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» July 24, 2007 «
Winery buyers are starting to talk with San Joaquin Valley winegrape sellers, as time to harvest the crop approaches. As buyer interest begins to develop, farmers say the winegrape crop may be less than government forecasts. Warm temperatures are producing smaller grapes, which will lessen the weight, but produce even better quality juice. In addition, production in Australia has declined this year, which reduces the amount of juice available from that source. Harvest is expected to start early next month.
Consumers may see 2007-crop sweet potatoes in retail stores in about a week. A few growers are harvesting to meet demand, as sweet potatoes in storage are about gone. However, the main harvest is about a month off. Sweet potatoes like warm days and nights, and the cool evenings thus far this year have slowed crop development. Growers expect a good crop, but it is taking longer to fully develop. Warmer nighttime temperatures would help sweet potatoes develop faster.
San Joaquin Valley fig growers are now picking their second crop. Fig trees produce two crops annually, the first is brief and usually is in June. Growers say the second crop now being harvested looks good. Fruit quality is excellent and demand is strong, according to the California Fig Advisory Board. Consumers should find figs in retail outlets and farmers' markets. Fig trees continue to produce new fruit as pickers remove mature fruit. So there will be new fruit from now until the first frost or heavy rain.
Yet another reminder of how dry California is, there is a report from a boat marina on Folsom Lake that says all boats must be removed by August 1. The Bureau of Reclamation says that releases to the American River are being made to meet downstream requirements for urban, agricultural and other uses. They expect the level of the lake to continue to drop a half-foot per day. In spite of the dry water season, Folsom Lake levels have been better than expected. However, now demand is rapidly dropping the lake level.Top