Food & Farm News
July 17, 2013
Mushroom production rises
To keep up with our growing appetite for mushrooms, California farmers have been increasing their production. In addition to familiar button mushrooms, more exotic species are also being raised on the state's farms. Mushroom sales in the U.S. reached a record of more than $1 billion last year. California ranks as the second-largest producer of mushrooms, growing about 20 percent of the nation's crop.
County fairs innovate to stay open
Every year, about 12 million people attend local fairs, but few see the efforts taking place behind the scenes to keep the events going. State funding for California fairs ended in 2011. To compensate for the loss, county fair organizers have added new services and events, and have reached out to community groups for financial and volunteer support. Though some fairs remain in financial difficulty, all the fairs have managed to remain open so far.
Harvested produce chills out
Hot temperatures can lead to wilted produce. To combat the heat, farmers employ cooling technologies, including with the help of new inventions. Larger farms use coolers to keep produce at its optimal storage temperature to ensure freshness. Now, the University of California says smaller farms can use a micro-controller device to turn a well-insulated room with regular air conditioning into a successful produce-cooling room.
Navel orange harvest ends
With the California navel orange harvest now ended for the season, estimates show the crop to be nearly on par with last year's volume total. The U.S. Agriculture Department said it expects this year's navel-orange crop to fill 90 million cartons, which would be 1 percent lower than last year. Each carton holds about 40 pounds of oranges. California farmers are now harvesting Valencia oranges, grapefruit and lemons.