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» January 16, 2009 «
California's cut flower growers have an impact of more than $10 billion on the state economy, according to the California Cut Flower Commission. Growers are now preparing for the Valentine's Day rush, which generates peak demand for fresh flowers. Farmers urge consumers to seek the California Grown label on the bouquets they purchase. Flowers grown locally are fresher than imports, often getting to the consumer 24 hours after leaving the field or greenhouse.
Long term, the economic future looks bright for California fruit and vegetable growers, according to a report from Rabobank economists. It mentions health awareness as one of the driving forces to increase demand for fresh fruits and vegetables. However, competition will come from countries with low production costs and imports of fresh fruits and vegetables could expand. And, in the short term, consumers may seek alternatives such as canned or frozen produce while the economy remains soft.
UC Riverside researchers have found a generic lure that attracts three species of mealybugs. The discovery could cut farmer costs by allowing them to deploy a single pheromone trap rather than three. Mealybugs conceal themselves in crevices of plant material. Deploying synthetic pheromones in sticky traps would capture male mealybugs and provide information about their numbers as well as eliminate them.
The National Beef Cook-Off will be held in Sonoma, California, in September, according to the California Beef Council. Home cooks and professional chefs are encouraged to enter original beef recipes by March 31 that reflect the rustic elegance of Sonoma. Competitors will be vying for $70,000 in prizes. Details: www.beefcookoff.org.Top