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» December 19, 2008 «
Growers of wild rice--traditionally a favorite ingredient in holiday stuffings, soups and side dishes--report they produced more rice per acre this year than they did last year. The California Wild Rice Advisory Board says the state's farmers produced about 25-million pounds, but final numbers won't be available until next year. That's about 5-million pounds more than last year. There was more acreage planted this year and weather was better, which combined to create the increase. California leads the nation and world in wild rice production.
This is the time of year when farmers visit their bankers for production loans for the coming season. Recent actions by the Federal Reserve will provide lower interest rates for growers. Farm credit tightened last fall along with the rest of the market. Bankers now have credit to extend, but will be looking at commodity prices and water availability as they transact this year's production loan business. Adequate precipitation will help alleviate the water supply issue.
Eating strawberries regularly may reduce the risk of heart disease, according to a recent UC Davis and Illinois Institute of Technology study. Researchers say that a compound found in strawberries relaxes aortic blood vessels. It also suggests a beneficial role in reducing blood pressure. Strawberries are a great source of other antioxidants and also contain vitamin C. California is the leading strawberry-producing state.
California State University, Fresno, students have built the world's largest dancing raisin. The eight students opted for that project rather than writing a term paper. It is nearly 11 feet tall and weighs 500 pounds. The goal now is to have the icon accepted into a world record book. Next year marks the 25th anniversary of the California Dancing Raisins. More than 99 percent of all raisins in the U.S. are grown in California.Top