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» February 27, 2009 «
Sweet, easy-peeling Pixie tangerines are now available in specialty stores and Southern California farmers markets. The Ojai Pixie Growers Association says the season usually runs through May. The 36 family farmer-members produce about a million pounds a year, but that number increases as the trees mature and produce more fruit. The crop size this season is expected to be slightly larger than last season.
A recent study shows California fresh produce and flower production contributes more than 280,000 jobs to the California economy. That represents almost 2 percent of the state's total employment. The Produce Marketing Association study finds that California leads the nation, accounting for about 20 percent of the nation's total for the sector. The study finds that every dollar of production value ultimately generates nearly $17 of total economic value.
Storms in the upper Colorado River Basin are keeping the snowpack slightly above average. The Bureau of Reclamation says the snowpack is about 106 percent of average. They project a water runoff between April and July of 101 percent of average. The last above-average water year in the area was 2005. Southern California farmers receive much of their irrigation water from the Colorado River.
Agricultural research scientists have shipped seeds from more than 20,000 different crops to Norway's Svalbard Seed Vault. This ensures the safekeeping of duplicate copies of seeds maintained in the National Plant Germplasm System, and promotes food security. The vault was built to store 2-billion seeds and is maintained as a backup in the event that seeds are lost through catastrophes.Top