Calendar:
The oldest farm-equipment show in California, the Colusa Farm Show, starts today (Tuesday) in Colusa.