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» November 8, 2006 «
To protect their crops from record-breaking high temperatures, Southern California farmers have provided their fields and orchards with extra irrigation. The hot weather means that crops such as celery, lettuce, strawberries, lemons and avocados need additional moisture right now. Farmers say they expect their crops to avoid serious problems. But they say they'll monitor crops carefully as temperatures ease by the weekend.
Between now and the end of the year, California farmers say they will sell more than 7 million turkeys. The California Poultry Federation says the holiday season comprises up to 45 percent of the annual demand for turkey. Most California turkeys are sold fresh, not frozen. A new area on the poultry federation Web site helps consumers find and prepare a fresh California turkey.
Later this month, farmers and volunteers will glean vegetable fields in the Salinas-Watsonville area, to collect fresh produce for food banks before Thanksgiving. An organization called Ag Against Hunger uses volunteers to gather fresh fruit and vegetables from fields. The produce is cooled at the agency's facilities and then trucked to food banks throughout the West. As the Salinas Valley harvest season winds down, volunteers are gleaning leftover lettuce, celery and other vegetables.
An organization that once concentrated on promoting fresh California tomatoes will change its focus. The California Tomato Commission says it will now devote its attention to research. The commission announced this week that one research focus will be on food safety and the updating of "good agricultural practices" that are recommended for farms and packinghouses. The commission chairman says he expects those practices to become standards.Top