Food & Farm News
» May 23, 2012 «
Cantaloupe growers report consumer confidence and demand have improved, after sales dropped last year following food-borne illnesses linked to Colorado-grown melons. California cantaloupe farmers have taken additional steps to assure food safety, by voting to start a new certification program. The program will set production and handling standards and include inspections. The California cantaloupe harvest began earlier this month and will continue through November.
With harvest under way in the San Joaquin Valley, cherry farmers keep a watchful eye for pests such as the Oriental fruit fly. Part of San Joaquin County—known for its many cherry orchards—remains under a quarantine for the pest. Farmers located near Stockton must take extra precautions when preparing to harvest fruit and move their crop off the farm. The cherry harvest is beginning a few weeks later than last year, with early varieties ripening now.
Dry, warm weather benefits hay and corn growers. In California, these crops will often be used to feed livestock on ranches and dairies. The US Agriculture Department reports that farmers are cutting oat hay and taking a second cutting of alfalfa, which can be harvested multiple times in one year. Cotton also benefits from the warm temperatures and observers say the crop is progressing nicely, although it will be months until the harvest.
Farmers and others who work outside know the importance of protecting their skin from sun damage. This Friday, to kick off the Memorial Day weekend, groups will observe "Don't Fry Day." The goal is to increase awareness of skin cancer prevention and general sun safety awareness. Organizers of Don't Fry Day encourage everyone to generously apply sunscreen, wear sun-protective clothing and seek shade often, especially during mid-day hours.Top