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» July 16, 2008 «
Forecasts of hot, muggy weather on the East Coast this week could further boost demand for California lemons. Farmers say people squeeze more lemonade when it's hot. Demand for lemons has been strong throughout the season, and farmers say they've seen prices rise to unusually high levels. California leads the nation in lemon production, but harvests remain smaller because of a freeze in early 2007.
Agricultural disasters have been declared in two more California counties, because of damage from freezing temperatures last April. The U.S. Agriculture Department granted disaster status to Calaveras and Glenn counties yesterday (Tuesday). Authorities said the freeze damaged nuts, grapes, fruit and row crops. At least six counties have now been declared disasters because of the freeze. The action allows farmers to apply for low-interest emergency loans.
A much-larger harvest of California winter wheat is winding down in the Central Valley. The California Wheat Commission says yields overall have been good. The dry spring hurt farmers who grow wheat without irrigation. They either lost their crops or sold the wheat for animal feed. On the other hand, the commission says the dry weather reduced disease and insect problems. California farmers responded to strong prices by planting 33 percent more winter wheat this season.
Low-fat dairy products complement a heart-healthy diet, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The study identified foods that reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease associated with poor kidney function. The research included studying the diets of more than 5,000 men and women. It said low-fat dairy foods fit into a healthy diet that also includes whole grains, fish, fruit, vegetables and nuts.Top