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» September 15, 2010 «
Lovers of navel oranges will be pleased to learn there should be more of their favorite fruit this fall. A new crop estimate says California farmers will harvest 93 million cartons' full of navel oranges this season, up 13 percent from the previous year. Oranges remain small right now, but farmers say the fruit will gain size in the weeks before harvest. Some navel oranges may be picked as early as mid-October, once the fruit meets color and sugar standards.
Fresh dates from the California desert are now being harvested. The California Date Commission says crews have been harvesting the Medjool variety, which is often eaten fresh. The cooking-variety date, known as the Deglet Noor, will be harvested beginning next month. The commission says the state's farmers expect to harvest about 25 million pounds of dates, up slightly from last year. California produces more than 80 percent of dates grown in the U.S.
Weather forecasters say California could see a rainy November and December. Long-range forecasts from both the National Weather Service and The Old Farmer's Almanac include the prediction. The almanac goes on to predict above-average rainfall for the entire California rainy season. It also forecasts average temperatures in the coming year. The almanac bases its predictions on a formula that includes the number of sunspots and other factors.
The mild summer in the Central Valley has encouraged pumpkin growth. Farmers say their pumpkins are ripening right on schedule for the fall. Harvest has already started for the early varieties, including Halloween pumpkins being prepared for shipment to Hawaii. One farmer says the warm-but-not-hot days and cool nights have helped pumpkins grow and gain color … and that crop quality could be the best in many years.