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» April 3, 2008 «
Growing rice in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta could stop, or even reverse, the sinking of delta islands. State officials plan to test that hypothesis by encouraging rice cultivation in the delta. Peat soils in the delta break down when exposed to air, and the loss of soil causes land to sink. Because rice grows in water, experts say its cultivation could stop the soil loss. Officials will describe the project next week at a meeting in Walnut Grove.
The first shipments of leaf lettuce have come from the Salinas Valley, as lettuce production starts its seasonal transition. By later in the month, harvest will be moving faster in the nation's top lettuce-growing region. Cooler-than-average temperatures in the Salinas Valley have slowed crop development. But lettuce supplies from the Huron area in the western San Joaquin Valley remain good, so consumers may not notice any supply gaps.
They expect demand to increase, so California farmers will plant more sweet potatoes. Farmers told government surveyors they plan to plant 7 percent more sweet potato acres. Demand for fresh sweet potatoes has stayed strong, and more processed products have reached market. In addition to frozen, french-fried sweet potatoes, stores also offer julienned sweet potatoes and sweet potato chips. California sweet potato production is centered in Merced County.
Walnut trees have started to bloom in California orchards. Observers say full bloom should occur during the next couple of weeks. Walnut trees are self-pollinating, so they don't depend on bees for pollination. Farmers say they hope for favorable weather during the bloom, and should know in two months or so what size of a crop to expect. California farms produce virtually the entire U.S. walnut crop, with most orchards located in the Central Valley.Top