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» February 23, 2006 «
The mid-February freeze that damaged Central Valley almonds may also reduce the region's nectarine crop. The California Tree Fruit Agreement says nectarine orchards were hit by temperatures in the mid-20s, which could damage early-maturing varieties. As with almond farmers, nectarine growers will wait several weeks to know the full extent of the damage. The early nectarine varieties typically reach market in late April and early May.
Greenhouse operators had to crank up the heat in their facilities, to protect plants during the cold wave. But the rest of the winter has been relatively mild, and that has helped farmers offset increases in energy prices. In addition, greenhouses have captured the heat from the recent spate of sunny days. Farmers say the weather has allowed them to deliver their plants on time to their customers, a process that can often be tricky during the winter.
Expecting expanded sales of peeled and sliced citrus fruit, the Sunkist Growers cooperative has created a joint venture to market the convenience products. At its annual meeting in Ventura yesterday (Wednesday), Sunkist announced a partnership with Salinas-based Taylor Farms, which markets salads and fresh-cut vegetables. Sunkist's chief executive told farmers that the venture forms one response to what he called a dynamic and fluid marketplace for citrus fruit.
Responding to lower prices in previous years, California farmers reduced plantings of most field crops during 2005 ... and the state's production dropped 4 percent as a result. A government report released yesterday shows that farmers cut their production of crops such as cotton, rice, wheat and barley. The on-farm value of California field-crop production totaled just more than $3 billion, also down slightly from the previous year.Top