Food & Farm News
» January 4, 2012 «
Calling it one of the driest measurements in history, the state Department of Water Resources reports that the water content of the Sierra snowpack stands at only 19 percent of average for the first week in January. But surveyors say they're cautiously optimistic that the snowpack will build as the winter continues. The state measures the snowpack and its water content to predict how much water can be expected to enter streams and reservoirs this summer.
The dry December raises some concern among California farmers and ranchers. For example, cattle ranchers say rangelands need rains to replenish grasses and water sources for their animals. Farmers who grow almonds and walnuts say their trees need water that would normally be provided by winter rains. Many farmers and ranchers say the concerns will grow if the dry spell continues into mid-January.
To win more customers for California-grown almonds, prunes, raisins and pistachios, the crops are being featured at a Christmas fair in St. Petersburg, Russia, at a pavilion sponsored by the U.S. Agriculture Department. The event continues through mid-January and includes special displays of international holiday traditions. California produce is featured in the American pavilion along with other iconic foods from the United States.
Two floats at this week's Pasadena Rose Parade became the first to be certified California-grown. State Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross says the floats by Cal Poly universities and the Kit-Cat Clock Company used all California-grown flowers. Ross said the state partnered with the California Cut Flower Commission to create the certification, and they hope to double the number of certified California-grown floats each year.