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» December 15, 2010 «
As farmers plan what crops to plant in the coming year, water supply will be a key factor. That's especially true in the western San Joaquin Valley, which has been affected by chronic water shortages. Based on informal discussions and checks of reservoir levels, the Westlands Water District estimates its farmers may receive up to 30 percent supplies from the federal Central Valley Project. The CVP will issue its first formal estimate in February.
Freezing temperatures in Florida created a slight uptick in demand for California-grown strawberries. The California Strawberry Commission says it does not expect any shortage of Florida berries to last long. Farmers in Southern California continue to send plenty of strawberries to market, thanks to new varieties that thrive during the autumn and winter. California is marketing as many berries at this time of year as Florida and Mexico combined.
Above-average temperatures in the winter vegetable-growing regions of Southern California have accelerated crop growth. Farmers say they're relieved by predictions of a cooling trend, because warm weather can push too many vegetables to market at once. Farmers report strong demand for broccoli and cauliflower, but say cold weather in Eastern states has curtailed demand for lettuce.
It's usually finished by now, but this season's date harvest in the California desert will continue into mid-January. The California Date Commission says mild summer temperatures delayed the harvest. Because they have a long shelf life when handled properly, fresh dates can be purchased throughout the year. The commission says harvest volumes will be about the same as last year, and crop quality has been high.Top