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» March 6, 2007 «
Strawberry production is recovering from the January freeze. At one point last month, farmers had shipped only about half as many berries as they had a year earlier. But the California Strawberry Commission says the cold ultimately strengthened root systems, and berry plants now produce more fruit than they did before the freeze. The commission says it expects a noticeable increase in the number of strawberries on the market in a couple of weeks, with plentiful supplies in time for Easter.
There will be more tomatoes planted in California this spring, but the question is how many more. Companies that process tomatoes into salsa, ketchup and other products would like farmers to boost their acreage. The California Tomato Growers Association estimates farmers will increase planting, but not as much as the processors have requested. The growers group is negotiating tomato prices with the processors. It says farmers will make final planting decisions later this month.
Water runoff into the Colorado River basin is now projected at more than 80 percent of average. Much of Southern California's irrigation and drinking water comes from the river. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation says snowstorms continue to drop large amounts of snow east of the Continental Divide, meaning the runoff won't reach the Colorado. The bureau says it projects no water-supply reductions, but it says reservoir levels will drop without additional precipitation this spring.
Looking for ways to make cucumbers less susceptible, researchers are working to help the crop better resist pests and diseases. Plant breeders at a government laboratory report success in crossing domestic varieties with a wild cucumber species from China. The wild cucumber resists a plant disease that can affect crop varieties. California ranks third in the nation in production of fresh cucumbers, behind only Georgia and Florida.Top