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» January 3, 2008 «
Although it's been cold in the Central Valley the past few days, orange growers say they've been able to avoid damage to their fruit. Farmers do report some minor fruit scarring from ice. Rainstorms predicted for the rest of this week will help both the fruit and the trees, but will interrupt orange harvest. Consumers shouldn't notice the interruption, though, as oranges will be shipped from inventories held in cooling sheds.
Freezing temperatures in Florida have farmers there working to protect crops such as oranges, tomatoes and strawberries. Farm groups say the predicted cold weather could also hurt nursery plants, leafy greens and other Florida-grown crops. Farmers say the potential for damage depends on the duration of below-freezing temperatures. Little Florida-grown produce is sold in California, but damage there could affect demand for California-grown crops.
Mango production from California's few commercial groves will continue to be affected by damage from the severe freeze that hit nearly a year ago. Farmers say their trees appear to be recovering and, barring another cold spell, they may produce about half of an average crop this year. Last year's freeze cut production to about 10 percent of average. A few farmers grow mangos in the California desert, which they sell both domestically and to customers in Japan.
Demand from consumers for nuts brings demand from farmers for nut trees. Nursery operators say farmers have been buying walnut, pistachio and almond trees this season. Tree nuts have been commanding high prices, and may offer farmers another advantage. Nut trees can be harvested with machines and, with farmers having continued trouble hiring enough harvest help, they're increasingly opting for crops that require fewer workers.Top