Food & Farm News
» October 7, 2005 «
What had once appeared to be a record walnut crop may now fall short of that. As they harvest, walnut growers say they're discovering more weather-related damage to the crop than anticipated. Farmers say a one-two punch of spring rains and July heat combined to reduce the crop. The rains promoted a crop disease, and the heat caused sunburn on walnuts. California farms produce virtually the entire U.S. walnut crop.
The growth of Japanese Halloween celebrations affects California pumpkin growers. Farmers say they're selling more pumpkins to Japanese buyers, as the holiday becomes more popular there. The pumpkin crop got off to a slow start because of cool spring temperatures, but farmers say there will be plenty of pumpkins available for Halloween. Quality of the pumpkins is reported as the best in many years.
Artichoke lovers have about another week before the main part of the fall harvest ends. Growers say cool weather has stimulated artichoke plants to produce more. Artichokes are picked throughout the year, but observers say that by next week, supplies will drop off dramatically until the plants again start heavy production in spring. Artichoke growers say this has been a good year for them, after two sub-par ones.
It's called the "killer fly" and it's been found in the United States … but that may ultimately turn out to be good news for growers of greenhouse plants. It's formally named the Old World hunter fly, and its killer reputation stems from the way it feeds on other insects. Many of those insects are pests in greenhouses. Although originally from Europe, the "killer fly" has been found in New York, and scientists say they'll study its potential in biological pest-control programs.
On the Calendar:
The California Avocado Festival begins today (Friday) in Carpinteria. The Southern California Fair starts tomorrow (Saturday) in Perris. There's a Farm and Barn Tour in Placer County on Sunday.