Food & Farm News
» September 14, 2011 «
The third leg of California's annual grape harvest has started, as raisin grape growers report their harvest moving into full swing this week. Winegrape growers have already kicked off their harvest season, and table grapes are heading to market, too. Raisin growers say last week's thunderstorms in the Central Valley did not have a large impact on their grapes, but farmers will keep a wary eye on weather reports as the harvest progresses.
Another large crop of navel oranges is awaiting harvest in the Central Valley. Enough oranges to fill 85 million cartons are hanging on trees in the valley, according to U-S Agriculture Department estimates. That would be slightly fewer navel oranges than harvested last season but, if realized, would still be the third-largest crop in the past 25 years. More than 96 percent of California's navel oranges are grown in the Central Valley.
Innovative farmers have been producing renewable energy using byproducts such as walnut hulls and methane for years, and their efforts to earn credits from utility companies for some of that energy could soon become easier. A bill passed by the Legislature would allow farmers to connect on-farm renewable-energy systems together and then connect them to the grid. Previously, only solar, wind and fuel cell generators have had a streamlined path to connect.
Organic vegetable acreage counts are up, according to farmers and crop advisors. They say they have seen a distinct change since organic practices became more widely known. Today, many farmers maintain both conventional and organic fields as part of their operations. Some who started with organic as a small percentage of their acreage have expanded, as they found additional marketing opportunities beyond direct marketing and farmers markets.Top