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» July 20, 2007 «
A new study calls farmers' markets good for consumers, good for farmers and good for communities. A University of California analyst, writing in an academic journal, said California now hosts nearly 500 farmers' markets. Her review says the markets connect farmers with customers, benefiting both. And people who shop at the farmers' markets also shop at nearby businesses, which benefits the wider community.
A small-but-growing part of the farm economy is struggling to recover from lingering effects of the January freeze. The cold wave wiped out many of the mangos being grown in the California desert, and also killed young trees. Farmers had once planned on shipping 40,000 cartons of mangos this year, but now expect to ship only about 25,000. Farmers estimate it may take seven years for California mango production to return to pre-freeze levels.
A beef about beef has slowed work on a free-trade agreement between the United States and South Korea. The Bush administration says ratification of the proposed agreement can't go forward until Korea reopens its market to U.S. beef. Korean officials toured American beef processing plants, including in California, earlier this month. During a visit to Sacramento, an American diplomat said the free-trade agreement could open the Korean market for a number of California-grown farm goods.
They're already thinking about Halloween on California farms, where growers have finished planting their pumpkin crops. Farmers prefer to have pumpkins planted by the end of June and were able to meet that deadline. Mild temperatures so far in pumpkin-growing regions have benefited the crop. Last year, by contrast, intense heat when the vines bloomed curtailed crop size. Farmers say that as of now, all signs point to bountiful pumpkin supplies in October.Top