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» March 27, 2008 «
A dry March has whittled away at the Sierra snowpack. Surveys conducted by the state Department of Water Resources yesterday (Wednesday) showed snow depths down by more than two feet in some locations, compared to a month ago. The snowpack remains near average statewide. But the department said deliveries from the State Water Project would stay near record lows. A court ruling restricts water pumping through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to protect a threatened fish.
It's transition time for the California vegetable business, as harvest shifts from the Imperial Valley into the Central Valley. Farmers in the desert region wrap up a season they say featured one of the coldest winters in 50 years. Even though they avoided the severe freeze that damaged crops a year earlier, farmers say the chilly weather slowed vegetable growth. Vegetable planting in the Central Valley may be constrained by water shortages.
Along the Central Coast, artichoke farmers say they're enjoying favorable weather, strong demand and strong prices for their crop. Artichoke marketers often see demand jump prior to Easter, but say demand has stayed good after the holiday. The weather has benefited the crop. Observers say perennial varieties have reached full production now, leading to good supplies of large-sized artichokes on the market.
A plant in North Carolina started producing a new sweet-potato product yesterday. Government researchers helped develop sweet potato puree, which can be added to baked goods, soups and other foods. The puree will provide another market for sweet potatoes that have less-than-perfect sizes or shapes. Rising demand for french fried sweet potatoes provides another such market. California ranks behind North Carolina as the number-two producer of sweet potatoes in the United States.Top