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» May 25, 2006 «
Stressing the need to keep contraband fruits and vegetables out of California, officials established a quarantine zone in Fresno County yesterday (Wednesday) to prevent the spread of the peach fruit fly. Authorities believe the fly, which is native to Asia, hitchhiked into the state. The quarantine governs movement of fresh produce in a 105 square-mile zone that also includes a portion of neighboring Madera County. Crews will spray bait onto utility poles to attract and kill male flies.
Memorial Day is the holiday when Americans consume the most chicken. This year there's a lot of chicken on the market, due to a drop in export sales. But a Wall Street Journal survey says retail prices have not come down, despite the surplus. The situation won't immediately affect California poultry farmers. The California Poultry Federation says most farmers have contracts with chicken processors, to establish the farm price. Thus the processors feel the pressure, as their sale prices have dropped.
After two short crops in a row, California prune farmers watch their orchards with anticipation this spring. The Prune Bargaining Association says trees appear to have a good crop developing, despite poor weather at bloom time. In fact, some farmers are preparing to thin the fruit so that individual prunes will grow to larger sizes. The fruit will be marketed as dried plums. Consumers prefer pitted fruit, which is easier to create from larger prunes.
Navel orange growers in the Central Valley say they are nearing the end of their season. Harvest continues, but at a slower pace. The last fruit will probably be picked in about two weeks, although consumers will continue to see California navel oranges in retail stores for several weeks beyond that. Rain in growing areas last weekend did not harm the oranges, but it did halt picking until the groves dried out.Top