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» April 20, 2011 «
As interest in California olive oil expands, so do plantings of olive orchards. The California Olive Oil Council predicts that farmers will plant between 8,000 and 10,000 acres of olives each year between now and 2020. Demand for California-made extra-virgin olive oil has been increasing. A study issued by the University of California last week showed California olive oil brands fared better than imported brands at meeting international quality standards.
Inspectors report encouraging news in their efforts to stop a serious grapevine pest. Fewer European grapevine moths have been trapped this spring. So far, only five have been found in Napa County, in a region where state pest control officials reported finding tens of thousands of moths a year ago. Another three moths have been found near Gilroy, but authorities say they believe they're making progress in controlling the moth.
By planting native, flowering plants near test plots of melons, researchers say they've succeeded in attracting native pollinators to the melon crops. As honeybee populations have faced threats from "colony collapse disorder" and other problems, farmers have looked for ways to attract native bees and other insects to pollinate crops. The project will continue this year, with the planting of native flowers near several commercial watermelon fields.
Described by its developers as juicy and sweet, a new variety of citrus fruit will begin growing in California this year. The University of California, Riverside, says it plans to release the new mandarin variety this June to nurseries. The mandarin, known as Kinnow-LS, builds on a variety first developed by the university nearly a century ago. The university says the new variety has the sweet taste of the original, but with fewer seeds.Top