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» August 13, 2007 «
Pistachio growers expect a record-breaking crop this season. Pistachio trees produce larger crops in alternating years, and orchards in most growing regions are in the "on" year of the cycle. Preseason weather has also encouraged pistachio production and quality. Observers say harvest may start a few days early, with an average start date of September 1st. California orchards produce 95 percent of the pistachios grown in the U.S.
The raisin-grape harvest will start in about a week, and most expect a jump in production. A government report (issued Friday) forecasts an 18-percent increase, but groups representing raisin farmers say they don't believe the crop will be quite that large. The report describes fruit quality as excellent, although the size of the grapes is not as large as in some seasons. The severe freeze in January caused cane dieback in some vineyards.
For the first time this year, a California horse has died from West Nile virus. The state Department of Food and Agriculture says the virus killed a horse in San Diego County. The department also reported new cases in Shasta and Tehama counties. In all, nine horses have contracted the disease this year. A West Nile virus vaccine for horses is available, but all the horses afflicted either had not been vaccinated or had incomplete vaccinations.
A crop with a very short season and a very specific market … green dates … is now being harvested. Consumers in Southern California enjoy the immature dates, which are sold mainly at farmers' markets. Green dates have the consistency of an apple and a taste that's described as sour. Production is so small the California Date Commission doesn't track sales. But it says green dates will be available during the next couple of weeks.Top