Food & Farm News
» November 2, 2011 «
A 65-foot-tall Christmas tree destined for the U.S. Capitol takes to the road from California this week. The tree, a white fir from the Stanislaus National Forest, will be harvested Saturday and will then tour the state before heading to Washington, D.C. On the way, the tree will stop in communities and schools representing California's forests. Once in the nation's capital, it will be decorated with 5,000 ornaments created by Californians.
Chinese consumers looking for California-grown fruit can now order it on television. The U.S. Agriculture Department blog reports that California grapes, cherries and citrus fruit are all hitting the Chinese airwaves, to high demand. Consumers bought 1,900 boxes of cherries on a Chinese home-shopping network. And the USDA says it took only 30 minutes to sell 3,500 boxes of oranges on a Chinese online retail website.
Tundra swans and 350 other bird species are making their way to their fall retreat in the Central Valley. More than 70,000 white tundra swans will come to rest and feed in harvested and re-flooded rice fields. The swans and other wildlife are attracted to the fields because, after farmers harvest the rice, they disk the soil and tiny invertebrates hatch, providing a ready meal for the birds.
Because of higher prices for other crops earlier in the year, California farmers planted fewer acres of beans in 2011. The California Dry Bean Board says the state's production of beans such as limas, blackeyes, kidneys and other varieties has dropped by 30 percent. The board says a number of San Joaquin Valley farmers reduced bean acreage in order to plant cotton, which has had more favorable prices.Top