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» December 11, 2008 «
California chestnut growers have finished this season's crop. Their numbers are small, with perhaps only a thousand acres of chestnuts growing in California. But as demand increases, farmers are increasing plantings of disease-resistant varieties. Most chestnut trees in the eastern states were destroyed by a fungal disease that killed as many as 3-billion trees. More Californians are trying chestnuts and demand is slowly growing. However, most are still being sold at farmers markets.
Wine consumption in America continues to increase, according to the U.S. Wine Market Report. While the weak global economy has slowed growth considerably, projections are for another all-time high for the 16th consecutive year. The hottest segment of that growth is the 118 brands from smaller producers. They surged more than 8 percent last year, while the 50 biggest brands gained only 2-tenths of a percent. Gallo remains the country's largest winemaker, while Constellation Wines leads in terms of global sales.
Eating a handful of raw nuts every day can help prevent metabolic syndrome, according to a large Spanish study of participants who followed the Mediterranean diet. Those who augmented their diet with nuts during the study showed almost a 14-percent decrease in metabolic syndrome. That is defined as people with three or more of the following conditions: abdominal obesity, high triglycerides, low levels of good cholesterol, high blood sugar and high blood pressure. Those in the study who augmented the diet with other foods did not do as well.
Researchers have developed a new variety of barley that is resistant to the Russian wheat aphid. It's taken 10 years to produce the new variety. The researchers say its yields are on a par with other varieties. It is meant to be planted in spring for late summer harvest. California ranks ninth nationwide in barley production. Fresno is the leading county followed by Siskiyou, San Luis Obispo, Monterey and Merced.Top