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» March 29, 2005 «
California's almond crop may be about 10 percent lighter this year. Long time observers of the almond sector of the farm economy say rain at bloom time combined with an unusually short bloom to reduce the set. But, a crop of 850 to 900 million pounds is still expected. That could still be reduced by continued wet weather this spring. Farmers are applying fungicides to prevent further crop shrinkage.
A recent consumer survey shows differences in food preferences of men and women. About 30 percent of the women surveyed list fruits, vegetables and/or salads as their favorite food. On the other hand, about 25 percent of the men listed red meat as their favorite. Eight percent of the men listed fruits and vegetables at the top of their list, while the same percentage of women chose red meat as their favorite food.
Apricot growers are predicting a normal crop this year. Their trees bloomed when most of the growing areas had dry weather. The trees are self-pollinating, although bees do aid the set some. Farmers say the next two weeks will be critical as the buds begin to open. Should it rain at that time some of the fruit could be lost. The apricot harvest usually starts about May 10.
A little known research facility in Albany, California has been developing food safety and preserving techniques for 70 years. It's run by the U. S. Department of Agriculture and its researchers pioneered many of the techniques now used in frozen food processing. The scientists are now developing methods to preserve fresh fruit and vegetables for use as snack food. Consumers soon will see sliced fresh fruit and vegetables, perhaps in vending machines, retaining a pleasant appearance with excellent flavor.Top