Food & Farm News
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» October 10, 2005 «
Prospects for California's largest orchard crop remain bright, according to speakers at a conference held in Napa (Friday). Almond sales and production have both increased sharply in recent years. A marketing expert from the U.S. Agriculture Department says the almond business has been helped by research into the nut's health benefits ... and from programs to make consumers aware of that research. During this decade, almond consumption has risen 11 percent a year.
Governor Schwarzenegger has signed bills supported by farm groups. One helps farmers resolve disputes with buyers of agricultural goods. Another streamlines the registration process for new crop-protection tools. A third declares greenhouses to be agricultural operations. Some local governments had classified greenhouses as industrial businesses. The new law allows greenhouse owners to enroll their land in a state farmland-protection program.
Restrictions on movements of fruits and vegetables have been enacted for a 72 square mile section of San Bernardino County. The agricultural quarantine aims to thwart any possible spread of the Mediterranean fruit fly. An infestation in Rancho Cucamonga marks the county's first Medfly outbreak in 12 years. The quarantine prohibits movement of Medfly-host plants from the region. The Medfly threatens more than 200 different fruits and vegetables.
A new machine promises to improve the safety and quality of spinach. A Central Coast farm has begun using the harvester in fields near Castroville. Ocean Mist Farms says the harvester covers nine beds of spinach at a time, and allows the spinach not to touch the ground. Once on the machine, the spinach bunches pass through jets of water to remove debris before the spinach is packed in cartons.
On the Calendar:
Half Moon Bay hosts the annual World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off today (Monday).