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» January 19, 2006 «
Responding to strong demand for dairy products, California farms established another record for milk production during 2005. A government report released yesterday (Wednesday) shows that California dairy farms produced almost 4.4 billion gallons of milk. The state's dairies have increased milk production each year since 1978. Dairy farmers say they're encouraged by demand for dairy foods, including increased sales of milk at fast-food restaurants.
The heavy rains of late December and early January mean more water will be available this summer. The State Water Project said yesterday it will now be able to supply at least 70 percent of the water requested by its customers. That's a 5 percent increase from its last estimate. Meanwhile, the federal Bureau of Reclamation has offered additional water for sale because of increased flows on the San Joaquin River.
News about the health benefits of antioxidants has had an impact in the grocery store. A report from the Food Marketing Institute says consumers are seeking foods considered high in antioxidant content. Stories have identified blueberries as the fruit highest in antioxidants ... and sales of frozen blueberries rose 30 percent last year. Sales of pomegranate juice, which was heavily advertised for its antioxidant content, jumped almost 88 percent.
A cool summer in South America has slowed the arrival of Chilean fruit in California stores. Farmers in Chile say their fruit ripened more slowly than average. Despite the delay, marketers say the Chilean fruit will be off the market before California fruit ripens for the 2006 season. For example, Chilean apricots and cherries will be finished by the end of February, and large volumes of California fruit usually start reaching market in late April.
On the Calendar:
The Stockton Ag Expo celebrates its 30th anniversary as it opens today (Thursday) in Stockton. The California Citrus Quality Council holds its annual meeting in Visalia.