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» May 2, 2008 «
Two straight dry months have taken a toll on the Sierra snowpack. Surveyors who checked snow depths yesterday (Thursday) said levels have dropped to just 67 percent of average. Forecasters say they expect runoff from the snow to total just 55 percent. The dry spring will force many farmers to begin irrigating their crops early. State and federal water projects have already warned of reduced deliveries because of dry conditions and restrictions to benefit protected fish.
This will be a big weekend for the avocado business, as people celebrate Cinco de Mayo. The California Avocado Commission estimates Americans will consume almost 54 million pounds of avocados this weekend, and says most of the fruit will come from California avocado groves. The commission calls the crop excellent and says production is nearing its peak right now. California farms produce more than 95 percent of the avocados grown in the United States.
Add pear growers to the list of those weighing the impact of the mid-April freeze. Farmers in the growing region near the Sacramento River say their crop is developing well and appears to have been spared by the freeze. However, the cold snap did cause fruit damage in Lake and Mendocino counties. Pear farmers in Washington and Oregon have also had frost damage. But just how much of the West Coast pear crop was affected by the freeze won't be known for some time.
It's a matter of taste at a new University of California laboratory. The facility at the UC research center near Parlier will help farmers produce fruit that tastes better to consumers. People will taste fruit at the lab and rate it, and then scientists will test the fruit. For instance, one test measures sugar-to-acid ratios in navel oranges. Such information helps farmers know when to pick fruit that has the combination of tastes that consumers prefer.Top