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» October 18, 2007 «
The amount farmers earn for their milk in California will decline an average of 4 cents a gallon November 1. The California Department of Food and Agriculture says the average price will be $2 a gallon. Declines in cheese, butter, and whey caused the price dip. The decrease comes after a 6-cent hike in milk prices October 1. This price is still higher than prices last year. Regulators have warned farmers to expect volatile prices this fall and winter. Although the state sets farm gate milk prices, it does are not set retail prices.
Sweet potato harvest is well underway in Merced and Stanislaus counties where most of the crop is grown in California. Farmers will finish harvest about mid-November, but will continue shipping sweet potatoes to market all year. Almost half of the crop is marketed for the Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year and Easter holidays. But, news regarding the nutrient content of the vegetable has stimulated increased year-round demand. California produces all of the nation's organic sweet potatoes, but as demand for that product increases, growers in other states may join the production.
Demand for California-grown wild rice continues to increase. Farmers responded this year planting almost 21,000 acres, the first time more than 20,000 has been devoted to wild rice. A few growers are still harvesting so the average yield per acre numbers aren't yet available. Food processors are blending wild rice with other foods or with white rice and continue to demand more each year. Although acreage is expected to increase next year, it may not equal the 5,900 acre increase this year.
Apples remain fresh longer in storage as a result of the discovery of a gaseous compound that naturally regulates fruit ripening and aging. Researchers say use of the colorless and odorless compound preserves apples three to six months longer than untreated apples. The researchers have prescribed the exact amount to use for all apple varieties. The new compound has also dramatically reduced the amount of fungicides used by handlers when storing apples.Top