Food & Farm News
Audio ActualityComments about the Salinas Valley vegetable harvest
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» April 27, 2011 «
Cherry farmers in the southern San Joaquin Valley plan to start harvesting their crop on Sunday. That means retail stores should have good supplies of California-grown cherries in about three weeks. The California Cherry Advisory Board predicts a decent crop. Cool temperatures in the northern San Joaquin Valley may have reduced crop size a bit, but the board says the trees appear to have average-sized crops.
The seasonal shift is under way in the California vegetable business, as the springtime harvest accelerates in the Salinas Valley. During the winter and early spring, lettuce comes mainly from Southern California and the Central Valley … but now those harvests are ending as the Salinas crop comes on. Salinas Valley farmers say they anticipate a good harvest for most vegetables, although they've slowed broccoli harvest due to a lull in demand.
Even with a recession slowing urban growth, more than 200,000 acres of California farmland went out of production between 2006 and 2008. A report from the state Department of Conservation says water shortages contributed to the idling of tens of thousands of acres of farmland, particularly in the southern San Joaquin Valley. Nearly half of the land removed from production was top-quality soil, known as prime farmland.
Dairy farmers, horse owners and other livestock ranchers will continue to see tight supplies of the alfalfa hay they feed their animals. Cool weather and rain earlier this spring delayed the first cutting of alfalfa, compounding a short inventory carryover from last year. Many dairy farmers have reduced the proportion of hay in the feed mix for their cows, but prices for other feeds have also been high.Top