Food & Farm News
» May 30, 2005 «
Companies working to boost California ethanol production were heartened by a vote in the U.S. Senate. A Senate committee approved a plan last week that would double use of ethanol and other agriculture-based fuels within seven years. Investors are building new facilities that would greatly increase California's ethanol production. The first new plant should open sometime this summer near Goshen, and a plant under construction near Madera could start producing fuel next year.
Springtime rains and cold weather have ruined about half of the California cherry crop. The California Cherry Advisory Board says crews continue to pick the fruit that escaped damage. Harvest will continue for about three more weeks. Marketers say fruit quality will improve as the season goes on, because the late-maturing cherries were less vulnerable to damage when the rain came.
Garlic farmers who have lost business to Chinese imports expect a ruling this week in a trade case. The U.S. Commerce Department said more than a decade ago that Chinese exporters were dumping garlic on the American market at unfairly low prices. The U.S. imposed tariffs on Chinese garlic to compensate. But California farmers say loopholes have allowed Chinese companies to ship garlic without paying the tariffs, and have asked the government to take further action.
Following on the success of baby carrots, personal-sized watermelons and other miniature produce items, a Salinas produce firm has started marketing small heads of iceberg lettuce. The company describes the single-serving lettuce heads as being smaller than a softball. Known as Iceberg Babies, the product made its debut last week at a National Restaurant Association trade show, and is being marketed to restaurants and other food-service buyers.Top