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» June 16, 2005 «
To make sure they get a high-enough turnout, organizers of a grape grower referendum have extended the voting deadline. The election will decide whether winegrape growers will continue assessing themselves, to pay for research to fight the glassy-winged sharpshooter and the fatal vine disease it carries. Ballots were originally due this week. But the state Department of Food and Agriculture noted there has been confusion about the ballot and extended the deadline until July 14th.
Based on optimistic reports from farmers around the state, the California Apple Commission predicts a bigger apple crop this year. The commission says some apples have been hurt by springtime rain and hail, but that damage has been scattered. Orchards that escaped the storms are doing well, with cooler-than-average temperatures aiding crop development. The apple commission predicts that the Granny Smith variety should show the largest production increase this season.
Pent-up demand for fresh figs encourages farmers as their harvest begins. Farmers in the central San Joaquin Valley produce nearly all the figs grown in the United States. In part because figs are now one of the few fresh fruits not available year-round, farmers earn high prices when the harvest begins. The California Fig Advisory Board says it expects this year's crop will be larger than last year's.
It's been a tough season for farmers in the Southern California desert who grow Bermuda grass for seed. Unseasonably cool weather in the Imperial Valley … where most of the seed is grown ... caused the flowers to produce fewer seeds. Observers say the resulting shortage is bound to push seed prices higher. Bermuda grass requires warm-to-hot weather for the flowers to produce large amounts of seed, and recent warm weather has come too late to help.
On the Calendar:
The El Dorado County Fair begins today (Thursday) in Placerville.