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» November 24, 2010 «
Freezing weather will put citrus farmers on alert for the next few days. Forecasts indicate low temperatures could dip into the upper 20s in some Central Valley and Southern California growing regions. Oranges can withstand temperatures as low as 28 degrees for short durations, although mandarins can be more vulnerable to cold because of their thinner skins. Farmers use wind machines and water to raise the temperature in their groves during freezes.
Colder weather will be welcomed in California vineyards, where chilly temperatures help grapevines go dormant for the winter. Winegrape growers struggled with weather this season, with autumn rains causing scattered damage in coastal vineyards. The harvest has now ended, with marketers reporting that yields may be down as much as 20 percent below average. Growers say they still expect the wine vintage from this year's grapes to achieve high quality.
With most Christmas tree farms and lots preparing to open for the season on Friday, growers say the cool spring and mild summer in much of California encouraged good tree growth this year. The California Christmas Tree Association says consumers can expect prices for trees to stay about the same as a year ago. The association says tree supplies will be good, and that farmers keep prices competitive with artificial trees.
Harvest of macadamia nuts has begun in Southern California. Farmers say the mild summer delayed the start of harvest by about two weeks, and that they may continue to harvest macadamias into March of next year. Crews harvest the nuts by gathering them from the orchard floor. About half of the state's macadamia nut crop will be shelled for people to eat, with the rest being sold in their shells as bird food.Top